The Integrity Chamber has conducted a Baseline Integrity Measurement in the form of a QuickScan of the Ministry of Justice. The QuickScan is a preliminary study conducted with the purpose of determining the most significant bottlenecks, challenges, and areas for improvement within the Ministry of Justice. The integrity infrastructure consists of the legal and regulatory framework within the Ministry, including moral codes and principles, and the organisational elements, such as material and human resources, that are necessary to fulfil organisational objectives.
One of the findings identified was the existence of a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework. However, key legislation is missing, such as the function books, regulations concerning data usage, data protection and data sharing, and specific integrity guidelines or rules. Incomplete function books were mentioned as one of the causes of lower salaries for employees. This poses a threat to the integrity of the various executing agencies, as these employees may be more susceptible to bribes and other forms of misconduct. The Ministry of Justice is currently in the process of finalizing a function book that specifically caters to the employees of the Justice Ministry.
Another finding was the impact of organisational instability, caused mainly by frequent changes in government. Since becoming country Sint Maarten, there has been a change in Government approximately ever 14 months. As a result, there is a lack of consistency in the objectives, and an inability to execute long-term plans. This has profound consequences on employees’ performance and behaviour, including demotivation, misdirection and a lack of respect for leadership.
The Integrity Chamber QuickScan ends with brief recommendations to curb the most pressing integrity risks occurring within the Ministry of Justice. Recommendations include, allowing for a governmental remuneration system that takes the circumstances of the executing agencies within the Ministry of Justice into account, and working towards consistent management by establishing a management program that is not dependent on any one Minister, and will not be derailed in case of a change in Government.
The Ministry of Justice is the first administrative body for which the Baseline Integrity Measurement was carried out by the Integrity Chamber. The remaining ministries as well as other administrative bodies will also be evaluated in due course. The QuickScan of the Ministry of Justice can be found on the website at www.integritychamber.sx.