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.
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is
for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage
Many politicians do not carry out after elections
the promises they made before.
Amos Yadlin, former IDF intelligence chief
We don't really get the government we deserve;
some get the government most deserve
Fascism: the merger of corporate and government power.
A Bit of History
Back in the 18th century, Scotland was a totally backward country, mainly inhabited by always-fighting clans of crofts
men- and fisherpersons, sheep shepherds and swineherds living in sod houses. Then philosopher David Hume came along with the bright idea that they should learn English besides that Celtic Scottish only they themselves understood.
The Scots took the hint, and not a century later they were highly developed,
with their engineering and medicine famous all over the world.
So much so that when Japan wanted to free itself from its backwardness,
they asked the Scots to help them out.
Anybody see a parallel here?
We all know how that worked out for Nippon: they got on so well
that around 1940 they felt they could take on the world.
Mistake! but after that, they wised up even further.
You may have noticed a whole new year has started.
You can find it here.
Now, About That Hospital
Medical specialists union is glad that finally, a new hospital is in sight. But they make some highly interesting and suggestive remarks:
—the design is virtually the same as that for the Amstel terrain, which has hardly been discussed with the specialists;
—there is no central lab, only a very small lab for emergencies;
—number of beds, layout and capacity seem to have been thought up by the designers.
The designers have worked in reverse, by first completing the design and only then asking hospital management for advice, for which very little time was given. All this (and much more) results in a worrisome situation as regards the future exploitation.
The design is even compared with that of the airport terminal, which was built too small for future developments, with inferior materials.
Soab government accounting has released their report on OW [public works] to parliament, so we may expect a leak soon. Soab sent a more concrete "very clarifying" complement to minister Balborda. And before I forget, we hardly need that leak as we know all we need to: the minister is advised to lodge a complaint with the police for "missing documents". How could I forget?
But will he remember?
Tiara in Trouble
Like DAE before them, now Aruba Tiara Air is in trouble, as it seems for the same reason: Venezuela's Cadivi foreign exchange regulator owes them over 23 million dollars. On December 23, Tiara asked for and got a moratorium on payments.
New minister of education Dick, #6 or 7 in 3 years—but who's counting? asks for education to start at 0 years of age, as the first 0-4 years are most important; now that will fight crime. Is what the Jesuits said: "Give me a child for his first seven years and I'll give you the man." Really? Start
brainwashingeducation in the birth clinic?
Seems to me that there was less crime when hopelessly amateurish parents started education at that age, and the state, the church, whatever only took over at about six. But that's strictly old-fashioned. One can't have to do with the other, can it?
Needless to say, the anti-fluoride freaks are devastated because the amount of fluoride in drinking water will be augmented to higher than previous levels. One mother loudly complains that she buys 30 bottles of water if the supermarket every week so their children won't have to drink that "poison".
Hey, how about the BPA in those plastic bottles? Also alleged to be a killer by the same sort of people. You can't win, can you?
OW [public works] explains why the roads are so rotten: it's on purpose! Contrary to popular opinion that potholes and all that reduce traffic safety, OW claims that they shrink from maintenance of "dangerous" roads because that would result in more accidents.
It certainly is an original theory; but we suspect it's telling the tale, as con-men call it.
PIAS Rosaria, who allegedly has lost 50% of his party's followers because of lack of resistance against PM Arsjes white-washing the Marvel Woman Wiels affair, is now trying some damage control by wondering out loud if ex-PM Shorty should not be forced to take his leave as a member of parliament, as he is suspected of several crimes. Diversionary tactic, Rosaria?
Truth be told, the USA government holds its share of criminals as well.
Good Advice: Don't Need an Ambulance
It's good advice anyway, but more and more complaints are coming in about the slowness and lack of professionalism of the ambulance service. The ambulances were reorganized some two years ago after the old service was driven to bankruptcy by ex-PM Shorty and his minister of health, Quackie Constancia.
Better keep your money on hand when you need an ambulance; it will cost you 915 guilders—cash. You are even then very lucky if it arrives within the legal time limit of 5-30 minutes, depending.
The mandatory cash registers (to enable sales tax control) will not be compulsory on January 1 but only on August 1. That's the second delay; first April 1 was announced.
Just a Coïncidence
Justice minister Navarro complains he cannot keep on building prisons and locking everybody up! The problem starts with education, which has gone downhill since 30 or 40 years. I cannot feel that is just coïncidentally just about as long as since the 1969
revolutionriots took place.
So Much for Positivismo
The Central Bank announces that, after the .1%
negative growthpositive shrink of 2012, this year's will be 0.5% with an unemployment rate of 9.8% growing to 13%; for youth 24.7% to 37.4%. That means that our "new, improved" government did 5 times as bad as Shorty's. Next year, a growth of .5% is predicted. Hah! We'll see about that.
Minister Palm, who estimated a 2013 growth of .5%, can put it in his pipe and smoke it. Boy, will it stink.
The really bad news is, the expected growth next year will come from more government activities.
Used to That
Water price will go up, like other forms of robbery (but to be honest, those often go with assault) one of the things you can count on here, with a full guilder per m3 or 6%. Electricity as well. Why bother figuring it out?
Setbacks for Shorty
You'd almost feel sorry for the guy, 'almost' being the key word. For those two years it went so well and now it's just one dang thing after another—and then some more. Now it's the electric cars he was pushing, but of which precious little has been heard lately. No wonder: that electric Renault delivery van his company was using was such a hit in Israel, you can buy 'em there now for half the price.
For sure PM Arsjes is lying (we're used to that) when he states "he doesn't know" if the logo of the new hospital, designed by Usona, is based on the Pueblo Soberano party logo. At least health minister Whiteman doesn't play that childish game and confirms it: "Both PM and health minister are PS members." He can't say if the design is final.
Let's hope not: the dirty colors of the design don't carry associations with strict hospital hygiene.
2 [Too] Enthralling!
PIAS Rosaria has now asked minister Palm to look into the 600k guilders Korpodeko paid out to Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) en FKK Curaçao soccer club, as requested by then PM Shorty. Won't help much, especially if Palm has to work on it: like in the old song My Darling Clementine they're "gone and lost forever".
Avoid Being Saved by the Coast Guard!
Details are kept scarce, but 15 December three Coast Guard went out boating in their free time—in a Coast Guard boat; which they managed to sink, resulting in one of them 'missing;. Permanently, I guess. Now they want to suspend the other two guys while they investigate.
Discipline must be even scarcer than those details! Do they pay to take a boat out for a pleasure trip? Who's paying for fuel? Who is paying for the boat? Answer: You and me of course.
In July, two kids were taken for a ride by that self-same Coast Guard and ended up in hospital.
Shorty Practices, Gets Injured
He fell from his roof and was taken to hospital. There's now even more wrong with him than before. But what was he doing on his roof? He's not talking, but In My Humble Opinion, as the expression goes, he wanted to practice his downfall—with predictably ruinous results.
He's out again.
Rumors were he was shot down from that roof, but it seems, not so.
That Sounds Better
Minister van der Horst is just threatening the spoiled brats, not us honest working folks, with his 10% crisis levy: when the civil servants will not give in, it's their salaries that will be cut. Go ahead and call it justice, I won't protest.
Let's hope they all resign in revolt.
It's official now: there has not been one single major hurricane in 2013.
On May 23 NOAA predicted a continued era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes.
For the six-month hurricane season, which began June 1, there was a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
In reality, 2013 had the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982: count 'em, just two (2) just made it to category 1, bottom range.
Let's Go Figure
Just in good clean fun, of course... Nothing serious... But Ballast-Nedam announces they have the contract for our new Otrabanda hospital HNO (note they use the old and correct if not PC spelling, just like I stubbornly do), value €108million or ANG263m orUSD148m. Total costs are estimated at ANG400m.
How much is Ballast-Nedam paying in bribes, would you think? A measly 5%, ANG20m; a more reasonable 10%, ANG40m; or an unstinting 20%, ANG80m? After all, lots of people (whom I won't mention, hey!) have worked hard to get Ballast-Nedam that juicy tidbit and now look forward to receiving their just if not lawful rewards.
What says you? You wish they'd get their real rewards? Check the item below; there's still hope.
FAS Not Finished
Although ex-PM Shorty, to many people's mirth, is now an official "suspect" for money laundering and fraud, FAS, one of those who started the ball rolling, is not satisfied yet. They have now approached the Tax Persons, pointing out that MOT [unusual transaction reporting] does not work very well. Shorty, over and above his generous salary as a deputy, salted away about 1 million guilders in two years resulting in over 50 MOT reports. Interesting and even alluring, fascinating and thought-provoking. It's alleged not one single MOT report made it from finance to justice department.
Between April and September the number of civil servants went down with 24. It's hard to make sense of this, as at the same time the number of people who got a government salary grew with 32.
At any rate, we now know how many civil servants there were end September: 3611; employees: 4620. The government is obliged to publish these figures every month, but sometimes they forget and who cares, after all? (This time it took 'em over 2 months to publish 5 months' worth together.)
Oh NO! Not Again!
Minister van der Horst has given public warning that, if the spoiled brats AKA "civil" servants don't give in, another 10% crisis tax like that in the 1990s (which we are still
payingbleeding for) will be necessary.
Maybe he counts on the gesundes Volksempfinden to cause such an uproar they'll just have to climb down. I count otherwise.
All in all, van der Horst wants to cut 130 million from the government budget; 50 million of that should come from the civil servants. If he doesn't succeed, it's the pensions that will be cut. I'm not very much impressed by van der Horst announcing that ministers' salaries and vacation allowances will be frozen for two years, the more so as their telephone costs and pension arrangements will not be cut (as was promised).
It's already to late to have the proposed measures start by January 1.
PIAS wants ex-PM Shorty, who's suspected of fraud and money laundering, to take his leave as parliament member. PIAS Rosaria claims a majority of parliament members agrees. Now he speaks up—sure, better than never.
Whiteman, Wise Man
Minister of health Wiseman is not the only one who thinks that present fluoridation is too low, despite protests by "pure nature" freaks and witch doctors. He also sees no reason to entertain MFK Shorty and PS Leonora's idea to start yet another investigation. Parliament then voted for more fluor; so there.
Won't Help One Bit
Dutch parliament wants a letter of their PM Rutte expressing his opinion on the discussion in our Staten about Marvel Woman Wiels and its cover-up by Arsjes (The Obese One).
Leeflang has lodged a complaint against FDRS because its founder Cecilia had declared that she was working at ministry of finance but she really was not longer there. Leeflang alleges that this was done to have the project under responsibility of the ministry and accuses Cecilia of fraud. Further, Cecilia claimed she was director of FDRSn but founder Sulvaran denies she's ever been director.
Finally, according to Leeflang 100k guilders were illegally paid out to the foundation over and above the legal subsidy of 1.3m.
Funding was applied for on May 13 this year when the foundation did not even exist yet.
Hiring Freeze Thawed
The hiring freeze on government personnel has resulted in 98 new workers coming in and 30 flowing out. Net growth in September 68. As there were 4611 a year ago, that's about a 1.5%
growthnegative shrink. Those 68 extra in one month are .6% of the total Curaçao labor force.
Shortly, we'll have a new minister of education. Number six in three years, if I haven't lost count. It's Irene Dick. I had no idea she had anything to do with PS... shocking! Maybe that's just for the occasion.
In the cargo hold of a plane arriving in Europe an amount of € 2.8 million has been found and confiscated. It consisted of €500 notes, which was thought funny because there are very few of those around in Curaçao. The money was said to belong to a client of Girobank (which is in trouble); however, Girobank later denied this and said it was theirs, on its way to a bank in Malta where they have an account, "a normal procedure".
Girobank became house banker of the government (which with Pensioenfonds still owns shares) in 2011 as a reward for giving MFK minister Imalootin's Speedy money transports their business. In August 2011 Imalootin was raided by the cops in connection with the Robbie dos Santos affair.
Seems this happened two years ago already, just now became known. Two years ago, huh?
Wish He Would, But Will He?
The majority of Staten parliament members think that ex-PM Shorty should take his leave as parliament member as long as he stands accused of several crimes. There is no law or other arrangement that would force him to stay out until his name is cleared. Only his own MFK-party and MAN "Mudbelly" Cooper think he should stay on. MAN Koeiman shows how much he knows (or how little respect he has) about the trias politica by stating that the Public Ministry cannot be "higher" than an elected parliament member. No, but it's just as "high"—that's exactly the point.
The Day After Tomorrow
Yes, it's hard to believe, but that's when the actual building activities for the new hospital will start. That we're still around to enjoy it!
You can visit the hopital's page on FakeBooc.
Former inspector-general of health Fontilus, who was pensioned off by "quackie" Constancia in 2011, has little confidence in the way things are going, the more so as there still is no successor of Huurman. The past five years, in his opinion, health services have seriously deteriorated.
She's Still There
Marvel Woman Wiels is still holding her post as our rep. in Holland, in spite of all lies about her training, experience and CV. That PM Arsjes would support her was clear, as he owes her. But now we all know how integer party PAIS and leader Rosaria really are. A motion to get rid of her got only 8 "for" against 11 "against" votes in parliament.
Independent MP Leeflang wanted Wiels's head examined, and PNP Davelaar told us we should have "Christian compassion" with that bag of manure.
The "proof" Wiels showed that she had worked in a high function at ABN-Amro Bank was a business card that mentioned this.
Let's face it: this woman was Wiels' sister and presumably had more or less the same upbringing; and she's an influential member of the same Pueblo Soberano party that, thanks to the wimps of PAIS, is still in power. Draw your own conclusions.
Not There Yet
We still have no inspector of health, Notwithstanding the promises of health minister Whiteman that there were two candidates to replace Huurman, who was kicked out seven months ago despite a very successful petition to have him stay.
Girobank in Trouble
Girobank, in 2002 still belonging to the government but now mostly to New York IIG Capital, had been doing pretty well since. However, yesterday, Central Bank has taken control of management. The word is Girobank is in trouble because of a huge DAE Airline (now bankrupt) debt and others.
So Modest, Still Exploitation
PM Arsjes holds a discourse in which the following words spring, toad-like, from his lips: "I am not going to compare [Nelson Mandela and Wiels}." Then he goes on to do just that—such chutzpah! "Both were leaders and knew how to influence the people [sure enough]. Both had the wellbeing of the people in mind." And some more things as well, exactly like like their successors.
You're Telling Us?
"Measures are imperative" fearless PAIS leader Rosaria proclaims. If they are not taken now, the island will crash. He does notice (almost) everything.
Titillating: not only were no civil servants fired after 10-10-10, much worse; many have since been added. And naturally! they all stand on their "rights".
I told you so.
Mid 2012 ex-PM Shorty requested Korpodeko to put the royal sums of 400k and 200k "at his disposal" (for the FCCA Florida Caribbean Cruise Association conference and soccer club FKK/Mundial). At least Antilliaans Dagblad claims that follows from a letter that "turned up". Korpodeko will not comment, not denying and not confirming. They just repeat that since 1996 they've had no government subsidy.
Korpodeko's loss that year was 5.9 million.
Can't Believe My Eyes
PAIS Minister van der Horst proposes a salary reduction for members of parliament and ministers, possibly combined with less vacation money, stopping indexing for two years, limit telephone reimbursement and adapt present pension provisions. He says we all have to do our bit.
This should certainly be an impulse for those spoiled brats to pipe down; but I'm afraid they won't.
Independent MP Sulvaran is mad at newspaper Ultimo Noticia because they published he, as president of FRDS has donated himself a car (Audi A4, cost 100,000 guilders). He says it's not true and wants them to correct; for a half page worth. Ultimo Noticia also claims Sulvaran has used government subsidies for personal gain.
Question: what car does he drive around in? But he also claims he is not a board member of FRDS. If Ultimo Noticia doesn't correct he'll go to court.
The Longer It Takes, the Better
The 80/20 law, that monument to the late great Wiels, is not in effect yet. And it won't be before 2015Q1. Small wonder, it's minister's Francisca's job. Wonder if she'll still be around then.
Plan A Discarded, Now for Plan B
As owners of the plots on which the new hospital was supposed to be built asked too much money, that's the end of plan A. Plan B entails buying up shopping center Colon and using that terrain Amparo dos Santos claims is his.
Plan C: Back to the Amstel terrain?
In court, two weeks later it was decided dos Santos had no valid claim on the lot.
Cop Corps Chief Suspended
Without giving any details, minister of justice Navarro announces that cop chief Wernet has been suspended for three months, pending an investigation into his integrity. I'm not very much surprised; only that it actually happens.
It's pretty final by now that CDM/DOK will have to close down. In which case the 120 million which have to be paid out to those Cuban slaves, will have to be paid out by the government which owns DOK lock, stock and barrel. Even if that worthy minister de Palm doesn't seem to understand that.
As DOK refuses to pay up, money payable to DOK by foreign customers are being seized abroad, which tends to scare those clients off. The floating dock is so rusted away that it has been out of service for two years, anyway.
FDRS Foundation for Sports and Social Responsibility Fund has received half a million in subsidy, of which 437.789 has been spent, with no results in sight but expensive cars for the management. Who declare that from January 1st they'll have all sorts of great things running for poor youth between ages 4 and 24: sports, artistic training, showing off talents, guiding and coaching... Don't know about you, but I've heard enough, already.
Wonderful that there always seems to be money available for Sports. Well, almost always!
UTS on the Brink
Maduro-Curiel's Bank has stopped all further credit to UTS telecommunications, who have a severe cash flow problem. Apart from the fact that they must get rid of one third of their workers and other problems
mentioned before, they now have to get rid of the highly praised almost finished Ctex data-center, plus sell all their superfluous buildings and properties. Quite a list.
A very good question is, if UTS goes bankrupt, who or what will take over? The company with its glass-fibre network serving telephone, internet and much more is of vital importance to Curaçao and its economy.
Good, But Still Too Many
The number of onderstand [welfare] receivers has gone down the past few years, but it's still at 5426 (1933 M, 3493 F), which is 7-14% (depending on how you figure) of the working population.
No, not Al Capone style, more's the pity. The committee was installed by former sheikh of stagnation El Hakim and its task, establishing a clear vision and strategy for the development of a maritime center of which CDM/DOK would be part, has been finished. The master plan, estimated at 50m-70m guilders ($27.5m-38.5m) was supposed to create 2000 direct and 500 indirect jobs (incidentally, just this year). Nobody's telling if, how and when these grandiose plans will be implemented.
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members have been paid.
A vote of no confidence in parliament against minister Francisca didn't make it. A real shame!
And the 2014 budget did make it. There are precious few alternatives anyway, right.
Optimism vs. Realism
The government assumes a growth percentage of 0.5%, but estimates that 600 new jobs will be created next year, based on a growth percentage of 1%. So, realistically, there will be 300 new jobs; maybe. What's that percentage based on
growthshrink was almost 1% and we may have lost over 2500 jobs; only, minister Palm isn't there to come up with figures.
Traffic minister Balborda shows his vision by proposing future toll roads. An example is Caracasbaaiweg, that would be unburdened by a separate toll road. Balborda claims "many drivers" have told him they would pay for "extra comfort". Extra? Oh, let it go. Anyway, I haven't met a single one of these fairytale drivers.
Next question, where would Balborda propose to put those roads? There's just no space left, just look on a map.
Knock Knock, Who's Not There?
The 2014 budget is being discussed in staten parliament; so, naturally, minister of economic affairs Palm isn't there. He's on yet another of his notorious junkets, this time to see a bunch of tour operators. It would be the second time he'd miss an appointment with them, he explains. Makes you ask yourself how long in advance those parliament meetings are planned.
Say, let's all raise money and buy the guy an agenda. On second thought, no... a waste of money. He wouldn't use it.
It's not so easy to find real Curaçao crime statistics. Everybody's complaining but nobody knows how bad it is; we just get reassurances that something will be done about it. What, when and how is anybody's guess—even that of the guys who half-heartedly try to reassure us.
Anyway, Philippe Maaskant pointed out WikiCrimes, where you can search for "Curaçao" crime statistics. You can also report crimes, which is the great weakness of Wiki in general; these figures are not very reliable.
ça Va Sans Dire
Ex-PM Shorty made his lawyer write a letter (or, his lawyer made Shorty sign it, I wouldn't know) to protest against the raids of yesterday. They also state that FAS's last complaint is inadmissible; which hardly matters in my layman's opinion as that complaint has been superseded by the prosecutor's actions.
Godett, naturally, came out to compare the situation with his own prosecution, insinuating that the public ministry started raiding without having any proof, just to obstruct a politician they don't like. He doesn't manage to hide the fact that he was duly convicted and had to spend time in prison; after all, everybody remembers, especially as he used it for propaganda. I wouldn't think it a coïncidence that Godett was indicted for money laundering and fraud—just what Shorty is suspected of.
As far as I know, just like in the USA and Holland and most Western countries the cops can't go raiding a place just because they feel like it. They need a bevel tot huiszoeking [search warrant].
But We Are Mere
What would you do if money was tight and your personnel wanted a raise? I guess you'd put those plans for a sumptuous mansion aside for a while. Not so the government, of course: they are still planning their new ambtenarenpaleis [civil servants palace], price tag 119 million guilders (over $65m). Location will be known in January.
Minister van der Horst thinks they'll save money that way. Maybe, but it is sure to cost us.
MFK Thodé feels that the police have shown no respect in their action against ex-PM Schotte, who after all is a member of parliament and "thus" deserves more reverence. He is especially pissed off because the cops gave no advance warning [!]
Let me snappily say, I don't agree with Thodé. (Evidently, neither do the police.)
Let's All Strike!
The spoiled brats of the 7 civil servants unions have announced a strike for tomorrow (December 11). They don't like the government cutting incomes as an austerity measure. The unions call this a "national strike" which shows you how self-important they feel. It's no such thing; the normal, working, population will not strike. And by the way you know, the strike will be during work hours paid by us, and workers at government-owned companies are also invited to join. Schools will be closed all day.
But minister van der Horst states that negotiations are still going on.
After the raid on dos Santos' office, OM and cops have raided ex-PM Shorty's lawyers and public notary, and there now has been a follow-up in the form of raids on his MFK-party's office and his home. Shorty has not been arrested, nor has anybody else. Yet. But Shorty is definitely and officially a suspect.
No doubt this will stop FAS' new indictment, for which a court session was planned tomorrow afternoon, as its has become superfluous.
Press writes this is in connection with the Wiels murder case, which will come to court December 18. No doubt many believe there is a link, but the Public Ministry denies any connection.
The Public Ministry released a statement in which they told our eager ears that no less than 6 (six) raids have been held, among which one on an office in the Staten [parliament] building. The investigation primarily concerns money laundering and related offences. 2013-12-09
Ramoncito Booi, Bonaire politician who is being investigated for what's called "alleged" corruption, is now suspected of having helped KLM with low kerosene [Jet A1 fuel] prices and having Flamingo airport adapted for large aircraft (so KLM could move their stopovers Europe-Latin America from Curaçao to Bonaire—as long as that lasted).
Mark that KLM is now a partner of InselAir. Those Dutch Royals!
We haven't been writing much about this at the time—just one more item in a heap of excrement—but ambulance service CEMS has been driven to bankruptcy by the combined efforts of ex-PM Shorty and minister of infirmity Quackie Constancia. Why? Probably just to get rid of the management.
Korpodeko Not Kaput
Korpodeko management states they don't understand minister Palm's "frightening" comments. Reading between the lines, Korpodeko doubts Palm's competence. Also, Korpodeko notes they have not had any subsidy since 1996. (So what is Palm meddling with? Maybe he doesn't know that fact.)
One in three tourists prefers not to stay in a hotel, but rather in private lodgings. It's worse (as usual) than CTB tells it: only 66% pay for their stay, the rest stays with family, friends or in their own house. Why call them "tourists" at all?
After the routine convolutions in CTB's statistics what it comes down to is, tourism has, at best, remained the same last year. Now what if we don't count those fake tourists?
About Those Drones
Remember how substitute Chávez president Maduro of Venezuela was screaming about drones, stationed here? Then there was this guy Santiago Canton who took up on it, not to say doubled down on it; he's director of the "Robert F. Kennedy Partners for Human Rights". Sounds impressive, huh?
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is famous, not to say infamous, as one of those who stepped right into the trap of the Vaccinations Cause Autism hoax. He still believes that crap.
Thought to not-so-subtly point it out it. Another confidence builder.
One can hardly blame Maduro, he's just a nitwit who needs all the diversion he can get from his disastrous policies. As for the others...
U Mite Well...
... wonder, as some letters-to-Ye-editors writers do, how cum supermarket food prices have gone up like crazy since OB sales tax on them has gone down.
And say, how about those grandiose plans for the government to import food, thus bringing down prices? Which would be a really unique thing to behold.
Maybe Aqualectra is recovering, but we're paying through our noses for it. Because ex-PM Shorty forced the utility to lower tariffs in 2011, we now have to pay 95 cents/m3 more than what it should cost—which is outrageous to begin with. Similar for electricity.
You may well ask why minister Jardim doesn't follow Palm's way of dealing with the problem. Maybe, possibly, probably he's more of a minister.
It's also fascinating that Aqualectra has not yet come up with yearly accounts over 2011 and 2012 (is why they can't get bank loans), which is a flagrant crossing of rules. Oh, (almost) forgot, they're still owned by
the peoplethe government so rules don't apply.
"Go boil your head" essentially is economy minister Palm's reaction to CDM/Dok's $80m debt: he will not assist them.
The debt is largely caused by the Cuban slaves' claim of $120m (of which half has been paid). But Palm's assertion that the government has nothing to do with this is sheer hypocrisy. Maybe not this government per se, but after all the blunders of his predecessor (sheikh of stagnation el Hakim) are now his responsibility. That's how it works, Palm; tough.
CDM/Dok now has 275 workers who will be unemployed if the company has to close. They can join the multitude, who cares?
UTS will fire some 200 workers, who will get an average compensation of ANG240k each, the equivalent of 2-3 years of salary. Even better, they'll get that money tax-free. Wow!
One real problem for UTS is, they pay some 20 million/year to BTP [Bureau Telecom & Post], a government institution in an opulent office with its own fitness center.
Also of interest is that Willemstad center (Punda and Otrabanda) will have free WiFi starting December 23. (We pay about ANG100/month for a broadband connection.) This will surely cost UTS.
Not yet—but development bank Korpodeko has been losing money since 2009. Small wonder, over 50% of the loans are never paid back. Now minister Palm wants Soab [government accounting] to investigate the process by which loans are granted.
MFK Thodé reacts to PAIS Rosaria's proposal for a new law regulation party finances. Says Thodé, before you have a new law you should first administer the present one. Well... no, not necessarily. But at any rate Thodé confirms that the existing law is not applied.
Now Public Tender
The police tell us that the new cars have not been ordered yet; the process has been delayed as after all, a public tender will be held. Also the total cost will not be 10 million but only 7.4 million—which still sounds outrageous with a price per car ANG165,000/USD90,000.
Those cops are really costing us this year: they all get new Glock guns and bullet-proof vests as well.
Two radiologists who were suing Sehos hospital for their salaries must be paid, the court ordered. One of the judge's remarks was that the hospital may have been "technically bankrupt for twenty years already, but as this is the only hospital it will never be allowed to go bankrupt".
They had a massive power breakdown in Venezuela; you must have read about it. It made the world press, after all. This was the second one since September 5, a reason for president Maduro to yell and scream that it was "sabotage!" just to make him and his socialist regime look bad.
Here, we're so used to it that we hardly react anymore, let alone yell "sabotage!" At the most, "incompetence!"
Costly Cop Cars
Just saying: these are all cheaper than what justice minister Navarro just bought for cop patrol cars!
—Audi S8 $110,000
—BMW M5 $90,200
—Cadillac CTS-V $63,215
—Fisker Karma $102,000
—Lexus LS600H $112,750
—Maserati Quattroporte $102,500
—Mercedes Benz CL Class $114,100
Remember when deputy Rignald Lak bought Mercedes Benz cars for all deputies 10 years ago? This is even worse.
Still Stealthy Stealing?
Now Wega di Number gambling supervision all of a sudden misses 1.6 million guilders from their bank accounts. Turns out that not all board members have been replaced and it's one mess where all sorts of things happen that shouldn't. Minister Palm has ordered an investigation.
Wega di Number gets a yearly government subsidy of ANG350k.
Dentist de Brabander wants to start a "watchdog for quackery". It is weird that no one else in the medical profession has ever come forward to open his mouth and comment on the many forms of quackery we have here. Just look in the phone book under "medical" [sic]. No doubt his initiative is triggered by the fluoride fuss.
Traffic Cushions Moved
On at least one main road the traffic cushions will be removed "to prevent traffic jams." They will be applied in quiet neighborhoods with secondary roads and pester the people there. Why not discard them altogether? Everybody has been paid long since anyway.
More Cop Cars
The police tells us that there are plenty of cars, but so many cops are calling in sick (falsely), that there are not enough cars on the road for patrols. This has become quite a racket: if too many cops are "sick" others (family and friends) have to take over, which results in overtime; while the "sick" cops moonlight for security services.
That didn't take long: minister van der Horst told the civil servants union that their "saving" proposals boil down to new taxes, and that the government does not want to introduce any. To the contrary, the taxes will have to be reduced. Which means that lowering government personnel costs is unavoidable. He's talking about say 50 million of what's now 475; but by the time this can be accomplished the costs will have grown to 650m.
As an afterthought, we are told that "dismantling the Netherlands Antilles has not led to more efficiency." I told you so ad nauseam; and so am I sick myself; you may have noticed. Reading between the lines, as it were.
Aqualectra Wants to Fire
The utility made a loss of over 14m guilders this year, which at least is better than 2011's loss of 75 million (yes, the first year of PM Shorty's government). Still, they want to get rid of 26 million/year worth of personnel; about 1 in 5 would have to go. Burning question: will the layoffs concern management or blue collar workers?
Independent MP Leeflang asks justice minister Navarro, how come 45 new police cars have been bought for 10m guilders without public tender? Good question!
That's over ANG222,000/USD122,000 per car. Does make one wonder.
One Had Other Priorities
Brazilian airline GOL has tried twice to make a hub of Curaçao Hato Airport. MAN Atalita now sent out a private release that it's the fault of the present government, which at first face sounds weird because GOL had opted for Santo Domingo instead long before we had the present gang.
CAH airport holding reacts it was MAN's "Mudbelly" Cooper who twice thwarted negotiations, because GOL would be too much competition for InselAir.
But Ariaensz, presently director of Hato airport, is not blameless himself.
And another good question is, why for crying out loud did that sheikh of stagnation el Hakim go to Brazil 2013-11-30
I Dare Say
The civil servants unions claim that the government can save over ANG160m/year and even indicate how, without (there's the crux) touching their cozy salaries and conditions. Sounds good, huh?
However, among the ways to "save" money are, you'll never guess, ideas to grab more tax loot! All in all, the "savings" indicated would really save a mere 8m, 5% of the total. The rest comes from new taxes and catching up with old taxes. In other words, screw us more.
Ex-VDC head Gumbs has received a letter from the government that he's fired as from December 1. That would end a three-year affair starting with a fight between ex-PM Shorty and Gumbs because of the VDC ministers' screening. However, it's not over yet! Gumbs sued immediately and the judge will pronounce next Tuesday.
Couldn't find out what the judge said (oh, those media!) but Gumbs started a new process immediately. Gumbs does not accept that he was fired because his security dept. allegedly leaked info on ex-PM Shorty's MOT transactions, while now the public ministry is suing Shorty because of those very same transactions.
Famous Last Words? "At All Costs"
PM Arsjes finally comes out: Marvel Woman Wiels will remain minister, adding "whether you like it or not." Spoken like a true dictator! Too bad he hasn't got much of a neck to break, but that's strictly ad hominem. But now that he mentions it, it should "cost" him that self-same neck.
By the way you know, Wiels has never been screened. A new lie: she asserts the Dutch screened her, but they deny this and emphasize that would be illegal.
There's now a 15-person committee to figure out how to proceed with the future of Isla refinery. There are two workgroups and they will look into (best guess is, separately but with these clowns you never can tell) both modernizing the junk heap and what to do when we're finding no takers.
They will be assisted and seconded by KPMG. Yes, those same guys.
Gee, I wonder how much you get paid for being a committee member. Let alone KPMG's hefty fees.
They Have No Idea
While the building preparations for the new hospital are going full steam ahead (some people, naturally! making a lot of money in the process) it's not even been decided what functions the hospital is supposed to have. Will there be a maternity ward? general practitioners? ambulance service? No decisions yet, even though there have been discussions for fully over two (2) weeks on this. Those architects must be clairvoyant.
Petty Crime Syndicate
Justice minister Navarro has presented a plan to combat criminality. He says it's all the fault of crime syndicates taking over our society. No doubt. But some people wonder if it's those mafiosi's worth while to, as in a recent instance, rob an 83-year old woman and steal her dentures: it's big crime and petty crime threatening our society. Navarro's plan addresses only "organized crime"; worse, even there it totally lacks a strategy.
The fishermen are angry because Curaçao is in danger of being blacklisted by the €U, in consequence of illegal fishing practices. But it's nothing to do with them; as usual, our Greedy Government is to blame. To make an extra buck, hey sell cheap flag licenses to anybody who cares to pay [less than elsewhere] and do not exert any controls whatsoever—and there you go and here we are.
Still Costing Money
Operations of KTK Curaçao Towing Panamá, an ill-starred endeavor of some megalomaniacs who thought they'd compete with Dutch Smit tugs, came to an end in July 2011. Nobody's telling how much this bad and even tasteless joke has cost us, but there's still an outstanding debt outstanding of USD148k, still going strong and still strongly growing.
One of those megalomaniacs is Amparo dos Santos. Say, that strikes a familiar chord! Never rains but pours.
Even in Venezuela, where the economy is a shambles and has been for longer than I care to remember, with an inflation rate stubbornly remaining about 55%/year, the GDP
shrinks negativelygrows positively with 1.1% (Q3 2013; in Q2 2.6%). Unemployment is now (down) to 7.6%.
Here, depending on how you count, shrink is 2.2%-0.9% and unemployment 10.3%, up 2.5%.
Ballast Nedam, builders and designers of the new hospital, are once again accused of fraud. This time in Saudi Arabia, where admittedly fraud and bribery may be even more ingrained than here, for 500 million dollars paid out to local, let's say, dignitaries. It was arranged by an accountant working for KPMG accounting, but they hasten to inform us that he has been pensioned since then. Nevertheless, they're being sued as well.
Marvel Woman Wiels has not seen fit as yet to follow up on her promises that media persons could make a private appointment to peruse her cv, diplomas and references. As if she planned to.
Neither has PM Arsjes been commenting, "as yet". Will he ever do so?
Sint Maarten wants to get out of the Central Bank, get rid of the ANG guilder and adopt the USD dollar as legal tender. Don't know if they can do this; CB will comment next week. It's sure to cost us.
Amparo dos Santos (definitely a relation) claims that he is owner of a large area on which part of that new hospital will be built. If you just occupy a piece of real estate, after 10-20 years it becomes yours; and not only for all practical purposes—it's legal.
Go ahead and blame me for not being optimistic, but when independent MP Leeflang introduced a law Jeugd Agriculturele Brigade (JAB) [Youth Agrarian Brigade} I could only groan. She claims there's room for 1000 agriculture workers.
It's hard to get a grip on this, but as far as I can find out the total of workers in agriculture, forestry and fishery was 234 in 2011. A lot of workers there are essentially black-market, too true. But to think you can multiply this by 5 and get fully employed workers to boot looks very unrealistic indeed.
Apart from the remark that the word "brigade" smacks of Hitler-Jugend, USSR and Mao-China.
Rejoice! One More Party
It's KÒRSOU LIBER ASOSIÁ (KLA) [Free Associated Curaçao]. Just what we needed! They even had a website.
Some people got together and set up a club here to fight discrimination based on one's religion. Let's wonder together what's the good of that—I never encountered this in Curaçao. At base school, technically roman catholic, we had pupils of every ilk and none of them was forced to join the catholic ceremonies,
indoctrinationbible lessons etc. Which still went when my daughter, a very much shorter time ago, went to high school.
