Prosecutor and National Detectives unite to combat election corruption

Prosecutor and National Detectives  unite to combat election corruption

PHILIPSBURG--As the 2024 Parliamentary Elections draw near in St. Maarten, the St. Maarten Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM and the National Detectives (Landsrecherche) are intensifying their efforts to combat bribery and the buying and selling of votes.

With a vigilant eye on the period leading up to the elections and the crucial voting day on January 11, both entities are sending a clear message that any indications of corrupt practices will be thoroughly investigated in accordance with the law.

This heightened vigilance is not unprecedented; similar measures have been executed in the lead-up to and on the day of previous elections. The move comes as part of a broader strategy to uphold the integrity of the democratic process on the island.

Articles 2:44 and 2:45 of St. Maarten’s Criminal Code specifically classify vote-buying and -selling as felonies, underscoring the severity with which these offences are treated under the law. The Prosecutor’s Office is urging all voters to exercise their right responsibly and in the best interest of St. Maarten.

Emphasising that the right to vote is a fundamental democratic privilege and a cornerstone of good governance, the Prosecutor’s Office aims to safeguard the sanctity of the democratic process.

Vote-buying and -selling are not merely legal infractions; they pose a significant threat to the very fabric of the community. Corruption, the crime to which these practices often lead, has far-reaching consequences that can hinder the growth and development of the country, affecting not only the current population but also future generations.

Beyond the specific acts of vote-buying and -selling, the authorities are emphasising the importance of overall ethical behaviour during the campaigning period and on election day. OM SXM calls on the St. Maarten population to prioritise respect and decency, recognising their crucial role in maintaining a healthy democracy.

The Prosecutor’s Office, charged with the criminal enforcement of the rule of law, has a multifaceted mission, encompassing the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences and the supervision of the execution of criminal sentences. In this case, its focus is on ensuring the democratic process remains untainted by corruption.

Working in tandem, the National Detectives specialise in investigating criminal activities in the government, with a particular focus on civil servants. This collaboration underscores the commitment to maintaining the highest standards of integrity in the electoral process and beyond.

As St. Maarten approaches a pivotal moment in its democratic journey, the call to action is clear – preserve the sanctity of the vote, uphold democratic principles, and reject any attempts at corruption that threaten the foundation of good governance.

The Daily Herald

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