and here they are:
the Clowns
maybe not so funny

Curaçao Island

refreshing your memory:
the conscience many political clowns lack

selection of acts in Curaçao's political circus, starting with the most recent ones.
alphabetical searchable list—at page bottom are links to years past.

the 2009 political circus

The Day That Stopped the Clock!

come-back of Statuut-Dag as Koninkrijksdag

and when for real?
"Anybody's Guess"

Former Politicians' Promise:
1 July 2007
last date mentioned: 26 March 2010
(PM de Jong Elhage, January 2009)
Postponed again:
"Not later" than October, 2010
(same reliable source, June 2009)

The governor said it!
10 October 2010
Godett does not agree. We'll see...

It's all over?
The THIRD Referendum!

Depends on how you look at it.
Between you and me, with no need to keep it confidential:
Now we're in a fine mess.

There is a little more to politics than wisdom and sincerity.
The Dam Busters - Paul Brickhill, 1951

Dictator Tactics
It is a well-known tactic of dictators to give the public a common enemy to be enraged at. For the German Nazis, it was Jewry. For the muslims, it's everybody else. For the Fat Dictator, it's the USA. He now claims that Holland and the USA are arming our three islands "to the teeth" in preparation for an invasion (that will never come.) Here, we don't notice a thing. It must go on in Top Secret! Only PS Wiels and two dummies of Dutch PVDA seem to take Chávez' rantings seriously, plus SP van Bommel who became notorious when in a pro-Palestina demonstration everybody around him was chanting "Hamas! Hamas! All Jews to the gas!" and he pretended not to notice.
Chávez also yells Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are in Venezuelan territorial waters and thus belong to that country. It's just the other way round! Venezuela lies in our territorial waters and thus belongs to us. I say so myself, and I obviously know just as much about it as Chávez.
Both Holland and the USA swear on the bible that the FOL-bases have not been used for stops in prisoner transport flights. Wow! That's a relief! They really had me worried there.

Sue Shell? And Who Else?
Get this straight: PNP Metry proposes a motion in which Royal Shell [Koninklijke Shell)] is held responsible for the damages caused by their operations.
Refresh your memory on the history of Isla and then wonder with me about the incredible chutzpah of this guy, whose party was in power when 1 - PM Maria Liberia signed an agreement taking over the refinery, safeguarding Shell against any and all such claims; and b - she signed an agreement with PdVSA to hire the refinery. Not only can Shell not be held legally responsible anymore; it is our own government that has owned the refinery for the past 30 years, half the time Shell has supposedly been responsible. It is our own government that let conditions grow worse and worse without lifting a finger to improve them.
That there are any amount of nitwits in Dutch parliament who agree with Metry does not come as a great relevation.

Fireworks Beat Politicians
The yearly quality test, in which about 30% tests bad, gave better results this year: only 26% were duds.
Wish we could say that about our Leaders.

Scared Dogless
Schotte's, son of Salas, two Rottweiler dogs have been poisoned (these are still legal - only pit-bulls have been forbidden). Schotte says it's the political competition - he has also been threatened in his pick-up truck by PAR member Elhage, and been intimidated by PAR advisor Fayad.

Dumb Denial
Cooper lost it after a newspaper, quoting him, published he was trying to become the new PM. He uttered horrible curses against both newspaper and the radio interview they had supposedly misquoted. Too bad the original interview is still available on-line, so anybody can check: Cooper has been lying or he just doesn't know what he says - maybe both?

Now We Know Where They Stand
The Council of Churches (I guess it includes several franchises) wanted all political parties to sign a protocol that they would behave like gentlemen during the election campaign. Too much to ask always to behave like that. Only four parties took the trouble to appear, but did not want to sign a protocol while the competition did not. Only MSI Leíto actually signed. But we knew he was a gentleman already.
A few days later, DP announced they didn't need a protocol to adopt a gentlemanly behavior; PPE and PS explicitly stated they would not sign such a protocol.

Uhh... Now That You Mention It...
PNP Davelaar wants to build a new hospital in Emmastad, right next to Isla refinery. It took DP George to ask him what was the plan when the wind changes direction. Have all patients smother in smoke?
The present Otrabanda hospital is old and needs renewal. Trouble is, with the monumental monument craze high buildings are verboten. I guess the theory is the tourists don't like 'em, even though the ships in which they come in tower high over all Willemstad.

Don't Make Chávez Mad
PS Wiels wants FOL minister Adriaens not to license anti-Chávez Globovisión, who want to start broadcasting from Curaçao. The law can't stop them as the broadcasts are not meant for Curaçao. This is no problem for Wiels, who'd rather break the law than enrage Chávez. No wonder he likes the Fat Dictator so much; small minds, too, think alike.
Wiels even talks deprecatingly over "certain gentlemen" who in the past fled from Venezuela to Curaçao. He doesn't know enough history to realize the most famous of those caballeros was Simón Bolívar - the very man whose name has been stolen bij Chávez for his so-called Bolivarian socialist revolution.

Carter No Come, Mon
Schotte, who for reasons of his own seems to fear the coming elections won't be fair (last of anybody's worries here - I guess he reasons from how he would organize an election) has requested that shining example of impartiality, Jimmy Carter, to supervise them. But Carter has declined. Fine: he was the man who saw to it that Chávez was reinstated and that Hamas won the Palestina election.

No Hijabs Please
Lawyer van Rossum, muslim member of FOL, insisted on wearing a hijab head cover on the publicity photo, which was refused. She then left the party (but has already been accepted on the candidates' list, so you can go right ahead and vote for her.) Naturally, she used the occasion, a muslim habit when their provocations backfire, to kick up a big stink. Next, she lost several well-paying government jobs such as come to party members.
Can't tell you if van Rossum wears that thing when appearing in court. I'd hate to be defended by such a lawyer - agreed, their costume is ridiculous anyway.

Mega Megalomania
FOL Godett wants a peace conference here between the USA, Colombia and Venezuela. He's worried about the growing tensions between these countries. Better he should worry about his brain.

What a Waste
The "Chinese Garden", in years past a market garden run by a Chinese, will be given away for horticulture, complete with a school. You have to know that this is a prime commercial location. Also, nobody seems to consider why the Chinese abandoned the terrain long time ago. This is nothing but foolish populism, fed by politicians who don't know their mouths from their... ahem.

As of begin December, car fuel prices will be adjusted monthly. (For several reasons, I'm uploading this two months later and I haven't noticed any such adjustment - maybe it went the way of the Clean Diesel Fuel, promised since August.)

Falling Star
FOL minister Adriaens was all for giving Air Comet, which hasn't even applied, speedy ("in 1 day") permits to start using Curaçao as a hub, even though he knows the company is in financial difficulties. "You must have a positive approach," he feels.
Air Comet ceased operations on December 21. Before then, it had been taken over by Air Transport Holdings, run by Curaçaoan Arnold Leonora.

You Might Call It That
A "blunder" has caused the Post N.A. not to pay ANF30 million to pension fund APNA. Now, Post NV has a businessplan to enable them to pay this with "heightened income from postal and logistic service." Translation: prices will go up.

Only Ten?
The election free-for-all is rather limited this time, with a mere ten parties having inscribed. PS [Sovereign People} - PPE [Party for Emancipated People] - Arte [arts] - Lista Speransa [hope] - PNP [National People Party] - MSI - [Movement Solution Isla] - Lista di Kambio [Change] - PAR [Restructured Antilles], FOL [Free Workers] en DP [Democrats]. Take your pick.

As anybody could foresee, quarrels are erupting over the internet country extension the Country of Curaçao is going to get. It's now .AN (Namibia, of course, close to the most advanced African country SuidAfrica, was far ahead of us with .NA). Will it be .CU? .KO? .CUR? Don't worry, all our sites will keep the .com extension (much cheaper, too).

Nos Si, Makamba No
The Netherlands Antilles want to vote for Dutch Parliament. It figures that the Dutch do not want such a thing without even pointing out that the Dutch will never get to vote in the Antilles. One more of these lopsided things where this country is behaving like a spoiled kid: Antilleans may enter Holland freely, but not so the other way round.
The idea comes from the Committee Democratic Deficit. Better they should be called, "Mental Deficit"? Come to think of it, there's hardly any interest here in voting for the European Parliament; a mere 21% bothered to apply for this right, even though 77% said they were aware of it.

Sow and Ye Shall Reap
Thievery in agriculture has become even more common than in most of society. Growers complain that 2 to 4 times a day some thugs climb over their fences to rob them of a total of 20% of the total weekly crop. These guys are armed with machetes, clubs and knives, and even when a farmer succeeds in arresting one, the guy is often out of the police station before the farmer has finished lodging a complaint.
As usual, it must be obvious to the buyers that no way these guys grew those fruits and vegetables themselves; it really looks like they order stolen what they need in their shops.

Maal Wins
Willy Maal has been completely vindicated in the case against him after Isla-manager Sullivan illegally penetrated Maal's Oostpunt terrain and, when Maal wanted to send him on his way, started a fight in which Maal had to defend himself with a gun (for which he has a permit).
Now, will Maal receive indemnification for his forced stay in jail, his medical problems and his lawyer costs because of his adventure with this Chávez lout? Just a thought.

