Editorial: Stunning facts of Gerard Bouman visit

POSTED: 08/14/15 9:59 AM

Justice Minister Dennis Richardson presented what happened in July during his meeting with Gerard Bouman, the chief of the national police in the Netherlands as a matter of fact. But those facts were stunning.

Before the summer, Richardson signed a protocol with Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk. That protocol was in part about the establishment of the Integrity Chamber and for a large part about the strengthening of the judicial chain.

Last month, Bouman visited St. Maarten – as things stand now for the first and the last time, because Minister Richardson does not want to see him anymore.

The meeting with our minister should have been about how to work out these plans from the protocol, but Bouman rather rudely told our minister that he did not need him, that he did not need any local input and that he was going to do this all by himself.

“We have so much information about St. Maarten that it does not justify working together with you all,” Bouman told Richardson.

That is another way of saying that the current government is completely corrupt and cannot be trusted. Our police force: corrupt. National Detective Agency: corrupt. That is St. Maarten according to Bouman, who also seems to know that the casinos are in the hands of a “notorious Mafioso” while, remarkably enough, his precious RST has never arrested this character. We start wondering if he gets his information from Ronald van Raak and André Bosman.

No wonder that Minister Richardson kicked him out of his office.

The brazen Dutchman is now in a pickle of his own making. Minister Richardson said yesterday that he will not receive him again, and we wonder whether the Minister is prepared to go one step further and forbid the man from ever entering the country again. That would make for an interesting confrontation, for sure.

The sad thing is of course that all this controversy, caused by a belligerent Dutch top official, does not do anybody any good. The objective of the protocol was to strengthen the judicial system and to give the country a better grip on organized and undermining crime, aka corruption.

One cannot say with dry eyes that our current cabinet is a bunch of bent politicians that masters the art of corruption better than Jos van Rey. On the contrary, we have a minister of justice who has acknowledged on more than one occasion that there are wrongs that require correction.

We have a prime minister who is constantly fighting with his own civil service. Yesterday two examples came up after the press briefing. Prime Minister Gumbs grabbed a document from Minister Richardson that showed how an order for bulletproof vests for the police had been approved on April 8. The document “got stuck in the machinery” PM Gumbs said and nothing happened with the order. This is an example of in-house manipulation of decisions that stinks to high heaven. No wonder the prime minister went all out.

Another example is about a department that asked to buy certain telephones from a store on Front Street. Gumbs refused to sign the order, saying that the government owns a telecom company that sells phones. The department bought the phones all the same. Gumbs had to go to the department personally and order the civil servants to return the phones to the store.

Who needs enemies with a civil service mentality like this? We wish that the Council of Ministers begins a name and shame campaign and hangs all these rebellious civil servants out to dry.

Furthermore, we’d think that the LMA – the rulebook for civil servants –has measures in store for civil servants who break the rules.

So here is our proposal. Let’s treat all citizens the same. When a citizen gets sentenced in the Court in First Instance, his name will appear in the media. Why not do the same with civil servants who break the rules? It may just be the little push they need for a change in behavior and mindset.

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