Published On: Wed, Aug 13th, 2014

Exclusive interview with Independent MP Omayra Leeflang: “The Prime Minister is now an affected person”

P1020433 (800x572)WILLEMSTAD – During the last public meeting of Parliament, the members of the Prime Minister’s own party, the Pueblo Soberano (PS), rejected a bill supported by their de facto leader Ivar Asjes, the current Premier of Curaçao. This bill proposal deals with some amendments in the Sanctions Ordinance against Terrorism.

According to the Independent Member of Parliament, Omayra Leeflang, this bill indicates that we have to cooperate with the European Union when there are sanctions against countries, regions, persons or groups, which make themselves guilty of terrorism. This cooperation should be automatically accepted by Curaçao. These sanctions are to protect humanity against terrorism. An example is what is currently happening in Iraq.

One of the reasons the bill was rejected was the possibility of Curaçao having to turn against one of its trading partners, the South American country of Venezuela. Leeflang stressed that the bill only punishes those who committed the act of terrorism. “If Venezuela starts killing its people or committing acts of terrorism against other countries, then we as Curaçao cannot keep our mouth shut just because they are our trading partners. We have to act and support the European Union and the United Nations in the fight against terrorism,’ the MP said. The bill is not aimed against those, the EU or the UN suspect, but it’s clearly against those who have committed the act.

“Now these MPs, who rejected the bill, are acting as if Europe will sanction countries which are considered enemies. I want to reiterate that this is only against those who have committed the act of terrorism. You can see what is happening now in Iraq or what happened in the skies above Ukraine. Militants there brought plane down killing almost 300 passengers, including someone from Curaçao. This is an act of terrorism.”

The bill not only talks about a country, but also a person or a group. International experiences have proved that not only countries commit acts of terrorism, but also individuals and extremist groups, the so called lone wolves.

The amendment in the law is that now Curaçao has to automatically accept the sanctions taken by the EU, while in the past it had the choice if it would join or not. The MPs who have voted against this amendment had a problem with this because according to them, Curaçao will lose part of its autonomy. “If you vote against this amendment, then you are actually counting yourself out of the European Union. You are actually acting as if you are an independent country,” Leeflang stated.

The Prime Minister supported the bill and it was rejected by his own party. “There must be consequences. The act of voting against your own Minister must have some kind of consequence. It’s like having an affair. You cannot be married and fool around with another woman without any consequences. This can bring you into trouble,” the MP said.

According to Leeflang there is now a group in Parliament that does not have any norms or values. “They don’t have any decency anymore. A whole PS party, which recently was offending people during their weekly Saturday meeting, is now leaderless. You have a Minister Plenipotentiary, who told her own brother (both are related to the late Helmin Wiels) to go hang himself. How is that possible? And the members accept this too” the MP said. “This is why we know that Asjes is not going anywhere. I mean, look at the people who follow him, who are members of his party.”

Before the voting started, the Prime Minister left the Parliament hall. Many said that he already knew the bill was going to be rejected.

“What this means is that we have a government that does not support our relation with Europe or the Netherlands. Now we know that there are parties, which are clearly against our constitutional relation with the Netherlands. There are some parties that are in favor of the Kingdom relation and Europe. But we also see that the coalition parties are not united. There are two blocks now in the coalition, those who are against the Netherlands (PS) and those who are for the current union in the Kingdom.”

“All I know is that the Prime Minister is an affected person. I don’t think his party officials want him as a leader of their party. Since the death of the founder of the Pueblo Soberano party, Helmin Wiels, there is a clear division internally. On one side you have Asjes, who is supported by Helmin Wiels’ sister, Marvelyne Wiels. She even declared at Helmin Wiels’ funeral that her brother wanted Asjes to become leader. On the other hand, you have Jaime Cordoba, who also wants to become leader of the party. By rejecting the Prime Minister’s bill, they have clearly indicated to him that he is not their leader. This was a personal vendetta.”

“In a democracy, when you don’t have the support of the majority in Parliament, you resign. Now the Netherlands will have to intervene and this bill will be forced on us through a Kingdom act,” Leeflang said.

By Aldrich Hermelijn

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