June 26, 2009


Aruba will approach UN if the Netherlands
enforce corruption investigation

ORANJESTAD — Aruba is contemplating an official compliant with the committee for decolonization of the United Nations, if the Netherlands enforce the investigation on corruption and misgovernment without the cooperation of the island.

“Over my dead body!”

Premier Nelson Oduber (MEP) responds to the news that the Netherlands if necessary will execute the investigation without cooperation.

He insists: Aruba will not cooperate.

The Premier emphasizes once again, that the Netherlands cannot carry out an investigation on the functioning of the democracy and the constitutional state, without the cooperation of Aruba. The Kingdom government can intervene if there is a question of a serious threat of these two points based on the Statute, but there is no question of that according to Oduber.

He also had a message for Guusje (the Dutch minister of Internal Affairs, PvdA): “read the Statue and explain to me how you are going to carry out this investigation, as the cooperation of the Public Prosecutor and the police is required, and these resort under Aruba”.

The enforcing of an investigation is considered by Aruba as tarnishing of the self-government and this is in defiance of the international treaties according to the Premier. Moreover, he seriously wonders whether Aruba should remain in the Kingdom.

“They call us villains, for everything; whilst not so long ago, we were quoted as an example in the Kingdom for the success of the separate status, by the same parliamentarians. If they continue to kick us around, there will come a time that we must confer with the population whether we should step out.”

Oduber stated that it would be wise if Minister of Justice Rudy Croes (MEP) would meanwhile take up the matter with the United Nations committee in London. In any case, he is not frightened. “I will calmly wait how they will go about this, as we will not cooperate. If the Netherlands subsequently takes measures against Aruba, then we will cross that bridge when we get there.”

State Council of Ministers

The Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba in the Netherlands, Frido Croes, will disclose Aruba’s official reaction today, in which amongst others, the matter of the salary increases of the members of the Communal Court of Justice (and the Public Prosecutor) is mentioned.

Aruba is of the opinion that in an investigation on corruption, the role of the State Council of Ministers must be considered, as they namely neglected giving their approval upon the assessment thereof. The assessment of the new salary structure/legal position was established against the legal rules, says Aruba. After all, the Antillean government should have first consulted with Aruba on this matter. Furthermore, the judges personally drew up the Land Resolutions without the official personnel procedure and then submitted these directly to the Antillean Minister of Justice, according to Aruba. The Antillean Minister of Justice then had the Governor ratify the resolutions.

Aruba states that they verbally raised this matter with the Dutch Minister of Justice, Ernst Hirsch Ballin. However, no action was even taken.

Plan of approach

This morning, Premier Oduber said that in spite of the current escalation, he stills considers the conversation with the Dutch State Secretary Ank Bijleveld-Schouten (Kingdom Relations, CDA) of last Monday as positive. “We made good agreements. The problem is that in this case, her boss is answerable to the Upper Chamber, and that’s when they will drop us.”

Oduber is now strongly considering whether to broadcast this sort of consultations. “As each time we consult, it seems they hear different things and then something different appears in writing.” According to him, Bijleveld did promise on Monday, that the agreed upon ‘plan of approach’ to improve the functioning of the democracy and the constitutional state will be available only after the elections in September.


The comment of the Dutch PVV-parliamentarian Hero Brinkman –who called Nelson Oduber (MEP) one of the largest criminals on the island – elicited heated reactions on Aruba, especially from the party favored by the press.

The headline of the newspaper Solo di Pueblo on the front page read: “Brinkman’s mother is a villain!” Oduber stated that Brinkman himself should be investigated. “Ask him why he left the police corps. If we on Aruba are villains, then he is the villain of the police.”

Politicians of the opposition responded positively to the announced investigation by the Netherlands. “Nel is now being taken by his own horns”, says parliamentarian Otmar Oduber (AVP) referring to Oduber’s nickname: the Premier is called ‘old bull’. RED states to support the Dutch Minister Guusje ter Horst: “The Oduber cabinet defaced the international image of Aruba.”

Attorney General ‘biased’

According to Premier Nelson Oduber (MEP), the Netherlands does not want to include the Aruban Attorney General Rob Pietersz in the study group with which Aruba initially wanted to carry out the investigation on corruption with the Netherlands. Oduber stated this earlier in a letter to his Dutch colleague Jan Peter Balkenende.

An Aruban-Dutch study group consisting of amongst others members of the Advisory Council, the Council of State, and therefore also the Attorney General, would investigate what the true facts were on misgovernment and corruption – which State Secretary Ank Bijleveld-Schouten (CDA) of Kingdom Relations reported to the Dutch parliament. However, Bijleveld told Oduber that the Attorney General could not be included in the study group, as he was ‘biased’.

June 23, 2009


The Kristen Foundation for missing adults is hosting a remembrance ceremony at Frazier Park tonight for people who have disappeared.

The foundation will lay memorial bricks for missing people who've made national headlines in recent months – Natalee Holloway, a teenager who disappeared in Aruba in May 2005 while on a graduation trip;

Jamie Fraley, a 22-year-old from Gaston County missing since April 2008, and Carla Vicentini, a 26-year-old missing from New Jersey since 2006, according to Joan Petruski, who started the foundation.

The candlelight ceremony will also include a tribute to Nikki McPhatter, who was missing for weeks before her burned body was located in South Carolina.

The Kristen Foundation offered a reward for information about McPhatter's disappearance shortly before her body was found.

Petruski started The Kristen Foundation in 1999 after Kristen Modafferi, a Charlotte woman who disappeared a decade ago while working and studying in San Francisco. The organization raises money to help families pay for the costs of searching for missing adults.

The Kristen Foundation
2330 Bonnie Butler Way
Charlotte, NC 28270-4415
(704) 996-5066


June 16, 2009


WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration on Tuesday expanded the U.S. watchlist of countries suspected of not doing enough to combat human trafficking, putting more than four dozen nations on notice that they may face sanctions unless their records improve.

The State Department's annual "Trafficking in Persons Report," the first released since President Barack Obama took office, placed 52 countries and territories -- mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East -- on the watchlist. That number is a 30 percent jump from the 40 countries on the list in 2008.

Several previously-cited nations were removed from the list, but new countries cited for human trafficking problems include Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Iraq, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Senegal and the United Arab Emirates, according to the report.

The report also placed the Netherlands' Antilles, a self-governing Dutch territory in the Caribbean, on the watchlist.

"With this report, we hope to shine the light brightly on the scope and scale of modern slavery so all governments can see where progress has been made and where more is needed," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said as she released the 320-page document.

Inclusion on the watchlist means those countries' governments are not fully complying with minimum standards set by U.S. law for cooperating in efforts to reduce the rise of human trafficking -- a common denominator in the sex trade, coerced labor and recruitment of child soldiers.

If a country appears on the list for two consecutive years it can be subject to U.S. sanctions.

Seventeen nations, up from 14 in 2008, are now subject to the trafficking sanctions, which can include a ban on non-humanitarian and trade-related aid and U.S. opposition to loans and credits from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The penalties can be waived if the president determines it is in U.S. national interest to do so.

Those 17 countries include traditional U.S. foes like Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, but also American allies and friends such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Malaysia, another U.S. partner was added to the list of worst offenders as were Zimbabwe, Chad, Eritrea, Mauritania, Niger, and Swaziland.