Piar wants legislation to protect whistleblowers

POSTED: 08/19/13 11:43 AM

WILLEMSTAD – “Corruption must be tackled harshly. This is why it is necessary to establish legal guarantees that regulate the position of whistleblowers within our communities in the Kingdom,” said Attorney-General Dick Piar on Friday at the installation of the new president of the Common Court of Justice, Evert-Jan van der Poel.

The islands regularly experience the robbery of defenseless citizens, murder and corruption. This has led to a decreasing feeling of safety within the community and to a focus on law enforcement.

To combat corruption requires citizens that are prepared to report abuse. “It is possible that citizens are reluctant to do this, because they do not want to fall into discredit with government entities; therefor they are keeping their mouths shut,” Piar said.

Such a culture of fear is very damaging to the administering of justice, because nobody dares to take on the role of whistleblower. Tracking down criminal facts becomes exponentially more difficult when witnesses do not dare to make statements out of fear for retaliation. The logical consequence of these practices is quite often that these practices are not brought to light and that they will remain uncontested.

According to Piar it cannot be so that by reporting abuse within companies or government entities, whistleblowers become the victims of their reports. “There are plenty of examples to support this. This is why whistleblowers have to be protected,” Piar said.

The attorney general said that the aim ought to be that everyone in a constitutional state is able to freely express his or her opinion without having to fear for retaliation. This requires legislation that offers sufficient guarantees that whistleblowers do not have to fear dismissal, but that he or she is entitled to legal, financial or psychological help.

“The special position whistleblowers find themselves in, ought to be considered in cases that end up in court,” Piar said.

The attorney-general pointed out that countries like the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom already have regulated the position of whistleblowers. The Netherlands is also working on legislation. “We do not have to invent the wheel,” Piar concluded.

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