Letter: An insufficient grade

POSTED: 09/13/12 1:14 PM

As a former island council member and commissioner I was rather impressed with the smooth proceedings displayed in the opening of our new parliamentary year. During my time I saw a few of these in Curacao and other constituencies.

Above and beyond I must especially commend our new speaker of the House (parliament’s chair) Drs Rodolphe Samuel, who chaired the meeting well for the first time.

What moved me to write this article is the level of comfort I detected and saw yesterday in our parliamentarians. During a radio program I expressed this concern, but after what I saw yesterday I must bring this issue to the attention of all the members.

In general when I listen to parliamentarians who support the government or those who are in the opposition I don’t see or hear a difference. During my tenure as a councilmember we got 1,000 guilders compensation, while today these members of parliament go home with a good salary.

The question is, are all MPs really performing for this salary? Or is it so that some folks are happy because they will qualify for a nice pension after their term in office?

Personally I believe politicians should be paid well, in order for them to try and stay away from corruption. If and when they are caught they should be severely punished. Having said that I also believe that a certain level of performance is required.

As a former teacher if I were asked to grade our parliamentarians, most of them would be graded with an insufficient mark. Why?

To begin with I can’t detect the members who are supporting the government from those who are in the opposition. Everybody is so comfortable and at ease. I don’t detect the fire in the belly. No one seems to want to make others uncomfortable or upset.

I have seen and conducted opposition politics. Over the last period this is virtually absent from this August Body. While plenty personal stuff…….

You practically never hear from some of the MPs. Others when they do speak, you question the preparation that went into their presentation.

In the meantime the majority of the public is suffering from unemployment, gross abuse in the workplace, lack of business opportunities, and many other issues which can be avoided or curbed through legislation.

We need parliamentary inquiries, for instance into the SMMC-saga, the Pelican-debacle, the 6-month contracts, the slow economy, gross female abuse, and the low level of service from some governmental departments to the public and many other burning issues.

It is even simpler now than in the time of the Island Council. MPs can call individuals or institutions to parliament and question them in a public forum about their activities or on how taxpayer dollars are being spent.

There are standing committees in parliament that have not met once since their appointment. Remember the phrase, a government cannot be better than its opposition. So if the opposition is weak, government as a result cannot be much better.

In conclusion, parliamentarians you know who you are, you can do better. So do better.

Stop the shoulder patting, and the buddy-buddy behavior. People are suffering from serious problems. And yes, not everyone is going to like you for your outspoken approach, but at least when it is over you can say I tried, and in less than 2 year it will be over. I must commend the handful who on occasion stand up for the voters. It is admirable and I would like you to become even more aggressive and outspoken.

There are too many issues to be silent and obedient. I surely hope that next year this time I can report a significant change in the overall performance of our young parliament.

Finally, the Governor’s presentation while filled with lots of honorable objectives needed more details in my opinion in order for the citizen to critique government’s performance at the end of the running year or at election time. When objectives are vague it is difficult to demand exact performance. While government already had its first hundred days, I am awaiting the opposition to tell us how they thought government is performing.

All in all, parliament gets an onvoldoende (an insufficient grade), for the past year’s performance.

You can do better, you have the time, the space and you are being well paid. Perform.

Julian Rollocks,



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