and here they are:
maybe not so funny
refreshing your memory:
the conscience many political clowns lack
selection of acts in Curaçao's political circus, starting with the most recent ones.
The Day That Stopped the Clock!
come-back of Statuut-Dag as Koninkrijksdag
and when for real?
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!
(2009-09-08) 10 October 2010; Godett does not agree. We'll see...
(proposed by that genius, P.S. Wiels):
that's my birthday! - if I make it
Oh wait, the ombudsperson said it should be 11-11-11
so government could give better service... Still better!? (May 2010)
After having been sadly remiss keeping up with latest developments I've picked up the thread, frayed as it is.
One of the problems is my old links to Amigoe did not work anymore, so several items have been skipped.
Then, I still have to finish processing my trips through South Africa (2007), Canada (2008) and the USA (2009).
What's there already looks worthwhile - to me at least.
The price of liberty is eternal vigilance
Please adapt your bookmarks
in case you missed it, by now it's
New Stuff Our new coin (2012) will be the Caribbean guilder CMg.
Curaçao St. Maarten guilder) - or maybe not, according to the government
Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba get the USD [$], which St. Maarten already has anyway.
Internet extension an becomes cw.
Address Curaçao mail, now AN Netherlands Antilles
to Curaçao, WI West Indies.
How exciting! We get new stamps!
Nobody uses these on mail; it virtually guarantees your letter will get stolen - the Post Office sells print-out stickers.
Cheraldine Osepa, new director of foundation Kas di Kultura [house of culture], replacing now-minister Rosalia, does not come to work as there is nothing but struggle and strife there. Most personnel seem to hate her guts. It can't have helped that Rosalia on the first day of her job declared the foundation would go to waste. He has met her three times and did not hand over his responsibilities or necessary documentation.
The former management asked drs. Philomena van Veen of DEA Consultancy for a report, which is absolutely withering: the foundation is "seriously unhealthy" - for which Osepa is blamed.
Osepa found an organization lacking clear administrative procedures with a heavily insufficient personnel administration; no central archive or records; personnel had a financially "dissolute" attitude. Several relations were very disturbed. Female personnel members were sexually intimidated. There was cronyism, indoctrination, brainwashing, "mobbing and bullying" at meetings with many sickness leaves, often caused by stress. Financially, both SOAB government accounting and Price Waterhouse Cooper have accused Rosalia of "alleged" (weasel word) mismanagement. Osepa claims that she is in trouble because she has made all this public; the former management was well aware of the malversations. During the Festival de Cuba CMG72800 guilders ($40K) were transferred to Rosalia's credit card; when this was discovered it was called a mistake (of course, it was!) The foundation has a backlog in payments of taxes, social contributions and creditors and sheriff's officers are regular visitors. (Download her report here - Dutch PDF).
Rosalia himself, technically still director, after one month has not yet reacted, but should be held responsible. All this is proof that he may be an exemplary yu'i Korsou, even a Great Dictator, but definitely a lousy administrator. And this man is now minister. You never get used to it.
For sale (325 guilders ~ USD180) an explosive device with the text Most Wanted Osama Bin Laden and his portrait; it contains 25 explosions (there's a poor man's 9 booms version as well). "Packs a wallop." Don't know if he gets a percentage.
Isla refinery, just now back in the pollution business, has made a loss of USD166M (CMG300M) this year. At least, that's what they claim.
Say, why do we keep this thing running? Just a thought.
Gumb's Security Job Secure
For the second time, the judge has declared that the new government fired Gumbs illegally, and he has been reinstated in his job at VNA (Security Neth. Ant.) Constructions by PM Schotte to achieve the same effect ("throw him out and I want to see him bounce) without firing him have been thrown out in the same court session.
As it's obvious those guys want to get rid of Gumbs, no doubt for very good reasons of their own, we can now sit back and wait for their next step; as already announced. More time, money and energy gone to waste.
Grow Your Own
Now it's governor Goedgedrag who starts promoting agriculture. In his christmas speech, no less, he says we should grow more of our own, buy healthy products from the regio and avoid instant meals. "Eating together" brings people closer (pardon my obscene thoughts); anyway, it's the togetherness-meal where people tend to overeat. "Our relation with food is disturbed" he says - what does that even mean?
Budget Accepted - But What Budget?
The 2011 budget has been accorded, but PAR Attacho says that, really, there is no budget: it was agreed that it would be changed later and several points of discussion have not even been included.
Curoil Has a Problem
The former government refrained from Curoil adjusting (means: raising, of course) fuel prices, what with elections coming up and all that (they lost anyway.) But the new government, for unknown reasons, has also kept prices down. Now Curoil is in trouble and asking for extension of tax payments.
Not so long ago, all tugs in use here were owned by the well-known Dutch Smit towing company. No doubt the Curaçao Port Authpority had a point when they figured there was money to be made here. But I started wondering when they went out all over the world to buy super-expensive tugs, and even more when they started competing (with Smit) in other harbors. Now personnel has gone on strike because they are not sure they will get paid this month.
Management of Isla Refinery feels there's a $173M risk (sounds less than 315M in our money) involved in taking over BOO power station. But the present owner, CUC for Curaçao Utilities Company, does not agree. "Pooh, Pooh and once again, Pooh." That's a real confidence builder, as they are the proud owners of a thing where almost everything went wrong from the very start.
National Pride? Big Shame!
Hato Airport terminal, rebuilt completely only five four years ago, now has to be renovated and "thoroughly upgraded to comply with international standards." This will cost new millions; hopefully, for now the last chapter in a story of corruption, wrong decisions and shortsighted governance. The money for all this will be taken out of
our hidesthe passengers by still higher airport tax: a whopping CFM100/USD55.
Boarding bridges and luggage belts are breaking down all the time because of bad design and building. The runway is also (long over-)due for a complete overhaul. The departure hall will be airconditioned, resulting in extra monthly energy costs of CMF250K, apart from closing it off for 3-4 million. But FOŘL Adriaens, airport director hastens to add that this will be halved by using sea-cooling techniques. Dream on Adriaens. Hato can't even upkeep their building but are all ready to invest in silly "Space Port" ambitions.
The highest airport tax in the world is Sidney, Australia (AUD102.66). Adriaens complains that Hato was built by people who had no experience in airport building. Which is a lie. Of course he proposes that it will be included in your ticket, so nobody will know how much they are being robbed for: typical politician's thinking.
Isla Dumps What and Where They Want
Smoc's Peter van Leeuwen managed to take photographs of Schottegat harbor, where Isla refinery habitually dumps refuse among which sulfur. Isla maintains that this doesn't harm anything which, as far as we can find out, is true enough. It's still illegal dumping of refuse, plain and simple.
Isla has also made a habit of illegally burying attagulpus clay waste, used in filtering kerosene, and only started taking care that it couldn't filter down into groundwater after Smoc found out about it and made it public in 2006. No solution of what to do with this stuff is in sight.
It took almost a week for Isla to comment that they had a license to use that part of the harbor as a landfill.2010-12-18
More Money Wasted
Every once in a while, some foreign operator comes by and succeeds in talking people into setting up inspiring organizations here. A number of years ago it was Visión Korsou. After the great inspirer has made his pile and moves on, the things just bleed to a silent death.
Now it's "Master of Excellence Dr. John C. Maxwell, World's # 1 LEADERSHIP Expert" as he modestly calls himself. His circus will visit Aruba and us in January, tickets USD500 (with volume discounts; no doubt tax deductible).
"The organization's goal is to inspire and motivate our Caribbean Community by improving, where possible, our ways of thinking and doing. Therefore we grow towards excellence in ourselves to reach our very best potential while maximizing our global influence." I can't wait.
Local yokels helping to prop open this sucker trap are all conveniently listed, so you know to avoid them:
Wish we'd been as smart: The Bonaire people could vote in yet another referendum, forced down their throats by the politicians. Only 35% took the trouble to come and vote (the majority voted against the new status) so the referendum is null and void. The politicians now hope for a new referendum, next year. Keep trying, boys!
Proposal: Color It Orange
Because of the continuing rain and the deplorable state the roads were in already, the situation now is downright dangerous. People mind the potholes more than they do traffic, swerving into upcoming traffic's path and braking like maniacs all of a sudden. It will cost the country a fortune; virtually all roads will have to be rebuilt. Meanwhile, maybe FOŘL could create some goodwill by applying that funky orange paint they always cover the island with at election time to mark those potholes, so we can all see them from a distance.
Dutch banks still won't change Antillean guilders because the country, after all, doesn't exist any more and so neither does the coin. There may be some reasoning behind this but they might have made a phone-call to one of their own departments first, maybe? Sheer amateurism.
The end of privatization - just like back in the USSR all utilities etc. will remain property of the Curaçao government. Who believes this is a good thing per se maybe should think again. Anyway, the curtain has now fallen: Gois and Emerancia lost in court.
Turning Wheels in Wiels' Head
Wiels is full of criticism towards his fellow coalition members (which is fully understandable). Wiels says that's "new politics" and they'd better get used to it. However, MAN and others are not delighted with him calling his fellow government partners "corrupt thieves" over the radio, and promising to have them prosecuted and locked up.
Wish he would.
Wiels also does not agree with Rosalia on licensing the Omega school; as far as I can judge, because the former minister of education wouldn't license it, Wiels feels Rosalia should. Rosalia will now step down as minister (don't start shouting for joy, that's just according to Extra newspaper.)
Refinery in Ruins
Rebooting Isla refinery after some nine months turns out not to be easy. Last week it was announced it would take a week or so; now it turns out a cat-cracker and a crude distiller have broken down as well. The distiller is leaking so badly that Stoomwezen ["steam regulation" or, say, boiler control department] has forbidden its use.
But Isla denies Stoomwezen can exert any influence on Isla activities. Now that's really reassuring!
PdVSA is accused of bad maintenance. While that's easy to believe, you have to ask "who's fixing all that now, and why only now?"
SMOC has a new (Dutch) website, check here.
Wiels' True Color Shows
At least his shirt is Brown: While Rosalia feels a committee should settle the question if Peter Stuijvesant College should be renamed, Wiels is all against it. He said a little bit of dictatorship can be a good thing, thus definitely joining the Braunhemde.
Budget Accepted - Small Wonder
To what seems almost everybody's surprise, there is a budget! Why it didn't turn up before, is anybody's guess. It was actually prepared by the former government who couldn't very well vote against.
Travel costs will be cut. All officials have to fly economy class on flights taking less than three hours (which excludes Miami, Florida.)
VBC Asks for Budget
And about time, too. VBC entrepreneurs club feels the government should show the color of their budget (wanna bet it's red?); after several months of being in session, there's not even a proper government program yet - what we do have is not one but even two accords! Guess they need 'em.
To Buy or Not to Buy
BOO is still such a mess, now the island wants to buy it. Or the refinery; or somebody. Or maybe not. Then again...
Anyway, Smoc wants the judge to have Isla pay much higher fines if they go over the limit. We'll keep you informed.
Could There Be Hope?
The government wants to establish a national electronic cash register so all transactions can be checked; this to collect more omzetbelasting [sales tax - now 5%, soon 6]. Very ambitious, especially with those phone lines and an internet that keep dropping out.
Sleeping Dwarf Awakens
Dutch parliament is, except for one party, so disgusted with the farcical goings-on in our what-passes-for-a government that they start insisting on intervention - what's going on here is dreaded "bad governance" and who would deny it? Main reasons are Isla refinery and the screening scandal. For reasons (maybe) known to himself, minister responsible Donner refuses.
Hold Your Nose, Not Your Breath
Next week, somewhere between 7 and 12 December, Isla refinery expects to start up their Cat Cracker and Crude Distiller.
Whenif it works out this time, they will be fully operational after a forced shutdown in March; resulting in, depending on how you or rather, they figure, a total damage of over USD160.
After PM Schotte had been talking for 2.5 hours in parliament about alleged illegal oil exploration contracts signed by the former government (PAR), it turned out that (maybe) not a single contract was signed. So a resolution was taken that the matter will be investigated by - the government! PAR voted against because in their opinion this should be done by the attorney general; who, again in their opinion, would conclude there are no grounds for such an investigation.
From a press conference by ex-PM PAR Elhage we understand that the governor authorized signing the exploration agreements in 2008, so the signing was not illegal. My poor head spins: then Elhage claims Schotte knew all this and was deliberately lying - he was perfectly aware of it.
National Travel Agency - Open for Business
Next Staten-parliament meeting will not only continue discussions on the sought-after oil contracts of which [almost] nobody even knows if they exist but, much more important, concern international travel for all those very important people in very important delegations to who-cares-where.
A Bit Bizarre
PAR wants to know why minister Rosalia was not present at the arrival of Sinterklaas [saint Nicolaus]. A matter of high national impact, you must agree. (I wonder if the present bishop was there.)
Good Question, Snappy Answer
Soops minister Rosalia wants to change the name of high school Peter Stuijvesant College; it must be (bringing back not-so-fond memories of the Stalin era) "the name of a person who has been a model for society" and "contribute positively to knowledge Curaçao history and culture" plus "collaborate to patriotic and nationalistic feelings."
In that case, it can't be a politician. But not to worry, Rosalia has installed a 9-person committee to think it over. Time for my old but always-applicable line: Gee, I wish I knew how much you get paid for being a committee member!
Anyway, think it through: which of our politicians would not love to be Governor of Manhattan? Talk about role models.
On December 1, the PSC pupils protested against the name change as well. Shut up and deal.
PAR has come out with rather strong statements on the screening affair, accusing PM Schotte of lying to the public when he said there was not enough time for a decent minister screening (in which case, why the big hurry?) PAR wants a parliament meeting in which Schotte apologizes. Now that would solve our problem of being stuck with those unscreened ministers (for the reading-deaf and dumb: that was a clumsy try for sarcasm).
Follow-up: It's a nice mess indeed and PAR may be to blame as their own Landsverordening law arranging the VNA screening is not valid. It's the PM that has to ask for a screening, not the person (Schotte) who is busy with the formation. The governor, who may - illegally - have asked for the screening, has meanwhile already sworn in the ministers, illegal or not; PAR wants them to go (what else is new). Surprise: MFK minister Rozier says his party wants them to go as well. Stay tuned... it might get more transparent later?
Information is so contradictory that I can't tell what's going on - except that it's One Muddy Mess.
The Otrabanda group is not impressed with PM Schotte's arguments to move the hospital to another location. They say this just serves to use the hospital's present location to build tourist attractions on, while the extra millions this will cost will be coughed up by the Curaçao people.
Can't help not being impressed by all arguments of the Otrabanda group: cold seawater could and would be used for airco (very doubtful); no building on agricultural terrains (a non-runner).
18 Million Guilders Cistern
For no doubt very good reasons of his own (he has more urgent matters that clamor for his attention) minister Rosalia plain refuses to meet a committee for a new national theater. Present Sentro pro Arte is 45 years old and during all that time, the cellar below the stage and orchestra pit are unusable because they contain water. Cost of refurbishing the building is 18 million guilders ($10M), but that will not solve the problem - it's the location.
The committee prefers a new "slightly more" expensive theater in Otrabanda, which plan has been accepted by the government.
Maybe Rosalia doesn't want to meet the committee because they write him letters in Dutch? It's a thought.
this is "Apartheid"
never saw anything like that here
Kaapstad, Suid Afrika
District Six Museum
Just What We Needed Now - Not
Two Dutch filmmakers (Vos and Snoep) have spent some time here, they say, for a movie that, judging from the description, seems to have been made on another island. They describe it as an "island of apartheid" with a "tense, oppressing atmosphere." "Each community is strictly on its own and when they meet each other the atmosphere is closed and dour." No doubt instances like that occur, and much more often than one could wish for; the whites do tend to live in separate, isolated communities (often joined there by makamba pretu [black honkies]). But Apartheid? These guys must have met other people than I do (like Rosalia and Wiels?)
