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Deputy: Ventspils City Council employs tactics worthy of Goebbels

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Political and administrative management of Ventspils City Council has gotten used to working under an authoritarian regime. Even now it continues presenting non-existent truths in a light that benefits it and no one else. A tactic worthy of Goebbels’ propaganda,» says Ventspils City Council opposition deputy Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, commenting on the information reported on www.ventspils.lv that Kristovskis has turned to court against Ventspils City Council with allegedly false criticisms.

The municipality’s statement released after the court’s session of 25 April mentions that all of Kristovkis’ requests have been answered. To which the opposition deputy responds: «As if! Answers are being given. But few of them are worth calling answers. The vast majority of answers do not contain any information requested by me. They consist mostly of bureaucratically arrogant and even insultingly illegal explanations as to why me or you, all four minority deputies, including Dace Korna, Aivis Landmanis and Ivars Landmanis, are not provided with documents, information, as well as access to work performed by committees, and even rights to submit initiatives.»

Kristovskis calls Ventspils City Council’s response as an emotional reaction, adding that it comes from a lack of wisdom and far-sight. «During the session, judges of the Supreme Court, in accordance with their professional ethic, provided no assessments, not even the slightest indications that would allow participants of the process if my requests are justified or unjustified. This was not the point of the court hearing.»

It is worth mentioning here that representatives of the Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry and Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments took the side of Ventspils City Council, saying that information requests should be balanced and justified in accordance with planned use. Kristovskis comments: «The ministry and union of local governments provided a look only about the legal situation of minority deputies in Latvia’s many regions. It has nothing to do with my plea to the court. My plea was only a reason why judges of the Supreme Court decided to look at the problem on the scale of Latvia in its entirety. This is why Ventspils City Council has no justifiable reason to reference Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.»

Kristovskis adds that nothing has changed in Ventspils – minority deputies were told in previous responses that no information and no access to work of committees would be provided to them. «Resources of Ventspils municipality are intended to be used only by people who are part of this municipality’s political and administrative management.»

«To make it clear – this is not Brussels, it is Ventspils»

If Kristovskis were a private person, not a deputy, the administrative district court in Liepāja would have viewed the case as the core subject. «The court would have looked at my evidence,» said the deputy. «Because this has neither happened in Liepāja nor more recently in Riga during the session of the Supreme Court of Justice, Ventspils City Council has no justifiable reason to come out with statements regarding my supposed unjustified criticisms,» Kristovskis continues.

Answers to questions from deputies are provided by management of Ventspils City Council’s administration. Members of the administration have to be politically neutral – they have to support all deputies equally. «The principle of equal rights is secured by regulations established by our country’s Constitution. Minority deputies should be treated equally as representatives of the ruling coalition. It is a democratic axiom! Ventspils, to the contrary of this principle, has established a typical authoritarian regime that only resembles a democracy. In reality this administration only functions to satisfy the needs of the ruling majority; this includes performing illegal activities. The atmosphere of lawlessness and impunity is so strong that even during meetings, that A.Lembergs and his ‘vassals’ openly respond to my requests to comply with the law and basic democratic principles by telling me that ‘this is no Brussels – this is Ventspils’,» says Kristovskis.

«You are told that you are not good enough to defend yourself»

«The city council still does not allow me to refute Aivars Lembergs’ statements about me voiced and published on Ventspils City Council’s official internet portal. CEO Aldis Ābele denies, saying that I haven’t understood the purpose of distribution of information for public access, and that information published on www.ventspils.lv is provided to the portal by competent municipal officials. The response is a masterpiece of supreme insolence. You get doubly discredited. The municipality can officially release false information about you, and if you don’t take it lying down, they declare that you are not competent enough to defend yourself,» says Kristovskis.

«My questions regarding illegal activities performed by Lembergs remain unanswered. He has not provided a single answer. Moreover, he has defamed me in spite of the fact that providing answers is one of his duties as an official. Refusal to provide answers is a violation of the law. What is law? Only Lembergs is true,» continues the opposition deputy.

Kristovskis notes that he has turned to Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry on multiple occasions since August 2017. «But the ministry has yet to interfere in this situation. The only response is that defamatory statements from Ventspils City Council are unacceptable. However, checking compliance with ethics rules among city council members is not part of the ministry’s competence. Because of that, this institution is not responsible for punishing people for such improper behaviour. In addition, in its letter sent to me on 21 September 2017, the ministry mentioned that the Administrative Process Law provides the rights to turn to court against the city council for specific decisions,» says Kristovskis.

