Published On: Tue, Jun 25th, 2013
Politics | By Fernando Pico
Transparency International’s Curaçao Study
Highlights Weaknesses In The Public Sector,
Political Parties And Media
BERLIN, WILLEMSTAD - There is a general lack of trust in Curaçao’s key institutions, the anti-
corruption group Transparency International said in a report published today.
This is a major obstacle for strengthening the foundations of this new country and will limit the success
o f any programme addressing corruption and promoting good
Curaçao’s National Integrity System assessment — a study of the island’s most important institutions
for fighting corruption, promoting transparency, increasing accountability and good governance — was
undertaken over the past year and found the public sector, political parties and the media were the
weakest links in the island’s ability to combat corruption.
To increase the level of trust it is necessary to ensure proper procedures and instill integrity into the
country’s institutions. This means guaranteeing adequate accountability provisions that include
whistleblower protection mechanisms, and by enhancing transparency across all sectors of society.
“Corruption is not an isolated phenomenon and fighting it requires all institutions, sectors and people
working together to stand up and put an end to impunity for corruption. Effective prevention of
corruption is the responsibility not just of leaders but of all citizens of Curaçao”, says Alejandro
Salas,Transparency International’s Regional Director for the Americas. “People need to know their
rights and hold their elected politicians accountable.”
The National Integrity System assessment reveals that political parties in Curaçao do not function well
in all aspects. There is a potential risk of dominance of party discipline over governance both among
members of Parliament as well with the Executive. This can hinder the independence of both
institutions and, worryingly, blurs the separation of power as laid out in the Constitution. In addition,
the legislature does not make full use of the oversight instruments at its disposal to hold the Executive
In contrast to political parties, the judiciary, the Ombudsman and the supreme audit and supervisory
institutions score relatively well in the Curaçao National Integrity System assessment. The research
shows that they are largely independent and considered adequately resourced. Thus, they have the
potential to create an effective system of checks-and-balances over the public, private and social sectors
of the country and serve as a key defense against those that repeatedly get away with acts of corruption.
However, this potential is undermined by weaknesses identified in other sectors and areas.
The study illustrates broad concerns about some sectors that should promote integrity. An example of
this is the media. While the legal framework provides an environment which is conducive to the
development of a diverse media landscape, the reality is that there are not enough trained journalists,
especially investigative journalists. The content of media reports is at times influenced by the fact that
many media companies are heavily dependent on private financiers and the advertising market for their
income. Requirements to ensure the integrity of media employees are scarce. This undermines the
independence and the accountability of the media.
Transparency International’s Curaçao National Integrity System assessment clearly shows that although
the legislative framework is fairly strong on the island, there are some considerable gaps between law
and practice in many areas, such as the Parliament and the Executive. In numerous cases,existing
legislation is not applied consistently in practice, and those who are responsible for the execution of the
laws, or are required to comply with them, do not always know how to do so. This is particularly true
with regards to transparency, where much of the information which is legally required to be made
public, such as implementation reports, personnel decisions, and other administrative decisions, are
not consistently or systematically published.
Based on the findings of the Curaçao National Integrity System assessment, Transparency International
recommends the following:
Curaçao must ratify the United Nations Conventions against Corruption as a matter of urgency and
develop an action plan to ensure its implementation and enforcement.
All sectors of society must strive to increase the levels of transparency in their activities, internal
procedures and funding sources. Given the pivotal role played by political parties in the Curaçao
National Integrity System, the transparency of political party financing requires particular attention.
The Government should prioritize funding and capacity building of law enforcement agencies to enable
them to effectively conduct investigations and follow-up on cases put forward by Curaçao’s oversight
agencies (the judiciary, the Ombudsman and the supreme audit and supervisory institutions).
The Executive must work to ensure greater independence and accountability of the public sector. This
entails ensuring that principles of proper administration are followed and that all internal mechanism to
ensure accountability and integrity are in place. Compliance with these mechanisms must be monitored
and sanctions imposed where necessary.
Transparency International is the civil society organization leading the fight against corruption.