But a red-hot clue is that one of the three initiators is called Mohamad. Aha! Would this be one of those movements where "they" start to ask for equal rights that, on a closer look, turn out to be more equal for some religions (to wit, Islam) than for others? A world-wide phenomenon.
Ironical but not funny, in the modern world it's only Islam countries where other religions are discriminated, a much too weak word, against: Egypt-Copts; Syria, Indonesia-Christians; India-Hindus; elsewhere-Buddhists. And please note, the recent hoax that Angola has forbidden Islam is just that: a hoax.
Will Those Replies Ever Come?
Two days before he was murdered, Whirley-Wheels Wiels asked 31 questions in parliament about allegedly illegal sms lottery sales. Even though it has been agreed that questions would be replied to in max. 6 weeks, no such replies have been forthcoming.
Methinks, just a personal opinion, it's high time this PM Arsjes clown has to go. He's just not to be trusted, which he has just proved again with the Marvel Woman business.
There We Go, Once Again
Now MFK Thodé wants to know why minister Jardim had to visit Portugal for five days, and wants to have a report on all his activities. As long as he's at it, he wants the same for all Jardim's foreign trips and their costs.
Similar questions come up like clockwork during every government and yes, many of those trips are suspicious. (Like PM Arsjes recently visiting an Unesco conference in Paris.) But nothing is ever done about them but empty promises.
The workers of Tayer Soshal, called "clients" by the management, have been sent home to consider their position regarding the management, who say "It's not clear what they want." Maybe minister F. Francisca, who started all the trouble, knows.
PAIS wants another check on the four personnel members of the Curaçao house in Holland, appointed by Marvel Woman Wiels. Let's. Hey, what happened to the other two? There were six.
It's strikingly funny that Wiels, after this affair started rolling, belatedly asked permission from the cabinet (as she should have done in the first place) to hire those workers. But that shouldn't help much, as there is a hiring stop by Cft financial supervision in the first place.
Then again, it's not possible to get confirmation that permission has indeed been asked.
In 1911, listening devices were allegedly planted in ex-PM Shorty's car and attorney general Piar complained about them as well. But the head of RST criminal investigation team thinks it's rubbish. The devices found could not work longer than a couple of hours; if his department members had placed junk like that he'd kick them out.
Reading between the lines, fake actions to sow distrust, just like with those devices found in parliament.
On And On
Now the Tayer Soshal workers went on strike and barricaded the entrance so nobody can get in. What the devil does F. Francisca thinks she'll achieve with that?
My heart bleeds for those workers, really, but they're just peons for a politician, as far as I can see. Just makes my bleeding heart bleed harder.
No, That's Bad News
Isla Refineria di Kursow has a negative cash flow. How could that be? Well, it's easy you know, I can do it on my head. (It's because of that turnaround project needing for investments.)
But what makes this so interesting, the government thinks Isla should pay dividend anyway.
VBC entrepreneurs club argues that these laws must be adapted; they are much too stringent and inflexible. Which results in a brake on possible growth as employers shrink back from hiring new personnel they may find themselves stuck with later. This, again, makes investors think twice before investing in Curaçao economy.
Not to mention the 80-20 law.
Cft financial supervision has problems with the ambitious schedule to build and start operating a new hospital in some two years. Maybe worse, it's not even clear yet who will become the owner, which makes the over ANG200m loan Curaçao wants from Holland a legal impossibility.
Not apart from that, Cft is worried about the very large part government is taking in health care and prefers a separate independent entity as planned originally.
Total hospital costs are 400m guilders [$220m].
That's True, Too
Aqualectra utility workers protest: they fear that the management wants to interfere with their working conditions. Personnel costs are much too high.
But workers say that it's the management that has been rotten for years.
Wouldn't Be Surprised
Indications are getting stronger and stronger that PM Arsjes is shielding Marvel Woman Wiels because he owns her: she helped him get in the PS party leadership by declaring that her murdered brother Helmin Wiels had wanted him to. But it's not clear at all if that's so.
It's time for them to go anyway. Wishful, sure.
That's the Term
You know what they used to do, probably still do when wanting to sell a gold mine: load a shotgun with nuggets and shoot into the living rock. Repeat. The prospect will see the gold peeking out which is guaranteed to turn him into a sucker.
It's called "salting the mine" and nicely covers what Marvel Woman Wiels did with her CV .
Not Such a Good Idea
Parliament will be informed every three months on the New Hospital Otrabanda NHO situation, which is fine as far as it goes.
As we are on this subject, again, anyway: it's glaringly obvious that moving the "Amstel" design to the Otrabanda location, discarding the first accepted SEHOS-plans for a step-by-step renewal, after Ballast Nedam put the screws on and insisted on payment for their efforts, ordered by ex-PM Shorty and his sinister of Quackery Constancia. It's a moot point if these two and others have been bribed by Ballast Nedam; any and all proof is lacking. You're quite free to have your own ideas.
All arguments that it was such a fine design are put in the pillory, as for example the "adapted" plans do not take into account that the wind direction, supposedly such a strong point of the "Amstel" plans, is exactly opposite at the Otrabanda location.
But minister Whiteman's bizarre idea that NHO must subsist on a yearly budget instead of getting money for every service provided, and that this will lead to more efficiency, is downright ridiculous. Only someone in government would contrive such a goofy approach. Whiteman (and all his colleagues) should study Parkinson's Law (1955).
MPs are dissatisfied with Marvel Woman Wiels' press conference and want her to explain herself in a public parliament neeting. It's not clear to me if this request to PM Arsjes, signed by four members, will guarantee that.
CDM/DOK is, finally, prepared to consider paying the millions of dollars claim awarded in 2008 by a US court to several Cuban "slaves" who escaped when working there. Reason is, potential clients are worried their possessions may be seized while in DOK's facilities. DOK never even tried to fight the court's verdict.
But DOK has also started clamoring for a 20 million financial injection. Hey, whatever came of those grandiose plans of MFK sheikh el Hakim?
Quoted this at you before, an old Wodehouse line: "Have you ever met a Cabinet Minister? I know dozens,and not one of them wouldn't be grossly overpaid at thirty shillings a week." (from Joy in the Morning, 1949)
Was reminded of that by their jealousy of private sector salaries.
Could Have Been Worse
South American chain GHL Hoteles seems ready to take over the Kura Hulanda business, and also many of their personnel.
Should I sue them? The Cops Club NABP has dubbed minister Navarro minister van onrechtvaardigheid [minister of injustice] which I gave to his predecessor Wilsoen. Aww, let it go... Look at it as a compliment.
Fact remains, Wilsoen really deserved the title more and anyway, I called him sinister of injustice.
Mark that the pun doesn't work in Dutch where this type of minister is not called minister van rechtvaardigheid but minister van justitie. I rest my case.
Rong, Still Wright
Of course I should have fully realized that the turn-Wiels-into-Gandhi process is exactly analog to what happened when Gandhi was turned into a saint. Boy, talk about my being naïve! But the general idea still stands.
Fixed It!The Belly Laugh and the Bronx Cheer
My, certainly have to work hard to catch up with those politicians. Precisely these last days I had to go, things were really hotting up! What with Marvel Woman Wiels and (I'm much too polite to use the glaringly obvious alliteration) Francisca, to name but a few, I have to spend entire mornings catching up with that tomfoolery. Well, almost there.
So, soon I hope and pray I maybe can go back to what I really like to do: start working on my photos.
PAR, for reasons you can understand if you can bear reading what's further below, wants ministers Wiels, Navarro and Francisca to go. Navarro because he won't accept responsibility for everything that went wrong in his ministry (even though he offered to take his leave but was voted back in.)
But Marvel Woman Wiels really is the responsibility of PM Arsjes, says PAR Jesus Leito. Hey, just a thought thrown in for the good of the show, shouldn't Arsjes then go as well?
Even PIAS Rosaria agrees. He said that "from now on the coalition has to work on good governance." Why did he wait that long? Another real confidence builder.
UTS Telecommunications utility wants to fire 200 workers before the end of the year. The fat times are over and done with, and even UTS management is forced to acknowledge the fact. The good news is, UTS is finally trying to sell their misguided annexes in Suriname and St. Kitts.
200 workers? Hey, that's adding 10% to the Grand Total of 2000 this year— which is not even over yet.
Add the "hundreds" Robbie dos Santos threatens to fire and we're really in for a crunch.
Have to confess that it's highly amusing to my sick mind that government-owned UTS set up neo-colonial annexes in other ex-colonies.
But the government, to wit that nitwit Balborda, doesn't accept this. No doubt he'd prefer UTS to go on losing money; after all, we'll all pay for that the taxable way.
Sick of Him
Let's face it, I'm sick of the way this guy Helmin Wiels since he was murdered has been praised to heaven. All of a sudden this thoroughly corrupted nitwit became a saint: who after lustily collaborating with ex-PM Shorty and his goons, then let another, maybe even more corrupted Arsjes take over his party, who didn't have the first inkling of economy... leave it there, that's enough already. And remember, things do tend to run in families.
Where was I? O yeah, now this nitwit has been elevated to some small-time Gandhi, a guy "I wouldn't trust as far as I can throw an elephant".
You want my opinion on His Holiness Gandhi, you're quite welcome to it.
Stuck with Her...
Contrary to questions put and opinions uttered in Dutch parliament, the final responsibility for appointing a Curaçaoan minister, to wit Marvel Woman, in the Rijksministerraad for the kingdom lies with the Curaçao government; not the Dutch. Which is why PAR wants PM Arsjes to come and explain himself in parliament.
Marvel Wiels meanwhile has defended herself, after a very unsatisfactory fashion, not in parliament but in a press conference. She refused to show any papers that would confirm the contested claims in her CV, as that would be contrary some vague law (which doesn't apply if you ask me: it's supposed to protect her but she'd be free to show them herself), but on request she would show them privately. When a newspaper person asked for such a session, he got a flea in his ear.
Summing it up, she did not admit to any wrongdoing, let alone offer her apologies. Now let us see if PIAS Rosaria thinks there's reason to break up a "well-working cabinet." It may work well for him, true.
By the way, now that nobody mentions it any more, what about the 14 October PS meeting where a decision would be taken on the new party administration? Sssst... don't mention it.
Shouldn't He Know the Law?
Justice minister Navarro wants to lodge a complaint against the public ministry, because they are responsible for the suicide of "Pretu", one of the suspects in the Helmin Wiels murder case. I have given this little attention, as 1 I don't know the first thing about it and 2 therefore can't possible say anything about political implications—as obvious as they may seem.
But there's something called the trias politica (look it up) and the government can't interfere with the workings of Justice. A good thing too, as long as it lasts.
Nos Mes Por—NOT
Justice minister PAIS Navarro is afraid the island is being overrun by international criminal organizations who have infiltrated the government right to the very top. He wants help from Holland, St. Maarten and the surrounding islands, as Curaçao alone can't handle it anymore.
It would be interesting to know how other government members think about this. PIAS Rosaria just now stated that, just for the peccadillos of Marvel Woman and F... Francisca, it would be a pity to break up a well-working cabinet. Is what he said. Maybe he's talking about another country.
Actually Actual Action!
Not for the first time, the cops have raided Robbie dos Santos' offices and home, fully equipped with weapons and bullet-proof vests. The public ministry declares the investigation is in its final stages, and no longer concerns money laundering but a 'an extensive criminal investigation of a financial nature'.
Robbie is pissing mad. He claims to've passed on his business to his daughter (which doesn't seem to have helped much). He also threatens to fire all his "hundreds of" personnel by way of revenge (I'd really love to work for a fatherly caring boss like that). But he has already been informed there are laws, you can't just fire people at will.
Ironically, his personnel is said to be "100%" behind their boss and think he should be left alone; instead, the real criminals ought to be combatted.
Maybe even more ironically, dos Santos showed himself to be a really bad PR agent for himself when he let slip that those lotteries were a goner anyway; the young people prefer to gamble on the internet.
Wait and Then, Maybe, See
MAN Mudbelly Cooper announced that in the next parliament meeting, minister Francisca may be presented a confidence motion for her fine handling of the Tayer Soshal business. He's wholeheartedly supported by PAR.
The people working there have been promised higher wages (don't know by whom) and have gone on strike. Management, maybe wisely, is looking for intermediaries to handle discussions.
The End of the Affair
Not really. It has just been established that DAE went down with outstanding debts of ANG65m (~USD36), and virtually no assets. We are not informed about how much money DAE was supposed to be owned by Cadivi for tickets sold in Venezuela; we are told that for all practical purposes, the owner is Korpodeko (who also lost piles of money when ALM/DCA crashed.)
Compared with ALM's total loss of 360m, DAE's debts are peanuts to Korpodeko.
Tipping Point in the Balance
There's that expression again. If you've ever worked with a real balance, you must have noticed there's no sudden "tipping point": a balance very gradually starts to change its balance. But for an economist this would be much too subtle and he'd believe that it tips down like you added a rock when it was only a grain of sand. Had to get it of my chest. Anyway, economists fear that unemployment now has reached a tipping point. Grudgingly, I'll admit they do have a point (hey, some pun, gang!) That tipping point we past long since.
The term was more or less invented by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2000 book How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. (He's an economist.)
Guess Who Gets the Blame?
Well, we of course. Public Works, however they call themselves now—those who fall under minister Balborda's responsibility— have looked at the culverts and stated they are clogged with "kitchen fat, foam trays and ([I guess empty] bottles". In other words, if we hadn't been such slobs everything would be just fine. But we don't have to worry, he continues, "everything is under control"; except for those floods of course.
Just for the sake of it, to satisfy my insatiable curiosity, is this the first time somebody has taken a look at those culverts since they were built—in the early 1950s?
The Rock Crumbles?
There was supposed to be a parliamentary session where Ms. Wiels would explain all about her CV and her nepotism. But the funny thing is, nobody knows anything about a session of the announced date.
Marvel Woman says "I'm always clear and honest myself." She could have fooled me.
No Fat Lady Has Sung Yet
The workers at Tayer Soshal refuse the reinstallment of their old management. I don't know what to think about that. Wisely, the management wishes to avoid any direct confrontation and will look for mediators to find a solution.
Good for Huurman
Our ex-inspector of Health is now on Aruba, where he has found a lot of no-good things; just like he did here. Difference is, Aruba invited him after Curaçao kicked him out.
But Huurman states his job isn't definite yet.
And by the way you know, we hear precious little about that fluoride business anymore. Good!
It's the Same All Over
The so-called "Restaurant Week" in which some forty restaurants participate will not go through. Business is so bad, more than just a few restaurants can't cough up their fees. But don't worry, next year it will go through for sure.
I'm sorry, I couldn't find out what that Restaurant Week is supposed to mean in your and my life.
That's Not Mud, That's Solid Bedrock
Dutch PM Rutte feels that Marvel Woman Wiels is a member of "his" parliament, not the Curaçao one, and if the CV and more allegations are true, he wants to kick her out.
Rumors here are that it was PM Arsjes, not Wiels, who helped her to her post. Sounds reasonable, as Whirly Wheels just hated women and much preferred males.
Arsjes and other highly esteemed dignitaries, among whom PIAS Rosaria, wonder out in public if Marvel Woman's fraud is not just a peccadillo and do we really want to break up that fine government of ours because of a mere bagatelle? Rosaria says he would be perfectly satisfied with a public apology. Tough on Rosaria, because I informedly guess that it will never come. But no doubt Rosaria feels she fits right in with the rest of his and her colleagues, and you gotta admit he's on to something.
Must admit here that Rosaria says that if an apology doesn't com we are working on becoming Zimbabwe 2.0. As if we were not working on that long since.
Another redu is that Wiels was murdered becaus he was setting up a network of guys at key positions in Willemstad harbor, in preparation for a future cocaine smuggling business and the mafioso drug barons didn't like competition. Hey, I'm too smart to sell this as an established fact... somebody could try and sue me... but there's no harm in telling you "I shouldn't wonder".
For Those Who Read Dutch
This is an email Marvelyne Wiels sent to Bazelmans, who claims he's a friend of her murdered brother and has given the public prosecutor the names of the killers. I really don't know what to make of that, Bazelmans seems to feel Wiels was sincere and upfront which I doubt very much. "Naïve" is the adjective which comes to mind.
Anyway, here's Marvel's letter. She can't even type a fart's worth, let alone express herself. Where you read "ii" (look at your keyboard) it should be "oo" etc. Which really makes you wonder about her CV:
De trkrning vsn u aannemen is viir mij geen ptobleem. Uw constante negstievr en niet correcte vrrhslen ben ik er wel klaar mee. Dit doort gedrag past niet bij mensen die beeerrn van Korsiu te houden. Mi n btoer is er miet meer eij hopen dst hij rust krijgt en dat eij xijn tragische. Dood kunnrn verwerken. U nlijft constant hameren op dat jij xij nketd met xijn famie te willen. Dit is niet correct. U firt mensen veel pijn en verdriet. Marvelyne Wiels
Lawlessness and Efficiency
By December, all pupils should have their "free books", with the school year for 1/3 gone. SSC direction gets complaints from some parents that children have not received books. "Tell us what book it is and we'll copy it right away" she says. Which of course is an infringement of even the Curaçao copyright laws.
And then, how much does it cost to have somebody copy a book? But of course, that's overhead and we have paid for that already.
InselAir is stopping their flights to/from Venezuela: it's impossible to get their money from Cadivi foreign exchange regulator. The very same trouble that started DAE's downfall, but nobody believed them, for some reason.
Tiara Air has the same problems. Maybe it's just a coincidence.
Minister Palm published unemployment figures. But by an oversight, or maybe an insight, he omitted the year 2013. The claim is, this will not be available before December. Well, there are those who made a fair guess.
Accepting the 2009 figure of 6721, which is 400 more than in 2009, Palm did a good job: he stimulated unemployment by a factor 5, and the year not even gone yet.
Ministry of Seduc
Remember Rosalia, that first PS minister in a long range of nitwits (to be continued, no doubt) leading the ministry of education. He finally made his fall because of allegations of sexual intimidation. As they say, l'histoire se répète: like in a good drama, the same situations recur. Only the players change, the settings remain the same. This time it's a female intern, who didn't like her boss's advances. The guy sent photographs of his penis to various of his workers and lectured her about how homosexuality was all wrong. Ah, why go on?
What I don't get is why the intern's boss would be allowed to remain anonymous. Sue the bastard!
Some guy wants us to become part of the EC as Ultra Perifeer Gebied. We could decide on this five years from now—in a referendum.
My advice? Don't do it. The EC has long since become an excrescence where a bunch of civil servants, completely Out of Control, think up regulations without the people in the participating countries having a remote chance to have their say.
Marvel Woman Wiels: Worse and Worse
Not only has she falsified her CV, she never got her Master's degree and never finished her studies at the Haagse Hoogeschool. They kicked her out in 2012, and she studied for a "professional master's degree", not a master of science degree.
Her CV further mentions that she was head of an AMRO-Bank department directing 310 people; she really was working quite somewhere else supervising some ten workers. There are at least two more of these "mistakes".
Good for Jacinta
That same social minister has been pressing for lower incomes to pay less BVZ illness premium, but finance minister Navarro declined. Now he has conceded that people who only get old age insurance do not have to pay their 10%.
Bad for Jacinta
Our social minister, one of the PS clan, has been ordered by the judge to reinstall the management of Tayer Soshal social workshop as from next week. She fired 'em all after having received complaints about "abuse, wrongdoing and exploitation".
Personal non-PC Comment: please keep in mind that the Tayer Soshal offers work to the "mentally challenged" (which does seem PC—for now) and that people like that are notoriously easily influenced to declare things you want 'em to. Is what I would call "abuse". This could work both ways, of course.
And Now, for the Protests
Our new governor Lucille George-Wout (first female) gives as her considered opinion that it's time we look at the "Kingdom government as a benign partner and not as a factor detracting from Curaçao's needs." Hear hear. That's quite contrary to those politicians who want to get out AFAP (As Fast As Possible)—after having finished replenishing their pockets' contents.
2000 Jobs Lost
That's for this year only. The total work force consists of 68763 persons according to CBS statistics (page 16), so that's 3%; mainly in the lower middle class.
Venezuela president Maduro said it, so it must be true: the USA has stationed "heavily armed and bomb carrying" drones in Aruba and Curaçao. Everybody denies this, but they would, wouldn't they?
Where would these things be located? We have only one airport, count it, and somebody would be sure to notice if drones started taking off and landing there.
Marvel Woman Wiels
Leeflang has asked PM Arsjes how about those six people "our" minister Wiels in den Haag has hired without proper applications (the Dutch feel this is no affair of theirs.) Another thing is, it turns out that Wiels has falsified her CV. Ex-minister of justice Wilsoen, say this is not a crime. Shows what he knows, as if we didn't know already: not only is CV-fraud a crime punishable with robust fines and even jail time; it's a legit reason for stante pede firing.
Hey, Can't Help It
Sorry, have to keep repeating myself. After a few years ago lots of rain came down causing enormous flood damage, this largely came about because of ruined and, let's say, constipated culverts. Since then, nothing has been done about those.
Finally, this year work started on the roads which were ruined as well by those rains—even though that stems from a much longer history of poor maintenance (read: DOW). Not longer than the history of the culverts, though.
Old Boring Song
Aqualectra utility is "switching" again, which means you never know when you'll find yourself in the dark all of a sudden. They have problems, oh sure. They have had problems ever since the government took over; must be a coincidence. Everybody knows government is much more efficient than private companies who are only out to work efficiently and thus make more money. The bastards.
Oh and by the way you know, finally Curgas delivered our new bomb last Thursday evening, on overtime. The very next day, our other bomb bombed out. We paid on May 2nd, so it took 'em over six months what used to take five days. But that was in the times of those filthy thieving OGEM colonialists (like Enron, long bankrupt).
More Like It
PAR and PAIS (truly mind-boggling: a coalition and an opposition party join forces!) are trying to get together a burgerinitiatief [citizens' initiative] where us simpletons, the voting cattle, can collect signatures to get items on the parliamentary agenda. Would be nice...
And Time Passes By
The first final school exams have already taken place—without till now the pupils having received their "free" books. Suspicions are, the books haven't even been ordered yet.
About time PM Arsjes starts earning his salary, wouldn't you think? Dream on, kid.
COT again had an oil spill at Bullenbaai, but this time the harbor master and others were on their toes: COT was reported to the authorities immediately and will now be fined.
Of course COT will fight it; hey, that's not the point. The point is finally somebody cares.
Tourism is going just fine, so now the hotels are confronted by an operator who wants them to board his customers exclusively. That's TUI Nederland in reaction to a new competitor, Corendon. In short, TUI sort of wants a monopoly.
What Else Is new
PdVSA, COT oil terminal and Isla refinery reject all accusations that they had anything to do with the oil spill at Jan Kock/St. Marie. But who else plays around with the muck? Good question! The court will pronounce judgment on November 25th, not before we're ready for it.
She Won't Make It
Minister Francisca gets three weeks' time to come clean on her problems with the management of Tayer Soshal [social workshop] whom she fired because they didn't agree with her when she claimed people working there were maltreated (they only wanted to get the minimum wages). PNP parliamentary Davelaar offered her free juridical consult, nicknaming her Shimaron [savage].
But she won't need that as the judge ordered the management reinstalled a week later.
As Popeye might have said. Whirly Wheels' 80-20 law is still not implemented, because a it's discriminatory and b because nobody knows what a "Yu'i Kursow" is in the first place.
So why was it accepted at all? Don't ask me what a bunch of fools can accomplish when it puts its mind to it (yes, I mean the government).
That's Where It Did Not Go
Minister Palm says the government planned to invest 190 million of the money ex-PM Shorty was wondering about in the new hospital; since that has been given the Big No-No the 270 million will as yet be invested this year.
He'd better hurry.
She Would, Wouldn't She?
Wiels' sis Marvelyne, she of the ministry, has denied all allegations about abuses in "her" organisation. She will not publish any names of people hired, as this would be contra the law persoonsbescherming [privacy protection]. Some excuse! But we readily understand, those guys must be ashamed to admit they work for her.
One More Flop
The OB-tax (read VAT or BTW, only in a more primitive version that costs the consumer more money%#8212;even if it's lower) asked for a new system of cash registers. To start with, the prices quoted in the shop must include omzetbelasting, something everybody has been clamoring for since its conception about twenty years ago.
But the shopkeepers couldn't fix it in time, so once again the minister gave in and those new registers will be delayed until April 1.
In Amsterdam, Still Black
Zwarte Piet is not kicked out of the Sinterklaasoptocht in Amsterdam South-East. He's not allowed to wear golden earrings, though: only white pop stars may do so in public. It's a symbol of slavery (never knew slaves had money for golden earrings, live and learn).
The city said so after people had protested. Funniest thing about it, no such optocht had been planned at that location at all.
For Once, No Meddling
Dutch minister Plasterk (kingdom relations) has declared it's Curaçao's own decision how to handle the Gay Pride festival, as Dutch parliament members wanted him to meddle. They love meddling, those Dutch.
Just wish they would meddle more where it matters.
Government Rent Arrears
Foundation Monumentenzorg [monument care] has arranged a deal with the government about the rental arrears. They went to court when 2 years ago the debt was 1.5 million; by now, .5m has been paid.
Funnily enough, and maybe mistakenly, I disctinctly have the idea that Monumentenzorg is largely dependent on government subsidies.
Might as Well
Horecaf hotel/restaurant personnel union advises workers at Kura Hulanda not to sign any documents agreeing that they will not be paid by the end of the month. As if it would make any difference. Mark my words: they will not be paid.
Not So Fast, There
VBC commercial club feels economy minister Palm is a bit over-optimistic when he says it's a good sign that a "negative growth" (which of course is a shrink) of 2.2% is now estimated to be only 0.9%. The minister states this shows that the economy is healthy, which is not what VBC would call "realistic".
Those Pensioners Are a Nuisance
Now they are going to court to try and get a decent illness insurance. Worst is, nobody exactly knows how matters stand, last of all the pensioners themselves.
And This Is Reality
The politicians may complain that they make so little money, in practice it's not so bad: all sorts of extras help them eke out a living. There's an ex-minister of Sint Maarten living in Holland with an official salary of 7.080 guilders per month in reality gathers in over 33,000. My, that's more than Zus de Lannooy makes with the Central Bank! And that's just for starters; that minister gets lots more and this is only what we know about. The Dutch want to know how many Antilleans are living this luxurious life over there (at our and their costs), and so would we.
There's The Rub
PAIS expresses the opinion that it's no particular use to reform laws and such to improve government; what we need is better people.
Agreed, and now where to find them. Don't rub it in.
Holding My Breath
In 2040 there will be no more fish around in the Sea Around Us. At least, that's what some Dutch experts of the Dutch Party for Animals have come over for to tell us. They advise us not to eat any canned tuna, which is a change from the scare a few years ago. Remember? then it was those bloody dolphins that got caught with the tuna and we even had "dolphin-free" labels on those cans. Lasted about a year, as I recall it. (I much prefer sushi and sashimi anyway.)
These experts seemingly prefer to forget the enormous progresses made in fish farming; for example, salmon, wild and tame, is cheaper and more available than ever. And the lobster fishermen in Maine have trouble selling their enormous surpluses. Sure, there are problems, like cod and quite possibly tuna—as always. More doomsayers. The point always is, nobody knows what will happen in the future and if they claim they do, cover 'em up with tar and feathers.
Even Greenpeace admits skipjack tuna, the most sought after sort for canning, is "not yet" overfished.
Minister Balborda has ordered four (4) illegal foundations to be demolished. Well, I only have to cross the street from where I live and right there see many more illegal foundations than that. And those guys didn't pay him, either.
PM Arsjes has had enough of the negativism reigning in Curaçao (he doesn't seem to want to understand what causes it). Our humble suggestion, get lost Arsjes and take your clowns with you, maybe, quite possibly, we'll then get a more positive outlook.
Panic in Tourism
While minister Palm announces grandiose plans to pep up tourism, even looking forward to 1,000,000 cruise tourists in the year 2020, the hotel business is busy expiring with a 40% occupation rate.
This seems to have to do with all Dutch people who came over and built a house, then after discovering what a mess it is here, decided to leave and, as the house market has virtually collapsed, can't sell; so they rent out to vacationers.
And by the way you know, Palm claims in St. Maarten and Aruba cruise tourists spend over $100 a day. Hard to believe, they would be stupid to do so: they get their sumptuous mails free on board, it's the main attraction for cruises, and they all walk around with a bottle of water (also free) to avoid buying a soda in town.
The UN experts who were supposed to look into the acutely important Zwarte Piet problem claim they have been "intimidated", but no details are given. It's not very clear if those claims include "incitement to hatred, attacks on their personal integrity or any form of harassment" as well.
Gee, I wonder how much them experts are paid to muddle in other people's affairs. The alleged intimidators, on the other hand, do so disinterestedly.
Still No Minister
PM Arsjes is still warming the hot seat of education; there may be a new minister before the end of the year. They're probably dredging the sewers now to find one (number 6 in 3 years).
There are more than 178 work orders totalling over 60m guilders financed by Uitvoeringsorgaan Openbare Werken (best guess is, part of DOW), but there do not seem to be any clear procedures of how this came to be. Work orders for less than a pretty high amount (I'll try and find out how much exactly) can just go ahead anyway; worse, the foundation is juridically independent and has no obligation to follow the imposed procedures. Nor does it; hey, what do you expect?
It took an investigation by Government Accounting SOAB to discover what we all knew long since. Par example. One more question: how much did that investigation cost?
Right, All Wrong
I stuck my neck out (albeit in a pretty careful and constrained way) and wondered out loud what would come true of the Professional Doomsayers' yearly hurricane report, predicting an intense season. All caused by Global Warming... er Climate Change... er whatever the term is now. Well, it isn't quite over yet but up to now has been just about the tamest ever.
Remember, these are the same "consensus" meteorologists who with the utmost confidence predict the end of the world... next year, or next century, whatever, if we don't stop burning gas etc. Or something.
Of the "7-11 hurricanes", only 1 came about; and a very measly one at that. It's been "the quietest season in 45 years".
On this what must be a pretty bad day for ex-PM Shorty he does what he must have held ready for such an occasion: starting to ask nasty questions in parliament about 270 million guilders, supposedly reserved for something or other, which never turned up. He might well ask! Or maybe he's just jealous he missed out.
Criminally Freed Education
A report by newspaper Independiente states that ex-PM Shorty and ministers Wilsoen and Monky have committed a professional malfeasance in conjunction with Isla refinery, to get the "free education" project financed. This is contrary to the CFT financial supervision rule that the country may not borrow until further order.
Interesting is that His Holiness PS Wiels threatened Shorty with a cabinet crisis if he didn't cooperate. Sort of makes him an accomplice, and at least a blackmailer.
The complaint forms part of Fundashon Ashon Sivíl's new indictment with the Court of Justice against the Public Ministry.
This theoretically can cost the three guys each three years in prison or a 45k guilders fine.
Shorty's Stormy Come-Back
At least, he's trying. He has set up some scheme, Reforma, to collect signatures which should enable him to press for a referendum and have our electoral laws altered so you can only choose for a party, not for individuals. If a party member wants to change policies, he 's lost his seat in parliament as it belongs to the party. That'll teach those traitors! But Shorty assures us, this has nothing to do with his political party MFK, even though it's all held on their premises.
Trouble is, he may have collected an alarming lot of signatures (6,879 suckers came to his circus to sign), but that's that: nobody knows what they signed for. Totally in style, yeah; but as they didn't sign for anything it's all an empty gesture. Which it would be, even if they did sign for anything specific, anyway. But it is worrying.
PM Arsjes has taken over the function of minister of education Bitorina until a replacement is found. He's number 5.
And he's so busy already, traveling to New York, Panamá, wherever—to show his smug face on international occasions. On the other hand, none of all his PS predecessors have done anything worth while at all, so the work load should be bearable.
Gee, I wonder if he gets paid for taking over.
And speaking of wonders, by some miracle ms. Arsjes has said "no" to her lucrative if maybe illegal cozy job at Tourist Bureau. Seems she does have some ruminant sense of decency.
The Politur Turismus Polizei does not appear on the 2014 budget. How, then, will it be financed? Easy: by private instances who will deliver matériel while the police will ultimately have 24 persons available. Is this even legal? But of course! The government says so!
What to Think?
After Wiels announced coming with revelations, there were speculations these concerned an SMS lottery set up by UTS in conjunction with Robbie dos Santos. Which, rumors had it, was why he was killed (before he could utter, though). Then, PM Arsjes declared he felt scared by threats to put up or shut up. And now, finally, he seems to have put up: those SMS lotteries are not illegal at all, whatever gave us that idea? At least, the law will be adapted, so there.
Well, I know what to think.
Borrowing and Burrowing Our Way Down into New Debts
The government wants to borrow 300 million guilders for the new hospital. Uh oh.
Plan for Downtown Destruction
Independent parliament member Sulvaran (the traitor) introduced a plan for the development of Willemstad. Waaigat will become a harbor for yachts (it has been deppened for that purpose say, twenty years ago) and Punda will be renewed. Slight problem here is that it's largely owned by Jewel Investment who just do as they like. Other plans are the new hospital (not so new really) and development of the Rif area (which in reality may mean the final "stab in the back for downtown Otrabanda).
I have to say, it's very clumsy and confusing that we use PM both for Parliament Member and Prime Minister, not the same thing at all.
Took Some Time
Fundashon Akshon Sivíl FAS lodged a complaint with the court of Justice against the Public Ministry for not following up on earlier charges from the citizenry, mainly but not only against former MFK PM Shorty. The charges concern money laundering, bribes, malfeasance and breach of the Landsverordening [country regulation] financing political parties.
Next day, the Ministry announced a date in court for these cases: November 19th.
That Would Be Nice
Cft financial supervision announces that, if things go on this way, by 2014 their conditions will have be fulfilled. Alas, these "merely" touch on financial government business. Besides, it's still iffy, depending on among other things the number of civil servants.
Hard to Swallow
Let alone to digest: minister van der Horst states that in the past 15 years the quality of the civil servants has gone downhill. As if we hadn't noticed. (Let's see... the first referendum was in 1993, the second in 2005; 20 and 8 years ago. Somewhere in between, figures.) Van der Horst is the 6th minister in his function in 3 years, far from unique".
He also says quite upfront that the implementation of the new government system has to be redone, as it has utterly failed.
At least he puts the blame squarely where it belongs: "We have failed as ministers generally and collectively."
A Fakebooc page Pietitie has collected 1 million signatures to keep Zwarte Piet; competitor Zwarte Piet is racisme collected 7000.
By November 6, score was 14-21000
The foreign exchange balance hasn't changed much during the past year. It's still 1.9 billion guilders in the black, and don't forget the gold reserves of over 1 billion. That's for Curaçao and St. Maarten together.
All the fault of that *&^%$#@ central bank director Tromp who doesn't allow the government to touch the reserves.
Thanks for the Tip
Mendes de Goveia, our ambassador (or consul, or representative, who cares) in Venezuela states as his considered opinion that we need a political accord with the president, what's his name again? the guy who followed up Chávez and made an even greater mess? oh yeah, Maduro. Otherwise, he says, we can forget about any future coop of Isla refinery with PdVSA. Then, the fact that I'd just as soon sign an accord with a rattlesnake.
He also says it's much too late already. Got a point there... good!
Wiels At It Again
No, he has not risen from the dead—it's his sister Marvelyne taking over the good work, feeling her official residence as plenipotentiary minister in den Haag was run down a bit and having it renovated for say 200 thousand guilders (€60k). And why not? Who would think of making trouble for a member of that bereaved social-feeling family?
By the way, the replacement for that woman she kicked out was waiting all ready in the wings.
Doesn't Mean a Thing
An accord has been signed between the USA and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which we are still part, in which NL and the Federal Aviation Administration guarantee air safety according to ICAO standards. The Dutch were polite enough to send Curaçao parliament a letter confirming this.
