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Tuesday 24.04.2018 | Name days: Nameda, Visvaldis, Ritvaldis

Ventspils opposition member: list of Lembergs’ committed crimes continues expanding

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«During his rule in Ventspils, Aivars Lembergs performed so many illegal and criminal acts that investigation and judicial institutions still haven’t sorted things out,» said Ventspils City Council opposition member Valdis Kristovskis in an interview to BNN.

He says there is no doubt – during the period of Ventspils and state capture, Lembergs has managed to spend enough time imitating work in the interest of the city and society, whose portion of reasonably-minded people he calls ‘lumpen-proletariat’. «Something like that is only possible in conditions of a cult of personality. Unfortunately, there are people, whole parties, who do not seem all that worried about that,» says Kristovskis.

He notes that people are inspired by this approach. It eats away the country’s democracy and rule of law. «It is the duty of politicians to maintain standards and establish requirements, because if you’re not caught committing a crime does not mean a crime was not committed! Politicians have to oppose corruption and crime on a state level even if investigation and court processes require time. If politicians wait for crimes to be proven in court, then, I’m sorry, people like that should not work in state administration and act as people’s representatives,» said Kristovskis.

An accused person remains an opinion-creator in the country

Kristovskis emphasizes that Lembergs still has a great deal of influence in Latvia’s political life even though he is accused of serious crimes and suspended from taking post as chairman of Venspils City Council. ‘Lembergs should be distanced from the government and the Saeima, but he feels like he’s at home there. His schemes for taking other people’s money are regularly discussed there and supported. He is the one who come up with ideas for state policy, finance and economic matters. This is because he enjoys a great deal of support from the Union of Greens and Farmers. As a result, Lembergs, as a politician suspended from his post as chairman of Ventspils City Council, continues picking cream from the pot of money given by the European Union. It is absurd,’ says the politician.

«Such ‘excellence’ does not benefit the suspended Ventspils official in proving the charges raised against him wrong. A person who has a responsibility before the state has to do everything to prove their innocence. Unfortunately, there is no excellence from Lembergs to observe. In the past ten years, he has had no desire to prove his innocence,» adds Kristovskis.

According to him, the entire parties that allow Lembergs’ influence to spread in the country’s political and economic life are short-sighted and irresponsible.

«This kind of political approach and behaviour by political parties only reduce society’s belief that rule of law is an important value.»

Power in Ventspils has been captured by an anti-democratic regime

Looking back at the post-election period in Ventspils, the politician admits that the city has been taken over by an anti-democratic regime.

«Anti-democratic and illegal methods are employed to ensure the regime can maintain power in Ventspils. The regime governed by lawlessness limits the opposition as much as it can. The city council’s administrative apparatus works to ensure uncontested rule of the suspended chairman and his political party. What is most important in the work of city council officials is information and participation in evaluation and preparation of decisions, as well as the ability to explain opinions to Ventspils residents using media financed by Ventspils municipality. ’Abandon hope! You’re not allowed! The right to speak on the official Ventspils City Council internet portal belongs only to competent members of the city council.’ So this means exclusively Lembergs. This is the basically the response given by the municipality’s administration to countless requests. The reason behind this is limiting the participation of opposition members in the decision-making process to a minimum. And this is why three members of the opposition – Landmanis brothers and me – are not allowed in any city council committee or council dealing with important matters,» Kristovskis continues.

«This not only breaches the rights of the opposition detailed in the Constitution, but also puts the opposition facing the fact that they are have to make decisions on projects worth millions, whose materials are only discussed during meetings of the Finance Committee, shortly before votes, without any room or time to consider projects’ financial justifications. This is exactly what Lembergs’ regime wants. This regime pushes vitally important matters through formal decision-making procedures.»

Such methods also pave the way for another trick Kristovskis has noticed in the work performed by Ventspils City Council. «The ruling power continues declaring the opposition incompetent and using media financed by the city council and taxpayers to promote its own the ‘accomplishments’ in the best possible light, saying that it was through ‘hard work’ and ‘serious fight’ with ‘enemies from the opposition’ and other naysayers – Riga’s parties, court and prosecutor’s office.»

Kristovskis believes the tactic of double standards continues working rather successfully in Latvia, «because Ventspils is able to get its hands on double the amount of money provided by the European Union than other cities.»

Oligarchs’ desire to influence law enforcement institutions

According to Kristovskis, ‘there are two factors that can help reduce Lembergs’ factor. First of all, the solution lies in society’s understanding and demands put before the state. Public views should not turn away from basic democratic values.’

The second factor is successful completion of Lembergs’ criminal case. «Society, journalists and politicians can voice their opinions of Lembergs. This has to continue. In the end, the court will have to make an appropriate judgement. If this does not happen, it will be a triumph for crime. Unfortunately, this is exactly what oligarchs want – reducing the importance of Lembergs’ crimes and putting the investigation to shame,» said Kristovskis.

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