Opinion: Honor among thieves

POSTED: 12/11/13 7:00 PM

On Friday, Matthijs Huizing gave up his seat in the Dutch parliament, a bit more than three years after he became a parliamentarian for the liberal VVD. The reason: the police caught Huizing while he was drunk – at least he had more alcohol in his blood than the law permits – and he was driving his car at the same time. Bad idea.

Nobody had to drag Huizing in front of a firing squad or threaten to pull out all his fingernails if he did not immediately take a hike. None of that: Huizing took, as far as we know, the decision all by himself.

I support the VVD-policy that the behavior of representatives of the people has to be beyond reproach, Huizing said, and that is why I have decided to leave the parliament.

Huizing ought to come to the Caribbean part of the kingdom to teach our politicians a few lessons about what exactly falls under behavior that qualifies as “beyond reproach,” because our politicians do not seem to grasp that concept.

This I why we have a member of parliament with a conviction for bribery to his name (Louie Laveist); that is why a suspect in the Bada Bing-investigation (Patrick Illidge) is still there; and this is why the Antilliaans Dagblad in Curacao expects that not much will happen to the position of MFK-leader and money laundering and forgery-suspect Gerrit Schotte.

They have humor in Curacao though, because law enforcement chose Monday – the international day against corruption – to raid the house and offices of Gerrit Schotte. Is money laundering and forgery worse than driving a car with a bit too much alcohol in your blood? Not in Willemstad it isn’t, and not in Philipsburg either.

So that is our problem: our politicians do not have a concept of honor. And yes, that includes all politicians without a criminal record too, because they refuse to take a position on these issues. No politician has ever openly and clearly voiced the opinion that members of parliament with a conviction to their name – even if the sentence is conditional, meaning that the man or woman in question does not have to go to jail – has to give up her or his position.

That silence from the side of fellow-MPs is inspired by only one thing: the length of a political career. Speaking out against today’s political opponent could ruin future cooperation – that’s about the long and short of it.

They always say that there is honor among thieves, but among politicians, it is at times hard to detect.

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