THURSDAY, 28 MARCH 2013
~ ‘If they don’t they are co-responsible’ ~
THE HAGUE–The Parliament of St. Maarten has to act by calling Justice Minister Roland Duncan to order and demand that independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge step aside during the investigation of the alleged Bada Bing bribery case, said Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the governing liberal democratic VVD party on Wednesday.
“St. Maarten’s Parliament is not doing anything. And where is the Prime Minister to take a clear stand on this matter and explain what the redress will be?” asked Bosman in an interview with The Daily Herald. “I see no action taken and as such it becomes a matter of the Dutch Kingdom, in other words the guarantee function of the Charter.”
Bosman requested a debate in the Second Chamber with Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on the situation in St. Maarten. That debate will be held next month, at a yet-to-be-determined date. “I want to know from the Minister why he concludes that he has confidence in the St. Maarten Government and why he thinks that there is redress,” he said.
According to Bosman, St. Maarten’s image has been hurt, because the politicians mentioned in the Bada Bing alleged bribery case are still in office. He is especially troubled by the fact that Duncan hasn’t stepped aside while the local Prosecutor’s Office investigates the video tape where Illidge is seen accepting US $15,000 from manager Jaap van den Heuvel of the Bada Bing strip club.
As Justice Minister, Duncan is responsible for the Prosecutor’s Office and that impairs the Prosecutor’s independent position, said Bosman. “Duncan has a say over the finances and personnel of the Prosecutor’s Office and as such he can influence the investigation,” he said.
The Member of Parliament (MP), who earlier this week suggested sending a Kingdom Officer to St. Maarten, emphasised that he has “total confidence” in the local Prosecutor’s Office. “This is not about the functioning of the Prosecutor’s Office. It is their investigation, but it has to be an independent investigation. It has to be an investigation outside Duncan. A person who is a subject of an investigation can never be part of this investigation.”
St. Maarten’s Parliament plays an important role in this matter and Bosman doesn’t comprehend why no action is being taken and why Minister Duncan is not being summoned to Parliament to answer questions.
“If you do nothing as Parliament, you are co-responsible for bad governance. It is pure neglect if you don’t act. As Parliamentarian it is your duty to act when you have information about a situation. The Parliamentarians are being paid a very good salary and they should do their job,” said the MP.
Bosman said that St. Maarten’s residents had every right to be outraged. “Let them show their anger. Their Parliament is the responsible authority they should address. Let people put pressure and send e-mails to their representatives.”
Bosman received support for his request for a debate with Minister Plasterk from his colleagues Pierre Heijnen of the Labour Party PvdA and Wassila Hachchi of the Democratic Party D66. “The King is visiting the islands in November and things have to be in order over there,” said Heijnen.
Other items that the Kingdom Relations Committee wants to discuss in that debate include the agreement of the recent Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPOK, the recent report of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT of Curaçao and St. Maarten and the Isla refinery in Curaçao.