An Old Song...
... but not an evergreen: Isla refinery is rebooting, which is even worse than Windows 98 - two schools have sent their pupils home because of the "unbearable stench."
The refinery denies it's them, what else is new. So it can only be mass pupil hysteria; figures, right? Isla wouldn't lie to us!
That's NOT Funny
As Norbert George tells it, there is not a single arrangement by law that ministers have to be screened. So much, if true, for PAR's confabulating: any crook can and, judging from the past, will become a minister.
Meanwhile Edsel Gumbs, ex[?]-head of VNA security has gone to court to protest being fired, allegedly after his advice on several ministers was negative; but nobody is talking much. One of those ministers is yet another transparency-lover, or so he says himself therefore it must be true: finance minister Hakim, important sponsor of PM Schotte's MFK election campaign, whose optical business sells all glasses to SVB social security. He himself does not see any problem with a potential conflict of interests; but he wouldn't, would he? To the contrary, he says he expects that this is good for his own business!
News Flash: The judge sent Gumbs back to his work place for three months, but the government still wants to fire him, now, Wiels says, for a legal reason.
Day of Harmony
PS Minister Rosalia has instigated an official "Day of Harmony" - we need to live harmoniously and have respect for each other.
Funny, but before he came out with his Afro-Curaçao BS most of us never felt the need.
KLM stapt erin headlines Amigoe Newspaper - an equivalent of KLM trapt erin, translatable as "goes for it"; but, knowing Dutch as we do, that also stands for putting your foot in a dog turd (and then in your mouth?) - another version even goes "KLM stinks into it."
Anyway, KLM is now offering tickets for those future space trips - if, where and when. You can even save up your air miles for 'em (don't do it!; good, and as always from me, at least free advice.) The price quoted now is €70K - seems to be about half of what we were told before. Like, again, the Dutch say, "paper is patient" - so are spreadsheets; even more so.
Curaçao Government "Style"
Atlantic bluefin tuna have been reduced to just 15% of their historic levels and tuna fishing is becoming a business of criminals with a $4 billion black market. One tuna fetches $100,000 and fishermen are duping the regulators with falsified data, shunning monitoring systems, rampantly overfishing and selling illegal, unreported and unregulated fish.
According to DAE, it was Insel Air who in 2006/2007 asked for the minimum tariffs DAE (and others) are not allowed to go below. Now it's that same InselAir offering lower prices - without government interfering.
Loser Cop Collects
A Police Officer who habitually made use of an illegal gambling machine, couldn't take his losses and used his strong arm of the law to seize the infernal apparatus.
Our nun-begun hospital is in serious trouble. It needs complete renewal and even the proper location is as yet undefined. Since October 11, government has not used the opportunity to install a new management for the Foundation New Hospital, but apparently has more important things to do. The Foundation will now disband. Makes you sick? Better not get sick!
In a, for ministers, all-too-rare and most welcome outburst of sanity, minister of health Constancia declared that the former government had opted for a new hospital location, and why not stick to that 2010 decision.
But finally quarrels between FHN and government got so intense that the foundation retired from the project and left it all to the government.
Dutch parliament's questions on the future of refinery Isla have been left unanswered by our government. This is since September.
Obviously, they're much too busy with more pressing questions; like establishing Yu'i Kňrsou-ship and promoting Papiamentu.
Tourists Popular with Criminals
So many rental cars get broken into and so few tourists take the trouble to go down to police HQ, that from now on all rental cars will have a form in the glove compartment for the purpose. CHATA hotel association would like to have some real statistics, is why.
MAN Mudbelly Cooper's promise to lower fuel taxes by 50% will not amount to much, as MFK MP Schofte announced that prices will have to go up so much that it will have the effect "of a bomb." But it was only an election promise anyway.
It was FOŘL Godett who stopped supposedly monthly adjustment of fuel prices. And look where it got him: exactly nowhere.
The Grand Total of unauthorized government overspending in 2002 and 2003 was 384,000,000 guilders, says Rekenkamer. Times of FOŘL (Godett), PNP (Maria Liberia-Pieters) and PLKP (Arsjes).
That's 3.7 million/week. Makes us curious about results in the following years - keep tuned.
Rekenkamer [accounting control] figures that in 2008 5706 PP-cards for free medical treatment have been provided illegally, in many cases permanently; in 2009 2939. The cards cost an average of ANG4681, so that is >40M down the proverbial drain.
(The media leave that interesting sum for us to figure out.) Guilty parties are PAR-PNP-FOL.
By 2012, so we are told, those in power finally will have figured out what is the definition of that mysterious being, a yu'i Kňrsou. No Nastie has ever been able to define what was an Aryan - do these guys think they can do better?
Why would this take so long? Their problem is, of course, they are (just) smart enough (for now) to wish to avoid any charges of racism, but more and more, it does look like that is what it boils down to.
onbeneath the Waves
Hard to judge who's right here - it's all degenerating into a welles-nietes [is-isn't] brawl. MKF PM Schotte now says after a "hard search" documents have been found detailing contracts for oil exploration. PAR Sulvaran says the search can't have been that hard, they were available to everybody in Staten all the time (so why couldn't anybody get to see them?); only now names of parties have been Typex®ed out. Sulvaran insinuates that has been done to enable Schotte c.s. to start new negotations, no doubt to their benefit, and advises everybody interested to go over to Staten and ask for the documents, as they are public.
Say Sulvaran, why don't you spare us the trouble and give copies to some journalists? Upload 'em on the PAR site? Just a suggestion.
Rekenkamer accounting labels the government "information" programs of the past on referenda etc. as party-political propaganda at taxpayers' expense. Just like in the USSR (and elsewhere).
This was the time of PAR-PNP-FOL.
Conservation Curaçao Style
Curaçao wants to become a full member of ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) because that will result in larger catch quota for fisheries registered here. Next step will be to attract more ships to register in Curaçao.
This is perverse in its breathtaking cynicism. One is ashamed to be living in a nation like that.
As every expert can tell you, the best way to conserve tuna is not canned but deep-frozen.
What CTB Won't Tell Us
While tourism here keeps going down and some hotels now even give rooms away against less than cost, all over the world it has grown 7% this year.
What CTB wants is, you guessed right, more money. They didn't get it (but that was the former government.)
Schotte Shows Smartness
PM MKF Schotte claims we are awash in "green" energy and that we should use it. The first step here is, we should enlarge the capacity of our windmill-parks so they produce more. That's easy even for Schotte - they haven't been turning for over a year now (count out those green profits), so one of those plastic toys is more efficient already than all those eyesores put together.
Of course, ours would be yellow-blue; turn 'em and presto! you get green. At least, they'd look pretty.
Schotte also proposes subsidizing solar panels with the possibility of selling the surplus to the mains. One can only hope against hope for the best.
Where Did You See Them Last?
DOW Public Works Dept, led by that rock of reliability Cooper, misses 60K guilders' worth of tires from their inventory. (They just rolled away when nobody was looking.) Other items that tend to disappear are toilet paper (3K), window cleaner (6K) and lubricating oil (21K); Grand Total 121K.
As from now, PAR will be called Partido Alternativa Real instead of Partido Antia Restrukturá; so now you know. The fox may loose his tripe... oh no, that's all wrong. Anyway, you got it.
It's there. Better late than never, you say? They needed a lot of pushing. As is only to be expected, lots of impractical blah-blah. Not only PAR Attacho rightly complains this isn't a government program at all; it merely is a political accord; good point. Worse, it gives a definition of Yu di Kňrsou which stipulates, among much other delightful silliness, that you're one only if you "accept that Afro-Curaçao elements generally dominate the Curaçao culture." So vague, it doesn't mean a thing; imagine a judge desperately trying to make sense of this.
Besides, may I have my own opinion; don't we have freedom of religion? Besides, what does this pearl do in a government program? There's even a sideways reference to the horribly hoary tiring cliché "Nos mes por" ['we can do it ourselves' in the sense of 'we can do it as well' as
whiteydutchie]; an inferiority complex which we'd thought by now had expired, regretted by almost nobody. Explains a lot: sheer PS Wiels hobbyism.
PNP has declared many people have "second thoughts" on their brand-newly government and plans to jump into the void.
Isla refinery wants to start up their cat cracker next week. Better check your gas masks and fog lights. They hope to be back in full swing by December 1. We'll see.
The story they tell is, Isla has been down since May with a total damage of USD144M at 2M/week. In reality, Isla has been down since March, a total of say 40 weeks or "only" USD80M. Something stinks here, and this time I don't mean Isla.
We Know Who
MAN "Mudbelly" Cooper wants more money for infrastructure; it used to be ANG7M/year but more is needed, especially since "former governments" have used the money for other purposes. Naturally, the hypocrite doesn't tell us he's been one of the worst offenders there, having used it to put up christmas decorations.
They Mean Well?
Amigu di Tera and Defensa Ambiental plead for more recycling. So far so good, as long as this doesn't degenerate, as it tends to do, in everybody being forced to separate their garbage into 4 or even more containers. Stuff that is not recyclable (here comes the cliché) should be taxed with higher import duties.
"Worldwide there is a dearth of metals, minerals, wood, water and fossil fuels" they say. For starters metals and fossil fuels are minerals as well, listing them like that just makes more items appear. The dire "dearth" predictions started with the notorious 1968 Club of Rome; none, not a single one, nada, zip, zilch and zerŘ of all their gloomy forebodings has been realized. Please give us a break; those taxes will just enable the government to waste more money.
Mentioned are 1/ compostable stuff (food waste), 2/ alumininum, 3/ glass, 4/ plastic, 5/ cooking oil. (They forgot paper.) For much of that it has been shown that it's less economical to recycle than to produce new stuff. Besides, not only in Duiven, Holland I found the garbage collectors just emptied all those bins in the same truck as they couldn't handle all those different kinds of trash, anyway. But first a check if you can't be fined!
And don't look at me, I plead "Not Guilty."
makes your head spin
Yosemite, California USA, 2009
Now I Get It
All that "green" stuff is a repeat performance of the 1950s "chlorophyll" wave. That one (mercifully) passed by quicker, true, but was no more ridiculous.
FŘL Godett states that the Staten parliament is illegal because proper procedures haven't been followed. It should have been opened by somebody else, Thode, who now (allegedly illegally) is vice-president; while Arsjes (just as or even more, who could say? allegedly) is an illegal president. Godett opines that the entire procedure should be restarted and all staten meetings (one - 1) therefore have been illegal, complete with decisions taken.
He was subsequently kicked out of the meeting again, second day in a row (a word carefully picked.) Thode commented that this was a black day in history and asked how the new country of Curaçao could be built up like that. No doubt a rhetorical question: the answer only too obviously is "No Way!"
I accept no responsibility for the
politicalcorrectness of all this; the press reports are, if amusing, somewhat shall I say? confusing.
Local horticulture has been damaged by tropical storm Tomás; one result is that cucumbers and tomatoes will now have to be imported until local production is restored. Before this has even started, there are already dire warnings about those foreign vegetables being cheaper: "unfair competion!" And here all us suckers were thinking the country had signed the GATT accords!
Big trouble with big-bellied PS Arsjes, who must have followed several of Venezuelan Fat Dictator's correspondence courses. As president of the Staten parliament, complains the opposition, he wreaks havoc on the rules of order by making decisions that are against proper procedures and so unsettling Curaçao democracy.
Examples: The permanent staten commissions should be chosen in a public meeting, but are not; as a result, PAR is under-represented there with the coalition having too much weight. Same for members of Latin-American parliament Parlatino. Arsjes also refuses to allow members to speak at occasions when he is obliged to (like when referring to points of order). Promising - this guy has been in business for a week or so! But not surprising.
NEWS FLASH: Thursday afternoon FOoL Godett was forcibly removed from the meeting room after he had interrupted Arsjes several times, Arsjes (who already has a reputation for "never" letting speakers finish) joining the LBD-cops personally when it took too long to his taste. The entire opposition left in protest.
By a really weird "coincidence", both LBD cops had the name Thode.
As regards the debated screening procedures, it seems that the former government (say, PAR) never actually made the law legal (to have VNA do the screening.) First question nobody seems to answer, so what is the screening all about anyway? Why does the coalition go through the motions and then has the opposition fight the results? What a farce.
The Gods Are Angry!
The damage done by tropical storm Tomás is unprecedented - the rainfall was intense and we have been lucky there have been no landslides. Yet. What did happen, apart from what must be enormous losses of cars, roads, buildings, goods and interiors, that lightning struck an Curaçao Oil Terminal tank for the fifth time in a short period, causing a total damage of USD10m. We are told there are lightning arrestors on COT, and believe it. After all, it was built by Shell, not PdVSA.
The Stench Thickens
PM Schotte wants a referendum on the future of the Isla refinery. SMOC Peter van Leeuwen denounces this for what it is: just one more way to delay proper procedures to stop this nuisance to 2012, instead of following up on five years in court with appropriate measures. Dutch politicians have joined SMOC in their actions, and if necessary SMOC will take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights.
Shit Starts Flying - Brings Back Memories
Airline DAE complains that the Curaçao government crosses them in many ways, while favoring their competitor Inselair. DAE has been suing IA at several occasions, and the other way round; in April IA was forced to publish rectifications about published statements on DAE's alleged losses and resulting bad maintenance.
Now, the European Commission has been questioned if the Antillean government makes illegal use of European development funds when actively supporting IA via Korpodeko, a Curaçao government-owned development bank that owns 20% of IA.
Also, information has been requested by the EU from the USA Department of Transport. An unpublished EU investigation by John Corrie alleges that IA suffers heavy losses while declaring millions of profits.
All this sounds very familiar and reminiscent of the ALM-DCA drama, where the same Korpodeko was involved. IA's main raison d'ętre seems to be to offer old ALM-DCA flyers the same cozy conditions they used to have, without having to retrain for other aircraft than the by now almost geriatric MD-80. Management seems to enjoy a very close relationship with those in political power like Arsjes, Cooper and Schotte.
Understandably, neither Inselair nor Korpodeko are willing to offer any comment.
John Corrie is honorary president of the united assemblies of previous overseas EU-territories.
The McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 series was introduced in 1980 and replaced by the 90 series in 1995. Even always-hungry Surinam Airlines has replaced it with Boeing 737-300.
Curious and Impatient
FOoL Godett wants to see the government program. After all, they have been in power for almost two months and we haven't seen a thing - although there are rumors there is like an A4/letter size paper in existence.
MFK Schotte promised, on October 13, to let us have it within one week. No such luck.
All ministers are supposed to be screened by security, but in the stampede to arrive at a new government they were sworn in before the screening had been done. Now it turns out (at least) two are (part) owners of companies, an emphatic no-no, and have large tax and/or social security (SVB) debts. PM Schotte says it's difficult for them to get rid of their businesses - with those debts, understandable.
So they would have to go. But instead, the head of VNA screening has been fired. Hmm. Worse, his replacement ex-gezaghebber Dondial can't possibly have been screened herself. Hmmmm.
PS Wiels commendably does not want to go along with this farce and would (but will not) rather leave the coalition; he feels more at ease in the opposition anyway. Back to GO?
Don't ask me whose fault all this is, tastes differ. Piquant détail: the guy with the tax debt is minister of finance.
The directors of Isla Refinery have resigned, even though they did not have to do so, when we got a new government, so those guys can give the cozy jobs to their goons. It's good to see old traditions honored, isn't it?
After all those years when we were indoctrinated (le mot juste) to use the term Kursow, now it's back to Kňrsow. OK, just don't ask me to go through the site and politically correct all the instances. You may ask but I won't do. Their own *u**ing a**holery anyway.
