|Chamber broods over appointing national officer on St. Maarten|
|Monday, 25 March 2013 09:53|
THE HAGUE — VVD-member André Bosman’s plea to appoint a national officer on St. Maarten to halt corruption led to mixed reactions in the Lower Chamber today. Roland Duncan, the Minister of Justice on St. Maarten, was recently heard in the possible bribery case of a parliamentarian.Bosman wants an independent person to scrutinize the administrative apparatus on St. Maarten. The SP supports this. “Minister Ronald Plasterk is to set to work”, said Chamber member Ronald van Raak (SP), who stated earlier that the judicial authorities on the island cannot conduct the started investigation properly. “This investigation is actually also a political investigation”, said Van Raak.
Also CBA believes something must be done, but then together with the National Council of Ministers. Madeleine van Toorenburg: “The National Council of Ministers must intervene, thus not only the Netherlands, but together with Aruba and Curaçao, considering good corporate governance is in danger.”
Fellow coalition partner PvdA admits there is a huge problem but considering the Public Prosecutor’s Office is tackling the corruption, PvdA-member Pierre Heijnen thinks one should await the results before intervening. “As long as justice takes it course, there is no reason to appoint a national commissioner because actually that means pushing the government aside and assuming power. This is possible, but as the situation isn’t getting out of hand just yet this is not an issue.”
PVV-member Sietse Fritsma doesn’t think the VVD’s proposal is a good idea. “What will it solve? We’ve been having problems there for years and the end is still not in sight. The only solution is that the Netherlands bid the islands farewell. Appointing a national officer is a weak solution.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office on St. Maarten raided the premises of the St. Maarten parliamentarian Patrick Illidge before and confiscated several firearms with ammunition. That raid was based on suspicion of corruption. Apparently the parliamentarian was instructed by the Minister of Justice of St. Maarten, Roland Duncan, to collect money in exchange for permits for the brothel Bada Bing. Images of this alleged transaction can be seen on internet. That information was disclosed during the Interparliamentary Kingdoms Consultation (Ipko) held in the Netherlands early March, where Illidge was also present.
Apart from the raid at Illidge, Justice also conducted house searches at another two locations, including that of Bada Bing, where the police confiscated firearms, money, immigration documents, computers, laptops, an iPod, official and other documents. Also Duncan was recently subjected to a hearing regarding the current investigation into this case. Theo Heyliger from opposition party United People (UP) was heard, just like publisher Paul de Windt of the Daily Herald, which had placed the images on the website. Heyliger was heard because the manager of Bada Bing said Heyliger had ordered him to shoot the film.
Although Premier Mark Rutte stated earlier that no stone would be left unturned, he pointed out that in first instance the case is a responsibility of the Public Prosecutor’s Office on St. Maarten. Apparently the politicians in The Hague now have a different opinion on the matter.