Hero Brinkman ruffles Antilles' feathers again

12th June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Dutch Freedom Party MP presents the much-awaited paper and requests a parliamentary inquiry into corruption in the Antilles.

12 June 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - In a paper he presented at a press conference earlier today, Dutch Freedom Party MP Hero Brinkman says he wants to hold a parliamentary inquiry into the scope of corruption in the Netherlands Antilles.

The long awaited "corruption paper", entitled The Antilles…a Mafia within the kingdom? is based mainly on newspaper articles and other public sources.

It paints a picture of nepotism, self enrichment, and criminality among government workers and politicians.

In the paper, the Freedom Party MP lists the names of 120 allegedly corrupt politicians, government workers and officials.

The top five is headed by left-wing nationalist party leader Anthony Godett, followed by a number of other local politicians.

The paper also includes 170 concrete examples of corruption. According to Brinkman, this is only "the tip of the iceberg".

His report includes a damning report published by a good governance foundation in Bonaire. The report finds the island's administrators guilty of exceeding the budget, nepotism, frustrating the opposition and the auditor's office, and of sacking government workers who are critical.

It is not clear how Brinkman's paper will affect the bi-annual meeting of Antillean and Dutch MPs scheduled to start on Monday.

In the past two years, these meetings have been dominated by the subject of the islands political reform. Curaçao and St Maarten voted in referendums to become autonomous within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, while the other three islands - Saba, St Eustace and Bonaire - decided to become special municipalities of the Netherlands.

At a previous Dutch/Antillean consultation in Curaçao in January, the talks were aborted when Antillean MPs denied the Freedom Party MP access to the parliament building after he said the island was "a corrupt den of thieves".

The Speaker of the Antillean parliament Pedro Atacho threatened to cancel the meeting after the conservative VVD MP and chairman of the Commission for Antillean and Aruban Affairs, Willebrord van Beek, rejected his proposal for a code of behaviour for the talks.

In an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Van Beek said drawing up a code of behaviour to prevent parliamentarians trading insults was impossible because it would violate freedom of speech.

[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]

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