and here they are:
the Clowns
maybe not so funny

Curaçao Island

the show goes on!

Our politicians keep doing the weirdest things, but it's hard to keep laughing at them.
Here a selection of, at times, nightmarish acts in Curaçao's political circus, starting with the most recent ones.

alphabetical searchable list—at page bottom are links to years past.

the 2007 political circus
last year of
the double-ring show!

sinking ship of state
RATZ agrees they're all clowns:
Shouting slogans, singing the anthem
on the sinking Ship of State

And So On...
the situation around the future status
of the Netherlands Antilles
(after the infamous Referendum)

Chavez' party - model for Nos Mes Por?

A Double Feast
The day of the island government elections, the last chance we had to turn down the residing government's intentions,
just happened to be the birthday of Adolf Hitler: 20 April.
a reminder by Johan Oldenboom in a letter to Amigoe-editor

If this is your first visit, you may have arrived here via a link in an e-mail that's now circulating, sent to me by one of my Spies. It originated from ex-minister Smith, who says she's 'indignant' about my remarks here. But miz Smith, try to imagine how indignant we are, the victims who are force-fed these politicians', your distinguished colleagues', chicaneries on a daily basis.
From her, it made its way through a worker at CTB, who's 'heavily shocked'. Working there, hasn't she heard of Chong? Of Asjes? About former directors Hepple, Wallé and de Lannoy, all so disgusted with what went on at CTB that they took their leave? And how Schotte topped it all off?
But now they're indignant and shocked - why? Because somebody dares to mention it?
Can't help being reminded of the staff of MVD, the Soviet camp guardians, who were filled with outraged indignation when
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was published in the USSR - The Gulag Archipelago VII, p. 474

The latest appointment of Evita Nita as head of CTB in May, 2007 is the last in a long tradition.
Again, no matter what her qualities, there has been no open application. It's a habit.

The Day That Stopped the Clock!

Next Day Planned:
15 December, 2008
(come-back of Statuut-Dag)

I Hate Christmas

See You All Later
Away for a spree - maybe not well-deserved, but certainly needed.
Back February 2008.

Not Political, Still Clowns
In plain daylight some guys climbed into a money-transport car near a supermarket, grabbed a few bags and disappeared with a stand-by get-away car. All money-transporting clowns had left the loot alone to service an ATM. Has to be a habit.

Back on Line
The cat cracker, out of service since the 5 december disaster, will start up again next Sunday (better stay indoors and keep your windows closed for a week or so.) Repairs took 3 weeks, and we can only guess at the damages originally estimated at US$12M.
It would be nice if somebody at least made an effort to explain why, during all that time, the refinery kept flaring; a procedure that supposedly only takes place in "emergency conditions." Not much transparency in those sooty clouds.

Little Nigeria
It's not the first time we've called this place like that, analog to the local watch store 'Little Switzerland'. Now the kadaster [land registry office] has been convicted of deleting and changing items in a document. Kadaster has twice denied there was a mortgage existing, when later it turned out there was. But not to worry: The scratching out was of no influence on the legal facts registered in the document. Kadaster says so themselves (while public notary Burgers disagrees and claims ANG150K damage.)

Not a Complete Fool
Pierrot, who announced that he would retire and spend more time with his family, no doubt can afford to do so: He ordered a 'report' on the geopolitical situation of Isla refinery from Angiolillo's journalist friend Pedro Elías Hernández. The report, described as a 'scrap of paper' which nobody has seen, is reported to cover more than 1 pages A4 and has cost half a US$ million. Isla, who had to pay, asked SOAB national accounting to look into this. Pierrot says they're all out to get him, it's just politics.

Still Unexplained
Say, whatever happened to that explanation VBC was supposed to get from Curoil on oil prices? Paranoia time...

Thick Strong Skulls Contain Cavernous Cavities
Now that everybody is totally disgusted with the recent environmental disaster, while the judge has ordered the refinery to clean up its act, more and more people are finally realizing that the best thing to do may well be to cut out this cancer once and for all:
Get rid of Isla.
But not the government. Only now, they are desperately trying to catch up with events; as usual. Only now, there are furious negotiations with PdVSA on what to do to keep Isla running. Problem is, they need more money that Curaçao and Chavez' ruinous economy can come up with ($1.5G). Now Marubeni, already a partner in BOO, has been invited to join. Because Isla has to stay, at all costs. You can't help asking yourself what is their advantage.

Some gems by Mendes de Gouveia, president of Isla:

It is quite possible to have a refinery right in the center of town, look at Pernis in Rotterdam.
Either the guy is criminally stupid or he's an outright liar who thinks we're criminally stupid:
Look at the map.

Rotterdam center-Pernis refinery (red square): 8km

Another howler is, he doesn't see why Isla should relocate in Bullenbaai, because Who will clean up Schottegat? There's still oil pollution in Caracasbaai
(where tanks have been removed recently). So let it grow even worse, right? What else can he mean. Does he know himself?
SMOC van Leeuwen comments that, even with a $1.4G investment, the refinery only will conform to present minimal local standards. A former $60 million upgrade now is four years behind schedule, and these new plans will take ten years before the population will notice any effects.
Edgar Leito points out that, after the refinery is closed in 2019 when the contract ends, ten years will be needed for the clean-up.

Clown Bows Out
... not before we were ready for it: Pierrot is getting out of politics. He is disgusted with the way politics work here. So are we; maybe his quitting helps. He says he has been betrayed by people he helped to a job. (We knew all the time it worked like that.)
But don't break out the champagne yet; he was talking the same way a year ago and hasn't even told his own party about it.

Quick Service
After thirty years, the health of people below the Isla smoke is investigated again, already. 'See? We do give it attention' says PNP deputy Davelaar. (He was one of the first to be checked - much too fat.) There will also be measurements on four locations for SO2, NO2 and fine and coarse dust. Will cost ANG210K and take 2 months, probably in April and May.

No Business: As Usual
The island government meeting to discuss the rather extreme recent Isla problems might have had more result if it had not been held. PAR Jackson wondered if the 1.5G couldn't be invested more effectively in anything but Isla, especially since it would cost jobs; MAN Schotte, for once wisely, remarked they should all listen to DP George; who advised all those present to read the stack of reports published in the past twenty years. George also wondered if the refinery really is so important for the economy. The rest of the speakers would have done better to remain silent.
Meanwhile, negotiations were re-started with PdVSA on the future of the refinery. Pierrot has made such a mess that the only effect was, nobody else wants to be part of a PdVSA-combination; and PdVSA is only interested in buying a 49% share.

The Fat Hits the Fan
Maybe. BC member FOL Capella should have been receiving a (partly) pension since July; after all, he had been paying for 4 years. As he did not get a preply from gezaghebber, he has gone to court (2007-12-20). It's one way to speed up the dragging proceedings.

The Sh*t's in the F*re
Isla refinery will have to pay for and present a report on May 12, 2008 on how, when and against what costs they can operate within the norms. Two weeks later, the case in court will proceed further.

Civil Servants Saved
It's official: All civil servants in country service will be taken over by the islands once they become countries. Those in power all agree that's a great thing. Us mere suckers civilians are not so sure: Wasn't one of the alleged reasons we should split up exactly that there were far too many ambtenaren in the old double-tier structure?

A Royal Dutch Tradition
The US Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (part of the Department of the Treasury) discovered that ING daughter Netherlands Caribbean Bank for years has been manipulating SWIFT-transfers from Cuba to the USA, making it look like the money came from Curaçao. The bank has now been closed, but that has nothing to do with US political pressure. What made you think that?

Diesel Disgrace
For a long time there have been complaints about the diesel fuel sold by Isla refinery. It contains 5000 ppm of sulphur, over 300 times the European standard of 15. Curoil has tried to get Isla to produce a cleaner fuel, but after having waited for four months now considers buying from the Aruba Valero refinery, starting early next year.
The dirty diesel available now results in extreme wear of diesel engines, which again leads to black exhaust fumes that are dangerous for heart patients.

PNP minister de Lannooy was smart enough not to go for Aruba's enticements to join forces against the Dutch recolonization plans. She claimed Aruba's entire indepence movement was caused by racism: The Indian/white population of Aruba did not want to be governed from the black island of Curaçao. As far as I know, this is entirely correct, if, especially for a politician who has to work with those guys, not what you'd call tactful. Still, rather ironic that MAN Macaay then accused de Lannooy of racism!

We Won't Make It
In March, Dutch Staatssecretaris Antillean affairs Bijleveld will announce whether the planned independency date of 15 December 2008 is still valid; and our bet is, it's no-way not. Problems are the mismanagement of Bon Futuro prison, the judicial apparatus, the financial controls and what to do about the refinery. Much to our relief, but not unexpectedly, a motion to kick us (described as a corrupt crooks' lair) out into darkness, where there's wailing and gnashing of teeth, did not make it.
St. Maarten's Duncan sees no reason why this should be delayed. He blames it entirely on Dutch tactics, while it's pretty obvious that a lot is caused on this side.
Some Dutch parliament members want a look at our taxes. Lots of money are disappearing from the Dutch taxes to Curaçao. One thing we have to say is, we're not guilty. This may be a tax paradise for Dutch companies and millionaires, but not for us.
Other Dutchmen came up with the brilliant idea of subsidizing our political parties! Must have figured it might be a precedent so they could get some, as well. Anyway, it was kicked out. Even here a similar plot was not accepted.

A Cloud of Stench
First, the notorious BOO plant went down. Then, in three individual Aqualectra plants they had their problems. It all resulted in shut-downs of electricity all over the island, with (much worse) interruptions in water supply and a $12M damage for the refinery alone (nobody asks us what our damage is.)
When the refinery's cat-cracker had to re-start, resulting in the accompanying extra pollution, it started leaking gasoline. 5 schools had to be evacuated, including one that has been completely airconditioned quite recently, tourists in down-town Willemstad left restaurants and even passengers of cruise ships complained. Meanwhile, government and refinery management just keep dragging their feet on doing anything about it.
more details on this disaster

That's FOL, not FOL
One is a political party, the other stands for American Forward Locations. They serve to intercept cocaine smuggling, with enormous succes. Yes ma'm, they flew for 15,212 hours and caught 35,006 kilos of coke; 2.3 kilos per hour. It would be much cheaper to buy the cocaine from the source, especially as many more costs have to be added.
Meanwhile, production and consumption went up in the same period and US market price went down. Who's being FOLlish here?

Babies Born in Prison
It's a girl! dolphin baby; a boy born last week died within an hour.

Plastic Bags
Everybody hates the way those plastic supermarket bags are fluttering about all over the landscape, above and under water. Now, there are actions to forbid them on all islands (except St. Eustatius and Saba.) This is not necessarily a good thing, though.
In the USA 10 million barrels of oil are used yearly to produce 100 billion of those plastic bags. Going back to paper, though, would mean the slaughter of 14 million trees. Take your pick. Personally, years ago I bought a kitchen garbage pail designed to be lined with a supermarket bag. I guarantee no plastic bags from our household are blowing about, and we never have to buy [plastic] garbage bags.

A Small Problem
The country needs another 1G guilders to safeguard the pensions of civil servants; yet another hidden surprise popping up. Presumably, that's on top of the 4.5G Holland is prepared to take over. And then some: The debt of this island already is supposedly 2.5G, while Curaçao is promising to take over all civil servants.

Another Demonstration
After the first one was such a hit, pun intended, tomorrow we'll be treated to another one. This time with a police permit. But PAR Jackson (no relation) thinks it's a disgrace: On Sunday the people must go to church and pray. For a better government? In our desperation, by now we're almost tempted to try that.
The organizers expect 'thousands and thousands' of demonstrators; special buses are running to schlepp them in. We'll see (I won't be there - three is a crowd, but four is a mob.)

But who's counting? PAR Sulvaran estimates 1000 joined the protest march; PS Wiels makes it 6000. MAN Senior first wrote on Caribbean Net News there were 'thousands', and later on 'hundreds' of demonstrators. Amigoe estimates 1200-1500 (not enough to get one eilandsraad member elected.) The main problem with this march is, nobody knows exactly what it was for or against: High fuel prices, expensive water, re-colonization - take your pick.
They ended thanking god that there had been no incidents, but, as always, never thought to blame him for their troubles.

Don't Rock the Boat
It was PNP Seferina who offered this pearl: We're sitting in a boat together. So we shouldn't fight, because all of us will sink. With 'we' she meant 'politicians in the meeting'.
Like, Don't Rock the Boat?

Be Positive - Don't Piss

They Should Try Positiating!
Refineria di Korsou Isla and PdVSA are negotiating again. This time, PdVSA wants only 49% of the shares in return for participating in a 'total investment' of 'over $1G'. If you feel this is pretty vague, you're not alone. (PdVSA earlier wanted 100%, and except RdK there's nobody to be found who even want anything to do with Chavez' gang.)

So Much for That Type
Venezuelan consul Angiolillo, who has a certain resemblance to the late Arafat on a day when he had forgotten to shave, once declared that it was the CIA who had burned down 5 Free Zone warehouses, just to get at some honest business men holding a Venezuelan passport. But now, John Daryanani has been arrested for arson and insurance fraud. Alleged, to be sure. (I'd like to know if Pierrot's insinuations have been followed up.)
As Daryanani was a share-holder in the Martinus University, this might sound the death-knell for that institute of high standing. At least one national embarrasment less.
Daryanani's detention was both extended and postponed a week later, to enable him to run his many business affairs. His property was taken over on December 19 by Emmazicht NV - except for the Martinus university.

Ombudsman Fred Wiel asked BC island government to postpone a public meeting on the 2008 budget for thirty days (a period stipulated by law) in which everybody can read its contents. When Wiel's proposal was voted down, opposition parties left the meeting to go lodge a complaint with the public prosecutor for this infringement by both Eilandsraad and Bestuurscollege.
Coalition's refusal is, if not forgivable, at least understandable: A proper 2008 budget is a condition for Holland's support, but there's this awkward 66 million hole to be filled. PAR Deputy Willem is even reconsidering accepting the total debt take-over by Holland. Meanwhile, both country and island government are back at borrowing what they can, where they can.

Hard to Explain
Entrepreneurs club VBC published a study pointing out that, between 1190 and 2005, Curoil's gasoline prices had grown more than double the increases on international markets. Curoil then took a full-page ad in at least one local newspaper in which VBC was blamed for using reports out of context without knowing what's going on. While Curoil still failed to explain why those prices had gone up so much (and just raised them again) they finally invited VBC to a meeting, appropriately enough on Sinterklaas day.
But it's even harder for VBC to explain why supermarket prices for soft-drinks imported from Venezuela have gone up from ANG2.25 to ANG3.25 in three years, while the bolivar value has been dropping steeply. If we were not living in an entrepreneur's market, that price should now be far below 1.50: The Venezuela black market value of the USDollar (and thus of the ANGuilder) is three times that of the official rate.

¡€ si, $ no!
We already noticed Pierrot is getting fleshed out; no wonder. This great admirer of the socialist revolution recently went to Cuba, for which he and cohorts got a daily compensation of €270, which is ANG225 too much. They then had the hotel send the bill to Curaçao Dock CDM.
Not only is the black market rate for the Cuban peso 'medium to high', the most expensive hotel we could find in Cuba was €140/night. No doubt Pierrot has found a better deal; for him, that is.

That New Program is Old
Pierrot's NPA is five years old already, and they celebrate the occasion with the publication of their grandiose vision for a new autonomous Curaçao. For starters, it does not accept the slotverklaring; they want to redo the entire process from 'GO'. Again.
NPA won two seats (10%) in the last elections, but that hasn't stopped Pierre from growing noticeably fatter, a professional risk for our politicians.

In the Curaçao Centrum supermarket the bar code reader
where a client can check for himself was out of order.

Scan Scam
This item really belongs on the economy page, where it reappears. It indicates the difference between a monopoly society (ours) and a competitive one (like South Africa). In Holland, the warenwet law states that an item must be sold for the price it is offered at, but the South African supermarkets go even further.

How Much Was That?
Some say $65M, others $1.6G, and still others somewhere in between: The sales value of the Isla refinery. It may be even less, depending on law suits' outcome and some other slight problems, like, who is going to invest a necessary minimum of $165M, maximum $1.1G (again, depends on who's talking.) But the real problem is, nobody wants it at all anyway if it has to be shared with Chavez' PdVSA. So much for the sweet dreams of the no-brer politicians who want (us) to be proud and poor.

And Whose Fault Could That Be?
Sitek teachers' union wants us to continue with the struggle to realize what we voted for in the referendum. To refresh their memory, it was Status Aparte - Curaçao an autonomous part of the kingdom of the Netherlands. They foresee discussions will go on until we'll have our backs against the wall and Holland forces us to accept their conditions. The MP doesn't even want to consider alternatives to the slotverklaring. What alternatives? The only one we've seen is that idiotic Monte proposition (still wonder who paid whom for that, and how much.) They have the arrogance to say the people is against the slotverklaring because it doesn't understand Dutch. Right; it doesn't. And whose fault is that but the teachers'?

It Keeps Ticking
By June 15, fourteen government services were supposed to, but still have not, come up with copies of their bank account statements of December 31 and (signed, please) cash balance statements. The services include Fiscal Matters, St. Maarten's Tax Inspector, Import Duties, and Finance, the direct responsibility of PNP minister de Lannooy herself.
I could do it in 5 minutes, or less. And you know what happens when you fail to give the Tax Person what he wants, when he wants it. You don't know? You don't want to know.

On Schedule, with Delays
FOL Godett announces the Masterplan Infrastructure is progressing right on schedule. There are delays with lighting, bus stop abris and more, for reasons left unexplained. But it's all right on schedule.

No Beer Hall Putsch, but Hòfi Riot
Helmin Wiels has been instigating another riot. An evening of incitement in Hòfi Biesheuvel was followed up by a regular riot by Marriott Hotel. 'Over 100' people were there throwing rocks, building barriers and burning tires (ugh). Police used tear gas and and smoke bombs (but what for?) and are now studying video footage.
MAN Cooper sent his wife and seven-year old son to participate, and flag-waver Chin Behilia his daughter. These are the very same guys who were bragging about their democratic refuting of the slotaccoord. Check out why I refer to Hitler's 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.
They picked the Marriott location because of the meeting there on the new political status, which the opposition opposes. But DP and FK preferred to attend the meeting and know what was going on.
Next day, our PM was on the bube toob admonishing us we shouldn't start riots. OK, but demonstrations? Ask Bertrand Russell (that was Lord B.R.)
Then Wiels announced yet another demo, on December 1. This time he asked for a permit.
Author Frank Martinus Arion, the darling of the Dutch, definitely ought to distantiate himself from Wiels, unless of course he wants to be known as a cohort.

Shut Up or We Won't Like You
Rector Coster of MIL complains that, because his school is critical of Isla, other schools who keep silent get new roofs, aircoes and all. While he's supposed to close the school when more than 5 pupils are sick, pollution is so heavy that they most of the time just remain open. Coster also calls attention to the evacuation plan for the barrio, that in fact only exists on paper and has never been rehearsed. If you wonder why Holland doesn't stop this by enforcing measures (a so-called algemene maatregel van rijksbestuur) - nooooh... that would be violating our precious autonomy!

Why Should We Pay?
The Marriott Hotel is being auctioned and island government has more or less decided that we will pay for 17M (almost $10M) that the hotel owners will fall short of their obligations (the hotel was built with a government guarantee). This probably equals the pay-back kick some politicians, and don't forget the civil servants, have been getting for their efforts. It would be slander to mention their names. Only DP George wonders out loud why we are expected to pay those 17M.
Building costs for the hotel were ANG90M instead of the budgetted 40M.
The proposed deal was retracted on 29 November.

