Monday, Jul 06th

LATEST:
You are here: Islands Islands News Parliament wants answers on spying on Booi, El Hage

health-city-587x73-3

Parliament wants answers on spying on Booi, El Hage

THE HAGUE--The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament is demanding a quick answer from the cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte on media reports that Bonaire politicians Ramonsito Booi and Burney el Hage were watched by the Dutch intelligence and security agency AIVD.

Parliament wants a letter from the Dutch cabinet by Tuesday, 12:00 noon, which clarifies the reasons and background as to why the AIVD spied on Booi and El Hage of Bonaire’s UPB party between 2005 and 2010.

If the answers are not to Parliament’s liking members might very well decide to call in Ministers of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk and Ivo Opstelten of Safety and Justice for a debate.

Initially, Member of the Second Chamber Linda Voortman of the green left party GroenLinks filed a request for a debate with Plasterk and Opstelten, but a majority of Parliament was in favour of asking for a clarifying letter from government first before convening a debate.

Voortman called for a debate during Thursday’s plenary session following the publication of an article in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper that the AIVD spied upon the two Bonaire politicians from 2005 to 2010, at the time of the constitutional negotiations.

Voortman called the eavesdropping, which took place without the knowledge of the Government of the Netherlands Antilles and then Prime Minister Emily de Jongh-Elhage, “a very serious issue.” “We cannot take this lightly,” she said.

Gerard Schouw of the Democratic Party D66 agreed that this was a very serious case and suggested asking the Dutch Government for a clarifying letter. In this letter, which was supported by most parties, the cabinet would also have to explain whether the top of the Ministries of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK and of Safety and Justice (V and J) knew about the AIVD operation in Bonaire. Jeroen Recourt of the Labour Party PvdA said it was “very relevant” to know whether AIVD had operated legally.

The cabinet has to send a letter to the Second Chamber before Tuesday noon, after which Parliament can decide whether a debate is necessary. The agenda point would either be added to the debate on the draft 2014 budget of Kingdom Relations on Wednesday, or a separate plenary meeting will be held on the matter.

Member of Parliament (MP) Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) said that this latest event showed how bad the relations between the Netherlands and the overseas countries of the Kingdom are. “It shows how forced the relations are and how big the distrust is. We pretend to be friends while at the same time we dispatch intelligence agencies to each other,” he said.

Action is merited if the article in the NRC Handelsblad is indeed true. It means that AIVD would have operated illegally because there was no approval from the Government of the Netherlands Antilles or from AIVD’s Antillean counterpart, the VNA. “A secret service also has to stick to the rules,” said Van Raak.

The MP did not want to anticipate the possible consequences of the alleged illegal operations by AIVD in Bonaire on the criminal case against Booi and El Hage. “But, I fear that this action will only strengthen their position in the Court,” he said.

The Court case will start Monday, November 25. Booi and El Hage have to appear before the judge on several charges. Both politicians have been charged with corruption. Booi is also charged with forgery of a notary deed, while El Hage is suspected of having committed fraud in connection with his mortgage.

The suspects’ lawyer Gert-Jan Knoops said that he plans to bring up the matter of the alleged-illegal spying by AIVD in Court. “Something illegal may have happened. We have to look into the implications and the effect that this might have on the case,” he said.

Knoops said the revelations in the NRC Handelsblad took him by surprise. “Considering this new information, we will have to adapt our own investigation. I don’t know as yet how we will do that. But it is certainly relevant for the criminal case against my clients,” he said. Knoops might initiate his own investigation into the matter, but he might also request the Court to do so.

The information on Booi and El Hage was gathered by an AIVD informant. It was this informant who spoke to NRC Handelsblad journalist Joep Dohmen. According to the informant, whose name has not been released, the contact with AIVD was established through the then acting Representative of the Dutch Government in Willemstad Vincent Stokman.

Stokman, who worked in St. Maarten as the Representative of the Dutch Government in Philipsburg between 2003 and 2005 before going to Curaçao, apparently set up an appointment between the informant and the AIVD liaison in Aruba, who in turn arranged contact with the secret service in the Netherlands.

According to the newspaper it was understandable that AIVD was interested in collecting information in Bonaire because for more than 20 years there were reports of corruption and integrity violations by members of the local government. The newspaper said it was general knowledge that Booi used his political power to enrich himself.

The informant reported to AIVD in detail about the transactions and the real estate deals in which Booi and El Hage were involved. He provided information on the actions by Booi, El Hage and others to set up illegal constructions to evade taxes. “I listened, gathered information and the AIVD absorbed it,” the informant told the NRC.

