Curacao sidelines governor

POSTED: 10/23/14 7:28 PM

WILLEMSTAD – A majority in parliament supported a motion yesterday that proposes a change to the constitution of Curacao. The change sidelines the governor in the appointment process of the prime minister and other ministers. Only the parliament decides who can become or remain a minister, Anneke Polak reports on Caribisch Netwerk.

The MPs of MFK, Pueblo Soberano and MAN signed the motion, giving it a majority of 12 votes in the 21-seat parliament. Opponents like Alex Rosaria (Pais) and independent MP Omayra Leeflang say that with the move the Reforma-campaign of MFK-leader Gerrit Schotte has begun.

“They do not ask for an advice. In the motion, the clerk is instructed to change the constitution. The prime minister and the ministers are no longer appointed by national decree, but they are appointed and fired by the parliament. This way there is no more screening,” Rosaria said.

Leeflang calls the motion worrisome. “This is a strategy to give more power to certain politicians. With this motion, Reforma has entered the parliament and the screening is a thing of the past. If the parliament now approves the appointment of a minister, there is no screening necessary anymore,” she says.

The motion calls for the adjustment of articles 29 and 36. The parliament appoints and dismisses ministers, while the oath of office is no longer pledged to the governor, but to the parliament. “In the Netherlands, the parliament has the same role,” Schotte said.

MP Elmer Wilsoe is happy that there remains a ceremonial role for the governor. “In the Netherlands King Willem-Alexander has no authority whatsoever anymore within the government. How is it then possible than one person who represents the king, has such authority? We have to engage legal minds to create a construction similar to the one they have in the Netherlands, where the Second Chamber has taken away the authorities of the king.”

The instruction the Kingdom Council of Ministers gave to the governor of St. Maarten triggered the debate in Willemstad. Governor Holiday has been ordered to have a thorough screening executed by experts from the Netherlands, before the appointment of the prime minister and the ministers. “We may hope that this situation will never occur in Curacao, because in that case blood will flow. When the Netherlands has hold of one finger, it takes the whole hand. If we have to cut off that finger, then that is what we will do. We have to call the Dutch to order,” Charles Cooper (MAN) said.

Wilsoe also wondered during the debate whether the way the Netherlands acts is democratic. “Experts in the Netherlands determine who will be the prime minister and minister in St. Maarten. Is that democracy?”

Schotte said that the old construction of the Netherlands Antilles is slowly returning. “The Netherlands does not have a screening law. That exists only here in Curacao,” he said.


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