Corruption crisis threatens Antillean Cabinet
13 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — After the recent conviction of Antillean prime minister-elect Anthony Godett on corruption charges, political parties WIPM and UPB resigned from the Cabinet on Monday night, placing the coalition government at threat of collapse.
But the remaining coalition parties have said they intend to remain in government with new coalition partners, an NOS news report said. Goddett’s FOL party remains a member of the government.
The Netherlands Antilles, composed of the five Caribbean islands – Curacao, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba – is, along with Aruba, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The six former Dutch colonial territories have their own government, but their foreign relations and defence policies are controlled by The Hague.
The decision of WIPM (based on the island of Saba) and UPB (Bonaire) means that the Cabinet has lost three MPs in the national Antillean Parliament, resulting in the loss of its majority. The remaining government coalition parties now hold just 11 of the parliament’s 22 seats.
Government parties met on Curacao, the largest Antillean island, on Monday night to discuss the position of Godett, who was sentenced three weeks ago to a one-year jail term on charges of forgery, accepting bribes and money laundering. Both Godett and the prosecution have appealed the ruling.
As leader of the FOL party, Godett won the Antillean election last year, but was unable to take office due to ongoing corruption inquiries. Instead, his sister Mirna Louisa-Godett was appointed Prime Minister, but Anthony Godett remained the power behind the throne.
The governing coalition parties resolved last week that Anthony Godett should no longer be a member of the national parliament or the Curacao Island Council. But the Democratische Partij of Sint Eustatius and the PNP of Curacao decided instead on Monday that Godett could remain in his present functions, prompting the UPB and WIPM to abandon the coalition Cabinet.
Immediately after the close of the meeting, Godett said he would travel to the island of Bonaire, where he will speak with the island’s second largest party, Democratische Partij (DP) in a bid to convince it to join the government. The DP has one seat in the national parliament.
Godett might also travel to the island of Sint Maarten on Tuesday or Wednesday to speak with the Democratische Partij Sint Maarten (two seats) and the National Alliance (one seat) about possible involvement in the Antillean coalition government.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Netherlands Antilles