Saleh asked to quit as Minister of State

Saleh asked to quit  as Minister of State

Jaime Saleh (photo by Nico van der Ven)

WILLEMSTAD--Curaçao Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas (MFK) has requested former Antillean governor Jaime Saleh in writing to step down as Minister of State by the end of this month. He did so after Member of Parliament (MP) Sheldry Osepa asked if Saleh could remain in function, given his involvement in the ENNIA insurance firm scandal. As a result of this debacle, 30,000 pensions in Curaçao and St. Maarten are at risk.

Saleh was to represent the Dutch Caribbean country at the Netherlands’ official budget presentation this Tuesday and attend several official gatherings as well as participate in a “Living culture and sustainable community within the Kingdom” conference. Pisas also asked him to exercise maximum discretion during this visit to The Hague in his capacity as Minister of State.

The Joint Court of Justice for the Dutch Caribbean recently released a preliminary judgment of 143 pages on the ENNIA case. It includes the names of commissioners who received substantial amounts.

Among these is Jaime Saleh, who according to the document collected almost three million Netherlands Antillean guilders between 2008 and 2018. The allegation is that as a member of the Supervisory Board he did not take action against the main shareholder Husangh Ansary, who was financially draining the company.

Osepa felt all this made Saleh’s role as Minister of State an issue. “These commissioners were excessively paid with policyholders' money and now taxpayers may have to foot the bill,” said the faction member of current coalition party PNP.

Saleh is also a former attorney general president of the joint court. He has held the position of Minister of State for the Netherlands Antilles since 2004 and for Curaçao since 2010.

The parliamentarian emphasised that Saleh, as Minister of State, has limited authority under the Constitution and a no-confidence motion against him therefore is not an option. “However, government is responsible for appointing him and must now consider whether he is still suitable for this function.”

In the interest of transparency and accountability, Osepa had posed several questions. He wanted to know government's opinion on Jaime Saleh continuing as Minister of State, given his involvement in ENNIA.

Osepa also asked if government planned to remove Saleh from his position as Minister of State and requested a motivated response from Pisas (General Affairs). Should he not receive a satisfactory answer, Osepa threatened to introduce a motion calling on government to dismiss Saleh as such.

However, Pisas has meanwhile advised Saleh to resign, otherwise steps would be taken to avoid further public upheaval and societal escalation.

The Daily Herald

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