Which doesn't mean any progress at all has been made on our problems with the FAA.
"Politur" No Pa Nos Tur!
[Not For All of Us!] Another bright idea of those in power. We need special police to protect the tourists, and it will be taken care of by a new corps, Politur. And we citizens? Oh, who cares about
that cattlethe citizens. In my simplistic thinking, if the island is safe for us all it's also safe for tourists, but that seems to be too much to ask.
In That Case...
Letter-to-Amigoe-writer Smeets expresses her surprise that minister Balborda turns out to be making 14k guilders/month, while he has been trained to figure out telephone- and car allowances of workers as HRM-assistant (which means, human resource manager which really means, personnel chief).
Explains a lot.
No wish to bore you with this, but the traditional Sinterklaas feast is under the traditional pressure by the PC-group (does not stand for Personal Computer). The Dutch version of Santa is traditionally accompanied by black menials named Zwarte Piet (a throwback to German God Wotan/Odin and his yearly triumph over the forces of darkness) and this of course can only be a symbol of slavery. A Jamaican (?!) politician has even sent a UN-delegation to Holland, where they got little more than fleas in their ears. Even the fact that the Zwarte Pieten have been painted in all colors of the rainbow doesn't help.
The less they have to say, the louder they yell.
In Bonaire, Sinterklaas is played by a black painted white—just like in South Africa's whale festival!
More Tax, Less Income
This is what the airlines complain about re. the high tariffs Hato Airport is charging on everything. Result is higher airline prices and all, which results in less tourists coming. (Which of course does not only apply to Hato, but to the island as a whole.)
But we must admit that, much to our surprise, the departure hall has been outfitted with decent chairs before the announced date.
Kurá Hulanda Bankrupt
This has taken a week or so in the news, but we'll condense it to one snappy flash: first, the Kurá Hulanda hotel in Otrabanda went bankrupt; then, inevitably, the sister establishment at Playa Kalki near Westpunt went knock-out. No doubt this has to do with owner Gelt Dekker's manipulations with the Jellinek Kliniek.
Well over 100 people lost their jobs and after the usual reassuring messages that people were stampeding to take over, it turned out there are no takers.
With all illegal construction going on in Curaçao, it's no wonder at all that the same thing is taking place on the island of Klein Curaçao. Minister Balborda says these builders will all have to ask for permits and if they don't cope with the requirements, they will be demolished. Ruthlessly!
Just like here?
Junk Pile Curaçao
This is not about the politicians, even if it's certainly related. While 2000 volunteers held a great clean-up action and cleared away tons of dump, that was soon replaced by other volunteers with new deposits of garbage. The really sad part is, nothing can be done about it because the old law forbidding this has been made non-active with our Glorious Independence of 10-10-10.
But maybe it attracts tourists?
Stuff for Thrillers
Desmond Bagley a long time ago wrote a fine thriller, The Spoilers, in which a British expert is hired to rebuild WWII torpedoes, fill them with heroin and shoot 'em off to a beach from outside the USA territorial waters. Somebody much have picked up on it: Dutch freighter Delta Laguna was seized in Rotterdam because attached to the hull was a torpedo-like structure containing 101kg of cocaine, street value €7m. Three French divers were arrested, and all in all eighteen more.
The Delta Laguna had come from Venezuela by way of Curaçao. To pick up some oil as a cover? To have the torpedo fixed at CDM/DOK? Your guess!
There we go again. Minister of economic development Palm, who for the rest has precious little news but "the economy is showing a negative growth" [it's shrinking] comes along with a new plan for a new tourist mega pier. (They don't even dare tell us if the first one is breaking even.) Anyway, it will incorporate a great new shopping center which is sure, with the Renaissance Hotel one and the Venezuelan Sambil, to be the final backbreaker for Otrabanda. Nice Stanley! How much is in it for you?
Miss Misses Out
After the scandal with the pregnant miss who-had-no-inkling, now there's a new one. I won't mention her name as she really can't help it, but her family is connected with the "Scorpio" lottery scandal (which again is connected with Robbie) and one of the main players has fled the country. Does make one wonder if there are no girls from decent families available, though. Guess not.
Flash from Our Sister Island
St. Maarten PM Wescott will not wait for the integrity investigation of her government Holland has announced, but announced a "quick scan" of their own before that. Wonder if it will help, but guess not. Nice try, Sarah!
Ex-PM Shorty complains that the years since 10-10-10 of our Glorious Independence have only resulted in political instability, and he wants a referendum to prevent that in the future. Well, for once Shorty is right; but it hasn't been the "only" bad result. And whose fault is that? Granted, PS 'short dictator' Wiels PS and MAN 'Mudbelly' Cooper are just as much too blame for their laisser aller.
Ex minister Josepha has been arrested after his wife (finally) lodged a complaint for abusing her. Josepha was a member of Wiels's party Pueblo Soberano, the oh-so-social people's party. He was minister of Social Development, Employment and Welfare, no less. PS publicly announced they will not kick him out of the party, where "he has a true friend".
I stopped "fair quotes" of newspaper photographs, but you really owe it to yourself to try and find a picture of this arrogant prick.
Good, Fine, and Refreshing News
A court in Antwerpen, Belgium has declared project developer, living in Curaçao, Christiaan van Assendelft van Wijck bankrupt. Assendelft van Wijck was a good buddy of ex-PM Shorty and His Gang, and was the brain behind the mindless Playakiki plans, guaranteeed to kill off coral reefs and causing more sandbanks.
This has nothing to do with Curaçao bankruptcy proceedings against the guy; those are still pending.
There has been a lot to do about the September 25 Gay Pride manifestation (I for one don't see the reason for such a thing; should I then be ashamed for not being gay, maybe?) which was supposed to be held in Willemstad, but at the last moment no permit came through. Dutch parliament was pissed, but their PM said this was our internal affair. The LGBT community then moved to the Floris Hotel to celebrate, and next day we could read in the media 25 people had been there.
Now, this crowd has miraculously grown to "several hundred" and thus became the "biggest gay manifestation" in the Caribbean.
Don't get me wrong, let them be whatever they want to be to their hearts' content and I hope they have fine weather for it. Just don't bug me.
Arsjes & Co.
Arsjes's wife has accepted a job at Tourist Office which she is officially not allowed to take, forget the details. Nobody likes it but A&Co, and Arsjes says it's all just to distract attention from de Lannooy's job with Central Bank.
Finance minister Jardim warns us that the rosy view of the country's finances have to be viewn through dark glasses; they stem from Shorty's 2012 cabinet that claimed a ~40m guilders budget surplus. In reality, it turned out to be a 73 m deficit. But the Shorty figures were the original base for the 2013 budget.
"Zus" de Lannooy has a job with Central Bank for 300k guilders/year. The Bank is angry because the fact this became public is a preach of the privacy law. Politicians are angry because that's more than a minister makes (everybody should make more than that, to be sure, but de Lannooy happens to be a politician herself.) Bank Director Tromp, her cousin or nephew—or maybe she's his niece, or cousin—claims it's all kosher.
The Dutch have a law where public functions can't be paid more than 130% of a minister's salary. First, we don't have such a law; second, de Lannooy's function is not "public"; for extremely good reasons the Central Bank is independent from the government. No wonder those ministers are jealous, they "only"
earnget about 168k/year.
Daily allowances for ministers and civil servants have been reduced to €110 and 100; for trips to the former NA-islands it's 80 and 70. They're not telling how much it was before, as if we didn't care!
Letter-to-the-editor writer Maaskant notes that on average financial workers make 5195 guilders/month, our civil servants 4908, utility workers 4530 and in education 4284. Except for the first category, for all practical purposes all these guys work for the government. All other private sectors make less than 3600/month, and in the tourist sector only 1800/month.
Maaskant concludes there should be more tax on the financial sector, and he has a point; but apart from cutting personnel in the government sector, cutting salaries seems to be a more obvious course to take. Yeah, I know, forget it.
Ramsar, a Genève organization protecting marsh and coast areas, has accepted four Curaçao areas%#8212;among which the saliña downwind from Bullenbaai oil terminal with its more or less regular oil pollution. Will we now finally be getting some action? Don't count on it.
No Massive Dismissal
Last February, now ex-PM Hodge requested a massive dismissal of all commissioners in government-owned companies, but the advisor corporate governance SBTNO has great problems with this.
The same thing happened in 2010 with the Shorty government, who then retracted the general dismissal.
Those Things Run in Families
Marvelyne Wiels, yes, his sister, who has become "our" plenipotentiary minister in den Haag is reported to run a "reign of terror" there. First victim is head of communication Berkhouwer, who has been offered money to take her leave after eight years.
It happened before with Kura Hulanda in Otrabanda, but then and there it was more or less sanctioned. Now, in Pietermaai across the harbor, for the sake of "renovating" a neighborhood project developer "Jewel Investments" just does as he likes, shutting off streets, integrating sidewalks into buildings and illegally filling up the seashore to gain building land. Sure, especially that last item is a fine old tradition, but now we're supposed to have laws. It remains to be seen what will be done about this. Even a building project that was ordered by court to stop just continues.
Whatever Gives Him That Idea?
PAR David Dick has these suspicions that we are forced to accept Ballast Nedam building the new hospital. No public tender, no nothing. If Ballast Nedam had this name of being incorruptible... far from it! On the other hand, name one contractor who has; that's exactly why we have public tenders! Even that mostly doesn't work.
Weirdly, one day later a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Sehos hospital, Curaçao government and... Usona in which they agreed on starting building a new hospital (in Otrabanda) this year. Should be in use by 2016 and yes, money will be borrowed!
And oh yeah, all Sehos debts will be taken over by the government—that's us! Aren't you proud?
FNWK, who are supposed to control gambling, have a new management. This is all comme il faut, following the rules—such as they are. Which is not much, as they date from before 10-10-10 and haven't been revised yet. Like so many others.
But There's No Money
Arsjes and his Gang want to stimulate students studying in the region instead of Holland. Trouble is, there's no money on the 2014 budget for that. Maybe in 2015... Tough.
Isn't That What It's For?
Since about a year, all EU subsidies to the former NA have been stopped because of fraud investigations. That comes pretty late, about 50 years? There were "possible irregularities." I dare say. Some days later, IMG Int'l Management Group became manager of EU development projects and USONA (yes, they of the Ballast-Nedam Hospital deal) were kicked out.
The new hospital has been removed from the 2014 budget. But the promise still is, it will be ready and in use by 2016. And it is clear that SVB social insurance bank cannot pay all the costs, in which case the country will have to support them. With what?
Much Ado by Nobody
PM Arsjes acts angry because Holland's Memory of Understanding with Venezuela was co-signed by then PM Hodge (at the time representing PS, Arsjes's party, but now with PAR). An underminining of our autonomy! Virtually the same MoU will be signed with Colombia, but hey, the Obese One does that himself.
Transparency International did not get coöperation from PS to have a look into the party's financing; and now Arsjes is moving popular support to get rid of his own minister Navarro, yet another sure-fire sign of a man who does not care for the Trias Politica but would much prefer playing the dictator.
But Arsjes's PS party says they take the report seriously.
One of the alleged murderers of PS Wiels, who against practically everybody's advice was moved to police station Barber, has been found dead in his cell. It is considered a suicide. Now, naturally, all hell broke loose with accusations flowing: "He was killed there"—"he was moved so he could commit suicide"—"it was done to block the investigation". His lawyer states Pretu himself was very content with having been moved. Minister Navarro first stepped down, then was reinstated.
"Pretu" [black, nickname of Luigi Florentina,] seems to have been a seasoned criminal and it looks pretty sure he was involved with the killing. More arrests have been made. This is sure to become a slow, long, tortuous and drawn-out affair.
Nobody Tells Us Anything
Just because the court ordered Renaissance Hotel to admit a customer from Aruba, we learn that this guy is a regular visitor there because of "negotiations about a second Curaçao airport". Hey, what negotiations? What airport? Where? When? How?
But Antilliaans Dagblad newspaper doesn't seem to be curious at all.
Former DAE airlineworkers claim Francisca is lying (we're used to that) when she says "most DAE employess" are at work again, mostly with competitor InselAir. That may be true for cockpit and cabin crew, but administrative personnel is sitting jobless at home.
Curgas, like predecessor NAGM always a healthy profit making business until the government took over, is now seriously into the red. Not only that, they work hard (they say) to reduce their delivery time per gas "bomb" to 5 days—just like in the good old times.
They wisely omit to mention how long this takes now; so I can tell you that our last order paid May 13 still had not been delivered on October 30. That's over five months.
This Is Serious
SDK Curaçao Sports Center is forced to close down their activities for schools because for the last four years, the government has failed to pay the yearly subsidy of 100,000 guilders. This concerns 450-700 kids/day.
In Style-less Style
PM Arsjes was supposed to come to a meeting with the penshonados who have serious complaints about the way their income has shrunk because of the austerity cuts, but he must have found something
bettermore interesting to do, because after having waited unsonst for 90 minutes they just gave up.
Consolation may be, it wouldn't have made any difference anyway.
They wanted to see him for 5 (five) minutes.
Don't Get It
As from next week, gasoline and diesel prices go up, but water and electricity down. Because of "higher costs per barrel of crude". Hey, and we here thinking it was all the price of crude that determined those prices! But Selikor's profits have doubled to 2 million over last year.
Without blaming Miss Curaçao for becoming pregnant, we do blame her for never noticing and appearing at the Miss Supranational (whatever that is) elections in a skimpy outfit with a noticeable bulging tummy. Turned out, she was pregnant. The usual lack of professionalism and self-criticism.
Cft [committee financial supervision] feels this needs "sharpening up". For one, Cft wonders what is going to be done about the 72m guilders deficit from years past. Then, "Free Education" is mentioned but Cft wants more details on its financing (by Isla refinery). Casino- and gambling tax receipt estimates are up, but it's not clear what this is based on. Finally, Cft criticizes the investment programs (extending to 2017) without adequate substructure.
"As long as the suckers keep coming" why worry? Well, 4 out of 10 hotel rooms are now empty, was 3/10 a year ago. Maybe the suckers are smarter than we figured.
An analysis of points in the Ecorys report indicates the following stumbling points. Reading between the lines, by now it all seems pretty hopeless.
—Upgrading can only be successful with PdVSA's cooperation obtained on the very short term (which looks pretty desperate, now with the deplorable state of Venezuela's economy more than ever);
—Decision taking has to be accomplished by the end of 2013 (4 months from now);
—New partners should have been identified by the end of 2012, and new agreements been signed with those partners in less than two years (24 months, of which 16 are left), and the process has not even started yet;
—A new partner will have to invest 70% of totally needed USD 3 billion and to accept PdVSA participating as crude supplier.
Everybody Agrees; Except Many Voters
The entire government, all parties represented in parliament and cabinet, have pronounced in meeting that they fully agree with PM Arsjes and cohorts that the island will go on with trying to keep Isla refinery at work, regardless.
No matter that an appreciable part of the population thinks differently; you vote and shut up, hear?
Also no matter that according to the Ecorys report, it will all be more money thrown the drain anyway. Plenty more where that came from! You vote and pay up.
The famous "swinging Lady" Emma pontoon bridge built on the initiative of then USA consul Smith, was rebuilt in 2006 after a century of faithful service. Costs €4.5m. Now, the roadway is rotting away already and has to be renewed—again. Turns out, some asshole reversed the planking during construction, with the large grooves up and the small grooves down, so instead of water running off it keeps hanging on.
Also, the same guy, or another bunch, omitted to take care of adequate ventilation of the high-quality wood, so once damp it never dries. Who did that? Nobody's talking, hey!
Think of It as Democracy in Action
Angry citizens have started demolishing the pillow cushions and speed bumbs which have been put on our roads. Transport minister Balborda now says yes, many do have to go.
Question: why were they put in in the first place? Answer: because they pay. Q: whom do they pay? A: now you've got me.
Nobody but coral reef experts care that, not only to the East of Annabaai harbor, artificial beaches keep being built. The sand is washed away by the strong East-West current along the coast and suffocates the coral reefs. Who cares, the tourists are still flowing in —for now.
But now, a tanker has run onto a new sandbank right smack in the harbor entrance. No real harm done, it was undamaged and towed loose in a couple of hours. Will something be done about those artificial beaches now? Will the age of miracles set in now?
Nooo... the New Hospital will not be financed by a (forbidden) loan, but by an obligation which Holland is obliged to partake in. Somebody kindly explain, I'm getting nauseous. 350 million guilders (say 200m dollars) is what we're talking about here.
In his Great Wisdom, PM Arsjes has declared that the secret Ecorys report may be made public so we can all read it. That's democracy, folks!
No fair saying that the report has been published all over long since, so who needs Arsjes? Anyway?
In what's about the hottest period of the year, the Aqualectra wind generators have given up: no wind! Such intricate timing. Makes it easy to understand why Aqualectra announced they will go for a further 50% expansion of the wind generating capacity, it being such a success and all.
Well, That's Something
Justice minister Navarro has terminated the running agreements with several lawyers' offices. The government can't afford 'em any more—as if they could before. Hey, here's our chance; let's all go and sue them!
Work finally started on the road to Westpunt, long after we were all ready for it. (It has cost us two blown tires, more than our yearly car tax.) It will become about 1 meter wider but of course there's no money to really improve it, so the long lines every morning will continue until all cars are equipped with radar and such; say twenty years? As for now, lines are even longer as all traffic must follow detours. The works will take five weeks, is claimed.
But they were not finished by the end of October, which is more than twice as long. Anyway, the end of the new road will be at the turn-off to San Willibrordo. Tough if you live farther away.
Free Books, Not
Free Education hits again: after it was announced all pupils would get their free books today, not one single book has been forthcoming. No news on well they will distributed.
As the first final exams already start a month from now, candidates may well run into trouble preparing for those.
The Isla oil refinery trade unions express their worries about closing down the refinery for Curaçao's economy. And their own, there's that.
No. 4, And Not Yet Counting
Minister Bitorina of education, the fourth PS minister in this function in three years, has taken her leave. Nobody seems to have any inkling who will follow her up. Then again, will anybody notice the difference? They were all disasters.
René Rosalia, Lionel Jansen and Carlos Monk.
DAE: Game Over
With the downright refusal of the government to help DAE airlines in their struggle against bankruptcy, the company's death warrant been has signed. We can confidently look forward to hefty tariff raises by the competition shortly.
Parliament did express worries about economic backlash, but finally just pulled the plug.
The court of justice announces that, with the announced budget savings, next year it will pass the practical limit of cases it can possibly handle. Keeping sliding downward to anarchy!
PM Arsjes claims that screening of all ministers has strictly followed legal procedures. Is that a relief?
Car Checks No Good
We all knew it, and there are now public complaints that a bit of money or, for ladies, wearing a sexy outfit when you have your car checked works wonders. Small wonder there are so many wrecks miraculously driving around. It's good ole corruption, but will anything be done about it? I'm not betting.
My fondest regards to all of you
(and many thanks for the tips and even compliments you send me)
but I'll be away for a month or so, and will catch up later.
Have fun and let's hope they behave in Forti
And Now, Back to Work
Been away for longer than I care. First off to South Africa, then a short while in London, then to Tel Aviv for dental work.
Now, I caught up with revalidating, more or less, and my bookkeeping—ugh.
Boy, those dentists certainly take it out of you when they really get going!
Starting above where I left off, duty-conscious like I am.
No More Talks
Union STrAF of prison guards [straf means "punishment] does not want any more meetings with justice minister Navarro, who only blames them for problems without offering help where it counts. They want extra personnel from Holland, which they had which it was sent back by then minister Wilsoen.
You run a chance here of getting kilt in traffic that's 7 times that of Holland. Kinda interesting.
DAE in Trouble
Yes, it's getting serious. As if it wasn't already. The main problem is not only that half of DAE's income has fallen away because the flights to Venezuela had to be stopped; it's also that Venezuelan currency regulator Cadivi owns them millions. Personnel is on strike and have visited our PM Arsjes (good luck with that). Only the pilots aren't striking, they have to fly so meny hours per month or phut goes their license. How they can fly with the rest on strike rather boggles the mind.
For me, it's rather thrilling because I booked a DAE flight CUR-MIA and onwards to LHR on September 19. Will they still be around then? Will I get my money back? Will success spoil Tab Hunter?
Are We Getting Somewhere?
A committee has decided that the master plan developed by the Sehos hospital management is "feasible". As it concerns medical questions, they want a second opinion. No doubt another committee!
Sehos wants free transfer of all terrains where their new hospital is planned and a tax holiday, in which buidling costs case costs are ANG312 million. They expect to borrow that with 4.5%/year interest. Wish I could borrow money like that!
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members. PM Arsjes was a member of this one, and he doesn't do nothing for nuffin'.
Two More Years
The new CBA [Curaçao Aviation Authority] director Derby expects Curaçao will be upgraded back to FAA category 1 two years from now. So much for Mudbelly MAN Cooper and his braying he'd fix it before March this year. Meanwhile, Girobank has frozen DAE airline's account worth $20 million.
Sure, That Will Help
The public ministry announces they
installed a committeehired research bureau Faber to analyse crime and its causes. It should lead to direct results, meaning less crime, this year. What can you do but wish 'em good luck and hope for the best?
Bad News from Bad Neighbors
Venezuela has made it painfully obvious why they were protesting against US drones, allegedly stationed in Curaçao and Aruba. They announced they are building drones themselves since 2012 in cooperation with Iran. This is in Maracay, where there's also a factory making Kalashnikovs and other weapons, which may be used by Colombian FARC guerilleros.
We realize fully that the only places Venezuela could use drones against are Colombia, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Trinidad and Tobago (and theoretically Brazil; as if they'd dare).
Airport Needs More Improvement
Hato Airport has stopped car rentals who do not have an office at the airport from picking up clients there. That's a full-blown fight now, leaving passengers in the lurch. They even had a bus full of passengers deboard and left them by the side of the road. (Maybe that last case was a shuttle to a hotel; same difference.) To be sure, very attractive to tourists.
The judge ordered Hato to stop this action three weeks later.
Hato airport is finally improving. The runway will be renewed and also the "road for taxis". Further, infrastructural terminal problems will be fixed, more X-ray machines will be added, the infrastructural terminal problems will be fixed, more X-ray machines will be added, the unsatisfactory toilets will be (fill in yourself, words fail me) and last not least, the check-in hall will get airco. All in all 17 million guilders (sounds like a lot more than $9.35, peanuts for airport renovation). Immigration will be improved as well. Actually, it's much better than Miami or Bogotá and, with the "100% controls", Schiphol Amsterdam.
Now it's time to remember that builder Alterra NV (don't even exist anymore) wanted to get Prizes for that terminal design without airco. Haha.
Not a word on the FAA problems, though.
Ain't That Just Great
Somehow, it was "forgotten" to adopt the existing law against illegal trash dumping when we begot our Glorious Independence. In other words, you are allowed to dump your trash anywhere. Go ahead gang! It's official. Quackie Constancie, ex-minister of health, states she never bothered about the law (she was too busy promoting naturopaths and getting rid of fluoride.)
Not that it would make any difference. Well, maybe now the island is even filthier than before. Long live tourism!
Since Venezuela stopped DAE Airlines' flights CUR-Venezuela, InselAir has started using larger aircraft on their routes, and now Venezuelan company Estelar has announced two flights per week Venezuela-CUR.
Meanwhile, DAE and SXM airport are fighting the quarrel of a lifetime about landing right debts.
Wiels Plan Criticized
PAIS is against an old Wiels plan to finance "free education" by (simplified) charging a 1% fee on all payments to and other financial dealings with foreign countries. Matter of fact, there's even talk about 2 or 3%. As we import as good as everything, this will only result in higher prices; just another form of tax. Besides, it will take years before this can be implemented.
Rah Rah Rah!
NuCapital, the guys who exploit the wind generators and sell that power to Aqualectra are doing so great, they want to expend from 30 to 45mW, which means they'll supply 30% of all power in 2020.
Aqualectra claims they pay NuCapital 22 cents/kW versus 35 cents for diesel genators. I doubt it.
Weapons in Prison
In the Bo Futuro (oops, that means "your future", the real name means "good future"—just about as stupid) weapons have been found. Not among the jailers, among the jailees. There's a story that a guard switched off metal detectors because "they were bad for his libido"... and there you are!
Justice minister PAIS Navarro is now supposed to find a solution for a problem that has existed for many years. Hope that works out better than his plans to stop crime.
Not Vague But Fuzzy
Those vague plans to decrease government personnel costs turn out to have been introduced over a year ago already. Maybe better luck this time? But please hurry.
Curaçao taxis are not only hard to get, but also expensive. Hotels have had long fights with them as they are not allowed to operate a free shuttle service. This has been going on for years and years, really! It's the law. They have now found a way out, and pay their clients the regular bus tickets to town.
Taxi drivers are raging, but can't do a thing about it.
An ex-vice-president of Venezuela (yeah, that would be a Chávez thug) tells everybody who wants to listen that the USA is planning to station drones ("UAVs"—unmanned aerial vehicles) on Curaçao and Aruba, to attach South American countries with.
Don't count on it. Currently, the longest range for a drone is about 200kms, except for the HALE. The nearest distance Curaçao-Venezuela coast is about half that; Caracas and Valencia are much farther away. Also there's only one, not more "countries" in range.
The USA denies, but would do so anyway, right. 2013-08-07
Now DAE airlines are still allowed to land in St. Maarten, only not to depart. They seem to have some debts there. Personnel has not been paid last week.
So Anyway, After All
Francesco Corallo, ex-PM Shorty's , has been arrested upon arrival in Italy. It's alleged he played a role in a 150 million defrauding plot at the Bank of Milano.
Shorty always denied that Corallo had anything to do with the mafia and even wanted to give him a post as ambassador in Santo Domingo, but the Dutch weren't that naïve.
Corallo's lawyer's name is Indelicato.
MFK Thodé says Smoc can't discuss the Ecorys-II report because Smoc doesn't use Papiamentu. (Dutch, Papiamentu and English are still our official languages since MAN minister Veeris of education in the 1980s.) However that may be, the Ecorys-report is in English even though drafted by a Dutch outfit. Maybe it's Thodé who doesn't understand it? It's a thought.
But parliament president Franco says Thodé is all wet and parliament will not lodge a complaint with the police for Smoc's supposed "leaking".
Not The One to Talk
There's a theatrical show Geniale Anarchie [ingenious anarchy] playing here, with a slogan "All chiefs, no Indians"; or maybe a subtitle. It's directed by John Leerdam, a guy who started out as an actor and then went for a career as politician (how in style) which foundered when he was kicked out of Dutch parliament where he more or less represented the Antillean diaspora. He seems to try hard to be a good example of that Chief Syndrome himself.
Inspired by Boeli van Leeuwen's, probably our best Dutch-writing author, last book.
Minister of transport Balborda declared that Holland (Nederland) should mediate between Venezuela and Curaçao, as it was Venezuela that has violated the treaty by not allowing DAE airlines any more landings in Venezuela. Balborda up to know has maintained that DAE should fix the problem themselves.
Minister of health Whiteman announces there will come a new BZV health insurance law, notwithstanding Soab's [government accounting] advice to wait a year. That took some effort! The committee looking at that has been reinstated.
It's also announced there's another committee to look at the new hospital, for crying out loud. But Whiteman says it's not he who will decide, it's the present Sehos management themselves. Who have stated their opinion loud and clear long since.
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members get paid.
More Government Fraud
Now it's the bureau for drivers' licenses. A complaint has been lodged that they gave out 700 licenses unlawfully. Three workers have been kicked out already. Apart from the fact that untrained people are driving around on the road, keep in mind that a driver's license is often accepted as an ID.
Thodé blames Smoc
Now MFK Thodé blames SMOC for "leaking" the Ecorys-2 report. He wants the government to lodge an official complaint against "one or two persons" for breach of confidentiality obligations. But it was in the media before Smoc made it available as well, and Smoc still wonders why that took so long.
Rumors are circulating that PNP minister Balborda of Verkeer, Vervoer en Ruimtelijke Planning [traffic, transport and spatial planning] will be kicked out. Mainly because of his exemplary performance in the UTS and DAE affairs; but also, he seems to be quite a tyrant.
If he goes, we can all start speculating who'll be next.
spoiled brats big spenderscivil servants will finally get their pension later. Much later in more senses of the term: it will be at 65 years, just like for us decent people. In 2018.
No need to panic, it's only a proposal.
Don't Trust Them
The Arrival/Departure site of Hato airport is not very reliable. Yesterday I had to check the DAE flight CUR-MIA-CUR. It was listed as "on time", and at the departure time of 11:00 it was removed. However, it only arrived in Miami on 15:29 instead of 14:00, which means 1.5 hours delay. Maybe they used the F-XVIII Snip?
The return flight departed on 16:50, almost an hour late, but Hato kept listing its arrival as "on time" at 19:00 and removed it promptly at that time.
Which would mean that on that leg the aircraft has flown at well over sound speed.
The site does carry this Disclaimer:
"All scheduled flight information here shows real time data received from the airlines. Curacao Airport Partners does not verify the accuracy or completeness of this flight information and disclaims any implied warranties with regards to it."
There are rather vague plans to reduce personnel costs with 24.4 million guilders this year, growing to 66.2 in 2016 and 2017. But those spoiled brats united in civil servants' unions won't like it.
Nos Mes Por!
We can do it (ourselves)! PS Leonora must have thought when he proposed a study of water fluoridation. Cost: 351 million guilders.
The proposal was not accepted.
There have been 284 violent assaults this year, up from last year by 26%. Less than 18% have been solved. And we don't have to blame poverty a priori: 35 of the 60 caught had a job while 25 were unemployed.
For murders it's even worse: there were nine murders, all by guns, and only one killer was caught.
As regards car theft, the great majority of those caught had a steady job.
No Lunch Is Free
In Dutch den Haag [The Hague] a promising project was started to heat 4000 new houses with geothermal heat, price tag €21 million. Well, it's all off. Or is it?
Den Haag council members are
stubbornlymulishly looking at a restart: "It would be a shame if that huge investment in the network, the central and the source would be lost." It would be a bigger shame to threw still more money at this gigantic flop. But politicians don't learn easy.
Just thought to mention it because of Hato airport's similar ambitious plans.
Took 11 Days
The Ecorys 2 report has been leaked. It won't be long now before we will get comments in the media.
Tourism Down, Unemployment Up
Unemployment went up by 2.5% in 2013-I compared with the year before; over the entire year it was "only" 1%. Mainly caused by less tourists staying in hotels.
Two boats belonging to the kustwacht [coast guard] with children participating in the vacation plan aboard collided, and one of them turned turtle. Two kids and a supervisor ended up in hospital. Musta been what the Dutch call spelevaren [lit. play-boating]. Hoboy, what fun.
Green Fools Still Going Weak
Checking the links, I discovered that the references to Hawaiï related to Hato airport's alternative energy had disappeared from the web without a trace. However, quite recently Hato was in the news still pushing them, full steam ahead. Or would that be "hot air"?
DAE versus InselAir
The saga continues! InselAir says they want to take over from DAE. I bet. They are planning to buy 7 "new" Fokker 70 aircraft; of which the last one was manufactured in 1997, which makes them even older than the almost-geriatric MD83s InselAir (and DAE) use. Thing is, if DAE folds InselAir can take over their personnel which has been trained on Fokker aircraft. Also, InselAir claims DAE is practically owned by Korpodeko anyway (just like themselves, in fact).
All-in-all, 47 F70s have been produced, so 7 is a substantial part of that total.
Crime Wave Subsides
3 to 5 foreign (read: Dutch) trainees staying here came to the police per day to lodge complaints for robberies and theft. It looks like they themselves were most often the real criminals, out to rob their insurance companies with fraudulent claims. Since the police starting checking the claims. there are hardly any new ones any more.
Or maybe the robbers stopped robbing? If you believe that I have this pontoon bridge for sale.
The guy representing the stagiares says it's all lies about those false complaints, what else would he say.
Godett Revolted by Tula
Godett is angry because the government is paying for 5,000 school kids (actually, I read 10,000 elsewhere) to see the movie Tula, The Revolt, which he considers a covert subsidy. So far so good, he has a point.
Then he proposes a committee to screen films in advance and judge them to "prevent indoctrination". So he wants to indoctrinate us to prevent indoctrination.
Besides, he says quoting a Surinam critic, this movie is a falsification of history, turning demi-god Tula into a lulletje rozenwater, literally "small prick rose-water" [perfume]. In Papiamentu the closest translation would be lol'i awa, prick of water, in contrast with sanger [blood]. Caspar Milquetoast comes pretty close.
Gee, I wonder how much they'd pay those committee members. Personally, I'd rather apply for the good old committee to sensor sex movies.
Reason, for a Change
PAIS Moses supports fluoride in the drinking water. Good. As long it has become a political issue, it's gratifying to know that she's a parliament member and MD (general practitioner), so she knows what she's talking about.
What Is This?
Gasoline price will go down 4.5 cents/liter (say 5%), diesel with 2 next month. This while crude oil prices have gone up by 18% between end of May and last week. I guess they're just throwing darts over there. Blindfolded; don't get in their way!
Electricity and water are going up.
In two months the price will go up again, they say. Or maybe down, I say.
RKCS catholic schools have for years been planning a new Soeur Hedwig-school, and actually started building it after they got 2 million from Usona last year. But now that their money is almost gone, the government announces they are subsidizing Kolegio Erasmo with 6 million. PM Arsjes deplores that RKCS went to the press with this. What else could and should they do?
In case you wonder, Kolegio Erasmo is Dutch-writing author Frank Martinus's hobby, the first all-Papiamentu school. It has 100 (one hundred) pupils; that's 60,000 guilders per pupil.
$ure, Y Not?
We're gonna have to pay for that "free education", and dearly too. Government announces they have ANG14m available to buy new books, as funds have been freed from a very vaguely indicated source.
You want my
suspicionopinion, they made a deal to borrow money from Ballast-Nedam to build the "new hospital". And if this is somehow declared illegal and not allowed, which is quite probable, we'll be screwed for those 14 million as yet.
Say, maybe they found those missing millions back!
"Shoot to Kill"
One of justice minister Navarro's ways to fight crime is to have ordered cops to forget about warning shots, hit 'em immediately; which many interpret as "shoot to kill". The only thing that may keep cops from doing so is the mountain of paperwork and possible prosecution by the public ministry.
In all fairness, there's
littlenothing else Navarro can do, lacking the money to make good on all his other promises. Still, one more step down the slippery slope to totalitarianism.
Central bank director Tromp held his yearly discourse, in which he mentioned that since 10-10-10 the economy has been growing with just over 0%, this year it will shrink with 0,7% and if the new hospital will be built, in 2014 it will grow with 1.1%; otherwise, shrink of 0.1%. Which would mean a shrink since our Glorious Independence of 0.8% (or maybe a growth of 0.4%). Tromp is also worried about the growing payment balance deficit, which is now "critical".
Still Going Weak
The government has been working on their very own website since before 10.10.10; it's still not finished. Meanwhile, the old website (http://www.curacao-gov.an/) has been removed so we are left without any information at all. Típiko!
Arsjes complains he's been threatened by Luigi dos Santos, ["Robbie"] Amparos' brother on his Fakebooc page, after Arsjes told everybody he intended to stop sms-lottery sales. "I've been in prison already for violence. Today you walk around with bodyguards, but don't forget you won't have those tomorrow. We'll fight like in the old days in the schoolyard. I'm gonna beat you to a pulp. [...] I can find you everywhere." But the police haven't had any complaints by Arsjes as yet.
Arsjes finally did find time to complain, four days later.
As Smart as Quackie
Those guys wanting to take the fluoride out of the drinking water have gotten support by thank-heaven-ex minister of health Quackie Constancia, who is asking her successor if it's true that the percentage will be raised to 1.5 mg/liter (1.5 pro mille). She says WHO thinks 2-8 mg/day is bad for you (weird that more seems to be okay; but then, does she quote an actual report?)
The anti-fluoride gang says it's a positive thing that this has become a political game now. And we thinking it was a medical-science issue.
