GREAT BAY, Sint
Maarten (DCOMM) – On Friday, March 31, the Council of Ministers hosted an
Information Session to the Secretaries General of the seven different
Ministries and their Management Team, the Staff of the Ministers cabinet, and the
Staff of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers.
The main agenda points
of the session were the Governing Program; integrity and the plans of the Dutch
Government towards establishing an Integrity Chamber on Sint Maarten and their
recent appointment of a Dutch Integrity Quartermaster and an update on the
The Council found it
essential to inform the key leaders and advisors of the organization in person
about these key matters.
While the Prime
Minister, William Marlin, spoke on the issues of the Governing Program and
Integrity, the Minister of Finance, Richard Gibson Sr., elaborated on the
At the same time both
Ministers stressed the importance of the role of each civil servant in the
process of making Sint Maarten great. The session was well attended; the
Council of Ministers will conduct similar information sessions in the near
future to safeguard transparency and open communication with and within the
Both the Council of
Ministers as well as the ministers on an individual basis will ensure that the
civil servants receive the required information necessary to fulfil their tasks
The Prime Minister’s
intention regarding the topic of the Governing Program was not necessarily to
explain what was in the Governing Program, but to show to the audience how the
Governing Program has come into existence, how the Government Program is to be
used and what are the next steps to be taken.
He explained that the
Governing Program “Stability for Prosperity” was the product of a workgroup
consisting of members of the three different political parties - National
Alliance, United Sint Maarten People’s Party and the Democratic Party – which
all want to address different issues in different ways.
The common ground
among all three parties were identified and written down in the program. The
Secretaries General of the different ministries and the cabinet members all
provided their input in finalizing the program.
The Prime Minister
stressed to civil servants present that the success of the Governing Program
depends on all the civil servants acting as the managers of the process while
focusing on certain priorities.
He stated: “You
are here because we want to emphasize that you are important in the execution
of the Governing Program. It is about liking your job. We are already in March
and we are already executing. It is a government for four years and we may
begin in 2017 and certain things may run over in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“For now, the concentration
is on what should be done in 2017 and this should be in sync with the Governing
Program, but more important it should be in sync with your budget.”
The importance of
following up on advices and decisions taken by the Council of Ministers was
elucidated upon. “The progress has to be meaningful and important to you. You
should follow up on decisions of the Council of Ministers, you should execute,
you have to be proactive,” Prime Minister furthermore stated.
While on March 23 a
copy of the Governing Program was presented to Parliament via the Chairlady of
Parliament, Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams, and the Vice Chairman,
Member of Parliament Frans Richardson, a follow up Central Committee meeting of
Parliament will take place on Tuesday, April 18, to present the year plans of
the different ministries which are intertwined with the budget and the
In regards to the
topic of Integrity, the Prime Minister explained that there is a major
difference in interpretation of integrity and how to deal with it between Sint
Maarten and the Dutch.
“Integrity breach in
the Netherlands is considered fraud by the Dutch while integrity breach in Sint
Maarten is considered corruption by the Dutch”. He furthermore stated that Sint
Maarten wants discussion, not instruction.” He stressed that “Sint Maarten is
only a country that is six years old and needs space, room and opportunity to
handle the integrity issues her own way, respecting her circumstances and
situation, learning along the lines.”
He acknowledged that
there are integrity issues on Sint Maarten, but Sint Maarten decides WHAT to
accept in the issues with integrity and HOW to deal with unacceptable things.
An Integrity Chamber should not be single handedly imposed by the Dutch
Management was urged
to continue to provide service in an integer manner to the public of Sint
The Minister of
Finance continued the presentation on the budget of 2017. He personally thanked
each civil servant for their contribution seeing that today’s surplus in the
budget would not have been possible without each one of them, yet stressed that
a lot more work needs to be done.
He pledged financial
assistance to the youth, the prison, the tax department and the Ministry of
VROMI. In regards to the capital investment, Management present were tasked
with the responsibility to prioritize their plans and projects for final
decision making by the Council of Ministers.
“The exercise is
needed for Sint Maarten to take advantage of the opportunity to apply for a
NAF. 30 million loan to be approved by the ‘College financieel toezicht’ (Cft).
This becomes the first time since 2014 that Sint Maarten can borrow capital
expenditures and make investments so the Gross Domestic Product can grow”,
noted the Minister of Finance. He was confident that the future looked much
For more information on the Governing Program,
both Facebook and the website