The legal system working overtime

We were told about a home investigation this morning. Special teams searched the homes of two former ministers, Eddier Briesen, the minister of tourism in the Nel Oduber government, and Chris Romero, the minister of transportation, in the Wever Croes I government.  They also searched the home of one of Romero’s consultants/advisors. The case will from now on be referred to as Kwihi, having run out of birds following Ibis, Flamingo and Ostrich, we’re now going down the list of local trees.

We also have a Diamond case pending, but perhaps the prosecutors changed their minds about precious stones.

We are experiencing an avalanche of lawbreaking officials, and there is a lesson to be learned here: Those elected or appointed to public sector jobs, should beware of pitfalls, and temptations along the way, while playing with public funds. They should make efforts to stir clean of corruption.

Briesen, Tourism and Transport until 2009, is currently paid as consultant to MinPres, a job he enjoys in gratitude for his long term MEP party membership. I see no other qualifications, in view of the fact that he’s been retired from the public arena for 15 years.

Briesen is burdened by the Lee Tofanelli verdict, which holds him personally responsible for damages, big bucks, suffered by the promoter who had a signed contract for the Aruba Music Festival, AMF. The AMF got cancelled by the incoming AVP minister, Otmar Oduber of Flamingo fame. At the time, shortly before an election, Briesen acted in violation of the Accountability Regulation when he signed the AMF contract extension, and he must pay for his hasty actions — though the Aruba parliament is trying to bail him out, by passing a law and letting the island pay, getting Briesen off the hook.

Chris Romero, Transportation, Communication and the Primary Sector, is no longer in politics. My friends say that if anything Romero must be sued for not even working ONE day as a minister, but playing during his time in power, and possibly awarding friends and acquaintances generous service contracts. According to publications, this morning’s investigation is about that.

Other speculations talk about the airplane registry in Aruba, and civil aviation, buses bought in Brazil, in time for football season, but we will have to wait and see where this goes. Both were ministers of transportation, so perhaps there is a connection which I am unaware of.

Also, this morning, the conviction of former minister Paul Croes, for corruption, was upheld. He was the minister of Social Affairs, Youth Policy and Labor in the Mike Eman government and was investigated for bribery, complicity in embezzlement and money laundering. Today the Supreme Court upheld the verdict, he did grant exemptions from work permits in exchange for a financial advantage. And ran the Leadership and Excellence Foundation, set up to receive donations. He will be going to jail for three years and will be disqualified from office, for eight years. The judgment appealed to the supreme court, and upheld today. Jail this will be reduced in view of time already served.

Finally, yesterday we were informed that an undocumented man who has been living here for 21 years, was deported, in flipflops. He was put on a plane, with just his shirt on his back and one of the agents gave him $20. The man has been in legal limbo for years and had a lawyer trying to iron issues out, but to no avail. One surprising day, last week, he was deported, after sitting in a holding facility for 6 months.

To his defense, his lawyer reports that they have been trying to comply, pay a fine, do anything. The man has been a law abiding citizen; besides, the law don’t oblige deportation. So, why did they put him on a plane? He has lived in Aruba longer, than in his country of origin. Aruba is in a labor crunch, we need helping hands, GOA promised to figure out a way to help document workers already contributing to the island economy. Still, nothing is happening on that front.

One of my friends says: If there ever is a case to be made for compassion and exemption, it is this one. Expulsion is not mandatory by law. We’re losing our humanity by not looking at extenuating circumstances.

This is clearly a human right violation.

Share on:

February 07, 2023
Rona Coster