Opinion: A select fewPOSTED: 07/24/12 12:52 PM
The Cadastre management and its supervisory board have the authority to establish the tariffs citizens have to pay for services. Before the Cadastre introduced the new tariffs it informed the notaries about the changes. While this was a bit of a one-way street – the notaries have no say about these tariffs – it seemed a nice touch. And as far as we have been informed, there was initially not a single notary that objected to the plans.
Now we hear from Democratic Party MP Roy Marlin that the Cadastre (including its supervisory board, we assume) has a moral obligation to consult with the government as well before serving its customers with new prices.
Mind you, these prices are not necessarily higher: only the structure is different, whereby the fees for properties with a higher value are charged more. This system makes the everyday transactions for ordinary citizens more affordable.
Amazingly, Marlin admitted yesterday that he did not even know what the new tariffs are.
Moral obligations are obviously not anchored in any piece of legislation. The Cadastre operates under existing legislation and that gives it the freedom to determine its own tariffs.
Marlin noted that he has been politically responsible for the cadastre for something like ten years, so one could say that the rules under which it operates are something of his own making.
Marlin apparently wants to change that situation. He said yesterday that the authority the Cadastre has over its own tariffs is a loophole in the legislation that needs fixing.
The MP had more to say: he confirmed that he is after the dismissal of Cadastre director Roos, even though the hiring and firing authority rests with the supervisory board and certainly not with individual members of parliament or even with the minister of Vromi, William Marlin.
But maybe MP Marlin considers this a loophole in the legislation as well.
That would smell a bit of a hunger for political influence in places where it does not belong, or, to be exact, where many people would prefer not to see it.
There is no denying that the Cadastre has its challenges, otherwise there would not be press conferences where MPs talk about “numerous complaints.” But where are these complaints coming from? That they did not say. If this is only about someone who happens to be a family member of one of these MPs, who just happened to be a minister when he came up with a housing project in which he just happened to involve his first cousin, the case against the Cadastre becomes weaker with every step along the line.
There is nothing against taking a good hard look at how the Cadastre operates, where there is room for improvement and how the government is able to facilitate those improvements. But when politicians start such a process by demanding the head of the Cadastre-director without even knowing what the tariffs are about which they say they are receiving all these complaints, then there is something else going on. Then the motives are no longer pure and then they no longer serve the interest of “the people” but the interest of a select few.