How was it possible that the construction of the CMC hospital in Curaçao cost more than 200 million guilders extra? Former MP Melvin Cijntje believes the parliamentary investigation into this is unnecessary. Justice should look at whether politicians should appear in criminal court, he says.

The high costs for the hospital have, among other things, led to a high debt position for the CMC. The people of Curaçao – the taxpayers – have suffered from this, says Cijntje. “The guilty parties have been known for a long time.”

In the coming months, the Curaçao parliament will investigate with the ‘Temporary Committee Hospital Nobo Otrobanda’ how the hospital cost more than 200 million guilders more than originally planned.

The committee of inquiry wants to find out exactly how the decision-making process by those politically responsible took place. Parliament will study various relevant hearings and documents.

‘Wasted money’

Former parliamentarian for the Pueblo Soberano party Melvin ‘Mac’ Cijntje thinks the entire committee is ‘wasted money’. He believes that parliament should send a 2017 report to the Public Prosecution Service so that the possible perpetrators can be prosecuted.

The report that Cijntje refers to was written by the Belgian organization VK Architects in 2017. According to him, a report was commissioned in 2016 by the then Minister of Health Siegfried Victorina, who passed away in October this year.

“It emerged that then Prime Ministers Ivar Asjes and Ben Whiteman were politically responsible for the fact that the planned costs increased from 400 million to 600 million.” According to him, this happened based on unclear decisions.

Extra floors

Cijntje explains that the original plan to build a hospital on the Aqualectra site near the Nieuwe Haven was much simpler. “It was then decided to build it in Otrobanda and all kinds of extra floors were added.”

“As prime minister, Asjes and Whiteman made wrong decisions about the construction of the hospital when I was still a member of the same party. But that does not stop me from asking that the Public Prosecution Service investigate the actions of the two.”

Cijntje was a member of the States of Curaçao from 2012 to 2017 on behalf of the Pueblo Soberano party. After the murder of Pueblo Soberano (PS) leader Helmin Wiels on May 5, 2013, Cijntje became the faction leader in Parliament for PS. He left the party after former Prime Minister Ben Whiteman became party leader in 2018.

HNO Temporary Committee

The HNO Temporary Committee consists of six parliamentarians from the six factions in the Staten: Michelangelo Martinez (KEM), Rennox Calmes (Trabou pa Kòrsou), Gwendell Mercelina (PNP), Ana- Maria Pauletta (PAR), Giselle McWilliam ( MAN) and chairman Eduard Braam (MFK). A team of specialists supports the committee.

Two public meetings have already been held (on December 2: in the morning in Barber and the afternoon in Montaña Rey) and a survey has been launched to gauge the opinion of the population about the work of the HNO Temporary Committee.

Three scientific researchers sift through the documents and, together with the members of the HNO Temporary Committee, determine who should be interrogated.

There is also a sounding board group at work that provides advice to the HNO Temporary Committee. The sounding board group consists of Arjan Vliegenthart (director of Nibud), Professor Marcel Levi (chairman of NWO), Professor Rogier Lodewijks (constitutional and administrative law), and Professor Eline Altenburg-van den Broek (health economist and epidemiologist).