State secret

9 October 2011

State secret

On the morning of 6th October I suddenly found myself in possession of a state secret. I didn’t want to be, but there it was all the same. The secret in question was an account of a discussion on 4th October in the Rijksministerraad – the Netherlands’ state council of ministers - of a report on the government of Curaçao. Chaired by Prime Minister Rutte, the Rijksministerraad covers the whole of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, including remaining overseas possessions, and consists of members of the Dutch government and representatives of Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. Leaking information from this state council is a criminal offence, one for which you can go to prison. Yet politicians on Curaçao deliberately distributed the account.

by Ronald van Raak

Ronald van RaakThis Curaçao government should not have been there. Before ministers are appointed there has to be an enquiry. On Curaçao this screening has not been conducted. At the insistence of the Dutch Parliament the Rosenmöller Commission was established to look into the situation on the island. From this investigation it can be seen that Prime Minister Gerrit Fransisco Schotte, but also the Ministers of Finance and of Economic Affairs, should probably never have been appointed. Since then, a culture of fear and intimidation has prevailed in Curaçao politics. Critical politicians and journalists have been put under enormous pressure.

Thursday morning I received the report from Sheldry Osepa, the Minister Plenipotentiary who represents Curaçao in the Rijksministerraad. The report makes clear just which Dutch minister said what and what conclusions were drawn. These discussions are secret because ministers must be able to speak to each other confidentially. It’s obvious that a number of Curaçao’s ministers are worried about the Netherlands. In the Dutch Parliament a majority is in favour of intervening. Curaçao is a country within the Kingdom, but the Netherlands is responsible for ensuring good governance on the island.

In the open in Parliament I stuck the information in an envelope and sealed it. I asked Premier Rutte to gather information as soon as possible. If a state secret is leaked the Prime Minister must institute an enquiry and call those responsible to account. To my surprise the Premier was not prepared to accept the information. Nor will he establish an enquiry. Rutte is allowing himself to be intimidated by the government of Curaçao. In doing so he is also allowing the fear and intimidation on the island to continue. But above all, Rutte is leaving the people of Curaçao to their fate.

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