Today’s Opinion: Integrity

POSTED: 06/7/11 2:20 PM

The row over the Central Bank and the integrity of the government in Curacao will remain a hot topic for some time to come. Already now, we see a not so subtle difference in approach between Kingdom Relations Minister Piet Hein Donner and Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte.
Donner is on the ball with a remark he made last week that the integrity of the Central Bank and the government in Curacao are under fire.
Schotte issued a press release saying that an independent committee will investigate what is going on at the Central Bank.
Already it is clear that Schotte will simply ignore the fact that he, together with Finance Minister Jamaloodin and Economic Affairs Minister El Hakim has been accused of malversation. Those accusations don’t come from just anybody; they come from dr. Emsley Tromp, the president of the Central Bank.
From the difference in approach between Donner and Schotte we learn that Curacao’s Prime Minister is not prepared to fight the mess his country is in out in the open. He prefers to focus the attention on anything but himself and his government.
That’s not good of course. Schotte will have to face the music sooner or later, be it at the hands of the office of the public prosecutor, or in the Parliament of Curacao.
When accusations are flying far and wide, and seem to come from all sides, it usually does not take long before everybody has forgotten what the row was about in the first place. By covering up the potential wrongdoings by members of his cabinet, including himself, Schotte does not contribute to a fast and clean solution.
From a political point of view, he has of course nowhere else to go. Attacking is the best defense, as everybody knows, and this rule does not just apply to soccer games. It works in politics as well.
Schotte understands this, and he remains in the public eye, while Central Bank president Tromp seems to be opting for a more stylish approach by keeping his mouth shut.
Donner in the meantime, noted last week (and pay attention to the sequence) that “the integrity and the standing of the government and of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten have been discredited in a public debate.”
First the government, and then the Central Bank. But in Schotte’s world this is all about the Central Bank and not about his government.
The independent investigation Donner announced will take place at the request of Curacao. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves here, but we suspect that Curacao as the initiator of the investigation will also get a say in its scope. That could very well mean that it will mostly focus on the Central Bank and that the allegations against Schotte, el Hakim and Jamaloodin will end up as footnotes in the committee’s report.
That would be a mistake. If this investigation is going to take place at all, Schotte’s government ought to take a hands-off approach and let investigators investigate everything that deserves their attention – from the Central Bank and Emsley Tromp to the government of Curacao and the members of its cabinet that have been accused of malversation. Only then will the truth surface and only then will both Curacao and the Central Bank be able to lick their wounds and regroup for the future.

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