Renting, Government-Style
About the renting policy of the island you'd better ask "What's right with this picture?" To give just one example, one civil servant who was involved with renting affairs regularly acted as advisor for a company that rented to the government. Apart from that, some 4 million has been just wasted. It's much worse than that, though; but no more amounts are mentioned.


Still Heavier Debt
It's chronic - with all help from Holland the national debt of the NA is still almost ANG900M (USD480M), although assets turn out to be 2.6G instead of 1.4. This is because the country has built up an extra 1.5G debt between 2006 and 2008. I guess nobody knows how much has been added this year.

Last Elections
The last elections for the government of the Netherlands Antilles will be in January, after many quarrels if they were necessary. Yes, what a waste. MAN Cooper has declared that he will never cooperate with PAR in a new government because "they sold out his country", but PNP and FOL, who were in the same coalition, are okay. 'It's hard to understand the mentality of a man like that' (Wodehouse). Cooper is convinced that his combination with FK and NPA will win, even though all poll results seem to predict a PAR victory and even though he's been wrong several times before.

Don't Bother
Now that even Al Gore seems to have admitted that the global warm-up climate change has not been caused by CO2 pollution, and may have been a very temporary phenomenon anyway that turned into cooling down two years ago, FOL Adriaens wants to make haste with measures to combat it. (HINT: Start with Isla refinery and clean diesel fuel.)
Funniest aspect may be that most voters over the world are, by now, less than half convinced that humanity is to blame.

Good Question
In a letter to Amigoe editor, Yvonne B. Wolthuis-Olf would like to learn whatever happened exactly with the many millions Holland gave to combat poverty here, as statistics show we have exactly as many poor people as ten years ago (1/3 of the population below the poverty line.)

They're still at it, those guys. In a time where the global economy still seems to be in a much worse state than when they got their first wild visions, they now announce that by mid-2013 the Spaceport has to be there, but it may start operating even sooner. It will pay USD114M/year and attract 300,000 tot 400,000 tourists a year. That's for starters only. On the other hand, it might also pay only USD20M/year. If and when. All of this on one condition: Everybody must cooperate.
We'll see. By the way, there's still another outfit that wants to do this. Avoid the crush!

Old Ways Don't Die Fast
In San Mateo, right next to a flamingo and conservation area, six months ago a project developer started building a holiday complex. Other inhabitants have complained, but, you guess it already, to no avail. Small wonder as FOL Godett would be responsible. The inhabitants have now gone to court, hoping to get around the expectable denials and subterfuges of the DROV and DOW officals, who should have stopped this.

"A Waste of Money"
He said it, not I: FK Damoen thinks Curaçao parliament is a waste of money: it's just a farce where everything the opposition has to offer is discarded and the coalition's plans are voted through as-is. Apart from the fact that most government may be a waste of money anyway, he has a point.

Too Much, too Little
The magic date for autononomy (10-10-10) has finally been settled, or so they tell us. Now FK Damoen tells us that we'll get only 10% independent (he didn't present his calculations.) While DP George would have preferred waiting for another year, PS Wiels claimed "his people" would now be autonomous earlier (he has one seat of the 21). Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf advanced his cause even further by mistakenly publishing the date of 10 November - this year. Anyway, Dutch parliament doubts all this even more than I do.

"It's Bad for Tourism"
In October, when our steady East wind occasionally turns for an unwelcome change, bays, beaches and harbors get treated to a wave of pollution like toilet wastes, oil spills and plain refuse. Curaçao Port Authorities want to clean up the mess (about time too). They say "It's bad for tourism", get the mentality?

Clean Diesel! Could This Be True?
Once again, PNP deputy Davelaar announced that by the end of this month, clean diesel fuel will be available. It's almost a tradition by now... He has been promising this since July 1. So don't hold your breath; even though with the present variety, that would be highly advisable.
By November 5, no clean Diesel yet. UPDATE: Meanwhile, it's small wonder that there are persistent rumors that a ship with a cargo of clean diesel fuel has been seized, and that part of that cargo is available at fuel stations. Illegally, of course, as Curoil has a monopoly on fuel sales. What makes this even funnier sadder is that Curoil itself has had shady deals in selling fuel.

PS Wiels has heard that PAR minister Leeflang on radio has warned him that he should shut up, otherwise Justice would follow up on a warning that he'll be arrested. Wiels states such a warning would be illegal and anyway, he never got it.

It Bores Us More Than It Bores You
But just imagine: a KWH bought from Aqualectra now costs ANG0.646 (if you use over 350KWH it's 0.7636) or USD0.3553. In Long island it's 17.7˘/KWH, in Pennsylvania 14-15. And even in Aruba it's ~40% less than here.

No Inquest
No further efforts will be made to find out which joker fraudulently voted twice in Eilandsraad. Meanwhile, everybody in the streets will tell you it was NPA Pierrot. One more criminal offence by a politician will go unpunished.

New Political Party - Count Me Out
Yves Cooper (no relation), who has voted only once in his life, has started his own party Feisbuk (stands for Facebook in Papiamentu.) He wants only "100% integer" people in there.
He explains this to mean people who have not committed adultery, don't visit Campo Alegre, don't beat their wives, do not commit fraud, have not made debts and aren't 'constantly drunk', and who don't use drugs (how do you get drunk even for a short while without using a drug?) He says he's is like that himself and wants people who recognize themselves in that profile. Small wonder he compares his new party to the Dutch 'Party for Animals' which has two seats in Dutch parliament.
He may have voted only once, but this is not Cooper's first party; his 2003 effort didn't even get 1/3 of the needed adherents. About Cooper's supposed 100% integrity Mark Twain might have said "How about lying?"

Conflict of Interests?
Two unions of Aqualectra energy workers protest against the procedures of getting a new director (related to Godett's FOL); they feel there's a conflict of interests here. How quaint! It's exactly the opposite - for FOL and new director Capella (he is a relation) at least.

Who Cares What We Say
Work on Wechi has been resumed, flattening hills, destroying more vegetation; the desolation has to be seen to be believed. Godett and his gang act like the place belongs to him, in spite of over 140 official complaints and the fact that even ownership is disputed.
No inkling of when Eilandsraad will look at those complaints; when it's much too late, that much is for sure. Judging from experience with the Island Development Plan EOP and others, nobody need have bothered anyway.
MAN Macaay, on October 17, wanted to know when he'd get answers on this matter to his May questions, while activities continue. Now you know how it is, Macaay.

Tula Rehabilitation
Hard to understand: with a statue and a yearly procession Tula's being honored quite satisfactorily; so what ex-PM Don Martina means by asking for a 'rehabilitation' is not very clear (if we're used to that). It does not sound like he wants a revision of the case in court where he was sentenced to death, hard to do anyway; nor can he mean Tula should kick a habit. But what does Don want - but to utter words?

Time for a Breather
The intervals between these get shorter and shorter.
"It's the stench, stupid."
back by the end of October

Don't Ask Me What It Means!
Not only is there a new party to compensate for the loss of some others (I lost count), but Wiels announces he's getting out of Aliansa Patriótiko. He says many people in there are for "independence", but he wants to be "autonomous". Or the other way round, who knows the difference anyway. (If you do so, congrats: you're at least as smart as Wiels c.s.)

Back in the Red
After all that bragging that, thanks to Holland taking over our debts the island budget would be comfortably in the black, it comes as no surprise at all that it shows a deficiency of ANG16.5M. That's 10% over what was announced before, too.
But not to worry folks, PAR Willem assures us that this is completely acceptable to Holland.

"Total BOO Black-Out"
And this morning the BOO problems reached their zenith: even the Isla refinery's offices were left powerless. Nobody can tell when the power plant and, afterwards, the refinery will be back on line. Damage is estimated at $500K-700K per day. I am convinced, but have no proof, this is an underestimate. Even then, it would mean a minimum damage of 6*7*500 = $ 21,000,000 (while PdVSA pays a yearly refinery rent of $15,000,000.)

BOO's Record Under-Performance
After four weeks ago a boiler gave up at BOO power plant, the essential refinery cat cracker has been out of order as well. Now a gas turbine has given up (#9, not that it really matters), causing Isla's largest distillery unit (CD3) to succumb as well. Tentative date of starting up is October 11, which means a serious 7 weeks' loss of production.
Must be a real problem for Chavez and his louts, who actually have to import gasoline to feed their Hummers at less than 10% world market price. Most of the Venezuelan refineries are not working, and nobody even knows work has actually started for how many of the 16 or 17 new refineries Chavez is bragging he's building. People who should know keep telling me crummy ole Isla is just about the best refinery PdVSA has got going.

Sounds Filthy: Cooper Comes Clean
[Safely?]in Aruba, he stated that "all laws that form an obstacle to Curaçao autonomy should be abolished." Fair warning: when if he gets a government seat next elections, he will use his power to work for autonomy. He and others will look at these elections as a fourth referendum - it does get tiresome after a while -, conveniently forgetting to count the last elections (referendum no. 2½?) when they were smashingly defeated.
Meanwhile, Dutch parties VVV en PW want to cancel all debt cancellations as long as the Antilles do not keep to their part of the agreement.
PS Wiels strives for complete independence fifteen years from now (in spite of the hard fact that for the sixteen years since 1993, the year of the first referendum, public support for that particular option has steadily remained at the remarkably cool and aloof level of 5%.)

