Opinion: Dangerous territory

POSTED: 05/15/12 11:41 AM

The Bientu-investigation in Curacao has reached new and dangerous territory with Justice Minister Wilsoe’s announcement that he will order Attorney General Dick Piar to put a stop to it.

Wilsoe shows with this move that he is not impressed by the Kingdom Council of Ministers’ warning that he should not interfere in criminal investigations.

Instead, Wilsoe has gone in the opposite direction by claiming that the investigation is illegal and that the prosecutor’s office ought to be prosecuted. In a memorandum to the president of parliament, a fellow-member of Helmin Wiels’ Pueblo Soberano, Wilsoe even states that he has lost all confidence in Piar. The latter will most likely have lost his confidence in his justice minister as well.

The mess in Curacao is growing by the day. The Antilliaans Dagblad revealed that Finance Minister George Jamaloodin has been officially declared a suspect in the Bientu-investigation. Jamaloodin just happens to be a half brother of the main suspect in the investigation, lottery-boss Robbie dos Santos. Plots don’t get thicker than that, though in Curacao one never knows.

The government will have to deal with this situation one way or the other. The Netherlands will scream blue murder in The Hague, but that has never impressed the Schotte-government and it won’t make any impression this time either. It is well known that The Hague abhors the thought of invoking article 43 of the Kingdom Charter. In the practical sense that would mean sending the marines to Willemstad to restore order – and there is no one in the Netherlands who even wants to think about that course of action.

The Schotte-government knows this as well, so the toothless Kingdom Council of Ministers does not worry Justice Minister Wilsoe at all. His main headache seems to be Attorney General Dick Piar.

The current controversy is not one of the first members of the Schotte-government to have with one of their institutions. The Central Bank row is still far from resolved and now Wilsoe is targeting the public prosecutor’s office and the attorney general in one go.

Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak was on the mark when he said yesterday that there is either something wrong with all the institutions in Curacao or there is something wrong with the government.

Wilsoe’s power play will end badly for the community in Curacao. The obvious protection the justice minister is offering to Robbie dos Santos and now also to his half brother George Jamaloodin won’t sit well with a large part of the population. It also sends a peculiar message to would-be criminals.

Let’s not forget, in the midst of all this brouhaha that Bientu is an investigation. Nobody has been found guilty yet, and nobody has been taken to court. That is where the guilty or innocent verdicts are pronounced.

That Minister Wilsoe now wants to shut down the investigation is obviously an insult to the democratic principles of the young country Curacao. It seems to be slowly sinking to the level of Suriname, where a criminal hack like Desi Bouterse is manipulating the law to protect himself from prosecution.

The call by Van Raak “to severe the ties with the government in Curacao” does not make a lot of sense though. Curacao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so the Dutch government has a relationship with Willemstad, whether it likes this or not. The only way to arrive at Van Raak’s so-called sanction would be when the Netherlands leaves its own Kingdom.

And yeah, that’s not going to happen either, so Van Raak may as well get used to the idea that he’s stuck with Wilsoe’s tantrums for the foreseeable future.

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