|Government nv’s not obliged to accept invitations from the Parliament|
|Friday, 8 February 2013 12:40|
WILLEMSTAD — Board of directors of government nv’s are not obliged to accept invitations from the Parliament or committees from the Parliament. The Advisory Council stated this in its advice to the Parliament of Curaçao.Former premier Gerrit Schotte (MFK) had requested this advice in May 2012 after several serious confrontations between the then chairman of the Parliament, Ivar Asjes (PS), the Schotte-cabinet and board of directors of local government companies, but also between the then coalition partners PS and MFK on this subject.
In the first half of 2012 the board of directors of several government nv’s were invited for meetings of the Central Committee of the Parliament. The then government opposed this; several board of directors of government nv’s hadn’t shown up, while others – only after an OK and in the presence of the minister concerned – had spoken to the Parliament. In a letter to Asjes dated March 23rd the then premier Schotte wrote that government entities (nv’s and institutions, (editorial office)) are to give account to the government, not to the Parliament – thus referring to article 28 of the Constitution. This supposedly means that government entities are only to give information to the Parliament through a minister.
Reply to letter
Chairman of the Parliament, Ivar Asjes, had replied to Schotte’s letter in writing on March 28th, stating that the Parliament would continue to perform its duties in accordance with the Regulation of Order of the Parliament, which stipulates that the committees of the Parliament can decide to invite persons or institutions to provide further information required for the work of the committees. After several clashes in the Parliament and refusals from several government nv’s to accept the invitation from the Parliament, Schotte decided advice from the Advisory Council was required. Although this advice had been ready on November 20th 2012 it wasn’t until January 31st 2013 that it was placed on the website of the Advisory Council.
In its advice the Advisory Council wrote that the Regulation of Order of the Parliament is an internal regulation of the Parliament and in that respect third parties are not obliged to appear and give information in a meeting of the Central Committee or in a public meeting of the Parliament. “Government nv’s and institutions have an own internal organization that is embedded in the private law, namely Book 2 of the Civil Code, in which the authorities and responsibilities of the organs of these corporations are regulated. This regulation stipulates that (organs of) government nv’s are not obliged to give account outside the own organization. This also applies for the government institution”, the Advisory Council wrote.
According to the Advisory Council, it is also the minister who is responsible for ‘all policy’ and consequently also for giving account to the Parliament. “By influencing a government nv or institution, the minister is to consider the autonomy of the board of directors in managing the NV or the institution. The internal organization of the artificial persons in public law can be found in the exceptional legal regulations with which these artificial persons are appointed. It should be noted that the public organization law is geared better to transparency and giving account to an authority outside the own organization for the policy pursued. Depending on the contents of the exceptional legal regulation, an artificial person in public law will more or less have to give account to authorities outside the own organization.”
The Advisory Council concludes there is no legal obligation for ‘natural persons and/or artificial persons in private and public law to accept an invitation from the Parliament or a committee from the Parliament or to provide information or answers requested by the Parliament’. “This also applies when information is requested from a legal person established by law and on which the government could exercise influence (artificial person in public law) or an institution with which the government only has a relation as regards subsidy.”