Civil Servants Army Grows Back
It's like a cancer that has been cut out but grows back; compare with population:
population144522    141932    130347    137094    
civil servants3673270214011702
people/servants    39539381
So, right now, 20 households support 1 civil servant. If these average a monthly income of 2000 guilders, that's 100/household/month. And these are only island employees - I'm sure they make more. (Teachers don't count.)
Sources Amigoe, CBS, 2007-11-13

Sounds Familiar
Last week, a morning paper seems to have published an article in which it was alleged an ex-deputy, who was eligible in the last elections, has been using a government credit card for personal needs, without paying back. The man is still at work at some government organization, and is still abusing his credit card. All allegedly. It was not credit card Asjes.
Small wonder some don't want financial control by Holland.

furniture dump
Last Budget?
The 2008 country budget may be balanced for once, but you are quite entitled to some doubts, apart from the fact that they already need 2.4M more for this year: To name just one example, there's a lot of new furniture on it (to the tune of almost ANG1M), but PM de Jongh-Elhage assures us that those public services needing it will not disappear when the country is abolished (le mot juste).
To be sure, they do need it. While police headquarters at Rio Canario are being rebuilt the furniture has just been dumped outside, on a heap which every passer-by can see. They didn't even take the trouble to hide it. So eine Unverschämtheit.

The Pensions
In a meeting on the deputies' and eilandsraad salaries & pensions, not enough members were interested enough to turn up, so it has been postponed. Reasons are not clear. MAN Cooper has the chutzpah to say that he does not want to cooperate with this PAR proposal, not in these hard times for us poor citizens (you can just picture those crocodile tears dribbling down his fat jowls.) He must hope that we'll conveniently forget that he was one of the guys enthousiastically pressing through an even worse version at the very last moment, while they still could.
You have to agree with DP George the new proposal still is much too generous: Full pension is built up in a mere 12 years and starts at the age of 50.


They Beat Us!
We have been asking ourselves before how 'they' would find ways to make the car license plates even more expensive. But they found one, all right. Makes you wonder desperately how a cop could possibly figure it out when a stolen car speeds by. (In St. Maarten, last year they reduced the price per set from 25 to 15 guilders.)
Also, mark the colors: Yellow for PAR and orange for FOL. Funniest is, obviously PNP green has been added as an afterthought - and the dominating color is (opposition) MAN blue. Such childishness, it's embarrassing. And these guys are supposed to represent you and me.

Talk about childishness, what do you think of this?
party colorsparty colors
It's a public housing project. My, but it's ugly. Gaah... retch...
My Significant Other thinks I made this too PRITTY.
It's a habit, I have to guess.

Their Profit Is Our Loss
Aqualectra announces, proudly, that last year they made a 15M guilders profit which they expect to double this year. That's 400 and 800 per modal family, because in the long run they are the ones paying it. Rather exorbitant, especially in view of those tariffs that keep getting higher and higher. Not to mention the money that may just disappear long before a profit is made. Curoil thinks they deserve part (25M) of those profits, as Aqualectra pays only 40% of market price for fuel; and the deal is: No more price hikes as long as Curoil subsidizes Aqualectra.

Drat for DAT
Inforcing the clamor to set the dumb dolphins free, WDCS now downright states that the tauted DAT, dolphin assisted therapy, is cruel and ineffective. I have been fighting this ever since the Curaçao dolphinarium opened its therapy center. Even if it should work (which it doesn't), are we entitled to use cruelty to our fellow animals for our own good? Shades of Mengele. How like our government and, it hurts to say it, our people to tolerate this.
The Whale and Dolphin Society has called for a total ban on DAT.

Not Very Original
Aruba minister Wever has found the standard goverment solution to, in this case, obesitas: TAX! All foods that lead to overweight should be taxed. Like, bread? Reminds you of that BBC poll where it turned out that, all over the world, people would not mind paying taxes to combat energy waste and pollution. On one condition, those funds should be applied to combatting energy waste and pollution. They know their Rulers.
Too bad I can't show you a picture of Wever.

gavel, cork and smokestack
Isla versus The People
The verdict is in and SMOC has been awarded a Knock Out, if only technical: Isla must clean up its act. And with those Dutch government members having just visited here, we may finally get some help from that dreaded neo-colonialist country; only to *u** our own dear feet-dragging leaders, of course.
Well-known anti-colonial Wiels proclaims that this is the latest trick of Holland to force us down upon our knees: With Isla gone we have nothing more going for us and we'll be forced to accept all conditions. Conveniently forgetting that Isla hardly pays, that there are more pillars of the economy, and in his emotion also forgetting to tell us once again how great tourism is doing. In his view, Holland forced the closure of the Amstel brewery, Continental Milling, rice 'factories' and DCA. If Wiels isn't telling outright lies, his memory is criminally wrong; those who believe him, criminally stupid.

cute dolphin

Dolphin Dutchie
Yeah, with all the commotion going on, combined with the bad news on his Aruba franchise, Dutchie's timing is perfect: Now he wants to import 9 more dolphins. From Cuba, which makes it even worse. Dutchie has an official license to hold protected mammals in captivity (in defiance of CITES).
Remarkably, the so-called Dolphin Academy distantiates itself from Schiers plans (but next thing she knew, manager and one-third share-holder Laetitia Lindgren was fired.) They are not against importing caught dolphins; no, only from Cuba. This 'academy' emphasizes that it, the Seaquarium and the Dolphin Therapy Center are three completely separate entities - sharing Dutchie Schultz Schrier and Rudy Pizziolo as directors!

Sea Aquarium
original photograph © Amigoe

Nobody will deny Dutchie is good in putting politicians at work for him; but I do hope he's cut off more than he can handle now. His neighbors are complaining that their splendid swimming location is threatened by Dutchie's plans. Not that I can care much about those 26 guys losing their splendid private beach (red line); they can obviously afford to drive down to another beach and pay the entrance fee like the rest of us.

No Surprise
Just look up there at that clock: We've been telling you so. Since having visited us recently, Dutch parliament members do not think anymore that date will be achieved, and so many of the Curaçao politicians don't want it anyway that you might well wonder what's the next Date of Promise. The longer it's postponed, the higher the debts, and the more difficult it will get to crawl out from under that despised neo-colonialist yoke.

Pierrot Strikes Again
When the 2008 budget was accepted by island government, Pierrot's fractious faction left the meeting. Not because they thought the budget was fine, no... because they did not wish the Cft [committee financial supervision] to have a final say on it. Even if Cft necessarily agrees with the opposition that this budget is worthless, it's still neo-colonialsim. Very smart, Pierrot. Just what we'd expect from you.
The budgets over 2006 and 2007 have finally been accepted, total deficit 135.2M. We'll see how realistic this is; eventually. Even though those original budgets have largely been prepared by what's now the opposition and are even some 40M lower, the opposition was largely against. But naturally!

Gone? 'Wacht een Beetje' [Wait a Bit]
It took 6 months of scheming to get Arsjes fired from his job at Selikor. Now he will get 6 months salary extra, all in all over ANG200K for doing exactly nothing. I couldn't tell you if Godfather Godett is still illegally functioning at Selikor himself, but rumor has it he enragedly left the meeting in which this was decided. Those things run in families.
On August 30, the country government gave island government two weeks two have a committee investigate the many suspected appointments by former island government; otherwise country government would start investigating itself. This letter came over a month after governor Goedgedrag had asked (island)-gezaghebber to please explain. PNP Jesus-Leito now still can't say when the committee will start; but we're relieved to have her assurance that they're working on it and that it will be arranged soon. We all understand that being in such a committee pays well, so we understand even better that all this must take time. Suggestion (we're all working for the good of the show): Why not check all appointments? Not only those this year; even going back to 2003 is not far enough. Let's do a through check from 1969. June, that is.
Island and Land governments are run by exactly the same parties, and getting rid of one of those layers (and its too often uncivil civil servants) is the only good reason for a political status change.
Utter silence continues on the easy jobs of Son of Salas Schotte, Prince and Frensel Marchena - and don't forget Fontein. 'Mama Kupa' (Clift Christiaan) claims there are sixty civil servants getting a salary without having work to do; other sources say are over 400 of those beloved guys and dolls were taken on between 2003 and July 2007. Excuse me for thinking "so many more parasites", but I won't apologize.

One Sad Island
During the visit of the Dutch parliament members to Aruba, they were treated to a (rare) demonstration where texts could be read like Holland, help and free us, Oduber cabinet, symbol of nepotism. Demonstrators asked attention to Aruba's debts, mounting government expenditure, growing inflation and lack of dialogue between government and social partners. They were also worried about environment problems.
But PM Oduber announced Aruba would not participate in negotiations on the future of the Antilles if Holland did not pay up 360M florins ($200). This on top of the 151M Holland has been blackmailed for already.
As regards the environment, De Palm island has announced that as part of their dolphinarium they will start a dolphin hatchery, aided and abetted by scientists from Yale University.

Curaçao Business Practice
When entrepreneur Remy Neuman saw a former business partner of his approaching the beach where he was relaxing with his Girl Friend, he was in such a flutter that he grabbed the first speed boat he saw to make his getaway. Alas, there were two kids in it, which he napped. He later returned, complete with kids.
Meanwhile, his former associate had 'stripped' Neuman's power boat. Most of it belonged to him anyway, they say. The parents have lodged a complaint with the police.
Neuman later publicly apologized in a letter to newspaper Amigoe. He explained that he was threatened by a man for whom he, a contractor, had built a house; so he go got away AFAP. Neuman seems to feel it quite all right two expose two children to the same danger he claims he was in. For those curious about that building: Wijnand Gielen has sued Neuman for ANG one million, because he left him in the lurch when building his 7718 square meter house, or maybe 937. Thats 30 by 31 meters, folks. Like, Xanadu?

With coalition for and opposition against (11-8) eilandsraad accepted a motion where, essentially, bestuurscollege will have power to act in matters concerning the coming political structure renovation. Which in practical terms means the eilandsraad opposition has been put on a dead track for these matters.
A parliamentary delegation, upon returning to Holland, was very down about the prospects of that renovation, as they found out our politicians again want to change the accord so laboriously reached.

Maybe Good for You; So Who Cares about Dolphins?
Now that the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society has released a critical brochure on Dolphin Assisted Therapy, you can read local newspaper articles rather half-heartedly agreeing. That Seaquarium remains just as popular as the Scientology ship Freewinds. But their dolphin 'therapy' is even going much farther than WDCS seems to know.

Gift: One Troyan Horse?
Milieudienst will be given its very first measuring apparatus–a gift from Isla refinery. Deputy Davelaar says he's glad, because now they are not dependent on Isla's own figures; but SMOC is taken aback, because after years of fights in court, they finally got to see some figures and it turned out Milieudienst has never taken any action on 'shocking' violations of all norms, anyway. So what's the use?
Isla had budgetted the money (peanuts: only 100K) for five years, but finally decided to use it. Maybe because the judge will give his verdict next week? Just insinuating. I'd advise to check that apparatus thoroughly. Wish I were just kidding.

Thanks, But No Thanks
DP George has announced he will stop co-operating on the country's political reconstruction, as promises for 'complete participation and transparency' have not been kept.
And PAR deputy Jesus-Leito said on television that the public has a false perception that matters are not proceeding well: Oh no, it's merely so that the experts have not reached agreement on financial supervision and judiciary matters. There will be no changes in the Statuut. Well, then, why all the rigmarole in the first place? But this contradicts St. Maarten minister Duncan's statement that there will be less autonomy for Curaçao and St. Maarten. That's a relief! To us, if not to MAN.

Tintin Flight 714 © Hergé
Pay Phones
All members of eilandsraad have use of three phone lines which are paid for by [you and me]. The average bill is ANG1200/month. What you want to know is, who are the top and bottom users?
Besides those, they can call from their office where they also have ADSL. Nobody knows what they spend there. And another burning question: [you and me] can only deduct 80% of their telephone bill; the tax person figures the rest is private. How about those guys?
THE CHAMP: In 2004 FOL minister Salas managed to spend $7800/month - and most of that time he was in hospital.

Spare Us PdVSA
After all that time that has gone by and all those politicians' bragging boasts that it would be easy to sell Isla refinery shares to a third party, it turns out that none can be found that wants a partnership in a refinery where PdVSA has the final say.
Not to mention that we're all awaiting the judge's verdict on October 30 - breathlessly (get it?) PdVSA seems to be working on schemes where they will take over 49% to 100%. Twelve parties have been negotiated with: Camac International, Case, Chemoil, Delta Consulting, Geo Petroleum, Glencore, Morgan Stanley, Petrobras, Valero, Tropic Petroleum, Shell and 'representatives from China'. And finding no takers.

Stop Borrowing
Central Bank director Tromp once again speaks out on the idea that Holland should have taken over the Antillean debts for 100%; our Leaders preferred to go for 85% as this enabled them to go on borrowing to their hearts' content. One result, says Tromp, is the deficit of the 2008 budget in spite of PAR Rhuggenaath's repeated promises.

Our Culture
By year's end, there are lots of tambú and aguinaldo parties, for which permits were given by Kas di Kultura. Musicians were very satisfied with this state of affairs, as they were allowed to play as loud as they want to. But as from now, police will handle permits like they do for other festivities; not that this really helps to abate the public nuisance. MAN Macaay is furiously yelling that this is yet another insidious way of Holland breaking our culture.

Let George Do It
After any amount of occasions where either coalition or opposition refused to sign the attendance register, so there was no quorum and the meeting had to be postponed, coalition PAR/PNP/FOL pulled the same trick once again. (The opposition wanted to appoint a seventh deputy, which can't have been agreeable to them.) It took DP George to, finally, after all these years, point out that gezaghebber made a mistake in her interpretation of the rules: As long as the members are sitting on their uh... seats, they are present and obliged to sign the roll call - the meeting ought not to have been postponed. Pierrot didn't agree: this was no occasion to play political games. But exactly who are playing around here?

Medical Universities
We have two universities training MDs on this <150,000 people island. If you think this mixture is too rich, I have 'No Comment' (Aruba, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba each also have one of these institutes of higher learning, with Bonaire even sporting two. None of them is accredited.) One of those, Martinus, a few weeks ago was seized by the bank. You may feel serves them right for stating on their web site that they are continuing a 150 year tradition. (The building they are in was put up around 1850 by the catholic church as a primary school.)
The second one, Caribbean Medical University, just now became the subject of another controversy with newspaper Amigoe publishing an article (based, as they say, on web site ValueMD) that CMU is a swindle.
As CMU is a project of Venezuelan businessman Vittorio de Stefano (popularly suspected of being financed by Chavez' corrupt regime), it's a priori tempting to believe this. But, weirdly, I for one can't find the ValueMD article Amigoe refers to; maybe it's this. No doubt more will follow on this controversy, as CMU on that forum threatens to sue Amigoe. Discussions have run so high, there are now five ValueMD forums [sic] on the CMU subject, count 'em: one - two - three - four and five.
News Flash: Martinus University will be publicly auctioned on November 26, unless owner Daryanani's debts have been paid before then. This will not influence Martinus University activities.

That was the comment from several people about the efforts, renewed by PAR Rhuggenaath, to attract gays and lesbians to Curaçao as a Pink Paradise. While attitudes towards non-straights have become much more accepting in the past 25 years, it's not half a year ago that PS Kleinmoedig was beaten up in his garden and denounced as a 'mariku' (still one of the most abusive terms in Papiamentu.) And it's only three weeks since FOL Godett, in a session of the eilandsraad, started a vulgar torrent of abuse directed at PS Wiels, using the terms 'a goat' and 'Sodom and Gomorrha', which resulted in the opposition leaving the meeting in protest. Worst, reportedly the coalition, including Rhuggenaath, was visibly enjoying Godett's tirade and chuckling over it.

You Might Well Arsk
What often seems full-time letter-to-the-editor writer John Baselmans asks in yet another effort: Whatever happened to PM's months-old-promise that all those sinecures given away by the former island government would have to be canceled within two weeks? Since then, deep, utter and deep-black silence.

Business Beats Baksheesh
While PdVSA has formerly given away money to redecorate 'our' floating market in their national colors, and now ANG4M or maybe 6M to SEHOS hospital, they can well afford it out of the many millions they make out of the Isla refinery - which is in such a bad state the yearly damage to public health may well exceed that gift. Now, it seems that PdVSA is starting to use Curaçao Oil Terminal as a bunkering station, quite against the contractual rights of Curoil. Curoil wants another price hike of ANG.10/liter, which could be avoided if PdVSA did not insist on charging 'transport fees' - from Curaçao to Curaçao. So much for that cheap oil Godett and Pierrot have been promising us.

South Africa dog sign
Licensed to Kill
After for several years pitbulls have been maiming and killing several people, among which children, now finally an island law against breeding them has been adopted. But other breeds like rottweiler, fila brasileira and dogo argentino, forbidden in many civilized countries, still have their chance at attacking bystanders, innocent or not. Meanwhile, there have been at least two cases of rottweilers acttacking humans already. I suppose they have to kill, first.

Pelea! Boxeo! Rojer versus Wiels
When our people's representatives PS Wiels and FOL Rojer met in the street, a vulgar brawl ensued where Rojer (and, according to his version) several other people received blows from Wiels. Wiels, like many a fellow-pupil of mine at primary school, said he'd only pushed him. Commented Rojer, this hurts the eilandsraad image. For once we agree with him. He said he'd lodge a complaint, but a week later they made up and shook hands.

Seems Something May Have Changed
February last year, the opposition PNP left an eilandsraad meeting because the microphones were turned off for the discussion on a 112M guilders loan to Grand Cypress. Now the proposal came up again, but it does look like Grand Cypress will not get that loan (can't help wondering who are not getting their cuts - tough).

Smells Fishy
Godett is all set to buy a terrain on Fontein, on which FKP social housing foundation management and an internal committee all agree the price is much too high for public housing. The workers' unions announced they will go to court if the deal goes through. But Godett is deputy and boss, right? Why is he so anxious to proceed? Why is he now trying to get Asjes to work there after the Selikor fiasco, even if Arsjes is still receiving his salary for now?
Why am I so afraid of being hauled to court for slander that I shut up here? (He may very well not even bother.) But it is because I only suspect but don't know that Godett might get a cut from the terrain's owner.
By the way, Godett had the temerity to complain in public that it was a disgrace that Asjes still got his Selikor salary (while StIP is desperately trying to extend his job there for as long as possible.) Not all people are as stupid as Godett necessarily must feel they are, not knowing any better: His standards are way too low.

They Can't Mean Us
Now that there is definite talk of a media law, the guys of the press and radio are finally getting nervous; long overdue. Next thing you know, they will have to go to court to have their revoked license back because some government official feels it has been insulted. It does strongly smack of totalitarianism; you'd need a permit in advance to publish! Even the staten seem reluctant to go that far. When the media finally protested, Leeflang got enraged and gave back the prize they had given her a month before. (But I'm still not worried.)
What's incomprehensible is that one of minister Leeflang's aides is former Amigoe journalist Marjo Nederlof, well known for her independent attitude towards governments.

Balanced Budget or Unbalanced Government
As the coalition judged they had not enough of a majority (Godett was on a trip), they refused to hold a meeting as requested by opposition parties. Especially DP George was worried: The debts to be taken over by Holland were assessed at end 2005; the years after are excluded (600M worth). There is just about 1G needed to solve social-economic problems. Finally, they 'forgot' to include the 500-700M cost-of-living allowance for civil servants.
The proud new independent nation of Curaçao will set out in life with a deficit of 2.3G guilders.
Be that as it may be, the island 2008 budget has a deficit of 169M, of which they feel Holland will pay 103M. So much for Rhuggenaath's repeated promises that it would be reduced to zero by then. Not to mention how much confidence we have in the promised efforts to bring it down during the year: zero.

A New Committee: Now We're Getting Somewhere?
While by now the government owes Willy Maal ANG39M (20M the judge gave him, plus interest since 1999), we have yet another committee to have a look at the problem. Understandably, Maal is afraid this is just another way to gain time; it works very well for Isla and Asjes - let's try it again. So Maal is now planning to sue again, for a total of 276M.

That's for Aruba. Don't Panic!-Yet
The judge has decided that 'European Netherlanders' (as distinct from Arubian Netherlanders - we all have that nationality) are free to settle on the island. As the laws of the Netherlands Antilles are virtually the same in that respect, it looks like this discriminating nonsense dating from colonial times will finally be stopped. Good thing too, with these spoiled brats here always clamoring every time Holland wants to stop Antilleans from coming in, that it's a shame. Which it is, of course.
De Telegraaf2007-09-16

Making Himself Popular
Is what DP George is not doing, at least not with many of his esteemed colleague-politicians. Now he wants to know how many deputies have extra jobs, contrary to rules, in goverment-owned companies. Oh yeah, and if they pay taxes over their salaries there.

