Democratic Party: Integrity Chamber Instruction is sword of Damocles

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Constitutional Court has rendered its verdict in the case of the National Ordinance Integrity Chamber.

Again proof of the workings of an important institution in the system of checks and balances in our young democracy.

The outcome did not come as a total surprise, given the grounds for this Integrity Chamber.  Clearly the pressure was on the former St. Maarten government to create a chamber that does not have a precedent in the Dutch Kingdom, and probably nowhere else in the world.

As a Member of Parliament, not supporting the government at the time, I was all for the establishment of an Integrity Chamber by National Ordinance to avoid the threat of a Kingdom instruction, which hung as a sword of Damocles above our heads. The verdict was barely out, or voices again have come out in favor of an instruction to establish the Integrity Chamber.

I was and remain critical of the agreement with the Kingdom government that led to this “sword of Damocles,” as I am yet to be convinced of the unconditional contribution by the Kingdom Government as part of the May 2015 agreement. The agreement with the Dutch Government does not seem to contribute to our plans for justice, but rather to the Kingdom plans.

In any case, the Government and Parliament will have to go back to the drawing board. The focus should be on the Government’s own plan of action for the integrity of the country of which an Integrity Chamber is but a small part.