Impressive Lack of Interest
Leon Pons of Carmabi lectured on "Eco-Tourism" and, just like me, concluded that it was utter nonsense to even consider that for this island. (He was more diplomatic: "we lack the eco-sphere.") There were some 20 people in his audience.
And Ravenaux of Amigu di Tera complains about illegal (building) activities in protected conservation areas. She feels government ought to interfere. But what does she expect of a government that itself is always ready and willing to break its own rules?

"The Most Undemocratic List Ever"
Is how PAR describes the coalition of opposition parties MAN, FK and NPA. They will present one combination list at the next elections. (Neither DP and, more surprisingly, PS are on it.) Par admittedly has a point. They will not accept the, admittedly small, voter's decision of the last referendum and just go on saying NO! No surprise that once again they made a switcheroo after promising the UN observer they would accept the outcome.
Opposition George DP is disgusted (my interpretation) as well. In his opinion, this makes any future cooperation with those parties as good as impossible. Not that he and his party agree with the way the all-powerful coalition treats the opposition, but these guys "are prepared to make the very same mistakes." DP, George states, will conform to the Curaçao signature on the deals with the Netherlands. He feels all that is over, and the future political structure should not play a role in the next elections.
I guess George has been chewing Spearmint for a fresh breath.

First vote, then think
Now that Bonaire is finally being force-fed what it means to be a part of Holland, the Low Cold Country by the North Sea, the Bonairianos are having second thoughts. Over 50% of the voters have signed a list asking for a new referendum. Allegedly, half of those did so at a party with plenty of free beer.
The reason WHY seems, the Bonairianos had expected that they would get the same social security, old age pension without having to work and all that the whole third world is trying to get into Holland for - without even moving over there! But it doesn't go through... Of course, it it did, price levels on Bonaire would go up to those of Holland; try to explain that to a Bonairiano.

Fire Trucks Roll out of Gate
A compromise has been reached between the builder of the notorious fire trucks and island government, so we will get them after all. Total cost ANG2.074.000, which includes an extra half million Government will pay now.
We are told that is appreciably less than re-starting the procedure from scratch. I guess meant is that half million [extra.] Gee, I wonder how much a regular fire truck costs, but they're not telling.

Getting Worried?
NPA Rooijer insists, no, "defies" government to come out with assurances on the future of the civil servants. They now live in "great uncertainty" about what's going to happen. Poor babies; they figured they had this nice cosy guaranteed set-up.
Anyway, they have been guaranteed their future many times, even when one of the announced main points for the demise of the Netherlands Antilles was to get rid of a double [island and country] government, each with its own bunch of civil servants.

Delays ad Infinitum
Once again, Isla refinery versus SMOC has resulted in a setback for SMOC. Isla may go on polluting to their heart's content until the case has been in high court (October 30).
Even though BC [island government] has announced they will respect an earlier decision where Isla has to conform to the nuisance act, just like the rest of us, by January 1 2010, the refinery has appealed, effectively delaying the verdict's execution - again.

[the difference... of one accent]

La Prensa

"Why Am I Not Surprised?"
In her official UN report observer Pamela Reeves says that, just after the last referendum, the NO-brers have "guaranteed" her they would respect the outcome. Not only that, they would accept the consequences for future political developments.

Dirty Diesel Trick
Last July, deputy Davelaar promised we'd have clean diesel fuel (if such a thing exists) from August 1. It's more than a month later now, the term has been exceeded more than twice; no clean diesel yet, and none in sight either.
The diesel oil produced by Isla refinery allegedly holds 5000 dirt particles per million versus 500 as stipulated by island government. This still exceeds the Euro-norm of 10 by a factor 50.

Saba Has Had Enough
After all the deliberations on whether to hold more country government elections or not have been decided: there will be more elections, Saba's had enough. They do not want to wait for the country to be dismantled, as they fear the Curaçao politicians will find still more ways to delay - they want out now.

Democracy's Drawback
The PAR PM felt it would be unnecessary to have new country (Neth. Antilles) government elections as planned - the government will soon after cease to exist anyway. (Or will it?)
Anyway, this was not agreeable to most other parties, and we will have those elections.
If many voters will turn up, I happen to doubt.

HELP! Will It Never Stop?
Now a Dutch (from Holland) smartie politician has noticed that not everybody agrees about the coming independence. He feels the people should be asked what they think of it!
Hasn't the guy noticed that every each and single time this has been done the confusion just grew? Three referenda already, count 'em, even if they're not blessings.
What we need is going on with the agenda, such as it is, and take it from there once that has been settled.

Musical Chairs on a False Note
In an island government meeting, first PAR Jackson proposed to scratch the agenda and instead discuss a Dutch law on travel in the kingdom. At this point, the opposition left the meeting so discussion and voting was impossible. After they'd returned, DP George proposed to put the same item as point 4 on the agenda.
Then, the coalition left the meeting.
Any comment seems superfluous.

Whatever Gave Hir That Idea?)
In a country government [Staten] vote more votes were counted than there were members present. No doubt somebody figured somebody else could not count.
It took two weeks for the BC chairperson to request an official investigation (read: Sick John Law on the joker). Now it may be getting even better.

Spacemen: No Apemen Need Apply
Sure looks bad for the efforts to get us our very own Space Station[s] - or even two!
100 rules for would-be spacemen
No scars, no history of serious illness in the last three generations of your family, and no tooth cavities.
These are amongst the 100 health requirements for would-be astronauts vying to be part of China's next space team, the Yangtse Evening Paper reported Saturday.
The selection process, which the paper said is for the second batch of Chinese astronauts, will disqualify those who have runny noses, ringworm, drug allergies or bad breath.
"The bad smell would affect their fellow colleagues in a narrow space," said Shi Bing Bing, an official with the 454th hospital of People's Liberation Army air force based in Nanjing, one of the six astronaut health screening hospitals.
Aside from the physical requirements of the job, the candidate must also possess a pleasant and adaptable disposition, the paper said.
"These astronauts could be regarded as super human beings," Shi said.
(Writing by Melanie Lee; Editing by Sugita Katyal)
Did you ever meet a rich middle-aged businessman who could afford a space-spree and who could be described as a "super human being"? Let alone the "pleasant disposition".
Reuters, August 3, 2009: http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE57247U20090803?feedType=nl&feedName=usoddlyenough

Wiels Makes a Good Point!
Fancy that: we agree with Wiels - for wunce. He feels the government should not obligate us, as is presently the intention, to get immunized against the Swine Flu upon WHO's hysterical recommendation. A lot of money involved here, to be made by drug manufacturers... First, the vaccine has not even been properly tested; second, last time such a pandemic pandemonium took place, it resulted in more deaths caused by the vaccination than by the illness.
'More Die from Routine Flu Than H1N1 Virus'

Rooijer Thinks It Through
With deplorable results, but naturally!
Because everybody knew fuel prices were going down shortly, nobody bought gasoline those last days, so the gas station owners did not replenish their stocks, either. Which resulted in some slight shortages for some people who really needed gas. NPA Rooijer thinks this is very serious! Imagine that the fire brigade ran dry... or police patrol cars... ambulances...
But he came up with a solution: The government should open up a couple of gas stations so there's always some gasoline available. (No doubt, we'll pay for the price difference.)

Somebody Asked Nobody?
After, first, MAN Cooper refused to sit down with the government after the last referendum to discuss things, saying there was nothing to discuss (he was one of those who wanted "renegotiations"), now both he and PS Wiels say they only want to go to Holland for discussions if the subject is "autonomy". We have to agree: in that case then it's little use for them to go. Call that negotiations?
Anyway, who asked Wiels to go?

On July 3, a gasoline hike of 41 cents/liter was announced. As there is no more 'regular' gas available, this means a price of ANG2.22 per liter. But today we get the news that fuel price will go down with [almost!] 31 cents/liter. Which means price has gone up with over 10 cents per liter. Is this a contemptible effort to fool us by playing on hopefully short memories?
Cooking gas is going up, but the good news is that prices for water and electricity will not be raised. It seems Aqualectra has consistently been too late with applying for hikes (sure makes it seem they're not as hard up as they claim), so now all these are canceled out.

Something in That
Aliansa Patriotiko now seems to exist, but it's not very clear who are in it. Anyway, they threaten there will be "chaos" if the government goes on doing - sorry, I forget what. No matter, as there's little doubt they will find some, any, reason to create more chaos; they're experts.

Back to Court
Norbert George of Foundation Humanitary Care has announced they will go back to court about Isla refinery pollution. They feel, not surprisingly, that the fines for Isla's exceeding the norms are much too low to deter them from doing so.

Animal Lovers
The manager of Parke Tropikal zoo has been arrested in Holland for illegal import of birds. A zoo committee member, who is also on the board of De Vogelvriend [bird friend] union, has been arrested as well. Striking how those nature lovers don't seem to have problems to lock up animals in cages. The birds were sent from Curaçao to Holland, and en route many died. As far as I can see, for most Curaçao served as a transit station. It seems these deals are second only to drug-dealing when it comes to making money.

