“Illegal meeting” heralds new parliamentary year in Curacao

POSTED: 09/12/12 1:52 PM

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – While the opening of the new parliamentary year in Philipsburg passed without a glitch, the situation in Willemstad was definitely different. The new majority in parliament had voted Ivar Asjes out as president of the parliament on Monday evening and appointed Dean Rozier in his place, with Anthony Godett as the Vice-President.
But yesterday it was almost business as usual for Asjes, who chaired a meeting of parliament wherein he closed the 2011-2012 parliamentary year and opened the new parliamentary year. The meeting went ahead even though there was no quorum for it. Only eight MPs attended the meeting – members of the outgoing coalition partners MFK, MAN and PS. Six cabinet members, including Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte and Justice Minister Elmer Wilsoe, were also present. Finance Minister George Jamaloodin and Public Health Minister Jacintha Scoop-Constancia were absent.

Governor Frits Goedgedrag had already announced last week that he would not attend the meeting – most likely to stay away from the political fracas. He mandated outgoing Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte to address the parliament.
Asjes let the meeting go through, the Amigoe reported last night, based on an advice from the parliament’s registrar who in turn had consulted several external and internal legal advisors. The State regulation for Curacao stipulates that the parliamentary year begins on the second Tuesday in September. The standing orders for the parliament state that a meeting can only begin if a majority of members is present. The advice Asjes received places the State regulation above the parliament’s standing orders. Based on this argument Asjes decided to go ahead with the meeting, but without a quorum.

FOL-leader Anthony Godett, just elected as the vice-president of parliament by the new majority had nothing good to say about the meeting. “This meeting is illegal. A majority in parliament has decided that the meeting of this morning should not go through and it still takes place.”
Godett rejected Asjes’ arguments for continuing with the meeting: “The parliamentary year was not closed, so this meeting could not have been opened. In case of a force majeure it is very well possible that a meeting cannot take place. I am happy to see that practically nobody of official instances showed up. This shows that they do not want to be involved with this illegal government.”

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