THE HAGUE--The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament is demanding a quick answer from the cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte on media reports that Bonaire politicians Ramonsito Booi and Burney el Hage were watched by the Dutch intelligence and security agency AIVD.
Parliament wants a letter from the Dutch cabinet by Tuesday, 12:00 noon, which clarifies the reasons and background as to why the AIVD spied on Booi and El Hage of Bonaire’s UPB party between 2005 and 2010.
If the answers are not to Parliament’s liking members might very well decide to call in Ministers of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk and Ivo Opstelten of Safety and Justice for a debate.
Initially, Member of the Second Chamber Linda Voortman of the green left party GroenLinks filed a request for a debate with Plasterk and Opstelten, but a majority of Parliament was in favour of asking for a clarifying letter from government first before convening a debate.
Voortman called for a debate during Thursday’s plenary session following the publication of an article in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper that the AIVD spied upon the two Bonaire politicians from 2005 to 2010, at the time of the constitutional negotiations.
Voortman called the eavesdropping, which took place without the knowledge of the Government of the Netherlands Antilles and then Prime Minister Emily de Jongh-Elhage, “a very serious issue.” “We cannot take this lightly,” she said.
Gerard Schouw of the Democratic Party D66 agreed that this was a very serious case and suggested asking the Dutch Government for a clarifying letter. In this letter, which was supported by most parties, the cabinet would also have to explain whether the top of the Ministries of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK and of Safety and Justice (V and J) knew about the AIVD operation in Bonaire. Jeroen Recourt of the Labour Party PvdA said it was “very relevant” to know whether AIVD had operated legally.
The cabinet has to send a letter to the Second Chamber before Tuesday noon, after which Parliament can decide whether a debate is necessary. The agenda point would either be added to the debate on the draft 2014 budget of Kingdom Relations on Wednesday, or a separate plenary meeting will be held on the matter.