By the way, in less than a week the Huurman supporters collected 2600 signatures and it took the anti-fluoride club 6 weeks to collect their 1100.
I Shouldn't Wonder
According to the GossipCuraçao site (gone like a flash), the largest beach club, St. Tropez, operates with no catering-, building- or hotel permits without the police hassling them at all. Also the complaints of the people around about heavy noise nuisance don't seem to have any impact.
Seems that old con-trickster Assendelft van Wijck is involved. But the manager said all his permits are okay—three weeks later.
One of the reasons Aqualectra is in trouble, or so they say at least, is that while the company was fighting high personnel costs they were forced by ex-PM Shorty to employ lots of extra free-lancers. Not only that, but the time-clock was done away with and employess just filled their cards out by hand, putting in lots of overtime hours. A salary raise for staff members was then also applied to lower workers.
It's an uneducated guess that all those free-lancers were not allowed to get civil servant jobs because of Cft's financial supervision, so Shorty c.s. took this way out to help out his chums.
It's a regular habit. While the court fight between Monumentenzorg and Isla refinery about the crude oil polluting saliña Rif/St. Marie a year ago hasn't been fought out yet, a new oil slick has been observed spoiling the coast to the lee of COT Curaçao Oil Terminal.
Never Knew That
MAN protests that Holland wanting to control the influx of Curazoleños is "racist". I never knew they were a race! But if that goes on, they want out of the Kingdom. And Dutch PM Rutte obligingly tells them, "just say so and you may go." Obviously that nitwit hasn't heard they have to ask us first, either.
Bad News for Robbie
PM Arsjes has stopped selling bijechi lottery tickets via SMS, a complot between (government-owned) UTS telecommunications and Robbie dos Santos. Ex-PM Shorty admitted this was illegal but unsurprisingly never lifted a finger to stop it. Robbie is allowed to continue for three more months.
SMOC announces that there is a phone number to call for reporting refinery trouble: 466 2700. Try it and, good luck!
Other numbers are 432 5800 and 466 2800.
Leeflang to Court
Ex PAR ex minister Leeflang is going to court to fight that new Bvz-law, which she says is contrary to international law, and the government refuses to supply paid-for care and harms a special group, the senior citizens.
Crash Continues: Kaput
Hato airport director claims that the Space Gang, who now changed their name from Space Exploration Curaçao to Space Exploration Corporation, only owes 350k—dollars. That's an old trick, it'd still be 630k guilders; which comes a lot closer to the one million mentioned elsewhere. SXC even wanted to saddle Curaçao Tourist Board with their scale model and subtract it from the loan, but they declined.
Really can't hold back from remarking "I told you so." From the very start.
Vomit Comet Crashes
Droste, one of the Space Gang inititiators, is coming back to Curaçao for one last desperate fling at saving his baby. But Rosaria and Balborda finally concede that Hato airport has not "loaned" over one million guilders to the con-men club, they have given it away. Now the last hang-up would be the law. Oh, we're so far advanced here, only the USA has made more progress with it.
Too bad (some would say "a good thing") there's no money and Hato airport itself is in desperate need of money for repairs and upgrading. And who else would pay for the Space Gang's amenities? For sure is that the only thing in their pockets is hot air.
Not only will workers, employers and penshonadós have to cough up considerably more for the new-but-not-improved health insurance: institutions fear the worst as they will get less money; which is a cause of worry for nurses who are contemplating a strike.
PMM Arsjes is releasing the Ecorys I and II reports on Isla refinery to the registry for "confidential inspection" which everybody applauds. I don't know why, because people like journalists or Smoc will not be allowed a look-see; only parliamentarians. That's Transparency, folks!
But not to worry, the reports will surely be leaked soon.
Reports are NEI-DMC (2001), Ecorys-NEI (2005), EcoVision (2012), Ecorys (2012) and Shaw (2012)
Even Milieudienst environmental dept. has never seen those reports.
They're Mad Already
The civil servants incomes will be subjected to a close look at allowances, of which telephone and car are mentioned. The spoiled brats union Abvo feels especially hosed off because government, and we think wisely, just advises their membership by circular, bypassing Abvo.
You Know Where to Put It
If you are bugged by Isla refinery, you have to complain with them (and rotsa ruck!) Says communications officer Gonçalves of ministry for health, environment and nature. The ministry will not do anything—which we knew already.
Music to Their Ears
Dutch PM Rutte, visiting Curaçao, told the cabinet ministers that "we're going to make a lot of money together." Just what we, the people, are afraid of.
Rutte later cut off an interview on a boat in Schottegat harbor, when in the background Isla refinery unexpectedly started burping out an enormous cloud of white smoke (according to SMOC probably caused by the CAT-cracker starting up). "We do not want to see this" he said.
Later on, Rutte claimed he told Our Leaders something different; he only said this in public. The fool.
ARC Rekenkamer [accounting control's close enough] has turned down the 2010 budget as well. In its entirety, mind (only 3 months worth of the Shorty Mob after all).
But Rekenkamer figures by 2015 we should arrive at a reasonable budget. They ought to apply to Guinness as the greatest optimists in the world.
Ouch! Dat Hoits
There will be a civiele enquête [civil survey, Google tells me, okay-accepted] into the machinations of Aqualectra, Curoil, Curgas and Refineria di Kòrsou. So The Awful Majesty of the Law has decided, prodded on by Akshón Sivíl.. Jolly good!
But the best part is, those guys will have to pay for it themselves! Break out the Añejo or even the humbler San Pablo.
On second thoughts, no doubt later we will have to pay for it. "Rien n'est parfait, soupira le renard."
Scandal with Delayed Timing
Three new oil tanks built for Curoil at Schottegat harbor entrance (pushed forward during Shorty's last campaign as examples of "look at what we're doing!") by Nederex General Contractor, turn out to have been "several millions" more expensive than the next contractor's bid (Miles Trucking for 18.5m, slightly over $10m).
This interesting fact bobbed up at court procedures to start a overheids-nv's [government-owned companies] audit.
Please, Ask a Dentist?
The anti-fluoride maniacs are
collectingtrying to collect 1000 signatures for a petition to take fluoride out of the water supply. "We are the only country in the kingdom (of Holland) where fluoride is added." So we're far ahead of the rest, is how I interpret this. But these guys prefer to listen to notorious naturopaths. Quackie Constancia wanted to phase it out as well, but was kicked out in time.
Not to worry maybe, as there were far more signatures asking for inspector of health Huurman to stay and he's gone anyway. Savory thought: Huurman wanted to get the fluoride back up to 1.5ppm! Hey, why don't the thinking guys start a petition to keep fluoride in the water? Just an idea.
O yeah, they use the "argument" that fluoride is used as a rat poison; well, no, not any more—since 1948 as a matter of fact. But naturopaths are notoriously behind the times, like, the middle ages? By the way, fish is soooo healthy, omega trans-fats blah blah... Well, seafood contains fluoride like it's free for the taking! So do whole-wheat bread and rye-bread, also highly esteemed by health freaks. As always, it's the dose qui fait la musique.
One more thing to keep in mind here is that PdVSA, at first hardly interested in Curaçao Oil Terminal's facilities, during the 2002 coup discovered it sure came in handy as it held enough to supply their US market for as long as the trouble lasted. Now, it's in use as a depot for oil to be sent to China.
But China's shale reserves are even larger than those of the USA, even though it keeps opening new coal mines. No doubt, China's thirst for oil will decrease in the foreseeable future; another good reason to forget all about Isla as a "pillar of our economy"—to coin a phrase.
So Do We All
Justice minister Navarro wants more money—(to fight crime with).
Shockingly, while crime rates always tended down after our Glorious Carnival, our Greatest Cultural Event, naturally good for lots of crimes and still more future criminals born of teenage and unwed mothers, this year they went up! Obviously, something must be done. Problem is, Navarro has been announcing instant stops before and it just keeps growing worse. Inapt? Incapable? Incompetent? Take your pick.
My guess is, throwing money at it won't help. There are now claims that crime rates went down after the lead was taken out of paint, no kidding. That's just about as ridiculous.
Free Education: Next Chapter in the Farce
After first the parents were asked to pay a 250 guilders guarantee sum for the "free" books, they then were told that the books were matter of fact free; and finally, well, no, not really what you'd call "free", and please sign a paper accepting the debt.
Way Behind Schedule
Antilliaans Dagblad managed to obtain a copy of the carefully guarded Ecorys II report on Isla refinery. It dates from 1 year and 4 months back and states that if no partner for upgrading would have been found within 6 months, Shorty c.s. might as well forget it. So there.
As no partner has been found still, that spells the end, even if there's no doubt we'll witness a lot of desperate antics of our Leaders to avoid this, wasting more money in the process.
As it happens [?] Ecorys II agrees: "Stay well prepared for the real chance that the closure of the refinery—despite all efforts—appears inevitable." Which will fall on deaf ears: Keda positivo!
Make More Money, or Playing Ping-Pong.
Ballast-Nedam announced, in a meeting with PM Arsjes and ministers Whiteman (health), Jardim (finance) and Navarro (justice) it's ready to start building the new hospital in the second half of this year, albeit not necessarily on the former Amstel terrain.
still catching up
New items are added in a rather haphazard fashion for now
so check if there's something new between items you read already
Let's Throw a Party
Or at least print yet another new stamp for collectors is what they did. The Scientology ship Freewinds has been visiting Curaçao for 25 years now, so a celebration must be held. We, of course, feel it's a cause for mourning, moaning, weeping and wailing. A national disgrace that these guys are still welcome here. I presume they pay, there you have it.
HINT: if you're a stamp collector, most of these things aren't worth the paper they're printed on. They don't even beat inflation. Dealers and mail services in obscure countries, like ours, make the money.
My Heart Bleeds
Well, it does need a Band-Aid. Independent folks have to pay 12% of premium for BZV health insurance; just like wage slaves (where costs are shared between boss and worker). Only difference is, if you make more than 100,000 guilders ($55k) a month in a job, you max out. Those poor indies making more than that, over a million/year, have to pay more.
You know, I can't feel really sorry for them. Besides, if they're so smart that they make so much, why not pay a public notary say 2000 guilders and start their own incorporated NV?
BOO, Isla, Curgas, and Lies
Last week-end, BOO power plant went O-W-T, not for the first time. Isla refinery went down, and a large part of the island had to make do without power as well. From what we gather, the breakdown was caused because BOO's fuel supply was interrupted—from the refinery! Aqualectra utility has had it with BOO (so we have had it with Aqualectra, but what can we do?
Then, Curgas started complaining that all their propane comes from Isla, which is true enough, and that this will cause delays in delivery. Which, they say, normally takes five days. Which, we say, is a brazen lie. It's more like five weeks; if you're lucky.
The refinery was supposed to restart Tuesday. Hold your breath!
It was announced by Friday that rebooting took longer than expected and the refinery will only be back on-line next week.
Thodé Jiggles and Jerks
MFK Thodé accuses finance minister Jardim of lying about his predecessor MFK Imalootin, and mentions a lot of factoids. But, as Jardim remarks, Thodé conveniently forgets to mention that he himself signed a vote of no-confidence against Imalootin on June 14 last year.
Two New Parties!
Now, after Robbie's brother Amparo dos Santos, ex-PAR minister Leeflang is thinking about starting a new party.
One Fell Swoop
If you work for the government and
celebratehave your 60th birthday this year, tough! You'll have to work on until you're 65 before you get your full pension, Our Wise Leaders decided last year. Congratulations! May set you back 51,720 guilders.
Not So Fast!
Last December, we had quite a blast when the kruithuis [gunpowder magazine] exploded, loaded to the brim with New Year's Eve fireworks, of course. Now, seven months later, our government finally seems to've found out about it. Minister Balborda has installed a workgroup which has to come with a proposal for a new one in four months. Let's see... that will be October; then plans will have to be drawn, contractors sought and then, the goddam thing will have to be built. Which means it won't be ready until long after next new year.
Gee, I wonder how they pay for being a member of such a
Not So Good
The Central Bank exchange reserve keeps decreasing: from 1.551 billion to 1.306 billion (January 2010 - June 2013). That's 250 million guilders or, put it another way, 16%.
Look Who's Talking
PAIS Rosaria accuses the private sector of not wanting to withdraw from its comfort zone. They lack leadership, companies willing to take risks and acting innovatively. It's running behind the government, he has the temerity to say. "Comfort zone" forsooth. The nitwit really hoses me off.
Whatever Gave Him Those Idea?
Ex inspector of health Huurman writes an article in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (2013-08-15) that everything went fine, his proposals were accepted and applied—up to the point when he discovered the extensive fraudulent operations. Then he was kicked out, notwithstanding a petition signed by 2600 people.
He then opines that Wiels was murdered by professional mafiosi because of his intended disclosures about the links between gambling organisations and UTS, and that the Curaçao police is notoriously corrupt. And he largely blames Holland for this situation with their laissez faire, laisser aller attitude. An interesting point he makes is that the Netherlands Antilles had at least some effect against corruption because the islands more or less controlled one another.
It's a Habit
Algemene Rekenkamer accounting complains that the 2010 budget contains insufficient information to judge policy and management. Figures, that was the Shorty-Imalootin combination.
One More CTB Scandal
CTB boss Kabbara all of a sudden decided not to come to work anymore; then he resigned. Now he wants to be compensated, which he'll probably will get. Hey, it's he who left— why pay him? He should pay
usCTB! But negotiations have started anyway.
What's The Use
PAR, MFK and MAN want a parliamentary discussion on the future of the refinery. They're worried: where will the 3 billion guilders come from to renew the refinery in 2019, when the PdVSA contract runs out?
This is stupidly shortsighted. Haven't they heard about shale oil and gas which will make the USA completely independent from the Venezuelan supplies? Sure, China is another customer but how long will that last? And then, China is a customer for Venezuelan oil, which may not even be available for Isla refinery by then. You don't have to be clairvoyant to predict that the refinery may be pretty useless as from 2019. Wanna bet?
Let Us Hope So
Holland wants to keep a more stringent watch on the Curaçao and St. Maarten budgets. Especially to keep an eye peeled for disguised loans. Hear hear.
Away for a Week
Back next Saturday (July 6).
I'll try to keep up and when back, to catch up.
Bad and Worse
Curaçao economy has been "shrinking slightly" the media tell us. Don't know why they'd put it like that; fact of the matter is, it's a disaster. The Caribbean have been growing by 3% (which is pretty good) while we are at as
goodbad as 0 (.1, to be exact). Tourism went down, and even though more tourists came they spent less nights in hotels.
Pay Your Bills
The Dutch forensic institute is withholding evidence "in some important crime cases" because Curaçao hasn't paid outstanding bills to the tune of €650k or ANG 1.5 million. Hey, could one of those cases be the Wiels murder? Probably!
For a Change
Gas and diesel will go down by a substantial amount on July 1, from 2.48-2.35 and 1.99-1.79 guilders/liter. Turns out, the market fluctuations take two months to get passed on. Why?
Water and electricity will go down as well, by 2 cents/kw and 12 cents/m3
Ex-minister Leeflang has left PAR, taking her parliamentary seat along as an independent. However, in contrast with Sulvaran who pulled the same trick to help other parties with his vote, she decently announced it. Her decision has to do with PAR choosing ex-PM Hodge for party head, whom she blames for the treatment of penshonadós she is fighting to reverse.
I miss a couple... Hmmmmmmmmmm...
They Never Asked Us
Later more, maybe, on the Transparency International report, requested by MFK ex-PM Shorty. But for now, one complaint in there is, the media are just too dependent from private financing advertising with few preconditions to safeguard the workers' integrity.
Well, that's a point, but it certainly does not apply to us here. Heh heh.
Just as expected, most people are not impressed by the report which is a standard blue-print that actually goes for most Caribbean islands and hardly touches on our specific concerns.
Blah Blah Blah (etc.)
Our Obese Number One has declared, among many other pie-in-the-sky items, that a decision on the new hospital will be taken "during this government period".
One more reason to hope that he won't last very long. As if we needed any.
For Him, Yes... For Us, No
Prothesis makers, who are on strike because they get paid too little by SVB health insurance, were highly surprised when a top-function police official did get money for a prothesis. We are not so very surprised.
Is There or Isn't There?
A lot of energy and many words are being invested in a "petroleum law" to regulate the supposed oil and gas deposits around the island. But it all seems hot air as long as we don't even know if they're there at all, complain PNP and PAIS. And also Shorty, who allegedly took away the very charts and maps he's now asking for, to show at a press conference.
Something Going on
DAE airlines complain that CBA (our FAA equivalent) is what you'd call overzealous in checking them out with many "superfluous" and "very annoying" inspections that interfere with "normal business practice". They think it's a plot and plan to sue both CBA and the country.
Only Since Then?
In a parliamentary discussion about DAE's woes, PNP Davelaar opined that there has not been any aviation policy since 10-10-10. Well, that goes for everything, and I would put the date much earlier than that.
Others said that no doubt this is bad for our FAA-status, and wondered how much money Korpodeko had lent to DAE and Inselair. Good question! After all, Korpodeko has been pretty generous to ALM-DCA as well in the past, and all that money's gone up in air.
PNP Balborda replied that most of the questions didn't concern his transport ministry and asked for a week time to reply.
He Might Well Ask
PAIS Konket asks PAIS minister Palm, how about investing a bit and avoid the "economic precipice"? Curaçao economy will shrink by 3% this year resulting in a 1000-1500 jobs loss, and there's only money for social projects. Of the 270 million planned, nothing has been spent yet.
He also asks the minister to kindly explain about how that "free education" fits in the budget, because it doesn't.
Palm's predecessor Martina planned to invest 484 million guilders, but there's 170 million more available from Herstelbank plus 230 million from public-private sources.
Do It Yourself
Raad van Advies [advisory council] bounced back a request by parliament if nothing could be done to hold ministers etc. liable for mismanagement, waste of money and law violations. RvA thinks parliament has plenty of ways to do that already, and if more are needed, it's parliament's task to adapt the law.
Led by PAR Leeflang, the oldies are protesting against their higher premiums for health insurance than anybody else, and also against the fact that they get back less for that. But that's against the law, where everyone insured can claim equal provisions.
If there's no reaction in four months, they will go to court.
So That's Why
DAE airlines recently had to return empty from Paramaribo because SLM Surinam Airlines refused to do the ground handling, even though DAE had (belatedly) paid their dues. Now the Surinam court has obliged SLM to resume handling. The trouble seems to be, DAE is SLM's only competitor on the route PBM-CUR-MIA, for which SLM used to ask 2 to 3 times as much than DAE does.
PS held their meeting and the board members who were accused of being MFK-infiltrators by Arsjes have been fired, but not dismissed as party members. In eight weeks, there'll be a new board replacing the present temporary one. Arsjes seems to have won—for now.
I feel another coup d'état coming; if so, hopefully we'll survive this one too.
More Money Blown—in Which Direction?
In Februari 2011, just a few months after Shorty took over, the renovation started of Ali Baba's Cave, Forti government seat buildings. But contractor Aannemersbedrijf Willemstad Curaçao BV went bankrupt last February, and the company was continued as Aannemersbedrijf Willemstad Curaçao NV. Now PNP Davelaar has noticed that somehow all the money, one million guilders, has gone and he would like to know where to. The busybody.
Shorty said, when the renovation started, that they could put 70-90 civil servants in there without extra building costs, so they were saving money.
Campo Doesn't Count
US Dept. of State announced that there is an improvement in Curaçao's government control of human trafficking. Last year, four people were arrested for trafficking offences (one of which was a police officer) and seven victims were found in illegal bordellos, bars, nightclubs etc.
However, the officially sanctioned Campo Alegre, where females from Santo Domingo, Colombia, Haïti and Asia are exploited, seems not to have been considered at all. (Campo Alegre management was thick as thieves with Godett's FOL party.)
Doesn't matter who'll be chosen as the next PAR-leader, all candidates want the refinery to stay after 2020 when the contract with PdVSA has expired. MAN recently opined the same. Arsjes (for now PS} of course is too much of an opportunist for us to know what he will do. Same for MFK, but here it seams a safe bet Shorty would go for Isla, not against.
Leaves PAIS whose Rosaria wants a look into both Ecorys reports. So would we all. He also states that, whatever Arsjes privately schemes with PdVSA is not binding for the country. ça va sans dire? Wish we could be sure of that.
That's Just Great
Those insured with the new BZV health insurance will have to take out a separate insurance when they visit a foreign country; BZV will not cover their medical [emergency] costs there.
Except for the
spoiled bratscivil servants, of course.
Sales Tax: Retreat
The new system of cash receipts, that have to indicate how much OB/sales tax is charged, is postponed until October 1. "There wasn't enough time to arrange for it." We knew it all the time.
A Whole Lotta Fraud Going On
Remember how PS minister Bitorina, whatever, crawled back from having all pupils redo their exams? Well, this is worse. Concerns one pupil of
StuijvesantKAP that was suspected of fraud. Used to be so, you got kicked out of school, but Bitorina (whatever) had her retake both exams. All pupils and parents are mad. I wonder what her name is, but have no doubt it's a Very Important Person's one.
Don't Hold Your Breath
Minister Jardim plans to lower taxes on income, salary and profit with 50 million in 2015. Don't get all excited now, it's very questionable if Jardim will still be around by then. My bet is, no.
That Could Be Fun
PS party members plan a meeting next Friday, after they have tried four times to meet with Our Obese # One Arsjes and his Gang of Five, who didn't bother to show up. Now the party claims that they have the power to sack parliament members from PS. That could be fun! Thing is, they probably won't leave. More fun!
Then for sure the party board will be fired as well. Next thing, they'll all go to court.
How Many More?
Plenipotentiary minister in de Haag, Pieters, after four months has been kicked out by Our Obese # One, Arsjes, and replaced by Marvelyne Wiels; definitely a relation. Without any regard to standard and legal procedures, naturally! We confidently await Arsjes declaring he has nothing to do with it—if he deigns to comment at all.
There's yet another proposal for a new hospital. They keep coming, don't they... plenty of plans, but no hospital. Now there's one to be called the Wiels Hospital. But why? What has the guy ever done for us, for our island, to deserve this except partaking in a thoroughly corrupt government and leaving a godawful mess behind?
Much worse, the plan calls for the destruction of several marvelous over 115 years old indju trees (mesquite, Prosopis juliflora).
Hold Your Cheers
Standard & Poor have changed Curaçao's credit rating to A-; but on the very same web-site we can read that this is up and down—take your pick. Anyway, doesn't sound like a big deal to me.
Other sources say, the credit rating has remained the same (A-) but the prospects have improved from negative to stabile. Ain't that just great!
Ten million guilders have disappeared from the fund to finance free education, just like that! But the government does not want to investigate, as there's no reason to suspect foul play; after all, 10m more or less... So PAR Leeflang is lodging a complaint with the police.
Three Wiels family members (daughter, mother, son) were refused admission to a meeting of the PS party. There's a movement going on to make other children of Wiels, who actually live in Holland, "inherit" the party. Party statutes are contravened to accomplish this. There should have been a meeting to vote for a new party head in less than 14 days after Arsjes and his Gang of Five left, but it has been postponed to October.
For Some Reason...
Venezuela has now declared DAE airlines illegal in permanence, a very unusual step to take but they've just done it anyway. Curaçao will try to change this, but DAE is very pessimistic, with 300 workers and umpteen weekly flights to Venezuela.
But, though DAE has borrowed money several times from the government (via Korpodeko) PAIS minister Palm declared no more loans will be granted. And minister Balborda claims "former governments" are to blame for the problems between DAE and Venezuela. That would be MFK-PS-MAN.
By the way, so much for ex PM-Shorty who when visited by a DAE-delegation last Monday promised he'd fix it, he had such great relations in Latin-America.
Next step is a technical-financial audit of DAE (might be a bit late?); Balborda thinks he can get the US FAA to do this (short reply "No Way, Baby!") Another problem indicated is that all payments from Venezuela go by way of Cadivi, the Venezuelan currency dept., which often runs months behind, causing cash-flow problems.
The very first thing the new minister of Social Development and Work Francisca did was send a threatening letter to all her personnel forbidding them to have any contact with the old management team. Don't even know what party she belongs to or who her predecessor was; if I find out more will let you know.
Francisca denies the letter's "threatening"—maybe it just comes natural to her.
Would You Believe That?
Arsjes declares that the CTDF appointment of his helpmeet Tara had absolutely nothing to do with him. I'm not enough of a masochist to have looked at his discourse, so I can't tell you if he actually smirked while trying to sell us that.
Free Education Tax
With two months to go till the schools re-open, again it's not at all clear where the money to finance the Free Education is supposed to come from. Small wonder, it's not even clear about the present year that's as good as finished. Now there's talk of yet another tax: the richer parents will have to pay a "shoulder premium" to pay for the free education of the poorer pupils. Just what we needed. And then, those children will get a maximum of 450 guilders.
Pupils of the Oranjeschool had much better exam results than those of other schools. PS minister of education Bitorina suspected fraud and wanted to have all pupils redo the exams. But after parents started threatening to sue, lawyers and all, causing enormous public havoc, Bitorina retracted.
Hint: Oranjeschool is a so-called "elite school" where many "foreigners" send their kids—read, no Yu'i Kòrsows, PS favorites. If there is fraud going on, who knows? I certainly don't.
That Bitorina is the last one in a long range of education ministers where PS seems to have a continuous run of bad luck (if it's that), starting with Rosalia. Wiels overthrew 'em like bowling pins.
He Has a Point
MFK Thodé complains that, while they're discussing a budget in parliament, that's of not much use as there still is no government program.
He Has a Point, as Well
And another Thodé, president of Konseho di Penshonado (council for pensionaries), complains that those people have been sacrificed by cabinet Hodge. But look at it this way: the government can borrow again! Maybe. And look at it another way: he's only talking about civil servants and workers of government companies. How typical, the rest of is still don't seem to matter much.
I Second the Motion
As far as I get it, it was Dutch VVD party that has now put an effective stop to the influx of Antilleans into Holland, without them knowing (nor caring to know) the first thing about the Dutch culture, the Dutch language... shall I go on? Meanwhile, down here they try to force the xenophobic 80-20 law on us, and all the honkies have to learn Papiamentu.
And now for the moozles who, really, present much more of a problem to Holland.
About Them Veggies
Hey, did you notice them becoming cheaper since there's no more OB on them? Not me.
There We Go, Already
A negative advise by SBNTO, the people we pay for giving advise, doesn't matter: Arsjes' wife will get her job with CTDF. Showing us all who's boss. There was no vacancy, she didn't apply for the job and the former manager has been sent on a "compulsory holiday".
May even have been accorded by former PM Hodge. Also remember PS was supposed to fight corruption. Hah!
Back to Work, Brats!
23 civil servants who were striking because their work place was judged unsafe by the fire dept. have been given a new work place that is considered safe. But 15 of 'em still don't want to go back to their jobs. Minister van der Horst says, from now on it's "no work, no pay". These guys have had a 2-3 month holiday already. Dûh.
But How About Bread?
Amparo dos Santos (yes, he) wants to start a new party with as main ambition
circusessport, name Di bo també [yours too]. All taxes on sport articles will be abolished, but agriculture is also most important. The money to pay for all this comes from foreign sources, is all we're told.
Hodge Back in Politics
Ex-PM Hodge who recently declared he was not a politician but an honest banker, has become a candidate for the PAR party leadership (he has been a member in the past). Just maybe not impossibly he's as disgusted with Arsjes taking over as we are.
Obersi, who runs a snack annex boat trips at Santa Cruz beach, complains that he's being hassled and has been physically attacked by Amparo dos Santos's beach bums. Yes, that guy— he certainly gets around. Dos Santos threatened Obersi when he wouldn't "coöperate" that he would get the concession to exploit the beach [killing Obersi's business] from, there she pops up again... Quackie Constancia.
Obersi thinks that dos Santos wants to commercialize the now public beach and is afraid of vandalism by the dos Santos gang.
"Over Their Backs?"
Government plans to save 50 million over the next three years by more rigorous application of existing guidelines, nothing new has been proposed and salaries will not be cut. It's all about better controls of overtime, premiums and telephone use. True, those civil servants just love their phones, as anybody can attest.
So the Spoiled Brats Union is complaining that the government wants to save money over the backs of the civil servants.
A New Government
actually it's pretty old
Carl Barks' The Old Castle's Secret
We'll Wait and See
A committee will advise on the finally final decision on the new Sehos hospital in less than a month. Hah! Even though parliament rejected the Usona/Ballast-Nedam project on the Amstel terrain only six weeks ago, the committee will still deliberate with them. But Sehos claims their plans of incremental replacement save 47 million guilders. It is not clear if that includes or excludes the Ballast-Nedam claim (which we only just heard could result in 73 million higher cost).
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Kabbara, director of CTB tourist board has been kicked out because "a thorough look into certain facts that recently came to light is better done in his absence." I dare say. My only surprise is, the rest of the board is kosher?
PAIS Rosaria worries that a motion to make politicians and board members responsible for their acts in government-owned companies has never been adapted by the now partly replaced task cabinet. He might well be, as it could mean Shorty and his goons get off scott-free.
(Now ex-)PM Hodge will not ask Dutch newspaper Trouw for a rectification on his remarks that Arsjes wasn't the leader he fancies himself. He said it wasn't worth the trouble.
Besides, the risk he runs is Trouw won't rectify at all, maintaining that's exactly what Hodge said.
Trouw journalist de Fijter is "bewildered"—make that "flabbergasted"? by Hodge's reaction
Knowing Our Media...
... that's it. New inspector of health Mourillon says he will not go visit the media, in contrast with his kicked-out predecessor Huurman. Guess that's the last thing we'll hear about medical fraud, killing operations and all that, because the media are too lazy to find out for themselves.
Maybe they're not too lazy, I'm ready to retract that. They just may not care.
I'd Put It Differently
Aqualectra claims they have had yet another setback because they can't occupy the Amstel terrain due to ex-PM Shorty's manipulations, think "new hospital". This time it's 28 million (guilders, I guess). But come right down to it, why should Aqualectra worry? It's our setback. And by the way you know, just mentioning it in passing, by now we were definitely promised a definite decision on that beast's location. Because as far as I remember, the last one has been turned back again. Still silence like the graveyard... oops, not so good in connection with the hospital.
And one more thing I get to think of, that cabinet has really been busy; just check out all their promises and go figure. The only thing from the last that strikes me as having been accomplished is "increase retirement age"—by a not-so-coïncidental coïncidence the only one that brings in money.
It's a Gamble
Outgoing minister Martina has written a letter to FWNK [gambling association, pronounce funk?] asking them to answer seven burning questions. Until now, they haven't bothered to send him "fundamental documents, like business plan, budget, activities pan and yearly accounts 2010-2011-2012. He already asked them at least four times.
Not surprising, as the head of FWNK is Marius Römer (yes, that same one) with Robbie dos Santos (yes, that same one) as supporting cast member.
When Experts Disagree
Now a lawyer tells us that Arsjes, hh, is perfectly allowed to publish the screening results. So why doesn't he?
I wouldn't know, nor care. The other thing you may want to know about is that there's loose talk of "the Asjes Cabinet". Dios spar nos.
What may be better news is, the 2013 budget has been accepted. Now, they only have to keep to it: lotsaluk with that.
We read that tomorrow a new cabinet (nr. 4 since 10-10-10, they can't even say it's a record!) will be installed. Although names are mentioned, nobody seems to be really sure who'll be in there. Wait and see and don't forget: keep your fingers crossed. That's Transparency, Folks!
Amigoe newspaper has a letter (to and from) the editor which states in Curaçao 4000 guilders/year is spent on lotteries and all that. Really? Per person or per family? In the last case it would still be enormous, say 2.75 a day on average. In the first case, it would be nothing less than insane.
An unskilled worker then spends 15% of his 562/month wages on gambling; sure, it's not as simplistic as that.
But of course gambling is insane. That you and I know it doesn't help the gamblers one bit.
SMOC desperately wonders if Milieudienst [environment dept.] still exists—they've been waiting for an answer to a letter for five months. Sorry; answer is, "what's the difference?"
Energetic Family Affairs
After the first day in court, that has to decide if there will be an enquête [public audit] of Isla Refinery, Aqualectra Utilities and Curgas/Curoil, we would be very much surprised if the judge said "no". Ex-PM Shorty and his in-common-law van der Dijs were interfering all over and the result was that the energy supply would have failed with the smallest bump in the road.
It's so bad, the refinery would actually welcome an enquête! And Shorty couldn't be bothered to show up in court.
Cft financial supervision announces that the yearly government accounts of 2010 and 2011 have still not been presented, let alone been discussed in parliament. As if any of those guys here cares, especially when they've been reassured there will be no intervention.
DAE airline has now protested with ICAO international civil aviations organisation against the fact that Inac does not operate them any longer to/from Venezuela. DAE claims they fly to several countries in the area without comparable trouble and also resents Inac's director's attitude, who has appeared all over the media with alarmist statements harming DAE's reputation.
Interestingly, arch-competitor Insel-Air has announced they will take over DAE's Venezuelan routes with MD80's, carrying a threefold of DAE's Fokker aircraft (50 pax).
For years and years, bailiffs and other sympathetic characters opened their documents with the clause In naam der koningin! [in name of the queen], but really meaning "Or Else!" Now in all those papers, there are many more instances and examples, koningin will have to be changed to koning. You'll never guess—that means "king".
So much for gender equality. There is a difference; you may have noticed, but now it's official.
Knowing the perfect Dutch our notables have mastered, they'll probably put in in naam der koning, not realizing that hey, it's male singular possessive case and has to be in naam des konings. Let's keep it GC (Gramatically Correct).
"Where's the Screening Certificate?"
On VersGeperst Nardy Cramm defies and dares Arsjes to stop his bragging that he's passed the screening, and show us proof.
Problem is, there's a theoretical chance he may have it. Would be tough on us all. But even Arsjes wouldn't have that much chutzpah. Or would he? Better make sure, right.
Comes in handy for Arsjes that the screening results are secret, that's the law as I'm sure he knows and a contravention is a penal offense. In that case, why keep on bragging that he's not afraid of showing them? I can think of reasons.
Fine with Me, But...
Water price is going down (20cents/m3 or 0.3%; as for electricity, that's 2cents/kW or 0.4%. Because crude has become cheaper, they say. Well, they say so many things.
They Don't Have to Tell Us
Intervention by Holland in Curaçao affairs will never happen, says Dutch minister Plasterk in parliament. It just serves as a preventive measure. Lots of luck with that, if everybody agrees it will never happen it's of no bloody use at all.
Tara, Arsjes's mate, may not get a job at CDTF Curaçao Tourism Development Foundation as long as she's still working as his assistant. It would mean the government, of which she's part, gave her that job. Which is a definite no-no these days. My, how times have changed?
First CTB was called Curaçao Tourism Development Board, then they took out "development" because tourism didn't need further developing. Somehow, this makes you surmise there is still plenty of extra money to be made in developing tourism.
Arsjes's resignation from parliament cannot be canceled because his successor Leonora's credentials have already been approved. The only thing that can save Arsjes (and may doom us) is for Leonora now to resign, in which case Arsjes is back on the list. Personally, as if you didn't know: I hope that Leonora will not resign and teach Arsjes a hard-needed lesson.
Say, would you really like have this obese dictatorial dummy as PM? What a stupid fool.
PM Hodge, soon to be replaced, told Dutch newspaper Trouw that the Curaçao people tend to think that politicians only take care of themselves, and that the people are quite right. Nothing has changed and "we have stagnated." Hodge also hopes that Holland will interfere when our government gets, "say, South American characteristics."
We are not so optimistic; ever since the Statuut Holland has just let us slide.
Hodge later got cold feet and disassociated himself from the interview, which was especially hard on Arsjes.
Next week, Dutch minister Timmermans will visit Venezuela. Smoc has written him a letter asking him (in Dutch) to do something about that rotten refinery, for crying out loud. Last week there was a terrible stench of H2S, the rotten egg smell you remember from high school chemistry classes, plus who knows what more evil lurks in those sooty clouds. Milieudienst [environment dept.] was, coïncidentally of course, of course! closed.
