Everything you need to know: Curaçao’s parliamentary process

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Last week, incorrect reports surfaced which stated that the LOK – a bill that would overhaul how gambling is regulated in Curaçao – had been rejected by the region’s parliament. The LOK entered parliament last month.

For the time being, Curaçao operates under the current National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard (NOOGH) legislation.

Subsequently, Javier Silvania, Curaçao’s minister of finance, released a statement condemning the rampant “misinformation” surrounding the LOK.

Silvania made two important clarifications on the process. The first warned against misinformation while the second confirmed that the Curaçao Gaming Control Board’s (GCB) licence issuing process is unchanged.

Now, iGB delves deeper into the process, explaining how legislation moves through the jurisdiction’s parliament.

Why was the LOK misreported as being rejected?

Before any law is submitted to Curaçao’s parliament, draft legislation is sent to the Council of Advice. This is a standard process for every law that is submitted to parliament.

The Council of Advice is a constitutional advisory body that issues advice to Curaçao’s government and parliament on draft laws and administrative measures.

On 12 June 2023, the ministry received a response from the Council regarding the LOK. The response had phrasing that suggested the law could not be presented to parliament. This response was published online on 3 January 2024.

It is possible that this phrasing could be a source of last week’s misreporting. Nevertheless, the demise of the LOK has been greatly amplified – as Mark Twain once famously said: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

As mentioned above, the minister confirmed that the LOK had been submitted to parliament in December, six months after the response from the Council of Advice. This was a revised draft that took the council’s suggestions into consideration.

As the response forms part of the legislative process, it’s fair to assume that the entire response was included in the draft that was submitted at this time.

iGB spoke to Aideen Shortt, advisor to the minister of finance, regarding her thoughts on the misreporting. Shortt reiterated the minister’s prior announcement, which stressed that only the ministry or the GCB can be trusted as sources for official information.

Shortt also slammed the spreading of misinformation.

“How is it even possible that something that hasn’t even gone for a vote has any outcome whatsoever?” she said. “Misinformation is very dangerous and in today’s world we should all know by now that everything published on the internet should be considered as to its source, its quality and its bias.”

What is the timeline and process?

There are multiple stages to legislation being submitted to parliament. Firstly, it is presented to a small group of MPs for assessment. This represents what the minister thought would be a time of “lively and in-depth” debate, as expressed in last week’s statement.

The most crucial aspects of the parliamentary process lie ahead. The draft law will go through a presentation, where MPs can ask questions and make requests. This is followed by a second presentation and debate, which will have taken the first round’s remarks into consideration.

It is only after the second round that the bill goes to a vote by MPs.

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