Director Kathy Ruiz-Paskel, wins case in court

The court decision, that sided with the DIMAS director, and restored her full authority, sent the minister a clear message that he is not above the law, and placing the director on his hitlist was abusive, and beyond his power.

Both the Minister of Labor, Integration and Energy, and his legal-council, incidentally, his sister, have acted illegally, against the constitution, and so far, only CURPA, a marginal political party, came forward to reprimand them, and suggest their retirement from office.

Doesn’t anyone care? Have we become so used to the sacking of officials at whim, and violations of Good Governance, that we no longer have the energy to react?

The minister who is supposed to devote every waking hour to the solution of our labor shortages, decides instead to start a power struggle at DIMAS by capriciously and illegally, removing the director, who was appointed by a Government Decree, but did not dance to his tune.

This practice of removing our career technocrats and installing some family members, advisors, consultants, is clearly wrong, and goes against the principles of good governance. It disables all public sector systems, and destroys due process, with the intent to centralize power with the minister, a political player.

Where is RAIZ on the matter? What do members of the coalition say?

What do our parliamentarians say?

So far only the leader of MAS voiced her protest, apparently since March, questioning the move from an HR perspective, pointing out due process was violated.

In previous cases when department heads were suspended/removed, we all had to wait patiently for the process to unfold, because ministers have after all discretionary powers, but in this case, the judge nipped the phenomenon in the bud, and reversed the ministerial decree, which was the root of the problem.

One of my friends reports: In principle a chief executive including a minister is free to organize and reorganize a department and there are procedures to be followed for that. It appears that the formal procedure(s) was (were) not followed here, hence the court could intervene. Our civil servants are subject to a rather formalistic and outdated legal regiment that private sector employees can’t even imagine. Either way this may be the first of others cases to come …. Even a minister cannot suspend or remove a department head for arbitrary and frivolous reasons – Fofo reasons, in Papiamento.


This is what I wrote at the onset of the saga: The dysfunctional Department of Integration, Management and Admission of Foreigners has currently put its ailing culture on full display.

Under the leadership of conservative director Kathy Ruiz-Paskel, this place was a black hole. According to consumers, they lost documents, they dragged their heels, they hated their clients. The poorly managed department suffered from chronic lack of communication, both interior and exterior.

Of course, some will tell you it was a policy, and that Kathy, the seasoned legal professional with years of experience navigated that important department according to prevailing anti-immigration sentiments, and did her job thoroughly.

Thousands of complaints didn’t change anything, though with digitalization, in recent years, they lost fewer documents, but still dragged their heels and hated their clients.

In March our populist minister entrusted with the integration portfolio, issued a ministerial decree, empowering a management team, and off went Kathy’s head.

Did he have his eyes on new voters, enlisted with a more lenient admission policy?

While indeed the minister of integration has some discretion in appointments – the Dutch imposed an absolute freeze on additional hires, the question remains, is it legal, can the minister appoint a director, or a steering committee or a management team to lead the department, or is it the MINISTRY’s job, because the ministry and the minister, are two different entities, they are not equal. The ministry means the government, while the minister is just an elected politician, who cannot assume power that isn’t his.



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June 01, 2022
Rona Coster