You must have respect for Smoc—they just keep prodding.
Timmermans stated that with Chávez mercifully dead, the new government is much more reliable (really!) and they can work very well together. That I can believe and accept.
Gone? They Wish.
Inspector of health Huurman who was kicked out, because he became a nuisance by stirring up too much stinking mud, has not shut up though. Out of 326 operations, he says, the first 150 have been well documented and part of the rest is fraudulent (to collect more insurance money.) The fraud extends to the operation room, where a different operation has been done than recorded. Huurman never got a complete list of all operations, fancy that!
By comparing the OR records with the insurance claims, the fraud can be documented. The medical board has also been informed but let's face it: these guys are notorious for protecting their own. Remember Huurman's boss Alcalá who blocked the latter's request for an investigation by Holland.
Rudolf de Wit, locally well-known if not downright notorious purveyor of "alternative medicine" is again moving against water fluoridation. He says it's not the fact that it's a poison, it's the human rights. And then he goes on and on about the fact that it's a poison. "It's the main component of rat poison!"
Everything is a poison, it depends on the dose. But what would a homeopath, who "cures" people with chemically inert substances, know about doses.
It was Quackie Constancia who wanted to get rid of fluor, no surprise there. But fired inspector of health Huurman wanted to increase the dose back to 1.5ppm.
We won't get a second weekly flight Düsseldorf-CUR by Air Berlin. Turns out, CTB pays Air Berlin $2.6 million/year (almost ANG5m) for that one weekly flight; it's estimated that the pay-back on the tourist market is 22.7m dollars, which (maybe) results in $1m taxes. No matter how you look at it, we lose.
Figuring an 80% occupation in an Airbus 330-200 (capacity 303 seats) with a return flight costing €678, the total yearly sales for Air Berlin is .8*303*678*52/2 = €4,273,027 or $5,559,120. Of which they get almost half back, guaranteed by CTB. Good deal for Air Berlin, yes, but they wanted still more.
You might well wonder about that good old payola oil here.
Rumors were doing the rounds that Arsjes has not passed the screening procedure. He denies it himself, but has retracted his letter of resignation from parliament, needed to become PM.
At any rate, the governor has announced that the June 3 date for a new parliament is not feasible "because not all screening documents are in".
Tough for Arsjes: it's not sure at all if he can legally retract his resignation. Ouch.
And the Public Ministry will interview ex-PM Shorty and Aqualectra, Curoil and Refineria di Kòrsou plus commissioners, including van der Dijs and Treurniet on June 5. This is a follow-up of Akshon Sivíl's 2012 request.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Two more commissioners of CPA port authority will be kicked out today, and they'll be the last ones; for the time being. They don't have to be present, it's the kicks that count, not where they land (although we do have suggestions). It concerns dos Santos and van der Dijs, both names striking a familiar note, and it's confidently expected that they'll fight this in court. More money wasted? In fact, minister Martina hopes they will because that'd stop a lot of copy-cat tomfoolery.
The Party's Over, No New Party
As far as I can make out, PS board has retired after the Gang of Five collected 400 signatures to make them do so, and Arsjes and his flunkies have taken over. So there'll be no new party, and Arsjes claims the party has now been purged (shades of Stalin) of MFK infiltration.
Only party head Balentina says he's not retired, but he won't talk to the media and will go riding his motorcycle to the beach.
Gasoline prices will go down with 6.7cents/liter, diesel with 9. "Because of developments in the world market"—yeah yeah. Actually, crude oil prices went up this month, from $93 to $94.15 per barrel, just over 1%; and gasoline prices go down almost 3%. Oh, of course...
Say you live in a house and only by scraping every cent together you can pay the mortgage, let alone paint it. That pretty well describes our government's position, right? Now, to save some money in the next, oh, twenty years or so, you decide to throw all your light bulbs away and replace all of them, at once, with LED-lights; using maybe 1/10th of the electricity but costing over ten times as much per bulb (they admittedly last much longer, though). Wouldn't your partner have you certified as a loonie?
But that's exactly what DOW [public works] proposes to do, here and now, in Curaçao.
People May Be Sovereign, But Politicians Reign
Pueblo Soberano minister Josepha is a real dictator... those things run in
familiesparties. After head of Social Affairs sector director Monk (no relation) was forced to take his leave yesterday, the entire top followed him out. Josepha reputedly demands unconditional obedience from his servants. (Striking how these same PS guys always are the loudest mouths about the wrongs of slavery.)
Look Who Said It
CAP tells us that, of 36 points where passenger satisfaction is measured, Hato airport ends up last in almost all categories.
They add that they're working hard to correct this. They'd better, and about time: this has been going on for 10 years already.
Twists and Glitches
Arsjes avers that Shorty's MFK has infiltrated PS, and that's why he and his hangers-on left the party. He discovered that pretty late yesterday, as PS made public that he was "their" PM in an afternoon press conference. They must have had a real surprise.
Maybe the new party will be named Aliansa Sivil; hey, take your time to think it over. While you're at it, try to think some more. Think it through—if you can, that is.
Arsjes and his goons claim they have collected 400 signatures against the PS board. So maybe there won't be a new party after all?
Crunch!—Camelia's Collapsing Cabinet
If the other parties, all ready and eager to start accepting their ministerial posts, accept the way PS or ex-PS behaves I would be very much surprised (then again, maybe not...) A good question is, will even the PS ministers accept this?
In which case, so much for Camelia's "eight year" cabinet. Sticking my neck out all ready for the chopping, I even predict another round of new elections.
That Was Fast! But Wait...
Wiels's PS party is already falling apart, or so we're told. Even before Arsjes can take over the party "leader"ship, part of the party has withdrawn its support—but maybe he'll become PM yet anyway. One can picture him desperately running around with a
bag of cashtube of glue. Hold on!
The five PS parliament members have left the party and started their own rat pack under the name Akshón Sivil. The traitors! Wiels's brother Aubert has kicked them out of the party already.
We eagerly anticipate a new round of fresh if admittedly boorish entertainment. This should be good.
Wait a Bit More
PS Josepha's ministry is such a mess, he now wants longer than six weeks to judge on resignations, which VBC entrepreneurs' club feel is outrageous. (It isn't clear how many weeks more he wants.)
But Josepha will be replaced by Cordoba, oh no, it changed again... getting dizzy... Francisca. Same difference.
Don't Make My Mouth Water
Today we may expect to hear about what's gonna happen with Wiels's PS. One persistent rumor was, Aarsjes will be kicked out. A consummation devoutly to be wished, sure. But that one has already been denied; a pity—for PS and for us.
We have a new dictator, all ready and prepared to take over. Arsjes, the Obese One, has taken his leave as a parliament member (that's good) to get ready for his life ambition, the MP-ship (that's very bad). They're supposed to take over with a [not really] new cabinet on June 3.
Rumors are Wiels's function as party head will be taken over by his sister. L'histoire se répète: shades of Godett and his sister who took over as PM when Godett was in jail.
It's not a "really new" cabinet: as someone of Fakebooc said re this, "same shit, different pile."
There's oil below them there waves around the island! At least, there might be. Even gas. Sure... dream on, fools. They'll just spend it all and once it's all gone, screw up taxes even further to keep going at that level, like after the off-shore boom collapsed.
PM Hodge went to Centraal Historisch Archief to check what they had on those supposed riches. (Short, snappy, downright curt reply: "Nothing.") He now suggests to have country investigators look for more, to wit, three agreements PAR allegedly signed with oil exploration companies. Really, now. Is this a way to run a government?
At some time, ex-PM Shorty was flaunting three documents he claimed had to do with oil. Nobody seems to have had a chance to peruse them, though. Could have been anything; wouldn't put it beyond him. Small wonder they can't be found now.
This greasy discussion has been going on for years but nobody knows a gaseous fart. Now they complain new maps have to be made, "based on the modern GPS technology." Gee, I didn't know they made maps that way these days. But of course I don't know the first or Kindergarten thing about maps. Anyway, why they need those to tell if there's oil is beyond me—true, many things are beyond me. Like politics.
Curaçao scores much below benchmark countries in productivity, general training, know-how and a positive work attitude. All of which helps to under-achieve a "too low growth of productivity", according to TAC, who warn that their recommendations are of no use if there's no follow-up. Needed for a higher yearly growth than 1.7% [versus a 2.9% inflation] are a better equipped labor force for higher productivity, and an improvement of business and investment climate to attract investments.
Gee, I wonder how much TAC has been paid for pointing out things we all knew all the time.
"Benchmark countries" are Trinidad, Barbados, Bahamas and Singapore. Don't ask me what TAC stands for, read it as one more acronym.
President-commissioner Quarton of Isla refinery has procured the function of director for himself, which is strictly unlawful: the commissioners' function is to control management. Trade union PFWC wants him to go before Wednesday 8 o'clock.
Doctor Mourillon will become the successor of inspector of health Huurman, who was kicked out in spite of a very successful petition. Let's all hope for the best. Even minister Whiteman doesn't know what Mourillon's task is supposed to be.
Now We're Scairt!
NOAA forecasts an "active or extremely active [hurricane] season" for this year. Too bad none of us can remember when they did not. There's a chance they may be right, of course and hey, a hurricane is no joke. Then again, they may be wrong—as usual.
It's no joke? Just for the hell of it, I'll record their forecasts here; maybe I'll remember next year to compare 'em with the harsh reality. Here goes: 70% chance (whatever that means) of 13-20 named storms (>39mph; seasonal average 12) of which 7-11 could become hurricanes (>74mph; average 6) including 3-6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5 - >111mph; average 3.) I take it mph stands for "knots", where 1 [nautical] mile=1800meters.
We'll just have to wait and see. While 2011 was above average, it didn't come anywhere near predictions. As for 2012, there were 9 storms and 10 hurricanes, 1 major; predictions were 70% chance of 9-15 storms with 4-8 hurricanes, 1-3 major ones.
So, What Now?
The judge has decided that the government is acting wrong by not adapting the tariffs for medical specialists. But the same judge refuses to force the government to, then, adapt them. He says it's not his task to tell the government what it should do.
A welcome contrast with government trying to tell judges what to do.
Minister Josepha, yet another PS dictator (you find them in droves there), makes another mess. This time it's too few people working at landsbemiddelaar [mediator] that has to approve of firing requests and other matters. These are so delayed that Horecaf (hotels/restaurants) now look at what actions they can take to get Josepha up to speed.
The State of the State
PAIS Rosaria complains that MAN Cooper has passed on "secrets" to the media (Transparency Hits Again). When Cooper reacted by attacking Rosaria, he in turn replied "I will not start a fight with a pig". Guess he wouldn't give ole Mudbelly a gun, either.
Yeah, Well, of Course!
There's something called Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) which is supposed to control money laundering and terrorism financing. Make a long story short, the much-touted measures Curaçao brags about are merely much-taunted. A lot of attention is giving to unimportant details while the real racketeers get off scot-free (while passing GO andcollecting). Big surprise.
Watch Those Subsidies
It's impossible to force Gelt Dekker's Jellinek clinic to give their "creative" subsidy back, so the Dutch are stuck with a loss of (at least) €90,000 (well over USD111K). But Dutch minister Plasterk maintains that it was all kosher. Okay, no skin of my nose.
In total, though, the subsidy given was €600,000, while Gelt Dekker says he lost 6 million dollars. No skin of my nose.
DAE Airline is not allowed to fly Curaçao-Venezuela these days; a lot of mud is being flung about on who's to blame. But what's sure is, DAE is to blame for selling tickets MIA-CUR-CAR and then unloading the passengers for Caracas here, making them figure out for themselves how to get home.
Gee, I Wonder...
A committee that was supposed to tell us how to "soften the effects of the new AOW state pension" has given up. Minister Josepha doesn't mind, he says that in his ministry are plenty of civil servants who need no help handling the problems. Besides, that commission was installed by his predecessor of the interim-cabinet and "the added value was zero point zero".
Gee, I wonder how much they paid paid that committee.
That's (Not Much) Better
Minister Balborda announces that in the coming 3-5 years 400kms of asphalt roads will be renewed. That's 3 times as much than announced earlier but it will still take 9-15 years to renew them all. By then it'd be just about time to start all over again.
Now Wegenfonds [road foundation] is p.d off because nobody bothered to ask their opinion; they claim Balborda's measures are another instance of ad hoc reacting but there's no mapped policy.
Meanwhile, the roads keep deteriorating more and more. Cost us two tires already this year, which about equals the wegenbelasting tax.
They've Got a Nerve—And a Point
MFK wants to know how much the government has economized and several other things we never hear about. Coming from them, that may be real chutzpah but yes, we'd all like to know.
We're Still Hiring
Cft financial supervision has several complaints about the budgetary measures the government should have taken but has not. Cft especially does not agree with Curaçao's intention, contrary to the hiring freeze, to keep filling non-critical functions.
Translation: the government prefers to tighten the screws still more and help their political friends to cozy unnecessary jobs.
Guns R Us
Since PS Wiels has been murdered, some politicians understandably go in fear of their lives. Instead of trying to make themselves more popular by acting like reasonable human beings, MAN Cooper thinks that they should all get licensed to get a gun; just because they are politicians. Doesn't occur to him that in the present Wild West crime wave we all run high risks and therefore, following his reasoning, we should all get a gun.
Of course, they're important responsible politicians and we're mere
But PAR and PAIS are not so sure. They worry about parliament members taking guns to meetings. We can see their point all right.
Parliament president Franco says that if parliament members want a gun, they can apply for it just like any other citizen.
Mere possession of a mace/pepper spray or a taser can get you or me four years in jail.
It's Coming to This!?
That's democracy, folks! And anti-corruption, too. A top functionary (and his son)have been attacked "verbally and physically" by two goons of PS minister Josepha.
Hey, isn't it time to send in the marines? Oh, they're here already! Ke alivio!
Aaaw... Come on...
Dutch newspaper Telegraaf publishes an article that Wiels was "murdered by his own party". Don't know who murdered him, but this sounds like pure exploitationist sensationalist BS.
And ex-inspector of health Huurman writes an article in Holland's Volkskrant "Mafia is boss in Curaçao". Sounds a lot more reliable.
The Central Bank wants to stop the loan sharks from gorging themselves. A yearly interest rate of 18% is considered "unreasonable". That's exactly what you have to pay to those credit card loan sharks! But hey, those fat banker cats are pillars of society, so they may go on gorging.
Breaking Apart Together
That's fast! Fights already have started in PS about who will succeed Wiels. Wiels's sister announced at the funeral it would be Arsjes (groan), but now we hear the name of Aubert Wiels (sounds like a keep-it-in-the-family thing). But Wiels himself approached ex-MFK Rozier because he didn't trust Rosalia (that guy!), Wilsoen and Arsjes. He got that straight.
But realistically it looks like PS isn't worth fighting for anymore now that the Daft Dictator has gone. May be wishful thinking, sure. Wanna bet?
The most tasteless act (except for the murder itself, hey) was Shorty's goodbye-to-Wiels speech in parliament. Nuff said.
Fighting Corruption, My *$$
Minister Josepha, called "a tyrant" by his subordinates, had a quarrel going with a trade union, but now the real reason turned up: he wanted to give jobs to some political friends of his, bypassing persons who were better qualified. It's an old tradition, sure. Timing is bad because those jobs have to do with the turnaround of Isla refinery.
Josepha is a PS member, the party of Wiels, the great corruption fighter. His follow-up will be PS Cordoba, with Josepha as top department leader.
Mud Oozes Out
Mudbelly Cooper has announced, not for the first time, that he will be leaving as head of MAN party, which he's been since 2003. This time it's supposed to be June 1st.
That Was Easy
The planned discharge of CPA commissioners van der Dijs and dos Santos couldn't go through (the term is "could not be formalized") because they had to be present. Wisely, or maybe just because they lacked interest, they didn't appear.
And Who Else?
Wiels's family have declared they are behind Arsjes taking over the leadership of Pueblo Soberano party. At least somebody is, then.
As from now, you can get the bends and be treated right here, now, in Curaçao. The official opening of the decompression tank is on Monday 20. That's taken a while!
The MD who before did not get a working permit here is back from Holland as well.
DAE airline has suddenly been ordered by Venezuela to stop the three daily flights. If you can believe DAE this is a ridiculous matter, concerning two very minor incidents that date a year back and regarding aircraft that don't even fly that route presently. DAE wants the kingdom to sue Venezuela.
One of the minor problems was a loose elbow rest, the other one a malfunctioning fold-out table.
Competitor InselAir returned up the Venezuelans stranded here.
Dutch Come Figure
Algemene Rekenkamer [general accounting] is coming over to check the following ministries' finances: Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap education, culture and science (used to run by be our old friend PS Rosalia, now Rubin Bitorina; Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid en Volksgezondheid social development, labor and welfare, Sherwin Josepha; Welzijn en Sport fair guess is, health care and sports, would be Whiteman. Rekenkamer complains about the lack of cooperation they get and the slow handling by the ministries, which includes the Dutch ministry of interior and kingdom affairs.
Pressing On, Regardless
PS still thinks that on May 23rd we'll have a new cabinet, mostly the same tired old one we have now. Except PM Hodge who's glad to get out... We're not so glad as he'll be replaced by Fat Dictator Arsjes or ex-minister of crime Wilsoen. Little to choose from. That's why PS presses on: even they must be aware that their popular support has been buried with Wiels.
But not everybody is so sure, and I mean other parliament members.
2013-05-15Wiels DemigodStop! Police!
The following is adapted from a letter in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant,where it was published under the name René Zwart; Knipselkrant Curaçao published it as well but, for some reason, anonymously. I added a number of items Zwart has overlooked, which is understandable in this plethora; no doubt there are many more.
Wiels was the man who helped MFK Shorty to become PM, despite his questionable reputation with public accusation of mafia connections, convictions for fraud and with a minister of theft who had enormous tax debts. Shorty is our epitome of the proverbial guy "who gave corruption a bad name" and Wiels acted as his prophet.
Wiels himself threw out three ministers who didn't do as he ordered, but not his minister of crime Wilsoen who ordered USA minister of justice Clinton to stop a fraud investigation against Robbie dos Santos, a financier of his PS party. It was (not only) Wiels who replaced directors of government-owned companies with party chums, who spent a lot of money on expensive foreign trips.
So he didn't make good on his promise of fighting corruption. It actually grew worse while his party was part of the coalition. His promise of "free education" flopped as well and actually added to the anarchistic lawlessness the island was sliding into.
It was Wiels who called two parliament members "traitors" because they were sick of the plunder. When Shorty refused to go Wiels was a supporting cast member in his risible coup d'état, and had his party flunky Arsjes prevent parliament meetings.
Wiels just loved insulting people, and his weekly radio program was filled with invective. He staid away from the signing of the Slotaccoord which made Curaçao independent, stating he did not want to collaborate with neo-colonial Dutch politicians and the corrupt Curaçao political clique (he preferred Shorty and MAN?)
Wiels, an arch-racist full of racial resentment, repeatedly tried to introduce the undefendable 80-20 law. He wanted to return the Dutch in body-bags, which he later denied, he meant garbage bags—and still later, no, he really meant de zak van [bag of] Zwarte Piet (the PC [philologically correct] expression would be de zak van Sinterklaas). But after his precarious election victory suddenly he made much less haste with total independence; and by magic the Dutch turned from neo-colonials, greedy for more gravy, to kingdom partners in a constructive cooperation.
And now, when he's been killed after this extreme and extremely doubtful turnaround, he has been granted instant saintdom, from Dutch minister Plasterk to those in Curaçao who call him "our Martin Luther King".
King preached peaceful resistance, in sharp contrast with Wiels's inciting to (race) riots; Wiels's ceaseless bickering, scolding, cussing and insulting contributed to the culture of fear that we still experience, and to the plundering raids of Shorty's (and Wiels's) cabinet.
It seems Wiels has been an inmate of the infamous Canisius College in Nijmegen, Holland—just like me. That would certainly help explain his ranting and raving towards Holland.
But they hardly ever stop you for driving through red lights, yapping on your cell phone, DUI or innocent activities like that... no, what they're really interested in is if you've paid your car tax. So they have those road traps twice a year where everybody without the proper sticker is stopped, checked and fined.
Which is pinged or wazzupped around immediately so all those who haven't paid know to avoid the trap.
HT Arthur Donker
Pseudo-Science at the University
If you wish you can go there for a lecture on the terrible dangers of so-called electro-smog, the bombardment by electro-magnetic radiation. No matter that we're constantly bombarded by much stronger "natural" sources all the time (cosmic rays, earth magnetism, sunlight)—this is very bad for our bodily, emotional, mental and of course inevitably spiritual health.
It always amuses me to see those guys presenting their wisdom aided by a laptop computer, no doubt with WiFi. And this Venezuelan engineer surely did not arrive here by rowboat, but by airplane (good for an extra dose of cosmic rays, not to mention the terrible GPS, radar and radio communications).
What saddens me is that UNA plays host to this mad science. What gladdens me is that everybody stubbornly keeps calling UNA UNA.
They Must Be Happy
The civil servants get half a day off to
celebratepay tribute at PS Wiels's funeral, which will be held in sport center SDK. PS minister Josepha was disappointed, he'd wanted a whole day off.
As it's school final examination time, there's no way the teachers can have a day off, which wouldn't be "fair", right? The teachers have almost half the day off anyway, and the civil servants have to spend their "free" afternoon at the funeral... losers all.
SONA [foundation development Neth. Antilles) could not "sufficiently prove the legality of expenditures before 1210" to the tune of €270 million. However, 'kingdom relations' who are supposed to control them dismissed it, just installing new regulations in 2011 which they hope will have had effect in 2012.
Say, how about 2011? Last chance for an unbridled grab in the money bag?
What Took So Long?
Next Wednesday the remaining commissioners of CPA Curaçao Port Authority will be kicked out; they are Cicely van der Dijs, ex-PM Shorty's significant other, and Amparo dos Santos, Robbie's brodder. They've been pulling down whatever salary since January (legally, CAP can function with only one commissioner), when both ought at the latest to have been receiving a kick where it does most good. And another Wodehouse quote that's quite fitting: "... and I want to see them bounce."
Toko Owner Shot
A Chinese owner of a minimarket, what we used to designate with the Malaysian word toko, was shot and killed by two guys who, as we can read in the media, grabbed some cigar boxes from behind the counter before they split.
No doubt the boxes did not contain cigars, but cash. This is one side-effect of the new! improved! sales tax. A real cash register is much better protected, but who can afford it when it results in having to pay that sales tax.
And we confidently, if not joyously, look forward to the next victim.
Which fell today: one more "cigar box" stolen from a minimarket.
The movie Tula, originally planned to be released in April, will now open July 1 (some media tell us, 4). "Perfect timing" they say, because that's the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery here. Too bad they didn't think of that before. Also, too bad it's too late for the Cannes festival which they confidently planned for as well.
Sorry, can't help it... amateur night all over. Here's the trailer, look for yourself. And people predict it will win an Oscar. Could be, the Oscar is not what it was long ago.
Saintly dos Santos vs PS Arsjes
Robbie dos Santos, he of the lotteries, is angry because media and gossip keep insinuating he has something to do with the murder on Wiels. PS Arsjes, Wiels's substitute, announced on Dutch television there were definite signs that the murder had to do with illegal lotteries. But dos Santos says he's a good Christian and hates violence.
By the way, other rumors are that Arsjes is next on the list as a candidate for murder.
Nardy Cramm in Versgeperst sums up Arsjes career. Arsjes is now being screened for a PM-job by Shorty accomplice Michael Römer, who replaced Gumbs and is so corrupt that Dutch AIVD nor Aruba want anything to do with him.
After Arsjes was kicked out of CTB because of his credit card maneuvers he got a political director's job at Selikor which was terminated by court. He then managed to get his wife, Holiday Inn F&B manager, a well-paid non-existing position at CPA, and later as PM Hodge's gofer, and once again as Aqualectra commissioner. He was the chairman who dictatorially pared down parliament while illegally receiving double payment as director Publieke Dienstverlening [public service] and parliament chairman, and had his father-in-law buy his next job as PM by financing PS (second time around: he pulled the same trick with FOL before). 2013-05-10
Making Antillians Popular
While here we have a silent tour in remembrance of Wiels, in Rotterdam Antillians will hold a lawaaimanifestatie [noise event].
PM Hodge wants to resign immediately and go back to his job, nothing to do with Wiels's murder. He's just been "fed up with everything for some time now." So have we been fed up, for quite a bit longer.
Two guys who uploaded a YouTube hate-video Patriota (the criminal masterminds used their own IP address) have been arrested, and are also suspected of murder. Police don't say whom they murdered.
Update: Seems the guys now are suspected of murdering Wiels. How smart can you get.
The idea that Wiels had shocking news about UTS and Robbie dos Santos has been debunked by St. Maarten's daily Today; the system used to sell lottery tickets by SMS probably was perfectly legal, though there may be questions about the payment of sales tax; no reason to murder Wiels.
Lesser of Two Evils
Central Bank was all set to hold an internal audit on its own, but as the government has proposed another one (by that rock of reliability, PriceWaterhouseCooper), CB will skip it. They do wish to be informed of the results of the PWC audit which concerns both operations and integrity.
What About Those Revelations?
Pueblo Soberano members blame the murder of Wiels on the fact that yesterday he was expected to come out with the details of a big corruption scandal. (If that concerns the alleged selling illegal lottery tickets via SMS by UTS telecommunications, it'd not be very impressive; even if Robbie dos Santos is allegedly involved.) More important, it would only help the criminals to kill Wiels if he was the only one who knew about that. Knowing Wiels, it's quite possible the criminals got that one straight.
It's also quite possible the criminals were fools and merely worsened their position by having him murdered.
The murder on Wiels may well result in the death of his party Pueblo Soberano. At the last elections, he got 80% of the party's votes and his ringers Wilsoen and Arsjes a mere 853 and ~400 votes. Is why speculations about new elections (which Shorty's MFK might well win) are all wet;
evenPS can't be that stupid.
His last substantial interview for Dutch newspaper NRC-Handelsblad was given in Curaçao's most expensive restaurant Baoase (2-person lunch €170) in which this Man of the People declared it was not about the great food, it was "because not everybody could get in there". And dig the following gem jumping toad-like from his lips:
Power is addictive and I am not impressed by it. I don't have to be PM. You can discharge a minister when he doesn't do his work, but they can't take my parliament seat away from me. There are enough capable people who can and want to become ministers; I'd rather control them with my five-man parliament fraction.
[edited, emphasis added]
The man was so deluded that he didn't see his own power hunger.
(By the way, PS Raveneau will take over that seat that couldn't be taken away. If you don't discern much empathy on my side, I never liked Wiels and am not changing my act. We all die, even if, as I said before, he didn't need killing.)
India will no longer allow Indian students to travel to Curaçao at St. Martinus University. The Indian embassy in Caracas doubts the credibility of the medical studies and denies the candidates have been tested and that they really are on their diplomas' level. Ouch.
Students already back in India can keep their diplomas. I guess they're better than your average fakir, there's that.
PS Wiels has been shot to death. As I didn't like nor respect the guy, I am not going to play the hypocrite and offer my condolences. No matter what, though, this should never have have happened and drags us down to the level of a society of savages where it's customary that politicians get murdered. Like the USA, yeah.
Too early for speculations, like they were criminals because Wiels was fighting against corruption. The guy did have many enemies: he was gay, didn't refrain from blackmail when it came in handy, and was a political bulldozer who didn't shrink from inciting to riots. Sure. No reason to kill him, he was no Hitler [yet?]
So much for justice minister Navarro's repeated promises that crime would be stopped instantly. I just hope Wiels will not be turned into a surrogate Tula now.
Which Reminds Me
The Tula movie was supposed to be released in April 2013, according to their website. Which is in a pretty sorry badly-maintained state.
It's gonna be July, here's the trailer.
Inspector of health Alcalá, replacing Huurman, thinks it's regrettable that the latter mentioned three fraudulent specialists by name (Michel Berry, Patrick Fa Si Oen and Jeannouel van Leeuwen). But Huurman only lodged official complaints against one, and Alcalá doesn't feel it's comme il faut to mention people's names as long as they haven't been found guilty.
Others feel that Balborda's and VMSC specialists' club are administering that old Curaçao standby: apply opaque wallpaper over the problem. What Huurman has done is short-circuit the ministry-VMSC connection; nice goodbye present to us.
Leak? What Leak?
Minister of transport Balborda says under no circumstances will car taxes go up with a proposed 30%. (We'll see about that; that was MAN's Cooper idea. How like him.) Balborda continues: it's no use putting more into the vessel as long as you don't know where the leak is and how much has leaked out. Public works DOW is now being investigated; about time.
There You Have It
The orthopedic workshops have published their own price list, claiming that the prices used by SVB social insurance are outdated and should be up to 38% higher. Who want orthopedic artifacts will have to pay for them themselves.
SVB director Martis said in a radio interview that the new Basic Health Insurance is a huge mess and needs many fixes to become a "responsible law".
While inspector of health Huurman left the island yesterday, the petition (with 2611 signatures) has been presented to minister of health Whiteman—who doesn't like it because Huurman asked for a vascular surgeon and initiator Susanne van Eps is married to one.
In fact, Huurman asked for two vascular surgeons and is concerned about the many diabetics, the high number of kidney dialysis and the fact that there are 3.5 times more amputations than in Holland. Not to mention the fraud cases and the five patients who are suspected to have died from stomach reductions.
There's no successor for Huurman (yet?) let alone an assistant. Huurman's request to Holland for assistance has been canceled by Alcalá, acting inspector of health. Media mention "meters high stacks" of dossiers Huurman left behind.
The petition's presenter talked about "over 3000 citizens", don't know why. Final count 2645.
Even though PAR Leeflang's law concept to approve pepper spray was accepted in parliament, the government never announced it, so it's still forbidden by law (as far as I understand). Too bad if they assault you in your home, just call the police. Good Luck!
The way the law is now, you can get four years of jail for having a pepper spray, in or outside your home.
The new ozb tariffs have been announced. For X-mas trees, sales tax will go up from 6 to 9%. We strongly protest this intolerable brazen-faced increase! We exhort all people of good will to demonstrate their disgust by not having an X-mas tree next December.
There's been a burglary in the BZV office about two weeks ago, the first in fifteen years. Not only were computers stolen, the burglars took the trouble to shred documents. Minister of health Whiteman thinks that's rather weird and may be connected to the investigation into fraud at BZV. Whatever gives him that idea?
The board, with members lawyer Römer and ex parliament head Arsjes, was refused entrance to the office pending the investigation.
Looks like inspector of health Huurman will depart this afternoon, notwithstanding the over 1400 signatures a petition to have him stay has collected. Now, because of a letter Huurman sent to Sehos hospital, minister Whiteman reproaches him he went out of bounds; but Huurman denies this. Hey, what do we know except, Huurman must go?
They Know Best
As regards that ozb, the government in its infinite wisdom has disregarded entrepreneurs club VBC's advice to please first discuss all this with banks, insurance companies and consumers union. Tomorrow the penshonados will have another protest march: apart from all else, they are convinced the Tax Person has not enough personnel to adequately control the shops and foresee life becoming still more expensive. "Maladministration is the rule with money wasted on ornery parliament meetings." Hear hear.
Blow Me Down
The civil servants trade unions propose a compromise: their salaries will be frozen for two years, and not be adjusted for inflation and all that. Good guess is, they figure that's a better deal than hand in now.
SVB Too Expensive
Social security bank SVB has less costs these days, because they pay less on medicine. But the organization is much too fat and has to slim down. They also should watch better for abuse of social insurance. Is what the government thinks.
Here's the catch: the more they pay out, the more people they "need" to administrate it.
Good Luck with That
The government will keep a sharp eye peeled on prices after that hated and detested higher ozb has been introduced; they should be lowered in some cases, imagine! It's actually favorable for the consumer, fancy that. Especially "healthy food" will become cheaper, goodbye to chips and soda.
So just sit back, relax and mind your blood pressure.
Higher and Higher
Fuel price for cars will go down again. Almost fooled you, huh? Of course not, it will go up. But don't worry, "in fact" they've gone down. It's because of Curoil's "recovery" that we'll have to pay more. Almost makes it enjoyable!
About that recovery, Curoil has been buying fuel like crazy at prices that were higher than pump prices and naturally they want to make good on that. Wish I could handle my debit accounts like that; and also wonder who got a percentage on those fuel buys.
The government loses two million guilders per month from sales tax on lotteries. The bastards just don't declare it! What crooks, filchers and pilferers. True enough, seeing Robbie dos Santos is one of them.
I'd have more compassion with those poor sales tax babies, maybe, if those %*#@$ casinos had to pay up as well.
Have to Admit, That's Unique
A draft law Ruimtevaart [space travel] has been proposed, not by any politician but by the Curaçao Aero-Space Law Team (CAST), who for certain are allied with the Vomit Comet Club: the very guys who stand to benefit most have designed the law themselves. This stinks to high heaven and let us hope the recipients will be wise enough to deposit it where it belongs: in the shredder. But Hato boss Adriaens has received it with thanks.
We See Plenty of Reasons, Plenty
Inspector of health Alcalá seas no reason to extend inspector Huurman's contract, so he must leave the island next Friday at 16:00. He does not know yet to whom he has to transfer.
A petition has been started to make him stay, collecting far over a thousand signatures in five days. But minister Whiteman, even no application procedure has been started, says that he's talking with a yu'i kòrsow who will take over. Is what he says. Many people are afraid that's just a feint.
Rumors are, not just two patients died under the knife of those surgeons, but five or six. No matter what, this has to be looked into. Before Huurman was hired, there had been no inspection at all for some time.
The VMSC [union medical specialists] states that Huurman has caused more damage than the (3) fraudulent and (2) killing doctors. Well, at least Huurman didn't kill anybody. But "Curaçao has to live on with those specialists [in what exactly? let it go] after Huurman's gone." You know, that's the root of the problem.
Minister Whiteman "deplores" that the two letter writers didn't first come to him. Yeah, I'm sure he deplores it! Fact remains, they sent him the letter at the same time as to everybody else.
There's a Resemblance
Scientology's Narconon rehab center of Georgia has been raided for insurance fraud. They billed patients, then sent the insurance another bill, just like happened here. Makes you mistrust all "rehab" centers where many people only go to kick-off so there drug bill is lower—for a while.
Rumors keep circulating the the Scientology Freewinds ship serves as a rehab center for Scientologists as well. Our PM Dodge visited them only last week, and they are completely behind Smoc's efforts. (I suppose Smoc needs all the help they can get.)
Now It's This
The media duly tell us that the HDX-complex of Isla refinery needs a massive overhaul, with an investment of over 32 million dollars and 900 workers. Work should have started already, but 400 of those are foreigners and need work permits, which have been delayed.
Hey, that HDX is a unit that feeds the cat-cracker. It just goes on and on, doesn't it. One thing after another.
Work should have started on April 25 and be finished June 26. We'll see how that works out.
Why Wait So Long?
Transparency International has presented the results of their investigation to the government, society and the private sector. We don't seem to belong to society, as the media haven't been informed. That will happen in the third week of June. Time enough to sweep unpleasant details under the carpet. Small wonder ex-PM MFK Shorty asked them to investigate, rather than a parliamentary commission, whatever.
That's Transparency, Folks! A real confidence builder.
What to Think?
Minister of justice Navarro suspects police trade union SAP of forgery, after the union lodged a number of complaints against commissary Wernet for abuse of power and nepotism. Hmmm. Navarro says Wernet keeps hus function but the police corps management will be reinforced. Hmmm.
Yes, we too have a World Trade Center, and it's still standing—if only after a fashion. Lots of civil servants work there who now refuse to enter the building, as they deem it unsafe. Turns out it has been expanded without the proper permits and that generators are used because Aqualectra utility has not approved the installation, so refuses to hook them up. The Fire Dept. made up a 2011 list of ten necessary changes to the building, but nothing has been done with those yet.
I say, let 'em stay home, saves us money and hassles.
