Operational shut-down for VDC in Curacao Schotte: VNA-agents burned St. Maarten’s security files

POSTED: 05/7/12 9:46 PM

GREAT BAY – Shortly before St. Maarten obtained country status on October 10, 2010, a delegation of the VNA, the security service of the Netherlands Antilles, travelled to Philipsburg “to burn the complete VNA-file St. Maarten.” Curacao’s Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte claimed this during a marathon meeting of the parliament in Willemstad in the night from Friday to Saturday. Schotte said that the VNA-delegation did not make a report about this action.

The Curacaolenean parliament set a record for lengthy meetings in its young history. The parliament convened on Friday morning at eleven o’clock. President Ivar Asjes closed the meeting 21 hours later, on Saturday morning at eight o’clock.

The main dish on the parliament’s menu was a discussion about Curacao’s embattled national security service VDC. The parliament signed off on Schotte’s proposal for a so-called “operational shut-down” of the service, whereby all staff members are sent home. They have to remain available on call. The parliament also supported a parliamentary inquiry into the functioning of the VDC and its predecessor, the Antillean VNA.

Schotte presented parliament with the results of an investigation into the VDC and with the measures the government has in mind to restore confidence in the service.

The story Schotte told parliamentarians has the hallmarks of a true conspiracy: staff members are accused of destroying politically sensitive information, of making plans to overthrow the government, of leaking confidential information and of frustrating investigations into wrongdoings.

The prime Minister said that the Antillean security service VNA had kept an unidentified former Lt. governor “under surveillance for alleged excessive alcohol consumption” – but against the background of all the other wrongdoings the investigation brought to light this came across as a minor detail.

A committee headed by former Prime Minister Maria Liberia-Peters will supervise a far reaching reorganization of the VDC. The other committee members are former VNA-head Wim Statius Muller and former parliament clerk Carl Grüning. The Dutch intelligence and security service AIVD will assist the VDC in the field of training and procedures.

Schotte said that future employees at the VDC will only be hired after they pass confidentiality and integrity screening.

The opposition PAR said that not the VDC but the screening of ministers in the Schotte-government is the real problem. Coalition parties fired back by describing the PAR as “corrupt.”

The Amigoe reported that members of the national security service LBD went to the house of VDC-head Edsel Gumbs, where they demanded that he hand over all documents he keeps at home. Gumbs reportedly refused, saying that the court had on three occasions ruled that he still heads the VDC and that the government ought to contact his attorney.

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