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Empowering leadership: Ministers complete Corporate Governance training.

comtraining11122023PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):---  The Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs, Silveria Jacobs; the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, Egbert Doran; the Minister of Justice, Anna Richardson; and the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, drs. Rodolphe Samuel each received their certificate for successfully attending and participating in the high-intensity in-house training on Friday, December 8, 2023.

The program was tailored for the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten by Prof. dr. Frank Kunneman and Dr. Aubrich Bakhuis, both from the Themis Institute of Governance and Leadership, with the guidance of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers.

The Minister of Finance, Ardwell Irion, briefly attended the training, as he already received his certificate on Corporate Governance as a participant of the trainee program for Young Professionals which was concluded in August 2023.

The training consisted of three comprehensive sessions, which were held on October 23, October 25, and December 8, 2023.

Among the key modules covered were Essentials of Corporate Governance; Tasks, roles, and responsibilities of the Council of Ministers as shareholder's or stakeholder's representative; Relationship with Parliament and the (managing and supervisory) boards of government-owned companies; Articles of Incorporation and bylaws in general and in specific a comparison of the articles of incorporation of government-owned companies.

The high-intensity training concluded with a Kahoot quiz to assess the knowledge the Ministers gained throughout the three sessions.

Among the attending Ministers, there was consensus that these types of training should be a standard component of the onboarding and ongoing (political) leadership program for Ministers.

Additionally, it was emphasized that the public should be made aware given the numerous misconceptions surrounding the role of the Shareholder representative (the Council of Ministers) in relation to government-owned companies.

The term “government-owned companies” can be misleading since the Government does not own the company. It is the Country Sint Maarten who holds the shares of a corporation.

That is why the term “government-related company” is more suitable for corporations, foundations and other legal persons related to the government.

Such companies are managed and represented by the managing board, which acts under the supervision of the supervisory board.

For companies in which the Country Sint Maarten owns shares in the share capital, the Council of Ministers, in its capacity as the Shareholder representative, only exercises the rights of a shareholder, as defined in private law, specifically the Civil Code Book 2, the applicable Articles of Incorporation, and the board regulations of the respective company.

Despite the limited span of control, Ministers are held politically responsible by Parliament based on public law, namely the Constitution of Sint Maarten and institutional laws.

While the principles of the trias politica and the checks and balances in a democracy empower Parliament to hold Ministers accountable, it is essential to note that Ministers do not have the authority and control as commonly perceived.

For example, the Council of Ministers cannot issue instructions to government-related companies; the right to appoint members of the Supervisory Board of Directors and the Managing Board does not constitute nor is it equivalent to the right to give instructions.

The Council of Ministers is committed to raising public awareness through future articles and video tutorials with the aim of enhancing understanding regarding the roles and responsibilities of the key entities in Corporate Governance and explaining the principles of Good Governance.

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