Van Raak: “Transparency is not an alternative”

POSTED: 04/5/13 12:20 PM

GREAT BAY – Sint Maarten’s initiative to consider a national integrity system assessment by Corruption-watchdog Transparency International won’t save the day, at least not for politicians in The Hague.

The jot always entirely correctly informed Sint Maarten critic Ronald van Raak, a Member of Parliament for the Socialist Party, is especially concerned about the investigation into corruption by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. In the Antilliaans Dagblad, Van Raak was quoted as saying: “I find it all good and well that they involve transparency international. In itself it is good to do such an investigation but what really matters is something else, namely: is the Public Prosecutor’s Office capable and does it also get the opportunity to investigate corrupt politicians? A possible investigation by TI should obviously not lead to a postponement of the criminal investigation. It is not an alternative for it either.”

The initiative by Prime Minister Wescot-Williams to contact TI is according to Van Raak not the decisive reaction the Kingdom Council of Ministers’ demanded last week.

“Ministers and parliamentarians who are subject of a criminal investigation are supposed to step down, but Duncan and Illidge just stay where they are,” Van Raak said. “That does not foster trust, especially when you hear the arguments from St. Maarten that we are jealous and play the racism card. I have no confidence whatsoever that things will turn out alright over there.”

Van Raak is satisfied with Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten’s decision not to take part in the Judicial Four Country consultation that is scheduled to take place in Sint Maarten as long as Duncan stays at his post.

“The Dutch government has to be consistent and choose: you don’t talk to them anymore but then for real and you make sure that the Public Prosecutor’s Office is enabled to do a serious investigation. We cannot go on like this. The parliament is done with St. Maarten.”

The parliamentary committee for Kingdom relations discusses the alleged involvement of Independent MP Patrick Illidge and Justice Minister Roland Duncan in corruption practices on April 16. According to Van Raak, that is going to be lively debate.

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