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Editorial - Unproductive approach

The long-awaited Transparency International (TI) report is out and the general conclusions are not that shocking. The public sector and civil service score rather low on the openness and integrity chart, while more resources must be dedicated to actually enforcing applicable rules and regulations.

The lack of consistency on procurement policies and the role of government-owned companies also was mentioned. Political parties are seen as weak links and need to provide more clarity about their democratic structure and financing.

A coming together of stakeholders on what is needed to better promote good governance and transparency at all levels was suggested. That certainly could help, but there are known factors like a chronic shortage of manpower at key agencies such as the National Detectives and the Prosecutor’s Office.

The latter means choices sometimes have to be made about what is investigated or brought to trial and what is not, which otherwise perhaps might not be in question. Of course, adding a few highly trained investigators alone can’t solve the entire problem, but it certainly would help.

The establishment of the Integrity Chamber is also important in that regard. Once their respective parliamentary summer recesses are over this topic will be on the table again in both Philipsburg and The Hague.

Up to now there appears to be little middle ground and this matter may end up being imposed by the Netherlands via a General Measure of Kingdom Governance. However, that would seem to go directly against TI’s advice to involve the various segments of society closely in a joint effort to achieve an optimal level of integrity in St. Maarten. Doing it “over the heads” of the local community probably will prove an unproductive approach.      

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