Lower the Norms
When an awful lot of architecture students at University NA failed their final exams, the solution arrived at by staten [island governement] was easy and entirely predictable: Never mind the norms, lower them and give 'em their diplomas.

A Colonialist Plot
When the protestant school committee announced that, as from now, teachers and pupils on their schools would have to speak Dutch, not Papiamentu, teachers' union SITEK did not surprise anyone by stating that this started an 'unequalled proces of recolonialization'. The committee is trying to fool everybody with their concealed evil plans, feels SITEK.
SITEK mentions several other ways that could be used instead to combat language problems; hard to understand why they never thought of those before, let alone applied them.

This Calls for a Celebration
Maybe for the first time since the Netherlands Antilles became autonomous, and certainly for the first time in living memory, the national budget (for 2008) is balanced. This is only because Holland takes over the interest and maybe some other details. The Antilles have lost almost ANG100M in interest because they only accepted the slotverklaring with an 8 months delay.Question remains, will this be the first year in memory when the government will keep to that budget?
And also, is it really balanced?

What a nightmare!
The newest eilandsraad member, lawyer NPA Rooijer, became a member of Pierrot's party after that guy had appeared to him in a dream twice. Representative? Not for me.

Schotte Strikes Back?
While there is a movement to get Schotte fired from his cosy chair at DROV, for some reason his boss Karsdorp there got an order to demolish the new wall around his property, as he had no license for it. Within 24 hours, Karsdorp (to nobody's surprise) could show a license and the wall still stands.
At an architects conference begin November, same Karsdorp announced in public that no illegal building was ever torn down. Don't we know it (but for one notable exception, when in the 1980s an illegal building of Fort Waakzaamheid's Simon was torn down - somebody must have hated his guts). Elsewhere, Karsdorf stated that going to court was of no use, as the judge would then have to deal with all others who had built with no permits. Right, please do so.
Question is, why should we suckers then pay for a building permit? They don't come cheap, either.
Karsdorp also explained that they had given permit for a new parking garage, a monstrosity that will now arise in the center of Willemstad, which they want to keep a Unesco Heritage Site.

Double Disgrace
FOL Rojer said it was a shame that there was such strong criticism on the former bestuurscollege for hiring all that extra personnel over and above the norm; it was all a witch hunt just to disgrace politicians. DP George reminded Rojer that he, as a member of that former BC, was an accomplice and one of those politicians who had disgraced themselves. Better watch this guy George, he gives rabbit punches.

Joy Ride
Eilandsraad wanted to take a joy ride (at our expense) on the paranda-bus (decked out in blue and yellow, what else?) but spoilsport DP George thought it nonsense... whoever came up with this idea must be out of his mind. Complained PAR Jezus-Leito that 'now we do something for unity and then that's all wrong.'

Betting Is Not Gambling
Some people never want to bet with me, as I only bet when I'm sure I'll win. Wise guys. Most of 'em would gamble in a lottery or a casino; not so wise. Anyway, I am leaving this place for a space, and want to bet on these points:

1 — When I get back, the deputies' salaries & pensions will not have been lowered.
I LOST - or did I?
Even though it became painfully obvious that gezaghebber Dindial had been willfully aiding and abetting the former Eilandraad in this, neither she nor that august body took any measures to withdraw the comfy arrangement. It took until August 16 for PM de Jongh-Elhage to come with a country resolution [landsbesluit] in which the pensions were annihilated. They were contrary to four laws. But as gezaghebber never signed the proposal, the country cannot lawfully annul it and it is left to eilandsraad to do so themselves. Which, as far as I could find out, hasn't happened yet. I WON!
2 — Asjes will be receiving money from Selikor; Schotte will have a lucrative job.
3 — Nothing will have been done about the refinery and its pollution.
4 — The audits of Aqualectra and Curoil will not have led to any solid results.
5 — The police will not have changed their policy to withhold crime numbers.
6 — Country civil servants will have been reassured that the new island country will hire them all, needed or not (nothing new there, after all.) If this stands up later is another matter; I wouldn't bet on that.
7 — There are still more civil servants than was known, and also more PP (free medical insurance) and onderstand (welfare) clients.
I'm sure I WON.
8 — [Big:] IF they've got around to checking it, it will turn out the national debt and island debt both are much larger than what the Dutch bargained for.
Boy, have I WON!
9 — The roads will be even crummier than they are now.
10Jacob Geld Lekker will have found one more way to make a fool and a nuisance of himself.
UNDECIDED - I didn't hear of one.

Pirate Party
A club of lawyers has announced a party, 'Pirates of the C.' But C does not stand for Court, what possibly could have made you think that? It's for Caribbean. Appropriate location, too: next to Baya Beach (who that night called the police to come and end to the nuisance - twice.)

They Noticed, But...
After the face-lift, or put-down as some interpret it, of the Floating Market Isla refinery has now completely renovated one of the schools in their billowing smoke. It's completely equipped with airco, of which electricity costs will be paid by Isla. Manager Jimenez declared 'Isla is conscious of environmental problems.' You could have fooled me: Why don't they stop the problem at the source, then?

Gamble Lost
The UK has a 'White List': Only online gambling operators from countries on that list are allowed to advertise there. Curaçao had asked to be included, but was not. Says a local lawyer the island has fulfilled conditions for years already; but we need new laws so the last details can be formalized. A slight contradiction there? Not too slight for the UK. The gambling operators say, it's just UK favoritism. Two of them have opted to depart for greener fields. Oh, how sorry I am to see this solid pillar of the economy crumble.

Now He's Asking
Dos Santos, as member of a dropped-out-of-the-race political party a director of Curaçao Port Authorities, will soon loose that job. It may be a coincidence that he only now starts to ask awkward questions about the way that business is managed, referring to manager Diaz as a 'failed politician' and a 'devil-like person'. Diaz denies all allegations, what else is new?

Tired Old Song
Everybody with one eye and a nose can see and smell how this is, as John D. Macdonald wrote, one of the filthiest places in the Caribbean. (Not only) because money is asked for trash disposal and dead dog cremation, the filth is just dumped by the roadside. Public service Selikor doesn't do anything about it; they may be too busy keeping Asjes out. But now, because tourists have noticed, an effort may be made to stop all this. That we have been complaining since way back when never matters.

Ungratified Civil Servants
Civil servants who were promised an extra gratification (that's those who already earn the maximum) got to hear, this year they won't get any: There's no money. Asks their union, What does that mean, there's no money? We all know the snappy answer to that silly question. They later decided to sue, which is quite in order, of course: They don't need empty promises any more than we do.

Our Culture
While author-turned-politician Martinus and actor-turned-politician, not such a big step, Leerdam ran to court on a copyright quarrel about a play based on a Martinus novel (both in Dutch) they at least, if a bit late, listened to the judge when he advised them to please talk it over. (It's performed by politicians - can't wait to see it.) But 80-year old poet Elis Juliana got flak because he'd had the audacity to write a poem in Dutch! High treason! It should all be in Papiamentu. Elis came out with a strong statement against the trend he (and count me in) discerns here: In fact, this exaggerated breast-beating of the Afro-Curaçaoans, this 'only I am a real Curaçaoan', is a manifestation of strong inferiority feelings, of shame. In my poems I have pointed out many times this is misplaced pride.

Vantage's Vengeance
As we knew already, Curoil is just wasting their (our) money by sueing Vantage as they don't like the results of the audit. Director Drabinski is so sure, not only he appeared in court without bothering to hire a lawyer, he has now published the audit (http://www.vantageconsulting.com/documents/CuroilFinalReportVolI4-9-07electronicversion.pdf) on the web.
In March 2008, the report was removed from the Vantage website.

He feels Curoil may be spending more on fighting the results of the report than it has cost, and is now starting his own court case in Curaçao. Curoil's Capella says it's all nonsense, in which he must be at least 50% correct.

Join The Club
Oh, you're an honorary member already? One third of Curaçao taxpayers doesn't pay any tax at all; another third twists and turns to avoid paying completely. This results in an estimated 400M guilders yearly loss in government income.
This is the right place to emphasize once again that the tax person then goes out and hassles those who do pay to get them to pay more than is their due, resulting in a lot of money wasted. Not to mention the time and effort those payers have to spend to avoid this; apart from the fact that their taxes necessarily are too high already.

Pierrot's Hands Empty As Well As Other Body Parts
After all those negotiations and promises of Pierrot, nothing whatsoever has happened with PdVSA and Isla refinery. Mendes de Gouveia, new refinery president, says he'll do something about it. What can we do but wait and see?

Insurance: It's a Gamble
21 of 29 insurance companies just haven't bothered to publish their yearly reports, as they're legally obliged to. (Some, at least, have asked for an extension.) Taking out insurance is enough of a gamble without this.
The casinos seem to feel there's not enough gambling going on yet in their hallowed halls, and many also operate lotteries (number offices) in there. Illegally, need I add?

Scene from movie Dakota, 1974

Isla Magnanimity
The refinery has spent fully 600K guilders on a project nobody needed, taking away all romantic picturesque aspects from a prime tourist attraction, the Floating Market where vegetables and fruits are sold from (less and less) Venezuelan boats. Too bad the crew of those still not even has a porta-potty at their disposal. Yessir, very hygienic. Better wash that salad when you get home.
A move to collect signatures to return the wasted money has been set up. I don't see any use in that.
Anyway, there's less and less available in Venezuela since Chavez' Bolivarian 'socialist' Revolution. Consul Angiolillo (as much a compulsive liar as his Boss) came out with a new gem: This is because same revolution has been such a success, the Venezuelans now can afford to buy the stuff themselves. The truth is, with yearly inflation uncomfortably over 20% and a bolivar coin .3 of 2000 value, Venezuela agriculture has virtually ceased to exist. Supermarkets are looking at importing from Colombia instead.

Sounds Familiar: Aruba Mario
Without telling why they only acted now (maybe because that would be telling?) the Aruba government announced the Aruba futilities would as from now change their acts. Like their Curaçao counterparts, they omitted to publish yearly reports or transfer money to the shareholders (government). Mostly blamed is a guy Brandt Wubs and his pal Adriaan van Ravenstein, until next month director of NIB National Investment Bank. Wubs definitely reminds us of Mario Evertsz and his tricks when he controlled Aqualectra and ALM/DCA.
Rather interesting in this connection is, all Antillean (plus Indonesian, Papua New Guinean and Surinam) utilities used to be owned and run by OGEM, which company sold out to the government at a time (1980s) when privatization went on all over the world, and proceeded to go bankrupt soon afterwards, in the best ENRON tradition. Did Wubs and Evertsz learn their tricks at OGEM? And another interesting question, into whose bottomless pockets will all that lovely money go now?
By the way, opposition parties AVP and RED remind us that this same government has 'introduced' the same changes last year.

That's a Relief!
Contrary to rumors, PLKP (Bakoba's party) will continue to exist. Much better is the news that Pierrot hasn't been around for a long time; he wasn't even present to vote against the slotverklaring. And Henriquez has been offered another job by a special committee who worked it all out; in the government, naturally. In business, he'd have been kicked out and nobody else would have wanted him. Wonder how much they paid that committee.

Best Airport in the Caribbean
That is, as Alterra has been bragging for years now, what they want to turn our Hato Airport into. They don't seem to succeed very well. Last week, a sick case could not be moved to hospital and had to remain in a non-airco aircraft sitting in the sun, as the medical emergency room was not available - or was it?

Just Don't Tell Them
Police is not giving information any more to the press on assaults and robberies; they wish to avoid panic in the public or give potential robbers any ideas. Their radio system has also been changed so press can't scan their messages any longer.
They reassure us, though, that they still do their duty and register those crimes, which they claim went down by 50% last year (a personal yearly chance of 1 in 275 to be assaulted and robbed). 1 in 5 of these crimes was solved.
Former head of police Oldenboom, in a letter to Amigoe, agrees: Just claiming there are less assaults doesn't bring grist to the mill, and is not convincing.
Just a suggestion: Why not legalize assault and robbery and lower crime rates?

CDM Slavery Disputed
CDM director Hernandez claims conditions for Cuban workers have been changed, and the visum-stop should be canceled. It's all in a report, that (for some reason) is kept secret, though.

Wild Fluctuations
The inquiry into Finance dept. is labeled disputed, as it was done by ex-aide Carolina of FOL ex-deputy Strick (now in a cozy Tax job), both with conditional sentences on their backs. But it surprises nobody that the dept. is one muddy mess; makes for good fishing. In the first week of December 2006 their prognosis was a deficiency of 23M guilders, while a month later they reported a 31M surplus over the same month.

Hunting Season
MAN calls the 'obligatory vacation' of Henriquez and Martina a civil servant hunt, which just serves to kick some people out and replace them with members of other parties. Gee, I wished they told me to stay home while keeping my salary! (And don't forget the pension build-up goes on as well.)

Suits Them Fine
Opposition parties DP, FK and SP asked for an eilandsraad meeting to void bestuurscollege's decision to raise its members' salaries and pensions. But PAR and PNP, with Godett's FOL the ruling partners, said it so happens eilandsraad is in recess so it can't be done. It has been done before, though, and presumably could be done again; if they wished to.
Godett says it's a disgrace! not the salaries: no, the request for a meeting.

High Salaries at the Top and Favoritism
Very high salaries at the top … disrupt the team. They make … people in the company see their own top management as adversaries rather than as colleagues.... And that quenches any willingness to say 'we' and to exert oneself except in one's own immediate self-interest.
Followers are likely to perceive such financial inequity as unfair.
Favoritism, or even the appearance of it, is the royal road to civil war in organizations, political parties and countries alike.
Peter F. Drucker - The Frontiers of Management (Dutton, 1986)
The New Psychology of Leadership, Scientific American August 2007

Promising Start
Curoil started a USA court case against Vantage; they want the money back they paid for the audit. Vantage director Dabrinski appeared without having secured the services of a lawyer; he can't think much of Curoil's chances. More money wasted.

Let's Make It Legal
DROV [town and country planning] has a list of 200 illegally built houses. You can't help thinking there must be many more. FOoL Godett blames MAN Cooper for that, but all former deputies are as much at fault. An illegal builder is a voter, right? Well, and there you are. Anyway, Godett offers a smart way out: Make them all legal now; the government will earn much money and it (another gem quote) reduces illegality. It's the old gambling trick. Hint: Why not make assault and robbery legal and lower crime rates still more?
Oh, and, by the way, remember Arsjes and Selikor? Godett feels that as the guy gets his salary, he must go and work there; and the judge has been 'too emotional' anyway, he must have been influenced by Amigoe newspaper.

Hey, That Wasn't the Deal!
Minister Duncan (from St. Maarten) caused a panic among government 'workers' by stating that 1000 of those may have to be fired when the Netherlands Antilles stop to exist. Deputy Jesus-Leito reassured them that the new country of Curaçao will hire them all. To do what? That aspect would not make much difference to them; but we on our own will have to maintain a thousand more parasites of 'em.
Hurray for Independence! Let's go out and buy some more flags.
As it turns out there are some 2400 of those types at quote work unquote for the island and almost 1700 for the country. As usual, Rekenkamer and government have a different count. But Duncan says they could use some on St. Maarten—if they want to go. Makes me drool.
VBC entrepreneurs' association reminds us that in 2001, commissie staatkundige structuuur [political structure] figured that joining of country and island government would result in 367 superfluous government jobs (saving ANG106M/year), and that since then, with an 'absolute' stop on hiring in effect since 1999 (solemnly repeated in 2005), 859 had been hired until 2006, and many more this year. No surprises there.

Here's Our Chance
Ombudsman Wiel announces that anybody or any legal entity can lodge complaints with his office against bestuurscollege when it does not follow accepted norms; or against any deputy who behaves unseemly in public or in his own time, as this 'violates the integrity of island government.' Small wonder those guys don't love him.

Letters to the Editor Dotty Com
Myself at occasions being frustrated enough to shoot off a letter to Ye Ed., I sympathise with the guys who have set up Ingezonden/Remetido.com. Weirdly, they have two links (one in http://www.remetido.com Papiamentu, one in http://www.ingezonden.com Dutch; both these sites have disappeared) to exactly the same site. Maybe that will change later? I'll keep on sluicing my venom here and sometimes in a newspaper with 10K potential hits per day. That really is a lot, web-wise.
I was wrong, there are two different language sites; two more (English and Spanish) are in the works. Ayway, forgot to add I wish them the best. As of April 2008, they disappeared again.

Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, gambling hall

Gambling to Stop Gambling
PS Wiels wants to stop illegal gambling (machines in snacks etc. are all over.) Instead, all those machines should be put in halls, and the resulting tax proceeds used to improve education, sports and addiction fighting. An even better suggestion: Put Prince in charge!

Papiamento in Aruba
The Aruba government has found time to take a highly important decision: From now on, those who want to be naturalized have to take an exam in Dutch and Paiamento. Many people there already don't speak either. It's also contrary to laws of the EU, of which Aruba desperately wants to become a member, so every Arubiano can go to any EU country and freely settle there. But we knew already many guys in government can't what you'd call 'reason'.

Yearly Drama
Since the schools changed the instruction language to Papiamentu, there has been a rush to get kids on the four remaining schools in Dutch. This year, there was no room for 813 of them, which is over 10% more than last year. In 2004, the total amount of first class pupils would have been about 2600, and 1185 pupils opted for Dutch-language schools. That's 47%. Another instance of democracy, Curaçao style; not that we needed one.

Skeptical on Schotte's Scheme
Schotte has anounced he will leave his job at DROV if all other jobs, similarly given away in the last ten years, are reversed as well. Schotte knows very well this can't be done, desirable as it may be. There have been more impractical but mouth-watering propositions like this. Trouble is, Schotte still doesn't have qualifications, not even for a job that never was.
DROV has written a letter to BC that they can't use Schotte, and they advise hem to apply for jobs he is capable of.

A Good Point
MAN Curiel thinks it's sheer hypocrisy that the Antillean government now rejects the eilandsraad salary raise, while they raised their own salaries and pensions on the very last day IJs was PM. We do have the consolation that the Antillean government will not be around after next year. Also, MAN was part of that very cabinet Puriel is complaining about; that's double hypocrisy.
FK Damoen joined Pierrot in resenting PM de Jong-Elhage's use of the word clique for the guys who plotted and conspired to arrange those salaries, especially as she includes the honorable gezaghebber and secretary. Well, what would he call it? A band? gang? bunch? rabble? mob? I gladly run the risk of getting into problems by suggesting words that really express what she may have meant.
The best part about all this is, the Staten decision was never properly accorded but the salaries are paid anyway, which makes our PM part of that same clique. No surprise there.
PS later charged the public prosecutor to start a legal investigation into the staten salaries.

Spoiled Brats Keep Whining
PS Wiels really keeps thinking the people do not want the slotverklaring accepted. Even FOL was smart enough to see that, at the last elections, all parties who were against lost votes while the others won. But PS doesn't even seem to be able to count, and now wants to go to court against the Netherlands, in Holland and Curaçao.
Tali-Wiels comes with the old chestnut of going to the decolonization committee of the UN, despite it having been declared a useless empty move long ago, by UN advisor Carlyle Corbin; Curaçao has been removed from the list of decolonized countries in 1955 (Statuut-year), and that UN committee has been inactive since 1990. PS also threatens to go to Copppal for support. I don't want to disillusion them, and even wish them good luck—they need it.
MAN Cooper is of the opinion that this decision should have been taken by eilandsraad, not bestuurscollege, and wants to go to court as well. How they love running to Father Judge, those strivers for independence.

What a Mess
For the first time in 46 years, social insurance bank SVB yearly account, showing a 23M profit, has been accepted. This is because SVB took old age pension payments over from the Tax Persons, who, as we all know, don't seem to know and care even less what they're doing.

A Good Point
MAN Curiel thinks it's sheer hypocrisy that the Antillean government now rejects the eilandsraad salary raise, while they raised their own salaries and pensions on the very last day IJs was PM. We do have the consolation that the Antillean government will not be around after next year. Also, MAN was part of that very cabinet Puriel is complaining about; that's double hypocrisy.

Do You Mean Us?
A good question, as the government is planning, not too soon, to do something about hate mongering and inciting—for unfathomable reasons, a sport that has been growing more and more popular. For the time being, this site is safe as they only refer to newspapers and radio programs. I'm not very worried, anyway.