You Said It, Bro
The minister of [a string of words resulting in acronym] SAOW wants to get rid of all those people on welfare: count em, 5426 of 'em in a population of 150k. Assuming an average family counts four people, that means over 1 in 7 families is on welfare.
It doesn't stop with a dole: they get additional pensions, nutrition compensation, funds for school uniforms, subsidy on water and electricity, garbage disposal tax exoneration, pro bono lawyers, entertainment and nursing homes for the elderly, financial assistance with funerals, assistance for neighborhood development, care for people with disabilities and housing during crisis. W-O-W just about sums it up.
Curaçao Pirate Association
CPA port authority deigned not to pay local companies for their services during the yearly cruise conference of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), to the tune of 400K guilders. CPA rented a tent for 330k guilders; which comes out at 33 guilders/visitor—last time I went to a circus I paid less, show and all. Minister Martina may not be foaming at the mouth, but he swears he will get CPA to pay up. After all, they just make that much less profit which they don't have to pay to the island, he says; which means we'll have to pay that much more in taxes.
Got Hir Work Cut-Out
Minister Balborda has installed a management team where one (1) person will check all illegal building and try to stop it. I hope she gets a fast car because like a far-advanced cancer the practice is metastasing all over, and has done so for decennia. If you apply for a building permit these days, you're a sucker. You have to pay dearly and get only hassles in return.
Dismal Doom & Disasters
A hard drive crash has knocked me out of the ring for a couple of days.
Catching up, still trying to get my passwords and accounting back.
Wish I could express myself like Haddock.
A Song for Kings
Actually, Het Koningslied [the king's song], was supposed to be sung by all of us kingdom-members in brotherly harmony at the same time at the joyful occasion of getting a new king (no comment... please). Who thinks up that corny nonsense? But it's not going through: the artist has retracted his creation because it gave offense to some people. I actually read it to discover what, and it just might be that the gay population is deeply hurt by the words "ma and pa". They are easily hurt, that's for sure.
It says at page bottom "Copyright © Het officiële Koningslied" [the official king's song]
Later on, they decided they'd sing it anyway. As long as I don't hear it, that's fine.
Jellinek: "Creative" Subsidy Request
Some smartie in Dutch parliament has discovered that, after a subsidy request for €90k for Kurá Hulanda had been bounced, several posts in the subsidy request for Jellinek clinic were adapted—by a weird coïncidence for a total of €90k higher. It also seems guests of Kurá Hulanda staid in Jellinek. She wants to check if Kurá Hulanda can be made to pay that subsidy back.
Our Leaders At It
Everybody was against it, so naturally ozb has been passed by parliament. What I wanted to tell you is that there was quite a fight going on. Quackie Constancia called Daft Dictator Wiels a maribaka, a non-existing portmanteau word of mariku [fag, queer] and baka [cow]. When PS-members started yelling ladron! [thief], Constancia announced she was ready to go outside and fight it out. You can "enjoy" her act here.
Later, Constancia refused to apologize and only said she didn't really mean it.
Ex PAR Sulvaran said MFK had started by calling him a seat-thief when he left PAR.
Chairman Franco just let it all rip without intervention.
Re those "luxury items" with a 0 ozb tariff, that's to lure tourists.
Minister of Justice Does Not Know the Law
Just like that PS guy Wilsoen, justice minister Navarro doesn't seem to understand about the Trias Politica separation of powers, but brags about how he influences judges to deal out heavier punishments.
Raped by Gay Dolphin
A male Vengaboys dancer has been raped by a dolphin in the Dolfinarium, not a unique happening at all, except it mostly happens to females. Hey, maybe both are gay?
Now it's the police corps where so-called irregularities have been observed in the management, but their trade union thinks that, even though these are actual crimes, "fair play" makes them not go to justice right away: better give them a chance to correct themselves.
Just like they give us when we've committed a crime. Maybe they do—some of us at least.
The Word Is "Insane"
"Mentally deranged, mad or very foolish" says the Thesaurus. The ozb: computers and bijouteries, watches, jewels, trinkets, perfumes and toilet waters are no longer "luxury items" and will remain in the 6% tariff. As far as computers are concerned, fine, but for the rest? Cars will go to the 9% level and—hold on—the f*cking casino's will be exempted!?
Diminutive (from top to bottom, not so much from left to right) Daft Dictator Wiels was very critical, and blamed it all on the former government of which his PS party wholeheartedly formed part.
Small wonder there was a demonstration outside by
old fartspenshonados who defied Our Leaders to come out and confront them, finding no takers. But ex-PM Shorty gave 'em ice and cold water; hey, a bag of ice costs like 5 guilders. Sure beats his former promises!
Has Been That Long Since
Boesten, some kind of advisor, warns that the new hospital will become "Curaçao's grief" if the government won't listen to him or VMSC (yeah, those same guys). They want to lead the project themselves or no deal. Boesten judges the Amstel terrain is a much better location. He doesn't explain why, in that case, VMSC recently shared Sehos management in promoting building on the old Otrabanda location.
The Bureau Rijbewijzen [driver's license] seems to be rotten to the core. You can just buy your license if you know the way. Minister van der Horst (one of those who will have to go soon) announces he's looking into this, and those licenses will be retracted.
"Miami Cars" From Japan
A long time ago people imported second hand cars from Miami, a much better deal than buying them here as the dealers kept prices artificially high. To protect those dealers, those imports were stopped. Because "those cars were dangerous." "Youngsters spent too much money on their cars: irresponsible!" Yeah, sure.
Now, more and more people import second hand cars from Japan, where car tests are so rigid that a car loses value very soon; of course with right-hand driving. It has now become a habit to have those cars fail their two-yearly test. That'll teach 'em!
Why Don't They Shut Up (and
Now it's those geriatric bastards who are becoming a nuisance, following the example of our politicians. They've had enough of empty promises that always cost 'em more. So tomorrow morning nine o'clock they will gather for a demonstration. I wish 'em luck (pretty old myself) but won't join. Waste of energy.
It's always something, isn't it. First KKN chamber of commerce is against higher sales tax, then it's VBC entrepreneurs club, and now the Unions! And they all have the same arguments that never occurred to Our
SmartLeaders: it's bad no matter how you look at it.
Wanna bet? We'll still get higher ozb even if everybody [but the politicians] is against it. That's democracy, folks!
This Stinks Loudly
Medical inspector Huurman is now accused by VMSC union of medical specialists that he avoids meetings to discuss the problems with fraud. To the contrary, says Huurman, it's VMSC who keep delaying in the hope he will have left the island before anything has been arranged. Must be worse then we thought, tip of the iceberg?
UPDATE 1: Complaints have been lodged by dept. of health with the public ministry against two medical specialists. These asked the patients for cash payments, and then fraudulently charged SVB social insurance bank again for an alleged different operation. This has been going on since 2009.
UPDATE 2: ADC diagnostic lab has been placed under surveillance, mainly because of management problems.
UPDATE 3: (they keep coming) no more bariatric operations (where they minify your stomach so you won't be able to gorge yourself so you won't get that fat) for 6 months, as patient risk is too high.
By the way, this is what those frauds of update 1 specialized in. Never rains but pours.
I said it before and will happily say it again, this is just about the most decadent operation I ever heard of... beats gender changes, easy.
Our politicians were overjoyed that Cft financial supervision judged they were doing pretty well, mainly because this enabled them to start borrowing again, hey! Alas, Dutch parliament is not so optimistic and wants to keep the faucet closed until it's all mopped up.
"Traitor" Sulvaran expressed his doubts about Shorty's use of his diplomatic passport, after Shorty mailed around scans of his regular passport with customs stamps for the alleged dates: knowing Shorty, says Sulvaran, he would have shown that live! on television! long since—he photoshopped them.
Shorty then called the parliament meeting ridiculous (look who's talking: will we ever forget his opéra bouffe?) and left with his party, following MAN's Cooper example.
Quackie Constancia planted her foot solidly in her mouth during the debate by wondering if the same commotion would result when one of the "many gays" in the government would misbehave (from the vague media descriptions it's impossible to know what exactly she said). Now the "many gays" are mad at her.
It's Been Three Months Now
Check for yourself how much of what this eager new government planned to do—within two months. Now they're all set to go on for three more years.
Dutch minister "for the interior and kingdom relations", whew, Plasterk stated that Geltdekker's Jellinek yuppie kick-off center has been subsidized with €1m, which has all gone down the drain and can't be asked back. He also says they shouldn't have been given it to start with.
Seems Curaçao inspector of health Huurman not only closed Jellinek down but also confiscated their "stock of illegal medicines", and that this was the reason he must go.
Don't Make No Difference
PAR Leeflang proposed not to raise the property tax (now ozb) but get rid of it altogether and instead go after the casinos, alcohol and tobacco, and still higher profit tax. Her proposal, by one of those coïncidences the same as that of VBC entrepreneurs club, was discarded, "ozb" will be raised; 11 votes for, 10 against—business as usual.
Leeflang stated that for a property 250k worth tax would go up from below 900 to 1000/year, but matter of fact the raise only applies to properties worth 350k or more.
They're Out, But...
The council of ministers has approved of the firing of CPA's [Curaçao port authority] management, but they're not fired yet! That would be too easy; first it will be looked at by SBTNO (won't bother you explaining, take it from me even skipping two letters the acronym is an exquisite sample of what bureaucracy can achieve), which will take three or four weeks. All the time those guys still get their salaries, you bet.
And then, who will replace them?
KKN chamber of commerce writes a letter about, mainly, the economy. First, they advise to take the hospital out of the governments
clawshands and privatize it. Looks like it's too late for that.
Second, they want to attract foreign investors and (uh oh) foreign employees. The Daft Dictator won't like that! And he's all set to continue dictating until the next elections. Like the Wizard of Oz, from behind a curtain only not half as smart.
Forgot to mention it, but it's offical now: that same formatteur is at large again, this time for a "political" cabinet where some reasonable guys will be replaced by PS henchmen.
DAE airline is in trouble: Curaçao civil aviation authority has not approved the lease construction for two ATR-72 aircraft, which may result in the leaser taking them back. Tomorrow.
DAE's routes to Manaus, Haïti, Barbados and Trinidad have not yet been authorized and the authority has put restraints on DAE's flights to Miami. DAE complains that the authority is understaffed and can't survey the industry.
Next day, the authority approved the deal anyway.
The Land Tax grondbelasting will be replaced with Property Tax "ozb" onroerendzaakbelasting (which is grammatically incorrect). More to the point, the government expects to start raking in over 10 million extra per year. Also, the Sales Tax omzetbelasting will go up from 6 to 9% in June. Let us all sit back and see the economy wax.
Catching Up, But When?
PNP minister Balborda announces a grand plan to improve the roads. There's 1280km worth of them, of which 360 are in "very bad condition" (our estimate is much higher, like, the other way round—probably worse). Both FOL Godett and MAN Cooper announced exactly the same thing before, resulting in 9kms/year being repaired. Balborda says that way the job takes 30 years, and he wants to go for 40kms/year.
Then, it will take "only" 9 years, but he doesn't tell us that, nor do the media figure it out. In Holland, they figure a road has to be rehabilitated at least every 17 years, which translates to 75 km/year here, twice as much as Balborda's "Grand Plan" entails.
It's Something, But Is It Good?
Parliament has, finally, voted to keep the new hospital on the same location in Otrabanda. PS Wiels and Arsjes now declared that the plan to move the location to the Amstel location stunk. Sure it did, but they kept their mouth shut when they formed part of the MFK-coalition.
No surprise that the motion got the meagrest of support, 11 of 21 votes. It's a tradition.
The ministers wanted a paragraph added to safeguard them against future claims, but did not get it. It will cost us, anyway.
Cft financial supervision says four of their six requirements to remediate Curaçao's budget have been fulfilled. So hip hip hurray! the government may start borrowing again. Under certain conditions and controls by Cft, true. We can only hope for the best: shut up and vote. Or rather, vote and shut up.
Why must governments always borrow? Don't we pay any taxes? Like, for roads? Plenty or more. Still, they never seem able to go to the bank and open a savings account. We all know the answer, of course.
Rejoice and shudder: minister Jardim tells us that the law for "differentiated sales tax" is in parliament and should be ready for introduction on May 1st.
Refinery Going Broke
It was broken already, but now it turns out that the Isla Refinery shortly will not be able to its obligations. Says commissioner Martis who resigned yesterday, after having accepted the job end January 2013, but could accomplish nothing because the rest of the council of commissioners crossed his efforts.
But don't worry, there are ways; like, take it out of our taxes.
However, We Renamed It
"New York City's Stuyvesant High School is one of those all too rare public schools for intellectually outstanding students."
Rather, we bent to the Iron Will of one of the impressive number of successive ministers out of Wiels's PS democratic zoo, Rosalia who renamed it KAP.
Central bank director Tromp, who's still there, warns that the constant reconsidering of political agreements is a loss of time and scarce resources. (He just might be referring to the fact that St. Maarten considers starting a bank of their own, which no doubt gives their government a pretty free hand.)
And it's well-timed, too: the day before another round in the endless parliament discussions on the new hospital, building of which was supposed to start in 2011 on yet another location (Groot Piscadera) which was discarded by Shorty's Mob, when quackie Constancia announced it would come next to UNA university, which location in turn was abandoned for the Amstel terrain.
Baya Beach Club
That location keeps causing trouble. It is now exploited with no rental agreement or any permits; the squatters just claim that mudbelly Cooper gave them the key in 2010 (and a good guess is, after 10-10-10.)
Several times, a large number of policemen was hired from Holland to augment the police corps, lastly in the late 1980s, but those guys left before their contract ran out and even published a Zwartboek over de politie op de Antillen [blackbook on NA police]. The government then lowered the requirements for applicants, which inevitably resulted in lower discipline and training levels.
But at least there are enough policemen now. That's a relief!
Sounds Great... Gaaah!
Rumors about a new cabinet are thick in the air. Worst part is, PM Hodge may be replaced by the Obese Dictator Arsjes. We can't say we never saw it coming; let's face it, little to choose between him and Wilsoen.
The Next One May Be Less Difficult
Meaning that inspector of health Huurman's contract will not be renewed and he'll be gone, regretted by most of us, on May 4th. Well, he must have seen it coming himself long since. Small detail is, they haven't even started advertising for a replacement.
He just closed down the Intensive Care unit of Sehos hospital because of the klebsiella bacterium, whatever that is. One thing it is for sure is getting antibiotics-resistant. (The closing down was reversed in one day; let us hope for the best as Huurman opines that all three island operation rooms should be closed.)
Later, Huurman made clear that he feels his follow-up should not come from the island "where everybody knows everybody" but ought to be an outsider. So, he has to go! And the authorities are looking for a local replacement. Where's Whiteman?
Some meteo outfit has predicted "an active hurricane season". We'll see. They never predict a tame hurricane season—then, I guess, you'd have to keep an eye peeled. Long range meteorological forecasts have proven one thing: they tend to be spectacularly wrong.
First it was
ice age!"global warming" remember? then "climate change" followed by "species diversity" but the newest gambit (they last shorter and shorter) is "climate sensitivity" (to what?)
Sic The Scoundrels
Minister of health Whiteman hints that there may well be grounds for prosecution of the board of BZV, who have been enriching themselves (not us, that's for sure). Okay, so go get 'em, already.
Does this mean quackie Constancie gets off scott free? Would be a shame.
"We'll See About That"
Inspector of health Huurman has not been resting: Jellinek kliniek has been shut down, several elderly homes have been forced to clean up their acts, and more. He's bemused by the fact that it's politicians who decide on the new hospital, and feels that rebuilding incrementally on the present location is quite feasible.
His contract with the government expires next month and if he keeps going on like that, for sure those politicians will try and get rid of that pain in the lower back.
Fine. And the Other Time?
PM Hodge states that he has not found anybody with information that ex-PM Shorty passed himself of as PM during a recent visit to San Francisco. A weird way to express it, but fine. Now how about that visit to Chávez's funeral?
Now That's Transparency!
Transparency Int'l will hold a presentation to the council of ministers about their findings on April 25; the report will be made public the second half of June—two months later.
Why wait so long? This sort of thing drives you straight into the slavering jaws of paranoia.
One Corrupt Island
Looks like St. Maarten is even worse than Curaçao. At least we got rid of PM Shorty (for now). The media write, and I quote before we get sued, government members Illidge and Duncan who are involved with the whorehouse fraud "are probably paid by Corallo"—that's Shorty's padrino. The guy certainly gets around.
Now They Find Out
The relations between the former Netherlands Antilles islands have deteriorated since 10-10-10. Saba and St. Eustatius, now as "BES-islands" part of Holland, really have very strong ties with St. Maarten; formerly the three formed a group known as "the windward islands". But because they are now governed by Holland, these ties are hard to maintain. Same for Bonaire, which always used to be Curaçao's sister island.
But the NA had to die—it was the politicians' wish and they kept pushing until they had what they wanted. Shut up and vote.
Quite The Fad
Now St. Maarten PM Wescot-Williams wants an investigation by Transparency International. I'm sure that will help.
Must have picked it up from that ex-PM of ours, Shorty.
That Took Long
But we'll have to wait until September: Hato Airport finally ordered new chairs for the departure terminal. We've been nagging and kvetsching about the filthy, grubby and torn upholstery for years.
To stimulate tourism? No, they only see those chairs when they're leaving, so the suckers spent their money already. And for us, it doesn't matter:
Just pay your airport tax and shut up.
Finance ministry secretary general Kuster tells us that not having Usona/Ballast-Nedam build a new hospital on the Amstel terrain will not only result in two years delay, it will also cost over 73 million guilders more, what with one thing and another.
What's really striking, though, (you have to read between the lines to notice) is that the contract with Ballast-Nedam has been signed on January 4 - which means by the present "task cabinet" government; not by Shorty's Mob nor Betrian's interim cabinet.
Wonder exactly who signed it.
That's Where Wiels Got It
Too much to expect the Daft Dictator had an original idea. I mean the 80-20 law (what's happening with that, anyway?) Straight out of South Africa, only there it's 90-10. But he didn't dare go that far; also he made that weird distinction that here it's not about brodders and crackers, it's about yu'i Kòrsou and makambas.
Some interesting facts that you won't read in the press: every week there are now more killings in South Africa than in forty years of Apartheid; over 3,000 out of 40,000 Boeren have been "ethnic cleansed" already (which often means, chopped to pieces with machetes).
Make Up Your Mind, Such As It Is. Please.
Minister of medicine Whiteman announces he's asking for a second opinion on the new hospital. Second? It's the umpteenth—we all lost count long since. We hear the Amstel terrain level will be brought up 1 meter to avoid future inundations. That job has already been granted to Ballast-Nedam, no doubt by quackie Constancia when (almost) nobody was looking but me. It won't be more expensive but costs 6 million guilders [?!] not included in the total cost of 108 million dollars. The tired old trick they always use, switching to dollars when quoting high amounts: that's 200 million, .2 billion guilders all in all, folks! As I remember it, but for what, to the government, may be very good reasons it's hard to find out, that's 10% of the country's yearly budget. I yam deegustid.
Just a thought, maybe Ballast-Nedam is now offering Whiteman some money under the table? Choosing eggs for their money, like the Dutch say. That's slander? Maybe libel, even? Defamation, aspersions, backbiting and vilification? Hey, I said "maybe"! & "just a thought"! But mudslinging it is, I plead guilty there. Not happily, I'd rather not do it, believe me.
Happy Easter, Folks! Enjoy it while you can.
Tonight at 18:30 it's
Earth Hour"Human Achievement Hour".
We should burn as many lights as possible to celebrate Prometheus and civilization,
instead of following North Korea's example of weeping and gnashing our teeth in darkness.
Smart St. Maarten
As justice is making a nuisance of itself by chasing corrupt politicians, the government there has taken the easy way out: prune down the budgets of landsrecherche [criminal investigation dept] and public ministry by 40%. That'll teach 'em!
Go to Court, Go Directly to Court
PS Cijntje has lodged a complaint about an estimate to DOW that 's too high. (But it's only an estimate!) He has done this before. Thing is, why not ask questions in parliament instead of going to justice? That's what we have our Staten for. Funny, because PS Wilsoen as minister of justice tried to interfere directly with the justitial works (in the Bentoe affair). Those things run in parties.
Gasoline will go up, next Tuesday (2013-04-02) with 26 cents/liter (well over 10%). Diesel as well. "Because of developments on the world market." Sure, sure. Wake me up and ask me, I can quote that line by heart and have often done so.
Too bad crude prices have been falling! Hey you guys, I understand you need money, like all of us... but why tire us with all those pretenses and lies?
That Was Fast!
Just rumors, huh? This afternoon PM Hodge's cabinet has resigned and is now demissionary. More rumors are that he's had a
yelling quarrelverbal clash with Arsjes, and that PIAS is not satisfied with their own ministers, especially Martina because of the new hospital's location.
Hodge denies there are any disagreements in the cabinet; "we were always supposed to end now.". Sure; they just kept it a surprise.
Just Rumors. Sure.
Since last night rumors fly that PM Hodge is stepping down. This may not (yet) result in the fall of the "tasks cabinet" but it's a distinct possibility. Wiels's PS wants to direct the cabinet via "remote control" but members Hodge, Navarro, Martina and van der Horst refuse to switch their remotes off. Much of the tension has to do with the threat of the Ballast-Nedam claim, but it seems as well that the Daft Dictator Wiels and PIAS Rosaria are politically persecuting ex-PM Shorty, even pressuring Hodge to have Shorty and van der Dijs arrested on what Hodge is said to consider fabricated proof.
While the politicians [read: PS and PIAS] don't want a new hospital on the Amstel terrain, the four task ministers point out that higher sales tax and property tax is incongruous with wasting 25 million (to pay off Ballast-Nedam).
Other rumors are that PS Wilsoen has already been appointed as next PM—nr 4 in the first 3 years since independence. A disappointment for Arsjes and his Tara with another rumor that Arsjes's father-in-law has paid Wiels dearly to secure the PM and Moll posts for them. You just can't trust that Wiels.
So much for the 4 or even 8 years formatteur Camelia predicted the cabinet would last.
And hey, that's the first I've heard about higher property tax. They keep screwing us.
Yeah, We Get It
Dutch minister Plasterk states that Holland can't do anything about Isla pollution, because Curaçao is independent and we have our own authorities to act. So there.
Which is one reason why Smoc has gone to the EC court. The Dutch have been hiding behind that excuse since the Statuut and it grew even worse since May 1969.
No Money for Feast
The government has no money to celebrate the change of guard from queen Beatrix to king Willem-Alexander. So don't celebrate, already! Fine with me. But no, private companies are now asked to cough it up. As if they don't pay any taxes and are doing so well.
Here's a suggestion: why doesn't the government borrow it!
Holland is spending €10m on this joyous and unforgettable occasion. Out of the rijkskas coffers.
They also ask us to come forward with ideas for the Feast. Here's mine: "Don't do it."
Still At It
Curaçao government is still trying to borrow money, even while it has been forbidden to do so until the budget is balanced (by Cft financial supervision's aanwijzing). It still isn't. Regardless, they use sly devices to borrow anyway, mainly by not including the loan in the budget. Examples are 350 million for the new hospital and the money for PS Wiels's hobby "free education". While that last one has been stopped (or has it? the new hospital still needs financing. A way of life for our governments, not a hair's difference with that of Shorty's Mob.
Which helps to explain why they are want to go on in the same vein, replacing this "tasks cabinet" with the same "political cabinet".
Refinery on Strike
They are not satisfied with their CAO [collective workers agreement], so the Isla refinery personnel is striking. Because of that, the cat-cracker which was supposed to start up last Sunday, is still not functioning. Hey, it was supposed to come on-line end of last year, and we've had plenty of stench plus soot several times since then because it was "starting up". And even that was after 38 weeks of work on it, starting April 12, planned to take 6 weeks. It's been almost 50 weeks now.
No doubt you'll be relieved to learn the strike is over.
Can't help wondering when that report by Transparency International will finally be published. We were warned it wouldn't be before this year, but that's almost a quarter gone.
Not Over Yet
The pressure tank to decompress divers with the bends has now been removed from Sehos hospital, but Miles Transport has kept it instead of delivering it to the owners, MCC. Reason: the bill for transporting it to Sehos, dating from last year, has not yet been paid by the government.
Sehos has already installed their new NASA-given tank and expects it will be operational two weeks from now.
Cft & Cft
Cft financial supervision announces there have not been any annual statements about how our tax money has been spent since 10-10-10. Hey, some coïncidence! That's Shorty and his Band of Bandits reign, plus that, let's not forget, of the interim cabinet and the much-vaunted tasks cabinet still in power. This emphasizes the necessity for improvements of financial management, says Cft.
Ctf does not think all board members of government-owned companies should take their leave, as PM Hodge asked them to, as it's in conflict with the corporate governance code. Anyway, most or all board members have not done so.
More Like Those Needed
The workers at the ministry of Management, planning and services have cleaned up the garden of their building, after minister van der Horst told them there was no money for a gardener anymore. Took 'em their free Saturday.
They Are Shocked
The civil servants are "shocked" because those of a certain age, let's not get too technical, won't get the full AOW social security old age pension, as they don't have paid premiums over all those years they "worked". They want it all, regardless! Next to and on top of their government pensions.
To be clear, this goes for everybody: You get like 2% AOW for every year you worked and paid your premium. But of course the spoiled brats want more than us mere citizens.
Black Name-Calling: Shell Fires Back
Shell Oil officially states that, after in 1983 they found a way to process the contents of the "asphalt lake" they had reduced it by 1/3 in 1985. However, the Curaçao government stopped this a few years later, after take-over (estimate is it could have been completely processed in a mere ten years).
Shell also states they left the refinery well maintained and personnel well-cared for, and that responsibility for the present conditions lies with the present owner: our esteemed government.
Shell's statement was triggered by a Dutch Nova Zembla TV-documentary about the Isla refinery pollution.
Shell never mentions the $400 million they bestowed on our beloved leaders for cleaning up—which never happened.
Neither does Shell mention the enormous pollution they caused while working the refinery here. But hey, times were different then in the first place; and they took good care when selling the refinery for 1 guilder that their responsibilities are over.
And by the way, when will Daft Dictator Wiels start to sue Shell for "40 to 50 billion" dollars? He's got more chance suing Shorty's Gang of Bandits of which he formed part.
Two days before St. Maarten became "independent" a law was voted through that safeguards government members against prosecution. (It was hidden away in the Staatsregeling [constitution] which was accepted by Dutch parliament—who never noticed.) The Public Ministry of St. Maarten has to ask permission to prosecute a government member from the Curaçao attorney general who in turn needs permission from a judge, and then the obstacle course really begins.
For Once They Agree—We Too
A meeting on criminality and what to do about it had no results. Even PS and PAR agree that it was completely useless, and it was. Nothing can be done "because there's no money" according to justice minister Navarro; but PAR Leeflang remarks that 50% of the total budget goes to education, public health and justice, so that's 200 million to work with. PIAS Rosaria says we have to work step by small step.
It's only two months ago that Navarro announced "fasten your seatbelts": he was going for a full fight against criminality. We didn't mention it here, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Now there's no doubt left; we know for sure.
That's Telling Them
DOW public works sent a letter to SW Stichting Wegenfonds [road fund foundation]upon their request to explain several points. SW replied the very same day asking for further explanations. Soab tax accounting is auditing DOW and (a familiar story by now) two directors have been forbidden to enter the DOW building.
The good point is, with Soab so busy on government departments they can't pester us. Maybe.
The administration of BZV is such a mess that Soab accounting has a hard time figuring it all out. Many accounts miss entries from one or two months. A twenty million debt to AVBZ was conversely booked as an AVBZ debt to BZV. All problems start after 2010; could quackie Constancia, a member of Shorty's Gang of Bandits, have something to do with that?
Minister Whiteman told us later that she had sent 10 extra "workers" there, while there were 9 already and BZV was supposed to shrink.
What always makes my bile flow freely is that the tax people will not accept a sloppy administration like that from their prey; but once our money is in the government's clutches it's a free for all without any restraints.
Doom and Gloom
KKN Chamber of Commerce just published their statistics over the last quarter of 2012. Not a picture of joy. Employment went down, economic activity went down and tourism (hotel occupancy) did worst of all. Have a look for yourself.
KKN is also worried about the government's ideas to renegotiate the loans from Holland. It's much too early for that.
"They say" you shouldn't judge a government before 100 days have elapsed; don't see why not. No matter what you think, parliament is asking for replacement by a political cabinet. That should be fun! Especially as they want the same formatteur, Camelia... who expected this one to last for eight years.
PM Hodge denies there's strife in the cabinet; he even states the cabinet would be in charge for "3 to 6 months". So, if they leave after 3, that's fine (especially for their pensions). Hey, now how about those 100 days?
Ex PM-Shorty has not only represented himself as Curaçao PM at Chávez's funeral, he again did so in San Francisco at the occasion of a Dutch base-ball team playing a match. He did so to crash the gate at the Dutch baseball team's private training session. Says PAR, asking questions about this in parliament. PM Hodge is investigating.
Health minister Whiteman, on behalf of the Curaçao government, has asked Holland for help in tackling the environmental problems with Isla refinery.
Once again, Shell is blamed for leaving "a gigantic environmental damage" behind. They did, but cannot be blamed; their generous offer to clean up was not accepted as the politicians preferred to lay their greedy hooks on money instead.
After Inselair's many failed efforts to fight DAE's lower prices, they finally lowered their own. To which DAE responded by lowering their prices even further. "It's all-out war now" DAE's Ramiz stated.
May those lower and much more reasonable prices than we've ever seen, last. Check here, or here.
Still Not Final
Give us all a break. After it was finally decided that the new hospital will replace the old one on its present Otrabanda location, Usona, the guys working with Ballast-Nedam on a new building on a new location, have presented their case in Staten parliament as if it still is the best solution. Among other arguments, building in Otrabanda would take twice as long and be twice as expensive.
But the Otrabanda representatives state that Usona is working with a smoke screen and mirrors. Besides, they say, Ballast-Nedam is not entitled to the threatened compensation but should compensate us instead for the way they withheld, twisted and manipulated information.
Re. that BZV, in January they gave three leaving directors a total of 1.8 million guilders (that's $1m), because of a "binding advice" by lawyers VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne. A new director got 24k/month, supposedly based on the salary of his predecessor—who got 19k. Quackie Constancia gave all people who moved from SVB to BZV 25% more salary; at least, that's what BZV management says, but Soab [accounting] has never seen that instruction.
Explains a Lot
Utility Aqualectra has outstanding accounts worth 14 million guilders, mainly unpaid water use. They say some households owe 25 thousand guilders, which is a lot. So now they're going to shut off 114 households. That's an average debt of over 121 thousand guilders per household?! Small wonder they're always in trouble, their accounting must be a total mess.
No Intervention But Supervision
St. Maarten is a mess but Holland, still oh so politically correct, will not intervene. However, the Dutch will watch the happenings there closely... very closely... too closely for comfort. The citizens may like it better than the government, though.
Par exemple, St. Maarten minister of justice Duncan moonlights as manager of at least one whorehouse, BadaBing.
Makes You Think a Bit
Lockheed Martin are developing a new way to apply reverse osmosis for the desalination of seawater. It boils down to a new material, graphene, that's only one atom thick, so the energy needed to push seawater through it is 100 (one hundred) times less than that for current techniques. As we use distilled seawater, this is of utmost future interest.
But we learn that in Israel desalination is done at a cost of 5 gallons for 1¢ (USD0.01), ANG0.96/m^3. The most expensive price is in Cyprus, $1.20 or ANG2.18/m^3. Here, Aqualectra charges a minimum of ANG4.9348. Of course distribution comes extra, but twice as much seems outrageous. (Water price in Israel averages ILS3.8=ANG1.84.)
So no illusions: if Aqualectra starts using this technique, their water will still cost up from 4.9348-(2.18)+2.18/100=ANG2.77/m^3.
Miracle Marketing: not only here the utilities charge more, the more you use. For all other products it's the other way round: a product gets cheaper the more you buy.
That's Good News
While Antillean youngsters have a very bad reputation in Holland, the last statistics show of the "top 600" only 9% are Antillean, which equals the autochtone youth. For Surinamese it's 24%, for Moroccons 47%.
25% of the total is seriously mentally disturbed and 50% slightly. I dare say.
Finally A Decision
One day after the promised two months have gone by, the cabinet has decided that the old hospital will be replaced, bit by bit, by a new one on the same location.
Maybe the Amstel terrain will be used for the planned ambtenarenpaleis [civil servant palace] containing 1,400 of them, count 'em: 1 for every 100 of us. (There are many more.)
Driving Us All Loko
SVB social insurance has received 15,073.31 [hey, those decimals are a joke, okay?] phone calls enquiring after the new health insurance. And I never even tried reaching 'em! There must be many more figuring "aww, what's the use?"
Okay, We'll Wait
Daft Dictator PS Wiels claims, without naming him, that ex-PM Shorty is behind the pressure tank fracas. It was he, hey, that's just what Wiels implies but we shouldn't wonder, who slyly promised Sehos[pital] they'd get a tank "free". Nothing in life is free, not even education, Wiels. Quackie Constancia doesn't understand why Sehos would accept a second-hand tank (free) from NASA and refuse a brand-new one from Venezuela. But that one was not free—it sported strings attached. Venezuelan specialists are still hanging around here waiting their chance, but minister of health Whiteman gives 'em not a chance, mainly because Sehos would be responsible but has no authority. And whatever happened to that makamba doctor?
Wiels promised a second bulletin on the affair which we await, but not with bated breath; we know all about his promises by now. At any rate, all parliament members except MFK voted for a thorough investigation by an independent agency.
Another good question is, when exactly did Wiels find out about this? Best guess, while he was a full-time member of Shorty's Band of Bandits, but at that time he shut up. We understand... all too well...
It is impossible to have new cash registers in all shops before next year, so SER Social Economic Council advises to delay raising sales tax until then. But the government in all its wisdom presses ahead anyway, even though returns are therefore uncontrollable. They must be hungry: anything extra is welcome.
So we will have to pay more while it's an open question who gets it, the merchant or the government. Get it?
DOW public works dept will be subjected to a "thorough investigation" by SOABV tax accountants that will take three months. About time too. Matter of fact, rather late. An interim management will take over during the investigation; makes one wonder if the present management will ever make it back.
Is That So?
I wouldn't know. The top of BZV has sent out a reply to the allegations that, come right down to it, their office was just a tax-money-wasting mess. For us who know nothing it's hard to judge who's right or wrong here. What sticks out, though, is one sentence that keeps being repeated throughout their rejoinder: "it was like that before we took over". Right. To be sure. Nobody questions that.
Oh, That BVZ!
Not to be confused with BZV. Oh, those acronyms! That's BasisVerzekering Ziektekosten, the new social health insurance, about which I don't understand the first thing. Seems you can go somewhere and get a plastic card which gives you the right to health care if you show your ID. Where? Civil servants don't get one, they are well cared for already, and if you earn less than 1000 guilders/month it's free. "Some employers" have received a letter with forms without further instructions (I didn't). And what to do if you are not a registered worker (there are thousands and thousands of those.)
The pharmacies have not been told what's going on either; nobody seems to really understand it. Next thing, I'll be in trouble and get fined (and those are heavy!) because I didn't turn in a proper declaration.
People compare this with Øbamacare: make those filthy rich employers pay up just like they did when AOW old age insurance were doubled between 2007-2013; and, "we will fix it when we have calculated it all".
What Media to Believe?
Last year, Dutch TV-program Brandpunt showed a program in which then PM Shorty, let's say, did not appear at best advantage. So Shorty protested with the Dutch Raad voor de journalistiek [council for journalism], who finally decided that Brandpunt could have done better but had made good points.
So some media publish: Brandpunt the council says Brandpunt was wrong, other say the opposite.
The answer to that question seems to be: if any. Dontcha know it.