Gambling on the Stock Market
The SVB [social insurance bank] is in problems. They have made a loss of ANG28.083.475 (USD15,445,911) in 2008 and now want to raise the premium for illness insurance with 3%. The loss is caused by higher doctor costs, higher foreign treatment cost and (here it comes) stock market losses. So we pay for the losses incurred by SVB playing on the stock market - with our money.
Civil servants pension union APNA has the same problems.

It's all the SI!-brers fault!
Opposition parties now claim the higher gasoline prices have been caused by the people who voted with the coalition in the last referendum. This is not easy to defend, but who cares?
MAN is now cooperating with Aruba's MEP, who last week tried to stop the political restructuring completely. Small wonder.
Come to think of it, what is this? After the referendum, MAN was invited for discussions with the coalition on how to resolve their differences. But MAN was not interested. This is hard to reconcile with the fact that the main NO! argument, in fact the whole point of that referendum, was that the Slotakkoord had to be re-negotiated with Holland.

Koeiman's Complaint
MAN Koeiman thinks the name of Peter Stuyvesant College, our first high school, has to be changed. This man was a colonialist! To hear Koeiman talk, Stuyvesant in person schlepped people from Africa, made slaves from them (they were slaves already) and "created a market to sell them here". Old peg-leg must have been busy.
As long as Koeiman is delving into history, he should realize the market for slaves existed long before Stuyvesant had been born and, as far as I can figure, that the College existed before Koeiman had been born. Doesn't Koeiman have something worthwhile to do? I guess not, now that you ask. He doesn't stop there, all those old filthy imperialist names have to go. As I have predicted before: We only have to wait until somebody comes up with the name 'Tulaville'.
Not to mention the fact that Peter's mere name is enough to attract USA tourism.

ISLA: Now It's up to the Government
After Judge van Unen finally ruled that Isla refinery must clean up its act or start paying fines, PAR minister Leeflang did not seem very impressed. There will be a new law to protect the environment and public health; not specifically against Isla, who just have to keep to the rules. Which Isla has not done up to now—a real confidence builder, when the judge has also just had to oblige BC to hold Isla to the norms.
Dutch secretary for kingdom relations Bijleveld has arranged for a pollution measuring station to be installed in any case before January 1. And PNP Davelaar assures us that super-clean diesel will be introduced in August, so Isla can't blame that for pollution any longer.

Spaced Out — Not One, But Even Two!
SXC (Space Experience Curaçao) and Caribbean Spaceport are planning space travels (one 3-hour trip for $150K) from Curaçao. Check out here about the Joys of SpaceSickness. As everybody agrees, there is no room for two of these outfits, but their sense of realism is further indicated by the fact that they show little interest in getting together. No matter: A lot of money and energy will be wasted anyway to accommodate these pipe-dreamers, by adopting new laws.
Both of them think they will find 300,000 customers a year, starting in 2013. Other "Space Centers" are planned in Sweden and Dubai.

Aruba: One Happy Mess
After PM Oduber was called "an untrustworthy executive" and "one of the biggest criminals of the island" by Dutch MPs, he sent Dutch parliament a letter in protest. But Holland let it be known they keep insisting on an independent investigation of misgovernment and corruption, for which Oduber has declared not to give cooperation. In that case, the Rijksministerraad [say, Kingdom cabinet] will order such an investigation.
Aruba will have elections next September.

Chong Tells Us All about It
In what must be his clairvoyant wisdom, Chong reassured us about the economy this year.
Inflation hits 5.9%. Export goes down with 6%, but import up with 3% - while consumption goes up with 6% (can't help wondering where those 3% come from.) Tourism down. Unemployment the same or will go down with .1%. Wow—so precise, down to 1 pro mille!
How does he know, huh? He must use a computer model; like Al Gore.

Responsible Gambling Behavior
Something the casinos wish to promote—now that they finally have to start paying "realistic" taxes: less than 23%, which they want to reduce to 11% (normal profit tax is 40%). Even 5% sales tax would result in them paying 14.2M against 20M as newly stipulated.
3.2% of Curaçao casino customers are 'serious' gambling addicts, a world record. Officially, nobody is allowed more than 3 visits per year. Ha ha. The casinos are supposed to attract tourists, but only 1 in 10 visitors is a tourist. Meanwhile, the hotels that do not have a casino are doing much better than average, visitor-wise, as they concentrate on their service.

Just as Expected
After all their good intentions, MAN, NPA and FK will not join for the next elections. They'd much prefer going on "frittering away resources".

No Drugs Tests
NPA Pierrot wanted to introduce drug tests for our government members. But it doesn't go through, as "it's unnecessary." Ironically, it's common knowledge that Pierrot himself is an ex coke-addict. He will introduce his proposal again, adding that "everybody who votes against is suspected at once".

Ombuds Person
After Wiel's demise we now have a female, Aba Martijn for that function. We wish her strength—she'll need it.

Drowned Cars
It is happening more and more that cars jump off what's officially called Rijkseenheidboulevard, which everybody calls "New Harbor Road" — the first 4-lane road of the island, built on an artificial dam in the early 1950s by the Dutch. (Archaeologists note: That explains the separate bicycle paths.) Gezaghebber wants to start an investigation to the probable cause of all those suicidal vehicles.
But as a letter-to-the-Amigoe-editor writer was quick to observe, it's easily explained by the potholes drivers want to avoid. A penny saved is a dollar lost...

Tourism Down
Probably because it's worse elsewhere, CTB tourism office has admitted that visitor number went down with 3% this year. They don't discuss November and December 2008 "because immigration introduced an automated system" - presumably, that means nothing is known? (St. Maarten and Aruba went down with 16% and 8%.)
What they do not tell (you get used to it) is that May 2009 hotel occupation is the lowest since 2004.
Average occupancy now is 65.5% which is less than marginal (that's what the hotels say; CTB claims it's 75%.) A windfall from Holland results in a total promotion budget of ANG24M (till 2011).
The good news is that, according to MNSBC, this is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world.

Old Trick Still Works
Once again, a hallowed tradition was honored when the coalition walked out of a government meeting on education matters, so there was no quorum. (This was the second time for the same subject.)

Smart Move, Wiels!
But what can you expect from a guy like that? He has written a letter to Dutch MP Geert Wilders, of Fitna fame, to arrive at a joint plan to make Curaçao independent five years from now. Little does PS Wiels understand (our guess is, he understands precious little anyway) that Wilders, notwithstanding his raves and rents, knows very well that there are laws and accords that have to be kept to.

He Thought It Over
After Godett's friends Cayco had been refused a license to develop the Rif area, he announced he would walk out of his deputy job. No surprise that, after all, he decided it was more in his interest to stay.
Officially, on July 6 Cayco had not been informed by letter of that refusal. May explain they haven't sued like they threatened.

Recycling Rubbish
Bryan Oduber from Aruba announces in a letter to Amigoe newspaper that he will not participate in the yearly recycling contest anymore. He requests everybody to step out of the nineties, as times have changed. "Recycling is not always a good thing." He may not be political, but it's good politics.
He specifically mentions the bad effects of paper recycling (not to mention the price); how people eat loads of yoghurt for the plastic containers, or waste loads of toilet paper to collect the inner cardboard rolls, so they can make art objects with them - all glued together with poisonous glue.

He Could Have Fooled Me - Easy
In itself not a bad idea, "to avoid frittering away resources" three NO-parties MAN, FK and NPA will form one list next elections; they say so now at least. Says FK Damoen "All of us hold democracy high." He could have fooled me.

Loser Wiels: "We Won!"
After an, admittedly meager, defeat in the last referendum racist Wiels subtracted all non-black voters from the total and concluded the yu'i korsow had won! He's such a racist that it's logical for him other votes don't count - worse, he can't start to imagine honkies voting NO (I know several) or blacks voting SI (same there).
MAN Cooper, just as much in his customary style, feels that the SI-group should sit down to discuss and put some water in their wine, as their victory is so small. Doesn't occur to him that the same applies to him, but he would not give in one bit even if he did. He also wants to know exactly who voted what; so much for his concept of democracy.
And when the coalition invited the opposition for a discussion, Cooper stated he "had not asked for a dialogue" so "they should indicate what they wanted to talk about."
The situation is so tense that this would be a great time for a dictator to grab power (I do hope this does not give them any ideas.) Remember, Hitler never won the elections! Good thing we have no army of our own.

Put up or Shut up
It's not surprising that Cooper is now shouting that the "process has to be stopped" as the difference between SI and NO votes is so minute (as it is.) We do note that he also did so after the first and second referenda, when the difference between similar choices was much larger. Further, once again it was a "non-binding" referendum (so what's the good anyway?)
Please, dear mr Cooper and cohorts, can't you just sit down together around the table and work it out, playing real politicians, instead of whining like spoiled brats that it ain't fair? Please, please - pretty please: grow up.

Si No...
The SI-brers have had a poll which told them 61% of the people would vote SI! ... I don't doubt for a split second the NO!-brers have done the same, only, they don't publish the results. We'll see... we'll see.
No matter what, Wiels is threatening us all with a "social eruption" should the SI-brers win. That's democracy, folks! But not to worry, he'll do his utmost to "avoid the worst", then adds "It's no use trying to avoid such an explosion. From a sociological point of view it's better to let it run its course."
Nothing new there. May I say it, please? WHAT AN ASS.

