Prosecuted or persecuted
Former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte and his Party, MFK, claim that the poor man was persecuted by the Dutch political scene of The Hague. If you have trouble confusing prosecution and persecution, just remember that prosecution is a legal procedure (in its most commonly used sense), while persecution is not.
Supposedly, according to the convict, the Court proceedings in Willemstad were nothing but a show trial and the prosecutor’s evidence manufactured. Schotte was unfairly singled out, so he claims, for political reasons only.
Schotte’s lawyer argued even that the Public Prosecutor was not independent but "ordered and instructed by his Dutch political bosses." Upon appeal by the convict, The Appellant Court of Curacao will retrial the case.
Although many discard these arguments as nonsense, the question remains, was Schotte unfairly singled out???
Not many crimes make it to Court in Curacao. Over the last ten years, an estimated 40-50,000 narco-trafficking cases were dropped, as well as at least 3-4,000 armed robbery and 200 murder cases. The recent corruption and fraud case of a politician was against Anthony Goddett, more than ten years ago. So, it is not entirely unreasonable for Schotte to wonder why a big budget of the meagerly financed office of the Public Prosecutor was made available for his prosecution.
A conviction of Schotte also makes a second run for public office impossible, and since there is little difference between the person, Schotte and the party, Schotte, the MFK, a conviction will kill eventually the party. Again, it is not unreasonable to suspect or suggest that there could be a political motive behind his prosecution.
Curacao has many political parties and having the MFK, a fierce competitor, out of the way, would locally be most welcome. But what would it be to The Hague? Holland happily cooperated with the 10-10-10 autonomy, put in billions of guilders on top, and treated Schotte, the first Prime Minister, with all necessary respect and required protocol.
During Schotte’s election campaign, before 10-10-10, he claimed that large discoveries of natural gas and oil were the real bone of contention by the greedy Dutch. After that, Holland officially declared that all minerals found in, or near the Caribbean islands would be to the benefit of the islands themselves. In the meantime, it has become very clear that there are no deposits worthwhile exploiting at today’s markets. What other reason or motivation of selfish Holland could be to block Schotte, as a politician, is not at all clear.
The Schotte-defense of persecution versus prosecution remains confused and convoluted.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle