Governance & Integrity

Minister Economic Affairs Curaçao Unexpectedly Resigns

Minister of Economic Development, Steven Martina, resigned this afternoon on news that the Public Prosecutor’s Office is looking into potential illegal actions.

Willemstad- One of the more dynamic ministers of the Council of Ministers in Curaçao, Steven Martina, has unexpectedly resigned this afternoon. Minister Martina handed in his resignation to Governor Mrs. Lucille Wout.

In a declaration sent out to local media this afternoon, Martina said he had taken the decision on the news that the Public Prosecutor’s office in Curaçao was looking into an alleged wrongdoing by the Minister.

The suspicion of wrongdoing stems from the fact that Martina holds a number of shares in insurance company Guardian Group. Martina received the shares as part of his remuneration package when he was CEO at Guardian Group. When Martina became Minister in the cabinet led by Eugene Ruggenaath, he put his shares ‘at distance’, said Martina. This in order to avoid a possible conflict of interest.

A potential conflict or interest however, is exactly what the Minister appears to be accused of. According to suspicions by the Prosecutor’s Office, Martina, forming part of the Council of Ministers, was involved in decision making affecting insurance companies on the island and thus, also (the value of) his own shares.

Martina stated in his release that he felt that his (temporary) resignation was the correct thing to do, while the Prosecutor’s office was investigation the alleged wrongdoing. Martina also stated that he trusted that the investigation would, in the end, exonerate him of any wrongdoing.

The minister, also a prominent member of the MAN-party, received a lot of support on social media after his resignation became public, with people wishing him well and also complimenting him for his decision to resign as minister for the duration of the investigation.

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