CAYCO Hits Back Sans Stick
The press conference by Cayco to protest against the government decision not to do business with them in the Rif development project rather fizzled out: it was a plain dud. Owner Marcolli stated that VNA security service has been misled by rumors and slander, spread by weblog Noticias Candela [now disappeared]. He is consulting his lawyers on steps to take. My free advice: "Leave it alone." After all, those reports are secret.
Finally, Marcolli had the tact and finesse to accuse our government of being in league with "white viceroys" who "discriminate and maltreat blacks and mestizos." He looks pretty white himself on his photographs. Summing up, he blew it.

Hail Hizbullah!
17 people (4 F, 13M) from Curaçao, Venezuela, Colombia, Lebanon, Surinam and Cuba have been arrested in an action in which 250 cops took part. They were involved in smuggling of hash, cocaine, XTC and weapons and in money-laundering. Earnings went to Hizbullah to fund their Middle-East activitities. All in all, over 1600 kilos of coke transports have been intercepted.
Can't help remarking that the SI! campaign is using the Dutch politician Geert Wilders as a bogeyman in case NO! should win; Wilders is virtually the only Dutch politician who takes a public stance against Islam terrorism, financed by illegal activities like these. Ironic.

Habitual Habitat Habit
Now, Colombian CDM Curaçao Dock workers are complaining about their lodgings, graciously furnished by their employer. Nothing new there. "They stay in sheds infested with vermin like rats and mice, swarming with mosquitoes and without refrigerator, television, telephone or internet." (At least the Cuba slaves could watch taped Fidel speeches.) For this, part of their salary is withheld. Complaints about bad food (partly paid by CDM) have no effect. The Colombians call it a form of modern slavery. Their own labor union does not know about this.
The guys are shanghaied by one Juan Pablo de la Cruz. Several years ago news stories that he had swindled workers caused him to disappear, but he's back again with his old tricks. But then, CDM have not changed much either, have they?

What a BOOre
Once again, BOO had a little problem. My personal damages: ANG645 (battery charger demolished.) It's much worse for Isla refinery, who have to close down for like two weeks at about $1m/day. Then again, they can afford it.
"Maintenance at BOO is non-existent" Isla reps say - must be real bad then. BOO is largely owned by Isla.

No Reply
He has been waiting for almost four months now (three weeks is the legal limit), but Etienne van der Horst still hasn't gotten used to it and is "considering other steps" to force island government to respond to his request.

No Need to Panic
Transparency International wishes for an investigation into corruption in the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. NL Bijleveld says she's all for it, especially in St. Maarten. She also wants an investigation into what the people here think on the subject. Methinks, another waste of more good money; the people have spoken out long since.

We Knew It All the Time
The New and Improved referendum is causing entrepreneurs to delay investments. They prefer to wait for it, as they'd rather not invest if the verdict is NO!
PAR Deputy Willem said we'll have a 111 million budget deficit when the people vote NO! which meant that taxes would have to go up (bad news) and that government services would be reduced. Hmm... now that might be a reason not to vote YES? Anyway, the latest deficit figures say it's 4.2G without debt relief and 1.3G, with. Reason, debts have grown since the original statements. (The opposition claims we'll get saddled with a 2G debt anyway.)
Meanwhile, DP George stoutly maintains that debt relief will not be stopped after a NO! vote, as it is already being implemented; while Dutch Bijleveld says it will be stopped. Not very transparent, is it?

Not Down... Noooo!
Gas price has gone up once again. The decision was taken in an island government meeting on April 29; which meant that it would not hit the newspapers before May 4. Maybe to avoid having people fuel up before price went up? Looks "transparently" obvious.

Abandon Ship
A KLM 747 en route to Amsterdam had to return to Curaçao with fire aboard. The story is a passenger discovered it and the cabin crew didn't have an inkling how to handle it. However, it's hard to figure out what really happened from newspaper stories.
The point is KLM managed to keep it from the Curaçao media who only found out about it from Dutch newspaper Telegraaf.

Ajó $$s!
After Godett had threatened to leave the coalition and withhold FOL support for the referendum after walking out of a meeting (those things run in families) he was finally shown the Security Service report on Cayco, the Venezuelan real estate firm he insisted on doing business with. (Why did that take so long?) Must have been pretty bad, as he was forced to concede Cayco was not such a bright idea after first loudly, you bet, calling the report worthless.
Cayco, who don't seem to know when they've lost, will hold a press conference on May 6 to explain how kosher they are.
On the other hand, Godett's going ahead full-speed on Wechi, even though there are three good reasons why he ought to stop: ownership is being disputed; cultural heritage is being damaged; and FKP public housing just ignores a three year old objection appeal.
Well, everybody does it, he probably figures - just put up buildings without a permit - why not the boss-government?
Some days later, Godett was back with a statement that Cayco was not out of the running, and he expected them to sue for damages.

Back in the Limelight, But Not Wised up
Don Martina, who everybody thought had left MAN, the party he started himself, seems to be back as a gang member. At least, he's declaring that it would be "violating human rights" to stop relief of those debts he helped produce himself. One of the toads pearls jumping from his lips was "Dutch PM Balkenende is threatening us with a bag full of money."

That's Just Great
PAR Rhuggenaath has announced there is no intention of selling Curaçao Dock CDM. This is not only in flagrant contradiction with the publicly adhered to policy of getting rid of government-owned companies, it's also really smart in view of the fact we can confidently expect enormous fines because of the slavery process. But maybe Rhuggenaath figures that Obama doesn't care about slavery.
Dutch Damen Shipyards have expressed their interest in leasing, not buying CDM. Very smart, Rhuggenaath: if the deal with Damen falls through at some point because the USA seizes CDM, we'll have to pay damages to Damen as well.
But I forgot, he doesn't accept the ruling.

"Only" 5 Million
PAR Willem doesn't understand why the opposition is making so much noise about the part of the debt refused by NL Bijleveld. The nuisances want to know what debts these are. But Willem feels 5 million guilders (say 150/household) are not worth the trouble.

Help! It's The AGW Monster!
Once again, after the Club of Rome's dire prediction, the Y2K disaster and the very recent Conficker virus-scare non-happenings (remember? not much to remember, is there) there is an incredible panic, this time about so-called androgenic global warming, AGW. While there are good reasons to believe this only serves to fatten types like Al Gore while putting down poor citizens and undeveloped countries, I can understand how many people are confused by the issue, brainwashed that we can do something about it. Human megalomania at its best. Still, you can't help being amused by what our Leaders have to say about this, finally, now that over 50% of USA-inhabitants have lost interest.
First, in a presentation Meteo-director Martis told us this has been going on for fifty to sixty years already, which is explicitly incorrect; around 1980 there was even talk of a new ice age coming along. He also forgot to mention that another expert, working at the same Meteo, recently declared there's nothing to it.
A real gem was when he said, pleading for less CO2 output, that "we're a small country and our contribution will be small" - conveniently forgetting how much of that commodity, and more, Isla refinery produces.
Carmabi director Debrot worries about the sea level raising (it doesn't) and the effects on agriculture (such as it is.) Amigu di Tera Nahrain stated we could do better than build our houses "like an oven". At least he had a point there.

One More Time
After MAN had to retract a spot, re-edited from original footage by Alex Alberto, because of Freddy Curiel's heirs' protests that it gave a completely false and distorted view of his arguments, they pulled exactly the same trick. This time with a YouTube item about PAR Mike Willems, that was re-edited to get rid of certain remarks they didn't want the public to hear. With Ornelio Martina, the third name in this series of despicable tricks.
Makes one wonder how many more they've got coming.

About Time, Too
There are now several shops in town for so-called medical tourism - the yuppie rehab center in Kura Hulanda and the dolphin autism therapy center plus recently an even vaguer outfit in the Seaquarium. You and I may think there ought to be an anti-quack law solidly in place here, but PAR Rhuggenaath feels it's a good thing (after all, money is dough and that's all that matters); he only feels 'now it's time to evolve a master-plan for health care." Really?

Those Politicians Are a Pest
But the ombudsman himself, who had a contract for 6 years renewable with 6 more years, doesn't feel like using the option. He'll stop next month or so, "good and disgusted."
I guess those politicians are pretty sorry too for not thinking it through when they followed the popular trend of installing such a guy. Always think, boys... yes, it doesn't come easy for everybody.

That Ombudsman Is a Pest
Amigu di Tera has submitted a complaint with Ombudsman about the 'continuing environmental damage and the exclusion of inhabitants from the coastal area; the lack of a responsible government policy; and that population's complaints on annoyance and environment, and exclusion, are not taken seriously.'
Ombudsman took only three days to pass the complaint on to Bestuurscollege.
These things have been mentioned time and time again, also on this site, without governmental departments taking any action. Meanwhile, (often illegal) piers are constructed, beaches are built up and replenished, and the people are left to worry about where they can go swim. 80% of the South coast (where the beaches are) is no longer freely accessible to us. To top it off, one of our prime tourist attractions, the coral reefs, are being ruined by all this.

