(Natural News) Stephen C.A. Walroud, a politician from Curacao, a country in the southern Caribbean, alleged that the Netherlands forced them to adopt a controversial emergency law, dictating how that country fights against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
Curacao is a “constituent country” of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, meaning that it is provided a large degree of autonomy but is still technically not an independent nation. While their constitution affords them a great degree of autonomy, this has not stopped the Dutch government from trying to meddle in the country’s affairs.
This proved true quite recently when the government in Curacao, with the backing of the Dutch government, passed the National Ordinance Exceptional Situation Act, better known as the emergency law. The new law includes a series of policies that the government can quickly enact after the government declares a state of emergency.
Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath explained in his appeal to parliament to pass the act that some of the powers include allowing police to issue fines to people who do not comply with COVID-19 measures and enforcing a ban on large gatherings. He also said that the new law can be used not only during a pandemic but also during wars and invasions, natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other “unusual conditions.”
The law also allows the government to restrict not just freedom of movement but also freedom of expression and the rights of association and demonstration.
Opponents of the bill have criticized the fact that it gives the government certain powers that it did not previously have. Rhuggenaath argued that these powers are necessary because the country is currently going through a serious crisis thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
To appease the bill’s detractors, including some principled opposition coming from within his ruling coalition, Rhuggenaath championed several changes as well as amendments that gave parliament the power to determine how long a state of emergency will last if it is declared and under what specific circumstances government authorities may enter somebody’s private property.
Curacao is already under a state of heavy quarantine, after over 1,200 people – out of a population of around 163,000 – were infected last month.
Starting Dec. 1, the government prevented bars, cafes and restaurants from serving alcohol. They also temporarily banned the public consumption of alcohol. Casinos have been shut down, and restaurants are only allowed to serve people ordering take out.
Minister of Justice Quincy Girigorie said that there is no official lockdown in place, but the existing 9:00 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew has been extended until right before the week of Christmas. (Related: The Dutch are starting to develop antibodies against coronavirus, says new study.)
Walroud claims he was forced to vote for the law
In an interview with the program Virus Truth, Walroud told Dutch entrepreneur Jeroen Pols and biomedical scientist Willem Engel that he basically had no choice but to vote for the law and even argue for its adoption on the parliament floor.
Walroud, a member of the Party for the Restructured Antilles, one of the governing parties in Curacao and the largest party in parliament, became the target of intense anger after a video showing his support for the emergency law went viral. Before the spread of this video, people barely knew about its impending passage in parliament.
In his interview, Walroud argued that if parliament did not pass the law, Curacao could “get code orange or red,” referring to the travel advisories sent out by the Dutch government that controls where tourists are encouraged to and discouraged from traveling.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently has a code yellow advisory for Curacao, which means that non-essential travel to the island is allowed but visitors are strongly recommended to follow local coronavirus restrictions.
If Curacao is placed under a code orange or red travel advisory, their tourism industry will be crippled and they will lose a lot of their revenue. “That leaves a hole in the budget of one billion euros,” said Walroud.
“The treasury has been empty since the first shutdown,” he added. “We have no more strength and are in an impossible situation. We are forced to compromise the living conditions of our population. We are being blackmailed by the world and the Netherlands.”
During his interview, Walroud admitted that the new emergency law has little to do with fighting the virus. This fact was confirmed by Judge Jan de Boer of the Common Court of Justice, a court that deals with constitutional matters. De Boer said that the law was being prepared for over three years, and it was merely an “unfortunate coincidence” that it reached the height of its negotiations during the pandemic.
“It’s all about behavioral changes,” said Walroud, who sees no way out of their current dilemma, as they are being forced to do drastic measures to save their economy.
“There is no majority in parliament for a different policy. The truth about COVID-19 must come to light. The information that is fed to people through the media is actually disinformation. I hope that the situation in the Netherlands will change. Then we go out into the fresh air. We are at the end of the food chain, and as a small island, we have nothing to say. We stand with our backs to the wall.”
Learn more about how other nations are handling the pandemic by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.