Tuesday , March 28 2023

Plasterk dodged Stolte’s dismissal

Also the Daily Herald writes about the position of Stolte that the Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk didn’t heed the advice of former Dordrecht Mayor Ronald Bandell to replace National Government Representative for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba Wilbert Stolte. The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported this in its Saturday edition. According to the newspaper, Stolte also tried to influence the criminal investigation against several members of Bonaire’s governing UPB party.

The reports are sufficient reason for Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) and Sietse Fritsma of the Party for Freedom PVV to demand Stolte’s resignation. Van Raak told The Daily Herald on Monday that he will give Plasterk some time to replace the National Government Representative and if he doesn’t do so, the Member of Parliament (MP) will call the Minister to Parliament to give account.

Fritsma, who already sought clarity on Stolte’s past role as treasurer of the Development Fund Netherlands Antilles SONA last week, was even more direct. “After the financial chaos at SONA, we already said that he is unsuitable for the job. The new information from NRC Handelsblad confirms this,” he said. According to Fritsma, Minister Plasterk has to get to the bottom of the allegation and media reports. “If it is true, Stolte has to be brought down, punished and immediately fired,” he said.
MP André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party also supported a further investigation into the situation, but he didn’t demand Stolte’s resignation. Instead, Bosman preferred to give former Curaçao and Netherlands Antilles Governor Frits Goedgedrag more time to intervene in the crisis of the Bonaire government and find solutions. “We will await his intervention,” said Bosman, who noted that he found the situation “worrisome.” “The picture that is being painted is very bad.”

NRC Handelsblad stated that in January this year, Bandell, who is also Chairman of the Progress Committee Plans of Approach St. Maarten, advised Plasterk to replace Stolte. Plasterk had asked Bandell to look into the troubled relations in Bonaire’s government, stated the newspaper that based itself on reliable sources. Stolte reportedly has very little support on Bonaire. In the political arena, only the UPB supports him. Stolte is said to be at odds with many in Bonaire’s Island Council, Island Governor Lydia Emerencia, Dutch civil servants working on the island and the local Prosecutor’s Office. Stolte, a member of UPB’s sister party, the Christian Democratic Party CDA, is being accused of having close ties with UPB politicians Ramoncito Booi and Burney Elhage, and is suspected of having committed corruption, forgery and money laundering.

The trial against Booi and Elhage will start on November 25. According to the newspaper, Stolte tried to intervene in the criminal investigation against several UPB politicians. He reportedly asked Attorney General Dick Piar to drop the criminal investigation against Elhage to “safeguard the continuity of government.” The National Government Representative also demanded that Island Governor Emerencia hand over confidential documents in a criminal case against UPB Commissioner James Kroon involving the unlawful issuing of a taxi permit. Emerencia and Piar reported these incidents to Minister Plasterk and his colleague Safety and Justice Ivo Opstelten.

Plasterk informed the Second Chamber last week that he had “summoned” Stolte to The Hague for “further consultation” on the developments in Bonaire’s government. No information was released on that meeting, which took place late last week, but it is expected that Plasterk will inform the Second Chamber on the outcome within short.

MP Van Raak said he wants to know “why Plasterk didn’t do anything” with Bandell’s advice or the reports of Stolte’s problematic functioning and the latter’s apparent meddling in criminal investigations. “If it is true that Stolte meddled in these investigations, he will have to go at once. I assume that Stolte will be dismissed. If that doesn’t happen within short, we will call the Minister to Parliament. It is the Minister’s call to act. He gets the chance to correct this mistake,” said Van Raak.

Bosman said that transparency was important in this case. “There must be clarity about the role of the National Government Representative. Was he objective, did he do his job well? Otherwise, we have a real problem on our hands. A solution must come, either on Bonaire or on Kingdom level, because continuing with is mess is not an option.” Bosman said the situation on Bonaire has had him worried for a while. “More integrity is needed. Bonaire deserves a government that works for its people.”

Van Raak said that the next National Government Representative should not be a political appointment as was the case with Stolte, but a person that is truly beneficial for the people of Bonaire. [red: and Saba plus St Eustatius] stolte weer

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