How Tipiko
As we all know, we have to keep our administration on file for ten years or so for the Tax Person. However, you have to bill the government within 18 months, or they just won't pay. This came out because they have decided to pay a supermarket bill dating from 1999; but the summons to pay 1995 bills had been sent in too late, and the dept. couldn't find the original bills. And that's that.

Is What We Figured
FOL Strick claimed that when he left his deputy function there was over 20M guilders in island government cash; but his PAR successor Willems claims that's just because APNA and Wegenfonds had not been not paid. He also wants to check the (80M short) budget as he fears it may not be 'realistic'.

Shut Up and Deal
Author Frank Martinus is very proud of the fact that he's been selected in Holland as one of the 1 or 2 hundred most popular Dutch. Weirdly, at the same time he's solidly on the Total Independence side of bad loser Tali-Wiels and is unable to accept the fact that it's all over and done with now. He still hopes (Fat Chance Dept.) the United Nations will declare Holland to be colonialist and imperialist. One more proof, not that we needed any, that his mind is still in the nineteen-sixties. There are many like him. PS wants to take legal action against accepting of slotverklaring, and will protest with Amnesty International and somewhere else I forget. They'd better stop all that spoiled-brat-like nagging and get to work—there's plenty to do.

Forget It
Governor Goedgedrag has sent on the documents relating to the eilandsraad salary raise to PM de Jongh-Elhage, who declared that Antillean government will start procedures to annihilate the decision after the proposal will have been accepted (by gezaghebber signing it (something which she should have done two days from now to make it legal.) Chances are, new eilandsraad may reverse the decree before then, which is formally possible. Will be interesting to see how they vote now.
Gezaghebber, and she may be right, says it's not for her to reverse the decision. On the other hand, she keeps defending it, if half-heartedly, by saying that it was based on an advise by Finance Dept., which actually wasn't around at the time. It has now turned up and ripped to shreds: According to the Dept., the extra costs would be a mere 130K this year, slowly growing to 250K in 2010. In reality, the salary raise will cost over 2M/year, while the pensions cost multiples of 6.7M/year.

Make 'em Pay, Anyway!
Now that we have a new minister for Telecommunications (FOL Adriaensz) and our national UTS has made 25M profit last year, Adriaensz proposes to restore our isolation by charging money for using Skype, Net2Phone and other systems for international calls via the internet. Sounds like we can have a lot of fun here, with Yahoo! and Google having joined the fun.


Take a Deep Breath
After seventeen hours of discussions, interrupted by the meeting having to move because of a (no doubt fake) bomb alarm, eilandsraad accepted the slotverklaring. (Pierrot wasn't there to vote, he didn't feel so good.)
Now, maybe, finally, we can get down to it.
Vox Populi labeled the bomb scare 'TaliWiels', as the PS man kept inciting the crowd outside the building where the meeting was being held; but PAR Gomez referred to TaliMAN. PS said the bomb scare was a plot of bestuurscollege to make PS look bad.

Now This Is Official
In Aruba, the judge has convicted ex-minister Croes (2001) to pay damages to the country for exceeding his budget without parliamentary approval (how much will be fought out later.) More similar cases are pending.
The judge thought other accusations unproven: accepting bribes, awarding contracts to befriended entrepreneurs, favouring political friends and conspiring.

And Not A Moment Too Soon
Next Friday, less than a week after they took office, eilandsraad will discuss the slotverklaring once again. PS Wiels is all against it; he calls it 'a provocation'. Look who's talking. This party wants to check if reversing a former decision is legally possible. My guess it, it is and should be; but if it turns out it's not, that sure comes in handy for Wiels' salary and future pension.
(PAR and PNP don't refer to it as slotverklaring any longer, but they don't fool anybody.)

Just What We Hoped
The judge threw Arsjes out of court with some strong words, almost amounting to an accusation of StIP and Godett of contempt of court (only there's no such thing in our law) because they had hastily signed an agreement with Asjes when it was obvious they couldn't fulfill it, as the judge would reverse the decision. So Arsjes didn't get his job; his father-in-law (who allegedly paid Godett to help him to that job) paid in vain. But when Asjes sued Selikor for his salary he won! There are three choices open: 1 - Arsjes' contract has not been cancelled yet, awaiting the judge's final verdict, so he has to be paid; 2 - if the contract is postponed, Arsjes does not have to be paid; 3 - or Arsjes contract is cancelled and he will get redemption money. The choice seems obvious, but (for some reason) not to Selikor. Go figure.
Oh, by the way, today bestuurscollege decided on the future of those infamous and notorious boards of directors and about StIP: Members of FOL will remain in there. I guess that's part of the coalition-deal; merely routine business practice.

our new eilandsraad
photo Amigoe

Just What We Expected
The new eilandsraad (PAR, PNP, FOL) did not reverse the decision on their salaries and pensions, as proposed by DP, FK and PS. PAR Jackson had the chutzpah to tell us it wouldn't be 'decent' while the governor was looking at the proposal (after all, they must be getting impatient after having had to wait for a year.)
Two days later, on the official day of the flag meeting, PNP van der Gen referred to her gang as 'worthy representatives of the people'; MAN Macaay once again expressed his by now boring opinion that accordation of the slotverklaring meant nothing more or less than a return to slavery.
At the same occasion, DP George called Godett 'a liar' (now what gave him that idea?) Gezaghebber rebuked him, which made George wonder out loud if using that word was worse than the act of lying. George, with SP Wiels, later refused to take a seat in the official tent for his 'worthy' colleagues during the flag ceremonies.

After elections in Nigeria were over, price of machetes dropped to 50% and sales to even less
Maybe we should reverse that trend, here, now - just in case

Clean Rooien, Filthy Air
PNP Davelaar is spending 1.7M ($1M) to clean the rooien (arroyos), something speed-humper Cooper never got round to. Too bad the government has no money (150K) for Milieudienst equipment and training to measure pollution. They are now acquiring these from Isla refinery; really!
Last year's SO2 pollution was 137ppm, 70% over Isla's own norms, already high over international norms.
To mention in passing, diesel oil here contains 0.5% of sulphur, while internationally accepted norm is one tenth of that, with a growing trend to one hundredth. This also results in fast deterioration of engines designed and built for that norm, causing even more pollution in the form of smoke and soot.
Another mess Davelaar wants to clean up, via an audit, is Selikor, until recently under responsibility of Godett.

Not Over and Done
Gezaghebber Richards-Dindial has sent the notorious decision on salaries and pensions to governor Goedgedrag, on his request. Decision has not been signed by gezaghebber and therefore can not be cancelled. Yet. Gezaghebber comments that decision is not against any law, and it is not clear to her if it's against the common interest, the only other reason to cancel.
The redu [rumors] chain has it that the PAR-PNP-FOL coalition has almost broken apart. If PAR and PNP act according to their stated principles, they will have to cancel the decision, which doesn't necessarily mean Godett will leave the coalition; even when DP and FK are champing at the bit to replace FOL.
Henk Pasman, a 13-year PAR member who was so disgusted with PAR's sticking with Godett that he left the party last week, advises us all to send a letter to either gouverneur or gezaghebber with the following text (copy-and-paste):
Subject/onderwerp: Petitie
Hierbij maak ik gebruik van mijn recht op petitie, en verzoek ik u in te grijpen op het eilandgebied Curaçao met betrekking tot de door de Eilandsraad goedgekeurde salaris- en pensioenregeling voor Eilandsraadsleden en gedeputeerden, en wel op grond van de hiermee overtreden normale regels van deugdelijkheid van bestuur. Aangezien ik geen jurist ben verzoek ik u hierover de juiste juridische adviezen aan te vragen, maar mijn rechtsgevoel is in ieder geval duidelijk aangetast.

Asphalt Lake
Not so far from eilandsraad
another Pit of Filth
Google Earth Isla

No Harm Done
At least, Milieudienst tells us that the removal of the Asphalt Lake, now in progress, is guaranteed safe and will not result in any extra pollution in no form whatever. Too bad we can only hope that, for once, Milieudienst is telling the truth; because the dug-up mess will be used in the BOO plant, about which we've been told long ago it has been designed for much lighter grades of fuel.

Don't Celebrate, Yet
The Dutch, who will have to cough up some ANG3G to take over our debts (even in €s a quite respectable amount (more than most of us, and I include Bill Gates, will ever earn), are already protesting against our Democratic Representatives usurping some ANG8M/year on top. After Strick promised he'd do something about the 81M budget shortage of this year, just as expected nothing more was heard from him. Since then, we have been hiring extra government personnel to the tune of over 42M guilders per year. Then, there's that old standby, onderstand. And how about those voting machines?
You know what that means? That You, and, much more importantly I, would have to cough up those extra 81+8+2.5 million guilders (that's 108 per family or 3660 per voter—per year; 10 guilders a day.)
What I say is, kick 'em where it does most good.
Holland has, as expected, announced the salary raise is unacceptable. Their promises to re-finance our debts are based on the situation of end 2005; all debts acquired after that date we (you and me) have to pay.

Well, Maybe
PAR Willem feels that, as there is no financing for the questionably exorbitant salaries (don't forget the pensions) our Honorourable Deputies and Representatives have democratically [The Will of the People] given themselves, the decision should be reversed. My idea. We'll see...

dennis evertsz
photo Amigoe

Dennis the Menace
Dennis Evertsz doesn't look very worried because of 'his' PNP party looking at disciplinary measures against him for voting 'yes' for his salary and pension, and why should he?

Some You Win, Some You Loose
Now director of personnel organization Martina has been kicked off his comfy chair. Seems he was involved in Henriquez trying to get PM de Jong-Elhage to sign a document, as one-in-a-stack, granting him and others a 25% higher salary.
The plot succeeded and the decision stands. But maybe Henriquez is not to blame, as he was away when the document was presented to the PM. Still, he never told her he was on the list himself, nor that the date the raise started was retro-active.

Shotte Should Be Schot!
After DROV head Karsdorp, ex-head van der Horst and personnel had complained about Schotte's appointment at that institution, ombudsman Wiels promised he'd instigate an investigation. Son-of-Salas never applied for the job (at least, not openly), neither does he have the proper qualifications; he never even finished high school. The job has been fulfilled for years by another person at a much lower salary.
But Salas needn't worry, as from tomorrow he'll be entitled to a good salary and pension as eilandsraad member. Or will he?

Here's Another One, or Are There Thirteen?
Even before the last elections, Godett's brother got a job at Milieudienst; it seems to be the tenth in a range sent there by Constancia, another member of the mafioso-like Godett family. People working there say they expect two or three more yet to follow.
Small wonder Milieudienst makes such a stinking mess.

No Bets Are Taken
It would seem simple enough for the new bestuurscollege to reverse the villainous decision on their own
salaries and pensions. Don't be so sure, sucker! PNP de Lannooy already said her party would agree
on condition financial and judicial advice is available;
who says they have to follow that advice?

Knock-Out Victory for 'Democracy' versus The People!
Once again, long after Hitler won his democratic victory, not so long after Chavez won his, and even shorter after the democratic rejection of the slotverklaring, our island government thought it necessary to deliver one more unneeded proof that it's all a farce: With 13 against 6 votes the shameless proposal for higher salaries was accepted. At least this time none of these crooks had the guts to tell us this was democracy.
It's worth registering who were the 'yeah' sayers: MSL Prince and Marchena, MAN Cooper and Macaay, NPA Pierre, MPK Lak, PNP Evertsz (against the wishes of his party), and FOL jail-bird Godett with his gang of goons Rojer, Ocalia, Douglas, Sling and Carolina.
It was quite safe to vote against that majority, and so did PAR Castillo, Rhuggenaath, Alcalá-Wallé, Gomez and Jackson, and PNP Davelaar. Even safer was Errol Bakoba's going on about what a shame it all was—only to leave before the vote took place.

But FOL Constancia thought even this not good enough. She feels, out of respect (not for us, to be sure), full-time eilandsraad members should get the same. You think, as she'll be out and down the day after tomorrow, Fat Chance? Wish I could be so sure!

Try, Try Again
If Selikor director Kook will not publish information on cooperation contracts before noon today, he will be fired (sure comes in handy; a meeting of the board had been planned for the same afternoon already.) This seems rather sudden (Godett's letter was dated June 25), but easy to explain when you realize that, if and when, Selikor will not have a director the day after; so the judge's sentence on the Asjes affair can't be executed as it would leave Selikor without a director. How simple it all is when you really want it, and all your f(r)iends are willing to stand by!
But that board meeting has been cancelled. After all, it was much more important for Godett to be present at the eilandsraad meeting and vote for his own salary and pension. First things first.

The Bottom Half of the Iceberg
Turns out we were seeing only the top of the iceberg: Between 2003 and 2006 (when virtually all parties have had their share of the pie at one time or the other) with a hiring stop in place (if not effective), the island has hired 353 extra workers costing 35M guilders/year extra; which means our estimate of the salaries for 62 persons hired this year is way off and has to be adjusted to 10 times what we figured. Don't blame us or Arna, who blame bestuurscollege: it has the instruments to stop this but prefers not to use them. Salary costs have gone up with 40% in three years, make that 50% including the last six months. And don't forget the welfare.

Dom Verstaan
[Dumb Understanding] is what our teachers at school used to call it when you acted as if you hadn't heard or understood them; it seems to be a colonial habit as the Dutch use Oost-Indisch doof [East-Indian deaf] for the same phenomenon. We are reminded of this when just about the last act of old Bestuurscollege will probably be (they're working on it) in spite of all outraged public protests, not to raise their salaries as much as they'd planned: now, it's 'merely' going up from 8K to 11K/month for deputies, 60%+, and from 7.7K to 10.5K for representatives, 40%+; pensioning age is raised to 60 years, but all this still results in a 7.7K pension/month. As far as I could find out, only DP, PAR and surprisingly enough PLKP are against this shameless thievery. PNP de Lannooy states, and I quote, this needs a good look at because of the present aversion against politicians in society. Otherwise, it would be just fine?
The proposal was pushed through by instigation of FOL Douglas, MSL Prince and MPK Lak, all of whom have been voted out in the last elections. Says Lak: We had to take care of Curaçao salaries ourselves, which they undeniably did. With a vengeance; and it didn't need much pushing along, either. One of their arguments is it will create a proper power balance between deputies and government workers, i.e. show them who's boss. Another is, a deputy is the same as a minister; but figuring like that and accounting for population numbers, the new Curaçao 'ministers' would rightfully get about half the salary of Antillean ministers.

Pierrot Slanders Pedophile
PAR Willem lodged a complaint for slander against Pierrot, who stated in a radio program that Willem is a sex maniac and can't leave children alone, and alleging that Willem has been prosecuted for this.

Most Interesting
PAR Castillo has been accused by MAN Macaay that he's just the same as Schotte; he got a job by political means, and he never turns up there. But, counters Castillo, he got that job in a legit way, and Macaay knows that part-time eilandsraad members are exempted from their jobs.
As long as those are government jobs, to be sure! So we find out all these guys get a double salary - and pension, of course. Castillo clumsy? I never said that! Just a run-of-the-mill politician-of-ours.

Schotte Bounced Back
The last news we had on Schotte was, he would get a (previously non-existing) job at LVV [dept. of agriculture]. Now it seems he's been given (le mot juste) a job at DROV [town and country planning & public housing]; again, without the management there even suspecting they had such a thing as a vacancy. They muy pronto joined the growing list of protestors. PAR deputy Willem says they can't fire all those guys; he advises everybody to go to court. At the same time DROV claims the function for Schotte is non-existent, a 'person' (yes, female) working there claims she was promised the job!
Cooper says the system has to be changed, but now wants an end to all discussions; for him, the chapter on Schotte has been closed. One can see why he'd wish that.
One of the protesters in the name of DROV was the former head there, van der Horst; the same guy who in 2002 all of a sudden replaced Hellburg as manager of Curinta NV. He was appointed by bestuurscollege after having been nominated by PAR Dick. PAR chief Sulvaran is declaring that it's all such a pity, but it was the former BC that appointed Schotte and Asjes (and, for all we know, then some); but it can't be 'unlawful' because gezaghebber would then have lodged a protest with the governor. Sure, sure...
DROV personnel is protesting as well. You know, doesn't make too much of an impression on me. They're all of them, every single one of them, part of the Plot.

Mark My Words:
There will be still more coming. Now, GGD health department is protesting against another FOL-sympathiser who's supposed to take over the job of someone who had it for the past three years. He has been a collaborator of infamous Constancia.
Let's see: For now, that's this guy, Schotte, Arsjes, Marchena, Prince, and Hernandez. Milieudienst has been working without a director for several months now (not that it made any difference), so there's one more cosy job available right there. The tip of the proverbial iceberg?
Wait till you see what's under the water-table! According to Amigoe newspaper, island government has hired 62 more people since January 2006, but the way I figure, it's 89; say ANG2.25M extra salary costs per year (if they don't make more than the mean Curaçao income.)

Selikor: Dust to Dust, Francisca to Asjes
First, lawyer Braam warned the Selikor board that, in case the judge declared Arsjes' job to've been given away unlawfully, they all could be held personally responsible and liable to pay damages. So, no doubt remembering the ALM-DCA-CAL affair, they weren't worried and applied their signatures to his appointment. On the Holy Sunday, yet. Next day, the judge declared Asjes appointment unlawful, but Selikor's personnel will have to start a new case in one week's time. (They will and have.)
The board of directors, in a meeting with Arsjes present (not the first time), voted 7-4 for Arsjes keeping his nice chair to park his fat [censored] on. Next thing, Selikor personnel did get their 5% profit-sharing bonus over 2006: ANG58 (not even $30. They didn't like it.) Arsjes, old IronHide, turned up next morning at Selikor for 'work'. This will cost the government (us) ANG100K, but they wouldn't care.
StIP finally decided to put Asjes' appointment on ice, but still, eilandsbestuur pressed on. And kept pressing on. How much is island government willing and prepared to throw more money away for court procedures and lawyers, just to help one of the clan to a nice, fat job? A nice, fat, and juicy, quarrel now seems to rage inside MAN around Cooper's decision. But to ex-con Godett, that traitor an honourable man? - a deal is a deal.
In a country government meeting, PAR Sulvaran put nasty questions to MAN Francisca, parliament president. It seems Francisca, since September 2006 no longer a Selikor worker, only last month returned the keys to that kingdom. He also still used a car belonging to Selikor and had access to 'other properties of Selikor' (no doubt these include a cell-phone and a laptop) and as parliament president was still director of at least one of Selikor's enterprises.
You know, all this really makes me wonder how garbage collectors can keep their hands clean.

Have Money, Will Travel
Pierrot, his job as a deputy almost over, is taking the opportunity to go on official trips all the time left (sure, we don't need him here.)
This is the same guy who lodged a complaint with the Justice department that members collected their foreign allowance without even having left the country. Needless to say, nothing was ever heard about that anymore.
One of these days, I'm going to put up a list of all those affairs that just petered out. I'm not threatening - you can't threaten honest people that way.

Blow me down! They agreed with me?
It has now become official: DBB (Director Foreign Relations/Directie Buitenlandse Betrekkingen) was just as enthusiastic as I was on de Stefano's announced propaganda-conference, right smack before the last elections. They invited him to 'please explain', but when he didn't react, went over to ask him. It was decided 'everybody is free to hold conferences here, but not to agitate against other nations.' Could this possibly mean USA-Bush? A mere qurious cuestion.

It's an Old, Old Song
PNP Minister de Lannoy is just a teeny bit worried because, once again, it's re-finance time! Says she, in the opening months of the year there's money flowing in, no problem, but now - 'we have to borrow, but can we find lenders?' (Here's what that fool Adriaensz said on the same subject. By the way, what price gezaghebber answering Gomez' awkward questions?) And there's no money forthcoming from that despised Momma Cuntry, as the slotverklaring won't be ratified by eilandsraad before November (just in time to start shopping for Sinterklaas?)
Even worse may be the news that APNA pension fund is getting worried about the 90M they have loaned to island government. But FOL finance deputy Strick is not talking, at least not to Amigoe newspaper. You are vicious [vals] he told them.2007-06-05

Aruba Out?
Aruba minister of justice Croes was quoted in Dutch Telegraaf newspaper as saying that Aruba is breaking all ties with Holland and that he does not want any future cooperation. Aruba PM Oduber commented that Holland didn't deal with Aruba correctly, and that he couldn't dictate what a minister should say.
Next day, Croes decided to go to Holland for a meeting anyway. Wonder what he was on... In Colombia, yet.

