Protocol not followed in Boekhoudt appointment

THE HAGUE–The Kingdom Council of Ministers did not follow the appointment protocol for Governors when it nominated Alfonso Boekhoudt as Aruba’s new Governor last month.

Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, on Tuesday, clarified the 2001 appointment protocol and its application in the case of Boekhoudt, in response to written questions submitted by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Alexander Pechtold of the Democratic Party D66.

Pechtold had inquired about the protocol, its status and whether the procedure described in this document was applied in its entirety in the decision-taking process to appoint former Aruba Minister Plenipotentiary Boekhoudt as the new Governor per January 1, 2017. Pechtold also wanted to know whether this appointment procedure would not create a precedent for the future appointments of Governors.

Plasterk confirmed that the memo was indeed discussed in the Kingdom Council of Ministers in 2001. The memo described an informal procedure, which he stated has no legal basis, has as objective to submit a candidate in a timely fashion before the end of the term of the current Governor.

In the memo, it was stated that the candidate should be able to count on the support of the Kingdom Council of Ministers and that the candidate would be proposed based on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers of the country in question. Upon Pechtold’s request, the Minister supplied the memo to the Dutch Parliament.

Despite the fact that the second term of current Aruba Governor Fredis Refunjol had ended on May 1, 2016, and despite the frequent contact with the Aruba Government, there was no prospect of a recommendation from Aruba that could count on the support of the Kingdom Government, Plasterk explained.

The Kingdom Council of Ministers subsequently decided that the Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations could present a proposal to appoint Boekhoudt. Plasterk assured that in the future, parties would continue to strive to preferably stick to the procedure as stated in the memo and to have a candidate who would have the support of both the country involved and the Kingdom Council of Ministers.

The customary screening of the candidate, which is usually done by the involved country, did not take place in Boekhoudt’s case, Plasterk acknowledged. “In this case the procedure as described in the memo, whereby a written recommendation is made by the Council of Ministers wasn’t followed.”

As such, no screening took place by the Aruba Prime Minister, a procedure that is defined in article 6 and 7 of the Regulation of the Governor. “This screening did take place before Boekhoudt was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary and this has been discussed in talks with the Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations prior to the nomination,” stated Plasterk.

Boekhoudt, who was fired by the Aruba Council of Ministers per November 1, 2016, will be replaced by former Aruba Finance Minister Juan David Yrausquin. Prime Minister Mike Eman supplied the paperwork for Yrausquin’s appointment to Governor Refunjol on Monday.

Also submitted was the documentation to appoint Richard Arends as the new Minister of Economic Affairs. Current Minister of Economic Affairs Mike de Meza will take over the tourism portfolio from Otmar Oduber who resigned last week as Minister because he was discontented with the performance and attitude of the Council of Ministers.

Source: The Daily Herald