PFP MP Raeyhon Peterson
PHILIPSBURG–Party for Progress (PFP) Member of Parliament (MP) Raeyhon Peterson reiterated a pending request to Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Egbert Doran for insight into documents relating to the issuance of domain land in July 2020.
Peterson first requested that he and any other Member of Parliament who was interested be granted “inzage” (insight) into domain decrees 2020/1186 and 2020/0824, both deeded in November 2020. The deeds in question related to parcels of domain land issued to two personal relations of the VROMI Minister.
The request came after Peterson asked Doran about the “granting” of signing authority to Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion for “conflict of interest” cases in domain land issuance. The national decree granting this authority to Irion was also signed in July 2020.
“I was curious as to why the Minister of Finance was given this authority,” Peterson said, “considering that the actual ‘deputy’ Minister of VROMI at the time was Minister Rodolphe Samuel, the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Minister Doran’s response was that he figured that as the Minister responsible for money, Minister Irion should then be responsible for signing off on land issuance when there is a conflict of interest.
“This is an interesting response, because the Minister of Finance would still maintain insight into the finances of land issuance without randomly receiving the mandate to sign off on the issuance of land itself. The key point that the Minister missed in this was that any case of conflict of interest should be completely avoided, rather than justified through personal agreements amongst Ministers.”
In his reminder letter to Doran, Peterson highlighted the fact that, by law, documents related to domain land are not confidential, as they pertain to public records and are thus available to view via official requests. In the Parliament meeting on April 6, Doran seemed hesitant as to whether the documentation could be provided for viewing.
“There seems to be this ongoing trend where public documents are suddenly covered in secrecy,” Peterson said, “but as a former department head in VROMI, I want the public to realise that this is not correct. Documents related to long-lease land, building permits, infrastructure projects, new works and other activities within the Ministry of VROMI are all considered public documents by law, and should be accessible via official request channels.”
Peterson concluded his letter by requesting that the Ministry of VROMI inform Parliament as to when interested Members of Parliament would receive an invitation to come in and view the requested documentation related to the decrees mentioned in his original request.