What we heard today in parliament was astounding

GOA’s Central Accounting Service, CAD, and the department of Human Resources, DRH, took center stage in parliament, Tuesday, when their representatives went through a detailed report, on how Aruba’s GevMin, Guillfred Francis Besaril, born in 1974 in Savaneta, lived large on the public’s dime, in the Netherlands, as our minister Plenipotentiary,

As Aruba’s representative in the Dutch kingdom, he was entrusted to lobby for the island, maintain an efficient and effective work network within the Dutch government, serve our student community and in general defend our interests, as a trusted public-servant.

He turned out to be arrogant and greedy, operating from a strong sense of entitlement.

As the auditors reported, he charged every single expense to his employer, the island of Aruba, and he should have known better because he is a former cop, he even worked in the organized crime section, and he is an educated man, having obtained a Bachelor in Training & Human Development.

I was always told the man is not very smart. Indeed, such a breach of trust occurs when an official blurs the line between his work title and his private person.

L’Etat c’est a moi, said Louis XIV, and judging from Guillermo Besaril’s spending, he also felt he was the State, and as such, had free access to unlimited funds, public funds.

A bit of history: After finishing his studies, he returned to the Aruba Police Force, rose through the Union ranks, but switched to politics. In November 2013, he was elected Member of Parliament, on the MEP benches, and even served as the President of the Parliament. On November 20th, 2017, Besaril was appointed as the Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba in the cabinet Wever-Croes I. He has been in the Netherlands ever since, with Cabinet Wever-Croes II.

Last year a number of  whistle-blowers wrote a well-documented letter to the prime minister spilling the beans that the man has been abusing Aruba’s debit and credit card. A two week investigation eventually followed, covering about 25% or relevant materials, revealing an ugly reality.

Our Minister Plenipotentiary did not learn anything from the former-minister Paul Croes debacle, and from the scandal surrounding the POR party funds, and the fall from grace of politician Alan Howell.

His list of dubious transactions is long, covering every aspect of life, from rent to furniture, Mac Pro computers, car rentals, charged meals, and airline tickets.

In parliament, two eloquent experts reported on the unbudgeted, unauthorized, unstructured spending, and on the happenstance management of the Aruba representation in the Netherlands, three more employees are also suspect, they were not qualified, had no official processes, no disciplined budgets, no accountability.

They were flying by the seat of their pants.

We all says that the minister should have known better.

Now what? The local prosecutor, perhaps even his Dutch counterpart, will get involved to see what the legal implications of such wasteful behavior are, and what restitution should be paid to the state.

God bless whistleblowers.

Just as a side: MinPres is an artist. Besaril and the Aruba House in the Netherlands fall under her portfolio. But she was not aware of any wrongdoings until the letter appeared on her desk.

She handed the materials for investigation, as soon as they popped up.

In parliament, she congratulated members of the opposition, on finally getting to discuss wrongdoings in parliament. She said she tried in the past under different administrations, but the others believed in sweeping scandals under the rug. The snafu with Besaril is the ultimate proof of how important integrity is to her government, she implied.

What can we say, she is an artist.

How she managed to turn false reporting and malfeasance, into a feather in her cap, is amazing.

 

 

 

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December 14, 2022
Rona Coster