13 April 2016

U.S. bill would remove financial management from Puerto Rico

on April 12, 2016
SAN JUAN – The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources released Tuesday H.R. 4900, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which if passed as is will impose a seven-member financial oversight board over Puerto Rico that would be appointed by the president and will have broad encompassing powers over the island.

The Financial Oversight & Management Board’s members would be selected from a list of candidates submitted by the U.S. House speaker, Senate majority leader, and minority leaders of the House and Senate. The board, which will have offices in Puerto Rico and anywhere else needed, will appoint an executive director.

The governor of Puerto Rico would be an ex-oficio member without voting powers.


Compañeros Unidos para la Descolonización de Puerto Rico: Cita Patriótica ONU Junio 2012

This year, 2016, marks a new era in Caribbean colonialism.
The US Congress is preparing a "Financial Control Authority," which will supervise the finances of the entire government of Puerto Rico -- its legislature and courts, public authorities, pension system and all leases, union contracts and collective bargaining agreements. The authority will also restructure the entire public workforce (including teachers and police), freeze public pensions and ensure "the payment of debt obligations." Then it will issue its own debt, spend the funds as it sees fit and leave Puerto Rico to pay the bill.

Congress can veto any law passed in Puerto Rico

The authority will also have prosecutorial powers. It will be empowered to "conduct necessary investigations" into the government of Puerto Rico, or in other words, be empowered to hold hearings, secure government records, demand evidence, take testimony, subpoena witnesses and administer oaths -- under penalty of perjury -- to all witnesses.

Any witness who fails to appear or to supply information will be subject to criminal prosecution and removal from office. This includes any elected official on the island: even the governor and attorney general.

All of these powers are enumerated in the 157-page Senate Bill 2381, also known as the "Puerto Rico Assistance Act of 2015," which is currently under review in the US Senate.



Intelligence service AIVD unjustly collected information on Bonaire former minister and deputy Jopie Abraham while he was negotiating Bonaire joining the Netherlands, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs admitted in a letter to Abraham, NRC reports. 
(Bonaire became a Dutch 'public entity' under partial integratiion. A subsequent referendum on the island rejected the status after the five year period ending in 2015 - OTR)  
The CTIVD, the committee that oversees and supervises the intelligence services in the Netherlands, launched an investigation after Abraham filed a complaint last year. The complaint regarded the AIVD’s actions between 2005 and 2010. Abraham believes that the AIVD spied on Bonaire politicians while they negotiated with the Dutch government on joining the Netherlands Bonaire became part of the Netherlands in 2010.
According to Plasterk, the CTIVD advised him to declare Abraham’s complaint “partly justified and partly unfounded”. The reasons behind this advice are confidential. Plasterk states that the CTIVD found the AIVD’s actions “largely just”. “However, in respect of a short period, the CTIVD came to the conclusion that no investigation should have been carried out, so that part of the investigation is unlawful.” the Minister wrote to Abraham.
Exactly why the investigation was unlawful during that “short period”, the Minister does not say. But he does add that “measures” were now taken to prevent similar circumstances in the future.


The Daily Herald
Sint Maarten

THE HAGUE--The Dutch intelligence and security service AIVD acted partially on illegal grounds when it gathered information on the now retired Bonaire politician Jopie Abraham in the period 2005-2010, concluded the Committee of Supervision on the Intelligence and Security Agencies CTIVD recently.

The Dutch newspaper NRC revealed on Friday that Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk sent a letter to Abraham of the Bonaire Democratic Party PDB on Tuesday in which he informed the former Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, and Commissioner and Member of the Island Council of Bonaire, of the results of the investigation by the CTIVD.

Abraham had filed a formal complaint in August and September 2015 against the conduct of the AIVD in the period January 2005 to October 2010. Abraham accused the AIVD of spying on Bonaire politicians during the negotiations with the Dutch Government in the process to dismantle the Netherlands Antilles and to make Bonaire part of the Netherlands. 

Plasterk’s letter dated March 29, 2016, a copy of which has been supplied to The Daily Herald, stated that the CTIVD had advised to declare Abraham’s complaint “partially founded” and “partially unfounded.”

However, the Minister couldn’t supply the motivation of the CTIVD because the committee’s report is filed as classified. The law states that data that can give an indication as to the identity of a source, an ongoing investigation or investigation method cannot be made public. As such the CTIVD report will remain classified. “I cannot send you the report,” Plasterk informed Abraham.

The Minister stated that he was unable to divulge whether the AIVD investigation, which he said was based on its legal task description, was carried out in the Netherlands or outside. “I can also not provide information on the way the investigation was carried out.”

Plasterk remained unclear as to the period that the AIVD investigation covered. However, the CTIVD concluded that no investigation by the AIVD during a “short period,” and as such this part of the investigation should be considered “illegal.”

In concluding, Plasterk stated that Abraham’s complaint for the largest part of the period in question was unfounded. This means, explained the Minister, “that in this period no investigation was carried out of your person, be it that this investigation largely took place legally.” 

Plasterk stated that “measures” were taken in the meantime. He pointed out to Abraham that the latter had the right to turn to the National Ombudsman regarding the handling of his complaint. When contacted by The Daily Herald for a reaction, Abraham responded that at this moment he had no comment as he was considering what his possible next step would be.

Abraham did supply his March 17, 2016 letter to Plasterk in which he urged the Minister to immediately respond to his complaint. “The handling of my complaint is starting to turn into a comedy,” stated the retired Bonaire politician.

In his letter, Abraham pointed out that in January he was informed by the CTIVD that its advice had been forwarded to the Minister. “It is now nine weeks later, and you repeatedly ask for postponement. In February you again ask for a postponement of four weeks. This was five weeks ago, and still I haven’t received a reaction,” stated an obviously irate Abraham. 

Abraham’s struggle to get more information about his suspicions that he had been the subject of investigation dates back to September 2014, when requested to see his AIVD dossier. He received confirmation from Plasterk that there was information on him at the AIVD, but that this could not be supplied to him.

Abraham filed a complaint, and was able to elucidate on his grievances during a hearing with the AIVD in May 2015. In July 2015, Plasterk again refused Abraham to see his AIVD dossier, for “reasons of national security.” Initially, Plasterk refused to take Abraham’s complaint about the working method of the AIVD into consideration. This decision was retracted shortly after. A hearing with the CTIVD took place in October 2015.

In 2013, the NRC newspaper disclosed that the AIVD from 2005 to 2010 had spied on several Bonaire politicians: Ramonsito Booi and Burney El Hage, both of the UPB party, and Abraham.

NRC reported that it concerned an illegal operation which was kept secret from the then Netherlands Antilles Government. It turned out that the AIVD didn’t have the required permission of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles at the time, Emily de Jongh-Elhage.