Arsjes in a Pretzel Knot
PS Arsjes wants to enforce all Curaçao enterprises to have at least 80% yu'i Kursow personnel. But when they ask him what that means, everybody who works for the good of the island can consider himself to be one. Imagine those fools trying to put that into law.
Maybe they'll give crackers (who of course are really meant) a multiple-choice test? Like "Do you like this island? yes - no - won't say".
Transparency in Troubled Waters
The St. Joris Accoord enables schools to apply for a grant directly, not via the department of education. Rosalia and PS Wiels don't like it and both have announced they will stop it; then again, Rosalia (sometimes) denies that. Take your pick (no doubt they eventually will do just that.) In which case, the schools may lose ANG100M made available by Holland for innovation.
SlavesWorkers at CDM
Once again, government-owned Curaçao Dok Maatschappij is in the news for worker treatment problems. Lawyer Roel Bijkerk has seized 17 million guilders worth. CDM is accused of working with gangmasters, who pay workers 30%-50% less than regular employees. These workers never noticed anything of an announced investigation by police and arbeidszorg [local affairs].
I guess we can take it as read that those workers are not yu'i kursows but rather Haďtians, Jamaicans and such. This is the same CDM that recently was hyper-protective of its workers re asbestos hysteria, and also the same company that was succesfully sued by three former Cubans for what amounted to slavery from which they escaped via Colombia.
By the way, whatever became of the $80 million CDM was ordered to pay?
The government announced "Never!" which is the last we heard of the affair. How's that for transparency? You bet your life it has been paid; or all cruise ships from Miami would have stopped visiting here.
Arsjes promises this government will go for "complete transparency." I vaguely recollect having heard that one before; no doubt we'll be hearing it again, that much is clear.
Hey, maybe now he can show us his credit-card statements, we're all still curious!
Milieudienst [environmental dept] is giving trees to be planted on Isla refinery terrain. I'm sure we'll all enjoy that.
'Green Force' Water Lemon Heads
It's not clear from a nitwit press article what this is: are they making money as "an environmental organization and enterprise"? A by now familiar type of retarded watermelon-head club, AKA eco-mafia. These are always great at forbidding and having the government (You and Me) paying for everything.For instance, everybody should take their old incandescent bulbs to the hardware store and get free LED-lamps in return; these lamps may be free (except for the payment out of taxes) and consume very little; but then again, they hardly produce any light - like, maximum equivalent some 50 watts. "Cuba did it, why not we?" yes, Cuba is great at forbidding and forcing things down your throat as well. It caused a scandal involving Jamaica that still hasn't been resolved, check it out here. Apparently, Green Force never did so, how typical. They also seem oblivious to the well-known fact that everywhere these lamps were introduced, consumption staid the same because they are just left on all the time.Sorry 'bout the rant, one does get tired of that nonsense. Can't the guys think under their tin-foil hats? Of course not all their ideas are over the edge. Still, God spare us from ill-informed well-wishers like these (does the name prince Chollie strike a familiar note?)
They want us all to buy Energy Star Rated equipment; apparently they never heard of the ridiculous scandals that program is involved with.
Airco thermostats must be adjusted up, or better still, "just use a fan" - pullEAse. Public spaces (they mean like, shops and restaurants) must be forbidden (that word again) to be cooled below 21°C (or 23, seems they can't make up their minds). At least, (for now) they shrink back from having Grüne Polizei stamping down your bedroom door to check the thermostat.
A KWhr is 4 times more expensive than in the USA (too true) and oil prices will keep going up "so" we must go for green energy (which Denmark, Germany and the UK just gave up on and which drove Spain to the edge of bankruptcy). (News Flash: Almost all prices will always go up, while prosperity grows.)
The Green Forcers firmly believe in the CO2-AGW myth, no surprise there, dear. Behind the times there, it's now 'bio-diversity' we're supposed to blow our brains out for.
mostsome of us, wants a 2011 national budget. Nobody has taken the trouble (as if he would have done so, but that's mere nagging - still, that's fun, don't you agree?) By the way, the government accord finally made its delayed appearance; it consists of (barely) one A4/letter size sheet.
Where There's Money, There's Fire
StIP Gois and Emerancia, finally having received their "You're Fired!" letter, are going to court. Such a lot of entertainment for a foundation that never did any good you'd notice, no matter how you look at it. Verdict November 5.
Gois and Emerancia lost.
Once again, people working at CDM Curaçao Dok panicked because a material "resembling" asbestos had been used in a ship they were supposed to work on; which they refused. It happened before—actually, as good as all ships built before the asbestos scare set in contain it for insulation.
There are several types of asbestos, and white asbestos (chrysotile) used in (not only ship-)building for insulation and fire-retardation is not carcinogenic. This was an artificial hype, comparable to the
global warmingoh no climate changeoh no climate disruption: a way to drum up business. (Most 'experts' do not agree.) Anyway, the latest buzz-word is "bio-diversity" so don't worry. Just keep up, desperately, with the hypetimes! If prince Chollie can do it, surely you can.
A Venezuelan lawyer promises shortly to give a presentation to uncover a fraud worth millions in which several Curaçao and Aruba politicians are involved. Plots at Caracasbaai have been sold (and paid for) for apartment building. From Aruba, Glenbert Croes and Raymond Tom seem to have prior convictions; from Curaçao Chris Winkels, Nelson Monte and "Antonio" Godett. Godett denies any involvement, what else is new.
Papiamentu school Humanista complains that they will not be getting any laptops, because ex-minister of education Leeflang claims they were too late applying for them. The school doesn't explain why they were late, they merely say Leeflang is wrong when she states 60 other schools have done it in time—there were only 16. Yeah, sure.
Even if I can't swallow the "humanist" label, I'm at least glad they got rid of the name Erasmus (that infamous ye-olde-Dutch imperialist.)
Anyway, shouldn't that be linguistically correct Humanisto?
Long Time No Smoke
It has been announced that as from November 15 the Isla-refinery will be back at full capacity. Crude will be coming in to supply the local market first.
Don't hold your breath, though - enjoy the fresh air while you still can. That will be 8.5 months since March that Isla has been out and down.
The stacks broke out again with a real vengeance today, making up for time wasted; but Isla said it was nothing special, happened often enough. You're telling us, bud.
Vicious Bullpit Won't Let Go
Selikor, who want some 80K guilders' salary back from Arsjes, who now is suing Selikor because his lawyer found an obscure law that he may have a right to be compensated when the appointment is canceled. Court is adjourned until November 15 because Arsjes and lawyer are still figuring out how much they can try to go for.
At least two banks in Holland will not exchange the ANG for other currencies any longer, as it became invalid on 10-10-10.
Too bad we're stuck with it until "summer 1012."
Public notary Alexander declares the shares now owned by StIP must go back to the island, because privatization has been canceled and "therefore it is unnecessary to act as shareholder". If you understand this, you're way ahead of me. So StIP will be liquidated and replaced by SBTO [something else]. One small problem, SBTO doesn't exist yet. Besides, Alexander feels SBTO is superfluous anyway as its tasks might be best taken over by SOAB. So what's the hurry? Work that out first, I'd say.
That's A Big Help
All those roads in a hopeless state of disrepair are now being provided with... new white lines.
Newspapers have it that Schotte's own new MFK ministers have not been screened by VNA [Security NA] as stipulated by law. They can't have been, as the procedure takes 4-6 weeks and their names were only known a week ago. What could have been done is a 3-day screening on criminal antecedents.
Schotte merely says all ministers have been screened; but then, he would, wouldn't he?
Anyway, now it's too late to be sorry and nobody can do anything about it except Schotte and his gang - don't make me laugh, I've got a cracked lip.
The first Curaçao country staten [parliament] meeting was one big mess. The reglement van orde [regulations of order], a left-over of the last staten, stipulates 22 members with a needed minimum majority vote of 12. However, the present staten only have 21 members which makes it almost impossible to accept any new law; or even adapt these regulations.
Of course, if they would stop their eternal quarreling... no, you're right, that's too much to ask. Forget it.
PS Wiels (naturally) blamed PAR, but got a snappy come-back asking why he hadn't noticed himself at the time.
Plug Those Leaks
Utility Aqualectra is still working towards their ideal to diminish the water leaks to 25%. Yes, one quarter of their production just leaks away or gets stolen (lots of electricity gets stolen, too). If they ever succeed, will they adjust the tariffs down accordingly? You're so right, it's a moot point.
They found 14 illegal electricity and 7 water connections in 1 barrio alone; which is nowhere close to 25%.
Prolonging Pollution Problems
In what sounds like her final speech in that function, Dutch staatssecretaris Bijleveld refers to the 2008 SEI [social-economic initiative] which stipulated several measures to be taken to minimize future Isla refinery problems. One of these, to arrive at a vision for the future of Isla, has been postponed until September 2011. No surprise at all: this merely is the first simberguensa [shameless] step our new government has taken openly that is not in line with their promises and agreements. We expect many more to follow.
From South African news site News 24:It is crucial that potholes are repaired as soon as they form. The typical cost of maintaining a road, when maintenance is done timeously, is R100,000 [26,000 guilders) per kilometer.By now, our potholes are National Monuments! We have not had any serious road maintenance since, say, 1990? You try and figure out how much money we've lost there; I can't, don't want to and wouldn't dare to.
If the road is left for three years, the cost rises to R600 000 [155,000] and if the road is left for a further five years, it will rise to R1.8m [465,000] per kilometer.
MKF Schotte has announced a delegation will shortly visit Venezuela for discussions on the future of Isla refinery; to wit, if its tasks can be expanded. (In view of the fact that it has been down since March, that should be no problem). Schotte also feels it's very important to strengthen cultural and economic ties with the fat dictator's country.
As of tomorrow, we'll finally be independent. Nobody knows what will really change. My hint: Nothing Much. (Many people will get married tomorrow all over the world on this magic date. Good luck to those fools, too - no doubt the divorces will eventually turn up in the statistics.)
People can't seem to get very excited: at midnight, when independence set in, in my neighborhood some five klapchi [fireworks] went off - when a sport team wins it's about ten times that.
Sugar and Sherry
This really belongs on the economy page. Duh.
Some years ago, we started to get California sherry in the supermarkets. It was good and about half the price of the Spanish product. Bit by bit, the price was raised and now it's passed the point of no return: it's grown more expensive. Meanwhile, the US$ is still worth 1.80 guilders and the € has been swelling up out of all proportions.
Our sugar comes from the USA; I don't know (I never go there) but guess that the local Albert Heijn sells European sugar. Anyway, both of those are subsidized in the USA and EEC for twice what a Caribbean or Latin-American nation gets for it on the world market. Several supermarkets sell their own brands these days. Of course they don't buy it from the USA or the EEC (or could they be that dumb?) But the price we pay is like 5 cents lower per kilo, you get the idea.
A few years ago, a regular price war broke out between imports from Venezuela of soft drinks and beer. It helped spell the demise of Amstel Brewery. Interesting to note that, while the Bolívar has gone down and down since (from 1,205 to 2,357 for 1 ANG) the price of those drinks here has gone up and up; they're now a mere 10% cheaper than the local product.
FOoL Godett insists that all Curaçao clocks should be synchronized, and gezaghebber should tell us what time that should be.
It has been for quite some years GMT-5 - in sync with USA EST, but no summer time. Not surprising that Godett, for whom this probably is mere abracadabra, is behind the times. Anyway, this is asking for trouble - next thing you know, the new gezaghebber might insist on adapting our clocks to Chávez' whims: he turned the clock back by 30 minutes (to get it in sync with the 30% yearly Bolivar inflation?) Or still farther, to 1917, when the Russian revolution started.
PAR Jackson asks when we'll get to see government statement and program. Nobody has any idea, maybe last of all the new government itself. For example, MAN promised to lower fuel taxes by half, but PS Arsjes is against this (while now stating he didn't say so at all.) "We only know that they'll be working towards independence."
End in "Style"
The last ever staten (cabinet) meeting of the Netherlands Antilles didn't have a quorum, as became clear when PNP Metry insisted on a head count, much to the chagrin of his coalition members. He wanted to make sure there was a quorum for a proposal called (now don't laugh) LOL.
Only PAR, National Alliance (st. Maarten) and PNP were present and accounted for; the rest (FOL, NPA, you name 'em, was AWOL. LOL!
Down, Down But Up
Cruise tourism has gone down with 15%; number of visitors has gone down but who cares, number of nights staid up with 3% (date of reckoning: July).
Aruba did even worse, July cruises >50% down.
For How Long?
One of the last acts of the Antillean minister of education, Leeflang, is the publication of the multiple-language law for the country. We now officially have Papiamentu, English and Dutch, which everybody may use anywhere as he likes (even in education); sorry Rosalia and Martinus. No Spanish; sorry Chávez and friends!
For Once, He's Right
Arsjes says that, even though the country budget shows a 50 million surplus, he's worried. With him for financial deputy, one can follow his way of thinking.
Ex-gezaghebber Stanley Betrian feels Arsjes is on a personal war path with StIP just because he owns them money. Must be Selikor?
This Will Blow Up
The Space Porters are really pushing it. Things go on like this, we'll have to dedicate a page to them. Hato airport CAH, now with director Adriaens (so that's where he went) has invested in the company producing the spacecraft. Which still doesn't exist, turning the "investment" of their Memory of Understanding ($450million for starters) into a subsidy for a foreign company.
We don't get to hear much; only that the sound levels of a take-off are pooh-poohed as really low, "comparable to an older MD80 or 747" - both aircraft are not admitted anywhere anymore because of noise levels.
"You're Fired!" "Oh Yeah?"
BC island cabinet finally sent the StIP directors a letter by which they were fired. These announced they'd go to court.
Sinterklaas: Nicht Kulturrein
The Dutch version of Santa Claus, St. Nicolaas, is popular here as well, notwithstanding the fact that he has black servants. Now, people are getting worried that the New Fanaticism will prohibit this custom. No kidding. Who cares what the kids like?
But Rosalia HH has already licensed Sinterklaas' grand entrance into Willemstad harbor.
To Clear Up
I am not an admirer of Margaret Mead and the curse of multiculturalism she worked so hard for to bring upon the world. Certainly, some cultures are preferable to others. Far be it from me, in many cases, to be a judge. But I do feel that totalitarianism is inferior to personal freedom. Science is preferable to superstition. A republic, in the classical Greek meaning, is preferable to a democracy - superior, if you will. Freedom of conscience is preferable to islam or catholic inquisition following it.
I feel no need to go on.
These remarks obviously have to do with PS, Wiels, Eisden and Rosalia; there are many more who are guilty.
One Tradition Continued
ARNA has rejected the 2006 and 2007 yearly accounts for the country. Better than listing what they found wrong, we can ask "what did they find right?" Why we only get this news now, I couldn't say; the 2005 report is dated August 2008. I cannot find a year where they accorded the accounts. Not that any action has been taken - not ever.
2004 - Go Figure
2006 - Accounting for It All
We Knew It All the Time
Turning the Tables
2007 - We Knew It All the Time
No party for PdVSA's 25 years' presence on the island. We can only agree.
Bestuurscollege sent a couple of guys to StIP office to take over. According to BC, they are part of the new management; according to StIP, not so.
They were not admitted.
Dry Rot in Government
Deputy Monk, that guy who was always protesting Aqualectra's high tariffs, will be a member of country government Staten for three days, for which he'll be paid a full year's salary (can't tell you about the pension, sorry). He's in the same NPA-party as Pierrot, who has been in Colombia for months now. We're not told if they mail him his salary checks or use Western Union wire transfers, like all those Campo Alegre "ladies" do.
Kudos to Monk who declared he will not accept that salary.
There was no quorum, once again, in Eilandsraad. There were not enough coalition members present after the opposition left the meeting, by now a
finetradition. Since the election there has not been one meeting with sufficient quorum yet, helped by the coalition just not turning up.