Hurricane Season
PAR Attacho was only one of those protesting against Holland wanting to postpone a POK-meeting from June to October. His argument was, the windward island delegates couldn't very well leave then "because of the hurricane season."
(Not only) this popular Caribbean ditty tends to contradict him, though:
      June - too soon.       July - stand by!       August - look out you must.       September - remember.       October - all over.
If you don't know what POK means, consider yourself lucky.

Once a Thief, Always a Thief
Two civil servants working for DEZ [economic affairs] have been arrested for shoplifting while they were controlling a supermarket (recorded LIVE! on camera).
If you want to know, not that it's surprising, they have not been fired on the spot - merely suspended until April 9 to give them a chance 'to defend themselves'. After all, Fort Amsterdam, where the government resides, is often referred to by John Citizen as "Home of Ali Baba and the forty thieves".

April Fool
The long-awaited license plates finally seem to be arriving - we only have to bate our breath for one more month. Those who paid already will get 'em delivered at home.
The government can do that on less than ANG5 interest? Hard to believe.
But mark the day on which this was announced! Aha!

An Old True Story - Only the Names Have Been Changed
The Rif Resort, owner of the Marriott Hotel, still owes the government over $90M. A 2007 proposal to remit 17M of this was retracted. Now MAN Schotte asks BC island government what's going on here and, by the way, how about those 17M dollars? Well, it's a tradition - and it should come to an end.
It's still worth it to remember that Schotte's righteousness is a bit misplaced, as that earlier proposal came from a government in which his party had power.

Closed Skies Open up
It may be too late, but FOĜL Adriaens now reneged on his stipulation that GOL airlines couldn't come. Now he says it's all right, as long as they don't get the right to "cabotage" - meaning flying between the AN islands. Meanwhile, GOL may already have decided to use Aruba for their hub instead. We'll see.

A StAB in the Back
End of May the judge will finally pronounce in the case of SMOC and Humane Care Foundation representing inhabitants against Isla refinery pollution. A report has now been presented by StAB which says it isn't all that bad; a pity the report is based on figures collected and presented by Isla itself. However, both SMOC and Isla said the report was acceptable - at least, that's what the press wrote. As so often, wrong: if you ask SMOC, they will tell you they presented a completely different view, proving that not only Isla's figures, but also StAB's model calculations were wrong. Stay tuned.

Death to Those Dogs!
After several children had been maimed or killed by agressive dogs, finally something has been done about it. Only pitbulls now have to be registered, other just as dangerous brands go scott-free. Even then, about half of the estimated number (3000, say one for every 12 households) have now actually been 'Licensed to Kill'. Will the government find and destroy the rest? Will we see a cow jump over the moon tomorrow?

Cool It!
Now that almost 50% of the USA population is sick and tired of the hysterical Anthropogenic Global Warming hoax, and a worker at the Curaçao meteo recently declared there was nothing to it, the Antillean, Aruba and Surinam governments got together to discuss it. Oh, Our Leaders are so worried. Not enough to stop the giant pollution by Isla refinery, though; no, what they will do is (you'll never guess) install committees to report on the problem.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members. Just like I wonder how much Curaçao would have to pay for Isla/PdVSA/Venezuela's emissions in a cap-and-trade system.

Old Story Redone
An old video-tape by Alex Alberto was re-cut for a spot by the Cooper NO-brers consortium in the best Nazi Leni Riefenstahl manner. This caused the Fundashon Pro Kòrsou to protest against the way their point of view had been distorted for propaganda reasons; the Fundashon is depicted as being against, while they wholeheartedly support the SI/YES vote. More here.
Also, Cooper did not pay any rights to Alberto, nor consulted him in editing his material; both are copyright violations.

Uh Uh... Someone Noticed
Aruba PM Oduber, on the day of the hymn and the flag, held a tirade against Holland because they had stopped development aid (this is worth it:) "without the Aruba parliament, together with the Aruba people deciding the financial support would stop." Like a beggar who will rob you if you don't give him an alms.
Anyway, an Amigoe letter from Holland by Matt L.G. Knubben quoted a 1993 document that "this aid will stop in 2009 at Aruba's request."

See? Is Good!
Cooper and his NO-brers have always maintained that the debt-take over by Holland will just benefit the rich (they must be jealous). But PAR Leeflang tells us it ain't so: the civil servants' pensions are guaranteed now (government owns APNA pension fund ANG1.5G, largest part of the total.) Paw... that's a relief... we were all sooooh worried about the poor civil servants' future.
The yawning chasm
... between the public and private sectors: [in the U.K. 2008] pay in the private sector was down by 1.1 percent; in the public sector it was up by 3.7 percent.
If you are employed by the public sector you don't know what recession is all about. No reductions in salary or disappearing bonuses; no worries about your pension; no anxiety about losing your job; no increased tensions at work because of the pressure.
This contrast is going to intensify.

Vox Populis: We Never Said That
MAN Cooper has been called paiaso (clown) before in public, but these days his popular alias seems to be "barika di lodo" - not leadbelly, mudbelly. Not in honor of the jazz musician - in honor of the belly.

DP Insists
DP George has now asked the governor to stop the procedure to hold a referendum on May 15, as it's not in the public interest of the Antilles, Curaçao, or of the the Kingdom of the Netherlands. DP repeats that many decisions having to do with the referendum have already been accorded and are applied in practice. George also refers, again, to the touchy matter of how the referendum choices have been phrased.

So That's What!
As there are so many complaints nobody really knows what we are supposed to vote on, Etienne van der Horst of blog Nos Ké Sa has published a list of the next referendum's subjects and accords.

That, We Understand
The opposition parties have started a "Vota NO" campaign with a "Curaçao Businessplan" that, at first sight, does not seem much different from their earlier alternative. They also said that "at this stage, it's better not to give too much detail." That, we understand.
What we do not understand is why these parties do mention the governmental waste must come to an end. Of course, point taken, but they could have done that all the time while they were in government. And, by the way, you know, I just checked some old entrance and hit my ingrown toenail on that fool Pierrot saying, in 2006, that "we shouldn't saddle future generations with debts."

Three Times Godett!
Nr. 1. People who rent from FKP public housing, of which Godett is director, or have a mortgage there have a total debt of 65.5 million guilders. Godett says he has asked FKP management to devise a plan to enable those people to catch up; "just like Obama did", he adds.
Other problem here is that Godett has now been a deputy for 14 months and that only 227 houses of the announced 2500 have been realized. Saving you the math, that's 1/10th in 1/3 of the time he's got. Better start working some lard off, Godett!

After a Fashion
Nr. 2. All of a sudden, when voting time came up, the island government coalition discovered Godett wasn't there! They all left the meeting to prevent the vote taking place. Godett later announced he had been unable to come on time. (Maybe he had some pressing business at Campo Alegre.) He then said not to worry, they were proceeding with governing the island.
After a fashion.
Rumors are, Veiligheidsdienst Nederlandse Antillen [safety service] has strongly advised against going in business with Cayco, so Godett had some urgent problems to solve.

Fans Hit (the... oops!) Godett!
Nr. 3. Godett as Public Works deputy is responsible for rebuilding the Punda, Willemstad main bus station, all buses have been using a much farther removed alternative for over a year now. They didn't like this (even if it sounds worse for their clients, but they tend to be pretty aggressive) and started an action where they occupied the old station. The police had to remove them. The funny part is, those mini-bus drivers are his greatest fans, driving around with orange stickers plastered all over their cars at election time.

Schotte Finally Shot Out
It took some time, but the judge has kicked Schotte out from his, no doubt lucrative, DROV function. Too bad we are not informed for how long the guy has been getting paid; but that he started protesting in July this year. Huh? Anyway, he wanted a guarantee to get another "fitting" position. I take it "fitting" means, fitting his budget. He didn't get it.

Knowbody Nose
As reported before, hardly anybody understands exactly what the next referendum is all about. The weirdest rumors are going around on what our "rights" are according to UN-"laws"; these can only originate with the opposition. It's hard to understand why a population that professes not to have any confidence in their politicians would believe that nonsense.
Blog Nos Ké Sa, who earlier started a poll on how many people understood this, has now published a number of documents that throw light on the matter.
Problem here is, it will hardly help the majority of voters out of their confusion. Judge for yourself.

Oil Squeeze
Curoil has bad artificially high prices for a long time, to enable them to make good their "pre-financing" where they sold fuel below market prices. As they turned a profit over last year, it's safe to assume that they succeeded; and pump prices were duly lowered to a "market-conform" level. Took less than a month before oil prices went up again, and Curoil was quick to raise pump prices - to more than they were entitled to. Not a protesting peep heard from island government. To the contrary, on March 2 they announced in a meeting that the price had to go up for gasoline.
According to Curoil, a $1 per barrel raise/fall of crude prices results in a 0.063 guilder fuel price change. Pump price went up in January as if crude price was now $43, while it really was only $35. Now, we are left wondering when it will go down again, following the present oil glut on the market.
You're even quite entitled to ask, "How much were those "pre-financed" prices really below market prices?"
Update: Gasoline price went up with 4 cents/liter, but diesel went down with 19 cents/liter. If anybody can explain what this has to do with crude price?

