Published On: Sat, Jan 8th, 2022

Desperate deeds

By Hilbert Haar

One would think that discussing the suspension of a parliamentarian who has just been sentenced for corruption and forgery is an excellent opportunity for the remaining members of parliament to take stand against these practices.

That’s not what happened when the suspension of MP Claudius Buncamper was on the agenda on Thursday. Let’s not forget that, according to the court ruling of December 23, 2021, Buncamper handsomely lined his pockets while he made a mess of the management of the dump. People suffered, while this esteemed representative of the people fattened his bank account.

So what did parliamentarians have to say about all this? Well, they were sorry to lose MP Buncamper. It was unfortunate. He exercised his responsibilities very well. He was a respected MP. The prosecutor’s office has too much influence in the political arena.

The prosecutor’s office works for the minister of justice, not the other way around. We have to review the constitution; and on and on.

The thing is of course that the constitution is very clear. Read article 50.2.b and there is no doubt whatsoever: a parliamentarian who is sent to prison is suspended. By law. End of story.

But some of the remaining fourteen parliamentarians suddenly were not happy with the constitution that has been in place for more than ten years. Go figure.

I think that, if the attorney-general had not sent his letter to Minister of Justice Anna Richardson, nothing would have happened. Politicians swear to uphold the constitution but when it affects one of their own, the corrupt colleague is not wrong; the constitution is wrong – or at least, unclear.

After the December 23 court ruling that went against Buncamper, Justice Minister Anna Richardson could have sprung into action. She could have informed Parliament about the suspension and she could have sent a letter to the Central Voting Bureau to settle his succession.

So the question MPs should have asked is his one: why did the minister of justice not do anything? Why wait for a letter from the attorney-general that could not be ignored?

This is such a bizarre situation. Politicians seem to have a tendency to stick together, no matter what. That is not good, not good at all. In a strong democracy the people’s representatives live up to their responsibilities. They are accountable. They step down when their presence damages the country’s image. They are free to contest any conviction in a civilized manner. But if they begin to attack the prosecutor’s office (during the Eco Green trial Buncamper said that the prosecutor’s office was corrupt) then you know the game is up.

Een kat in het nauw maakt rare sprongen. In other words, desperate needs lead to desperate deeds.


Related article:
Parliament handles MP Buncamper’s suspension with kid’s gloves