Oh, we never not gonna go home!
You're reminded of this Dutch-Afrikaans song (Frankie Laine and Doris Day, 1952) by StIP directors Gois and Emerencia. No matter how often BC island government tells 'em to clear out, they just won't go. Their argument is that their contract was extended in August 2009, by that same BC. (Another one qua personnel, actually, but little do they care.) We await further developments with considerable interest.
Isla still needs the seven rented generators that are in use by BOO, but doesn't want to pay for the rent any longer. So, from now on that will be paid by government-owned Refineria di Korsou, Aqualectra and Curoil, ad ANG400K/month. That's us, folks!
First, why should distributor Curoil pay for this? (Next, they'll be raising prices and we'll be paying twice.) Then, not an inkling of how long this will take. Finally, I always thought "Isla" was "Refineria".
Somebody really should teach our press members to think of, and ask, awkward questions.
The loss to the refinery since breakdown in March has been ANG750K/day; grand total USD88million and counting.
Chávez Lost - We Win
The fact that the Fat Dictator landslide-lost (in spite of what suspiciously looks liked rigged elections) - and about time too, means PS Wiels c.s. have become a lot less dangerous. Now that he's been de-clawed, let us pull his fangs. Keep him on a chain? Bad idea, that would make him even meaner.
Lawfully Licensed Kleptocrats
Books are free of import duty (I took care of that personally, long, old and boring story). You do pay 5% OB (purchase tax). However, when you order books that do not come in by mail (where you do or don't pay, a matter of pure luck, 7.50 guilders vrijmakingskosten [clearing costs]) but by UPS or FedEx, you have to pay "customs duty" (0%=10.50, yeah, that sounds logical) and 1.38% "formal entry fee" on which you pay tax. That's correct, if not right. Which, in this particular instance, amounts to 28.88. Because their paper states the invoiced amount is ANG209; only, the amount as per invoice is the grand total of USD32.22 which works out to (I used my calculator!) ANG49.51.
I'm not going to complain... they will probably charge me OB extra, and fine me for their work to boot. But it does make you sick.
PS Eisden announces he'll write to Dutch parliament about the governor; and if that doesn't work out (as we predict) he'll go to court. Waste of money, Eisden, and remember who told you.
PS, unsurprisingly, declared to be completely behind Rosalia and tells us that Holland is introducing apartheid. Maybe you can follow their line of "reasoning", which goes: "The First Article of the Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands" [which we belong to] "states that all those who find themselves in the Netherlands are treated equally, while Article Two says 'the law defines who [has the Dutch nationality].'" This, or so PS claims, means that we are not equal. They must be smarter than I am, as I don't understand their inference.
If a non-Afro is born here, is he Dutch but not equal? To whom (not)? The mind reels. PS has some explaining to do, provided they can.
Schotte, at work on a new national government, complains that Curaçao is in "a chaos", left by the former government. Hard to disagree (just read on below). On the other hand, he knew it better than we did before he started - so now he drops a bombshell in a Dutch newspaper that complete independence will take "ten, fifteen years" longer.
It's hard to disagree, you only have to wonder what his coalition partners think of that.
Schotte still furthered the chaos potential by warning, in a subdued manner, against the population being force-fed an Afro-Curaçao culture.
Rosalia Ridiculously Reversed
As it turns out, while this guy who commands everybody here should speak Papiamentu and honor the Afro-Curaçao culture (whatever that is) at the end of his study in Amsterdam, Holland, he had to be stopped twice from holding his speech in Papiamentu.
For your information, in Holland they habitually speak this quaint Dutch language.
Rosalia later stuck his foot so far in his mouth it came out the other end by declaring that the establishment (I'd figure he now is part of that) "is the greatest danger to the AC-culture; it exists of Curaçaoans with international capital and of Dutch colonial overlords. These have to be taken out [weggewerkt] if we want to achieve our own identity." Do I hear shouts "Mugabe! Idi Amin! Mobutu!"? Plenty in that vein. What a creep.
Makes Him Wonder
Gois, one of those guys who is supposed to have an illegal function with StIP, wonders out loud when he will get his notice of dismissal. Maybe they plum forgot?
He says he did receive two letters telling him his position was illegal; both with such errors that they had to be retracted.
Who Cares about The Law?
Island government, certainly in a hurry, has nominated commissaries for government-owned companies, even though they have been advised that their procedure is against the rules of the [island law] Corporate Governance and the Code Corporate Governance.
They finally retracted after Soab [government accounting] got it through their heads that it really is unlawful. We noted with interest that van Rossum was on the list; must have removed her hajib, as soon as the choice became between money or principles.
Reactions to Actions
Four new judges have been installed in the joint court of justice for Curaçao and Aruba. They all look like honkies. Small wonder the dean of barristers, a cracker as well, took the occasion in his speech to inform Rosalia the government has no business prescribing culture, and that the governor's position is lawful; it's who's awful.
And bestuurscollege has appointed new directors for StIP with instructions to demolish it. It's going to be crowded there.
Hang On, Your Job Is Safe
PAR has sent "their" commissaries a letter explaining that, according to the Island-Law Corporate Governance, they arenot obliged to take their leave following the change of government, but can hang on until it's their turn. What a disappointment for all those hopeful politicians!
One thing you have to be curious about, when was this law passed?
There are allegations that politicians and that sort of people have had their phone tapped under the former government. Those whose phones have been tapped are now told to lodge a complaint with the police, as it's illegal. But how do you know that?
The StIP StAFF will have to go; as it turns out they have been giving a second term which is statutory impossible. What a mess. You get used to it after a while? No, not really. Besides, it's only what bestuurscollege claims.
Goeverneur Goedgedrag has not requested Schotte to check candidates' judicial antecedents, because despite all promises this still has not been arranged. All we get is a smoke-screen that it is supposed to be required, but it is not clear at all how and why - anybody asked has different arguments pro and con.
Fast Work, If You Can Get It
This time, governor Goedgedrag took only a fortnight to condemn and delay the new island government pensions. After all, it was the third try and it was virtually the same as the two before.
Don't those guys ever learn? I guess not. The delay must be made permanent in three months.
It was made permanent in less than two weeks.
Adapted Řbama Joke?
"Name two things that won't make christmas!" "Uh, uh, that would be PS and a turkey."
Rosalia's Raving Racist Rant: It Has Started Already
Appreciating that a guy like Rosalia, fresh deputy of education, no less, former head of Kas di Kultura, couldn't possibly understand "culture" means more than folklore dancing, his opening speech for the Simán di Kultura [cultural week] is enough to make you shudder with thoughts of Nazis and Islam. He calls our culture Afro-Curaçaoan, but the Dutch influence keeps us in darkness, abetted by
traitorspeople who have studied in Holland. We have to get rid of all those evil influences and stop separatism in our society, he exclaims; not realizing that separatism is exactly what he's promoting. And this xenophobic Himmler-like absolutism is supposed to promote tourism! If the man is not retarded, he must be insane.
Consider the folklore dances: They are all based on European dances arrived here via Holland, with one single exception (the tumba; the tambú is a moot point). Same for the ka'i orgel instrument, inspired by a European street-organ. The beloved Karnavál was introduced by the Limburger Dutch. Next step no doubt will be purification (that word again) of Papiamentu (taking European influences out leaves only an unstructured grammar). Then, demolish our architecture, all Dutch - let's go live in mud huts, oops: kas di pali maishi. As by then we'll have no language left, goodbye to all laws; they're Roman-French-Dutch anyway. And finally, as abolition of slavery came from Europe as well, we shall re-introduce it. After all, it's an African tradition so it has to be good.
Wiels, naturally, next day completely disassociated himself from Rosalia's remarks... did I say that? Surprised you, huh? No, if anything, he said they went not near far enough. He even wants to move the government seat from the classic Fort Amsterdam to a new building (no doubt there's lots of money to be made on such a deal.)
We're told that the media distorted Rosalia's remarks, but others who actually heard him confirm the published version. Rosalia has retreated to his 2002 position when he did not dare take such a high and mighty pooint of view - yet.
Gezaghebber Dindial this time signed the new pension deal as it conformed to all stipulations; she was included as a beneficiary.
Looks Like We're Fricked
Our spies have their jobs cut out for them these days. Check here for the task allocation in the new bestuurscollege [island government]. It's in Dutch and Papiamentu, sorry about that. Note Schotte isn't on the list; he keeps his hands free to become our new PM. From worse to worst.
StIP Gone? Not So Fast
Arsjes wants to sTop StIP; all government-owned companies should stay where they are - they belong to the people, he exclaims piously. Seems hypocritical when you figure that now, a government member will become a commissary of those companies automatically - and collect a nice and fat compensation.
On the other hand, StIP has not accomplished much the last years (not to say, nŘthing); even their website was down already. So they as well may be "only in it for the money."
BOO Out and Down
Again. Of course, same for Isla refinery.
How Much Shall We Pay Ourselves?
That's easy: AMAP - as much as possible. Ministers of Curaçao country 18,000 guilders (USD10K), BC 15,000. That's per month, and don't forgot the pensions.
Ah, those pensions. Mr. Herman Couperus has figured it all out; we now pay those former eilandsraadleden 1.7 million guilders a year in pensions, almost USD1m. What they have paid for themselves amounts to 9% of that.2010-09-18
Looking under Stones
PS Eisden shows where he's at by wanting to get rid of governor Goedgedrag: the man isn't even born here! And his deputy is married to a Dutchman, oh horror! 'Beeg shame' as a Japanese friend of mine used to say.
And while he was born in Bonaire, he stopped referendum (nr N) there, so he's not even a good Bonairean.
Where does PS find those guys? By looking under stones, you have to guess.
These are the guys who, if you didn't remember, always compain about 'colonialism' 'imperialism' and 'racism'. Eisden even uses the word "purification" - the Nazis called that Sauberung
There Are Laws
Arsjes wants to get rid of StIP, just like that! But imagine: one of the managers has the temerity not to accept his discharge. What a scoundrel. (Another one is even worse, doesn't even deign to react.) He states, "there are laws and we they can't just dismiss us like that." An obviously original point of view for Arsjes. "Laws? But WE are Boss now!"
He also doesn't like the idea that three advisors for the Tax Man are not government people, but from the private sector. It surprised me, too, let's face it. The one good thing he said is, all those companies will be audited.
Cooper, Our Hero! "Fancy That"
MAN "Mud-Belly" Cooper feels car taxes should not be screwed up with ANG35/year. Thanks for not screwing us - for a change! And to think he's the very guy who first proposed this - no kidding.
On the other hand, he wants us all to cooperate in keeping the rooien [arroyos] clean. Figures, because christmas-time is coming.
This clown is good, huh? A barrel-belly Full of Fun!
Starting in Tradition
Quorum in the very first eilandsraad meeting was insufficient. So gezaghebber Lindial postponed it for two weeks.
(Two Weeks?! Means those guys only meet 2 times a month. Ah well, it's not important, is it?)
You Know Who's Talking
Arsjes feels the country's financial situation is not sound enough. Guess he wants to spend more money than available - wouldn't we all?
Bureaucracy at Work
Went to the civil registry for a new passport this morning. Turns out, you have to make an appointment. Fine. But you can't make an appointment then and there! That would be too easy - so they give you a strip of paper with the "window's" phone number.
There, you get a recording that gives you a choice to communicate in Papiamentu or
DutchEnglish; you choose English and they'll talk to you in Dutch.
Give Them Money, There's Plenty
Now, 900 civil servants in the Antillean government have complained about their transfer to the new island government. They'll get (I guess it's symbolic, but it's starting to feel like the Satanic Number on this side) ANG1010,10 each; only 1 million total. I'm sure that next thing, all those dears will lodge their complaints, 2 millions' worth of them.
Cozy Jobs for Party Members
One of our plentiful spies, going in fear of his life, at the hollow tree of Brievengat deposited a list with the names of all politicians having "jobs" as commissaries in government-owned companies. We can recommend it: Highly instructive reading.
Arsjes Starts Work
His first proposal is, get rid of StIP (foundation for privatization). Nobody in government wants to ruin their chance to land a cozy commissary job in government-owned companies anyway; right.
My, maybe Arsjes will land a commissary job at Selikor! Oh, sweet dreams of revenge.
Now Where Did That Go?
Read an item yesterday about how UTS paid ANG200,000/month rent for the Amstel terrain, which is supposed made it their joint property with Aqualectra by 2070 or so. But now that interesting tidbit of info seems to have disappeared. Almost makes you paranoid.
Wielse, and MFK Schotte, miscounted - we have already had a Fourth Referendum. At least, MAN Cooper announced he'd view the one-before-last election results in that light. Until he lost, yeah.
It's all Much Ado about Nothing, anyway - all those yellers and screamers clamouring in the new government just signed the final declaration. No doubt they think that, like before, a signature doesn't mean a thing among honest politicians. We'll see.
Muslim/lawyer van Rossum who kicked up a big stink when she provocatively insisted on wearing a hajib on her election photo "because she was such a pious muslim," and subsequently was kicked out of FOoL, appears on Fakebook bareheaded. No Comment (do you need one?)
Big Losers Are Bad Losers
FOoLGodett wants a statement of invalid votes by voting office and by party. Well, I can tell him on my voting-paper there is no party; just the word "ongeldig" (I kept it civil). He also wants the main voting office decoupled from the civil registry - of which a recent poll indicated almost everybody feels it works darn well.
First his party introduced the Smartmatic machines, causing persistent rumors the deal was not entirely kosher; then, when they started loosing, they blamed the machines!
It's Over, Now It Starts
Pabién! Those in power have all signed the new accord of the RTC in the Hague; on 101010 we'll be "independent" after all.
Whatever that means. No doubt something will be worked out - check in again. Yawn.
Wiels wasn't among those present - probably enjoying his sumptuous hotel bed.
Booting Up, Big Black Clouds
In all the excitement, let's not forget Isla refinery is booting up again. Just have one look at the Blenheim pollution measuring station results and we need say no more.
Does Sound Exorbitant, Rather
red line: September 1
Boy, must those guys at Selikor be sorry they took in Edgar Leito as a commissary. After they built an ANG7M headquarters, now, 6 years later they plan a 5M garage! Yessur, that at first sight sounds pretty expensive - inflation hasn't been that heavy. There must be pots'o'money in them thar garages. No fair guessing who'll get some of it.
Guess Arsjes wanted way too much, or why get rid of him?
Titillating Tidbits: Leito says he gets ANG500/month and went to two (2) meetings in three years, which, he says, is more than other members did.
Well... Let's see...
Dutch parliament would agree with 101010 and all that schlemozzle, if we would take our criminals back. Why, they're even worse than 2nd-generation Moroccan [
islam] youths, so that's reasonable. Makes one wonder... those "politicians" of ours are caught between two heavy heavily ribbed millstones, grinding slowly but surely. Tune in tomorrow or whenever. Be my guest! A nice time will be had by (almost) all.
Koeiman's Impopularity Quotient
MAN Koeiman suggests that those who get a luxurious pension should be obliged to spend the remaining time working in social projects. Just like convicted criminals, you got it.
Hitzig Bazur sent out an email with the theory, not to bore you with details, that the way our elections are arranged by Law, votes go to persons, not parties. Meaning seats should be distributed as follows: PAR 6, MFK 5, PNP 3, PS 2, MAN-FOL-DP-GS-PAIS 1 each. Meaning some
minmajor adjustment would be in order. Wait and see (until pigs have wings).
About 500 civil servants are complaining about their new jobs with the new country. That's A-OK, makes us even (oh, what a delightful wish) - we don't like it either.
