D66-MP Wassila Hachchi: “Let Council of State investigate conflict about Aruba’s budget”

POSTED: 07/16/14 12:07 PM

THE HAGUE  – The Council of State has to investigate the conflict about Aruba’s budget as soon as possible, D66-parliamentarian Wassila Hachchi said yesterday afternoon also on behalf of the CDA.

According to Hachchi the answers Minister Ronald Plasterk sent to the parliament yesterday leave questions unanswered about the lawfulness of the decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers. The council instructed Governor Fredis Refunjol on Friday to commission an investigation into the country’s 2014 budget.

Hachchi says that the answers provide insufficient explanation about the role of financial supervisor Cft. “A third party has to look at this and the council of state is the perfect candidate for it,” she said.

Plasterk wrote to the parliament that Governor Refunjol is authorized to put the budget “briefly on hold awaiting the investigation he has to do and the reaction to it from the Aruban government” when there are doubts about the content of the budget.

Aruba maintains that the intervention by the Kingdom Council of Ministers is unjustified, because Aruba is responsible for its financial policy as an autonomous country in the kingdom. The Dutch government however is of the opinion that the governor, as the responsible representative of the kingdom, is obliged to intervene if he suspects that a budget violates the law or prevailing laws and regulations.

Minister Plasterk, who submitted the answers also on behalf of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, refers consistently to the Regulation of the governor of Aruba, but that document does not contain a paragraph about the possibility to briefly put the budget on hold, as the answers suggest.

Plasterk has no doubts about the lawfulness of the actions by the Kingdom Council of Ministers. He writes: “The decisions of the Kingdom Council of Ministers come about meticulously and lawfully. Putting the decision about the budget on hold and the investigation serve to be able to assess whether there is a violation of an interest that is a matter for the kingdom.”

In the meantime constitutional expert Arjen van Rijn has opined that the intervention is not justified. “You can only intervene if the budget contains a structural unacceptable situation that leads to acute danger,” he told Caribisch Netwerk. “That is not the case. On the contrary.”

Van Rijn advised the Aruban government at the beginning of July about the intervention by the Netherlands, whereby he answered questions about the governor’s authority. He concluded that the governor does not have an independent authority to refuse a budget that has been approved by the parliament.

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