Arsjes Can't Take a Hint
Nor can island government: It was decided Selikor had to take him on as director, and so Asjes appeared at that office (with the decision under his arm and, according to Selikor personnel, accompanied by his father-in-law.) But Selikor sent him away with a flea in his ear, as much still had to be arranged first. (Among which proceedings in court, judgment on Monday 11.) Asjes is reported to have thrown a tantrum like a spoiled fat kid, screaming 'n' yelling.
Kook got that job for over 19K/month. Then the board of directors [raad van commissarissen, in reality island government], gave Asjes the job anyway (for 17K/month), and Godett seems to have called Kook that same evening to apply some pressure. Result, Selikor now has two directors. Say, don't you wonder how much that father-in-law paid to FOL? All allegedly, sure, sure... Sounds like a sound investment (but the judge still will have his say on the 11th.)
Interestingly, Selikor workers are supposed to share 5% of the profits, but this year didn't get any. When this was pointed out in the media, it was hastily corrected.

One Week Left
Well, maybe more... Would be too much to hope all this will really stop when the present bestuurscollege takes its leave.
By now, anybody with more brains than a dolphin should realize that, in spite of democratic elections, there's not much to choose from, is there?
It strikes us as rather premature that Stimul-IT is planning a seminar (I love that word) to see what 'still' has to happen for eGovernment (that sounds just as good) to function. Better first ask, what to do to have government function, period.
The seminar costs ANG75 including 'a small lunch'.

Just Wondering
When will CAP/Hato airport publish the results of their investigation on the alleged (by InselAir) malpractices (if true, rather serious) by DAE, sharing the same hangar? Yet another issue conveniently hushed up?
Note that Rekenkamer is not retracting one single word of their report on Bonaire airport.

What to expect, except that it can only be as big a mess at Curoil and Aqualectra as in all government institutions? What can we know about those audits Pierrot had done on those two companies? Now they do not only reject the audits' conlusions, they want audits of their own. Both also refuse to pay their final bills (for 108K and 180K guilders), and even want to sue Vantage Consulting to force them to publish a 'corrected' report. A committee acting as a buffer between Curoil-Aqualectra and Vantage was accused to be 'on the government's side.'
Aqualectra is going to court to try and force island government to permit higher tariffs, instead.
Vantage director Drabinski threatens with legal action if bills are not paid on May 31. He writes, in a letter to bestuurscollege, that he has never seen such distressed companies, in a serious position which so urgently needs dealing with. Both managements are incapable of their jobs, and immediate action is necessary to prevent damage to economy and community.
We knew it all the time. Naturally, Curoil doesn't agree and is now suing Vantage (in the USA) to get their money back. Aqualectra seems to prefer to settle amicably.
A Different View
Pressure group Onze rijkdommen zijn van ons allen en niet van hun alleen
[Our riches belong to us all and not to them alone] is distributing a communication in which they calculate
that the deal between Curoil and Aqualectra has, in reality, resulted in
ANG13M extra yearly profits for Aqualectra, bringing the total to 60M guilders.
Their final conclusion is The Energy rate raise is nonsense.
Here's a copy of the original document (in Dutch); we explain in some more detail here.
I do wish them good pressure.
The Money-Go-Round
After all machinations about well-paying sinecures for (hopefully ex-)politicians, Pierrot must have figured, why not make his nephew Hernandez director of CDM? He has already (with another buddy, Esser) been consultant anyway there for six months, for which each received 15K guilders per month; and, there have been no open sollicitations there for 25 years. Which helps us understand how come CDM is in such a mess. Bestuurscollege had 'no problem at all, mon', and the same for those fees he and Esser had been receiving.
StIP official Emerencia was fired by bestuurscollege last year, but last week this was not accepted by the judge. Now, he's been fired again! and bestuurscollege says they did so in January (when, following their reasoning, he had been fired already.)

Right - you got it!
St. Eustatius and Bonaire island politicians, where the population opted for becoming part of Holland do not agree with the 'Financial committee' which for a transitional period will virtually control all their budgets. They feel it's not democratic to do what the people voted for instead of what the politicians wish. (They had also expected that welfare standards would become the same as in Holland; instead, to start with, the Caribbean standard is adopted. Uuuh, well, that's the Curaçao standard, which is the highest in the Caribbean, excepting Bermuda. Bonaire has always been much poorer than Curaçao.)
Saba island, however, wants guarantees that the same committee will assume financial responsibility.
By the way, Aruba (may be right for once) thinks much more time is needed to prepare the new political structure than rests before December 2008 - let alone July 2007. We told you so, a long time ago.

Redu and Rumors
Just passing 'em on for what they may be worth - nothing of this can be substantiated. But the story going from mouth to mouth is that, before last elections, ex-bank director Capriles and VBC [entrepreneurs club] big shot Kooijman went by Godett for a cozy little talk among friends that all Godett's debts would be taken care of, if he just went along with the slotverklaring. If it's true (which many people seem to believe), looks like they succeeded.

Watch Those Watchers
A Zero Tolerance police car with two cops stopped at a toko (shop) for a check. The guys proceeded to load all available cash (100K guilders) into the car and disappeared. When the shop owner called the cops HQ, it turned out the car was back in its parking place, and the keys turned up back on the rack, right where they belonged.
The parking place gate lock has been broken for about a year, already. As there's hardly any guard, 'anybody can walk in and out.' Yeah. Especially if they're wearing uniforms. (One cop has since been arrested.)
Talk about Zero Tolerance, that's one of those empty terms that can't possibly mean a thing: If there's no play between parts, the machine jams. On a press conference, where worry was expressed about the police corps 'growing crooked', gezaghebber said one black spot may not damage the image of the Zero Tolerance Team. As usual, you desperately wonder if she gives any thought to what she's saying at all.

Alternative Energy
Work is in progress on a system where 6°C seawater is pumped up from 700m depth to be used for cooling. When you read that the system, competing with just about the highest energy rates in the world, will take 10 years to break-even, with a useful life of 20, you almost wonder why bother?
Stop wondering: it turns out our own Aqualectra is a partner in the project (something the press omits to mention.) It's dead, long since, anyway.

ARNA Rekenkamer
A list of ARNA's (government finance control service) activities (in Dutch) was available on their website.
The oldest report dated from 1983 and concerns Curaçao, 1967-1969 [has long since disappeared—complete with their site].

Hold On
Since PAR, PNP and FOL have ganged up and now control eilandsraad, the members of the old bestuurscollege that belong to other parties are expected to take their leave from that lofty institution. These deputies refused, and it looked like three separate time (and money) consuming procedures had started up to get rid of them: MAN Cooper, NPA Pierrot and MSL Marchena. Maybe they need the extra time to arrange their future pensions. 'Maybe', because there's nothing heard in protest from PAR and PNP representatives, who don't seem averse to receiving more pension than they had in salary.
Can't let this go by any longer: Cooper, in Dutch, means Kuiper, synonymous with 'manipulating conspirator'. But three weeks later, MAN publicly stated that pension raise was unacceptable.
The deputies finally decided to comply as from the 8th of June.

Eat Your Words
As a reminder for those with a short memory, an e-mail is circulating containing a transcript of the letter Godett sent from jail in November 2006 to voice his disgust with the slotverklaring: Let us all loudly say NO [...] a decided NO to the sellers of the fatherland! (As you'd expect of the lout, plenty of grammatical errors and interpunction just horrible.)
It's not very surprising, knowing this character, that he now joined his enemies in accepting the slotverklaring pro concluding the deal with Holland. It's not surprising, knowing his enemies, either. That's politics, folks!
FOL party members wanted to confiscate a PS Kleinmoedig's camera when he was, quite legally, photographing Godett. In the resulting brawl Kleinmoedig was beaten in his face. Even though he may have got it coming, a sign of the times.
One day later, Kleinmoedig was found unconscious in his garden, having been knocked on the head with a piece of wood (after he heard someone calling mariku! [sod] - still the worst possible name-calling in our so-called gay tourist paradise.)

Fote Vor Vool!
Pierrot announces he will be the next P.M.; his next election campaign will go all out to achieve exactly that. Lots of luck, mon.
I do hope our luck will be better.

Police Power
Ombudsman Wiel complains that, after more than a year, he still has not received a reply from gezaghebber on a complaint by a physical therapist that he has been unlawfully arrested and held in the mental hospital for five days; allegedly because his nephew after a family quarrel asked the police to do so, based on a document signed by a general practitioner he knew. There does not seem to exist an acceptable police report on the case.
Gezaghebber denied next day anything unlawful had happened, and accused ombudsman of publishing medical details. Wiel wonders, why wait so long, and why not give a straight reply?

Take the Money and Run (But Hurry), Part 2
Island government is arranging hefty salaries and pensions for its own members, while they still can. After 12 years in that august organ, they will get an index-linked pension of ANG120K/year; 70% of this after 9 years and 4 months, and 90% after 12 years (the Curaçao standard is 70% after 35 years.) Then, they pay a measly 8% premium, which they will get back in just over one year. The arrangement is retro-active from July 2000. Part-time members may buy themselves a share of the full-time pie.
The only and lonely protester against this was DP Norbert George; all other parties refrained from any comment.
It took PAR well over a week to at least declare they didn't like it.
Around that time, FOL Adriaensz was proposed for a job at LVV; he says he will consider it (as if he didn't know about it; but he may prefer a minister's job in the new cabinet.) Looks like the same job promised to Schotte in January. But Lak is complaining that politicians are among the least underpriviliged groups in society. Maybe because he didn't get any?
The Topper may be Raoul Henriquez, secretary of ministers' council, who, in a stack of papers to be signed by PM de Jong-Elhage, interspersed a document arranging 25% higher salaries, also retro-active, for members of the 'committee liquidation country Netherlands Antilles' Cona (of which he happens to be the chairman). All payments have been stopped immediately, especially as the ministers think Cona works too slowly.
In June, Amsterdam law professor Erik Lutjens stated that, in Dutch law, the maximum pension was 2% per year worked.

They All [Should Have] Laughed
Jacob Gelt Dekker made himself beloved once again by stating his views on Curaçao to a gathering of potential foreign investors. Once again, they want to kick him of the island. Big Loser Wiels is collecting signatures to achieve this, but how? He also wants legal action because Gelt Dekker has insulted our people, our governors and a befriended head of state.
Venezuelan consul Angiolillo takes exception to the fact that Gelt Dekker called dictator Chavez a drugs baron without coming with any proofs. By the way, Angiolillo, what price the proofs for the CIA setting fire to the Free Zone, and for that assault where no bullet holes could be found?
Gelt Dekker himself says they're all fascists, racists and anti-semites, for which he quotes newspaper Amigoe; which quotes right back at him that no such quotes exist in their files.
One day later, Gelt Dekker's own 2006 case against several politicians for libel and insults was thrown out of court. Gezaghebber Richards-Dindial states Gelt Dekker has no right to say Venezuela is a transit country for drugs, or that Haïti is a mess and that Jamaica and Santo Domingo are terrorized by crime-waves; all that is insulting befriended countries. She really thinks she can stop him from saying so? I'd like to see her try.

FOL Fire
It's not the first time someone(s) tried to set fire to the FOL party building. FOL themselves shrug this off as 'vandalism', but with their history of deliberately inciting riots, and now committing 'treason' by agreeing with the slotverklaring, there may be more to it, like fans disappointed to the point of resentment. Godett will become a BC island government member this week, being replaced in the country government by sis Mirna.

New Coalition, But When?
It seems there's a new PAR-PNP-FOL island government coalition, which intends to accept that drat slotverklaring, with some provisions. Please hurry and get it over with.
(The new island government will be installed on July 1. Already, they add.) But an interim government was formed earlier than that (#6 in 4 years).

Take the Money and Run
Gezaghebber Richards-Dindial was so disgusted, she left a Curaçao government meeting where all participants were busy taking on new co-operators to fill their quantum of three each. You see, every co-operator gets a government job when 'his' deputy leaves the government. Naturally, no deputy ever votes against the co-operators of another deputy. Gezaghebber emphasized that she will ask the Governor to annihilate appointments transgressing all rules.

Look Who's Been Talking
While FK Camelia was alleging, without offering a shred of proof, that 2M had been spent on propaganda pro slotverklaring, it turns out the island government did spend 100K of taxpayers' money on propaganda against.


Both Back?
Selikor personnel went on strike because credit-card Asjes was nominated for a director's job, passing by Wesley Kook who has been a deputy manager for years, but who had to follow an open application procedure. For once, StIP did not accept the nomination so Asjes may have to look for some real work.
FOL Deputy Constancia tried to explain how everything really was kosher and upfront, but personnel were not impressed. Selikor Directors then asked for legal advice on how Asjes' nomination had been arranged. It took a week for Selikor management to take the hint and to throw Asjes out. Then, bestuurscollege gave Asjes the job anyway, and Selikor workers went on strike again. Next thing, two trade unions started quarreling, one (run by FOL Bèbè Rojer) accusing the other that it all just served to steal members away. Then, StIP accorded Asjes without waiting for what the judge had to say (next Monday, June 4).
Rumor has it Asjes is being rewarded because his father-in-law has given money to FOL. PAR and PNP both have clammed up; why? Godett suggests that from now on all hiring will be in open procedures, just leave Asjes his job! When the judge ordered Selikor personnel to go back to work, watchdog organization Kousa Komun advised protesters to attach an empty supermarket bag to their cars (to nobody's surprise, not one single bag has been shown).
Then Godett, as a deputy, himself was proposed as new president of Selikor; there is one juridical advice for, and one against (both written by the same person). By the way, his brother's company is also getting a larger contract with Selikor now.
Constancia also got flak because of her forcing a reorganisation at DWI. Her uncle Godett will become deputy for infrastructure (which happens to be the same job he held when he was convicted for fraud and corruption) while his sis Mirna (really!) will make a come-back as a Staten member (country government). Meanwhile, Godett bragged in a radio interview that he had been offered the amount of in total ANG100K to form a coalition with MAN, FK and Pueblo Soberano. The public prosecutor invited him to discuss this, but Godett declined. Cooper called him a traitor for forming a coalition with PAR/PNP (for once, you have to agree with Cooper).
That Marchena and Prince were completely obliterated in the elections did not prevent them from acquiring lucrative jobs; Prince now is head of national gambling institute Wega di Number, while Marchena is proposed as manager of Curaçao Port Authority, without any qualifications or even a vacancy to be filled. Here too, personnel went on strike. CPA board of directors finally decided not to hire Marchena, but unanimously agree he's entitled to another job there. FOL Adriaensz was helped to the job at LVV (Agriculture Dept) Schotte just missed by a nose length before. Needless to say, VBC [private entrepreneurs association] strongly resents all this.
Many politicians took a final tax-payer paid trip to a tourist event in Santo Domingo (after not appearing at one right here the week before.)

What Do We Know?
Aqualectra claims that Pierrot's audit, while it never should have been published, still doesn't make it anyway, and all allegations of even theft by the management are not based on facts. They should really go ahead with higher tariffs - already just about the highest in the world.

Closed for the Season
As the Clowns are rehearsing for their next acts, this Director is taking his leave for ten days or so. I'll take a cracking-fresh whip back along.

Now it's Saba
Saba island wants, in spite of an earlier unsucceeded effort, to go to the UN again, complaining that it's the Antillean government (of which they are a member) that's holding up independence. I have to forcibly restrain myself from comment; it's superfluous, anyway.

Recount Demanded
Pueblo Soberano, who missed out with 9 votes to get two seats, wants a recount. Too bad there has been a recount already, where it turned out they had not 5513, but only 5494 votes.
Helmin Wiels, party leader, has started efforts for an Aliansa Patriotíko (Patriotic Alliance) of all no-brers. He says Now's the time - right, and you can add or never.
PAR de Haseth went to court for alleged defamation by Wiels, who stated on a radio program that a car with de Haseth's license plate numbers had been observed 'buying vote forms'.

No Such Luck
Again, it looks like the people just don't think their vote will make any difference. Just a short scan through these pages makes this understandable. Only some 65% went to vote (as opposed to the 85% who, when polled, had stated they were sure to go and do so) and, essentially, there has not been any difference in voting results since last elections. We'll be muddling along for an appreciable time before there is any progress with respect to political stature and financial aid. At first glance, the no-brers have won, but as PAR has grown into the largest party by far, the result will probably be that PAR, PNP and yes, FOL (with maybe FK or DP) will form a coalition. That's politics! Then, after the slotverklaring is accepted, it's relatively safe to sit back and wait until those clowns pick a quarrel. If MAN, PAR and PNP should form a coalition it would have a broader base, but it's as much a question how long it will last. But MAN keeps declaring the slotverklaring must be discarded, so they are oucht.
DP (1 seat) is neither Pro nor Contra
a very small margin (1 seat) to decide the future of a people on
but that's democracy!

Won't This Be the Day
Since 2003 I have been trying to show up how narrow-minded and ridiculous many of our Great Leaders are. I have also tried to make clear that, in all fairness, you cannot expect much better from a small island community like this. No matter how much I love this place, there's a lot of blind megalomania going round. One thing that kept me going was that this year the number of visitors from the Antilles has grown to 10% of the total. Good luck!
I hope that this election, for once, will be governed by ratio - not emotion, which in politics and its associate, religion, has so often brought us grief.

The Night Before the Morning After
Two of the original founders of MAN, Don Martina and Angel Salsbach, the day before elections have expressed their disgust with Cooper. In a television debate Cooper used an audio clip, edited so Martina, who always advised pro-slotverklaring, seemed to be against. Martina, emphasizing the so-called alternative is worthless, has now left his party. Salsbach, also pro-slotverklaring, strongly resented being labeled a 'traitor to his country' by Cooper because of that.

Pierrot Didn't Mention That
SMOC [clean environment foundation] lets us know that Camac has strong ties with PdVSA's USA company Citgo, and a joint participation by Camac and PdVSA in Isla refinery means a sell-out to Venezuela.
Camac is often mentioned as a successful 'black' company, as if that a priori is a good thing.
Pierrot plans to visit Camac in Houston, Texas, the first week of May. We'll see about that: While the last reliable polls show a neck-and-neck race between pro and contra slotverklaring, his party would not have more than 2 seats. Over 25% of voters declares not to have any confidence in any politician.

But With Whom?
MAN Cooper announces that, within ninety days after the elections, new deliberations will start on the future status. As Holland doesn't want any of that, who will the guy discuss this with?
While Cooper claims the national debt will be reduced to zero in 20-25 years, pension fund Villanova announces they will not buy any more government obligations when Curaçao accepts the Monte alternative.

3 clowns
Campaign Delirium:
'Dori Maco' had the same idea

Don't Ask Me Who's Right
My guess is, they're all wrong! Pierre published the results of his Aqualectra and Isla refinery audits, while results should have been kept confidential. But, after all, it's election time. He even went to court and lodged a complaint against - sorry, you've got me there, I don't know against whom (and don't care much). But Curoil and Aqualectra say the audits are full of mistakes, and not even completed yet. I predict we won't be hearing much more about this after the elections. In some ways, a pity.

FOL Foolishly Presents
I haven't seen it myself, but FOL has presented a 45 page program on how to go on from here, should they win the elections: Isla refinery workers will get higher salaries (among the last of our worries). Other practical points are restoration of the run-off catching dams, more slipways for fishermen and better access for invalids to government offices. Onderstand [welfare] will be augmented with 16%, not 12. But deputy Strick talks about a balanced budget and rigid controls.

Plenty of advice, but helpful?
Pressure group Kousa Komun [common cause, website now defunct] reminds us that the issue of the slotverklaring is too important to decide by whoever wins the coming elections. They, too, want a third referendum.
Their voting advice is just as good as the bishop's; only, he refers to the 'holy right' to vote. Not so long ago, it was a satanic idea: When's the last time you could vote for a new parish priest? bishop? pope?

Next to the Vane, a Windsock
FK's Camelia figures (but doesn't tell how) that 2M guilders has been spent on propaganda for the slotverklaring, and wonders why this should be necessary if the product was any good. (Maybe Pepsi-Cola, American Airlines and M.G.M. can enlighten him as to that.) After all, we have a good alternative! feels Camelia. Not only doesn't everybody agree, but it's the other way round (one more U-turn!): We first had a slotverklaring, and only later a lot of money has been wasted on worthless alternatives. Camelia deplores that the money hasn't been spent on helping poor little kiddies; one can just see those crocodile tears running down his cheeks.

