‘Expel Black critics from PvdA Zuidoost’
28 May 2007 - The Van Thijn Committee, which
investigated allegations of abuses among the PvdA Zuidoost, wants
Black critics expelled from the party. District chairwoman Elvira
Sweet is criticised for being secretive about drinking and driving
committee headed by Ed van Thijn was installed by the PvdA
after a report in de Volkskrant in October last year, suggesting
that politicians used subsidies to buy political power. There was
also criticism about the way in which the candidates for last year’s
municipal elections had been selected.
The committee takes sides with local party chairman Nick Bolte,
who would have shown leadership under difficult circumstances. Meanwhile,
the committee passes a harsh judgement on Black critics within the
party, organised in the Forum for Democracy, Equality and Justice.
According to the committee, members of the Forum ruin the atmosphere
within the local PvdA by expressing severe criticism on party members,
frequently using ‘racist terms’. The Forum speaks of
a White Clan controlling the party with the help of Black fellow
The committee asks the party to deal with the Forum on the basis
of article six of the byelaws. This article deals with ending party
Wesley Amzand, who challenged Sweet for the party leadership, is
also severely criticised. The committee has the impression that
he has engaged in dubious recruitment practices.
This would appear from the fact that dozens of members support
him anonymously, while nobody takes his side during public meetings.
In 2001, Amzand was accused of recruiting new members on massive
scale to have them support his candidacy.
The committee is considerably more lenient with Sweet (photo),
although she should have more actively provided information on two
drinking and driving violations.
According to the PvdA’s current integrity code, such behaviour
might have been a reason to take measures against her, but that
code was not yet in effect at the time, the committee says.
The Van Thijn Committee’s report makes a somewhat strange
impression, because it largely ignores the criticism in the Volkskrant
article that was the reason to start the investigation.
To some extent, this can be explained from the fact that the committee
was not asked to investigate the way in which subsidies have been
awarded. The Accounting Office and the Municipal Integrity Bureau
are investigating this issue.
This does mean that there is still unfinished business, as the
committee is well aware. If evidence of ‘conflicts of interests
or other objectionable practices’ will be found, those involved
should be expelled too if necessary, the committee said.
Abuse of subsidies
UPDATE 28 October 2007 - In response
to the above article, Wesley Amzand states:
That I would have been involved in dubious recruitment practices
is sheer nonsense. More than a hundred members of the Zuidoost PvdA
supported my candidacy for the Amsterdam Zuidoost party leadership.
Those members had signed their names. The names and addresses were
known. What Van Thijn c.s. have not investigated is that one or
more members of the candidacy committee have called members who
had signed for me. Remarks such as ‘why do you support Amzand?
No, you should support the other candidate, etcetera’. This
fact has been brought under the attention of the Van Thijn c.s.
committee, but has not been investigated. Purposely? The candidacy
committee should refrain from showing partiality. The committee
disqualified itself. On the day of the meeting at which the candidacy
would be decided on, the chairwoman of the committee, Ms. H.B.,
personally asked the members for their preferences. When Ms. L.
expressed her support for me, she was attacked by Ms. H.B. Subsequently,
I ran into Ms. L. at the meeting. She was completely upset and wanted
to leave the meeting immediately. Her response: ‘I did not
realise it was as bad as this; I am shocked, is this the PvdA’s
democracy? Is this how it works?’
Nobody supported me anonymously. The names and addresses were
known, for both the candidacy committee and Van Thijn’s committee.
That no one spoke out for me at the meeting had more to do with
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