Hilton and Ritz-Carlton
Our dignitaries (yes, this is meant to be ironic if not sourcaustic) are staying in the Hilton Hotel during their stay in Holland. After all, we pay, so what's wrong with that? Only PS Wiels feels that's not good enough so he went for the Ritz Carlton. In style - after all the guy turns out to have style after a fashion, he's a Marxist, right?
Might Well Be
Dutch parliament does not seem to put any obstructions in the way of 101010. It's only what the newspaper says, so wait and see. What else can we voting cattle do?
The Dutch show hardly any interest, anyway. Very little reaches their media. And they may be right, as Wiels has announced he will block the 101010 independence day. What's the use?
Apply a Little Pressure
Lifetime membership of the government accounting rekenkamer has been changed to five years. Sure, you can be re-elected - but only if you behave, get it? This started in the 1980s when MAN (now back in business) replaced the rekenkamer head with a crony. Even though they habitually run five years late with their reports on government spending, that's way too early, too much.
You think different? Shameless! Shut up or we'ze gonna gitcha yet, soon.
Search Me, Schotte!
Somebody has been searching this site for Schotte after I tipped on how to do it; only, the what I guess is a bastard searched for "Gerrit Schotte", not for "Schotte" tout court, so he probably missed out on at least half the fun. Try again and maybe, hopefully (depending on who you are) you'll keel over with rage.
Hear Them Sing
It's like a Choir of Thieves in an Eye-talian opera! (Or maybe a German/English one like Dreigroschenoper) Members of island parliament eilandsraad will get recompensation for their efforts until July 2011 - after all, they had counted on getting all that nice money, poor babies. It's not their fault that elections were earlier than planned, only, they voted for that themselves!
If only we were getting rid of them, but that's not the case; most of 'em are as chronic as other nasty diseases.
Later, it turned out that in their haste these darlings had forgotten to budget for it; there's not even money to pay those pensions. But they omitted to do that the last two times as well.
Ex-DP George agrees with you, reader; that loner voted against this as well. You know, George keeps reminding me of Viva Zapata! - I told
A Brief Message
from Our Sponsor (Me)
to My Readers (You)
As you may have noticed, on 2010-09-04 I blew my cool, lost my patience... put it in a fitting nutshell - lost it! They tried too hard and I can't seem to find that blarsted patience anywhere. What was left of it. From now on I'll let 'em have it from both barrels - no quarter given nor asked for. No holds barred nor bars held. Put it another way, you ain't read nuffin' yet!
May you enjoy it as much as I do and may the chips fall where I aim.
Cooper on a Kick
Deputy-again Cooper has announced that he will build many more speed bumps on Curaçao's roads. Such as they are, almost forgot to put it in. People drive much too fast, he feels, which is dangerous, he feels.
It's impossible to get statistics, let alone good ones, on traffic accidents, let alone on how many less there have been since they started the fashion. We do have twice as many traffic deaths per inhabitant than in what used to be GREAT Britain. But we can be pretty sure Cooper does not have any statistics either, he just feels we're driving too fast and should not - that's called a Power Kick - or even worse, he figures there's money in dem dar speed bumps. And who would deny it?
Only a theory of course; a working hypothesis. I already gave the free, and unheeded, advice that our pot-holed roads should not be fixed; why improve them (at a cost) and enable drivers to go faster?
You'd need a real human, ein echter Mensch, for an opponent to accomplish that, but one has to make shift and allowances. So let me fearlessly expose MFK Schotte's secret Angst: a few years from now, he'll be wearing a toupez. A wig. Or, as they say in Hollywood where they abound even more than in Washington and where they have much better writers, a rug.
To avoid future costs, do it ASAP, Schotte; otherwise it will take more expensive stages to gradually cover up your shame - there's some good and free advice.
The Emperor's New Clothes
You'd never guess, but that champ of upfront square deals, Asjes, tells eilandsraad that he wants more government transparency. Take care Asjes, if you take this too far we will all be able to see your silk underwear. There's a fable on that, and it's not kids' stuff.
(It's from Denmark where they like musselmen even less than I do - which takes some doing.)
Oy Veh - Vote till We Choke
There's a new island government. Such as it is - sue me for calling it a bunch of crooks. Maybe not every single one, give some the benefit of the doubt. But whom? now you really got me.
The plan is, first they'll vote for the new constitution, then re-negotiate with Holland for new conditions until we all drop dead with exhaustion. Followed by two new referenda to force us on our knees - they will go on and on until we have voted for complete independence.
That's Democracy, Folks! No matter that there have been three referenda already where we told 'em we didn't want any. Also no matter to them that agreements and contracts are to be kept; but then, we knew that already.
What happened was, Wiels threw some kinda fit in his radio program and started accusing Schotte that he was selling out to pay back his capitalist investors. He may have got that one right; for once! But they glued the pieces back, more or less - after a fashion. Who cares, it was just a second-hand anyway. Now sit back and wait until the statue starts falling apart along the fracture lines between MFK Capitalism, MAN Socialism and peculiar PS Castro-Chávez brand of Marxism.
All We Need Is Rain...
... certainly not this new government that, finally but much too soon for us, has got off the floor and consists of MFK, PS and MAN. Now they only have to vote for the new Staatsregeling [say, constitution] and they can all go on on all-expense-paid (by us) trip to Holland for an RTC round table conference. A veritable army of civil servants has left already in a Big Boeing Bug, I understand. Yeah, right, expenses paid by us.
If PS and MAN keep to their words (a moot case), they will vote against in which case, for us it might be...
What a Mess
Wiels is out of the cabinet formation; which to means he's out of the political arena as his fanatical supporters will not forgive him. But then, smartness never was his strongest point. Schotte still wants to get MAN in there, no doubt because he then stands more chance of fulfilling his ambition to become the youngest PM ever; but MAN has been yelling from the rooftops they don't want any. Say what you will about Schotte and be my guest, he's not stoopit. Anyway, it seems pretty safe to say already that 101010 will be Independence Day after all, even though the country is not ready for it by a long way. For one thing, we'll get double the bureaucracy instead of half as promised.
Tonight it should be clear what rich gifts the infighting has given us. Surprise us!
How the drawn-out Dutch cabinet formation, where PVV Wilders just got out after a new Off-with-his-head threat by an Australian imam, will affect all this is anybody's guess, but not mine.
Gas or Hot Air
Rumors keep flying that Venezuela is supposed to have discovered and "enormous [natural] gas bubble" between Venezuela and Bonaire, and that this is the reason Holland wants to hang on to Bonaire. Hot gas heads now insist an a new referendum for Bonaire; the other one doesn't count any more - of course! Anyway, a 3 minute Google search results in finding a discovery in the Gulf of Venezuela, which is the inlet to the Maracaďbo Lake. That's not even close to Aruba. Dream on, but shut up. Please.
Keep Trying, You Scum!
In what was to be the last meeting of Eilandsraad [island parliament] in an unannounced move its members, for the 3rd time in 2 years, tried to supply themselves with a higher pension. As if it were not good enough; they build up a 70% deal in 12 years (which they get from their 50th) while civil servants must "work" for 35 years to get it (at 60); only, parliament members don't even pay for it.
The last try (where only then-DP George voted against; no wonder they got rid of him) was torpedoed by the governor.
Contrary to Antilliaans Dagblad innuendoes that George this time had refrained from voting to get some of it himself, George the very next day requested gezaghebber to postpone the decision.
An ugly word and an even uglier thing. Well, I admit that since reading Darwin I've become a racist: a German shepherd is different from a chihuahua, only a fool would deny it. And a lot of work went into both, too. Which is superior? Now you've got me.
Agreed? Now, nobody will deny a colored chappie the right to call himself a Dutchman as long as he has the Dutch nationality; but an uncomfortably large lot of Curaçao colored chappies would deny a white man the right to call herself yu'i Korsou [Curaçao children]; only
blackscolored chappies may call themselves that according to their, admittedly limited, insights.
Which disgusts me, especially since these are the very same guys that always go on denouncing racism.
Etcetera, etcetera... ad infinitum...
Now Schotte and his gang want a new referendum: number 4 (count 'em), not even counting those elections that were characterized as one (lost count there). ENOUGH ALREADY! But MFK, PS and MAN are counting the money coming in already, long before the eggs are hatched—and MFK Schotte is licking his chops, figuring he'll be the youngest PM ever.
Clock Spring Broken
MFK, PS and MAN have announced they are plotting and scheming together to take over. As they have 11 seats together (over half of 21) that's a majority. No way PAR can team up with enough other parties, so pride will have a fall. About time too (they richly deserved it in their arrogance) but What Happens Next? No independence, as both MAN and PS are solidly against present arrangements. One side of their forked tongue they have utmost hate for colonialism, the other they'd just as soon postpone post-colonialism. The new Eilandsraad [island parliament] has to be ready for work next Sunday or for legal-technical reasons we won't have a working island government by then. Let alone make the magic 101010 independence date.
This would be slander if I didn't add explicitly that it's merely only just my personal view: MFK Schotte doesn't care one way or the other, as long as he can make money. Persistent rumors are that he paid voters (oh, for the good old times) and I believe them, based on his PH (Personal History or Acidity).
Just that; the elections are over and now let them fight it out. PAR 8 seats, MFK 5, PS 4, MAN 2, FOL 1, PNP 1. DP (I told them so) is nowhere. Remarkable is the unusually large amount of invalid votes, almost 1200 or 1.6% (so many that FOL wants an investigation; but the solution is quite simple: those voters don't want these guys to represent them). About 66% went to vote.
You ask what it means? Who knows with
ourpoliticians! Anyway, PAR and MFK together could form a majority coalition; so could PAR and PS (only, PS announced they would Never Ever do so - we'll see about that, maybe); either PAR or MFK/PS could team up with whomever else comes in handy. That's politics, folks!
With a mere 40 days to go until 10-10-10, I'm sure glad I didn't adjust that clock.
Adriaens Feels It Coming
FOoL minister Adriaens' stunting with the so-called space base on Hato airport may amount to nothing much (after we paid our dues, but what's a 450 million for starters on a National Budget—only 12,000 per modal family).
To remind you, a ride was quoted at $150K-250K; back in 2008 before energy prices went up like crazy. In contrast, a bunch of semi-amateurs in Denmark this week announced they were all ready for a first test with a one-person space craft; cost, USD71K. Talk about competition.
So it's only natural, especially since Adriaens is smart enough to feel coming that he will never be a minister again after tomorrow's elections (he's not even on the party's election list), so it looks like he's trying to eke out his meager pension a bit more while he still can. Never let an opportunity go by, there's a good minister!Curaçao Airport Holding NV (CAH), Bluerise BV and UNA University of the N.A. will cooperate to supply the airport with (here it comes) "sustainable" cooling and later also electricity and fresh water by exploiting temperature differences in the ocean. Research has started that should start enabling actual investing in less than six weeks.2010-08-26
Figures, because with elections tomorrow, any later it might be hard for Adriaens to cash in.
There has been research before on cooling for hotels, the press informs us. Actually, it was announced quite definitely work was in progress but we never were informed it had been stopped. They don't have to tell us it could work—for a price.
At Bluerise you can find out more; mainly that these guys are nowhere yet, not even having a proper web site! Another cooling techniques company, Cold Seawater Air Conditioning, does not list any new developments since 2000.
We have done some more research, which UNA ought to have done before jumping in. On this page, we have skipped the news on the ruckus that has been going on there, which makes it utterly unsurprising. Maybe they still will. Anyway, Otec Engineering lists as latest achievement in converting temperature differences to electricity a 1993 Hawai'i 50,000 watt plant. That sounds like a lot, which is why they spell it that way—it's only 50 kilowatt, enough for 25 households.
Dream on—but please do not make us pay for your crack.
Pay Back Time
Remember Asjes, the silk underwear credit-card guy who after his job with Curaçao Tourist Bureau was helped to another one at Selikor by FOoL boss Godett? Selikor managed to have the judge fire him and now wants his X times ANG16K/USD9/month salary back. His bank account plus a terrain he owned have been seized. Please excuse my gloating.
As for Godett, we'll have elections tomorrow and FOoL will get 1 seat, a poll predicts. If that.
Reading between the Lines
After all the strife and struggle on the infamous Asphalt Lake, the last we heard that work had to be stopped because of the hellish stench. In our criminal innocence, we figured this was temporary. But now it turns out work has been stopped completely! Nobody told us so, and we only find out because the newspapers publish a story that Brazilian Petrobras wants to distribute asphalt products from Curaçao and just maybe they can use the asphalt. The last thing we heard, the filthy stuff was supposed to be used in (oops) BOO. What I suppose it boils down to: sleep on, dear journalists - and never ask difficult questions.
It may just possibly be the way Amigoe newspaper writes it up, but this is what I understand: At Stuyvesant high school the pupils have had trouble the last couple of years with their final exams, which are in Dutch as the diploma is the same as the Dutch diploma; only, the students' Dutch isn't so good so they tend not to do so well. What's so confusing is, for the Papiamentu part of the exam they do even worse! I give up.
Schotte Attacked Anonymously
An anonymous e-mail is circulating that accuses Schotte of many things you can find on these pages, and even more! It purportedly comes from the desk of PAR minister of Justice Magali Jacoba, but she denies any connection. I'd do the same thing.
Some of the items we didn't mention before (it's all "allegedly" of course: Schotte tried to appropriate
severalall beaches when he was a deputy. He poisoned his own dogs. He has been pointing a weapon at his own family; for which, I feel, if true he could be forgiven. Faked a burglary for the insurance money. Tried to collect a salary fraudulently. Bought food from a Chinese restaurant without paying. Made himself a job at Domeinbeheer without proper qualifications. Killed people with his [uninsured, unlicensed] car and drove on. Arranged for computers to be stolen for insurance money and publicity.
Quite a list. About the only thing missing is, abusing babies for satanic rituals before boiling and eating them.
I have no way of knowing if Jacoba's e-mail form really concludes with the text "Life is faith in the one that really loves us, God!". Officially we do have a separation of church and state; sort of.
How Nice of Them!
"Isla wants to avoid a black-out at boot-up" we learn from Amigoe newspaper. The fact is that BOO capacity is much too low and will remain so for a while (it's chronic), so
whenif Isla refinery starts up again it will ask for so much power that Aqualectra utility may not be able to deliver—even if everything does go right.
A little problem is, not boring you with crummy details, that in a week or so Jet Fuel will run out, and not too long after that gasoline for cars. Then we'll be good and, what was the word again? Four letters, I distinctly remember. In that case we're supposed to get our gasoline from some Venezuelan PdVSA refinery.
But guess what: they're out and down, too!
On August 26, hesitatingly the essential CD-3 crude distiller was working again, but not producing, and Jet Fuel for five weeks has arrived.
Greasy Oil Deals
In the 1980s, says Jules Eisden, then MAN minister of economy, BP did seismographic research around Curaçao and Bonaire. As he remembers it (too bad he didn't take any notes) they found crude at a depth of 300m which made it economically unattractive.
However, times have changed and in 2009 a new exploration agreement was signed with, in these times of transparency, unknown partners. PAR PM de Jongh-Elhage, after hours of being in full denial mode, finally did remember the letter when a Staten member read it out for her. She promised to forward it to Staten (but hasn't done so.) It started out as a 1.6M deal with University of Texas involvement (the name Bush rings a bell here) that was going to do a "collective exploration" in the Caribbean in which we finally could partake for $180K, payable in 3 easy installments.
(This strikes me as a pretty good deal, but Eisden seems to differ.)
Anyway. The government then closed three deals with three different companies, which are all illegal according to "Article 1, paragraph 2 of two most important international treaties" (which, alas, Eisden doesn't specify). Finally, Eisden continues, PM de Jongh-Elhage came across with these three agreements, blanking out the parties claiming a non-disclosure clause; a condition of the low exploration price.