Aruba Agrees?!
The Aruba ministry of justice does not suggest, submit or propose but demands, according to a paper Amigoe newspaper quotes, that the new joint court for all six islands must settle on Aruba. One alleged reason is that St. Maarten cannot accept Curaçao's neutrality, having just escaped from under that yoke. (Nothing remotely like that has, on this matter, been heard from St. Maarten). Another reason would be, Aruba is as large or practically as large as Curaçao (in reality ~100,000 versus ~140,000 inhabitants.) The weirdest aspect is, Aruba has consistently been inciting Curaçao's politicians not to accept the slotverklaring with its condition of one joint court system; and now they demand this?

A Breath of Reason
St. Maarten minister Duncan feels pension fund Apna must remain intact, and should not be divided among all islands. He reasons Apna is paid for by individuals and does not belong to the government. But when Curaçao island government rejected the slotverklaring, this entailed that the central bank, social security SVB and Apna would have to be split up. And in one fell swoop, island government demanded that all pre-1953 balances must be transferred to Curaçao which Duncan flatly calls 'impossible.' One more UTS-affair?

Show Your Colors
Old democrat party leader Chicho Jonckheer, strongly anti slotverklaring himself, whose newspaper Ultimo Notisia has been running one-page ads for the party's new leader Norbert George, now wants George to declare: For or Against? But it could be exactly George's policy of trying to reconcile the yes- and no-brers that may be winning that party its first seats within living memory.

Churches Resent TV-Spots
Fake political party PKK (partido kontra korsou - party contra curaçao) has produced satirical TV-spots that don't agree with the Council of Churches' Elections Watch. The churches want TV-stations to stop showing them. Hard to see how this falls under their competence, though - that elections watch has been agreed upon by the political parties, which, face it guys, PKK is not.
The spots manage to show even sillier alternative solutions to the slotverklaring than those proposed by real parties, like selling the western banda'bao half of the island and having the people who live there move to the other half. Actually, that's exactly what's being done with the South shore of the island, for the God of Tourism.

Sowing Doubts
During a discussion on the slotverklaring at UNA university, it turned out 61% of the voters has no idea what's in it (so read it, already.)
Many students stumbled over the word 'will' used in there to indicate Holland 'will' assume the Antillean and Curaçaoan debts, feeling this was no guarantee Holland actually would do so. They were eagerly abetted by linguist Frank Martinus Arion and lawyer Zielinski, both of whom should and probably do know better: This is in the future tense.
Matter of fact, Holland did already relieve the other islands of large parts of their debts; so there. Besides, the same word is used throughout the document, when referring to matters like juridical and monetary co-operation. But there, those same guys (who don't want any) assume that's for sure. Talk about misrepresentation.

Let's Start Spending!
Bestuurscollege [island government] has a new look at getting a new building for the Country of Curaçao. In 2003 estimated costs were 31M, but there were no funds, so the old building was renovated (and painted FOL orange in the process.) In 2004 bestuurscollege decided to wait until future island status had become definite, but presently this seems to be of no more concern to this august body.

I'm a Liar, and I Don't Use Drugs
Right after admitting that he lied when telling everybody dictator Chavez had called him on the phone in January, Pierrot said he was not back on drugs. You're free to jump to your own conclusions.

Touch of Genius
PLKP Cova has found a great solution to our problems: The government should negotiate with its creditors not to pay any interest for a period of four years. In that time, economic development will be stimulated with the money then available. Simple? Pathetic!

Look and See
On a site run by UNA university you can get a voting indicator. They say it's NOT an advice. You're asked for your personal ideas on that infamous slotverklaring (it begins to get very boring by now - much ado about nothing worthwhile) and on our Great Leaders. Then you see the results, who most agree with you. I for one did not agree with those, either! (How típiko.) On election morning I checked and they showed a total of over 405%. So much for the Scientific Approach. It's all explained, but I confess I never bothered.
By the way, hardly anybody seems to have read that slotverklaring yet. Here's your chance.

Mad Mélange
While bestuurscollege (island government) wants the country to transfer all UTS shares, that same body has now accepted the alternative financial proposal. Which prompted minister Leeflang to get cute and state that as the island does not accept its legacy, it accepts neither the country's debts nor its assets; part of which are those UTS shares.

I Turn, U Turn...
MAN Cooper, who was in such a hurry to vote against the slotverklaring, now feels we ought to take more time to think about the financial proposal. (Bestuurscollege, MAN included, voted for this anyway, Cooper declaring he was for it as well).
Another contradiction: While he publicly shouts, at the top of his voice, that we should use Papiamentu in education, he takes good care to send his kids to a Dutch-language school.

Shady Shades of Chavez
MEP didn't like it when Aruba newspaper Diario wrote about the Namdar affair, so they started a boycott. Diario then wrote a letter to the Dutch queen complaining about mismanagement, coupled with a rancorous regimen against political opponents and open favoritism to supporters. MEP warns the boycot is just a 'first step'; they'd obviously prefer to follow Chavez' example, in quite illegally closing down Radio Caracas TV. One more warning, for those who need it.

Serves 'em Right?
A more scientific approach to election results prognosis than FOL's (about which we haven't heard further word; hmm) had only 55% of the pollees replying at all. But out of that meager response, it seems PAR would get 18% (8 seats, 3 up from 5); MAN 4; PNP, Pueblo Soberano and (surprise!) DP each 2. 1 each would go to Godett's FOL, Forsa Korsou and Pierrot's LNPA. The rest is out and down.
Maybe a large part of the voting cattle is smarter, as I always maintain, than those arrogant High and Mighty politicians think. Still, I don't trust those remaining 45%. And is that present majority large enough, anyway? Depends on the windvanes and U-turners.
85% declared they are sure to vote against a mere 54% who partook in the last referendum.

That Can't Be Done
Aqualectra threatens, not unreasonably, that if Pierrot continues boycotting their applications for higher tariffs, their service will necessarily deteriorate. They can't threaten us with that: it just can't be done.
But now we finally know how much Pierrot's as yet unseen audits cost: ANG700K (US$315K), or maybe 300K; then again, it may be 500K... According to that audit, ANG40M could be saved, possibly. According to Aqualectra, impossibly.
Pierrot finally presented the audits in his party's election campaign, much against Aqualectra's wish, who said the reports were confidential and they would see what to do about it. Pierrot, like we, asks why hotels are not cut off from service while private persons are. He also mentioned a 45M loss in leakage, and 780M extra receipts from higher tariffs, while fuel costs were only 206M higher. Aqualectra denies all this and claims the auditors can't count; but that's exactly what they'd do in any case.
Besides claiming the audit is of no value, both Aqualectra and Curoil resent that, contrary to the arrangement, Pierrot is now giving figures on the audits away (elections, after all, are only a week from now.) This is also in contrast with Pierrot's repeated statements that the audit results would be available before those same elections. All in all, I trust none of the three parties involved.

Quick! Hurry up!
FOL Adriaensz feels the BC must accept the financial proposal immediately (read: before the elections), so next bestuurscollege will be forced to keep to it: Accept in two weeks what took them three months to accomplish. Say, Adriaensz, are you sure this is legally possible? Do you care about that? Are you possibly worried there will be other parties in the next BC?
The funniest result of the no-brers winning the elections is that they will never be able to make it. There is no way they can ever put their financial house in order on the recommendations of that totally inadequate proposal. And they themselves still confirm that the referendum vote was for an independent Curaçao as part of the kingdom of the Netherlands; but as Holland refuses to negotiate with them, how do they hope to achieve that? Fools fooling themselves.

Love Boat, New Style
CTB is so desperately hungry for tourists, they are lyingly trying to sell Curaçao as a gay paradise. Sad, because (no matter what I think) our next-to-one term of abuse still is mariku [queer] and our highly moralistic legislators are firmly against homosexual marriage. A lesbian couple has had to have the Dutch high court declare a Dutch gay marriage is legal in Aruba.
we probably can't have two of those cruiseships renamed
Potendam and Queer of the Seas
but what about the Harbor Fairy?


Hot Gas Escape
When Pierrot went to Venezuela for negotiations on the Isla refinery, he told us that PdVSA now wanted 51% of the shares, and didn't mind collaborating with an unnamed US company. Now he tells us it's 49% after all. They're supposed to invest 1.5G (how?) in the refinery (when?). (PdVSA has already borrowed $11 billion, this year.) In his acclaimed transparency, Pierrot will only tell us more details after island government has deliberated. But a delegation of USA oil company Camac visited Curaçao on April 13 to give a presentation to bestuurscollege. Pierrot claims they are willing to invest $1G in the refinery.
That PdVSA will not get a majority share could only be called good news; alas, if Curaçao government and Camac share 51% (about 10% and 40%) PdVSA still holds the majority.

Maal Gets Impatient
At a rather inopportune moment for those in charge, Willy Maal has lost patience and slapped another ANG66M on his claim for 40, bringing the Grand Total to 106M (~US$59M). Payable in ten days, please. Is this included in those 2.5G? Nobody knows, of course.
Naturally, there was no such payment in such time (of all that money, a measly 2M has been paid out), so Maal went to to court. More tax money wasted.
In the 1960s, now deceased owner Dr. Maal offered the 4000 hectare (almost 10K acres, over 11% of the entire island) for sale to the government for 1M guilders (one plaka or 2.5 cents per square meter). But MAN leader Don Martina stopped this because he didn't want Maal to become a millionaire.
Let us be thankful to Don Martina; the goverment would surely have wasted the terrain, while Maal plans to conserve one quarter of it.
More to the story: On April 18, Maal sent a letter to the editor of Amigoe newspaper with allegations that deputy Cooper was involved in machinations to get control of Oostpunt; when he didn't succeed he reversed course and declared Oostpunt once again a conservation area. The damage to Maal because of all this will have be paid by Curaçao island (since the notorious DCA-affair, government members can still not be held responsible for their actions). Read Maal's letter (in Dutch) here.

That's the alternative?!
We have been promised an alternative to Holland's financial proposal to end our debt situation for a long time, and now it has been presented, LIVE!—how exciting, on radio and TV:
• Curaçao must be able to solve its own financial problems. [These politicians brought this mess over our heads, and now they are expected to deliver us.]
• With this, a special committee, the Debt Agency, will be charged [and paid for] to propose how to refinance our colossal debt. [I thought this, now would give the solution to that nifty problem, of which nobody even knows how large it is.]
• A new 'development bank' will be financed by the local market [hah!] and government companies [of which the only really profitable one is Curaçao Ports Authorities.] A new institution (not StIP, to be sure) will coordinate these companies [more well-paying jobs.]
• New and strict budget norms will be introduced. [Yawn. I'm surprised they didn't mention that beloved stand-by, a stop on foreign travel by officialdom and once more, on hiring personnel]

In case you wonder like I do, nobody has been told how much this valuable proposal has cost [us]. In all fairness, I don't know any details yet, but suspect there aren't many. Bending over with fairness: Stay tuned to learn about them. Fairest of all: Be warned not to expect too much.
Even worse than I suspected:
More on this half-baked proposal.

The word is, Monte who devised this non-alternative does not want to discuss it with politicians or speudo-politicians but is prepared for a debate with central bank director Emsley Tromp. That should be fun!

Watch those curves
Now, Forsa Korsou is, again, advising everybody not to vote for any party that's for the slotverklaring. Excuse me while I vomit, I'm getting nauseous: it's at least their second u-turn. May 'help explain' that since 2003 we've had 23 new deputies.

New Supermarket
The new supermarket of the Dutch Albert Heijn chain, with no government subsidy at all, employs 100 people. Compare with the now defunct Amstel brewery blackmailing the government into tax advantages, import stops and whatever to protect 70 of their workers; of whom finally only 15 were fired when the brewery closed anyway.

Tourism Pays - But to Whom?
In some compromising letters by New York diamond dealer Effy Namdar to Aruba MEP party he offers to pay 1M guilders into their elections fund. Even MEP gave the matter in hands of the public prosecutor. Namdar is associated with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, who participate in development of Aruba harbor.
Next day, copies of e-mails sent by Namdar to and from Curaçao politicians turned up, referring to FOL's 'godfather'. Of course, minister Schotte and his follow-up deputy Strick deny all allegations. But Aruba ex-minister Croes confirms he introduced Namdar to his Curaçao friends. Schotte still denies he's ever had any contact with Namdar (exactly what he'd do if this was not upfront.) So does an Aruba lawyer deny any wrongdoings; wouldn't he?
Two months later, the Aruba prosecutor announced that the case merits a criminal investigation involving bribery, fraud and libel. But the Namdar family denies it all, even though Amigoe newspaper has a letter to that effect, signed by Effy. May have been addressed to OLA party, who knows? Does it really matter?

That, at Least, Sounds True
'Speed Humper' Cooper announces 200M is needed to get the Curaçao roads back in decent condition. He was asked because of his television appearances, paid from the road fund; we also remember the money wasted on even more expensive christmas lights, the road humps and worse-than-useless roundabouts. One more question: Is this included in that 2.5G debt?

Liberate the Cubans!
Even the government doesn't trust the conditions for Cuban DOK/CDM slave workers anymore. Visa will be stopped again. While the Cubans now are supposed to get paid, suspicions are the Cuban government takes it all back. The Cuban workers, wisely, are not talking, while CDM has started complaining that they have to refuse jobs because of a lack of trained workers. {About two months later, about 20 Poles were hired to replace Colombians and Cubans.)

castro and chavez
The Liberators - photo Moonbattery

R.I.P. St.I.P.
Bestuurscollege now definitely wants to kill off StIP: All shares controlled by StIP have to be returned to BC. No doubt they lost patience because of the UTS-affair. For our sake, I hope they won't succeed in the one month resting before elections.

No Comment
Grupo Sero wanted an informational debate on television with pro- and contra slotverklaring representatives. However, they found only one (1) of the no-brers willing to appear, who managed to obscure the issue in a dense haze of obscure juridical technicalities.
Oh, now that you mention it, the no-sayers will be ready with a financial alternative this week. The political proposal was presented last week, but nobody seems to have seen it yet. The concept for their constitution (such as it is: parliamentary) is no longer available.

three flags

Nelson Pierre is convinced he can sell us out before next elections: Chavez' PdVSA oil company is interested in buying 51% of Isla refinery (not that they have money to do that), with as third partner an American oil company. Pierrot talks on the radio about how he will get Chavez and Bush to come to Curaçao and shake hands, where our three national flags will proudly wave together (upwind from Isla refinery, naturally). What he really hoped for (Fat Chance Dept.; the American consul informed him by return that Bush would not come) must have been that his photo would then appear on TIME® Magazine, flanked by Chavez and Bush in minor supporting roles (but just as large ears):

bush pierre chavez
Photo credit Casaspider - Gregpalast
wonder who's his dream-dealer -
that guy must make a fortune


One More Good Reason
Comments Hernandez, interim-director of CDM, that those escaped Cubans had fled for amorous reasons (so that's why they went on from Colombia to the USA and started to sue from there?) Hernandez also claims there are three more Cubans here now who don't want to go back; they, too, have fallen in love.
Reason for Hernandez to claim all this, the Dutch parliament wants to investigate further. He thinks those Cubans are very well off here, they get a salary from Cuba and from here. How much we don't know. Says Hernandez: 99% of our customers are international and it's awkward to come in the news like that. And that's no lie.

Nos Mes Por!
[We can do it!] You often hear this when some poor Antillean, fighting his inferiority feelings, is busy re-inventing the wheel. A committee is working on a new constitution for an autonomous Curaçao (I trust they are well-paid), and one of the things that's not in there is an item we've long been clamoring for: That convicted crooks cannot have a government function (not mentioning names). Reason given: Our Own Independent Constitution follows that of Colonialist Holland almost to the letter. (The new St. Maarten constitution does contain such an article.)

Now It's Official
This is how we will vote: 1 We vote electronically on a SmartMatic machine; 2 We check the print-out; 3 When it's correct, we deposit it in the ballot box; 4 These votes will be counted by hand.
FOL Adriaens told a Dutch NOS journalist that this would cost only 300K extra (it really is at least 2M); it came from budget post 'unforeseen'; there was plenty of money in the beginning of a year anyway, it was only towards the end that you started to note money became short. Which explains a lot.
While the eilandsraad meeting on this was only held on the 27th (which grants Pierrot one more delay before finally having to come across with results of his beloved audits), that didn't stop the gezaghebber from assuring our PM not to worry, everything is guaranteed kosher, under control and above board.
MAN Macaay proudly stated that we were ahead of Holland with this foolish system. But PAR Gomez asked gezaghebber to [un]confirm rumors that it will cost over 2.4M after all.

We Can Believe It
Isidora has been relieved of her function (say, how about her salary?) as head of public schools, for what sounds like good reasons. But FOL Rojer tells us that MAN Cooper asked him to hold the matter, as Schotte had requested him to do: Isidora is the sister of someone who gives him financial support. It seems Schotte has also called Personnel on her behalf. Rojer feels all this is incredible, but we don't think it so outreageous. Not here or in Zimbabwe. Rojer adds Schotte is not even a deputy or council member - so that would have made a difference?
By the way, last elections MAN advertised with the slogan Ku MAN limpi [with clean hands]

Big Deal
MSL Marchena declares we must have a constitutional, not a parliamentary democracy.
In the first one, parliament cannot do anything that's against the constitution. This, right now, must be the last of our worries; both systems seem to work reasonably well all over the world. Marchena sells it as a way to keep the kingdom from 'interfering', of course, but conveniently doesn't mention Venezuela has such a 'system' that enables Chavez to act just as he likes.

Lucky Luke - De Trek naar Oklahoma

Free Votes and Threats
Antillean PM has written a letter to island gezaghebber to ask for guarantees that the day of The Vote, April 20, will not lead to a public disaster. Gezaghebber is asked to present a plan on how 'free and secret elections' will be ensured; and also for a 'contingency plan' on what will happen when the machines are not ready in time.
The Smartmatic voting machines have still not been ordered; after delivery and installation they will have to be tested to certify hardware and software; public must be instructed on use; kiesreglement [voting regulations] has to be adapted, all of which will take time.
The PM's apprehension seems not unjustified. Dutch secretary of state Bijleveld-Schouten announced Holland will now await the results of the elections. Not only FOL Capella, all of a sudden in an awful hurry, described this as meddling in internal affairs (please don't ask me to explain what he can possibly mean by that) and he started dark mutterings about how this might result in a situation similar to the one leading to the May 1969 riots.
Talk about 'respect': In a commenting phone call to a radio station he got so excited that he used lots of dirty abusing words against the PM; as this was from her court-yard her chauffeur heard it and started a quarrel with Capella, later apologizing live, to her, on the same station. (Nota bene: It was not Capella who apologized but the chauffeur.) Bestuurscollege thought Capella should apologize to PM, but he's taking his time.
FOL Rojer even wonders 'If the slotverklaring does not negate the statuut, why can't we just keep the statuut as-is?' Well said for once, Rojer; that's what we thought all the time - it's you guys who insisted on more autonomy and kept forcing referendum after referendum upon us. The joke may be on you, after all.


Keep Trying
Communications minister Leeflang has announced the country will join civilization by liberalizing the telecommunications market. No surprise the island government is all against this; it will mean problems for UTS government telecommunications company, that in recent years has been spending enormous amounts of money on unneeded buildings and generally has been trying to shut the island off from the outside world with an old-newspaper-curtain, not unsuccesfully. Says deputy Marchena: Next thing, we'll have another DCA on our hands. He, ex-director of that disaster, should talk. The following day, UTS personnel went on strike; has been two days now. (Officially, UTS should have been privatized long since.)
Next day, island government demanded an immediate transfer of all UTS shares from country government (presently divided 50-50; later [how much later?] the division between Curaçao and other islands will then be arranged, but the present intention for that was 32-68. We can't tolerate third parties using our facilities to compete us to death. (Freely translated: Let us go on with the monopoly system.)
To give you an idea what the present monopoly means for us, it's cheaper to call a Curaçao cell phone number from the USA than from here.

