Friendly bickering about integrity does not reveal anything new

POSTED: 01/13/12 11:43 AM

St. Maarten – Friendly bickering between the delegation of Curacao and Freedom Party MP Eric Lucassen was the rather lame highlight in the afternoon-session of the inter-parliamentary Kingdom consultation yesterday at the Great Bay Beach Hotel. The topic was good governance and integrity and the purpose was for the delegations to listen to each other and to find ways to help each other wherever possible.
But the meeting turned into a rather lame display of how well everything is functioning on Curacao.
“The Public Prosecutor’s office and the Ombudsman are there to make sure that undesirable behavior by politicians does not continue for too long.”
On behalf of St. Maarten Roy Marlin said that the island has “a number of institutions to deal with integrity: the Corporate Governance Council, the General Audit Chamber, the Ombudsman, and the Advisory Council;
“We also have an ordinance on the financing of political parties,” he said, adding that “we feel that all these institutions are needed. We spent more than one million guilders per institution to establish them. The future of good governance looks good.”
All of this while the fiercest critics of all these democratic institutions, Leroy de Weever sat right next to him without saying anything.
Wiels also noted that Curacao has established a committee to review the State Regulation and that the new version will bring “stricter controls and stricter rules for politicians.” At the same time he criticized the Netherlands.
Curacao’s Dennis Jackson immediately threw a spanner in the wheels saying that the opposition in Willemstad wants answers about the screening of ministers.
Eric Lucassen said that integrity is a source of concern for the Netherlands. He referred to article 43 of the Kingdom Charter that regulates the Kingdom’s guarantee function.
“Corruption puts an enormous demand on resources and the islands are an example of this. Good governance requires transparency. The Parliaments have the task to prevent corruption; every parliamentarian has a task there.”
Ineke van Gent immediately added that Lucassen’s reference to the islands was not part of the text the delegation had agreed upon.
Lucassen fired back at Wiels by saying that it is ridiculous for Curacao to point fingers at the Netherlands.
“Aruba has presented a good plan to improve things, but there is also an island that throws reports in the bin,” he said with a clear reference to Curacao and the Rosenmöller-report.
“It threatens people who have cooperated with that report and calls them traitors. It is laughable for Curacao to say that its institutions are functioning. I appreciate what is done in Aruba, but Curacao still has a long way to go and I wish the people who want to restore legal security there much success.”
Van Gent added immediately that she did not want to be associated with the Freedom Party position, but Ronald van Raak later added that he gets many letters from people in Curacao “who are afraid to speak up. That is even worse than not-functioning institutions.”
Earlier, Juan Yrasquin said that Aruba will bring legislation to regulate the financing of political parties within the next six to nine months to parliament, and that his country also is working on rules for public tenders and the de-politicizing of appointments and promotions of civil servants.
Evelyn Wever-Kroes added that Aruba is the only country in the Kingdom without an Ombudsman and that her MEP-arty wants to introduce this institution.
For the rest of the time, the meeting deteriorated into slight bickering between Aruban parties that made clear that things in Oranjestad are not all that rosy either.
“Even Dutch tax inspectors have been suspended because they knew too much,” Wever-Kroes said, before Dutch MP Wassila Hachchi made a point of order.
“We are here to make agreements about how we are able to help each other.”
Van Raak said that his Socialist Party will submit initiative-legislation for the establishment of a House for Whistleblowers, “where people who expose social wrongs get protection – also financially.” While this sounds like an interesting idea, we heard in the corridors that such a facility could easily become a meeting point for quarrelmongers.
And the contribution of the St. Maarten-delegation? Eight of the fifteen chairs remained empty due to the absence of Jules James, Hyacinth, Frans and Lloyd Richardson, Johan Leonard, Ruth Douglas, Romain Laville and Patrick Illidge. The only remark we still heard was from Roy Marlin who thanked Eric Lucassen and Ronald van Raak for their positive approach.

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