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Holland wants us to ‘Give the Dutch Justice Minister more power on the islands’

THE HAGUE – Should the Dutch Minister of Justice gain more power on the islands? CDA MP Chris van Dam wants Aruba, Curaçao and especially Sint-Maarten to think seriously about this.

In your motion you state that the islands are too small to be able to do law enforcement yourself. The Minister of Justice in Aruba finds that nonsense.

“I hear from policemen on the islands that it’s always a job to deal with people you know. What your sister or niece is married to. You have different levels of government in the Netherlands. Not on Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. That is a huge problem. “

“The police used to drive a Saab in the municipality of Leerdam. Why? Because a local car dealer knew the police chief. What impression does that make with other car dealers? That is no longer possible. In the Netherlands there is now more distance. “

“There is a prison in Almelo and it is not managed locally, but by the Minister of Justice in The Hague. It also applies to police cars that they do not determine in Enschede which dealer can deliver that car, which earns a little money from it. ”

Do you want the Dutch Minister of Justice to have some sort of final responsibility to be able to intervene on the islands if necessary?

“Yes. You should create preconditions together, so that he can at least ensure that prisons, police forces and investigators can function properly. “

“The point is that authority and management are separated. Authority is: are we going to tackle bicycle theft or burglaries today? You make that decision on the island. Management is: ensuring that the system functions properly. How do you ensure that prisons are in order and that the police have good cars? ”

Former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte and former minister George Jamaloodin have been prosecuted and tried in Curaçao. There is now a criminal case against States member Theo Heyliger in Sint-Maarten and a parliamentarian has recently been arrested. Politicians are also being prosecuted on Aruba. The legal system works great?

“And who does that? This is done thanks to the Fight and Undermining Team that André Bosman (VVD) and Ronald van Raak (SP) have established there. ”

Without the initiative of the two Dutch MPs, these criminal cases would not have succeeded. Is that what you are actually saying?

“That’s right. Absolutely not, never, no way! There was a lot of hesitation in that period about whether you should do that, because it was the ruling party. I have deep respect for my former colleagues at the Public Prosecution Service (OM) in Curaçao, who have investigated and brought a case against all resistance in that case. If the Dutch influence had not been there .. “

Give us – the Netherlands – the chance and let us prove that we can help you. Is that your message?

“Give us a chance? No, look for the cooperation with the Netherlands on this point. I also realize that there must be consensus. It is on a voluntary basis, but I hope the islands will take that help. The only option available to The Hague for intervention is through the Statute. And that is only when you really sink through the ice. “

And that is far from being the case on St Maarten, says State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) of your own CDA.

“I agree less with the State Secretary there. I have serious concerns. People are sent home again because the cells are full. And people build cells in the courtyard of the prison, which reduces the air time of the prisoners. This is at the expense of quality. “

Suppose the islands agree with your plan. The Dutch Justice Minister will be given more responsibilities. What do residents see change?

“That you are treated fairly when you make a declaration. That people at the Public Prosecution Service do not have to fear for the political party in the government. But also that plans made by one government are not thrown in the trash by a new government. Ultimately, that citizens regain confidence in the police. “

And then the House of Representatives also gets a stronger role when it comes to law enforcement on the islands.

“Absolutely. And I also understand that it is very sensitive. “

That some people think you are rather colonial?

“But I think critics think so anyway. Why am I doing this? Because I want to be the boss on the islands? Not at all. But I also have a responsibility to look at the Kingdom. And I see these islands as a family. “

“Do you think I’m working in a colonial way? Then I say: I also have serious criticism and concerns about the rule of law in the Netherlands. That in the municipality of The Hague there is a suspicion of corrupt councilors. I still have enough hair on my head and I would like to pull them all out. From pure misery. “

And yet people will say: there is a Dutch interest behind this. For example, that certain beloved politicians who would not be pro-Dutch disappear into prison.

“I fully understand that sentiment. But I don’t want anything to do with that. It must be done independently. The Public Prosecution Service must always be separate from Dutch politics, but also from Aruban, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten politics. “

“I wish the islands would ask for law enforcement assistance, as they did with regard to the Venezuelan refugees and have received 23 million for that. I would like that. And I think residents are waiting for this. So time to have that discussion. “

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