THE HAGUE–The national ordinance to formally establish the St. Maarten Integrity Chamber is expected to become effective December 28.
Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops announced this in a letter he sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday regarding the World Bank’s first progress report on St. Maarten’s recovery and the Trust Fund.
The formalising of the Integrity Chamber is the result of an agreement between St. Maarten and the Netherlands to establish an independent administrative body which, independently of the St. Maarten government or its entities, advises or presents proposals regarding policy to improve integrity, explained Knops.
The legal trajectory to establish the Integrity Chamber was completed from April to December. “In this period, the quartermasters of St. Maarten and the Netherlands made preparations regarding composition and organisation, financing and management, finding of suitable office space and recruiting and selecting personnel.”
Following the formal establishing of the Integrity Chamber, the appointment of its members, chairperson and supervisory board will take place in 2019 and the secretariat will be installed. According to the planning, the Integrity Chamber should be operational by mid-2019, stated Knops.
In his letter to the Dutch Parliament, Knops also mentioned the situation at the Pointe Blanche prison. He lamented the fact that the St. Maarten government has not or has only partially adhered to the agreements with the Netherlands to repair the prison, and also not within the agreed-on time frame.
Knops explained that he has urged the St. Maarten government several times this year to stick to the agreement. The Dutch government provided direct assistance after Hurricane Irma. Dutch prison personnel guarded the outside prison wall until the St. Maarten government had this repaired.
The Hague also financed the support of Dutch prison experts to assist St. Maarten with the drafting of a plan of approach to improve the situation at the Pointe Blanche prison for the short and (mid to) long term. Attached to this assistance was an agreement to fix up the prison.
Knops explained that it had been agreed with St. Maarten Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever that St. Maarten would implement a series of measures in the short term to significantly improve the prison. He said St. Maarten had promised to reserve the necessary budget to carry out these measures.
“It is up to the St. Maarten government to turn these agreements into tangible actions and to report on such. This is a prerequisite for possible further Dutch technical assistance,” stated Knops.
Cooperation in the area of the Police Force is doing much better, it could be deduced from Knops’ letter. “The St. Maarten Police Force KPSM has been supported with material and personnel since Hurricane Irma. The Police Force has purchased vehicles and uniforms, and has the new emergency call centre in use. This call centre will be officially opened mid-December, is hurricane-proof and for the first time will house three emergency services (Police, Fire Department and Ambulance).”
The Dutch National Police Force is temporarily providing 34 police officers and trainers to the KPSM, explained Knops. The assistance by the Dutch police officers enables the KPSM to train new, own personnel. At the same time, Dutch and St. Maarten police officers are working together – twinning – which enables a continuous sharing of know-how between the two police forces.
Bron: Daily Herald