Editorial: Cash the check

POSTED: 06/30/11 12:31 PM

Merriam Webster defines a check as a written order directing a bank to pay money as instructed. Today we consider two checks that need cashing. One is a literal piece of paper, the other a promissory note laid down in a law.

The literal piece of paper is the check for 400, 000 guilders that the government gave to the Corporate Governance Council as an advance. The Council understandably cannot cash the check because it is not a registered legal entity that can open a bank account. What is interesting is that a means around that blockade has been suggested – create a foundation – but the council remains firm that its advice of creating a chapter in the Budget is the way to go. That to us reflects a council that is now contributing to harming itself.

The fact is that by establishing a foundation the council can maintain its independence in all forms including financial administration. Being part of the government’s budget makes it beholden to the inner workings of the Finance Ministry and back in government bureaucracy. That does not sound like a good option. It is therefore time in our belief for the setup of the Foundation Corporate Governance Council so that the body can cash its check and do its work. To draw a parallel, the Foundation Government Accountants Bureau (SOAB) – an independent institution – does the Corporate Governance for Curacao.

The promissory note that must be cashed is the provisions that relate to the government. There are particular legal commitments that the government has not met and the council justifiably calls on them to meet those commitments. We agree with that call, and yes even if the law is flawed, we call for present rules to be respected and followed to the letter.

There is no doubt separation and the council’s mandate is clear – provide advice – and the government’s mandate is also clear – make decisions that it can justify, motivate and follow the letter of the law. That is what both bodies owe the people of this country.

 

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