December 04, 2008


"I cannot do this to my friend Paul"

Dutch police commissioner Jan van der Straten actively frustrated investigations on the island of Aruba into the disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway.

Aruba's Justice Minister Rudy Croes confirmed on Thursday that Van der Straten delayed the start of investigations in order to protect his friend, Paulus van der Sloot, the father of Joran who is the main suspect in the case. Paulus was working for the Justice Ministry at the time.

Minister Croes made his public statement about the commissioner's dallying following critical remarks by Van der Straten about Aruba's police. Shortly after Natalee's disappearance in 2005, the Dutch police commissioner was overheard saying "I cannot do this to my friend Paul".

Rudy Croes

The Justice Minister says there were remarkably frequent phone conversations between Jan van der Straten and Paul van der Sloot in the first days after the American teenager went missing.

Carnival policemen

In more detailed criticism, Minister Croes accuses Commissioner Van der Straten of putting a "second rate police team" on the Holloway case. The team consisted of part-time policemen who are hired in to help the regular force during events like carnivals.

The Dutch government is also blamed by Minister Croes for giving insufficient moral support to the Aruban authorities:

"They stand by while Aruba's name is being dragged through the mud. We were asked in 2005 to hide the fact that Joran is a Dutchman. A Dutch minister - I won't say who - personally asked us to present Joran as an Aruban."

Justice Minister Rudy Croes is known for his critical attitude towards the Dutch, Aruba's former coloniser. He said in 2007 that he was in favour of breaking off Aruba's relations with the Netherlands. The statement caused an uproar, coming as it did while negotiations with the Netherlands were going on.

A new political division of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will come into force on 15 December 2010. Aruba will remain a separate country within the Kingdom.


Dutchman Jan van der Straten, who was police commissioner on the Caribbean island of Aruba when US teenager Natalee Holloway disappeared, seriously hindered the investigation in the first few days, Aruban justice minister Rudy Croes is quoted as saying by news agency ANP.

ANP says Croes claims Van der Straten was slow to take action in order to help his friend Paul van der Sloot protect his son Joran, who was suspected of being involved in the disappearance. Such rumours have circulated on the island for some time, ANP says.

According to ANP, Croes made the statement following criticism of the Aruban police force made by Van der Straten earlier this week. Questioning Croes said that Joran and two other suspects were only taken in for questioning 10 days after Holloway went missing ‘when the first days are crucial in a disappearance’.

And he claims he heard Van der Straten say
‘I cannot do that to my friend Paul’.

Croes also claims there were a lot of telephone conversations between Van der Sloot senior and Van der Straten and that a ‘second class’ police team was put on the investigation. ‘It was the team used during the carnival celebrations,’ ANP reports him as saying.

In addition, Croes accuses the Dutch government of failing to provide any moral support to Aruba. He says the Aruban authorities were pressured to present Joran van der Sloot as an Aruban, not a Dutch national. ANP does not say when and where Croes made the comments, or if it had picked them up from another source.

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