De Telegraaf: “Fear of Schotte keeps coalition together”
WILLEMSTAD - Fear of a Gerrit Schotte’s political resurrection is the only reason why the Curaçao government coalition continues together, even after the largest party Pueblo Soberano (PS) had dismissed its own Prime Minister, Ivar Asjes this week.
“Everyone saw the expulsion of Asjes arrive,” says Independent MP Omayra Leeflang,. “The party and Asjes had a quarrel with each other. Now Pueblo Soberano and PAIS are clinging to each other. But mainly for fear of the threat of a possible return of Schotte.”
The end of Asjes' premiership, who became leader of the government after party leader Helmin Wiels was murdered on May 2013, comes a week before former Prime Minister Schotte has to appear in front of the judge. He is suspected of secretly taking money from a casino owner. But as long as Schotte has not been convicted, his party, MFK is by far the largest opposition party on the island.
The opposition leader calls the situation within the PS scandalous. “Seven Ministers of Education in 5 years! Four prime ministers in five years. And now we will get to know the fifth,” says Schotte. The MFK is glad Asjes is gone, but according to him, the population would rather see the whole coalition resign and new elections being called.
Despite the quarrels between the PS party leadership and Asjes, both camps are quiet about the true reason for the dismissal. In any case, it did not please the party that Asjes protected the Minister Plenipotentiary, Marvelyne Wiels. Asjes allowed her to continue as Minister despite the problems with her curriculum and the working conditions in the Curaçao House in The Hague.
“The appointment of Asjes’ wife, Tara Asjes-Prince, in a high position at the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten was absolutely against the ideals of the former party leader, Helmin Wiels,” said former PS party chairman Donny Balentina, who left the party after Wiels’ death. Wiels fought against such cronyism. “I’m sure that Wiels did not want Asjes as Prime Minister,” said Balentina.
Doctor Ben Whiteman has been appointed as interim Prime Minister after the internal revolution of the PS party. The new Premier, who just like Wiels is a proponent of an independent Curaçao, will stay for three months as the leader of the government. The question is whether Schotte’s trial is over by that time.
By Edwin Timmer