Curacao wants greater separation from Netherlands

RonaldPlasterk-1Willemstad, Curacao — Curacao wants to get rid of the Netherlands-appointed governor, who must in turn approve ministerial appointments by law.

A parliamentary motion has been filed to this effect and, with this, the way will be open to appoint ministers to posts without being screened for integrity.

This motion is a response to the intervention by Dutch interior and kingdom relations minister, Ronald Plasterk, in St Maarten. Last Friday, the Council of Ministers in The Hague told the governor of the island to postpone the appointment of the new Cabinet until incoming Prime Minister Theo Heyliger and his team of ministers have been screened under Dutch rules.

A recent report on the integrity of the public administration on the island indicated, according to Plasterk, a “widespread lack of integrity”. He fears a repetition of the events in Curacao, where the controversial politician Gerrit Schotte came to power following a questionable screening process. The former prime minister has since arrested on suspicion of money laundering and forgery. The Netherlands also supplied manpower to help fight crime in Curacao.

With the motion, filed by Schotte, the parliament calls on the government to amend the constitution of Curacao. According to the same constitution, a proposal to this effect needs a two-thirds majority to be passed.

The governor of Curacao is the representative of the Netherlands king in Curacao. He defends the general interests of the state and is head of the government in Curacao. The governor has no political responsibilities and is not part of the Cabinet of Curacao.

Aruba also has a governor. Earlier this year, by order of the Dutch government, he refused to sign the Aruba budget for 2014, leaving the Aruba government furious about the Netherlands’ interference.

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