THE HAGUE – The Dutch Member of Parliament for the Socialist Party (PS) Ronald van Van Raak brought up the issue of vote-buying and corrupt politicians during a radio interview in the Netherlands.
“The number of politicians that has been bought on the islands is too big,” said Van Raak, who specifically mentioned United People’s party UP Leader Theo Heyliger. “Heyliger had US $3 million available for his election campaign, US $150 per voter. I don’t have to say more than that.”
Asked by the Radio 1 journalist why the Netherlands involved itself in the business of the islands, The Dutch MP for the ruling party VVD Andre Bosman said that the illegal activities were “damaging” to the Dutch Kingdom. He explained that the Kingdom Government played a role via the so-called guarantee function which puts the ultimate responsibility for proper governance in the hands of The Hague.
Bosman mentioned the visit that he and Van Raak paid to several of the less privileged districts during their stay in St. Maarten in January this year as part of the IPKO meetings.
“We spoke to people who were affected by the lack of funds for education, the infrastructure. People are disappointed. We had good talks. But when we asked them about the local government, they got very upset. That is where the problem lies.” Van Raak said that people were “very happy” that issues were being named by the Netherlands. “People are afraid to publicly speak their mind.”