Law Firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne
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Government & Public Sector

Based on a constitution, a government has the authority to make and enforce rules, laws and regulations. The public sector, often referred to as the administration, is its “executive body”, dealing for example with the delivery of social security, urban planning and the organization of many other public services. Relations between the public and private sector are often interpreted in legal terms. Decision-making and other acts by administrative bodies are frequently disputed in court. Maybe this is even more so in the Caribbean because of the influence from the United States.

As of 10 October 2010, the country the Netherlands Antilles – comprising the islands of Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba – ceased to exist. This entails that since 10 October 2010, the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprises of four constituent countries: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, each having an autonomous status, subject to and in accordance with the “Charter of the Kingdom of The Netherlands" (Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden). The islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, also referred to as the BES-islands, are all individual public entities (municipalities) within the country the Netherlands since 10 October 2010.

We are very experienced in working with and within governmental and other public sector organizations. We advise, assist in transactions and, if need be, are active in dispute resolution. We offer specific and detailed expertise not only in all areas of administrative law, such as zoning and environmental law, but also in contract law and government liability.

Our government and public sector team consists of specialists from across the firm, particularly those in the fields of corporate, financial, real estate and insurance law. They provide full-service assistance in matters relating to public-private partnerships (PPP), privatizations, procurement and proceedings involving various supervisory authorities. We also advise on issues regarding financial (regulatory) legislation. Our experience in working with the government gives us knowledge and understanding of procedures and the distribution of powers within governmental organizations. This combination of expertise and experience has given us an outstanding reputation in this market.

Recently we have assisted:
  • Aqualectra, the Curaçao state-owned utility company, in legal proceedings against the World Trade Center in Curaçao regarding a claim of USD 5.8 mln. due to unregistered consumption.
  • Bonaire Holding Maatschappij (BHM) and its subsidiaries in an integral program determining and improving compliance with the Code Corporate Governance Bonaire
  • Bonaire’s community solar project in its realization and procurement
  • Bonaire’s housing association and utilities companies regarding procurement and contracting
  • State-owned telecom provider UTS in a dispute with the Curaçao Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer Curaçao or ARC), who had been instructed by the Parliament to audit the regulatory and efficiency of policies at the company.
  • The public entity of Saba with adjusting its legislation to the new BES-legislation after the constitutional changes of 10/10/2010
  • The Aruba National Park and Nature Reserve in summary proceedings filed against the Park
  • The central Kingdom government in various public service proceedings.
  • The Curaçao government in high-profile administrative court proceedings regarding the rates for the return supply of solar energy.
  • The Minister of Tourism in Aruba with the introduction of a new national ordinance that contains a special licensing system for all-inclusive accommodations.
  • The public entity of Saba with the privatization of the A.M. Edwards Medical Center on Saba
  • The State of the Netherlands in a test case in connection with the changes in the legislation on Bonaire.
  • Water- and Electricity Company Bonaire in various employment matters.
  • “Stichting Monumentenzorg” (Foundation for the preservation of historic buildings and sites) and Sea Shore Propoerties N.V., as owners of a large part of the Jan Kok area in Curacao, with regard to the damage to this nature reserve as a result of an oil spill in 2012
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