|‘Democracy must keep pace with the developments’|
|Friday, 5 April 2013 09:56|
WILLEMSTAD — The current parliamentary democracy is outdated and must be adjusted to the current reality.This was the tenor of the speeches of several fraction leaders this morning during a solemn meeting of the Parliament of Curaçao on the occasion of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the parliamentary democracy. Some even warned against the current democracy being wiped out within two years.
The conference room of the Parliament on Ansighstraat was filled with invitees, including the governor of Curaçao, ministers, parliamentarians and family members of former parliamentarians and other special invitees among whom former premier Lucinda da Costa Gomes, who is celebrating her birthday today. The fraction leaders then gave a speech, giving a retrospective of 75 years parliamentary democracy.
‘Democracy must keep pace with the developments’
Fraction leader of Pueblo Soberano Helmin Wiels stated the Parliament is to find a way to improve the democracy, which was imposed by the Netherlands in the past. According to him, the current democratic system doesn’t keep up with the contact changes in the community. Wiels incited the entire community to help make these changes whereby the population will indeed participate in the decision process.
No reason to celebrate
MFK fraction leader Gerrit Schotte believes that after 75 years the quality of the parliamentary democracy causes people to talk. He referred to the events last year when his cabinet collapsed after the MFK/PS/MAN coalition lost its majority in the Parliament. “Parliamentarians promote other interests than those of the people. There is class justice, the people are suffering and feel abandoned”, said Schotte. There is no reason to celebrate today, he said. Are we to celebrate that the people are humiliated and were dealt a blow?” After Schotte’s speech, the entire MFK-fraction left the conference room of the Parliament.
Also Pais fraction leader Alex Rosaria spoke of a not-perfect functioning democracy in conformity with the current reality and the surrounding region. According to him, it’s time to think about our democracy in the interest of the welfare of everyone. “The essence of democracy is guaranteeing the rights of both the majority and the minority.” Rosaria also mentioned that apart from the structure, one must also consider those who are to function within the system. “It’s difficult to implement democracy when you’re not familiar with the history, existing laws, the statute and the constitution.”
We must also ask ourselves if we want to continue with the parliamentary democracy or for example switch to a system of constitutional democracy, said Rosaria.
According to PAR fraction leader Zita Jesus-Leito, the Parliament failed one of its most important duties. With the budgetary right the Parliament is obligated to inspect the budget and the government’s policy. Considering the huge debts of the government, we must conclude that the Parliament has failed, said Jesus-Leito. That the Parliament hadn’t done its work properly is partly due to the fact that for years the government hasn’t been forwarding the annual accounts to the Parliament on time. “Although the Cft (Council financial supervision) is doing part of this work, the Parliament must prepare itself to reassume this task.” The PAR-politician didn’t have a good word to say either about the government as regards the Parliament’s right to ask questions. According to Jesus-Leito, between 2001 and 2013 parliamentarians sent 300 letters with questions to the government but the government only answered 25 percent of those questions.
One cannot change a certain system without assuming responsibility, said MAN fraction leader Charles Cooper. He emphasized the emancipation process of a nation, which is eventually to lead to independence. Cooper concluded this morning that the emancipation is deteriorating, for example, consensus Statute Laws were adopted. These must be annulled as soon as possible to establish a Budgetary Chamber so that the Parliament regains its budgetary right, which is now in the hands of the Cft.”
Independent parliamentarian Glenn Sulvaran sees another huge danger. Although he believes the development to come up with a new democratic model is going well, he warns against affecting the foundation on which our democracy is based. Sulvaran said that during the political campaign last year advertisements on TV insinuated people were paid to vote for a certain party. “We must prevent the next elections from becoming a (bargain) sale. We all know that a file was made of potential voters, so if you have 3 million guilders to buy votes it’ll get you eight seats. If we allow this to happen then the battle for freedom of 300 years and the parliamentary democracy of 75 years will be in vain and the foundation will be wiped out in two years.” Sulvaran therefore argues for laws that prohibit these practices. “We must nip this in the bud immediately and create a model democracy and population.” Citizens must be protected against such practices by making them aware of the own political history and imparting standards and values”, said Sulvaran.