Bouman back early from advisory work on islands

Former Dutch National Police Chief Gerard Bouman returned prematurely to the Netherlands from his advisory job in the Caribbean Netherlands.

Resigned Dutch National Police Chief Gerard Bouman.
Resigned Dutch National Police Chief Gerard Bouman.

Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur confirmed during a debate in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday that Bouman had returned to the Netherlands after three weeks. The Minister didn’t give a reason for his early return from Bonaire.

On March 17, 2016, Van der Steur informed Parliament that Bouman would be placed in charge of an advisory project of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force KPCN for a period of eight weeks. The advice dealt with the position and future vision of the KPCN.

Bouman resigned as National Police Chief per February 1, 2016, but would remain in service for another 21 months, Van der Steur explained in his letter. During this period, he would keep his salary, amounting to about 185,000 Euros over 2016, look for another job and carry out temporary work.

During the debate with the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Security and Justice about the National Police, Member of Parliament (MP) Madeleine van Toorenburg asked the Minister about Bouman’s temporary advisory job in the Caribbean Netherlands.

Van der Steur confirmed Bouman’s early return, but added that the former police chief would remain available to perform work. Van Toorenburg referred to this as “made-up advisory work” and a “weak argument” to have someone who resigned keep his salary. The MP said she lamented this.

The Caribbean Netherlands Police Union NAPB BES had protested against Bouman’s assignment. The union sent a letter to Van der Steur the day after the Minister’s March 17 announcement in which it called for a review of the decision.

NAPB BES Chairman Charles Mercelina stated that Bouman was not the right person to give advice to the KPCN. The union expressed concerns that Bouman would be looking at KPCN from a Dutch point of view and that he would have little eye for what was deemed important for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

Then there were also Bouman’s offensive remarks in July 2015, that he did not want to cooperate with the St. Maarten Police Force because in his opinion it was corrupt. “The remarks he made about our colleagues in St. Maarten are still fresh in our memory,” said Mercelina.

The Daily Herald.

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