Friday, Mar 06th

LATEST:
You are here: Islands Islands News ‘Legal authorisation lacks for instruction’

Best_of_2015_587x57_Results

‘Legal authorisation lacks for instruction’

THE HAGUE--The Governor of St. Maarten lacks the legal authorisation to execute the instruction given by the Kingdom Council of Ministers on September 27 to carry out an independent audit of the level of integrity of the island government.

That is the opinion of Constitutional and Administrative Law of the Erasmus School of Law PhD candidate Aubrich Bakhuis, who published an article on the integrity instruction and its legal ramifications in a recent issue of the Netherlands premier magazine for legal experts and jurists, Nederlands Juristenblad.

According to Bakhuis, the article that the Kingdom Council of Ministers used, article 15 of the Regulation for the Governor of St. Maarten, is too narrow a basis for an instruction. Bakhuis questioned whether that specific article included in the Royal Decree published on September 30 offered sufficient grounds to arrange that all Ministers and civil servants of the Government of St. Maarten are obliged to cooperate with the audit.

The obligation to cooperate with the audit refers to the authorities of the Governor as described in the Regulation for the Governor. "However, the execution of such an investigation is not arranged. The Governor doesn't have supervisory authorities, such as the ordering of information."

Bakhuis explained that the instruction of the Kingdom Government was not secured in a General Measure of National Government ("Algemene Maatregel van Rijksbestuur"). This measure was used to place St. Maarten under higher supervision in 1993. The measure was based on the Constitution of the Country the Netherlands Antilles to "restore the administrative chaos on the island."

At that time the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles had a supervisory role and the Government of the Netherlands had an intervening task. This legal basis for supervision ceased to exist when the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved per October 10, 2010, and the Country St. Maarten was created. "Today, only article 15 of the Regulation for the Governor remains. And that is too small of a basis for the instruction in question."

Bakhuis noted that the constitutional double role of the Governor as Representative of the Kingdom Government and Head of the Government of St. Maarten will become tight when the government of his country is subjected to (administrative) supervision.

The Kingdom Government has made use of the "famous" article 43 of the Charter which defines the guarantee task that it has in the area of good governance in the Kingdom to issue an instruction for St. Maarten. In the opinion of The Hague, good governance and the level of integrity of politicians and the local public administration are a big problem that damage the Kingdom's reputation.

However, in order to make use of the supervisory authority one needs more than a task description in the Charter, stated Bakhuis. Carrying out that guarantee task can only take place via the input of legally secured supervisory authorities. "The Governor doesn't have these in the execution of the instruction," he stated.

According to Bakhuis, who has been researching administrative and financial supervision on Curaçao and St. Maarten since February 2011 as a PhD candidate, the execution of supervisory authorities without a legal basis violates the principle of legality. This principle also counts for the Kingdom Government which, in his opinion, may not carry out authorities without a legal basis.

The option remains to include the investigation authorities in the regulation of the Governor. However, this will not be easy, because all Dutch Caribbean countries would have to give their consent to change this Kingdom law. The overseas countries of the Kingdom will probably object to further violations of their autonomy, Bakhuis stated.

The Government of St. Maarten announced in the days after the publication of the Royal Decree that it would not cooperate with the integrity audit. "This deadlock places the Governor as an organ of the Kingdom in a difficult situation. Besides, legislation doesn't offer him much grip to force cooperation."

St. Maarten Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams reacted furiously to the September 27 decision of the Kingdom Council of Ministers. She called the instruction a "constitutional blunder" and accused The Hague of a "neo-colonial attitude."

According to Wescot-Williams, the instruction imposed on the autonomous affairs of her country damaged the position of the Governor and created a dangerous precedent. Bakhuis questioned whether it was wise of Wescot-Williams to respond so angrily, but he did agree with her that she "had a point" where it came to the Governor's position and the content of the instruction.

Emotions have calmed down somewhat in the weeks after the instruction was issued. Both integrity committees, the one of the Governor and the other of Government, have been installed and there are plans for the committees to work together in order to avoid redundancies.

Governor Holiday held a first meeting with the Committee Integrity Inquiry last week during which they discussed plans to invite an international accounting firm to conduct the inquiry and the planning. Invitations have been sent to four New York-based accounting firms inviting them to participate in the tender to conduct the forensic inquiry investigation.

