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BES officials may still be awarded public contracts

Under special circumstances it will be possible for local authorities in the Caribbean Netherlands to sometimes award contracts for the delivery of goods or services to civil servants in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

To make this possible, Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops will adjust the regulations in the Civil Service Decree BES, he stated in a letter to the Dutch Parliament’s Second Chamber on Monday.

In 2018, there was some commotion after it emerged that the Government Commissioner in St. Eustatius had outsourced the renovation of the Statia Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) to a member of Statia’s civil service who is also the owner of a construction company. This not only seemed to constitute a conflict of interest but was also contrary to the BES Civil Service Decree.

In response to the incident, Knops asked the island governments of Bonaire, Statia and Saba to make an inventory of all civil servants with additional activities outside of the civil service, and to identify what activities were involved.

He also asked the public entities and the director of the National Department Caribbean Netherlands RCN about their experiences with civil servants with side activities.

“Based on the responses received, it appears that having ancillary activities of civil servants in the Caribbean Netherlands must be seen against the local background and the small scale of the islands. In addition to the fact that by no means all additional activities have any influence on the principal employment as a civil servant, it has been found in practice that in exceptional cases the commissioning of a civil servant’s company is inevitable,” Knops wrote in his letter to the Second Chamber.

The current regulations as stipulated in Article 51 of the Decree on the Civil Service do not permit this. “That is why an additional provision is currently being prepared, under which it will be possible, under certain conditions, to derogate from the prohibition,” Knops wrote.

The Daily Herald.

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