BZV Bureau Ziektekosten Verzekering [health insurance] has been closed down by minister of health Whiteman, who also let an accountant loose on the premises. 34 people had a job there, but only 5 were working on AVBZ, the only fund BZV still administers. People had fabulous salaries and even better redundancy schemes, where some received a full year salary after having worked there for only half a year.
And the civil servants whine they should keep all their cozy deals.
The BZV doesn't understand a bit about all this. They say. The way it has been done, they have lost access to papers and thus can't build their defence. I dare say that was the main idea.
The main names involved are Marius Römer and Ivar Arsjes, both connected with Wiels's PS.
Curaçao ministers and members of parliament with diplomatic passports are reportedly using them for private trips. These things are habit forming.
One parliamentary even used it to attend a funeral last week, but as part of another country's delegation. Stinks like Shorty, who denies and as proof mails around scans of his personal passport with Venezuelan customs entry/exit stamps.
Hey, it was only PS Wiels, the Daft Dictator, who said so in his radio program. We don't trust either of 'em.
More New News?
Grondbelasting [property tax], the main reason why the Maal family maybe much against their wishes, but who cares? was forced to start developing their East Point property (and now get cursed for that) will now be replaced by [something I don't want to bore you with]. The point is, it will bring more money into the coffers. The real point is, we'll are going to pay more.
No surprise there.
Is That All?
The prognosis is, Curaçao will have an 84.2 million deficit on the 2013 budget.
Not to worry folks, that's only 600 guilders for each of us.
No Chávez Mummy in the Mausoleum
I'm sure Simón Bolivar heaves a sigh of relief he'll not get a new neighbor. Fat Dictator Chávez's
corpsecadaver is too far gone to be embalmed and so will not be put up as a permanent spook à la Lenin, Ho-Chi-Min, Stalin[no, they removed him already even if many idiots resented that... not to worry, they may put him back] and Mao and other Great CrooksHeroes. His body has decomposed too much already (just like his mind).
My best guess personal is, he matter-of-factly croaked long since and they just kept him in the deep-freeze and kept mum until they came up with a Master Plan—which they couldn't. Tough. But hey, those other guys... they're nothing but Madame Tussaud like dummies anyway? What's the real problem?
So they are working on getting rid of the infamous asphalt lake! We know because yesterday the factory turning asphalt into oil fuel exploded, killing one worker and injuring four others, of which one is in critical condition.
One again, Shell is blamed to have dumped the asphalt "but never cleared it away." In itself true, but it's not because Shell didn't want to or offer to. Our information is that $400 million Shell did pay for that was squandered or even stolen by our politicians.
The HAPO factory processes 200 tons a day, and there are two million tons, so it will take them over 27 years to get rid of it all. Former Aqualectra director Martina, now minister of economic affairs has ties with HAPO.
Once again the ministers are deliberating on how to make the island safer for tourists and make them feel safer. How we feel seems to be of much less concern.
That "Free Education"
The catholic schools are forced to ask the parents to pay their dues, or their children will not get their diplomas after final exams. Problem is, Studiefinanciering [study financing] does not come across with the last installment promised for that notorious free education plan, which is because RdK refinery will not come across with their promised contribution.
And we thinking that was all off because it has been verboten by Cft! Nobody tells us anything. That's Transparency, Folks!
PAR Leeflang feels off-shore companies should pay for this to the tune of each 10k guilders each to one school. Sorry, Leeflang. Methinks maybe they c/should pay more—but not directly to the schools; take it out of their taxes such as they are, right? Hey, all off-shore companies are not created alike.
Like Old Times
PS Cijntje has lodged a complaint against Wegenfonds/DOW [road fund/public works dept.] and several contractors because of possible offenses. The price for the last batch of 250 speed cushions (which appear all over the place on roads where you'd never expect they're needed) was suddenly raised from 1900 to 2890 guilders (they were bought regardless) and traffic signs were bought for 210 guilders instead of 123 as that price was "suspiciously low".
Just like Cooper or Liberia-Pieters were still there. Some things never change.
More Botika Trouble
Now the problem is that the apothecaries want better guarantees about the Seguro Básiko [basic insurance], and as from tomorrow they will not give the poor devils with such an insurance their medicine. Minister of health Whiteman doesn't understand it, he had no idea; which we in our turn don't understand.
PAIS Rosaria says that he's heard from Dutch politicians that ex-PM Shorty did propose to give his padrino Corallo a job as ambassador in Santo Domingo (coïncidentally? another notorious drug dealing center). Shorty says it's all lies by Rosaria.
That Sounds Fine
A restaurant refused to send out
a free lunchsandwiches to a government meeting, as the government makes a habit of not paying the bills. And two lease-cars in use by ministers have been called back. This shouldn't matter, they have more than they need anyway.
You should hear my dentist go on about all that... those civil servants get everything covered, then his bills are not paid. He's absolutely fulminating and foaming at the mouth. A joy to enjoy.
Now I Ask You
That guy Römer who replaced Gumbs as head of VDC (Curaçao security) got an negative screening report himself! By now, we'd love to be informed of what's going on. The assurances by PM Hodge that this is just a rumor, Römer is fine don't tell much. By the way, Gumbs is still head of VDC as they have not been able to find another job for him. Small wonder.
Now it's a member of coalition party PAIS, "turncoat" Cleopa, who's urging that care should be taken with raising the sales tax. If this is not prepared carefully, people "may lose their confidence in the government" he warns. As if we had any.
After the optimistic announcements of not two weeks ago, the prognosis now has made a downturn and "the growth will shrink" this year. Which translates as, the shrinking will grow: less tourists will come. Especially the Dutch are staying away in droves, compared with last year 14% less. The hotels now have an occupation rate of 68% versus 79% last year.
Smoc to European Court
Smoc has gone to the European Court of Justice with a complaint that the state of the Netherlands, in European law responsible for the Curaçao territory, is neglecting its duty to check for violations of pollution laws according to global norms. Because of Isla refinery, what else?
Gangsters, Not All?
Until now I refrained from mentioning this here, but after all the island of St. Maarten still is rather close to us, if not physically; shared bank, department of justice and all. There's an enormous upheaval because a newspaper received a videotape showing a bordello-owner giving a large sum of money to parliament member Patrick Illidge (himself suspected of running bordellos of his own). The gendarmes have now raided his house and, for good measure, the bordello and Immigration dept., where they found lots of goodies like several illegal guns, money, documents, immigration papers, computers and memory stick and photo cameras. An interesting catch.
Once more goes to show you what a mess we're living in.
PAR Leeflang writes on her Fakebooc page that ex-PK Shorty went to Venezuela for the Fat Dictator Chávez's funeral letting himself be presented by the Haïti president as PM of Curaçao. Shorty's comment is, "that's stupid"—and so it is.
Shorty denies it, of course; it's pure spite he says.
One More Story
Foundation Kennis voor Curaçao [knowledge for C.] was set up in 2006 to get youngsters back from Holland and give them a training. Everybody was enthusiastic but it looks like they have to close down because the promised government money never came. Even money given by Holland via Curaçao's ministery of education was never passed on; PS Rosalia and his follow-up Monky must have had better uses for it. No money came in from the earlier PAR-PNP-FOL, later interim and present "tasks" cabinet either.
Bank Doing Fine
While the economy is barely crawling along, MCB bank income has grown by 3% last year. So don't ask.
And good riddance, too. Please don't come back and spook us no more. I wish the Castros would take your example. And then some, it's a long list...
Please give my regards to Satan and say hello to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot... plenty more where they came from, and went to...
One media site here admonishes us to "never speak ill about the death"—de mortuis nil nisi bonum. Oh no? Even Erasmus would have agreed Chávez went too far. He managed to steal as much from the
suckerspoor voting cattle in the much shorter time he was in power as the Castro bros together: two billion dollars. Admittedly, there's much more to be stolen in Venezuela than in Cuba.
And now, let us sit back and watch the strife for power begin. May the worst person win.
The schools still have not received the third installment of money promised them in the arrangements for the "free education" and as a result are in a desperate position. Nothing new for the public schools, but the catholic schools are not used to it.
Let us remember that the free education flop was initiated by Daft Dictator Wiels and his party while in the former utterly corrupt government coalition; now they're back in the "task cabinet".
Birds of A Feather
Uh oh... Dutch Ballast-Nedam contractors have just been given the highest possible fine for fraud and corruption: five million €uros. Quite an award. Small wonder our former government sought those guys out to let them design and build our new hospital.
Wiels Twists And Turns
As member of a delegation of Staten parliament members to Holland Wiels denied he ever said that "makambas [crackers] would be returned in body bags." He meant "bags" like those of Sinterklaas. Such a brave little big-mouthed man. He also praised (finally) deceased
presidentdictator Chávez to high heaven; my personal opinion is the guy went to the other place. Chávez was a world leader, he said, an icon of modern socialism. He got that straight.
There were other most entertaining moments during discussions with Dutch counterparts. The Curazoleños complained that they didn't get enough attention of the Dutch foreign ambassadors. They never want to face up to the hard fact that Curaçao is about as important to Holland as, say, Zoetermeer, essentially a suburb of Den Haag/The Hague. This amused an Aruban delegate who said they never had any problems with the embassies.
What Else Is Old
The medical fraud, to which two MDs have now confessed (they promised to pay it back, ha ha), seems to have been made possible because SVB social insurance hardly checked on the declarations.
Economy Also Down
CBS statistics have done some research into the 2012 economy by interviewing businesses. Only 41% had any confidence in the future and 33% none at all; 42% have invested; 62% have made a profit.
PM Dodge oops! Hodge paid a visit to Holland and the politicians there just loved him. I wouldn't know, never have met him... but don't trust him as far as I could throw an ellifant. Doesn't even have to be a f*cking ellifant. Anyway, no, I don't love him. Show me the score-board, then we can discuss it.
Not A Strike
spoiled bratscivil servants will go on strike... no, that's not correct. They will have a meeting during work hours (paid by us) to discuss the threatened raise of pension age from 60 to 65. There's quite a list of trade unions involved, I'll spare you that. Nobody knows if the schools will be open. Advice they give is, take your kids there and you'll see.
The catholic schools' financial director has requested the schools to inform her which teachers have gone to the meeting as this is not allowed, as they well know. But teachers' trade union Sitek expects a high turn-out.
There We Go Again... Down
The government considers borrowing 270 million guilders "to start investments in the economy and slow down the economic decline." Entrepreneurs' club VBC wonders why other measures are not taken first, like "renting contracts, making working conditions (among which pensions) in the public sector competitive, depoliticizing civil workers, tackling bureaucracy and honoring agreements."
Maybe the government got the idea from the USA where the same "tactic" is being followed with deplorable results. But what happened to Cft's [financial supervision] aanwijzing?
A lot of dust was kicked up when the director of a school didn't allow a Dutch Zembla TV-team to interview the pupils without permission from their parents. And quite right, too. You wouldn't believe the anti-religious hate expressed on Fakebooc (it was a catholic school). Or maybe you would. Hey, I'm an atheist myself, but why kick against that dead end and completely pass by the fact that the same team, over here for a docu on Isla pollution, did not manage to get a single one of the refinery etcetera people in front of their camera? (They preferred to hide under the proverbial flat stone.)
Amparo dos Santos, head of the board of commissioners of Curaçao Ports Authority and also commissioner of Curoil and Selikor (yes, he's on the blacklist) will not take his leave as requested by PM Hodge. Like the others he says it's illegal. Never had an inkling myself that resigning from a job at the boss's request could be illegal.
UTS telecommunications will be subject of an intense audit, even though there have been several in the past few years. Also, one of the two directors will be fired as there's supposed to be only one. Hey, we've been told they were both fired already!
A stroller found a plastic container filled with used blood sample tubes dumped in the mondi [bush]. Question is, which medical facility did this come from?
Yet another batch was found a few days later at another location.
For once, the statistics seem not to be lying. 2012 tourism grew by 8% who staid 15% longer; cruise tourism up by 8%. Good.
That's Entertainment! And Justice, Too
Dutch political party PVV does not want to have PS Wiels enter into Holland, as long as he has expressed his desire to return all makambas to Holland in body bags. Why not send him back in a body bag? It's a point.
Only 6%, that's sicks percent, that's one in seventeen suckers (1/16.7) Rate News Media As Very Trustworthy. Hey, look and listen, that's where I (and you) get all info from! So, you don't trust me? (need I go on...?)
Afraid They'll Win
The civil servants' unions will go to court to fight the government plans to cut into their salaries and pensions. You know, they might well win; a contract is an agreement after all.
Much too often our Lousy Leaders view an agreement as mere "marks on paper"; the phrase has been used in the circus six times already. A bad habit.
Isla Must Pay
At least, court procedures have been started to force them to pay for an investigation into the extent of the damages caused by the oil spill at saliña Jan Kock last year; later, the refinery must pay for the damage repair. Of course, Isla denies any responsibility for the spill in the first place, so that can be fun.
The idea is that old rich people who get their social security pension AOW must go on paying their premium to keep receiving the pension. The government will decide who's rich enough; no doubt on a yearly rising base.
The idea was that people working now pay for those who get the pension. This new vision is a totally distorted view. And even if this is accepted, you're supposed to get 2% AOW pension for every year you've paid premium. I know—I get less than 100%. Safe bet that stops when you're 65 and you won't get 110-% when you're 70.
They call this "stopping positive discrimination." Just a fart into the air. Rhyme nor reason. 2013-02-27
Cozy Deals End
The first lease of a building rented by the government has come to an end. It was owned by Imalootin and by one of them happenstances also rented by Imalootin, and it has never been used.
And the government does not want to renew the contract for that CPA-building. At least Imalootin gets paid until February next year. Tough, if only if he'd sold it while there still was time...
The management of UTS telecommunications refuse to take their leave as "requested" by PM Hodge. They say the government has to follow legal procedures. We follow further developments with considerable interest.
MAN Koeiman complains that staten [parliament] meetings are filled with discussions about corruption and misconduct. (There's bloody little else to discuss, seems to me.) "We ought to give people hope and confidence," says Koeiman, "as they look up to us."
Dream on Koeiman, don't you read the polls? Most people loath and despise politicians.
Now We're Getting No-Where Even Faster!
Daft Dictator Wiels wants a committee to look at the possible location for the new hospital. Let's be grateful his last own idea is not mentioned anymore.
Gee, I wonder how much you get paid as a committee member.
That's Nothing New
The media announce, as if it's something new, that Hato airport passengers will as from now be checked for fluids, maximum carry-on 100ml/3.38oz. Now really. They have been taking away drinks bought in the very airport terminal for longer than I can remember. Maybe they use 'em for late-night parties; that would be good because otherwise it'd be of no use whatsoever.
After the private financial sector (average wage 5195/month), guess who earns most here? Right, how did you guess: the civil servants with 4908. However, they have much better pension arrangements and health insurance; naturally, they don't want to change that.
The next group is government-owned utilities (4580) and then education (not incidentally also paid by the government), 4281. Average private salaries are below 3600—and remember: it's they, we, who pay for those 22% higher government salaries!
Now the government employees do not want to accept changing their pension age from 60 to 65 and getting only 70% AOW (old age provision) to "complement" their pensions.
The civil servants won't budge a micrometer in the last discussions. 2015 or Bust! So what else is new?
We're being warned that Ballast-Nedam and Usona most probably will present the country with their bills for all that work they've done on a new hospital, if that's canceled. Sure... how else can they pay those politicians their fair share?
Uh Oh, There We Go—Not Yet
PM Hodge wants the country's finances in a sound position before he asks Cft [financial supervision] to get rid of the much-hated aanwijzing [direction]. But once we're there, he says, he will try to get rid of it as it prohibits borrowing by the government. And you don't get anywhere when you don't borrow.
Really. We have all seen where it did get us.
Sick to Your Stomach
Gastric bypass, surely one of the most decadent medical procedures of all time (it stops you from gorging yourself) may not be performed in Curaçao for the next two months. Not only was it a fraudulent medical practice where the insurance companies got a bill for something entirely different: also one patient has died, adding injury to insult. No names are mentioned—yet.
They Don't Like It, But We Do
On February 4 PM Hodge fired all managers and directors of all government-owned companies. But the advisory organ SBTNO (who even wants to know what that stands for) now states that this can't be done; all managers were screened (by whom?) when they got their jobs and thus are supposed to be qualified for their jobs. I doubt this. I strongly doubt this. I say "throw 'em all out!"
Until 2006 present minister of economic affairs Martina was director of Aqualectra. He got out in time.
Imalootin Reported to Police
As the guy still has not returned all the stuff he kept when he was kicked out as minister of theft, they have now gone to the cops with a complaint. O yeah, meanwhile it's found out he declared "several" trips which were private, but he just grabbed the money and ran.
Interestingly, they tell us as that the money Jamaloodin owns will be subtracted from his so-called overbruggingsregeling [bridging arrangement]. Presumably, all those 10-10-10 gangstas are still getting money? How cosy.
Gas Price Up
Gasoline will go up with 10 cents per liter in March, diesel 3; water and electricity will go up as well. As always, "because of international market developments"—while crude oil has gone down 2% in the last week and is now actually cheaper than in January when those prices were raised as well.
And utility Aqualectra is as good as bankrupt and will have to be supported with government money. Whew, that's a relief! For a moment there I thought we'd have to pay for it!
Jellinek, Methinks, Protesteth Too Much
They use a lot of words contradicting the bad press, but blame the discrepancy between the tourism board and the minister of health. Hey, you pretend to have a clinic, who's more important? No matter what, now they want to be compensated!
It's also claimed the reproofs that the insurances are paying for luxury addict care is "totally false"—the patients pay half of the costs themselves. In that case, it's half, not totally false. But I'm just a layman myself of course.
Sehos hospital management complains that ex-PM Shorty and his unhealth minister quackie Constancia "threw them a fastball" by trying to pressure 'em to buy that Venezuelan decompression tank, while telling Sehos it was free. One director signed the agreement, knowing full well this was safe to do: it was void and worthless as two signatures were required. (Shorty and quackie are such smart pros, they were not aware of that and thus presumably, hopefully, lost their cut.)
Present minister of health Whiteman, at the time inspector of health, then informed Sehos they couldn't evade their responsibility, "as the tank was on their premises". Whiteman has now been replaced as inspector by Huurman who has since detected many irregularities we are paying dearly for.
I wonder how long Huurman will last.
The higher sales tax will only be introduced by April 1. Fooled us proper, they did. Hey, let's all go on a shopping spree afore it's too late!
The "sanitary" landfill of Malpaís [badland] is so badly maintained that at Kokomo beach (what used to be called Vaersenbaai, don't ask) two kilometers downwind there's an abundance of flies. That's putting it mildly: they fly up into your mouth like broiled chickens in the fabulous Luilekkerland or Cockaigne, Schlaraffenland. Rubbish is not covered up and rots away to the flies' hearts' content. Tourists, though, are less delighted and stay away in droves.
A vaers, these days vaars is a heifer; used to be where heifers were unloaded? Or maybe there were lots of those hanging around there before Mambo beach became popular? Your guess is as good as mine, maybe better. In Bonaire, there's a Paardenbaai (horses bay]. It might have been only one heifer, or horse; ah... the intricacies of the second (grammatical) case in old Dutch.
Now VBC entrepreneurs' club is mad at the government because of the old age pension AOW. The deal agreed on was that employees would pay a 1.5% premium and employers 0.5%, but as it came out the employer pays all. Only two of the eight points as agreed on have been incorporated.
Throw Them Out
Staten parliament wants to fire all directors of CPA port authority. Sounds good. Not only did they manipulate the acquisition of a building, they also tried to keep it a secret. Didn't work out. Then they tried to reverse the decision. Didn't help.
PAR wants to see more proof. Wouldn't we all.
To the Point
PAR Leeflang asks minister of health Whiteman why those who are suspected of medical fraud are not yet being prosecuted, which smacks of class justice. It's all kept under cover. But in fact, the inspector of health as an investigating officer is obliged to report this to justice.
End of the Affair
Sehos Hospital has now finally bought a decompression tank from NASA, for the price of transport which is appreciably lower than the last offer they got. Last year, ex-PM Shorty opened a smaller one with the usual PR-fuss, but that turned out to be a turkey without filling. Sehos was then offered to buy another one, but... Oh, all's well that end's well. Only, the thing must still be installed.
PAIS Rosaria says that politicians mostly don't want to discuss corruption. I've been beating my brains out to find the reason for that.
He proposes a register for government contracts, so we can at least check what contracts are being signed.
Stop Me If You Heard This One Before
Bureaus "health insurance" BZV and "general special [I kid you not] health insurance" AVBZ will be investigated as well. Seems an outfit ZenCity (the very name gives me the jitters) was promised 100 million guilders by quackie Constancia (leave it to her), and the owners of that same outfit somehow had foundation Birgen di Rosario [virgin of the rosary] adopt double the amount of patients, which presumably would become hospitalized in ZenCity. Also, Constancia started an "indication commission" which, keep the story short, resulted in more workers at BZV than needed; the surplus will now have to got rid of.
PM Hodge has held a discourse on Curaçao's situation, in which he said it would be "criminal" not to change it (by turning the thumbscrews). He also mentions we once had the best airport of the region, the largest harbor, best education, best roads, largest refinery. All these things have deteriorated, like he says; but that's really not all the fault of ex-PM Shorty's gangsta government since 10-10-10: it started with the May 1969
revolutionriots and Shorty's gang's excesses were just the culmination.
And justice minister Navarro says there are many gangs in Curaçao (the criminal kind, not political parties are meant) and once the police know who their members are they can be stopped. It's really too simplistic thinking; individual enterprise is at least as much to blame here.
Yuppie-Addict Clinic Closed
The Jellinek Retreat for yuppie drug addicts has been closed since January 1st, when it turned out they had been operating illegally. They blame "changed market conditions" though.
Well, that is only one thing they blame. They also blame (new) inspector of health Huurman, who prefers to maintain medical standards above attracting medical tourism. For the record, I'm with Huurmman.
Now the Dutch parliament members are acting nasty because they gave Jellinek a €600K subsidy without having been told a thing about the problems.
Just Try to Get In
The court session on the civil survey of Isla refinery, Curoil and Aqualectra utility is expected in June. That's sooner than I thought; no doubt a lot of preliminary spade work had been done before the survey was announced. Guess I'll pass, no way to get in there. Too bad, should be an entertaining show.
The general feeling seems, it's a shame the citizenry had to press for this, instead of parliament where it belongs. The good part is, the citizenry did.
Where Did It All Go? No Fair Guessing!
Between 2008 and 2013 Curaçao received over 11 million guilders from Holland for the infrastructure. I don't know where it went, but judging from the results it was not into the potholes. Best guess is, it filled some pockets instead.
What's Going On?
Not long ago, InselAir was complaining that Foundation for the Development of Curacao Korpodeko had illegally financed their competitor DAE. But now they're found out: in reality, Korpodeko owns 20% of InselAir's shares and matter of fact, the company is yet another government-owned company. As InselAir never denied they took over where ALM/DCA left off, that's no surprise.
Surprising is that InselAir sends letters to minister of traffic Balborda signed by the shareholders—but not by Korpodeko.
Now It's Our Fault
The tokos [small grocery stores] have this habit of not declaring all their sales; one declared only 800 guilders while having sold 5000 worth, but actually it's quite endemic. This while the Tax Person has installed over 400 new cash registers to prevent it (wonder how much that has cost). Hey, it's easy not to use a cash register! Just put the money in an old cigar or shoe box under the counter.
The Tax Person then goes on to blame us, the customers: we should ask for a receipt. What! and pay sales tax?
As Well They Might
The contractors' club is sick and tired of yet another new round of deliberations about the new hospital. More time and money wasted, they say. Quite so.
Goes to show that it's still the Daft Dictator, Wiels, who's in charge.
Oh... Now We Know...
In a newspaper story on a "Green Town" presentation it is mentioned in passing that ex-PM Shorty's moll van Rijn was there as secretary-general. So she is re-instated, huh? Nobody tells us anything. I wonder why. Because of "transparency", is a good guess.
Over and Done
The project for development of the barrios has now been canceled definitely. The Reda Social foundation will take over. Good.
Now, do we please get our 5 cents/liter of gas back?
That's Good to Know
Medical minister Whiteman has said that, on a political level, the quackie Constancia/Ballast Nedam location for a new hospital has been turned down.
They are now planning a meeting on the function of the hospital. No Comment. I mean, now really, what can you say?
For once, let's quote Wikipedia: "A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment." Sounds pretty straightforward to me. Or "an institution where the sick or injured are given medical or surgical care." The nuns who, long ago, started the St. Elisabeth Hospital didn't have time to split any hairs.
But look at it this way: No doubt the important guys and dolls who participate in the meeting will get a Free Lunch.
There's no such thing, you say? Only half right! For them it's free—we pay.
Curoil director Lasten claims that now, Curgas delivers a new "bomb" in five days after it's been ordered. Maybe so, but last time we had to call 'em three or more times and wait for over two months. (Payment 2012-10-30, delivery 2013-01-13).
"Us Knows Us"
PM Hodge, who never was into politics, has now discovered that all politicians mistrust each other. Small wonder... like the Dutch say, "ons kent ons". We knew it all the time, and you know what? They are quite right—we don't trust 'em either. Not for one lousy bit, let alone many millions.
The government-owned companies Curoil, Refineria di Kòrsou and Aqualectra with allied corporations will be subjected to a civil survey for possible mismanagement. Ex PM Shorty, who also was minister van algemene zaken [general matters] and as such handled energy matters, will be interrogated. This in consequence of Akshon Sivíl's request of July last year.
Oswald van der Dijs, who will be interrogated as well, does not agree there has been any "mismanagement". He just did what had to be done (I dare say) and gives us the following fine quote: "In Curaçao you have to go along with mismanagement and fraud to stay out of trouble." (He's actually got a point, but maybe, hopefully, times are changing.) It's all the fault of a clique that distorts information, he states, and now even the public ministry is abused. But he's all for the survey, if it doesn't stay confined to 2010-2012 but includes years before and after that. He certainly has a point there as well.
Shorty says he's not worried either and welcomes all investigations; his government acted with approval of the council of ministers in complete transparency. He says. The third person to be put through the wringer is Aqualectra manager Treurniet.
If the survey turns up any offenses, criminal prosecutions may follow.
PAR comments that it's a shame that people feel they must bypass parliament as it does nothing for 'em, and rather go to court; but checks and balances still work! Small thanks to MFK Wilsoen, or FOØL's Komproe... you name 'em.
No More Space Shi
The "$350k" Hato airport was supposed to have "loaned" to the Space Gang are really about one million guilders or 550k dollars. At least, that's what PAIS Rosaria says, while worrying about it all. He does not want to invest any money in the project (hear, hear!) and also worries about who is going to pay up for already bought tickets when the project comes to a halt; but he worries most about who will be held responsible in case of an accident.
Rosaria also informs us Hato airport still is owned by government company Curinta and that CAP as a mere concession holder has no business playing around with money earned by the airport.
As if it wasn't bad enough already with health insurance problems, a medical specialist seems to have made his patient pay cash and asked the insurance for compensation. But for some reason the inspector of health has not advised medical disciplinary council nor the police, even while he says he suspects there's more like that going on.
If I may believe what I hear about a certain homeopath, there certainly is.
Explains a Lot
The new tariffs for botikas' compensation turn out to have been determined in 2011 by then sinister of sickness, quackie Constancia. They were to be January ANG7.83 per medicine, to be lowered to 7.43 beginning this year plus 1 guilder to be paid by the patient.
Some Italian court has proclaimed that Shorty's padrino Corallo is not involved in doubtful loans by some bank, and neither is he a member of a criminal organization. Big deal. I still don't trust neither him nor his figlioccio.
Some weeks ago in Willemstad harbor a so-called fishing boat was robbed of €9m worth of gold bars from Guyana. The robbers drove up to the gate and were admitted by the guard as "he thought they were customs people". We didn't talk much about it here as at first sight it had little to do with politics.
Now, however, the USA is getting serious about wanting a more thorough investigation. They say the Public Ministry has been very lackadaisical in investigating this; they've hardly spoken with the boat's crew and don't even know where its members are now. The USA implies Justice and Customs have been faking documents and that this is quite a regular thing, with the gold illegally transported further on to the USA. Exactly as I suspected.
Lawyer Tielkemeyer claims that during the investigation over thirty law violations have been committed by the department of justice. 2013-02-10
Squabbles, Struggle and Strife
InselAir complains that the government favors competitor DAE. They have received much higher loans which, matter of fact, makes the government DAE owner, says InselAir. This must really hurt as InselAir is a sort of reincarnation of ALM and DCA. So InselAir knows what it's talking about when accusing DAE of pulling the old ALM trick: let the company go bankrupt and use the stolen assets to start a new one, leaving the creditors in the lurch.
Because of the decompression tank trouble, it now becomes known that the Curaçao divers' school business, other than in Bonaire, is a sorry and unregulated chaos. Anybody who feels like it can hang a sign "Diving School" on his door and, judging from what you read, that's the only license most of those operators have.
Be also warned: even granted that many people wouldn't care but'd rather like it, there's at least one school where the last test dive is in the nude or you won't get your diploma. Such as it is, yeah. (No doubt followed by frivolous festivities.)
Minister of health Whiteman has no good words for his predecessor, without naming her: she took 'wild decisions' he says. (That would be quackie Constancia; she made a mess.) Youth health was the best department but has totally fallen apart since 10-10-10, and a top figure who was 'promoted away' must get back to her former function—another one.
Let's hope that all that nonsense about "alternative" medicine and ending drinking water fluoridation will be rolled back as well.
One Who Wises Up! Good.
The owner of the decompression tank, after all, now is not unwilling to enter into re-negotiations with Sehos hospital. Wring 'em out for all it's worth, please, Sehos. They deserve it.
Not that the Sehos policy is without blame here.
About Those Rentals, And All That
Finance minister Jardim announced that if the Soab-reports turn up illegal activities, next step will be to lodge complaints with the OM public ministry.
We never accused him of lacking that. Now he's pointing the finger at the present government who are out to replace all high functionaries (read: in many-grabbing positions) of government-owned companies. This is against the law! he warns. People should be fit for such jobs; entirely oblivious of the fact that this concerns unfit people who were put in those positions by him and his Mob.
DAE airline will be taken over completely by Nelson Ramiz, with all its (unnamed) affiliates. A name change is due, no personnel will be fired. The MD83 and F100 will be replaced with Airbus A319 and A320. Meanwhile, the waiting is for the airport's FAA upgrade.
Just More Words?
PAIS Rosaria wants to stop all talk about corruption in government and government-owned companies, and make an effort to prosecute the guilty parties and have them pay back. Sounds good. He also thinks about a local chapter of Transparency International, which reminds us.
The government wants to re-engage those civil servants who have been kicked out by the preceding government of Shorty and His Gang because they didn't like them; like Gumbs of security and Daal of civil registry.
Justice minister Navarro considers building a new prison (the present one was opened in 1960 and cost 70 million guilders, paid by Holland). But there's no money, so he looks at private financing to be paid back in a long term. Isn't that a form of "borrowing"—in other words, more debt?
Hato Airport will receive the loan of some $350k back from the space project, and will not participate in it for $4m; also, Hato will not become a shareholder in the project. This is good news, if not for everybody. One does wonder why Hato only last week denied they had put any money in the project.
When the money will be paid back is less clear; they're "working on an arrangement."
Yeah, Let's Strike!
Isla sub-contractors are getting sick of promises and excuses and will go to court and sue the refinery to finally come across with the promised lump sum for their workers.
Problem of course is, PdVSA can't afford this relatively minor sum, what with the deplorable state of their and Venezuela's finances. Can somebody please tell me, is Chávez alive and well (perish the thought) or, as some suggest, put on ice until somebody comes up with a solution to that pressing problem: how to proceed when the dictator expires? Because Chávez never figured g*d would let him expire, so made no arrangements for that case!
Assaults and robberies are a regular feature in Curaçao now, without the government taking any practical measures, so insurance companies have stopped coverage.
Nothing But Trouble
Now, after the botika trouble, it's the private insurance companies who complain that the new health insurance law is different from the concept that was shown them before it was accepted. They say it looks like the government wants to get rid of them.
Now They're Being Difficult!
Belangenvereniging Curaçaose Agenturen [interests club Curaçao agencies] is also dissatisfied with the newly proposed sales tax. (It's higher, of course.) They feel there are "better, more honest [wouldn't know about that] and more effective" ways to press us out some more. The new rules will make everything more complicated (is what we pay for, an oft-heard complaint) and they're afraid they will only lead to evasions. Whatever gave 'em that idea? But a good thing, in my humble opinion. Last of my worries!
Said it before and will say it again: don't give the government any more money! They've got more than's good for 'em already and they'll just spend it anyway. (That's a Wodehouse line.)
Hey, They Noticed!
Staten parliament was in holy wrath because of all those Soab (government accounting) reports on the many millions wasted and, like Oh my darling Clementine, gone and lost forever by Refineria di Kòrsou, tourist office CTB, Stichting Wegenfonds Curaçao, Aqualectra, Telecom Post and Utilities and Curoil. Ain't it a shame? We knew it all the time. Dare I say "bunch of hypocrites"? Yes, I do dare.
PAR wants all those Soab reports discussed in a public parliament meeting.
Just Mentioning in Passing
South-African Eskom utility apologizes all over the place, but they'll just have to raise, matter of fact, double the electricity tariffs over the next five years to RND.126/kW. That's gonna be ANG0.25619, about 1/3 of ours 'right now, in Curaçao' as the slogan went; actually and in fact, less. As you may not know, Suid Afrika has to import all coal and oil and is heavily opposed to fracking. A luxury we don't have to consider to deny ourselves.
Here, They Never Thought of That!
"Neocolonialists are blamed for everything that is wrong in Zimbabwe, including the potholes we see everywhere."
SOURCE: It's time for non-racist Africans to lead
Who Won? Or, Who'll Win? Let's Hope, We.
The botikas have stopped asking people to pay for their medicine, since in a meeting minister of health Whiteman promised to look into their complaints that their profit margin really is too small. He plans to have a committee of 2 or 3 financial experts look into it.
There we go again: Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Now, SVB says they'd love to negotiate with the pharmacies who want 11-12 guilders per prescription instead of 7.
Twist 'n' Turn
Now Hato Airport director Adriaens claims that the space project won't cost us a cent. In a meeting end 2011 it was decided Curaçao would not put up any more money. Weird that only now we hear of this. He also doesn't bother, probably wisely, to explain about the money it has cost us. And anyway, he says, that has been well-spent, Curaçao has had such a lot of free publicity! Oh, so it was free, was it?
Wasn't it Sam Goldwyn who's supposed to coin the phrase "All publicity is good publicity"? Just ask ex-PM Shorty or his padrino Corallo if they agree. Or ask, just a wild guess, Adriaens.
Haste Makes Waste
This caught my attention because of a report that Washington DC has the worst USA traffic, resulting in 67 hours/year/commuter of being stuck in traffic—worth $1400.
Don't know about the people coming to work here by way of Gosieweg, Caracasbaaiweg, Rooseveltweg, Weg naar Bullenbaai or Santa Rosaweg (won't make much difference) but I can certainly tell you about the Weg naar Westpunt. All those, and not [m]any more, lead to and from Willemstad. But when I try to take the Weg naar Westpunt to Willemstad between, say, 06:00 and 07:30 it takes me well over an hour (at the very least). After 8:00, I get there in like 20, at the most 30 minutes. Almost the same when driving back between 16:30-18:00. But then, there are no long stopping-driving-stopping lines; must be a reason for that but I can't fathom.
Figured it out: in the morning rush hour, traffic files have to merge; in the evening, they split apart. Dûh. Shows ya how smart I am!
If I had a regular job, that would cost me at least 50[weeks]*5[days]*2[drives]*30[minutes]=100 hours per year. As nobody pays me but Me Myself, it's hard to figure what that's worth. But with a ANG7.68/hour minimum wage that would be ANG768=USD422. In the USA, it'd average $994. As gasoline and all that are more expensive here... hey, you go on figuring, okay? I'm getting nauseous. Pas le mot juste—getting sick! To my stomach and below.