No Backbiting, Please
Deputy Strick does not wish to react to an anonymous letter to the media, signed by 'an alarmed civil worker': Carolina, former director of StIP, is alleged to get ANG200/hour, (24K/month with 2 retrospective months thrown in) as an advisor for bestuurscollege [island government]; he also got 30K for an 8-page report on dept. of finances. Strick says exactly what he'd say to take the easy way out: this is just backbiting and he will disregard the letter.

Not in a Hurry
Pierrot announced that, today, the final versions would be ready of the audits at Curoil and Aqualectra. For Curoil, that's only six weeks late. The companies have five days to react. We'll see about that.
If you want to know Why all those audits? here's a subtle hint: Audits cost money which has to be paid to somebody.
Curoil's fuel stations have made a 1M loss last year, Pierrot tells us, adding very firmly he wants to be told why. Curoil director Capella doesn't understand, he must have been adding up other years.

Venezuelan Deluge Starts, on Our Invitation; And We're Not Even 'Independent' Yet!
Curaçao government has, by way of CTB, paid all local expenses for a Copppal delegation. Reps from Mexico, Santo Domingo, Bonaire, Aruba and (of course!) Venezuela were treated to a free stay in the Hilton; in exchange they all signed a declaration that they will support more autonomy for Curaçao, as a majority of island government wants. (I'm much impressed.) Nobody can or wants to tell us how much we're paying for this declaration.
Then, Vittorio de Stefano, a Venezuelan who has acquired (very hard to find out how) lots of money he has been buying large parcels of Curaçao real estate with, is organizing a Forum here. De Stefano calls himself rector and president of la Primera Universidad Internacional del Caribe and Venezuela representative in the 'World Parliament for Safety and Peace', whatever that is.
The forum was announced by Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, the official Venezuela press agency (can't say you've not been warned.) Originally it had been planned before our next election, but they seem to have got the idea a bit late and will just have to hold it a week after. Speakers will be (all from Venezuela) army general Pérez, public prosecutor Rodríguez, parliament member Flores, vice president Jorge Rodríguez. Maybe even Chavez himself will honor us with his presence! Present at the announcement was Venezuelan deputy Espinoza Léon, who called the Caribbean islands our brothers and it was our duty to acquaint them with the real meaning of our socialism. They needn't bother for me, I already know as much as I care, and more, about Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro and Chavez. By the way, wasn't Hitler a National-Socialist?
Next thing, Chavez (who looks fatter by the minute) wanted all politically allied parties to join his. Shades of the USSR and satellites, Castro-Cuba, Nazi-Germany, Franco-Spain, Mussolini-Italia—alas, there are plenty more.

The Antillean government immediately requested to postpone the forum still further, as more time was needed to ensure safety measures; also, customarily, the country should be formally informed of such a visit, to allow geopolitical implications of the forum's subject to be discussed. Correct diplomatic steps need to be taken for deliberations on governmental level.
The full name of that forum is (are you ready?): 'The first international forum on socialism in the 21st century and its impact on the world and specifically on Latin-America and the Caribbean area.'
So, this multi-millionaire de Stefano is a socialist, already?! You know, I've got this funny gut feeling that forum will never be held; not here at least.

Only Fools Would Trust This
The Smartmatic voting machines will be bought. All advises are against: Hoofdstembureau [government voting bureau], VNA [Antillean safety service] and Soab [government accounting service] but island government goes ahead anyway. Suspicions are offered quite openly, that, first, some government members earn money on the deal and, second, Smartmatic has been paid to rig the results. Gezaghebber then let the two days granted to lodge an appeal with the queen-appointed governor lapse.
In the same week Holland gave us 4.5M to fight poverty with, we wasted almost half that on these Machines.

Now You Know How It Is
As the Dutch say, 'n koekie van eigen deeg [a cookie of your own dough]: Country government is complaining about the burocracy of civil servants which results in long delays for new laws. Remarks PNP Metry Looks like it's on purpose. MAN, in a come-back, complained that country government did not 'respect' (that beloved word) island government's decisions. Meaning, of course, that democratic voting down of the slotverklaring.
A quite different bunch of civil servants, those of DWI, went on strike: Their function is to pay out onderstand [welfare], which, following their instructions, they refused to do to people they knew had jobs, and thus no right to receive it. Their boss Constancia claimed this action was against the rules.
Next day, PAR Alcalá-Wallé asks for a Soab [government accounting] investigation of DWI; new workers are hired while there's a stop on that, and then both unqualified and at higher salaries than according to rules; new PP-cards [free public health insurance] are issued, also not following rules. As bestuurscollege has to start investigating, we're afraid Alcalá-Wallé and we are out of luck. It took two weeks for Constancia to state that she could not see any reason for that, at all.
At Dienst Communicatie en Voorlichting [communication and information] five workers were hired above agreed quota (25% extra).

Wait and See, But First, Wait
The committee that's supposed to come with an alternative to the re-financing of Curaçao's debts will do so maybe end of this month - or possibly beginning next month - anyway, before the elections. Says FOL's Capella. Officially, committee does not even exist, though; but when PAR remarked on this, that was labelled 'election propaganda'.
Another committee is supposed to advise on the future political structure. That one has not even been installed unofficially, even though promises on it were given in November 2006, after the 3 short weeks it took for those great thinkers to decide the slotverklaring was not good enough for them.

Not Only Isla Stinks
Car dealer Pronk is trying to get Texaco to open fuel stations here that would sell cleaner diesel fuel and also higher quality gasoline. Prices would be higher, but engines would last longer. After first stating the pump holders did not want to sell cleaner fuel (while they all do), Curoil announced they cannot produce clean diesel fuel with less sulphur, following the USA norm, but are willing to import it; only for sale at their own stations, though, not at others'.

No Quorum—Again
You don't get used to it after a while: Once again the Antillean Staten parliament had no quorum; only four fractions were present. Means no members of FOL, MAN, PLKP, or NPA had taken the trouble to come earn their salary; after all, they get it anyway. All FK members were there, but they refuse to sign the register, so there won't be a quorum, and no decisions can be taken, tee hee! By now, that's a tradition; a trick also used by PAR and PNP.

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do
Pueblo Soberano complains that 'other parties' go around offering money or goods for votes. Sure brings back memories of the good old times. FOL wants better street lights for some neighborhoods, but as MAN's Cooper is at work already in the very same barrios FOL may just be grabbing credit. ('Election roads' have been noticed, as well.)

Who Cares
After an enormous quarrel when Pierrot had called MAN 'irreliable' (whatever gave him that idea?), MAN and NPA together proposed to re-name Hato airport after 'Dòktor' Frumencio da Costa Gomez, to serve as a symbol that Curaçao will always have to keep striving for more autonomy. I guess even they foresee problems with next elections.
Hato has been renamed before, after KLM's first director Dr. Albert Plesman. That name didn't stick, even though it was much snappier (that's not so hard). PNP, party founded by da Costa Gomez, is not mentioned as renaming-initiator.

Christian Science Poll
We don't need FOL demonstrating how little they understand of how polls work by asking the visitors of one (1) mass at one (1) catholic church on whether they will vote for them. No doubt, if results are positive for them, FOL will kick up a big stink against a (hopefully) disappointing election result and blame those new voting machines.

Smoke Screen Thickens
FOL's Constancia announced new research on the effects on public health of the Isla refinery smoke. SMOC's Peter van Leeuwen denounced this as a mere election stunt; there has been plenty of government and other research into the matter and island government should, instead, tell us what measures will be taken to abate the nuisance.

Slavers Sued
Lawyer Roel Bijkerk took action on behalf of 70 Colombian workers for CDM. They claim to receive less than minimum wages, no vacation allowance and no payment of overtime. When they are ill, they get no payment or are sent back to Colombia. They receive no salary slips. (Bijkerk is the same lawyer who represented the Philippinos working for the notorious BOO, owned by government company Aqualectra and Mitsubishi, notorious for using slaves in World War II.)
This may partly explain how minister Dick, attacked by FOL Adriaensz on the workings of the immigration service, accused both civil workers and immigrants of disregarding clear instructions; as one result, corruption is rife. The service will be reorganised and, as from next year, will only serve for border controls and will no longer be handling staying permits.

Who Cares What the Law Says
When Pierrot, in an eilandsraad government meeting, started getting excited about a pro-slotaccoord publicity campaign that complained about corruption, he named one of the initiators, PR-manager Alvin Martina. Gezaghebber Richards-Dindial warned him that this was not allowed, but little did Pierrot care. He went on to warn the advertisers that he had put up with personal attacks for three-and-a-half years now and it had been enough; he would pick 'em up and throw them off the island, just like the caciques [original Indian inhabitants].
Next day, Martina called Pierrot a psychiatric case.

Chavez' Promises Backfire
Venezuela dictator Chavez has been promising many Caribbean islands cheap fuel, not delivering a drop for most of them. Meanwhile, he continues selling gasoline in Venezuela below cost price, leading to an 11% inflation. This seems to have resulted in a smuggling operation to the Dutch islands from Venezuela, where reservoirs containing about 40K liters (10K gallons, worth about US$350K) and a 2km pipeline to sea have been discovered. Nobody knows how long this has been going on. (The gasoline here is even more expensive than in the USA, much of which comes from our Isla refinery.)
That's standard business practice for Chavez: Uruguayans [...] have yet to see a penny of the more than US$ 600 million promised by the autocrat almost a year ago. The La Teja refinery has not received a penny of the money promised to expand it, the cheap oil never arrived and the not so cheap oil turns out to be expensive.
Amigoe 2007-03-09

Is It Smart to Vote Matic?
While FOL wants Smartmatic machines when they've lost 1 election after having won 4 using Nedap machines, not everybody is so convinced. Smartmatic, rumor has it, has a shady local agent ('Chobby' Bloem) who's had the government overpay heavily several times in the past. The often-heard allegations of a relationship between Smartmatic and Venezuelan dictator Chavez don't help to build confidence. Smartmatic themselves seem to be so sick of all their troubles, not only in Florida and Chicago, they want to sell out.
No matter what, this will cost us money. The public seems to feel that they would be perfectly satisfied voting with coloring-by-number, but who cares what the voting cattle wants? PAR's Castillo threatened to take legal action if the Smartmatic reliability is not sufficiently guranteed.

Compromise! (don't laugh)
The Smartmatic machines were finally ordered; the print-outs will be counted by hand.
For once, even Cova agreed with us: this is no use. It will cost ANG2M extra, that's 20 guilders (over $10) per vote; altogether 4.3 times the normal price. There's no money for the darn things, but that's no problem; it will be taken out of 'unforeseen', long since depleted already. FOL's Carolina can't understand why any other party would be against this; and even less how FOL could have lost so many votes: That just can't be explained!. But we can, if he'll just check here, and here maybe it will grow clear, even to this Smartie.
As every party that 's lost is sure to order a recount by hand, results will so much more delayed and cost even more money.

They Love the Limelight
Speed Humper Cooper, now that the elections are coming near, has regular appearances in propaganda television programs paid out of the wegenfonds [road maintenance fund]. Driving around, you certainly get the impression Cooper uses this fund for everything except what it's meant for. First it was rooi-cleaning [aroyos]; then christmas decorations; now tv-programs. He's not alone, of course; both Pierrot and Cova have been or are using government funds for that purpose. Cooper accuses PAR's Rhuggenaath and PM de Jong of doing the same thing, and he may have a point there.

Robbing Hoods
The onderstand welfare will be raised, just in time for the new elections. Nobody could possibly imagine where those populists would get the money, but now it's become clear. It comes out of funds for poverty fighting, water- and electricity bill subsidies, help for pensioned people and cloth- and shoe money: Robbing the poor to give to the poor.

Tip for Cooper
Deputy Cooper, well known for his roundabout mania and AKA as the speed humper [drempellegger], could save a lot of (our) money by just not fixing all those potholes, his policy already anyway; or even better, have a few more dug out—by hand, of course. They are quite as effective as those humps.

Curaçao: King of Debts
Nigeria, mismanagement and corruption—the words go together. But Nigeria 'only' has a $500M debt, while that of Curaçao (as we all know by sickened heart) is $2.5G, or 500 times as high. Nigeria has just about 1000 times as many inhabitants, so every one of us carries 500,000 times a Nigerian's debt.
Nigeria is glad to have the debt taken over by US investment bank Merrill Lynch. One condition is, no more borrowing (sounds familiar). Earlier, Nigeria had a gigantic debt of $12.4G (a mere 10.5% of the GDP) taken over in 2006 by the Paris Club. That's Peanuts! Or, as the beloved by politicians Holy Bible says, mustard seeds. Including it would still make our 'personal debt' 5000 times that of the average Nigerian, who has an income that's 1/10th of ours.
But our Great Dedicated [to what?] Leaders aren't having any. Holland takes over all our debts, and we don't even have to pay interest? That's colonialism! Imperialism! (Those words have four syllables, so maybe it's unfair to expect those guys to understand them (P.G. Wodehouse. Just a snide side remark.)

Selling Us Out While They Still Can
All of a sudden, Chavez-controlled PdVSA has changed its tune and now agrees to having a third party in the Isla refinery, as long as PdVSA gets 51% of the shares. PdVSA has not made a definite bid as yet. A negotiating committee consists of Pierre, Isla-director Mensche and FOL's Oscar Steenbaar—some trio; a Venezuelan company will report on the geo-political situation before end of this month. Looks like they're in a great hurry to do business before next elections. This crudely stinks. You're quite entitled to wonder what PdVSA will think about the judgement in the Isla-SMOC court case.
Come to think of it, when do we get to see the results of the Curoil audit, expected to be finished a month ago?

Transparent Democracy, Curaçao Style
When a legal expert was asked to give an exposition on financing ANG112M for (yet another!) hotel with (yet another!) golf course at Caracasbaai, the recording microphones were turned off. PNP's Davelaar thought this was just as suspicious as we all do, and left the meeting in protest. Sorry, Davelaar, better stay and tell us. Don't you have a cell-phone?

What Else Is New?
Between 1996-2006, government income went up! It was ANG1.3G/year, now is 1.6G. Alas, spending went up even more, from 1.4 to 1.8. The good news is, at least salary costs went down from 555M to 480M (13.5%). This is just fewer civil servants and would not include those of BC members, I have to guess.

Joy-Riding Cops
Not even a year ago Curaçao's Cops were supplied with completely new cars, aggressive yuppie-mobiles. Small wonder the budget is such a mess. It seems over half of those now have been totalled already. Not surprising when you see them drive, neglecting traffic lights and all.
While all civil servants who have a government car probably use it privately, those obnoxious cop cars really attract attention when they use them for picking up kids from school, or park for hours in front of restaurants and snacks. Not only do we have to pay for them and their wasted time: When you and I have a business car, the tax person forces us to subtract costs for private use from the expenditure.

Fire! Fire!
In the harbor Free Market Zone there have been four or five (one loses count) mysterious fires recently, obliterating warehouses and contents. Understandably, insurance companies look askance; especially since the free zone isn't doing so well these days. Hmmm. Assistance has been asked from Holland to investigate and to protect (a thorn in the side of those who love to yell nos mes por! [we can do it!].
Now, Pierrot is acting the fool by uttering dark insinuations that the Hotel Otrobanda, and then some, is in danger of being burned down. His reasoning, for what that's worth, seems to be that it's owned by a guy who also rented one of the burned-down warehouses. The hotel wants Pierrot to come across with his 'reliable' sources of information. Our guess is, don't bother, that's his nose: The co-founder of NPA was quoted as saying he wanted to be disassociated from Pierre, who he described as a South-American dictator, as he was back on drugs. But understandably, the Otrabanda merchants are worried and want to have Pierre grilled by the authorities.
Even worse may be the Venezuelan consul. This so-called diplomat has been invited for a visit to the Antillean government, to kindly explain why he has been publicly suggesting that the fires have been kindled by America to get Venezuelan entrepreneurs who rented space there. (It seems there are three of those; including 5 Lebanese who also hold a Venezuelan passport, eight.) It's getting to be a habit for Venezuelan ambassadors to mix in other countries' affairs, exactly what Chavez is always blaming the USA for. (The Venezuelan embassador in the Hague does not seem very happy with Angiolillo's escapades.)

Elections: Just-As-Good Karnaval—and Musical Chairs, Too!
Talk about Circus: Parties started registering their candidates list yesterday. The Otrabanda main street was shut off for all traffic except the political parades, complete with brass bands and D.J.s. No floats this year as yet, but many were costumed in their parties' colors (at least two groups wore the same costumes) as they danced their way to the Registro Sivil.
FOL is led by ex-con Anthony Godett, with on his list other notorious names like Julio Constansia and Jacintha Constancia.
Despite rumors that Pueblo Soberano and NPA would fuse, this is not happening, because (and I quote them) this requires an adultness they do not possess. Pierrot announced that together, they will frighten part of the population enormously. Should they win, I'm afraid he's right. Pierrot also stated that, if an accord on the use of the NPA party name couldn't be reached, the democratic process just would have to be frozen. The law states that, in that case, a lot will assign the name, but like many of our politicians Pierrot doesn't seem to care much for what the law says. The name was registered twice and Pierrot started a lawsuit. Rumor has it, to what sounds like (almost) everybody's satisfaction, that he lost. Keep tuned.
Including those two, 16 parties, count 'em, have registered. It's going to be a headache to assign all of them voting colors; traditional to help illiterates make up their minds. That's Democracy, folks!
Somewhere, over the rainbow... A month before elections, colors were divided between what now are eleven participating parties: Pink, orange, red, white, magenta, yellow, tan, gold, green, violet and blue.

Below a list of the personnel changes that have taken place since last elections
to help you make up your mind in all the confusion, in case you have a favorite.
ORDUJosephine Bakhuis-TrinidadUn Pueblo Nobo
PAR-FOLLeonard CoffiPNP
NPAOscar BolivarPD
PLKPAlcides CovaMSL
Ban VotaNorbert GeorgePD
FOLRoyston GonetNPA
FOLSedney IgnacioFòrsa Kòrsou
FOLRignald LakMSL
PLKPFrensel MarchenaMSL
FOL-PAKNumidia MercelinaFòrsa Kòrsou
PLKPCésar PrinceMSL
MSL-(NPA)Gerrit SchotteMAN
MANSandra SmithFòrsa Kòrsou

Sorry if we missed you! A total of 36 partners changed; 7 went to FK, 5 to FOL and 4 to PD, which party may have made a significant change of course. Only PAR and PLKP have no switchers on their lists. All-time champ is ex (civil servants') trade union leader Bèbè Rojer, who made his 6th change, to FOL, since 1962. (As far as I know, he has never been elected. Keep trying, Bèbè!)
To this charade we have to add that FOL and Partido Independensha (PI) will form a combination,
snappily named Frente Obrero Liberashon 30 di Mei den Aliansa ku Partido Independensha.

Confusion Reigns
The new elections are rapidly approaching, promising to bring lots of wholesome clean family entertainment. Former minister Smith left MAN without even bothering to tell the party about it, because she was 'too low down on the list'.

schotte and smith billboards
Yesterday I guessed educatedly that she might have been forced out by Schotte.
I was right: on the very same day, her picture was replaced on billboards
with that of Schotte's, which must have been ready and waiting.

Then, it seems we have'll not one, but two LNPA's not to vote on: One to be registered by the original party founder, the other by (you guessed it:) Pierrot himself. Finally, the judge said Pierrot could use the name, so the other guy now has a party GST; Geen Stap Terug - the same thing, in Dutch. How's that for a clear pro-Slotaccoord message?

FOL Loses, We Pay
The voting machines, clamored for and insisted upon by FOL after their last debacle, cost ANG1.2M; that's twice as much as the first quotation which was judged too high, but they will be bought anyway. They're supposed to last for ten years. We'll see: Seems that depends more on who loses next than on the machines. Already, there have been Letters to Ye Editor expressing doubts, and somehow relating the higher price with reliability of the results.
On March 5 Amigoe newspaper published an article that the ordered Smartmatic voting machines can be manipulated by those who know how. This is hardly news to most of us, whose net-connected 'personal' computers are almost routinely manipulated by spy-ware.

Clowns killed on stage!
Only it wasn't in Fort Amsterdam or Concordiastraat, but in Cúcuta, Colombia.
This time, they got two; last year, same place, clown Pepe was shot.