«Ventspils City Council is confident that my rights as a deputy and citizen of Latvia supervised by the Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry will be cynically ignored even after the review of this case. Ventspils City Council is well-aware that the ministry has responded to my request and that this ministry does not perform compliance with external regulations or their interpretation. Because of that, they believe violations committed against deputies are in the hands of the municipal administration. The ministry’s position in this matter serves as guarantee for continued lawlessness for leaders in Ventspils. This is exactly why Ventspils City Council, as the defendant in the session of the Supreme Court on 25 April attempted to prove that the Administrative Court has no right to accept a claim from a deputy! The city council claimed that the court is only allowed to accept complaints from private persons when it comes to opposing violations committed by a municipal administration. The focused on the fact that Ģ.V.Kristovskis is a deputy of a city council. Because of that, according to them, he has no rights to turn to court.»

Kristovskis believes Ventspils City Council has no arguments to prove that his claim is unjustified. «If they had any, I’m sure the defendant’s lawyer Ilze Gredzena would have mentioned at least one. Instead the city council raised objections against this case being viewed by an administrative court. I did not hear a single argument that would declare that I have used unjustified criticisms. Had there been any, the Supreme Court would have simply denied my claim in the first place, let alone permit its viewing in the form of a verbal process, which is already an unprecedented case in Latvia’s history.»

Ventspils City Council, on the other hand, mentioned in its 25 April post-court statement that www.ventspils.lv is its official information portal that publishes official information from the city council, not opinions of specific deputies. Perhaps the city council finds the claim to personal?

«I would not be surprised if the management of the municipal administration actually thinks in such a way. It double standards are neatly proven by the lack of complaints about A.Lembergs’ fantasies and lies, which are unlikely to be considered official information of Ventspils City Council. But the administration of the city council and supervisors of www.ventspils.lv have known since summer 2017 that my dignity has been violated rudely violated. They have not only refused to prevent the crude violation of my image as deputy and state official, but have instead actively participated in preserving this violation.»

What is particularly curious is that the article «ĢVK atkal melo» [ĢVK lies again] was taken out of Ventspils City Council’s official website in the afternoon on 25 April 2018 – immediately after the session of the Supreme Court before waiting for the publication of the full text, which is scheduled for 9 May.

«It seems Ventspils City Council became afraid of its official opinion in the form of the aforementioned article. Such an official opinion, unfortunately, serves as proof of the city council’s true understanding of ethics, morals and other basic values of civilized society. The municipal administration backed off only in light of the possibility of its so-called «official opinion» ending up in the Supreme Court. I would like to remind everyone that Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry in August 2017 had criticized Ventspils City Council for publishing false information and had recommended publishing additional information on the official portal. But this recommendation was kept without any attention. The ministry’s supervision is very convenient for Ventspils City Council, because it is worth nothing! It is no surprise representatives of the city council tried proving in the Supreme Court that everything is fine with the ministry’s approach to monitoring. The ministry added that everything is fine; there is only some political friction. According to them, such processes do not affect anything in the country.»

But even after the session of the Supreme Court, the statement released on 25 April by Ventspils City Council shows that officials there still do not admit any violations committed against Kristovskis by publishing information on www.ventspils.lv. The municipality mentions Cabinet of Ministers’ requirements that govern publication of information on official websites of institutions, as well as their volume and content, adding that such matters are in the hands of internal organizations.

«Ventsils City Council believes that lawlessness, publication of false information and insulting minority deputies is an internal matter. After working nearly a year as a municipal deputy, I can say that this is a pathetic, not ‘excellent’, practice. It represents a lack of ethics and political irresponsibility that is bursting at the seams from such an official statement. The ruling coalition of the city council claims everything is fine in Ventspils. As A.Lembergs put it – this is not Brussels!» Kristovskis concludes.

The full text of the ruling made by the Supreme Court will be published on 9 May.


Leave a reply

  1. Zerry says:

    Good luck for Mr. Kristovskis. L and yes yes persons around are so desperately stuck in soviet era traditions that they cannot see anything else but hang on power to make sure own interests and businesses rule. What comes to court institution in this kind of cases it have been ”known” already for years that they are scared of certain persons and/or serve big money. Besides corruption that seems to be a rotten point of this wonderful country.

    • Linda says:

      it will take another two generations to get rid of soviet mentality but only if populations try to be proactive and not apathetic.

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