Why don't "they" [unohoo] do something about that? Been going on for at least thirty years!
Gotta Tell Ya'All
We're still much better off than Argentina, with their fake
Islas MalvinasFalklands maneuvers to distract attention from the 30%/year inflation. Or than Brazil, spare you the details. Hey, let's stay Positive!
Waking Up? About Time
PAIS Rosaria wonders why the media publish there has been a staten [parliament] meeting with the Vomit Comet gang. There hasn't been any such thing, the press once again swallowed the space bandits' propaganda lock, sinker and barrel. Rosaria wonders why Hato saw fit to give those con-men well over 700k guilders (USD385k), while they claim to have sold over €4 million worth of tickets already. And while Hato lacks the money for its own maintenance now we're coughing up what went down the Space Drain. Also it isn't clear to Rosaria, or to us, why
the countrywe should pay 20 million for hangars and all.
Let's hope this foolish nuisance will now come to an end. What oafish suckers those space scoundrels, and ex-PM Shorty, must think us and Hato airport director FOL Adriaens.
No need to wonder, Rosaria: ex-sheikh of stagnation el Hakim told Hato to do that. Which makes me wonder how much was in it for him!
Not A Solution
SVB health insurance, who normally take six weeks to reimburse medicine costs, now promises they'll give you a check for what you paid at the botika in max. two days. Which must cost them much more than giving in to what looks like quite reasonable botika claims. So it's war now.
And for us the molester of having to walk, drive or take a konvoi to the SVB building and wait for hours for your number to come up. And then to the bank to deposit or cash in.
Of course the apothecaries get blamed: "People may die! The dirty scoundrels!" Like most gut reactions, not thought through.
Past week-end, so Smoc informs us, the stench freely blown around by Isla refinery was "unbearable". By one of those mystifying coïncidences, the web-site measuring stations' results stopped showing them two days ago.
One Down, Who's Next?
Building contractor Willemstad nv has gone bankrupt, and more are expected to follow. There is virtually no building going on as there are hardly any projects by government nor by lobbies who get government subsidies.
Minister Balborda says Radio Z-86 never transmitted an interview between him and some Dutch inventors on the future of Oostpunt, as such an interview does not exist. It's all an "internal misunderstanding" at the radio station.
That's much too cryptic; he really should explain. What misunderstanding? How could it happen? Sounds fascinating...
Wishful Thinking Too
The grandiose plans announced by InselAir to start an aircraft maintenance service for the region are patronizingly qualified by competitor DAE as "pure propaganda": it's just not worth it to start a service like that for your own company if you fly less than 20 aircraft, and even then it will turn out to be twice as expensive as going elsewhere. Also, claims DAE, the MD-80 type aircraft of Insel's fleet are very old and hardly anybody else uses them any more, so it would be hard to find customers.
VBC entrepreneurs' club has very little confidence in the new sales tax structure paying off. A year ago, the increase from 5% to 6% just resulted in less economic growth and it is very doubtful if the new increase will result in the 17.8 million extra the government expects. Worst, VBC feels the government is just tightening the thumbscrews instead of trying to cut down on expenses: the old, old story. If this increase does not bring in enough, will the tax be increased again, to 12% or even higher?
Regents and Rulers
Much to his surprise, Willy Maal representing the family owning Oostpunt, a very large parcel of real estate, learned that minister Balborda was negotiating with "very wealthy Dutchmen" who planned to buy the terrain. Maal knew nothing about it and makes clear that it's not up to the minister or government to negotiate on private property.
Curaçao Port Authority directors Diaz and Lopez Ramirez were recently court-cleared of a complaint that they had contracted "exorbitant pension schemes"—respectively 1,414,805 and 1,387,775 guilders. Lawyer Braam is so mad, he wants to appeal and waive his charges. But my best guess is, the judge had a point when he considered that the entire CPA-management and the shareholder island of Curaçao knew about this, agreed with it and accorded it; so that's that. Braam and we may well be mad, but it's business as usual: the pack of thieves hit again.
Lots More Money Missing
While Holland, according to some magnanimously and to others miserly, took over 80% of our debts, it now turns out our great leaders didn't even know all our debts. A lot more turn up now. "We haven't done our homework" says PM Hodge. But we knew it all the time. What a mess.
Then Hodge says "if only Holland had taken over 100% of our debts..." (and why should they?) even then, Hodge, it would turn out now it was only X%. What a mess!
If only our great leaders hadn't made all those incredible debts. Is the point.
Isla Refinery Workers Strike
Trade Union SGTK (the pox on those acronyms) is on strike for the second day. They have been promised a lump sum of 1600 guilders (USD880) in May last year, but haven't received a nickel yet. Exploiter PdVSA asks them for patience until decisions have been taken in Caracas, but SGTK thinks they've waited long enough.
The pharmacies/drugstores are not actually on strike: you can still go there and have your prescription filled. Only, if you are insured with the government SVB you have to pay for the medicine, cash. The apothecaries are dissatisfied with the arrangements of the new ziektekosten health insurance and hope to force the government to come to a deal, fast.
The deal is since 2001 that the botikas got 7 guilders per prescription which they say does not cover their costs. But now this has been lowered by 30 to 50%. Other sources say that for other government insurances, like the free PP-card, they were paid 10 tot 14 guilders per recipe, but since February 1 only 7.
Government never consulted the pharmacies, 80% of which are afraid they'll have to close down if the government perseveres.
Pressure Is Off
Sehos hospital two weeks ago proposed to take over the diver decompression tank, or to have the owners move it to their own location. As they got "no clear reply" they have now decided to buy one themselves. Finally. This affair has been schlepping along for years.
Spend Some, Save Some
The government plans to build one facility containing most civil servants, with which they expect to save 7 million guilders/year. Presently, total rent is between 12 and 13 million, not to mention airco. Also, telephone costs because no external lines will be needed for communicating between departments. But this is as good a place as any to mention that many civil servants spend hours per day on the phone, jabbering and yapping; surely not all business conversations.
Burning question: for how many civil servants is this planned? All those "working" for the government now or a more realistic figure?
In government seat of Holland, den Haag/The Hague, such a contraption was referred to as het ambtenarenpaleis [the civil servants' palace].
Water and electricity prices go up about 10% as from today, after ex-PM Shorty lowered them about 5% in April 2011. This because the oil prices supposedly have gone up.
The crude oil price in April 2011 was around $110/barrel; it's now about $96 or 13% lower.
Minister of health Whiteman [hey, what kinda name is that? but let's not get into racial discussions here] has put all discussions on the location for the new hospital on hold. That will certainly speed up the procedures!
Strikes All Over
The workers at the swimming pools have not received their salaries and are on strike. Right on!
Workers at Isla refinery are on strike as well, even obstructing traffic! a deadly sin; because they want to get their lump sum of 1600 guilders—I'm not blaming them, would like to get that myself.
Water and electricity tariffs are going up, so what else is new.
They Won't Like That
The pension age must be pulled up from 60 to 65 years, says Cft financial supervision. Obviously.
Times Have Changed
Just a well-meant word of advise to old, good old! Amigoe newspaper: most of their articles are behind a pay-wall these days. Times have changed, "information should be free"; hey you guys, find another way to get paid or you're gonna die.
Same, even more so, for Antilliaans Dagblad and others, some of whom don't even couldn't be bothered to have a web edition.
An Old, Old Song
VBC [entrepreneurs' club] warns that the higher sales tax will not necessarily result in higher government income. It's an often-quoted factoid that while you can apply the thumbscrews more, it will only result in more evasion in one way or the other. Come right down do it, everybody can afford just so much taxes and that's the fornicating limit. No matter what the daft dictator thinks he thinks.
VBC would rather have the government lower their expenses. Hear, hear. Hah, hah! Dream on, business-like grown-ups.
New Airport Facility
InselAir will build a new hangar on Hato airport, not only to accommodate their growing fleet but, more importantly, to enable them to improve their maintenance. In the future, aircraft can get their major servicing not only in the USA or Colombia but also here. This may attract a lot of Caribbean companies as it would be the only facility in the Caribbean.
Isla refinery is stinking it up again. Smoc informs us 203.5µgram of H2S/m3 of air has been measured. This stuff, hydrogen sulfide, in lower concentrations stinks like rotten eggs and is an awful nuisance. Smoc's Peter van Leeuwen tells us it isn't actually dangerous, but the H2S Safety Factsheet informs us differently: at these concentrations it can result in "severe respiratory tract irritation, eye irritation/acute conjunctivitis, shock, convulsions, coma and, in severe cases, even death."
But Peter informs us we're a factor off (was afraid of that, getting 203.5µgram3translated into ppms gets awfully confusing, fast.
That Took Some Time!
Minister of traffic Balborda announced that yesterday, a start was made with repairing the roads. About time too, they've been in a ruinous state since 2011. These are just "temporary measures" he says; like dumping loose sand in a bottomless pit?
Anyhow, the guy is just bragging. Temporary repairs like this went on even under Mudbelly Cooper's "leadership".
That's over 2013. The USA dept of finance or whatever considers 2% "ideal"—don't ask me why. In practice it means that the government has stolen that amount from the citizens. So maybe for the government it's ideal.
Wouldn't 3.2%, then, be even more ideal? But maybe I'm too idealistic.
One Can See That
The Isla management complained that it's all very good and well, possibly and quite probably even fine, but you really can't just discharge all commissioners and managers without providing new ones, as the interim government has done. PM Hodge agreed and will look for replacements, but has no candidates as yet.
Bank's Troubled Turmoils
Ultimo Notisia newspaper published yesterday that Central Bank director Tromp had agreed to go if he got a golden handshake of 6 million guilders. Tromp, who stubbornly kept on while ex-PM Shorty was leaving no avenue unturned nor stone unexplored to get rid of him, for now clams up.
Turns out that the investigation into the bank's management functioning, which it was insinuated Tromp was frustrating, has actually been pushed for by him; it's the commissioners, appointed during Shorty's reign [a well-fitting word], who refuse to take part in such an investigation.
Bouncing the New Hospital Back and Forth
Daft dictator PS Wiels has thought of yet another location for the new hospital (that's number 4 as far as I know)—with less than seven weeks to go before a decision is promised.
That Had Effect
CPA has decided not to buy ex-minister of theft Imalootin's building for 3 million guilders, "because of media pressure".
Thickening The Stew, Boiling The Pot
WOM denies all allegations that they messed up the waste management of Isla refinery. They claim there never was a problem but suddenly their contract was terminated without reason and taken over by Scaltech. WOM also denies family ties with Curoil's mr. Capella, and states that the oil spill referred to occurred after WOM's activities ended.
Hard to make up your mind about this, especially with WOM claiming that Schaltec is in court because it's accused of mismanagement. Somebody is lying here, that's for sure.
A year ago 22mW worth of generators leased by Aqualectra electrical utility were sent back by order of then-PM Shorty. Now, they're back again! Turns out, maintenance of Aqualectra's boilers has been so bad that they just cannot be trusted. Since then, many members of the Aqualectra management have been fired, included one van der Dijs. (Note: present minister Martina has been managing director of Aqualectra as well.)
In a special session the cabinet has approved a 150m guilders loan to buy those generators. Oh. Interestingly, Aqualectra claims that production costs with those things will be 31 cents/kW: an insanely high figure compared with consumer cost in the USA. Aqualectra expects 50 million less a year on gas costs with the new generators.
Question remains, why did Shorty have those things sent back? Maybe he was jealous because he hadn't got his cut? Answer seems to be, at that time BOO was supposed to come back in production, which it didn't. Next question: why not wait until BOO had started delivering?
Aqualectra claims their wind generators produce at a price of 22 cents/kW. That really contradicts all I know about the subject. I wish they showed us a spreadsheet?
More Isla Trouble Brewing
In 1997 Texas Scaltech Int'l built a Solid Waste Management System for Isla refinery, operating it for 5 years. From 2003 to 2011 Waste Oil Management took over. Rather interestingly, WOM is owned by family members of former Curoil managing director Gensley Capella; I'm sure that's a mere coïncidence, like so many others. This culminated in a 2010 oil spill polluting beaches and tourist ships, many tourists leaving the island cussin'n'swearin' never to come back.
Isla, after paying damages, recontracted Scaltech to overhaul the SWMS. Alas, they didn't bother to pay and Scaltech is now suing Isla for $2.1 million.
After 10-10-10 the government started renting many buildings they don't even use, in some cases even without an agreement; and there must be many more car leases than the 33 that can be found in the administration. Is what we figured.
The police station on Molenplein, which was completely restored 25 years or less ago, is almost falling apart and the cops refuse to go on working there. Looks like the fate of all government buildings; maintenance is deplorable. And why should they care? We'll jolly well pay for the resulting damage.
Five million guilders worth of government security service contracts have been awarded to ex-minister of theft Imalootin's company by the former Shorty government.
Why Stop There?
The merchants in Willemstad's Punda (where many tourists are supposed to go shopping) propose to stop charging purchase tax. "It's no use to kill the chicken [I guess they mean 'goose'] and try to reanimate it later." Which applies to all of us. And aside from obvious practical difficulties; like, where exactly ends Punda? Are there no tourist shops in Otrabanda?)
Pressure on The Tank
That thing, mostly meant to deliver reckless *$$hole tourist divers from the bends, was not a gift of the Venezuela government. After all, what with Chávez and all, they're even more pressed for money than we are! The guys who "gave" us that tank want their money back (their good right of course, but why... aw, let it go). But Sehos hospital is not prepared to buy it from 'em; they'd rather buy one from, let's say, more trustworthy? sources. So those Venezuelans propose to exploit it at their own "university" WTC location.
I say, let 'em.
CPA port authority has bought a building from Imalootin for 3m guilders and rents it out to the government for ANG38,287 (over U$D21k) a month, which sounds rather high. The usual rate is about 10% of the building's value per year, but this works out at over 1.5 times that amount, 459,444. It is of more than passing interest to note that CPA's president-commissary is Amparo dos Santos, Imalootin's half-brother.
Got this story all wrong the first time. Still stinks.
Now it stinks even more! Commissioner Lasten, also Curoil commissioner, was represented in the meeting by Cicely van der Dijs. Yes, that's Shorty's significant other, related to you-know-whom. All five commissioners plus the director, who accepted a value estimate by the seller only, can be hold responsible. But will they?
There's been a lot of excitement about a robbery of a "fishing boat" which regularly transported gold between (who knows where?) and Curaçao, from where it went on the the USA. Several people have been arrested. But now, it turns out this form of gold transport is a pretty regular thing which the USA doesn't like and ask why our authorities don't start to investigate the customs for an "inside job." Good question. Very good question.
Hey, look! It's a time-honored way of making money for this island.
PAR votes against the new BZV-law (health insurance) as it mainly serves to get the ministers and parliament members covered, while it hits the lowest income group hardest. "They only considered cost and not quality" PAR states while complaining glasses and dental costs are not provided for.
Parliament and cabinet were fully aware that the law contained mistakes; a motion was even voted through to correct these. So why not correct them before accepting the law? Please don't try to reply, it might break your head. Or much worse, mine.
So the games continue? The law was accepted with 1 (one) vote majority.
There We Go Again
The media announce that 35 prison cells don't work because they're "broken" [kapot]. First question may be, so who broke them already—breaking your cell to break out? But nobody gives the much more interesting info: how many cells are there in total?
The Tax Persons are on strike, but don't think you'll get away with not paying on the proper date. They know where to find you when they get back to "work".
Their gripe is, customs people got a raise oh, seven years ago; but their promised pesos never came in.
Brazil blacklists Curaçao as they don't believe we have a good jurisdiction and combat tax evasion sufficiently. Ex sheik of stagnation el Hakim (MFK) visited Brazil several times to remove Curaçao from the black list, but to no avail. Well, would you trust what that guy comes telling you?
A new effort will now be made.
Personnel Costs Limit
Next to the possibility of holding ministers personally responsible for wasted funds, there should be a norm for country personnel costs, proposes judge de Boer. That would stop the inflation of the civil servant corps after every election and leave sufficient money for education, road maintenance etc.
IATA International Air Transport Association, ALTA Latin American en Caribbean Air Transport Association and CAA Curaçao Airline Association have all protested against the recent almost doubling of Hato airport tariffs, which they claim is a setback for tourism. Also the fact that we are still on the degraded FAA list.
But traffic minister Balbora states that 5 million more is needed to correct present conditions, which he proposes to get from the higher passenger tariffs—and the Wegenfonds [road building fund]!
The government is going to make former MFK minister of theft Imalootin pay for his official car, which he only delivered back in December. He'd lost his post since the October opéra Bouffe set in Fort Amsterdam; so okay, there's a semi-legitimate doubt about the exact date.
But no news as yet about all his iPads and guns, and who knows what more.
My personal educated guess is, administration on all those goodies must have been pretty sloppy in the first place. Prejudiced, you say? You may be right, you know. But educatedly prejudiced.
Too Many Civil Servants: Even The Minister Noticed
Minister Jardim said there are far too many civil servants, which is much too expensive for the country, as I've been shouting from this rooftop for years and years. (Everybody knew anyway.) Salary costs 2013: 307m guilders, following years going up to 484m, 491m and 506m. Only after then personnel costs will start "diminishing slightly".
I still maintain that it's much cheaper to send at least of 'em half home (or even better, 75%). We'll be at least saving on airco, rent and computers; not to mention they then won't cause red tape by sitting there "working". And the bribes! The traffic congestion! Shall I go on? Besides, many of them are sitting at home twiddling their thumbs or other appendices anyway, already.
Now Do It
Staten parliament wants to make it possible to hold spendthrift ministers personally responsible for the money wasted; also if possible those in the past. They refer with so many words to the former Shorty cabinet (which makes one wonder: should Imalootin ask the money he must pay back from Shorty, and he in turn from Corallo?)
All parliament members voted for, even MAN and PS—except MFK.
But I have to tell you, back in 2003 the government may have
spentwasted even more money on luxurious goodies like cars; at least they tried to. It's folklore... a tradition.
He Made It
Intrepid astronaut Wubbly Ocko's expensive "sailing yacht" Ecolution has arrived in Aruba. Took him 76 days, which is over 2.5 twice as long than the first Trans-Atlantic steamer Curaçao took. I rest my case, melud. What a farce. Even Columbus's and de Ojeda's carvels made it faster than that: from Aberdeen to Caracas would have taken them 42 days at an average speed of 4 knots. And this guy has the presumption to come over and advise us on energy that's good for us.
After three weeks of sailing, the screws mounted underneath the boat have charged the batteries enough to propel the vessel for two weeks. I really don't know if to laugh or to cry. I tried both, worked out fine. But another news outlet claims that five days of sailing result in a three weeks' worth battery charge, which sounds much better. Oh, I'm sure the guy means well.
Shorty's Lies Exposed
PAIS Rosaria gave a an exposé of former PM MFK Shorty's lies: there was no surplus; promised cheaper fruits never arrived; they did borrow 1.7 billion; and they signed contracts for car and office leases and consultants, many of them for three years, which presently cost Curaçao 1.5 million guilders a month.
But between you and me, don't let it go any further, I have to think mostly our governments (yes, that's even including Shorty's) have been acting more responsibly than what we've seen the last oh, twelve years? in the USA.
Quackie Constancia, ex MFK minister of malady (and by the way formerly a member of FOØl as cousin of Godett—talk about political inbreeding), gave outfit ZenCity permission to operate; the permit was so broad that it's not even clear if this was for elderly care or nursing. The inspector of health requests the new minister to withdraw the permit.
Computers turn out to be considered one of the "luxury goods" for which the sales tax will be raised from 6% to 9%. Where do those guys live (best guess is under a flat stone): computers on a par with jewelry and perfumes? Of course there are protesters who now want to get rid of the 6% for computers. After all, there's no import duty on them either as far as I know.
Nice Try—Too Late
After the government told all government-owned companies to hold all major decisions, not a day went by before Curaçao Port Authority announced a major contract with Dutch company Nederex for tug repair. CPA director dos Santos, who represents Wiels's PS party in the CAP supervisory board, commented on Whirlie-Wheels: "That man just screams and rants. He has no inkling of business and economy. He's bonkers." Just what I figured.
And UTS telecommunications one day earlier announced borrowing 100 million guilders to invest in new technology.
Freshly installed PM Hodge has held a discourse to present the new budget. A lot of plans there, sounds good. We'll see. He said that Curaçao is in an acute situation and "everybody will have to take his responsibility." Always excepting the civil servants.
He presents quite a list of good intentions, all with no money and in six months? Good luck.
Measures and policy intentions of government-Hodge Within two months clarity on new hospital construction
Project for nation building
Government gets its own TV channel (84 in TDS) for training people
Assessment of functioning of civil service
In the short term, making the Curacao Economic Development Board operational
In the short term startup Permit Counter for business projects
More police in the neighborhoods
Establish National Development plan together with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)
Initiatives to strengthen small and medium enterprises
Presentation policy for port development, tourism and sustainable economic development
VSBO higher education is to become more practical
Restart Sentro Pro Arte theater
Research on drug expenditure in medical sector
Increase retirement age
A Fine System! Don't Change a Thing!
Ex PM Shorty threatens to leave politics if the electoral system isn't changed. Well, let him, and good riddance, too.
Or maybe, media outlets tell different stories, his MFK party will not participate in more elections. Same good result! His complaint is that there's no guarantee that people who are elected will end up in the government.
veggies"> Sales Tax
Seems that, despite all promises that it would be stopped, the new omzetbelasting sales tax, while being raised from 6% to 8% or more, still is cumulative: every single time a product or service is sold in the chain importer-agent-supermarket, OB must be paid. How great and satisfied those poor people must then feel that they will not have to pay OB on fresh fruits and veggies! As if they could afford them anyway; canned vegetables are much cheaper and, judging from what I often see withering in the supermarket bins, probably healthier.
Announcements of plans at a time like this
are seen as empty promises in an attempt to gain votes.
"I wish there was an election twice a week."
Otzma LeYisrael Party
Maybe Because There Wasn't Any
MFK asked minister Martina what happened to the 270 million guilders for economic development that were included in "their" budget, as the post has disappeared. Answer may be, it did disappear as the guilders weren't there in the first place.
A published photograph showing the opening of the new Sambil shopping center contains ex MFK sheikh of stagnation el Hakim, ex MFK MP Shorty—and new minister Martina. Hmmm. Shouldn't wonder if he was an accessory before the fact.
Sure! We Noticed
The only Caribbean airport more expensive than Curaçao's Hato is that of Santo Domingo.
This while we don't even make the FAA grade.
Don't Give In!
And why should they? We all know who's gonna pay for their entitlements... We... Us... excuse my grammar, having other pressing worries. The civil servants hold on to some 2010 accord promising they wouldn't have to retrogress on anything until 2015. So the government must look for other ways to save some money. HINT: take it out of the pockets of the decent people who actually work for a living.
Really social critters, those civil servants.
Make a long story short, they're getting exactly what they want. Expectedly.
We're told PM Dodge (that name is just asking for puns) may rehire van Rijn, Shorty's moll. And why not? Nothing else has changed until now, might as well keep her on.
Daft, Dumb and Discriminatory... Stinks of Wiels
The former Shorty Cabinet has accepted a law that everybody born and raised in Curaçao can start any enterprise he feels like at any location he wants to. So if some cool cat starts a noisy night club with
prostitutionescort service next to your home, that's that. Nothing you can do about it.
So they did accept new laws after all! Blow me down.
Of course, I can't help wondering if this applies to me. Like many others, I spent several years in Holland. But what probably counts is, I'm white (or at least dirty pink)—a honky or cracker. If you know
bettereven more derogative terms, please let me know.
Just mentioning in passing
we paid over three times as much here
Time to pay the car tax; not that it's used to fix the roads. Means going to the tax office and stand in a long, long line; can take hours. Why not pay by bank? you ask. Good question! The answer is not-so-good:
You have to show your old registry card, your vehicle test card and your insurance card. This supposedly serves to prevent people driving around in untested cars or without insurance. But time and time again it turns out there are plenty of those anyway. How can this be? Easy: the usual corruption. You pay somebody a slight amount extra and she'll fix it for you.
Maybe that's why the "system" is not computerized; all those civil servants would miss out on their bribes. And then, who cares for the civilians' discomfort?
Oh yeah, the sticker you have to apply to your windshield this your is round, not rectangular. More waste, you understand? They really don't get it.
Bad News for Chávez
Not that he needs any... he's beyond caring, tue troo. But USA oil imports, Venezuela's (and by extension Isla refinery's) biggest market, are expected to reach the lowest level of 25 years in 2014. By 2020, oil imports may drop to zerø, because of fracking, natural gas and less use. Put that in your funnels and smoke it.
After eight years of study, Brazilian "scientists" have discovered that when it rains more, more dengue follows. Small wonder: more rain results in more mosquitos to spread the sickness. Mosquitos breed in standing water, you know. Little doubt them science wizs know even better.
You can't help wondering how much this highly valuable research has cost. They might just have asked a manufacturer of mosquito coils: after it rains, presto—sales go up!
Isla Refinery is either still working on the start-up (about which we hear precious little) or the upgrade didn't work out very well: according to SMOC they have exceeded the WHO norm of SO2 pollution 45 times in one week. May be some kind of record!
That upgrade has now taken forty weeks, and counting.
MP Hodge promises, promises that next six months we'll get a definite reply. Why not meanwhile enforce existing laws?
That's Real Chutzpah!
You have to give him a grudging plus for that. Mafioso Corallo, Shorty's padrino, is asking the state of the Netherlands to apologize for claiming he is just that, a mafioso. He's going to court but until now, the Netherlands don't bother much and say they have only been quoting Italian authorities.
Next, he'll be suing me! That would be the day.
That's a Relief!
The legal experts judge that the governor took the right decision by interfering in the opéra bouffe coup d'état of last November. Nice to know that for once they ran reason legally and still agree with an agreeable conclusion. The thick skin is still on my nose.
Tourism And Sales Tax
Dutch tourism, the main market section, has gone down with 15% in November and is now just above Venezuela. No total tourist statistics over 2012 yet (for what they're worth).
And the tourist shops complain that with the 9% sales tax they can't compete with the tax-free places which are all over: airport, cruise terminal, hotels... I do smell a contradiction there.
Luxury goods: jewelry, perfumes and electronics.
On The Edge
New PM Hodge says we're on the edge of great new developments, and of course these are positive. Our expectations are a bit less: he also says the press is quite entitled to be critical (as if they'd dare) but it has to be "constructive" criticism.
But that's the press's prerogative to decide, Hodge. They can be as destructive as they want... it's the law. Tough.
Some Measures (Yes, Fear and Tremble)
More efficiency in the uncivil servants corpse (let's fire at least half); adapting general old age pension AOV and public health insurance. So far so good. Then, property taxes will go up. That's not so bad; at least, it could be worse. The rich guys and the €uropeans who have a million guilders or well over "second home" here will pay 0.6% while we poor suckers hack up a mere .4. At least, that's what I understand from the media who claim we are all paying 35% now. I'd have gone broke long since if that was correct; probably .35% is meant.
All subsidies go down, except for the Tourist Bureau; theirs is going up with about 3%.
Wish I Had One!
Sure could come in handy. After an assault the police during a house search found an Uzi with ammo. The Uzi looks in rather wasted condition: I wouldn't have made the week-end train home if on inspection mine had looked like that; but then, I had a Garand and a Browning, both much harder to maintain, believe me. Point is, no matter what you think about the presently going on discussions in the USA, here it's only the crooks who have the guns. Plus cops, yeah. A fat lot of good.
More Patriotic than Parliament
As the higher sales tax of 9% for "luxury goods" will only be collected from March, some merchants have started charging it already. Must be real patriots!
Of Course He Did
Notwithstanding ex-MFK PM Shorty's outraged protests that his government did not accept a 1.7 billion guilders ($1m) loan from Holland, it turns out he jolly well did. While PAR had arranged for it, Shorty signed for it—and could not borrow any more because Cft financial supervision did not allow it.
Budget Education Down, Crime Up
This is a trend that has been continuing for several years: the new budget again shows 13 million guilders less for education, with religious schools already having problems with finances. Not to mention the name public schools.
Not even to think of the promised "free education". Remember how PS Wiels, the Daft Dictator said "I always keep my promises?"
Meanwhile, the island experiences a wave of atrakos [assaults] complete with murders,and the minister of justice promises ruling with an iron hand. We'll see about that.
The union of medical specialist agrees with the hospital management that the best solution is to start building and renovating on the present location. There's 160 million guilders for it on the 2013 country budget.
DAE Is in Trouble
Aren't we all? But DAE Airline, taken over by Ramiz, now has a fleet of three MD-8Ns and three Fokker F100 aircraft—and also debts of 45m guilders ($20m). Ramiz, who blames among others MFK sheik of stagnation el Hakim for the problems, also points out that they now have 31 daily flights versus 8 a year ago, and that more aircraft are coming. With more passengers their income has been doubled, even though DAE now offers two tickets for the price of one (much to the chagrin of arch-competitor InselAir).
They Lost It
The letter with which PAR-chief de Jongh-Elhage resigned from Staten parliament has been lost in the bureaucratic maze, so her successor can't replace her.
Daft Dictator Accuses Monkee
What can you think? PS Wiels now accuses "his" ex-minister Monkee, he of the Free Education, that he's a liar, a guy who tried to steal from The People; and all that to favor his secret MFK [Shorty] friends!
May all be correct and true—if only Wiels had come out with that most interesting info before last elections. Another of those real confidence builders; please spare us from more. Coming from the very guy who keeps
screaminginsisting all "his" people are kosher.
Cabinet Steams Ahead
The coalition partners have approved the budget. Old Age pension will go up, there will be a new national health insurance, medical costs must go down. Also OB sales tax will go up for luxury and "unhealthy" products; which last item is worrisome.
So many fads: sugar, soft drinks and salt, hamburgers and pizzas are supposed to be unhealthy, but (like the supposed global warming) that's not so sure at all. Slight overweight results in longer lives, which the insurance companies knew about since way back when, but officially obesity is the main health problem. I doubt it.
Those "ecologically friendly" wind generators are in reality big killers of birds and bats. Especially here where they're built on the North coast, where every autumn large flocks of migratory birds arrive, often so exhausted that they come down immediately for a rest, panting for breath. They don't stand a chance against those blades turning at 400km/hr.
But nobody seems to care.
Nurses "most trusted", Politicians Not So Much
A recent Gallup Poll in which participants were asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of various professions found that nurses have the most "very high" or "high " ratings (85%), followed by pharmacists (75%), medical doctors (70%), dentists (62%), psychiatrists (41%), and chiropractors (38%). Journalists (38%), lawyers (19%), and members of Congress (10%), were among the lowest. [Congress retains low honesty rating. Gallup Politics Web site, Dec 3, 2012]
How strange! Can you understand that?
from Quackwatch 2013-01-06
Newspaper Ultimo Noticia writes that according to FOØL Godett, two of the ministers in the new
Wiels'sPS cabinet can never have passed the screening.
While the government intends to raise car taxes, the Wegenfonds [road fund] will be cut from 33m to ~1.5m. But what are car taxes for, you ask?
Rightwrong—the money will be used by the government for other purposes they like better.
Corallo Not Wanted
Mafioso-boss Corallo, alleged to be ex-PM Shorty's padrino, does no longer appear on Interpol's "wanted" list, which means he can travel freely without risking being arrested and extradited to Italy. For us, it makes little difference: Shorty's gone (for now at least) and we didn't want Corallo anyway.
No Law Change for Minister
De gevolmachtigd [plenipotentiary] minister representing our government in the Hague is not a minister at all, just a civil servant. So the law that he should be living here does not need changing—which makes one wonder why Camelia thought otherwise. Hey, the guy's supposed to be a legal expert!
Another matter is that Pieters, the man for the function, seems to have represented himself as a drs. [PhD] while he was no such thing. May just be rumors, but would just be in tradition anyway.
A few days ago, a man turning tricks on his quad hit a wall and died of head injuries. He wasn't wearing a helmet. This while November first, Staten parliament accepted a law making helmets obligatory; only, what with one thing (like the farcical coup d'état opéra bouffe) and several others, it has not yet been published and thus has no force of law.
Quite another matter is if the man would have worn a helmet if the law had worked; you encounter lots of motorcyclists who don't bother to wear theirs.
Isla Upgrade? Don't Count on It
There we go: PS Wiels says it's important to extend PdVSA's contract with Isla refinery. If only Venezuela would invest 1.5 billion Yankee Dollars, they may continue business as usual for 25 more years.
Wiels is still considering suing Shell for alleged "damages". Forget it. Sure, one has cause to wonder if Wiels can read
Englishat all, but can't one of his flunkies please inform him of the hard facts? Then, PdVSA just does not have that sort of money to invest. Can't any of Wiels's goons inform him of that hard reality? As if he would listen, right you are.
And finally, can't Wiels recede to his radio show and let "his" government do the work?
Worse Than Superfluous
Formateur Camelia complains that his job entailed both political deliberations and screening responsibilities. These should be separated.
But they are separated! As long as the formateur keeps to his job: deliberating politically and leaving the screening to the responsible body, it's hard to see a problem. Of course, when the formateur wants to influence the screening, you do have a problem. Several problems.
From when we started out this page has steadily been growing and growing—mostly, that is. 2003/15.2KB - 2004/59.9 - 2005/73.1 - 2006/182 - 2007/268 - 2008/239 - 2009/118 - 2010/199 - 2011/300 - 2012/643, a real whopper.
Years when the total actually went down, bold. Mark that these correspond with the last PAR-PNP government, a mere coïncidence? But as from 10-10-10 the clownish acts just grew out of all proportions.
Let us hope those farcical funsters give me less work this year.
Ex DP deputy George writes on FaceBook that any new government all over the world deserves the benefit of the doubt for the first 100 days. Fair enough, but obvious missteps we don't have to oversee. And how about... but no need to mention more historical instances of palpable failures from the very start: just look at Egypt. On the other hand, look at what Betrian's DIM cabinet accomplished in a few short months.
E. Gumbs comments George is over-generous, as by then they will have sat out more than half of their term of six months.
Just can't resist quoting one of the media reporting on an earthquake's "epic center" [episch centrum] 33kms away from here.
They fixed it later, maybe they follow the Clowns. Be our guest.
The raise in airport tax will be used to finance what needs to be done for upgrading Curaçao's FAA-status. Not becoming at all. Raad van Advies [advise council] wants the government to explain thoroughly what has been and still must be done and when we'll get the A-1 status back.
The Fat Lady Hasn't Sung Yet
Last August then PM Shorty (MFK) replaced Edsel Gumbs with Römer as head of VCD security. Shorty refused to state the reasons for firing Gumbs in the first place—in September 2011. Gumbs went to court, which has not decided yet. Now there's a rumor that one of the last acts of DIM PM Betrian has been to fire Gumbs (again?!); in which case Gumbs, who hasn't had any notice himself, plans to go to court within 24 hours.
Funnily or sadly enough, next PM PS Hodge mixes up the SI and NO camps, saying that NO was "against the new constitution": in reality the NO-brers MAN, FK and NPA were against the controversial consensus Slotakkoord reached between PAR-PNP government and Holland, and when MFK-PS won the 10-10-10 elections the NO-brers declared victory.
This intellect claims the struggle has come to an end and we are all SI-brers now!
Statements like that are a notorious hallmark of dictatorial democratic régimes: we must all toe the line for the good of the cause (or off with our heads). But you must concede SI sounds much more Positivo!
That's What He Thinks
Formateur Camelia thinks this new cabinet may remain in power for not four but even eight years! And all ministers passed the screening, except the plenipotentiary Man in Den Haag who's no Curaçao resident.
Therefore, the law must be changed. Thinks Camelia.
Even PS Wiels is not so optimistic: he only expects "a lot" of these ministers will continue in the cabinet after the first six months.
Down the Drain
glorious fireworks display
Another year down the drain. Hopefully you'll enjoy the next one. But judging from the meagre fireworks (compared with other years) I saw here, people either have not much money to spend or prefer to hang on to it for grimly barren times ahead.
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