Published On: Mon, Dec 12th, 2016

A controversial honeypot

The speed and hurry of the outgoing cabinet to contract the new operator for the Isla refinery and the Bullen Bay has created a lot of unrest in Curacao, Caribisch Netwerk and NOS-correspondent Dick Drayer writes on his blog ‘De Achterkant van Curacao.’ There are proponents, because the honey pot of the Multi-Disciplinary Project Team is again filled to the rim and opponents because there is a honey pot in the first place. Analogous to the sudden urge to do something of the outgoing team in Forti the old cabinet of Whiteman has found a new honeypot: the bachelor training for the police.

This is a prestigious project and the opposition led by Gerrit Schotte protests fiercely against it; rightly so. I have said it here before: projects are the honeypots of politicians, party members and their families. Schotte knows all about that. There is no money to be made from structural policies.

The bachelor training is a honey pot from which those involved are allowed to lick and redistribute 5.6 million guilders. The General Audit Chamber has been asked to take a good look at it and I am willing to give them a hand. Just to put the discussion into perspective:

Carl Camelia, the husband of Minister Suzy Römer has taken or received the initiative for the new bachelor training. First he researched the desirability of such a training and now he is allowed to execute his own recommendations. The honey tastes already sweet before the pot has even been opened.

All public tender rules have been shoved aside by Justice Minister Nelson Navarro, with the approval of Finance Minster José Jardim. Supposedly, they are in a hurry, otherwise the Dutch Police Academy would take over the project.

A remarkable argument, because those who take a look at Camelia’s plan cannot conclude otherwise than that his training program is an exact copy of the bachelor training of the same Police Academy in Apeldoorn. Would they have given permission for this copy and paste plan? And it this is the case, what did he pay for it? Copies are always cheaper than original plans.

More urgent is the question why the public tender rules have been shoved aside in favor of the minister’s husband.

Suzy Camelia-Römer says always that she stays far from Carl’s activities and that there is no influencing. I dare to doubt that.

When Suzy had been a minister for a short period of time, she went to the police academy in Apeldoorn together with Carl. What business does a minister of Transport, Traffic and Urban Planning have there? Recently Camelia was in the news because he was going to establish a training institute for two million guilders for four government-owned companies. Two of them (BTP and UTS) fall under the ministry of…. You already guessed that one.

Why has only Camelia been asked to do the research? There are several other researchers and criminologists on the island who not only have experience with research at the police, but also with training of the police. Nelly Schotborgh for instance, who also did Transparency International; Simone van der Zee, ex-RST and a graduated education expert; Jearine Isabella of the University of Curacao.

Compare these ladies with the scientific qualifications of Camelia. I cannot find them anywhere. What kind of research did he do during the past ten years? What kind of scientific publications has he to his name for this period?

Have we forgotten that Camelia has been kicked out of the University of the Netherlands Antilles and the Intercontinental University of the Caribbean (ICUC) and that he is being prosecuted for his actions there? Camelia pretended that he did the research for the bachelor training from the ICUC and the University of Curacao, but nothing is further from the truth. These two universities protested fiercely when they saw their logos on the report.

Camelia quickly made adjustments and established a company with the same name. Not really honest behavior for someone who want to be a role model as the driving force behind a bachelor training for the police.

But what is even worse in this discussion and the controversy about the bachelor training is that I don’t hear anywhere what the police force in Curacao really needs.

There are quite some reports about this subject and camellia does not mention any of them. Even better: who has ever seen the report camellia uses as the basis for the argument that there should be a bachelor training? The reports of the evaluation committee Law Enforcement 2006? Let that now be a committee that was chaired by his wife Suzy.

There are however several reports from the law enforcement council about the functioning of the police and about police training. The Nyenrode Business University once did an integrity-scan of the police force of the Netherlands Antilles and there is an evaluation report about judicial kingdom laws. Camelia apparently has never heard of their existence.

These reports show totally different needs, like writing a police report in comprehensible Dutch; or how not to stroll with police boots through evidence at a crime scene. There is therefore a need for basic schooling for the middle and lower levels; not for a bachelor training.

There are countless complaints about the quality of our police officers. Not a wrong word about the good ones in the force, because I know a couple of very capable lonely crusaders against crime, but they are surrounded by a much larger group of officers who, to put it mildly, are able to somehow make a mess of things.

Soon the police force will have a hydrocephalus of highly trained and expensive staff that will be absent for years because they have to study. There is already a large gap between the higher and lower educated staffers on the force and that gap will only become larger.

Of course there is work to be done at the police force on all levels, but I think that the copied project of Camellia is not the answer. On top the man is controversial because of his past and his ties to a minister. We must not want this, especially not when it concerns the police.