Justice minister opposes Cft-expansion to Aruba

POSTED: 12/9/14 11:32 AM

St. Maarten – Justice Minister Dennis Richardson has expressed his surprise about the fact that the Dutch government is attempting without consultation with the other countries in the Kingdom to expand the activities of the Board financial supervision (Cft) to Aruba.

“The government nor the representative of St. Maarten in the Cft-board has been informed about this,” Richardson told the correspondent of the Antilliaans Dagblad in The Hague. “I have made inquiries about this, but it has not been discussed with our representative and also not with the representative of Curacao.”

The Cft was in St. Maarten last week and on that occasion, Richardson addressed the issue with Cft-chairman Age Bakker. “I have made clear that the government of St. Maarten will not cooperate in any way with the imposition of Cft-supervision on Aruba.”

The Kingdom Council of Ministers was scheduled to issue a new instruction to Aruba last Friday. For undisclosed reasons, this did not happen.

The idea to have the Cft act as Aruba’s financial supervisor stems from Bakker. He proposed in a letter to Governor Fredis Refunjol on December 2 to place the country’s budget policy under the supervision of his organization.

Asked about the Cft’s plans to include Aruba in its activities, Bakker declined to comment last Thursday at the end of a press conference at the Cft-office in Philipsburg.

Minister Richardson only sees a role for the Cft in Aruba if the Eman cabinet asks for it. “If our sister island makes the request out of its own free will, we will of course cooperate,” he told the AD. “But we won’t cooperate if the Netherlands imposes it.”

Richardson told the newspaper that he is not surprised about the way the Netherlands goes about this business. “We have seen recently more often that the Netherlands ignored constitutional rules.”

That was a thinly veiled reference to the decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers to subject candidate-ministers for the new cabinet in St. Maarten to additional screening by the Dutch secret service AIVD.

“We are not against screening,” the minister said. We have strict rules already. But because of the way the Netherlands is imposing this, we are not able to cooperate with such an additional screening. Therefore we do not give Dutch civil servants access to information related to individuals. Until now we have not noticed anything about activities in this field.”

Richardson criticism on the expansion of Cft-activities to Aruba is based on the notion that the Cft came into being based on the Kingdom law financial supervision. Under that law, the Netherlands, Curacao and St. Maarten are equal partners.

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