Questions on Cayco
Aruban developer De Veer has started development of the Rif, a piece of real estate along the sea westward from Willemstad's Riffort, bordering Otrabanda. For some reason island government has given further rights to Venezuelan company Cayco. While De Veer has $915M available for investments, Cayco offers a measly 180M. This is the main responsibility of Godett, who has been involved in shady deals before. We are all curious to know why he would prefer the obscure Cayco.
Researching Cayco, it turns out that they are rather specialists in shady deals, themselves. One instance is their relations with Aruba's governing MEP-party. Many of their Venezuelan enterprises are now in great problems because money is being taken out to finance their Antillean enterprises.

Panic Looms...
Geert Wilders' PVV party would, according to polls, now be the big winner in Dutch elections. This is mainly because of his anti-Islam movie Fitna, with which he was not allowed to enter the UK, and the Dutch lawsuit against him, trying to limit freedom of speech. Such an election result would be a serious setback for the "no-brers" of the Curaçao opposition.

Yes: Better Hurry
MAN Cooper wants the new pensions arranged before the next referendum. Understandably, he must figure it may well be their last chance to get them accorded.
MAN claims that the full-time eilandsraad members have been paying a premium without getting a pension. [I find this very hard to believe.] Party member Macaay says it should have been arranged in 2000; now it's too late to be sorry, Macaay. Cooper comes out with the priceless gem "We listen to the people and do not do what the coalition wants." Does Cooper really wants us to believe he fancies the people desires this shameless underhand deal?

Our Well-Paid Experts
The guardianship board has started an investigation on the many teenage pregnancies (even though they diminished with 50% last year). We'll just mention this howler:
"They want to find out why teenagers take the decision to become mother and father."

Open Skies for Us - Closed Skies for You
Giant GOL Brazilian airline was looking at Curaçao as a hub between Latin and North America. But FOĜL minister Adriaens stipulated that they'd have to form a liaison with one of our 3-plane airlines, so it's all off: Hato airport misses out on a 50% increase in airport traffic and resulting services.

Why Worry?
Bijleveld is worried about corruption in the Antilles. She quotes a 2004 CBS report "Corruptie-onderzoek" [now disappeared from the CBS site] that measured 92% of the Curaçao population feels corruption has a "heavy to serious" political influence. No doubt this is why the opposition is so confident the population will join them and vote "no" in the next referendum.

A Smart Move
DP George, no doubt supported and advised by knowledgeable people, holds that the third referendum is "a serious form of unsound government" and has requested gezaghebber Lindial not to permit it. Check out his reasons, it's worth it. They're gonna love him for this, as well.

Now Let's Wait for the Third Try
No, this is not about the referendum. The governor has turned back the infamous decision to raise the pensions for our eilandsraad members. That was the second try; only DP George voted against. MAN, probably figuring it was safe to do so, wasn't there to vote, except for Macaay - who voted for.
They all, except you-know-who, are still screaming and yelling that those pensions must go through. As the decision has only been postponed until the goivernor accorded or not, you may bet those greedy clowns will try for the third time.

Hit or Miss the Fan
The opposition wants meetings with all deputies, starting with FOĜL Godett, to have a man-to-man oops! person to person talk on their budgets. It has been triggered by the questions by Damoen (actually, only a follow up on van der Horst's earlier letters, demanding to see the budget results of 1997-2007.)

Wait for Maal
While no complaints seem to have been lodged against Jimenez for his acts at Fuikbaai, Willy Maal will have to appear in court for 1 - threatening Jimenez and two of his guests; 2 - threatening another "visitor" (i.e., trespasser) and 3 - damaging his car; 4 - illegal possession of fire-arms.
As Maal presently is not on the island, it will all have to wait until he comes back. Keep tuned.

It Is a Possibility
Antillians and Arubans living in Holland are not sure Holland, like everybody having financial problems of its own these days, will continue our Debt Salvation when the vote is "NO" at the next referendum, in which case renegotiations would have to be started. Yes, it's worrisome, isn't it?

Mark the Question
Naturally, all opposition parties are protesting against the next referendum and the way it is prepared. Now, DP George threatens to go to court when the voting question is not adapted. More here.

Pay Yes, Work No
75 civil servants working for the Netherlands Antilles have a "formalized" arrangement where they do not have to work but to get their pay (while building up their pensions). We pay them about ANG3.6 million per year (estimate based on an average sum of 4000/month.) For the Curaçao island government, officially there are five, but "reputedly" there are more.

Unfair Competition
UTS government-owned telecommunications do not want Columbus Networks Curaçao to get a concession for international telephone and internet, because they can offer a much lower tariff, which is "unfair competition."

Stinker Smells Strong
Once again, schools had to close down and people were advised to keep their doors and windows closed (you can only hope they have airco) because of an enormous clack cloud emitted by the Isla refinery cat cracker. This time BOO didn't get the blame (like last time, less than 2 months ago), but a broken steam pipe. Maintenance there must be simply wonderful.
SMOC's Peter van Leeuwen warned that this time the smoke contained vanadium, much more dangerous than common soot, and that weather conditions caused poisons and carcinogens to keep hanging low.
It took Isla over 24 hours to re-start the cracker, but then it wasn't over yet. This time, for a welcome change they apologized.

One More Fling
Helmin Wiels' Aliansa Patriótiko, after a history of false starts, changes and flops, is now turned into a vereniging [society]. It doesn't have any political alliances - at least, that's what Wiels, himself leader of PS, says. He must mean that none of the other political parties originally with AP are left to support his baby. Number of members unknown. Don't yawn, it's impolite.

Baselman's Bingo!
Faithful letter-to-ye-editor writer Baselmans started looking in old newspapers and found statements by both MAN and FK that cooperation with Holland in the justice department was essential. Now, both parties are strongly against that and label it "neo-colonialism".
Needless to say, FK Navarro protested. This was too complicated for the layman to understand, he said; something Einstein would never have said (but then, Navarro is no Einstein.) One more instance of open, transparent democracy Curaçao style. Navarro went on to state that we do indeed need the cooperation, he just doesn't want it to be stipulated by Holland. To me, that's analog to "I want my freedom but I will not accept it from my slave-master." What's his problem?
Another guy, who calls himself Urban Archer (sounds like a fake name to me) explained that MAN changed their position as now they are in the opposition "which in a democracy always disagrees with the executive power, otherwise we have a dictatorship." I kid you not, as always it's a straight quote (except for the emphasis).

It's Getting Serious?
FK Damoen is now, belatedly, joining citizen van der Horst in demanding copies of the yearly adaptations of the budgets 1997-2007. After all, these should have been made public long since, by law.

Karnaval Time!
Yes, the yearly hysteria is approaching - our one and only cultural achievement there's always money for. Could this possibly be linked to the fact that 1% of the population has AIDS now, with a yearly wave of not only teenage pregnancies? No matter. Our people don't seem to understand what "culture" means anyway; in the 'cultural weeks' we are mainly treated to folkloristic dancing groups.
In case you feel I'm a spoilsport to begrudge people their fun, I would refer to this article in New Scientist. Starting off with the ominous names "Hitler and Mussolini", it gets very much to the point, fast. I'll just give a few quotations:
organised marching and propaganda can work to exert mass mind control - increase loyalty to the group - whip crowds into a frenzy of devotion - it's how we learn to follow the crowd.
Ever notice how the winning tumba is always chock-full of references to dushi Kòrsou and Yu'i Kòrsou nos ta? Small wonder the government always finds money to finance it, no matter how.

Forward to the Past!
You have to admit it is an agreeable surprise that PNP Rosaria deplores opinions that we have to go back to protectionism, even stopping foreign investments. Says Rosaria, "in the years 80-90 there was economic stagnation leading to high unemployment, low productivity and little innovation."

Holland Is Paying - Now They Have a Real Problem
The majority of opposition parties, especially MAN, has been shouting all the time that Holland would never keep the promise to settle our debts, so it would be no use voting "Yes". But lo and behold, ships filled with money to the brim are sailing into Willemstad harbor now. Hmm... Aha! so the opposition is now saying that this is a mere propaganda action for the next referendum; presumably, after that's over the money flow will stop. Sounds like a pretty desperate argument to me. They also ask: "Can we touch this money?" First reply that comes to mind is, "hopefully not."
Really funny is that Pierrot and Cooper claim that the measures Cft (committee financial supervision, which they are all against) forces the island government to take are exactly what they have been saying "for years" - so what's their problem? And, to refresh your memory, they were in the government until June 2007, not even 2 years ago.

Close Down Isla
You can sign a petition-on-line to close down the Isla refinery to end the disaster ASAP; a SMOC-initiative. More info supplied there.

"Better for All" [Except Maal]
FOĜL Godett tells us that, after 13 years, negotations with the Maal family may soon be concluded now and the government will only have to pay 25M, not 106M "or so much less". Sorry, is how we read it in the papers, don't ask me to explain. Godett says that if the sum can be reduced so much, "it's profit for all involved." Except for Maal, I guess.

Budget Breaks Down
It comes as no surprise that the 2009 budget has been adapted. The deficit was 15M guilders, but there's an extra post of 10.7M expenditure - not to worry, though: it's "budget-neutral". Question mark?
They don't tell us what the extra post is, nor if the 25M, or 106M as the case might be, for Maal, are included.