Eisden promises another article in which he'll explain the ongoing game to kick PdVSA, by way of BOO and its USA management, out of "our" refinery, which supposedly will free the way for Shell to come back and explore. It is not even clear to me if Eisden thinks this is desirable or repulsive. You want my two bits worth: there's a lot wrong with Shell but not as much as with Fat Dictator Chávez.
Wiels, Please Shut Up!
The new escutcheon of Curaçao, not coďncidentally, is the old escutcheon of Curaçao, which, also not coďncidentally, contains the flag of the, yes, colonial WIC (West India Company). Not everybody wants to get rid of it, but Wiels is protesting. Vehemently, how else? He does get tiresome. Judge for yourself.
Center the Amsterdam symbol.
Left a WIC ship with the flag of the WIC (you can't see it? oh, here it is:)
Right the Laraha tree used for Curaçao liqueur.
(The original Triple Sec comes from Haďti).
Civil Servants - A World Record?
The basic idea of dividing up the Netherlands Antilles into separate island states was to get rid of the double layer of civil servants. Not to worry guys: all 4371 former personnel have been offered a job in the new island government. That means a total of almost four times the number working there in 2007 (surely there are more now, but we have not been told. You get used to it.)
For reasons we can't really understand, the civil servants have been promised money for their transfer from country to country. It's the, I guess, symbolic, amount of ANG1010.10; but for reasons we do understand the government does not want to pay the almost 4.5million and wants to reduce it to 750/each.
To compare, the UK has 493K civil servants for a population of 61.8M (or 1 per 125 inhabitants); Canada, one of the highest in the world, 1 for every 75. With the civil servants going from the Netherlands Antilles to Curaçao it results in 1 per 23.That's insane!
Approach with Holes
Aqualectra included a flyer with their bill. Last month, it was to bragging about how 1/3 of their capacity was supposed to come from those blasted wind generators - in the future, because they have been on non-active since last year, if not longer. This time it's about their leaks. They used to have, they say, a 35% loss of water in their ~2200kms of pipe (2004). To renew that would take over 40 years. So what they are doing is, first, reduce the pressure (which might lead to problems in your house); then, replace pipe bit by bit; in the last 3 years they renewed 35kms/year and now the loss is "only" 25%. So you and I both pay 1/4 too much is another way of expressing it. What's reasonable? If my business has over 5% loss on mere leaks I'll move heaven and earth to reduce it, won't you?
Trouble is anyway, this approach will result in a complete renewal after sixty-three years.
Tourism is down again, now definitely far below the break-even point. Not to gloat, just to point out that this does not seem to be the best way to build up a, what's the buzz-word again? oh yeah: "sustainable" economy.
Hato airport had the same problems, down 11% from 2009 (which was lower than 2008 - that is, if we understand the highly confusing press statements).
PAIS Shows the Way to Go!
But where? This party noticed that Curaçao's economy is going downhill. Not surprising, it's the same all over! The government must take measures; gee, that's a new approach. "Unnecessary" monopolies have to be abolished; aren't they all unnecessary? (Except government, natch.) Highlighting a few points: agriculture, livestock and fishing must be stimulated to "guarantee our own food supply" (never fails to get me ROFLing, LOLing and RITAing); we need a water management policy (sorry, about a century overdue - of precious little use now) and a come-back of cisterns.
Even with our high utility prices, building is so expensive that interest on a cistern makes collected water far more expensive than what we pay Aqualectra. Not to mention slight problems like mosquitos and dengue, good reason why many cisterns have been filled up the past fifty years.
Many mafia operators use Curaçao as a base. This includes (not only on-line) casinos and sex sites. The government actively stimulates this by taxing them as off-shore companies. Although PayPal is not talking, this would be the reason why it's impossible for us all to receive money via PayPal - try it, you won't like it. Once again, the short-sighted government attitude brings in money for them, and screws everybody else; meanwhile they exhale lots of hot air about "stimulating internet commerce". What can you call those guys but mafiosi?
According to a Rasmussen report, only 4% of US citizens have ever gambled on-line and 44% want it prohibited. Count me in.
Don't Count on It
VBC Trade and Industry Association warns that former NA-partners Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire (BES) will become economic competitors in terms of stability and market advantages. To maintain and improve our international market position, several measures are needed.
For our regular readers, few surprises: Curaçao, don't we all know it, is bound up in red tape; roads are in bad condition; power and water tariffs much too high; a lot of work has to be done in education and training; innovation consist mainly of adapting foreign inventions. All these factors interact and tend to reinforce each other.
VBC proposes (and here we wish them lots of luck - they, and we all, need it): a drastic reduction of income and wage tax; elimination of profit tax; replacing 5% sales tax with a non-cumulative 8%; replace property tax with a 0.8% tariff. "Devoutly to be wished."
VBC's proposals are much more comprehensive.
Quarrel about Nothing
PNP Metry thinks PNP minister de Lannooy should have a NA-budget ready for 2011. Doesn't matter that there won't be a country needing a budget anymore—law is law and there should be a budget. Metry seems to like wasting money; no surprise - he's a politician..
A few days later, de Lannooy took her leave from the party. I guess she's disgusted by this foolishness.
Punish 'em! Beat 'em!
It seems Radulphus College, on of our three high schools, plans to re-introduce Dutch as obligatory language. All use of Papiamentu is prohibited. This brings back not-so-fond memories of old times, when pupils were punished or even beaten when they spoke Papiamentu, and some politicians are worried this will happen again. How like them not to imagine there are more, even better! ways than punishment and beatings to achieve a desired behavior.
It only seems - there's no question of what "Old Reliable" Schotte wants to ask questions about, nor of the beatings and lashings PL Goeloe's fears. Parents want lessons in Dutch, Radulphus obliges, but four teachers don't want to conform. Which is how it all started. Correction, it's only one teacher who wants to remain anonymous.
Now, when interest in AGW ("global warming", "climate change", what have you) all over the world has sunk to an all time low, in combination with more and more people realizing "alternative energy" is a rip-off scheme, our Democrat Party announces their election campaign will be based largely on exactly that. In less than five years they plan an integrated approach introducing wind energy, hydro energy, solar energy and biodiesel. All these have been proven to be expensive flops in countries like Denmark, Spain, the USA, U.K. and Germany. DP claims this would lead to 12% lower energy tariffs, in total disregard of the hard fact that, in spite of heavy tax-subsidies, energy prices have always gone up to sometimes 200% in those countries. As regards biodiesel, this turns out to have an energy efficiency of 10% less than regular fuel and tends to ruin engines—even if you can produce it here.
Hydro energy is a really funny idea. An older proposal entails building dams (where?) and pumping up water (where from?) to drive generators on its way back down. That can only result in an energy loss. DP is now talking about turbines driven by sea currents. This has been tried around the world in several tide estuaries and, not to mention the expected heavy cost overruns, were far from being a success.
The biggest tide generator in the world will be installed in the Orkneys. It delivers 1mW (>2.5% of BOO's total capacity); no price is mentioned.
Most interesting of this is, depending on how you look at it, the idea to turn salt ponds into solar collectors by using them as mirrors. Certainly sounds interesting, especially when you consider that those collectors generally have a parabolic form; how would they go about that? Not to mention property rights and the awkward fact that most salt ponds are in conservation areas (yeah, who cares, right).
If DP doesn't lose (once again), we'll be the real losers!
Isla Workers Down
If I worked there, I'd have been down long since. But now the workers have put down work and even closed the refinery. Direct cause was a rumor that police had entered. What is behind it runs much deeper of course; it's BOO. Trade Union PWFC wants the refinery to take over BOO. They blame Marubeni and Mitsubishi's American engineers running the power plant for the problems and deny them further access.
This is getting downright farcical. There was another rumor that a coast guard boat had been very close to the coast, and another one that there had been cops on it. Everybody denies there have been any "actions" but more rumors caused a rush on the gas stations; as it turned out, Curoil fuel trucks were free to enter and leave the Isla premises. For now; PWFC threatens they will intensify their (supposedly non-existing) actions.
BOO is supposed to deliver electricity, steam, water and compressed air to the refinery, none of which is coming through. BOO capacity is 59 mw, they say; but BOO needs 10mw plus 19mw "reserves" itself; 30 mw is available for Isla that needs 42mw. Who "planned" all this? Aqualectra, Isla and Curaçao government.
One thing has already been established, if and when Isla starts up again, the rest of the island will have to make do with shortages and switching off periods.
That's an Easy One!
The Fishery Law will be adapted; Dept. LVV Landbouw-Veeteelt-Visserij (Agriculture Cattle-Breeding Fishery—ever hear of something more superfluous in a place like this?)... where was I? oh yeah, any activity leading to a disruption of fish resources can be stopped at once. Like building artificial beaches for tourism, and removing mangrove woods?
Say, how about stopping fishing altogether and get it over with? One fell swoop, you might say. But you're right, that would make 1/3 of the Dept. even more superfluous. That will never do!
They already could do this for six days, but now it will become six months. No explanation given.
It's Oh So Complicated
PAIS Party wants more money wasted; now for a campaign to instruct voters on how to vote - with the old-fashioned paper system. You have to agree it's ridiculous: you must fill out the entire round in front of the desired, uh, well, let it go... name. If you merely check it or put in a cross, it's not valid. Just like in Kindergarten or Fröbel, it's absolutely forbidden to color outside the lines—you got it, it makes your vote not valid.
Here's an idea: use a microscope or at the very least a magnifying glass to make sure you didn't cross the line. More money to waste on extra personnel.
PAIS stands for 'Party for Advancement and Innovation', also a poun on "cuntry" - thought you might like to know.
They Must Pay to Get Lost
To make a snappy short story of a long confused newspaper rambling, BOO is still not working. So the cat-cracker, heart of Isla refinery is not working either. That's over 5 months already.
The plan was to get rid of Japanese share-holders Mitsumbitchi and Marubeni by buying them out. But what we are told is, they made such a mess of maintenance that they will actually have to pay a fine. Not that it will help us much, we all fear.
Repairs will now cost ANG110 million (a first tentative estimate) and will take at least two more months.
Because the law in its unfathomable majesty does not believe voters, like other forms of cattle, can read, all parties get their list superimposed with a color. Last elections, a new party got the color light green, which was not to the taste of an older party that always used green. Now, it's a new party that wanted cyan but got light blue, which again didn't agree with an older one that's used to blue. Would you believe that they want to go to court to fight it out? Such is the state of politics in this place that strives for independence.
The Blue party decided they wouldn't go to court. Could they have grown up? Too much to hope for.
Troubled by Transparency?
The manager function of C.T.B. has to be filled shortly. But a popular candidate does not care for the job. She feels professionals are not treated ethically by the islands politicians and much prefers her present hotel management job.
"Isla Never Exceeded Standards"
After five years of delaying fights in court, Isla refinery and BOO are finally forced to pay when they exceed pollution standards. We even have measuring stations to catch them in the act. Naturally, since these have only gone into operation this year, Isla now denies they exceeded the norms last year. So, judging from the readings, they have grown worse since. In Europe, this is viewed as rather serious pollution.
The problem with the verdict is, it only applies to a yearly norm, resulting in a long delay.
Megalomania Reaches Record Heights - Guess Who'll Pay
Because of plans to establish a "space station" at Hato airport, first the law will have to be changed; cost USD70K. It gets better. The (unnamed) USA builder of the (unspecified) space craft gets, from us, USD350K to enable it to collect the permits needed to export it. In case you wonder why we should pay this—wait, it still gets better.
Because yet another amount of USD4.5M is needed "for starters" to lease the space craft. Notice how these amounts
creepjump up by a factor 5-13? It gets still betterworse: that FOoL genius minister Adriaens hasn't decided yet if this will be a national enterprise or whether foreign investors will be attracted. He also announces "a new hangar will have to be built" (no cost specified) and "the landing strip is good enough for such a space craft." That would be the same landing strip they can't even find the money for to maintain properly. For your information, "first phase investment" has been estimated at USD150M, so get prepared to bleed.
It would be slander to say that somebody is skimming off those amounts, so we will refrain from
callingmentioning names. Maybe later more on the disruption of regular air traffic that can be confidently expected.
This stinks to high heaven.
Other things to wonder about:
Why are all amounts quoted in US Dollars? - Because it seems only half as much
How come a price is quoted of "several tens of thousands €s"? - Because it's less than USD150K; also, in Dutch press releases price mentioned is €100K, 2 to 3 times as much.
Also check "Wild Visions", "Apemen" and "Space Sickness", where we were told that two outfits were trampling each other to death to start those trips.
As it turns out, this is Space Experience Curaçao. Declaration of intent has been signed, so it's official.
Our Antillean guilders will be replaced by Caribbean guilders, valid for Curaçao and St. Maarten (where everybody uses US dollars anyway). We won't have them by 10-10-10, though. There may be more things that are not ready by then.
Back to Basics
After all those songs and dances—don't forget all that money
spentwasted—next election will be held the old-fashioned way by choosing your favorite (ahem) candidate's name on paper. Cost ANG 2 million. The Smartmatic machines will have been used for 3 elections.
At least it does mean that we can vote "invalid" again.
In one of his twice-weekly letters to the Editor, Baselmans advises everybody not to go vote. This would achieve the same result as a not-valid vote, just about the only effective way you can protest against the democratic con-system. But since the introduction of electronic voting, this became impossible as there was no way to write something extra on your voting form, or to vote for more than one candidate, whatever.
Of course, Baselmans rants and raves about having been made a slave, humiliated and all that. Maybe. But why, then, did he want to become part of that system only recently?
After all the hysteria, the Dutch soccer team was defeated by Spain in the Durban Suid Afrika championships. Remember? my, how time flies by... As we have come to expect for a long time since, this was followed by heavy rioting - makes no real difference if they win or lose. In den Haag, the usual anti-semitic slogan "all Jews to the gas" was popular. Even here, in four different locations, riots broke out by drunk makambas who couldn't stand their loss. By a maybe not-so-weird coincidence, two of those were the same as where years ago race riots started (the suspects have just been acquitted).
Causing PS Wiels, an expert at causing riots himself, to wonder why no measures had been taken to prevent this. I hate to admit it, but Wiels has a point.
As it turns out, some Dutch marines were involved in the riots. A Grand Tradition.
Never Pass on a Windfall
In other countries, competition often forces the supermarkets to sell a product cheap when they can get it cheap. Here, they get together and keep the extra profits themselves. It happened before with the soft-drink imports from Venezuela; while the bolivar keeps dropping versus the USD/ANG, the drinks get more and more expensive. When the € goes up, prices go up accordingly - when it drops again (like these days)... you fill in the rest.
Now it's a species of fish that has a certain resemblance to our local mero, selling at 24-30 guilders/kilo. The price for aquaculture pangasius/swai should be 8-14 guilders/kilo.
Don't send me hate mail please, but I'm no soccer fan. Anyway, after Holland won the World Cup (as they tell me) you wouldn't have thought Curaçao was so anti-colonial as they vote. The fans painted downtown orange; not because, for some incomprehensible reason, it's the color of Godett's FOL party.
Only the Establishment Gets Breaks
Some forty years ago, there was an influx here of "Miami cars", second-hand automobiles imported from the USA. Because this
ruined the car-sales of official dealersthese "wrecks" were deemed dangerous, it got to be forbidden: no more good deals. L'histoire se répčte: The import of right-hand drive cars has just officially been forbidden. These cars came from countries like Japan where car tests are extremely heavy, so you can get a quite good vehicle there for little money. But a right-hand drive is, you guessed it, "dangerous."
It's only now we hear that, three years ago, Alterra chose to postpone proper ten-yearly landing strip maintenance and opted for patching up instead. How like them. So now the longest strip of the Caribbean is in such a sorry state, several companies avoid it. Meanwhile, the last proper maintenance has been fifteen years ago so it's about time. No information on what this is going to cost.
