Today’s Opinion: Wasteful behavior

POSTED: 03/8/11 12:33 PM

We spent some words on the wasteful behavior of our government last week but we are well aware that this attitude is well-spread around the world. Our so-called mother country has its own ways of making huge amounts of money disappear into a big black hole.
Less than 9 percent of the example we want to discuss here is enough to solve St. Maarten’s budget problems. With the rest Justice Minister Duncan could build a prison of a quality never seen before in the Caribbean. All this won’t happen, because the Dutch government wasted €200 million ($280 million) on the introduction of a fee per kilometer for motorists – and that introduction will never take place.
The Ministry for Traffic and Public works wasted more than $140 million on studies, analyses, reports and planning. The rest of the money was used for – watch this – “to make the mind of motorists ready for the project.”
Isn’t it wonderful? The responsible minister, Camiel Eurlings, has left politics in the meantime, so there is no way he is going to be held responsible for this financial fiasco. Even better: for his wasteful behavior, Eurlings has been rewarded with a seat on the board of directors of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. He’ll start in his new job on April 1.
NRC Handelsblad reporters Jeroen Wester and Oscar Vermeer discovered that the ministry hired a hundred people for the project. Next to that, fifty civil servants were working full-time on the kilometer-fee.
Now the organization has been dismantled, and the external experts took all their files with them. The Rutte-government killed the project and is now experimenting with studies about avoiding the rush hour.
That is the problem with any government: there is too much money lying about and there are too many civil servants that have to fill their days. Eurlings’ folly has cost the tax payer $280 million. The frightening thing is that this is just one example of how the state handles money it has been entrusted with by the taxpayers and how the politicians that wasted it get rewarded with cozy and most likely overpaid jobs.

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