WILLEMSTAD - Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath appealed to parliament on Tuesday to agree to the National Ordinance Exceptional Situation. This controversial National Ordinance, which is also described as an emergency law, was extensively discussed on Tuesday during a meeting in the parliament that started in the morning and was suspended late at night.
The new emergency legislation includes laws and regulations that can come into effect during emergencies, such as during a pandemic. These are emergency laws that are ready-to-use, to be used quickly in special situations. Emergency ordinances that are made at the last minute (such as a curfew) also fall under the national ordinance.
There is a lot of criticism from the opposition about the far-reaching power that the government acquires with the law. Rhuggenaath in turn explained that Curaçao is currently under serious threat from the COVID-19 virus. He called the developments worrying.
As an example Rhuggenaath mentioned, among other things, that without emergency law the police cannot issue fines if people do not comply with the COVID-19 measures. It is also difficult to prevent gatherings. And he says that is urgently necessary to ensure that people comply with the measures.
According to the prime minister, earlier objections from parliament have been answered by making various adjustments to the bill proposal. For example, the second memorandum of amendment stipulates that fundamental rights such as freedom of the printing press, inviolability of the home and the confidentiality of letters can only be restricted by means of a national decree. This is to prevent a minister from abusing the emergency law for other purposes.
By taking into account the criticism, both from the population and from the parliament, Rhuggenaath also confirms that this is not an attempt at dictatorship.
The minister also explained that the emergency law can be applied in many emergency situations. Not just in the event of war, as many think. He indicated during the meeting that there is nothing for parliament to do other than adopt the National Ordinance as law, as he believes this is a necessary instrument for the government to be able to act effectively against the COVID-19 crisis.
The debate in parliament will continue on Thursday 3 December. President of Parliamen Ana Maria Pauletta announced this at the end of the long meeting session on Tuesday.