The informant stopped his operations in 2008, after an AIVD agent told him at a debriefing in the Netherlands that he had been exposed and that it was no longer safe to do his work in Bonaire. The informant said that AIVD told him not to get in contact with them and to wait until they got in touch with him. “They never answered emails or Skype requests after that,” the informant told the newspaper.

The NRC reported that the AIVD information was not part of the criminal dossier against Booi and El Hage.

Image
Island Gems assists with SESSAD new playground
Monday, 06 July 2015
MARIGOT--With children and education at the core of its criteria for grants, Island Gems Charity... Read more...
Connor talks aviation, maritime matters with Curaçao and Aruba
Monday, 06 July 2015
PHILIPSBURG--Issues related to aviation and maritime affairs were discussed when St. Maarten’s... Read more...
Image
Son of opposition party activist gunned down at Trinidad mosque
Monday, 06 July 2015
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--The 28-year-old son of a well-known People's National Movement (PNM)... Read more...
Image
Haiti gets funds to better prepare for hurricanes and other extreme weather
Friday, 03 July 2015
WASHINGTON, DC--The World Bank's Board of Directors has approved US $5 million to help Haiti... Read more...
Image
America celebrates July 4 with hot dogs and barbecues amid tightened security
Monday, 06 July 2015
NEW YORK--Americans marched in star-spangled parades, ran relay races, gathered for fireworks shows... Read more...
Image
US floats draft recovery plan for threatened polar bears
Friday, 03 July 2015
WASHINGTON--U.S. wildlife managers have released a draft plan for stemming the decline of polar... Read more...
Image
Pope comes 'home' to South America to defend planet and the poor
Monday, 06 July 2015
QUITO--Laughing as his cap flew off in the Andean highland wind, Pope Francis flew into Ecuador on... Read more...
Image
Congress vice-president held in Honduran corruption case
Monday, 06 July 2015
TEGUCIGALPA--A Honduran judge has ordered that Congress vice-president Lena Gutierrez, along with... Read more...
Image
Greeks defy Europe with overwhelming referendum 'No'
Monday, 06 July 2015
ATHENS--Greeks overwhelmingly rejected conditions of a rescue package from creditors on Sunday,... Read more...
Image
French renewables power grid pilot shows limits of batteries in Europe
Monday, 06 July 2015
NICE, France--A major pilot project by Europe's largest power network operator to integrate power... Read more...
Image
Lopsided flight
Monday, 06 July 2015
Dear Editor, I have taken note on the press release by the Board of the UPP, pertaining to the... Read more...
Image
Reluctant hostess
Monday, 06 July 2015
Dear Queenie, I make a point of cooking nutritious meals and I don’t keep junk food in the... Read more...
Image
Eruption in Paradise a dud
Monday, 06 July 2015
PHILIPSBURG--Eruption in Paradise was a dud.  Bobby Ottley from BOSE Promotions had promised... Read more...
Image
Happy Hamilton a home winner at Silverstone
Monday, 06 July 2015
SILVERSTONE, England-- Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton soaked up the energy of a roaring... Read more...
Image
Well-wishers swoon as Britain's Princess Charlotte christened
Monday, 06 July 2015
LONDON--Britain's Princess Charlotte, the baby daughter of Prince William and his wife Kate, was... Read more...
Image
Drinkers raise glass to a crash in London stock-exchange bar
Monday, 06 July 2015
LONDON--There is no shortage of liquidity at London's first stock exchange-themed bar, where beer... Read more...
Refrain from labelling students
Friday, 03 July 2015
By Terry Nisbett   The principal of a special education school in Jamaica has found that... Read more...
Image
Steam locomotives helped open the United States
Friday, 03 July 2015
You know the sound, chu-chu-chu and the high whine of a whistle blowing smoke. The sound is... Read more...
Editorial - To be continued
Monday, 06 July 2015
The verdict in the case brought by two staffers of St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation... Read more...
Editorial - Effective deterrent
Friday, 03 July 2015
Some idiot found it necessary to not only seriously inconvenience thousands of people, but also... Read more...
Image
Monday July 06, 2015
Monday, 06 July 2015
Image
Saturday July 04, 2015
Friday, 03 July 2015
Notices July 6
Monday, 06 July 2015
Teachers, Volunteers Needed I Too Can Learn (ITCL) Foundation is seeking teachers (Special Ed) and... Read more...
Notices July 4
Friday, 03 July 2015
Teachers, Volunteers Needed I Too Can Learn (ITCL) Foundation is seeking teachers (Special Ed) and... Read more...