Former minister Duncan bashes PM Rutte: “I cannot listen to Dutch drivel”

POSTED: 07/31/13 12:42 PM

St. Maarten – “The Dutch government is hell-bent on making St. Maarten look bad,” former Justice Minister Roland Duncan said in a statement to a reporter of the website sxmislandtime.com yesterday. In a rant that lasted four-and-a-half minute Duncan, who returned to practicing law after he stepped down in June, heavily criticized statements Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made during his recent visit to the country. Especially Rutte’s request to Governor Holiday about an integrity-probe did not sit well with the former minister.

“Their purposes are quite dubious, because we are not more corrupt than anybody else. They have all kinds of questions in my particular case about Roland Duncan, but you have never heard a concrete complaint or accusation. No formal complaint, nothing.”

Duncan said it is sad that the Netherlands uses “all kinds of perceptions, innuendos and melee “to pressurize a smaller government into doing God knows what.”

Duncan said that Prime Minister Wescot-William’s observation that Rutte cannot give instructions to governor Holiday on his own account is correct. “He cannot give instructions about any investigation. Minister Plasterk cannot do that either. But they give the impression that they could do this, but such decisions have to come from the Kingdom Council of Ministers and they have to be based on the law.”

“What grounds are there to justify such an investigation?” he asked rhetorically with a reference to Rutte’s request for an integrity-probe. “They have none. All they have is melee and innuendos. That is insufficient. However, I would welcome such an investigation. I have already confirmed this in writing to the governor. Come and let’s see what they are going to find.”

The former minister also seemed peeved about criticism directed at the justice ministry under his reign. “A month ago it was like the Justice Ministry was unable to function. Mr. Mos (the Chief Prosecutor – ed.) said upon his departure how great the development was and that the budget of the prosecutor’s office was not affected by the 2013 budget cuts. Remember that Duncan was supposed to be hampering the work of the prosecutor’s office? Mos confirmed the opposite.”

Duncan furthermore referred to how “the poor National Detective Agency” was unable to do its job. “Bandell (chairman of the Progress committee – ed.) is saying what an enormous progress we have made. At the end of the day, there is very little to complain about by the Dutch.”

Duncan also made remarks about his personal situation in the previous government. “In my case, and that may have been my downfall, I will not sit and listen to anybody – the Prime Minister or whoever – talk such nonsense. It sounds good, it sounds tough, like the independence call, but he did not leave his number.”

According to Duncan, the Dutch sabotaged part of the integrity program. “St. Maarten has been working on its integrity program. Holland has in fact torpedoed one of my integrity courses at immigration. They are trying to make St. Maarten stumble in its development. You tell me how Holland has been assisting us.”

Another sore point is Rutte’s remark about debt relief: that book is closed. Duncan: “Rutte is sending a big message: I am not sending any more money to the Caribbean. You know how much he sent to Africa lately? I am not saying he should not send money to Africa or anywhere else, but Dutch development aid is based on money. It’s just like he is doing us a favor. The Dutch have always profited from the development aid it has given. They send their own people to administer it and they send their own companies to do the work. So who is making a profit?”

Instead, Duncan noted, “Rutte says, I am not going to send money, but let’s go and trade. We have been trading among these islands for more than 300 years. Can we learn something from the Dutch who were not trading here?”

At the end of his monologue, Duncan had a bitter message for the Netherlands. “My downfall is that I cannot listen to Dutch drivel even when it is spouted by the Prime Minister. It makes me ashamed, because he is the face of the kingdom and he does not even realize the lack of quality of the statements he is making. It is sad, it is really sad.”

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