Governor Holiday selects PWC as candidate firm to conduct the Integrity Inquiry

jan 29, 2014

Harbour View – His Excellency, Governor Holiday today, based on an advice from the steering group, has approved the selection of Price Water House Coopers as the candidate accounting firm to conduct the Integrity Inquiry requested by the Kingdom Government. The selection is the result of the invitation on December 20, 2013, by Governor Holiday to four New York based accounting firms to participate in the tender which is to result in the engagement of one of the firms to conduct the integrity inquiry. Based on the selection of PWC after due evaluation and consideration of its proposal of January 17, 2014, the parties will enter into negotiations to reach an agreement for the execution of the inquiry.

The steering group integrity inquiry was installed by the Governor on December 4th, 2013, to amongst others advise the Governor and to oversee and direct the accounting firm during the Inquiry. The steering group is currently holding introductory meetings with various stakeholders in preparation of the inquiry. In addition to its meeting with Governor Holiday regarding the selection of the candidate firm, the steering group will meet with various public and private sector officials including: the chairlady of Parliament, the prime minister and the respective ministers, the chairman and members of the Governments integrity Committee, the members of the council of advice, a representative of the Public Prosecutors Office, a representative of the Social Economic Council, the President of the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten, the director of the Unusual Transactions Reporting Center, labor union representatives,  and  SHTA representatives.

The steering committee integrity inquiry, supported by a professional secretariat, has been convened to ensure an independent, impartial and effective process. The steering committee integrity inquiry is comprised of three members: dr. Marten Oosting as chairman, mr. Jaime Saleh and mr. Miguel Alexander. The secretariat is comprised of two secretaries, mr. Peter Benschop en drs. Sidney Ricardo RA.
The purpose of the inquiry is threefold: to collect data and information for assessment based on integrity requirements in accordance with the rule of law in a democratic society, to report the findings from the assessment and finally to make recommendations that add value to the functioning of the public administration of Sint Maarten.

The scope of the inquiry, in keeping with the provisions of the Kingdom Decree of September 30, 2013, covers the government and includes ministers, the civil servants in the ministries and state owned companies. It focusses on vulnerable sectors such as prostitution, gambling and immigration as well as vulnerable activities such as permits for and the execution of infrastructural works and (other) large tenders. The contracted accounting firm executing the inquiry will handle all documents and information obtained during the inquiry prudently and confidentially, that includes taking all measures necessary to ensure the anonymity of the government officials and employees and all persons involved in the inquiry.

For completeness it should be noted that the inquiry is an integrity investigation and not a penal investigation. The inquiry is as such separate from any penal investigation being carried out by the Office of the Public Prosecutor.

The contracted accounting firm to execute the inquiry, will issue an interim progress report within three months and the final inquiry report of its findings and recommendations within six months of its engagement to the Governor. The process of the integrity inquiry will conclude with the presentation of the final report to the Kingdom Council of Ministers by Governor Holiday.

Further information and developments regarding the inquiry will be made public by the Governor through the Cabinet of the Governor.