PHILIPSBURG--The staffing of the Ministry of Justice with qualified civil servants is still very meagre, the St. Maarten Progress Committee concluded in its latest report. Minister of Justice Anna Richardson is advised to appoint a full-time secretary general and to do what is necessary to improve the ministry’s functioning.
The 43rd progress report on the implementation of the Action Plans of St. Maarten for the fourth quarter of 2021 starts with comments on the staffing of the Ministry of Justice. “That starts with the minister,” the committee writes. “This minister shows the ambition and decisiveness that can be expected of a director and that, in the committee’s opinion, deserves support. This support must come primarily from its officials and on a temporary basis from the Netherlands, as is the case with the programme manager.”
In its reports, the committee has repeatedly stated that strengthening the Ministry of Justice is a precondition for improving the justice system and urges the minister of justice to draw up an action plan.
The committee noted that the number of qualified officials is limited. Current Acting Secretary General Ligia Stella has only fulfilled her function part time. No suitable candidate for the position has yet been recruited.
A well-functioning ministry is essential for the proper functioning of the executive services, in particular for the police and prison, the committee emphasised. According to the authors of the report, strengthening the ministry will lead to investments in the detention system being more effective and sustainable.
The committee also pleads with Minister Richardson and State Secretary of Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen to investigate the possibilities of technical support for difficult-to-fill positions in the yet-to-be-drawn-up plan of action for the Ministry of Justice.