WEDNESDAY, 13 MARCH 2013
~Plasterk says guarantee function will not be deployed~
THE HAGUE–The guarantee function of the Kingdom Charter (read: intervention by The Hague) will not be deployed for now to address the situation in St. Maarten and the investigation of the alleged bribery of Member of St. Maarten’s Parliament Patrick Illidge.
Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated this on Tuesday in response to written questions by Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party, Pierre Heijnen of the Labour Party PvdA and Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP).
The questions, 14 in total, of the Second Chamber came after media reports on a possible case of bribery and the posting of a video tape on the Website of The Daily Herald early Friday, which showed Illidge taking money from Bada Bing Manager Jaap van den Heuvel.
The three Members of Parliament (MPs) had asked the Minister last Friday whether the Minister saw a reason to deploy article 43 of the Charter, the so-called guarantee function, which states that the Kingdom Government has to see to it that good governance, legal security and human rights are safeguarded on the islands.
“The guarantee function of the Kingdom only comes up when no structural redress by the country in question is possible to address an unacceptable situation regarding human rights, legal security or proper governance,” stated Plasterk, who referred to a report of the Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations, dated July 15, 2011.
Plasterk said in an interview with the media on Monday that he was happy that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had taken quick action to investigate the tape and to “get to the bottom of this.” He said that this was a task of the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Minister confirmed in his answers to the Second Chamber that it was up to Prosecutor’s Office to carry out the investigation and to determine whether and who should be prosecuted. “The investigation has started. House searches have been conducted in several locations and material has been confiscated,” he stated.
Plasterk said that he had taken notice of the video tape, but declined to state whether and when the tape was available for the Dutch intelligence service AIVD. “No statements can be made on that,” he said.
The Minister responded with a “no” to the questions whether the video tape had been in circulation since September 2012, and whether the people that had known about it were punishable, including Members of Parliament, Ministers and the Prime Minister.
Plasterk also responded negatively to the question whether the Dutch National Detectives (Rijksrecherche) had a role to play in this. “The National Detectives is a department of The Netherlands, not of the Kingdom. It can only act in The Netherlands and only in St. Maarten if St. Maarten would file a request for assistance.”
Responding to the question by the MPs about the role of St. Maarten’s Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams in this issue, the Minister explained that the Prime Minister was the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and that he had been in contact with her since the media publications.
“She has indicated that she knows about the (media) reports and that they have her attention.”