Jacobs looking into law to penalise document leakers

Jacobs looking into law to  penalise document leakers

PHILIPSBURG--Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs wants persons who leak confidential government documents to face the consequences of their actions and she warned that if laws have to be adjusted to make this possible, then it will have government’s attention.

  “It is highly alarming to me as Prime Minister and to the Council of Ministers that we have created a culture that leaking information is the way to go,” Jacobs said during the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.

  “I actually should have opened my statements with that because there is a level of integrity. We are talking about integrity and we like to point fingers at government, but what is your responsibility as a community in sharing confidential information especially via social media? It is reprehensible to me if, as a reporter, you think it is okay to place official documents [in the public sphere – Ed.] – and not only reporters, I have seen politicians do it. I have seen others do it over the years. I am looking into the legal ramifications as to how that is done,” she said.

  “Internally of course, it is government’s responsibility – all civil servants swear an oath of confidentiality in not sharing internal government information external[ly] and that we will deal with. However, for externals to think it is okay and the community to think it is okay to have internal documents out in the public sphere is not okay.

  “That shows a lack of integrity. That shows a culture that needs changing and I am hoping that all can look at themselves, because when we talk about sharing accidents, and liking and sharing other negative pictures and liking – what is your responsibility with sharing and liking internal confidential documents that you might feel is ‘bussing somebody’s pot’, but not thinking today for you, tomorrow for me. It could be my family members who is a civil servant, whose name is in that document, who should not be out there.”

  For Jacobs, the leaking of documents is no joking matter. “This is a serious situation on St. Maarten and if laws have to be adjusted so that the necessary consequences can be felt by those perpetrators, then that will also have our attention to be done,” she made clear.