No Money, No Sand
The island has rented a terrain from Maal to store sand. Usual problem: they 'forgot' to pay the rent and after three months Maal closed access. In less than a week, the back rent was paid, plus the rent for 2009 in advance.
Great! As that FOĜL Godett said, now the hotels can get sand to renew their beaches (to kill yet more coral reefs, a main tourist attraction.)

Shows What Bakoba Knows (Not Very Much)
PLKP Bakoba started making waves that the UN should be checking on the next referendum. He deplored it that the UN weren't involved with the last one. But PAR Jezus-Leito informed him that, as a matter of fact, the UN will be there and that, as another matter of fact, they were here in 2005 as well. Regardless, Wiels and Pierrot will still send a letter to the UN. Don't ask me what about.

Autonomy Is Isolation
That this still is one of the greatest dangers of the island going competely on its own was made clear again by FOL Adriaens. In the past, it has been very obvious that GATT was not liked by those in power. Now, on the eve of a kingdom conference on aviation Adriaensz makes it very clear he does not want 'Open Skies' - except (you guessed it) for our own companies. KLM does have a reputation for setting up local carriers that compete the existing ones to death, only to raise prices as soon as they have gone. This has last been tried with DAE and didn't succeed as KLM was taken over by Air France, who stopped it. Anyway, his reasoning is based on more isolation, not becoming more part of the world around us.

All But Wiels Wised Up
When the coalition invited all parties for a meeting on the political future, most of the coalition announced they wouldn't come. Then they all came anyway, except PS Wiels. Why start yelling before you've thought it out? (This may not apply to Wiels as suspicions keep growing stronger he is quite unable to think.)
Anyway, nobody need have bothered. Even though this is the first time parties have had a cosy get-together since November 2006, there were no results. It's their attitude, baby: Konket, a strong YES-sayer will keep on as director of the referendum-committee - not very tactful but then, who's boss? Also, he may need the money - tough, as he was kicked out later. A proposal by DP George for a "DUNNO" option was not accepted.
Later, Konket was discharged and replaced.

One for Me and None for You
If you have read the economy page, this will not come as a surprise. As you may have noticed, there's some sort of international financial crisis going on, and here too our Central Bank has lowered interest to 1%. The idea is, the banks in turn lower their interest so people can spend more money. However, "our" banks have not followed suit; they much prefer to hang on to the extra .75% themselves.

A Step Ahead; Plans to Make More Money
The step ahead is that, finally, money will be paid out for empty plastic and glass bottles, and for empty aluminum cans. Boils down to 5 cents/each ($.0275).
The bad news is, deputy Davelaar (AKA Humpty Dumpty) considers a whiteware [appliances] tax. And that would just boil down to more money to spend for the government, because for sure nothing special will be done with that tax to get rid of the stuff. But that is the way all over the world, it seems.
Not clear is whether this is an ongoing action or a one-time occasion.

License Plates Are Back - Wait and See
After last year's comedy of errors it has been decided by those who are supposed to know that we would get "permanent plates". These contain what's called a "watermark" (don't ask) as an anti-falsification measure; even though license plate fraud must be rampant, actual falsification is "less than 1%" - very much less, I'd guess. More extra money spent unwisely.
As everybody knows that we are supposed to have valid license plates every new year, it comes as no surprise that these will not be available before March.
The license plates will be manufactured in some foreign country, but tax receiver Goeloe didn't say which local company had won the contract. The more money spent, the more to be given away.

Wow! That's Smart
Because tourism is going down all over the region, the Eastern Caribbean islands have decided foreign tourists will have to pay $3/ticket extra, which money will be used to promote tourism. They hope other islands will follow suit.

message to our readers
The clownesque acts we describe are often hand-picked from Amigoe newspaper. We have a subscription to their digital version (as our neighbors have very aggressive dogs.)
Amigoe never deigns to send us a bill for this, but just cuts off the supply when they feel "enough is sufficient". So, even though we clairvoyantly paid our subscription three days ago, as from today we cannot log in anymore. Sorry, you'll have to bide your time.

Personally, I feel their administration could maybe send a gentle reminder in time, if it's not too much trouble; or at least check incoming payments every once in a while.
In this connection, since the New York Times decided to make their digital edition free to everybody, they have more money than ever before. Just a hint. No charge.

It's all over... not a word of apology... just fancy! Anyway, we can keep running the show till 19 January 2010. If meanwhile we don't run out of money. There's not much money in being a skeptical kritikal insekt.

Down with Pensions!
Not (yet) those of what you may call island parliament; first the civil servants get their turn. Cft (committee financial supervision) calls their pensions "excessively splendid" and feels they need pruning. I'm not going into details, they'd make you sick. Sure make us sick... Merely mention it because it makes you understand why those politicians want part nor parcel of that Cft-deal in our new constitution.
Fine. Now for those politicians themselves.

Will It Work?
There is an initiative for a Movementu Kontra Korupshon MKK. The idea is to register corruption, report it, tackle it juridically and politically and to make it public in the media to all citizens of all our islands (I guess that shortly means, two.) Those who want to join the fight can contact the group at mkkcuracao@gmail.com. Surely they need all the help they can get.

Cooper's Course
Cooper announced MAN will start a campaign to try and convince the people they ought to vote "NO" at the next referendum. Yes, it will cost money (as for now, he doesn't even have a guesstimate) but they will make the effort to get it. Sure, sure: "bale la pena" [well worth it]. For a politician, a penny spent is a guilder earned.
Oh yes, and by the way you know, the infamous Aliansa Patriótiko seems to have been glued back from all the bits, shards and pieces.

'Collaborating Cockroaches' Cursed by Croes
Croes, Aruba justice minister who declined to attend the recent POK meeting (he claimed family circumstances) did make the effort of reacting in a letter to Amigoe newspaper. For good measure, he writes it twice, in Papiamentu and in Dutch. This is laudable, but in both versions it's rather hard to follow his tirade. One thing does come through loud and clear: everybody who disagrees with him is anti-Aruba, and if such persons are from Aruba they lack proper patriotic feelings.
That's telling 'em, Rudy! Too bad I especially don't trust those politicians who obviously spend such a lot of time and effort every single day to trim their beards. Ad hominem? Only too true. That goes for Croes' imputations as well.

Referendum Poll
The Nos Ke Sa Blog has started a poll on the next referendum. You are invited to vote - not on what you will vote on in the referendum - no, you may tell if you understand at all what you will be voting for. (Up to now, an overwhelming majority has voted "no").

Bad Day at Fuik Bay
The real story
behind all the allegements
on the August 2008 trespassing of Isla manager Jimenez on the Maal property

Worried Workers
The Isla refinery workers are getting worried. It's not that they care so you'd notice about the deaths their refinery causes - no, they worry that the refinery may be closed down because of those deaths.
So they propose to sell the refinery to PdVSA Venezuelan state oil instead. PdVSA has plenty of money for proper maintenance, they think. Well, in the first place, PdVSA has shown it is not interested at all in proper maintenance; even worse, PdVSA has no money and obviously much prefers to keep running the refinery until it falls apart, or until their contract expires in 1919, or until they have another one to replace it. Whichever comes first.
You know, if I worked there I'd start looking for another job. By the way, you know, Dutch parliament is now (finally) moving to close that disaster down, and is also asking Venezuela nasty questions about their exploring for gas near Aruba without any warning. But what is an agreement to Chavez? Only marks on paper.
The workers want no intervention by Holland. They claim that since Dutch minister Bot negotiated for Shell with Venezuela, Shell got the deal on condition that no USA navy ship would visit Curaçao harbor any more, "with all [dire] consequences for the local economy." Well, they are confused or lying: Bot was minister until February 2007; in March 2007 USS Mahan visited here; in May 2008 USS Carr (I stopped looking further).
MD Boersma of SMOC announced that IRUP refinery inprovement project, that should have been finished in 1997 was not ready yet, and that last year SO2 output had grown from 138 to 156 p.p.m. (acceptable Dutch norm is 20).

Big Bang for Brinkman
Aruba kicks off the year! In the POK kingdom meeting Aruba justice minister Croes didn't appreciate Dutch Brinkman's utterances on Aruba corruption, saying "he deserved a knock on his mug." He, two other ministers and PM Oduber canceled their speeches and substituted high civil servants. When the Dutch delegation did not accept this, two of the Arubians backed down, but still the disputed Dutch wish of appointing the PG was removed from the agenda.
One Arubian was so enraged that he had to be physically restrained by other Aruba 'diplomats', yelling "Aruba is not corrupt. I feel like smashing you all up." (This was the master of protocol.)
Ain't it just too ****in' bad "Hero" Brinkman snitched a glass of wine to take along from a reception at the Kas di Kultura. Sort of tends to spoil his anti-corruption act.
On the other hand, I used to know this guy who looked into guys' jacket pockets when they left his reception and exclaimed: "What! You only took two cigars?!" and proceeded to load 'em up.
Finally, Brinkman was kicked out of the Dutch delegation, a mere few hours before the end of the discussions.

A grandiose opening of a show promising rich entertainment.

All the Stars!

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