Philipsburg—The Council of Ministers met with the newly-established Integrity Chamber of Sint Maarten for an introductory meeting on Thursday, January 16. Present were the three current members Mrs. Rian Vogels, President, Mr. Rafael Boasman, member, and Mr. Hans Lodder, member as well as the Director of the Secretariat of the Integrity Chamber, Ms. Charna Pompier.
While Mr. Boasman and Mr. Lodder have been appointed by Sint Maarten since the beginning of 2019, Mrs. Vogels, a former senior judge with years of judicial background has been appointed as its first President in December of 2019 via Kingdom decree upon binding recommendation of the two Sint Maarten members and has recently assumed office as of January 2020.
Discussed in the meeting were, among others, the structure of the Integrity Chamber along with its core tasks, which include advising on integrity matters, both solicited and unsolicited, conducting investigations into suspected integrity violations and to continuously create awareness about integrity in the community.
No criminal or personal investigations are conducted by this independent body; however, investigations regarding integrity concerns can be requested by Parliament, Government and the general public.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs stated, “The Integrity Chamber has the cooperation of the Council of Ministers, along with further assistance, for the finalization of the Integrity Chamber, the training and (re)assignment of the so-called ‘vertrouwenspersonen’ or ‘confidant’ for each ministry and public relations assistance where necessary.”
The implementation of the Integrity Chamber of St. Maarten was the result of an agreement between St. Maarten and the Netherlands to establish an independent administrative body which, independently of the St. Maarten government or its entities, advises or presents proposals regarding policy to enhance integrity and ultimately improve confidence in government and in the country overall.