Opinion: Bomb

POSTED: 05/7/12 1:11 PM

Do we now have a so-called caretaker government? We read this somewhere and we had some trouble swallowing the concept. After all, the only thing that happened so far is that some politicians have written some letters – one to the Prime Minister, one to the Governor – and after that we experienced the usual earsplitting silence that is the trademark of local politicians as soon as something important happens.

We’re not going to claim that we exhausted ourselves by making phone calls to said politicians – because we didn’t – but the one we did call several times never picked up the phone. That would be Justice Minister Roland Duncan.

We would have liked to ask him whether there is some truth in the rumor that he will remain at his post when the government changes. It’s a fair question, because the press release National Alliance leader William Marlin issued earlier this week states that Patrick Illidge will become the new Justice Minister.

Come to think of it, this last statement is not entirely accurate. The press release states how the responsibilities between the coalition partners have been divided.

Literally the text was: “On Tuesday evening the new coalition partners met once again to discuss the division  of political responsibilities and signed on to the following: (…)”

What follows is the mentioning of ministers per party. After mentioning the spoils for the National Alliance and the Democratic Party, we read this line: “Independent Member Patrick Illidge: Minister of Justice.”

Does it say that Illidge obtained the right to appoint the Justice Minister? Does it say that Illidge will become the Justice Minister?

Nope, it does not say anything. That’s confusing, and we figure that that is a situation politicians, unlike their voters, are comfortable with.

While we know for sure from the press release that the current government no longer has a majority in parliament, we’re still not sure whether this is a caretaker government or whether it is simply a full-blown cabinet that still has every authority it needs to take decisions. From a press release issued by Finance Minister Shigemoto we get the impression that the latter is the case.

While William Marlin asked the governor in his letter to make sure the “present caretaker government” does not take any decisions of major financial consequences, Shigemoto happily announced that the government is ready to pay 17 million guilders in cost of living adjustment to civil servants by June 30.

Shigemoto notes that the payment is subject to approval by the financial supervisor Cft. But he seemingly has already placed a bomb under the new government with this announcement, because by the time the deadline for payment is there, Shigemoto won’t be in office anymore and his successor (most likely Roland Tuitt) will be left to explain why it is not possible to make these payments.

All this makes clear that it would have been better to send the government home through a motion of no confidence – even though that process would have taken longer than the current approach because of predictable delaying tactics by the current government.

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