THE HAGUE–Curaçao’s Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague Sheldry Osepa on Friday publicly accused the Second Chamber of meddling in Curaçao’s internal business. Dutch Parliament called Osepa’s statement and especially his tone “unwise.
Headlined “We are sick and tired of the riff-raff of Van Raak and Lucassen,” Osepa issued a press release on Friday in which he criticised statements of Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) and Erica Lucassen of the Party for Freedom PVV during Wednesday’s debate on the integrity of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten and of Curaçao’s Government.
Osepa called the performance of Van Raak and Lucassen in the debate “plain shameful.” “Unhindered by a considerable lack of knowledge, both gentlemen found it necessary to attack the Government of Curaçao which in eight months has shown decisiveness and which has rigorously eliminated dubious structures,” he said.
The Minister Plenipotentiary said it was “wrong” for certain members of the Second Chamber to campaign against Curaçao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte, who according to him “investigated dubious handlings with limited means.” He said it was “amazing” that Parliament was “bickering about a Central Bank President who is a multi-millionaire.”
Osepa said Dutch Parliament should stay out of the business of autonomous country Curaçao which has “sufficient sense of responsibility” to govern its country by itself. “It is time that Members of Parliament realise that Curaçao is an autonomous country, governed by an autonomous government and controlled by an autonomous Parliament.”
Instead of meddling in Curaçao’s affairs, the Second Chamber should focus on its task to defend Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba who “as Dutch public entities barely recognise their islands.”
Van Raak said on Friday that Osepa didn’t “fully understand” Wednesday’s debate. “All parties in the Second Chamber want an independent investigation (into the Central Bank and the Government of Curaçao) and are questioning the current situation,” he told The Daily Herald in an invited comment.
Van Raak agreed that Curaçao was an autonomous country. “But within the Kingdom,” he added. “The Kingdom Charter forces us to get involved if the local government keeps failing. But of course Curaçao is responsible for its own future. If Curaçao really wants to become truly independent, I am more than willing to make that possible,” he said.
Lucassen (PVV) said members of Curaçao’s Government made themselves “totally ridiculous” by pointing an accusing finger at the Netherlands after The Hague “offered them a golden start” by reorganizing the Antillean debt while Curaçao is “balancing on the brink of governmental chaos one year after.”
“Curaçao should get out of the Kingdom as fast as possible if it is tired of control by the Dutch Government and the supervision of the Second Chamber. But Curaçao doesn’t do that, despite its tough talk about so-called independence. They would rather hold up their hand than to truly stand on their own feet. Curaçao is sliding to the level of a banana republic filled with beggars,” said Lucassen.
Member of the Second Chamber Bas Jan van Bochove of the Christian Democratic Party CDA called Osepa’s statement “not very wise.” “As a minister or member of a cabinet it is unwise to respond to statements by members of a Parliament of another country unless it personally concerns them,” he said.
Van Bochove said it was Osepa’s full right to defend his government and country. “There is nothing wrong with that. Part of the emancipation process includes being critical of each other. Osepa may be critical of us, but he should not feel offended when we do the same.”
Van Bochove reiterated that Curaçao was an autonomous country which means that the Netherlands should assume a standoffish position where it comes to local affairs. “However, in this case it is more than a local issue because it also concerns St. Maarten and by extent the Kingdom,” he said, pointing out that the Central Bank as a vital institution should never become the centre of accusations of