The Integrity Chamber submitted an advice containing recommendations on the execution of the St. Maarten Stimulus & Relief Plan (SSRP). With the many challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic, it is important that the relief offered by Government is executed in a fair, transparent and efficient manner.
It was determined that the SSRP qualifies as “an extraordinary case of a serious nature” as mentioned in Article 16, paragraph 2 of the National Ordinance Integrity Chamber. Several integrity risks were identified in connection with the measures of the SSRP. As such, the Integrity Chamber deemed it pertinent to offer advice on its execution.
The plan published online via www.ssrp.sx and the content of this website were reviewed. Integrity risks and corresponding recommendations were outlined for each of the five (5) measures listed in the SSRP. Among the risks identified were the possibility of entities fraudulently applying and receiving support that is not needed, businesses that have obtained support not paying their employees, and well-known businesses gaining preference over the lesser-known. Some of the recommendations to mitigate these risks include:
- Establishing clear guidelines and conditions
- Establishing a toll-free hotline for employees who do not receive a salary or who were laid off, while the employer was provided with payroll support
- Publishing a list of those who receive support, online and in the media
- Ensuring that smaller entities have equal opportunity to receive support
The Integrity Chamber is confident that the recommendations will help to prevent the misuse of the program and ensure fair and efficient distribution of the relief support. The implementation of the recommendations will be followed-up on, in accordance with the National Ordinance Integrity Chamber. The advice on recommendations for the execution of the SSRP can be found on the website at www.integritychamber.sx/publications.