A Fine Socialist Tradition
Reminds you of the pre-glasnost USSR: The Sociaal Fonds [Social Fund] which is supposed to help small companies with cheap loans (just like Korpodeko) spends only 5% of its budget on that. The rest goes for a large part to rent for a building owned by FOL-supporter Johnny Winkel, who should feel right at home there, being an ex-con for fraud himself. (The Fund itself calls this a bungling imputation: They use only 50% for themselves. Besides, the 15M/year that they were supposed to get was stopped by BC island government and total operation budget is not more that 170K. They say.)
Dienst Werk en Inkomen [Work and Income] also rents at the same location, and was stopped by the new island government from moving to another building at less than one quarter the rent. Ex-deputy Constancia, as a cousin of Godett well-known for her lies in court at the occasion of a car accident (she got 4 months conditional), also got in the news for setting up a social government body, with her own salary there well over $4000/month (she barely finished grammar school).

Don't Get Sick
After having paid SVB all your life for public medical insurance, you're kicked out at the age of 60 when you are pensioned. PAR wants to change this, as you are then forced to take out a very expensive private insurance (you only get a free PP-card when your income is below 1500 guilders/month.)
Rather interestingly, this insurance system was taken over from Holland, where it was introduced by the Nazis during WWII, just like the SS restructured the Dutch police corps, a relic of Napoleonic times in the first place. Holland got rid of the insurance system in 2006; there, the 2005 income limit was 33K Euro/year, over ANG5000/month.

Audit: Too Little, Too Late
Results of the Aqualectra audit Pierrot has been making so much noise about will only come in by the time of the new elections, so this island government can't (read: won't have to) take any decisions based upon it. Come to think of it, was't the Curoil audit supposed to be ready two weeks ago?
The main conclusion of a high-level Caribbean seminar on energy was, parties should deliberate to arrive at an energy policy. Don't laugh! this is serious.

Circus Show Stops!
With the St. Maarten agreement on the new political status (always excepting Curaçao) we announce the coming closing of our Circus. Hopefully shortly after the next elections, but at any rate after 15 December 2008.
Those clowns who want us to be completely independent (except from them), and deprecatingly refer to the agreement as 'an election stunt', can confidently look forward to a solid defeat. If they should win, the tenure of these comments will change to much more serious comments:
That will result in the relapse of our democracy, with what used to be one of the most progressive, metropolitan, rich and enlightened Caribbean island communities turning into a hillbilly, dictatorial, poor semi-fascist banana republic. Next thing, Curaçao, complete with harbor and Isla oil refinery, would be grabbed by Chavez.
If this comes to pass, it will be an entirely different game. But I hope and fully expect that I can shortly stop wasting so much of my attention on these nuts, and resume work on things that really interest me much more, and for which I started this site.
It now is a very moot point what this means for the Arubians. Let's hope it turns out well for them, too.

Expecting Trouble?
The parties who have so democratically voted against the slotverklaring do not seem very confident of that democratic majority they keep going on about, and have considered appearing on one joint list at the next elections. But it looks like this effort will not succeed; because they don't know how to co-operate in the first place? Pierrot's party will even fall apart; still one more will appear on the list. Rather funny, considering a statement of FK that turning the slotverklaring into the crux of the elections was undemocratic.
While the Dutch have stated that they see no independence before 2008, our Great Leaders still mulishly cling to the July 2007 date. Meanwhile the clock ticks on with no alternative to the slotverklaring anywhere in sight. But those stupid billboards are still up; at least two of 'em for at least 4 months now, à raison d'ANG2000/month.

A New Beginning
A New Beginning

Carnival Sound Racket
For the Karnaval festivities, now at their peak, the maximum tolerated music sound level is 90 dB, which will result in permanent hearing damage after eight hours (that's at the most three years of watching the Gran Marcha pageant). Two bands in the children's parade got a warning for exceeding this (we're not told by how much).
Musicians feel they need 110-120dB, and always keep adjusting their sound to higher levels after starting out.
After a second offense, a band will be removed. But how?

Cuban Slaves Freed? We Wonder!
The Cuban slaves working for CDM shipyard from now on will get the minimum salary, and overtime will be paid out. Just like for their Curaçao colleagues, it is said - conveniently not mentioning the fact that these are professionals who work for higher salaries. In consequence, the Dutch embassy in Havana will start giving them visa again.
What is omitted in the press is, do these Cubans get all that money themselves? Bet you they don't: The Cuban government would not let them go here without taking their cut. Foundation Cuba Futuro even denies salary raises and overtime pay-out. The story is, moreover, that there are Colombian youngsters working at CDM under just as bad conditions. These have been recruited by labour-broker Juan Pablo de la Cruz, who allegedly owes the Colombians thousands of dollars. No investigation can be started when no complaint has been lodged, and the Curaçao trade unions, who do not accept Cubans or Colombians as members, don't lift a finger to help them.
Pierrot says all all this is just a smear-campaign by some Dutchmen to lower CDM's value, so they can buy the remains cheap when it goes bankrupt.
4 of CDM's 7 cranes just don't work and have to be replaced (total ANG16-20M). The giant cranes date from the 1970s. CDM is forced to rent 2 cranes for 1.2M/year (each?); >5% of their budget.

Repeat Performance: Praise the Lord!
Say what you will, but Godett seems to have taken Macchiavelli to heart (a Prince must always act as if he's deeply religious). After he got time off from jail, his first act was to visit not one church, but, for good measure, several. Just like last time, when he was released just in time for the elections. Can't tell you if, next, he stopped by his friends of Campo Alegre.

FOL outdated
FOL isn't exactly up-to-date:
in February 2007, they are still wishing us
a merry christmas and prosperous 2005

The Happy Island Next Door
Keeping it short and snappy (all this sounds familiar anyway): The 'national committee public finance' reports to the minister: Present personnel-costs growth has to be halved. Debts must be reduced to 50%. No further raise in goverment income is called for.
Personnel costs are twice those of comparable countries, $2760/population head, and have grown with 10% during the last 5 years. Number of government workers increased from 2778 to 6576 since Status Aparte. Hiring should be stopped until an analysis is ready.
For the record, Curaçao island with 1.5 as many inhabitants has 1700 government workers; the Netherlands Antilles a total of 2600, of which 1900 work in Curaçao. All in all Aruba has about 1.5 as many workers for half the population.
The last five years there has been a fast growth of national debt, now over 46% of gross interior product; should be reduced to 40%. Interest paid is over 11% of government expenditure; should be reduced to 5% to enable necessary government investments.
Government should stop further efforts to raise income, and rather try to lower expenditures. Following committee's advise may result in a 2009 budget surplus of 25.7M florin ($14.2M).

A Stench to Remember
While the Marchena inhabitants were building up their karnaval tribunes along the Gran Marcha pageant, the Isla refinery started stinking the bario up once more. This time, the smoking stench was so intense that the people protested by blocking the road with chairs etcetera they were lining up. A nice reminder of the court case that's having its final session at the end of the carnival week.

Slavery Officially Sanctioned
The slaves at Curaçao Dok Maatschappij are still at work. After their barracks [were] burned down in 2005, they live in Hotel Celeste, not even listed in the phone book. Their 'salary' has gone up to $600/month, of which they receive 316; the rest is for the socialist Cuban government, but in Cuba they would earn much less. As they work for at least 11 hours per day, they get less than $1.20/hour. The twenty still here will be the last ones, as the Dutch embassy in Cuba does not give any more visa to Cuban workers (only after three run-aways started suing CDM from Miami).
Apart from these Cubans and the Philipinos who worked for BOO, there also seem to be Colombians working at CDM under conditions that amount to slavery.

Rats May Stay
When FOL and others first wanted to take the seats away from deputies who left their party, they now seem to do listen to AJZ juridical advice and forget about it. If you're surprised at this, it may be because it's difficult to realize - with those who left their parties together having a majority over the parties they left? Just a thought.

Money Source—or Drain
Government companies have bought ANG208M worth of state obligations from the island government during the last FOL period. Yet another reason they never make a profit.

Transparanshia No, Turismo Si!
After a couple of years ago Curaçao-born baseball star Andruw Jones offered to pay for a complete renovation of the Rif stadium, he got so disgusted by the less than half-hearted island government's reaction that he withdrew his offer.
Now, deputy Cooper wants to tear it down and turn the location into a giant tourist trip. Too bad he just plumb forgot to tell the managements of Rif stadium and the late 1940s swimming pool or the society of Otrabanda commerce (who have developed their own plans) about it.
The Same All Over
In WWII, the professionals in the German Army referred to Hitler's Nazi entourage as
the Court Jesters [Hofnarre].
Is That a Relief?
No island government workers will be fired when Curaçao becomes autonomous, promises FOL's Capella. Tough for those who work for the country.
The island government has decided the country should transfer all its functions to the island, and doesn't like it one bit that the country does not agree; it resulted in a meeting full of vulgar abusive quarrels. Also, the island government just accepted a budget with an ANG81M deficit (or, maybe, 131M—who could possibly know?) A new 'supplementary' budget would be presented ASAP. PAR and PNP refrained from voting for this 'comedy', even though they prepared that budget. At the same time, it turns out PAR member Da Costa Gomez was helped to a job managing study financing paying ANG35K/month; but that's not even such an exorbitant fee; no more than a rich tradition. Says PAR. It first turned out he had given himself that job; and then MSL's (formerly with Cova) Marchena claimed that Da Costa Gomez had arranged that when he is fired 'for political reasons', the government is obliged to pay him his total salary as a lump sum within 30 days! Da Costa Gomez finally took his leave, not without blaming Marchena for most of the problems.
But it doesn't matter much; all that money paid to students results in only 30% returning to Curaçao after their studies. Presumably, they wise up when over there?

Back to the Good Old Times
As his earlier ideas don't seem to work out, FOL's Capella now wants to get rid of the electronic voting booths completely , to go back to voting by coloring-by-number. He had No Comment on the (very good) question if this had to do with FOL's fenomenal loss in the last elections, besides saying 'it isn't normal that a party loses over half its support at once.' You have to agree there—and also with gezaghebber Richards-Dindial who thinks it remarkable that election fraud is only mentioned by losing parties. But what did she expect?
Once again, we are left to wonder what these voting booths, used one time only, have cost. No matter what, Florida State is also planning to get rid of electronic voting after the 2000 presidential election and the incessant fights following it, as well as other USA states.
A few days later, gezaghebber announced the electronic booths would be used regardless, saving 400K of 1M guilders (or almost ANG4/vote; we now know a vote costs almost 10 guilders, used or not.) She wondered how people with no confidence in electro-votes ever trusted e-mail. But FOL's Capella isn't having any; he'd rather spend 400K extra to make sure he's really beaten, and so feels MSL's Prince. Mark that FOL didn't have any such doubts in the preceding four elections, where they won. Burning question is: Will they even manage to be ready in time for the elections to proceed?
SmartMatic offered new machines with paper trail; 110 are needed, most expensive solution ANG640K. They are expected to be replaced after two uses, at the most. Smartmatic's offer for 215 computers (total $600K) has been refused. And now they tell us the standard voting costs ANG700K, not 1M.

Say, How About It?
Now that the new island government has been functioning for as long as the time elapsed between signing and refusal of the slotaccoord, in spite of several repeated promises there's none been forthcoming.
Then, some of the new coalition, while denying this, still seem to be enamored of Chavez' c..t republic. It's getting harder and harder to see why.

Rhuggenaath taketh, Strick giveth away
The 15% (or much more) cutting of subsides to foundations planned by Rhuggenaath will not be introduced. May be a good thing in some cases, but where will the money come from? Why worry!
Surplus? Uhhh... No, It Really Is a Deficit
While Strick had announced an ANG8M island budget surplus for January (caused by loaning more than needed), it turned into a deficit of 11.3M (caused by people failing to buy bonds.) But trust Strick to remain Positive!

That's Reasonable?
For years, Curoil NV has been selling fuel to utility Aqualectra for a reduced tariff, which Curoil claims has cost them ANG 19.4M; if they go on this year it will total 31.4. Means this year alone will come almost as expensive as the 'past couple of years' (how many is not mentioned). To get that money back, Curoil wants to raise the gasoline price for cars with 3 cents/liter for the coming 5 years. That's reasonable, isn't it? Curoil also claims to subsidize home gas consumption. Now that's surprising!
But Pierrot definitely overreacted when he said Curoil director Capella, had he lived in Colombia, would have been arrested immediately; and in the USA as a terrorist by the CIA. That Capella might have been arrested for this in Pierrot's beloved Venezuela is easier to believe. Pierrot also promised prices will not go up; if so, only after the audits have been done. For Curoil, that's next week! Sometimes you really can't help wondering what this guy feeds his brain with.

We Knew It All the Time
ARNA [Algemene Rekenkamer NA] has presented its report on the Curaçao 2000 budget. Instead of telling you everything that's wrong with it, it's much easier to say there's nothing right with this picture. (The report was ready in December, but for some reason {!} it has been kept under the table.) 141M guilders more has been spent than was budgeted for (that's 1000 guilders per inhabitant, almost 4000 per voter.)
By the way, their report was based on figures they received from the island government. Government accounting bureau Soab has indicated that the same over 2001 (the first year they checked) was one big mess, full of mistakes; some income was even booked in another year.
PAR denies it's their responsibility. Question remains: So whose is it? They were in charge, as far as I remember (sometimes, somehow, think I'm the only one who even cares to). Not talking about the following FOL/Cova/Pierrot years, of course. Also, PAR claims the country's budgets are okay. Is what they say now!

That these same guys were only discussing the slotverklaring, not the budget, in that meeting comes as no suprise. Nor does the fact that there still is no deal with Willy Maal, as nobody seems to be interested in his efforts to end this situation, or that the interest due to him, SVB and the Van der Valk hotel chain grows daily. Island government made another of its notorious u-turns by suddenly declaring Oostpunt [east point] was a conservation area, after all; the very same deputy, Cooper, denied this last year. Total amount due to Maal c.s. now approaches ANG35M.

Smaller Circus—Still Two Rings!
It is ironic. After the Curaçao politicians, in their hunger for uncontrolled autonomy, started force-feeding us a totally uncalled for second referendum and finally got what they desired, these clumsy, stupid jerks were not even able to use those results to their advantage.
Result most probably will be that, as far and for as long as can be foreseen, Curaçao will be the only island left in the Netherlands Antilles. At least the other islands have gotten rid of our pests. Wish we could; meanwhile, they act as if they were independent: totally out of control.

Fishing in Muddy Waters
We thought Schotte had gone, but it's not so easy: He's had a taste of the easy Life of Luxury in government and desires more. Now he has taken a really old idea by Cedric Eisden (actually, it's much older than that even) which he wants to use to his advantage. Drinking water, here distilled sea water, now is much too expensive to use for flushing toilets and all that (not that it has to be); so why not have Aqualectra produce an inferior grade as well for all that, and save money?
Schotte is smart enough to know that this involves building a completely new distribution infrastructure, plus change plumbing in all buildings. So what? There's plenty of money to be made right there for a politician!

We Can See Right Through It
Now, it's StIP government privatization foundation's turn to finance a TV clown show, this one starring Pierrot.
It's titled Transparency; but we submit a more fitting title: Curaçao Chutzpah. It will run until next elections.
Next thing we knew, Pierrot announced three StIP directors were fired (they'd had the temerity to protest), and that they would receive their dismissal letter any day now.

Prize for Prince
After Schotte, while still deputy, had fired the board of Fundashon Wega di Number [number games] and appointed himself as new board member, Prince has now been asked to become director of the board; after all, he's had a lot of experience in much the same line as one of the two last DCA directors. Too bad government's own juridical advice dept. feels politicians cannot be board members and governmental supervisors at once; who cares? Maybe we do, but then, who cares about our opinion? Shut up and vote!
A few days later, Cova's party started complaining now they want Prince's eilandsraad seat back.

All in Tradition
The St. Maarten all-island conference on future autonomy, where Curaçao delegates weren't needed but (for good reasons of their own) went anyway, ended in a quarrel between FOL member Rojer and PNP AN finance minister de Lannooy, who had the presumption to declare that the Curaçao delegation was 'ill-prepared'. De Lannooy further stated she would repeat her remarks once she was back in Curaçao. Says Rojer: The idea you get here is, a bunch of idiots went to St. Maarten. We didn't need de Lannooy for that!

Another Crook
... or, plenty more where he came from: Deputy Strick wants to check the island's financial situation. For this he contracted Reginaldo Carolina, who became StIP director a couple of years ago; the idea was he would stop StIP and return shares to government. Carolina is yet another convicted crook, for fraud. Strick declined to tell us how much the check will cost, and I can't blame him. He says he wants to win back [back?!] the confidence of public, investors and banks—in this way?

I'll Show Them Who's Boss!
Deputy Constancia, she of the car accident, wants to bundle all the power in FKP-management [public housing] in one dictator's hand. When personnel started protest actions, she threatened to take it out of their salaries.
Constancia is also buying a terrain nobody else wants, near Koral Tabak. FOL's Rojer, during the former FOL reign, was also eager to obtain this worthless piece of real estate. It becomes clear when you know it is owned by the Bakhuis family; these bordello exploiters were co-defendants with Godett and were convicted as well.

Election Time!
As we will have new elections on April 20, FOL is trying hard to gather back their lost votes. While every safety-conscious authority wants to take the carnival défilé out of the city center, it will pass through that highly congested area anyway. One would almost wish for a disaster to happen, not at all unimaginable, but (apart from our not wanting to wish for disasters in the first place) those clowns will never learn their lessons anyway.
The sound levels of the participating bands will be checked. This is not because of potential health (deafness) problems; no, they are afraid some buildings might actually crumble down.
Another trick is the raising of not only AOW old age pensions, but also onderstand welfare with ANG25/month (you spend at least twice that on one modest supermarket visit), which will cost the island ANG4M/year (they are 81M short on their annual cash-flow already, not to mention the chronic, growing, deficit). No action seems to have been taken yet on the welfare scandal, either. It comes as no surprise that this is notorious Constancia's department. (She also wants to tread very carefully on taking away the 'PP card' for free medical treatment from the suspected 2800 people who use it illegally; that's about 10% of the total number of 30,000, which means 20% of the population has one. Ex DCA and Amstel personnel have the card legally.)

Di Nos E Ta!
The Curaçao delegation did not want to fly DAE to a future status conference in St. Maarten; noooh... they insisted on InselAir. So the conference was delayed; nobody really understands why, as the Curaçao government does not want any of it anyway. Maybe all seventeen (17) go because they want to fly back with InselAir as well—on Sunday, which gives them all two extra nights and days to hang around in St. Maarten. How much was that we pay them per day again?
The trip cost an estimated total of 40K. 17 tickets to/from SXM at ANG360 cost ANG6120. (You and I might ask for a discount, true.) Leaves 33880 to play around with, almost 2000/person or 665/day. Wish I had a holiday, or even work visit, budget like that—the tax inspector would beat it right out of my head. And, again, don't forget their salaries during those three days.
Pierrot did not go because then the island will have no government. We should worry.

Budget Surplus?!
For once, in January the island will have a budget surplus! This is caused mainly because, while they were at it, they borrowed 8M guilders more than they actually needed. In their euforia, they seem to forget looking where to go from here.

Now They May Get in Trouble
The western-island part of the Holy Carnival festivities, Curaçao's grandest cultural event, will have to be scratched. There is no money forthcoming from the government. A nice little omen of things to come.
Last year there was no money either, but then-deputy Cova let it go through anyway. Goes to show you what their budgets are worth, if you didn't know already.

Schotte Misses Out - Twice!
Deputy Son of Salas had arranged a nice cozy job for himself reorganizing the Dept of Agriculture LVV, when he became ex-deputy, after first having tried to give the job to his brother. But for once his ambitions did not agree with bestuurscollege. Even his argument that now he would be jobless was of no avail. Poor Penniless Politician... Somehow, nobody had thought to tell LVV about all this.
Next thing, Schotte took his leave of Lak's party (no doubt figuring What's the use?) He then tried to join Pierrot's NPA, but they didn't want any. Still later, he tried to join MAN, who actually took him on, promising him a prominent position on the election list.

All the Stars!

2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 Searchable List

politics economy geography

<SEARCH this site or the Web


copyright notice
all material on this site, except where noted
copyright © by , curaçao
reproduction in any form for any purpose is prohibited
without prior consent in writing