PHILIPSBURG – On Wednesday January 6, 2021, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson and her support staff met with the Integrity Chamber Sint Maarten for an introductory meeting. Representing the independent administrative body were Integrity Chamber member Rafael Boasman and secretariat director Charna Pompier.
Minister Richardson stated she considers integrity to be one of the most important values that underpins the activities of the Ministry of Justice and its personnel. She recognizes how it can affect public trust not only in the ministry, but in the entire government apparatus and as such announced that she intends, in this current year, to pay closer attention to integrity issues and ways on how the integrity standards can be raised throughout the ministry.
As such, the Minister asked for the Integrity Chamber’s supports in her efforts on this front. The Integrity Chamber has indicated to render support where possible and required within the ministry.
Mr. Boasman, on behalf of the three-member body that includes Rian Vogels (president) and Hans Lodder (member), said it was a positive step for Minister Richardson to reach out to the Integrity Chamber to share her concerns and to discuss bottlenecks faced within the Justice Ministry.
“The Integrity Chamber is here to assist where possible. It is important for the effective and efficient running of government for integrity to play a very prominent role. We look forward to and encourage others in government and its entities to reach out to us for information, for assistance, for guidance,” said Mr. Boasman.
Minister Richardson was very keen to learn about the Integrity Chamber and its core tasks of rendering advices, giving proposals, investigating suspected misconducts within administrative bodies (i.e., government and its entities, including government-owned companies) and the continuous provision of information to strengthen awareness about the importance of integrity in the community.
One question posed in the meeting by Minister Richardson was if there has been an interest for the Ministry of Justice by the Integrity Chamber. The response was that there is in fact an interest for all of the ministries and government-owned companies, however in this phase of its activities, the primary focus is on introducing itself to the ministries and learning what is already in place with regards to integrity and how this is being documented. This way the Integrity Chamber knows what issues are in need of immediate attention.
The Integrity Chamber expressed its delight with receiving the invitation for a meeting with Minister Richardson as the Ministry of Justice was also on its list of ministries to visit. This is yet another step Minister Richardson taking to in her pursuit to to strengthen the Ministry of Justice, the officers and its overall services.