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Editorial - Held accountable

Although independent (former DP) parliamentarian Cornelius de Weever did not win his lawsuit against member of the Dutch Second Chamber André Bosman (see related story) in the sense of his demands for rectification and damage compensation, the verdict was nevertheless significant for the future. The VVD politician does not have to retract his words due to the time passed since uttering them, but they were considered “illegitimate” and he basically received a slap on the wrist.

Perhaps more important, the court confirmed that parliamentary immunity is only enjoyed during meetings of the legislature. This means those in The Hague who have made it a habit to throw out serious accusations lacking proof against people on the islands, in the corridors or wherever else outside the assembly hall, run the risk of being held accountable for such.

Bosman said the ruling somewhat restricted his work, but that he would continue with the task of addressing issues of abuse. That is his good right, but he will need to support any allegations with facts if he doesn’t want to end up in front of the judge again.

Claiming that Bosman was responsible for supposed threats against De Weever, who basically pulled the plug out of the intended NA/DP/US government in favour of a UP-led coalition, indeed seemed a bit much. After all, any anger directed at the former minister probably would not have been based only on the suggestion that he had been bought, but rather on the act itself.

Of course, the reality is also that a first-time legislator in St. Maarten recently revealed he had been offered money twice to join another party without going into further detail, while there was a vote-buying case not too long ago as well. Still, elected representatives on both sides of the ocean would do well to think a bit more before they speak especially about each other.

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