Let's Go Figure
Isla refinery is back on line. Sort of: because BOO is still misbehaving (for exactly four months today), the best Isla can do is produce lube oil. Loss since March has been USD60M.
To buy out Mitsubishi and Marubeni will cost over USD40M. To do necessary repairs, USD7M. Total 47M, which is less than the USD53M that mysteriously disappeared during construction, not to mention the as yet unknown quantity that was paid for "spare parts" that never arrived.
The yearly refinery rent paid by PdVSA is USD15M. We have been told a refinery upgrade would cost USD1.5G. Meanwhile, the yearly fine Isla has to pay for excess pollution is USD75M.
My advice? Tear the whole bloody thing down and save us all a lot of money.
Civil Servants Want Parking Freebie
Parking in Willemstad Punda is no longer free, a condition for an agreement to have a multi-story parking garage built - no matter if that thing ruins Willemstad's Unesco heritage status. The civil servants of course protest. Everybody who works downtown has to pay, but they do not want too. Seem to feel that's their right; their argument is civil servants who work elsewhere get it free. Well, maybe they can walk to/from the free parkings that still abound. Get rid of that fat, all to the good.
Checked it on Google Earth; the maximum walking distance is like 1 km; a total daily walk of 24 minutes. Anyway, the minister of health recommends walking 7.5km/day—why, I wouldn't know.
Nos a scapa! [we slipped through]
Kousa Komun [common cause] foundation wanted us to vote in yet another referendum, this time voting on the political future and constitution. That would be number four, or five - we have lost count by now. Enough is sufficient, already.
The promised measuring stations for refinery (and other pollution) have been uploaded to a website, here. The results for Cas Chikitu and Beth Chaim are far from complete, with strange laps. No doubt starting-up troubles. More later!
Isla refinery was supposed to have started up the last week-end of May. Driving by on Saturday morning, we noticed immense clouds of soot coming out of the exhaust stacks, so something was going on. However, nobody seems to know if the boot-up succeeded.
As there have not been any news releases, it's safe to guess that it didn't. Once again.
Downtown Punda, 8 wielklemmen [wheel clamps] have been installed, with 12 cops to take care of them. Figuring 8 hours guard duty, 1 cop per 2 clamps.
Oh no, all wrong - there won't be any clamping at night, but only from say from 9:00-17:00, 1.5 clamps per cop!
Not Up, Down
Tourism has gone down, no surprise there. The real surprise is that there have been less tourists from Haďti - no surprise there, they add. What's [not really] surprising is, so they count those Haďtians not as [illegal] immigrants but as tourists.
As the € is in a spiral down, sure to get worse before, if, it gets better, future developments here will be replete with interest.
It's also interesting to note that while discussions are hotting up again over a second cruise-ship pier, ship visits have been reduced from 108 to 88 last year, with a 19% reduction in passengers from 199,714 to 161,302.
Next time they knock you over the head with a bar stool, be sure to record the act with your cell-phone.
Reason I mention it, all suspects in the racial bar-fight have been acquitted for lack of proof.
Schotte, "Son of Salas" on his way to the Power Top has passed through several parties already. Last one is MAN, but he now got kicked out. He claims he was promised the top of their list; but they won't put him there. Say Schotte, are you really so naďve you believe party promises? Remember how in 2007 you replaced Smith right before the elections?
If you have time to spare, look at the trace Schotte left behind on these pages since 2004. Just fill out his name on the FreeFind search engine. He sure has been busy.
For his involvement in the Isla refinery problem, chemistry teacher/SMOC member Arjan Linthorst received the enormous amount of €15,000 from a Dutch prince (at least, out of his hands). For SMOC it's a lot, for BOO it's peanuts...
Not only twice as many ambulances than needed were ordered, against a higher price than quoted - after arrival they have been sitting for over a month in the garden of GGD (community health service). When one of the older ones, still in service, broke down, Red Cross had to help out. Some people blame deputy of health Humpty Dumpty Davelaar, but why? You can't blame a man for his total incompetence. (But hey! I blame him, too!)
Israël is going ahead with five desalination plants using the reverse osmosis technique, just like Aqualectra uses in their Fuik plant. The standard price here is ANG13.49/m3. As the Israeli production cost is $0.52/m3 [ANG0.94] we have to conclude either the Aqualectra plant is rotten, or their leaky distribution system is more than 13 times as expensive than the water is to produce. Probably both.
By the way, somebody is asking nasty questions in island government, wondering if the exorbitant new buildings planned will result in yet another tariff adaptation. He might well ask, but we know the answer, don't we? YES!
We Can Only Agree
The six-year old airport building (read all about it here) is unsatisfactory and will have to be replaced, we're told. It's not hard to believe. Maybe now they will hire a local architect—after all, he just has to dust off his fine old plans. Or maybe, there's an idea! have a committee look into it.
One More Committee!
Now, after the BOO committee, there'll be yet another one to look into CEMS (the ambulance flop). Gee, I keep wondering how much you get paid for a committee job.
“A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.”New Flag
- Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love
Now a guy from Curaçao wants the Kingdom of the Netherlands to adopt a new flag, where all partners are represented. Such childishness.
John Baselmans, well-known letter-to-the-editor writer, announces a new party Partij Burgers in Vrijheid [citizens in freedom]. One of his many ideas is, those who steal community money should be executed. Let's hope that's a newspaper mistake; they also say the party's on Facebook, but not where I looked. If I find it I'll put in a link.
"Religious views: World of positive energy". Can't be helped, I guess.
On June 8 Baselmans announced he stopped working on this and blamed the population for not accepting that a makamba [Dutch honky] began a political party, not even to give "all Antillean citizens back their freedom" (I never particularly missed it.)
That's No News
But not good news either. To keep it short, Isla again tried to start-up again this morning. Didn't work—BOO failed.
It Adds Up
The Big Bad Brodders and Sisters may have made an awful lot on BOO, but don't forget the fire-engines. Every little bit all helps to get through these hard times. Now we will get new ambulances. Only four were needed, so seven have been ordered. As if that's not
goodenough, as it turns out they're more expensive than originally quoted. Don't know how much more expensive... that would be telling!
Doesn't seem to occur to reporters to ask, either.
Day of Papiamentu
Our minister of (unless she changed to another post, a habit in our amateur government) education announced a Day of Papiamentu. We all should feel proud of our language and celebrate!
Now here is another of those semi-fascist notions that keep popping up. Our country is the best! Our carnival is the best! Our flag is the best! Our national hymn is the best! Our music is the best! Our language is the best! Our government is the... uh, well, that may be going too far.
I could find no single other language in the world that celebrates such a day. Not even notoriously chauvinist France. However, there is a Mother Language Day. It started in Pakistan in 1948 to celebrate Urdu, but those who spoke Bangla started riots where students were killed, which finally led to the separation of Bangla-Desh and Pakistan. Bet you Leeflang never heard of this.
The Story Gets Better
The committee looking into BOO has discovered that, although $200M has been spent on building the damn thing, there are no bills for about 1/4 of that amount, $53M. Although more and more money was paid over the years for replacement parts, these never arrived. They don't tell us (yet) how much "more and more money." This, at least, makes clear their earlier pronouncement that there was no interest in running the plant, only in building it, was not correct. Plenty of money to be made in running a plant—in running it down, that is.
Another occasion to yell "I told you so!" The first time I mentioned BOO on this site it was immediately followed by the words "still nastier." I find very little occasion for joy in this.
All this goes to show how extremely shameless those profiteering NGO-pirates have become over the years.
Less Smoke, More Stench
The situation with BOO is so bad now, the refinery will remain shut down until September. Is this even possible? Seems so. The utility plant is one big mess where almost nothing seems to be work; even simple repairs just were not done. A committee says "They were not interested in maintenance, only in building the plant" and darkly hints at 'possible' wrongful acts. There have been nine catastrophic failures in ten years; but deputy Davelaar does not want to use the word "catastrophe" for the present trouble. He must be hard to please: how about calamity, disaster, debâcle; or still better swindle, fraud, double-cross and sham? With adjectives shameless, corrupt and political. Oh, I forgot - Davelaar is a politician, so of course he's used to much worse.
Gee, once again I wonder how much you get paid for being a member of such a committee.
Aruba's Rude Awakening
The former director of Aruba's National Bank, Rob Henriquez, advises to abandon the Aruba Florin and introduce the USDollar. This development is more or less forced by the Aruba government which has been spending money like water. From 1979-2001 the yearly budget was 79 million in the red, which in 2008 had grown to 271 million. National debt had doubled to over 2 billion in ten years. Henriquez refers to the recent problems with Greece which managed to fall from a BBB to a junk rating in a mere 24 hours.
We All Knew It
It was long since obvious to everybody, so I can refrain from saying "I told you so"—the Isla refinery will not be back on-line in the first week of May. New replacement parts have not even been ordered yet. Talk is now about BOO not even starting up before September; which should mean the refinery will have been out of order for some six months.
Consolation is, the air measuring stations will not be needed before then, so there's ample time to get the results on the Web. Also, this year we will have only nine pollution-caused deaths!
Meanwhile, the state of the roads will even worsen before there's any new asphalt available.
So Much for That—Once Again
Pupils from Colombia (speaking Spanish), China (Chinese) and Haďti (Patois/French) do better at school than our own.
No doubt this is because of language problems with Dutch! No? Funny, I have doubts myself. So do the researchers who note that those children are more motivated, even though their parents are less often at home and have less social contacts.
So much for the tired theory that we have to use Papiamentu for an instruction language. Even [big] IF it may help, other factors seem more important. Like (surprise!) discipline. Good thing it's not race. Endless discussions leading nowhere; we're having enough of those already.
Sis Wants to Work
No cracks, please, about how amazing that is. But all three coalition parties are united in their stand: Selikor must take Mirna back. Trouble seems to be, island NGOs cannot be forced to take a politician back; they never seem to think it through, do they. "Consequence may be that people will not make themselves available for political functions" says PAR Sulvaran. I say, GO FOR IT!
The boil-down is, Selikor will re-hire Sis and put her at island government's disposal. Anything but having her back in the office! But high-ups in Selikor management protest against paying for someone they don't want.
"Laganan Kima" — Let 'em Burn
The Fire Dept. refused to give the Hyatt Hotel a clean bill of health for the opening, because it has not been finished as planned. Tourism deputy Dick is livid. He has done his utmost to get the license anyway, but the Fire Dept wouldn't budge. Says Dick (don't blame me for that name!): "We must take a pro-active approach and go for quality" [and let 'em burn if it goes wrong - they're just tourist suckers anyway, there's a thought? Is that "quality"?].
So it turns out Dick, first minister of Justice, then a political drop-out, who made a come-back as minister of Justice, now is tourism deputy. Country run by amateurs. We could do better than that, yes — but those guys do real work and are not in politics.
Without knowing the first thing, and agreeing that the Fire Dept can be a damn nuisance when they go on a power kick, it's easy to imagine things that could be wrong and put them in the right—like, has the fire escape yet to be built? How about stand pipes for firefighting water, are those in place? Me, for now, give the Fire Dept the benefit of the doubt. I keep seeing hotels that just scare the living shit to run out of me — in streams.
They Just Must
Aqualectra utility and UTS telecommunications need new buildings. They say. They have invited local architects, but they want one with minimum yearly sales of 2 million. That's a lot as architects' fees are say 10% of building costs. So the job went, essentially, to a Dutch architect who "works together" with a small local architect.
The buildings will cost ANG10K/m2while a very luxurious building does not cost over 4K.
At a recent occasion when something like this went on (with the renovation of Hato Airport) another small local architect who got the job spent a year in jail; it just served as a good method to pass on the bribes. There's a lot of money involved here and it's easy to imagine some of it may fall by the wayside.
Just What We Needed
A new party! It's called PAIS [cuntry]. If anything important happens (like, it lives until next elections), not to worry - we'll keep you informed.
You might have thought this impossible, but he is. That is, he says he is, there's a difference there. And why? Because of the political process. In that case, stay away from politics, Wiels, you'd be surprised to find out how you will be loved for it.
Wiels was in Holland with a delegation to discuss our new status with Dutch parliament. After they all got stuck there because of an Iceland volcanic eruption, some way was devised to bring 'em back. What a pity.
Pollution Helps Polluters
The next court session of SMOC versus Isla will have to be delayed for 6 months as the entourage of jurists can't be flown over - Dutch airports are closed because of that same volcanic eruption. (There are only two sessions per year).
You wouldn't Want to Know
One day after an air scrubbing system had been introduced that was supposed to clean the fumes coming out of the "asphalt lake" which now is being cleaned out, Curaçao Drydock personnel went on strike because of the unbearable stench. As yet, nobody has made an effort to analyze these fumes.
"Nothing Going On"
According to the refinery trade union, "nothing's going on" at the BOO plant. In the six weeks after the power plant's breakdown, no repairs have been made yet. This while the plant, and refinery, are supposed to come back on-line two weeks from now. The union claims that foreign investors Marubeni/Mitsubishi are not interested in putting up more money, as they "will never make it back."
Good Advice: Hold Your Breath—or Don't?
There's a pollution monitor for Isla refinery in place since January 1, and a second station will follow in May (but they haven't even agreed on a location yet). It is the intention the measuring results will be shown live on the Web in Papiamentu and Dutch, but they are "still being tweaked." Hope I'm not too paranoid when asking if this could possibly be because they're not below the court order of less than 80 micrograms/m3. After all, how hard can it be to get that web-page up and running?
Junkie Paradise: Dépendance for Drug-Dependants
I can't tell for sure the Jellinek Retreat for High-Class Junkies like MD's, businessmen, pilots, and 'BN'ers', has any association with Gelt Dekker's Kura Hulanda's outfit; but it's hard to avoid the impression. With facilities for 20 patients @ €600/day (don't know if this includes tax) the poor addicts can
wastespend their time diving, sailing, swimming with dolphins, yoga-lessons or "engaging in mindfulness"—I'm not making this up. Most patients are addicted to alcohol and cocaine and/or marihuana (addicted to marihuana? That's a new one; but we're talking nederwiet here.) Minimum stay is four to six weeks, but may be extended (sure—no volume discounts are applicable, though.) Full anonimity is guaranteed—after all these are not your run of the mill cholas but highly respected if not respectable folks.
The Dutch government may be the biggest sucker here by subsidizing the project with €600K.
BN'ers is one of those weird Dutch expressions you can't have an inkling of if you don't follow their slang. It stands for bekende Nederlanders [well-known Dutchmen... pardon me, don't want to discriminate, Dutchpersons.] Like MP's, ministers, bishops? It's a thought, but presumably meant are like actors, musicians, writers.
What Can You Do with Someone Like That?
As everybody seems to have forgotten, Godett's sis Mirna was still a member of the Antillean government. Never heard a peep out of her (be thankful). Now that this cushy job has come to an end, she wants to go back to her "work" at Selikor; but they don't want any. They say they have assigned her function to someone else long since, which figures—would be embarrassing to leave her seat empty and waiting for those four years and nobody noticing the difference! Mirna has been offered a 70% VUT-arrangement [Vervroegde UitTreding/advanced retirement] instead which she refused.
The Godett gang has a problem with Selikor director Kook anyway, because he managed to get rid of notorious Asjes after Mirna's brother had given him a comfy and cozy Selikor-job.
There's One Thing Good About It
Helmin Wiels is going to Holland to protest (at the top of his voice, I presume) against the political changes. In the name of the Curaçao people; the same who gave his party two (2) seats in the last elections. This is one of the guys who won't take "Yes" for an answer.
Oh yes, the good thing about it is, he's paying for it himself.
Tourism in January was down by 13% to a 72.4% room occupancy. It was inevitable and we have just been granted a reprieve while it was down all around us. CTB thought it necessary to exclaim all the time that we were recession-proof.
