The Daily Herald reports today on the motion in which Members of Parliament (MPs) of St. Maarten unanimously
adopted on Wednesday a motion rejecting the instruction handed down by the Kingdom Council of Ministers to Governor Eugene Holiday for the execution of a boundless and limitless investigation into the backgrounds of candidate ministers, their families, friends, business associates and others.
In a reaction the Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party made clear on Wednesday that he will not stop talking about integrity issues in St. Maarten.
He called the letter of the lawyer of Member of the St. Maarten Parliament Cornelius de Weever “peculiar and astounding.” “The letter instructs me to keep my mouth shut in the future. The fact that they want me to shut up is maybe an indication that I am on the right track,” said Bosman, who pointed out that, as a Member of the Second
Chamber he was not accountable to the St. Maarten Parliament.
De Weever has accused Bosman of defamation by stating in a debate of the Second Chamber on October 1, that the St. Maarten Member of Parliament in question was “simply bought” by United People’s (UP) party Leader Theo Heyliger. Bosman was urged to refrain from making such remarks in the future.
Bosman said that he would be consulting his party, the VVD, on the letter before he officially responds to De Weever’s letter. The Second Chamber is on autumn recess this week.
Bosman also referred to the statement of National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel, who said on Monday that he was offered US $2 million to continue as an independent Member of Parliament. “He stated it clearly. People can be very angry when we say something in the Netherlands; it apparently is true,” he said.
Member of the Second Chamber Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) responded to Emmanuel’s statement as well. In an article on the website thepostonline.nl, which was posted on Tuesday, Van Raak referred to Emmanuel’s statement as “brave” especially because he knows that politicians who speak out are “intimidated.” Van Raak said that Emmanuel might have felt supported by the actions of Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk and the Kingdom Council of Ministers in the combat against corruption. “I hope that more politicians will express themselves so more evidence will surface. That is also in the interest of the investigation,” he said.
Bosman, who watched Wednesday’s debate of the St. Maarten Parliament, said he found it “a pity” that the issue of integrity was mostly fended off. “The problem lies with the islands, not the Netherlands. We most certainly don’t want to recolonise St. Maarten. They only have to do one thing: be transparent. Only then you really represent the people.” Van Raak said it needed to be clear to St. Maarten that vote-buying and the buying of members of Parliament was not allowed in the Kingdom and that a proper screening is part of a decent democracy. “No democracy allows the buying of votes and of politicians. That is the limit,” he said in an invited comment.
“If that is not what they want in St. Maarten, then it is their business, but then they can’t stay in the Kingdom. It is in the best interest of St. Maarten that it has a government that is not ruled by the mafia and by bad money. We have to prevent St. Maarten from going down the drain,” said Van Raak.
Bosman said St. Maarten had two choices: going independent, which means that “they can do their own thing,” or stay in the Kingdom, but that meant sticking to the rules. “What do you want? Everybody who wants to change the Kingdom Charter can count on my support.” He said that the Kingdom Government had every right to intervene
as long as it has the ultimate responsibility for good governance.
Bosman and his colleague Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA were skeptical of the motion that was adopted by the Parliament of Curaçao on Tuesday to restrict the role of the Governor in the process to appoint ministers, by amending the country’s Constitution.
Van Laar said the motion was clearly related to the instruction to St. Maarten to have additional screening of candidate ministers before they can be appointed. “It creates the impression that the Curaçao Parliament is of the opinion that people who are guilty of fraud can become prime minister just like that. That is a pity,” he said.
Bosman said Curaçao should focus on combating corruption instead of changing the Constitution to limit the role of the Governor. “I know why Gerrit Schotte came with this proposal, because he is afraid that a similar instruction will become applicable to him if his party were to ever secure more votes again,” he said.