By Alex Rosaria
A large sector in our community was euphoric when the screening law (officially: National Ordinance Integrity (Candidate) Ministers) was published in October 2012. A collective sigh was heard because never again would we go through the embarrassment of 2010 when a group of ministers without any remorse have mocked the screening process.
But that was in 2012. Today some of these actors who applauded the screening law in 2012 are declaring that the law, suddenly, is not fair anymore. Difference between 2012 and 2019/20 is: the law which was good for those without ethics back then has ensured that two ministers of the current coalition had to resign (one has even recognized his punishable act in a deal with the Prosecution and has received probation).
Today they are talking about the unfairness of the law and that it is not complying with its true intention. Also, they are saying that the Netherlands does not have a screening law as we do. The latter is true. Maybe they forgot that we don’t have a number of laws like the Netherlands does (e.g. euthanasia, abortus, marriage, a high standard to protect the environment) and vice versa? If we want all the Dutch laws, then maybe it’s better to forget autonomy and become a province.
Our world has several examples of hypocrisy and thirst for power which makes politicians eliminate or change laws that were perfect for their opponents but not for them. One example is Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua who has fought to end the 45-year rule of the Somoza family through revolution and change of the constitution. Nowadays Ortega has eliminated, added laws and changed the constitution to allow him to remain in power for life accompanied by his vice president who is his wife.
In 2014 I fought against the elimination of the screening law like the actors who came to power in 2010 (and who were in the opposition between 2012 and 2016) wanted to do. I urged the government to broaden the law and add more to it, especially at the end of a minister’s term.
Now, it might be time, and even necessary, to change laws due to certain circumstances. But to bring change and weaken the screening law just because two ministers in the coalition had to resign, is not a valid reason. That is hypocrisy and against the rule of law. Those who want to change the law become just like those who were without remorse in 2010. There is no difference.
Alex David Rosaria (53) is a freelance consultant active in Asia and the Pacific. He is a former Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and UN Implementation Officer in Africa and Central America. He is from Curaçao and has an MBA from University of Iowa (USA).