Image
Prison saves money through electronic monitoring system
Friday, 06 March 2015
POINTE BLANCHE--Well-behaved prisoners who meet the requirements of the Ministry of Justice are... Read more...
GEBE says load-shedding due to ‘fuel-related issues’
Friday, 06 March 2015
PHILIPSBURG--"Fuel-related issues" were the reason given by utilities company GEBE as to why it had... Read more...
Image
Jamaica remains largest illicit producer and exporter of marijuana in Caribbean
Thursday, 05 March 2015
LONDON, United Kingdom--A report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has found that... Read more...
Image
CJIA expansion…Public Works Ministry to pay contractor’s taxes if GRA refuses exemption
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
GEORGETOWN, Guyana--Ministry of Public Works has agreed to pay all customs duties for China Harbour... Read more...
Image
Arias escapes death penalty
Thursday, 05 March 2015
PHOENIX--An Arizona jury failed to reach a verdict on Thursday in the sentencing retrial of Jodi... Read more...
Image
Jet skids off runway during snowstorm
Thursday, 05 March 2015
NEW YORK--A Delta Air Lines Inc jet landing during a snowstorm at New York's LaGuardia Airport on... Read more...
Image
Liberia releases last known Ebola patient from hospital
Thursday, 05 March 2015
MONROVIA--Liberia's last Ebola patient left hospital on Thursday to cheers of delight from friends... Read more...
Image
Two Germans to be caned, jailed for Singapore train graffiti
Thursday, 05 March 2015
SINGAPORE--A Singapore court sentenced two Germans to nine months in prison and three strokes of... Read more...
Image
China signals the "new normal" with higher spending, lower growth target
Friday, 06 March 2015
BEIJING--China plans to run its biggest budget deficit in 2015 since the global financial crisis,... Read more...
Image
For the “unbanked”, mobile money still has some way to go
Friday, 06 March 2015
NEW YORK--Globally, an estimated 2.5 billion people don't have a bank account, but many own a... Read more...
Image
Step up control on moving violations
Thursday, 05 March 2015
Dear Editor, I am an inhabitant of this country and whatever happens to someone else could possibly... Read more...
Image
Window watcher
Thursday, 05 March 2015
Dear Queenie, I’m a married man and have no intention of cheating on my wife, but I can’t help... Read more...
Sloppy West Indies fold for 182
Friday, 06 March 2015
India were given their first scare of the World Cup when West Indies reduced them to 78 for 4 and... Read more...
Image
Gill/Commodores Cup gets off to wild and windy start
Thursday, 05 March 2015
SIMPSON BAY—Race crews braced for epic, squally conditions on Thursday as the 6th Gill/Commodores... Read more...
Image
San Francisco hospital begins rare six-way kidney transplant chain
Friday, 06 March 2015
SAN FRANSISCO--Doctors at a San Francisco hospital began an unusual series of kidney transplants on... Read more...
Harrison Ford injured in small-plane crash
Friday, 06 March 2015
LOS ANGELES--Film star Harrison Ford was injured on Thursday when the "Star Wars" actor crashed his... Read more...
Image
Heineken Party Kool and Gang
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
Kool & the Gang ~ Get down on it and groove in the sand! ~ In 1964, Khalis Bayyan (aka Ronald Bell)... Read more...
Image
Scavanger Hunt
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
Rotary Mid-Isle Charity Motor Treasure Hunt ~ Time to brush up on your local knowledge ~ Do you... Read more...
Editorial - Hard-pressed
Thursday, 05 March 2015
It must be said; Thursday afternoon's presentation before Parliament's Permanent Committee of... Read more...
Editorial - Global trend
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
The announcement of a fuel price hike effective today, Thursday, understandably won't be met with... Read more...
Image
Saturday Mar. 07, 2015
Friday, 06 March 2015
Image
Friday Mar. 06, 2015
Friday, 06 March 2015
Notices March 6
Friday, 06 March 2015
MOT session MOT will be holding an information session on Wednesday, March 11 for the real estate... Read more...
Notices March 5
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
School Registration Clay Montessori Academy Foundation is now registering for the 2015/2016 school... Read more...