PMs Whiteman, Eman and Gumbs take a stand: No more cooperation with instructions

POSTED: 10/5/15 1:33 PM

ORANJESTAD –If the Kingdom government gives another instruction to a governor in the future, then the governments of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten will not cooperate with its execution, the Amigoe reported yesterday.

The three Prime Ministers – Mike Eman (Aruba), Ben Whiteman (Curacao) and Marcel Gumbs (St. Maarten) – write this in a letter to the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The three PMs collectively support the opinion the Council of State recently provided about the instruction for governors.

Whiteman, Eman and Gumbs were in New York this week for the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. They spoke with Rutte about among other things the islands’ autonomy.

The Council of State is the highest authority in the Netherlands. Two weeks ago, the council gave an opinion on the instruction the Kingdom Council of Ministers gave to Aruba last year. The opinion also touched upon instructions to the governors of St. Maarten and Curacao.

Minister Ronald Plasterk (Kingdom Relations) maintains that the instructions followed procedure. In the instruction to Aruba, Governor Fredis Refunjol was charged with examining the sustainability of the 2014 budget, before putting his signature to it. That seems to be at odds with the opinion of the Council of State that the governor can never get an instruction that falls outside his authority as a Kingdom entity. Signing a budget and other national ordinances is an authority for a national entity. The Council of State furthermore pointed out that the establishment of a national ordinance or a national decree cannot be suspended for a long time through an instruction.

The prime ministers refer in their letter to the independent position of the governor (as the representative of the king) and to regulations in the Kingdom Charter about a general measure of Kingdom administration. Such a measure can only be taken if other instruments have not worked or will not work.

Furthermore it is better to reach a mutual agreement when there is a dispute about the interpretation of the Kingdom Charter and Kingdom regulations. If that fails, the conflict must be presented to an independent body for a solution on short notice. The Council of State supports this point of view.

Aruba’s PM points furthermore to the significant financial damages the country suffered as a consequence of the unlawful intervention by the Kingdom government.

The Government of St. Maarten points to the independent position and responsibility of governors in matters of integrity that have the potential to cause serious damages to people’s reputation.

The three countries remain committed to the execution of tasks that are anchored on the Kingdom Charter and in Kingdom regulations and they expect the same from the Kingdom government.

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