Eduard Braam, candidate for Minister of Justice for the MFK/PNP coalition, cannot be appointed because he’s a convicted sex offender. This was ruled by the lower court in Curaçao on 7 February 2022 in the case Mr. Braam had filed against Curaçao. According to written statements, Mr. Braam had sex with an underaged person in 2002. His case was built on the legal technicality that even though he was convicted as a sex offender, he never “really got any punishment”. He’s not the only one fighting for a Minister position in this coalition. Ramong Chong, convicted on charges of corruption in 2003, has not shied away from finding loopholes in the law to realize his dreams.
This brings me to the following question. At what point has the Office of Minister become a legal and technical battlefield in which lawyers take the center stage? And at what point did the Office of Minister stop being about the conventions of high standards of ethical conduct, integrity, and honesty? These conventions whilst not in the Constitution help make the Constitution work. Without them, the Constitution is just a legal text. And, unlike laws, these conventions cannot be enforced in the courts.
The reality is that political circumstances will determine what’s required of a minister, and the consequences for not meeting expectations. If we as a country decide that less will be required of a minister, we will have less capable, less honest, and less ethical ministers. Already we’ve seen that the current and former administrations1 have considered loosening integrity requirements for candidate Ministers. If politicians get their way, this may become a reality soon. Braam’s candidacy may have been a victim of bad timing.