The wave of popular disgust with our impopular autocratic utility is growing so strong that there now is a Facebook page on it. People are talking about a one-hour strike of switching off all their lights and appliances, but Aqualectra warns this will result in a technical disaster. (Good thing, then, that Earth Hour action is finding so few takers.)
According to Aqualectra, the difference in use during that hour was not discernible, which is the impression I got looking from my balcony. The initiators are crowing from the roof that it was an "enormously successful super-fantastic action". Hmmm.
Up to Their Old Tricks
DEA complains that Korpodeko, a government institute to help small companies with their investments, holds a 20% interest in Inselair, which is quite contrary to regulations. Korpodeko and Inselair deny this, but they would, wouldn't they?
This is not the first time Korpodeko has been transgressing like this. Well do we remember their "loans" to DCA when it was perfectly obvious to everybody that DCA was going down the drain, fast. Millions and millions gone and lost forever.
Dirty Clean Diesel Coming, Comes Expensive
The story is, it has finally arrived (after 7 months of promises). However, the "clean" diesel fuel is not available yet. Price will be 55 cents over the present liter price (in most countries, diesel is much cheaper than regular gas). This spells bad for Aqualectra utility tariffs, which just have been heftily raised already.
Anyway, what do you call clean? This stuff is still 10-50 times as dirty as what's acceptable in other places. The price solution is simple: gasoline price will become higher so we all pay for diesel users.
A "New" Refinery?
Isla management held a presentation, claiming they could have a modern refinery in less than five years for a 1.5G dollars investment. One slight problem would be to get PdVSA interested in signing a new contract (the Fat Dictator is threatening to shut down operations if the USA FOL bas is not closed down - as if we didn't have contractual obligations there. Such slight details mean nothing to Chávez of course.)
Anyway, that amount is so ridiculously low compared with everything we have heard until now, it's completely unbelievable. Small wonder Isla workers thought it was 'a fine presentation'. No doubt.
Like they say, "It's easy to lie in PowerPoint."
Longer and Longer
Isla refinery needs three new air compressors. They are supposed to arrive, at least one of them, by the end of April. But nobody has an inkling where they have been ordered (USA? Venezuela?) A real confidence builder, that. If PdVSA has to pay for them, their credit is so bad that all bets are off anyway.
Now, it turns out the BOO holding company may go bankrupt (which explains why the government would consider a take-over; so we'll pay once again for gigantic criminal mismanagement.)
Godett is pissed off because in the last elections (a disaster for him and FOL) the western Banda'bao part of the island had only 200 voters for him. He has announced he will do nothing any more for those ungrateful bastards, and all his further efforts will be directed at the rest of the island.
After a deluge of criticism Godett declared "he had spoken the truth, and the truth sometimes hurts."
Even Money Won't Help
The BOO power plant is in such trouble, that even a financial injection by island government won't speed up repairs. Result is, Isla refinery will not start-up before 3 or 4 weeks have gone by—it's hoped. Ominous words: The plant will not be able to fulfill its contractual obligations for "most of the year." (Fixing BOO will take 4 or 5 months and cost ANG7M. The last day of March, it was announced Isla won't be back on-line before April 15-16, which had by then been postponed to end April.)
The good part of course is, it won't cost us any more money—for now: there is talk of the island taking over the BOO plant.
Not Much to Measure
Now that Isla refinery has been inactive for weeks, which may go on for much longer, finally a pollution measuring station has been installed. Results will shortly be available from the Curaçao government web site. (I tried the search engine there, but don't bother—no results, just as expected.)
Godett and Maal have finally reached an accord in the deadlocked negotations about the Oostpunt terrain.
In a nutshell: about half (2000 ha/5000 acres) will remain a conservation area, open to the public, while Maal c.s. can develop the rest of their terrain; 75 ha/18.75 acres will become available for public building; government will pay Maal an amount not revealed, but somewhere between 20 and 50M guilders.
It's a Start
Finally! There's a law which should make it easier to fine polluters. Throwing rubbish out of a car can result in a maximum fine of ANG500 (~USD275). Private citizens can lodge a complaint when they catch somebody in the act. Problem here may be, nobody likes to do this; then again, the fine is pretty low compared with what schlepping a truckload to the landfill will cost you.
At plenty of locations, you'll find one dirty mess of discarded building materials, old refrigerators and dead dogs. Nice for the tourists—and us.
Listen Who's Talking!
The Dominican consul-general was clumsy enough to send out a press-communication protesting against the celebration of their national independence day in hut camp bordello Campo Alegre. Most of what these days are called 'sex workers' there come from Colombia and República Dominicana, so it's not easy to understand what the excitement is all about. (The party was a great success.)
No Free Air
CAP airport holding wants to liberate air policies to attract foreign companies, among which Brazilian GOL. GOL now has one weekly charter flight CUR-Săo Paulo-AUA-CGH but everybody would prefer two weekly regular line flights. This is not easy to achieve in negotiations with Brazilian bureaucracy.
BOO power plant had yet another breakdown just after PdVSA started threatening to stop operations. The entire refinery was left powerless (heh heh). Nobody has any idea how long this will last.
Next day, personnel went on strike. There have been 15 shutdowns last year and re-starting the refinery is a process dangerous to employees. Eight months of protest have not resulted in any satisfactory guarantees for no new incidents.
The strike had one immediate result: stocking the fuel stations was made impossible, causing a rush to tank and even hoard gasoline and diesel.
Empty Threats—or Empty Barrels?
Now PdVSA is threatening to close down Isla refinery operations because of the US FOL base, after "President Hugo Chávez, who has said the United States is plotting to invade his country, in December accused Curaçao of allowing the Unites States to launch spy flights over Venezuelan territory from the island." [Petroleum World]. People in the know maintain Isla is the best refinery PdVSA has got going (which is almost frightening)—another factor may be the recent court ruling that Isla emission standards must be improved to the tune of USD1.5 billion, even though it's not clear if PdVSA or the Curaçao-owned refinery must pay up.
Insulting Farce: "Why Bother?"
Every year the Antillean government is supposed to have the budget checked and accepted. Such is the law.
It's only now we get to hear that, shortly, parliament will accept all budgets from 1965-2005. No doubt in one fell swoop, hammered through 21 times; or even just one. What is this but criminal negligence that richly deserves prosecution of all guilty parties?
Including the media who never noticed—or reported it.
Wind Mills Grind to a Stop
Aqualectra utility recently announced that they will invest even more in wind energy. (They will not tell you that their wind generators near Tera Corá have not been working for at least months and months and maybe for well over a year.) While all over the world investment in wind generators has as good as stopped, especially since the demise of the global warming hysteria, Aqualectra will go ahead anyway. The reason investments stopped is that subsidies have stopped, it's as simple as that. The reason Aqualectra doesn't need subsidies is, they will take it out of us directly instead of via taxes.
Denmark, the so-called greenest of European countries, not only has the highest electricity price of Europe, but has to import nuclear-generated power from France. The UK runs into deep trouble every winter because the wind generators do not work when they are needed most. The much-vaunted Dutch North Sea windmill park went bankrupt in 2007.
Even existing wind parks are not efficient enough to keep working without subsidies: In Kamoa, Hawaiď, 37 of them are just rusting away. On three of the best world locations (in California: Altamont Pass, Tehachapi, and San Gorgonio) there are thousands of abandoned wind turbines. It's getting like Isla refinery: In a couple of years, we may not even have money left to demolish those "green" eyesores. Around 1988 the first trial was installed; now, twenty years later, those obstructing my view have not been turning for at least several months which means an average working life of just over six years.
One consolation is, these will definitely be the last ones. Mark my words.
Food for Misanthropes
After the children's carnival parade passed through Breedestraat last Sunday, one building had moved for 3cms/1.2" because of the blasted sound blasts. Now, the grand parade of next Sunday will be detoured along another route. There are more old and weak houses along that street.
Of course, nobody considers turning down that insane volume a bit from 120db. Let 'em enjoy going deaf! Public health? Who cares!
Let That Be a Lesson to Him
But nothing can teach an old God new tricks. Dogett, anyway, now is sorry those Sm*rtm*tic machines have been introduced. Too late now, dummy. Lick your wounds.
Get me right, I don't blame the machines! Why should I... let us blame Dogett!
Shot in Fot
DP has removed George as their leader, blaming him for their last election defeat. They forget that, before they invited George to pep up their image, they had been without a single seat for about 25 years in island nor country government. I broke my crystal ball yesterday, but still confidently predict that, if they keep this up, another 25 years will pass like that - and nobody missing them either.
Forty DP members later protested that all this was illegal and in disregard of party rules, and are now threatening to go to court.
It was a matter of mere days for the party to relieve them of their functions, after which they wondered if continuing with this party was any use in the first place. They are starting to leave the party, at least one after a twenty-years membership in leading functions.
On February 23, it was announced that George is leaving the party, and plans to keep his island government seat. Finally, he was replaced with Old Faithful [?] Norbert Ribeiro, who came back from PAR.
Uní den Viktoria [United in Victory] - Discord in Defeat!
First, three parties (MAN, FK and NPA) joined forces for the election in LdK - they got even less votes together than in total last time on their own. Now they want to split up again for their parliament seats, but this turns out to be illegal. Matter of fact, it's downright dishonest - but what can you expect from politicians?
Clean Diesel: Empty Barge, Empty Promises
Of course, there is no such thing as "clean diesel", but ours contains 500 times the amount of sulfur the stuff in Europe does. Curoil has been promising cleaner stuff since August 2009, but the only thing they got was an empty barge sitting in Schottegat harbor, waiting for the stuff.
No More Referenda, Please!
Bonaire Gezaghebber has requested the Antillean Gouverneur (both are representatives of the queen) to scratch the referendum law. This law was agreed on by Bonaire island parliament. It's the same old boring story: the politicians do not wish to accept the people's decision as regards their relation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
One point is that the law will not permit Dutch
menpersons from Holland to vote if they've been living in Bonaire for less than 3 years, which is against UN stipulations. The same UN they always send complaints about how Holland is acting in a colonialist manner.
What's the Use?
It's not unexpected that those guys forming LdK for the last elections have already decided to join parliament as three separate parties. They will not stop cooperating, though. That's good to know. (Unless something better turns up, of course.)
Politics, Curaçao Style
Brinkman, member of Dutch (Geert Wilders) PVV-party, is among those coming over for deliberations between Dutch and Curaçao parliaments. FK Damoen has announced he does not want to sit down with him at a table, but PAR Jackson thinks Damoen is going too far; after all, we can just ignore him, he says.
In my naďvity, I always thought politics were supposed to bring conflicting viewpoints together. Live and learn.
As was only to be expected, both LdK and PS (election losers both) are protesting against the way the elections were held. Especially the use of the Smartmatic machines (if I remember correctly, for the third time now.) Says PS Wiels: "We warned before the elections these were no good. 'They' didn't listen to us and look at the result." MAN Coffie talks about "a system that has proved not to function."
The Smartmatic machines were introduced by FOL, who have been losing ever since, but do you hear them complaining?
Thanks, But No, Thanks
Cooper has announced he will not be a member of the new, last N.A. Parliament [Staten]. He prefers to remain in Eilandsraad island government. I guess everybody agrees with that.
After the Ball Is Over
FOL minister Adriaens says he's looking for a job - well, he still has his plantation full of illegal or not aliens. Says Adriaens "We hadn't counted on this at all. Godett has been very quiet all the time but still, now this." Maybe people do remember Wčchi?
LdK Andrade was waiting to order at at a MacDonald's drive-through window when out popped the head of PAR Castro, who started to insult him with sexual innuendos. Andrade ran into the restaurant and started a fist fight, in which he bit Castro in his arm. Wish I'd been there! But most customers did not agree with me and left. Both Curaçao-style politicians lodged complaints with the police.
To keep it snappy, in the last Antillean parliament seats will be distributed as follows: PAR 6, LdK 5, PNP 1, PS 2. From the other islands: Bonaire UPB 2, PDB 1; St. Maarten National Alliance 3; St. Eustatius Dp1 1; Saba WIPM 1.
"That's All, Folks!"
Combining three parties on one list resulted in a net loss of votes for LdK (List of Change; must have taken that from Obama's campaign - now it's too late to be sorry;) PS loudmouthedly complains that it wasn't honest, booh hooh. FOL is out of the game.
Effectively, were this for the country of Curaçao, the island would now be ungovernable - unmanageable! with such a government. Both sides will not concede a micron to the others' view.
News Flash! (Yawn)
Muslim van Rossum is now on the list of Lista di Kambio. Don't ask me to explain - suffice it to take my advice, don't vote for those... uhh... uhh... well, you get what I mean (it rhymes).
What really gets me about this, haven't these guys noticed how even "African Americans" (if you understand what that means... OK, let it go) by now are totally disenchanted with Assbama and many even think racial relations have suffered a severe set-back because of him? But these guys keep using his has-been slogan! What's the word here, PC or not? Backward? Retarded?
Don Quijote, Please Call Your Office!
Not only never fails to remind me of his fight against the windmills, also of C.S. Forester's The General: if one company doesn't make it, thrown in a battalion - if the battalion fails, throw in a division! Aqualectra wants to replace the present wind generators with new ones. The Amigoe article is not too clear (may be the press release is to blame) but I understand we will now get 10 generators of 3 mega Watts each. Total capacity will remain the same; between you and me, wouldn't they enlarge it if it's such a success? Good question or not?
The windmills will be eyesores of 125m high with a blade diameter of 90 m. The mind shudders even to contemplate, even without knowing the revolving speed. But not to worry, we'll pay, anyway! At least, the total number of generators will go down.
Dutch Parliament Does Not Like It
It's no surprise that Dutch parliament members were flabbergasted that fully half of the Antillean national debt consists of government-withheld payments to APNA civil servants pension union. They were told that now it's too late to be sorry and, anyway, they were told about it long since (no doubt in minuscule print hidden somewhere in the mass of paper they were offered for perusal).
I, for one, can feel along with them. Those civil servants, who spent it, should pay up; not the Dutch tax payer.
Chávez at It Again
To distract problems from his national problems like devaluation, The Fat Dictator is lashing out in the best Goebbels tradition at the enemies without, USA and Holland. He claims a Curaçao-based FOL Lockheed Orion has been intruding Venezuelan airspace. Trouble is, not only is the picture he showed the very first one you find when you Google "Orion"; worse, only E-3 AWACs and E-2C Hawkeyes are stationed at Hato Airport - no Orions, so sorry.
Wiels "Ripe for Psychiatrist"
Comment by ex PM (be it ever so short) PNP Suzy Römer on PS Wiels wildly suing her and PAR minister Omayra Leeflang for alleged fraudulent actions; probably just to score in the election campaign. My personal feelings are, he's beyond ripe - he's rotten! As the Papiamentu lingo has it, kabé putri - rotten head. (And now Römer is suing him.)
Stop Stinking or Pay Up
After long and extended fights in court, the appeals' judge verdict is now in: Isla refinery will have to pay a yearly sum of ANG75 million if her average yearly part of SO2 pollution is over 80µg/m3. A last appeal in den Haag is still open to Isla, but meanwhile they will have to conform to this verdict
A measuring station has been placed at Beth Chaim on December 2, not before Isla, no surprise there, had been complaining that it's "impossible" to keep to that norm. Our hearts bleed for 'em, poor babies.
Lista di Kambio party has polled the population, and as it turns out the voters are hardly interested in political future anymore. What they want is a stop on higher prices, better education and less government scandals. (LdK claim their raison d'ętre is to stop future political developments as planned now.)
One More Party!
PNP Mike Franco and PAR Alex Rosario have announced yet another party! Join the club... the more the merrier. No name is mentioned, as yet. Anyway, they can't participate in the coming election.
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