October 15, 2012 2:05 PM
ORANJESTAD — Attorney Gabri de Hoogd no longer stands as candidate for the president of the Bar. Until last Friday he was recommended as one of the candidates for president of the Bar of Aruba. The bi-annual election is to take place on Tuesday 6 November.
According to the regulations of the Bar, one of the requirements for nomination is that a candidate holds the position of lawyer on Aruba for six years. Gabri de Hoogd fills his position as lawyer for many years both in the Netherlands and on Aruba. Although he’s been working for Aruba since 2005 he didn’t register officially on the island until June 2007. For that reason the board of the Bar states he doesn’t comply with the requirement of six years (as stipulated in the regulations) and that his candidature is invalid.
However, on being asked De Hoogd said this couldn’t be the real reason because the difference is only six months. “Furthermore, my interpretation is that the regulations mention this stipulation to prevent recommendation of an inexperienced lawyer as president of the Bar.” According to him, ‘the Bar is divided among itself’ and some members of the board give preference to lawyer Kock. “For that matter, I am on good terms with Monica.” He explained he will not act on the board’s advice ‘to take the matter to court’. That would be based on an own interpretation of the regulations itself. “If I were to do this on account of my interpretation I’d make an utter fool of myself.” Furthermore, he finds the state of affairs very undemocratic. “I hope someone will stand up to restore the badly needed homogeneity in the group”, said De Hoogd.
A president stands at the head of the Bar of Aruba and is seated on the board. The president is chosen for a period of two years by the shareholders’ meeting of the Bar. He is chosen as lawyer to supervise the lawyers. Besides receiving all complaints from clients the president also intervenes if for other reasons he has the impression that a lawyer doesn’t observe the rules.
According to the regulations of the Bar, three candidates are to be recommended to nominate a new president. Colleague lawyers are to back these candidates. Last Friday, lawyer Gabri de Hoogd and lawyer Monica Kock were introduced as candidates. Now that De Hoogd withdrew from a candidacy that leaves one candidate. It’s possible that lawyer Dello Gomez puts himself up but that depends on the support from his colleagues. However, this doesn’t mean there are only two candidates for the position of president.
Aruba has approximately 100 lawyers spread over some 45 law offices. Most of the lawyers on Aruba are a member of the Bar of Aruba – although contrary to for example in the Netherlands – the membership is not an obligation. Nevertheless, approximately 80 percent of the lawyers working on Aruba are a member of the Bar. The Bar of Aruba was founded in 1991 and is an association for lawyers working on Aruba. The current president, lawyer Rudy Oomen, fulfills this position since 25 June 2010.