and here they are:
the Clowns
maybe not so funny

Curaçao Island

refreshing your memory:
the conscience many political clowns lack

selection of acts in Curaçao's political circus, starting with the most recent ones.

the 2015 political circus

[A horse] rivals our politicians in that he has little real intellect.
The Worst Journey in the World— Apsley Cherry-Garrard, p.171

The Curassow bird will aggressively attack predators, flapping and clawing for the eyes.
Lemurkat, NZ

The best government is that which governs least.
— Thomas Jefferson.
Judging from the results, we may have the best government ever!

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

Happy New Year!
We may all need it.
Here's the link to next year but there's nothing there as yet. Gimme a break...

The civil servants' trade unions insist that the wage indexing for this year will be paid out in full. Naturally, hey! But minister van der Horst has another point of view: the indexing should only be paid out if the CBS statistics index is higher than 2%, which it isn't.

Only Natural
Now that oil prices have gone down and it looks like they will stay down, the mad rush for oil exploration is over. Two drilling rigs parked at our coast will now be dismantled. Good riddance.

No Free Lunch
Once again the owners of solar panels are angry because Aqualectra has lowered the "buy-back" tariffs. Look kids, this is only logical. If the price per KW goes down, so of course does the compensation. Grow up, kids. First you want "free" solar energy, then you discover it's not so free after all. Now we have to wait until Aqualectra finds out the same thing about those wind generators.

Figures, Finally
Remember how this year the economy "may" have grown by a measly 0.2%? And a cautious prediction for 2016 is 0.5% growth. Big deal: in 2014 it shrunk by 1.1% so we won't be even before end 2017. If you conveniently forget all the years since 10-10-10 during which the economy shrank like a steak on an overheated grill. And remember, that growth was at the cost of more borrowing by the government and a higher national debt.
Oh, and another thing, cruise ships visits went down this year. Because we have no second megapier yet, obviously!

National Resource
Meant is not Isla, but column writer Donker. He now reports that Curaçao Candle Company, where 52 people had a job, is forced to close because just like that, Isla refinery started charging 10 guilders instead of 1 guilder per kilo for paraffin wax. A substance that they will now have to burn as there is no other market. Just like the gas they sell for cooking, I've always suspected.

Stay Positive!
That's the gist of the governor's end-of-year pep talk. When did I hear that one before?

Somebody Noticed! Por Fin
We knew it all the time. KLM's manipulations to get away from Curaçao and move to Bonaire instead, helped by a corrupt island government have now been exposed. That is to say, more or less.
The "less part" we already touched upon as well: KLM knew damn well that with the next generation of 747s and up they wouldn't have any need any more of Bonaire as a stop on their Latin-American routes. Of course the clammed up about that little matter! So Bonaire is now stuck with a white elephant airport—just like Newfoundland's Gander when prop aircraft were superseded by jets.
You can read the sorry story here.

We Don't Need That
Mr. Casimiri, parting director of Green Town, has written a final message that chances are good that we will get a new refinery "far" outside of Willemstad, processing ultra-light Brent crude. Where? "Far" can only mean at Bullenbaai, less than 5kms removed from the nearest tentacle of Willemstad near Grote Berg.
And then, of course, Green Town will get a chance. Tourism will more than double (again? Help!)... tens of thousands of jobs... population will grow to 250,000... After Isla's filth has been cleaned up, of course. Now there's one more rub.
Some fanatics would take exception to my use of Dutch place names. Let 'em eat cake. These are used on Google Maps.

Good News?
The economies of Curaçao (and St. Maarten) "may have" shown a small growing trend in 2015. Small is le mot juste: 0.2%. Even the much-touted investment in our new hospital, that was promised to do wonders, couldn't change that.
That's like 1 guilder may now be worth 1.02. Aren't you happy? This after three years of shrinking negative growth (last year 1.1%). Merry Christmas!

But Maybe Not
Predictions of crude oil prices, so important for Venezuela and Isla refinery, are that demand will keep falling until 2020, when the price will be $80/barrel (which as far as I know is not enough for PdVSA to earn money). Still, a year ago that same OPEC predicted a price of $110 and look what happened next.

After the Sheikh's Money
The Girobank definitely is after ex-sinister sheikh El Hakim, no matter what he says, for money he owns them; about ANG600K (USD330K).

Hurrah! If and When
Environmental police (milieupolitie) wants to introduce a piketdienst [call service] for sound nuisance. They have their jobs cut out for 'em. Alas, it's just an intention. It's not known when this will start. If you want a cynical skeptic's idea, not before carnaval is over and done with.

Will That Work?
Aruba government has signed an agreement with CITGO to take over the Lago refinery. Double hmm. Citgo still has to work it out with the present owners, Valero. As CITGO for all practical purposes is a USA branch of PdVSA, one is entitled to have one's doubts if this will ever come off the ground.

DOK Doohickeys
Minister Rhuggenaath has palavered with Damen Shipyards of Holland about the future of Curaçao Dok Maatschappij. Meetings had been started in 2009, but petered out in 2010, for reasons we never got to know. Since then, CDM/Dok's situation has deteriorated with especially the floating dock in a sorry state. Damen is said to be interested in shipping a floating dock over. Curaçao Port Authority is all for getting Dok back on its feet, as who wouldn't be.
We need a project team with government and Damen reps to discuss all this. Gee, I wonder how much we're gonna pay those members.

Wait for the Rumble
Venezuela president Maduro has lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court against 22 of the seats which the opposition won in last elections. As long as that's pending, presumably they can't be sworn in as parliament members on January 5.
The opposition won 112 out of 167 seats, which gave them a 2/3rds majority. Take 22 away, that would leave 'em with only 90 seats. Still a majority, but not enough to force a referendum or (don't make my mouth water) moving to remove Maduro.
What seems sure is, the opposition won't take it lying down. Such nice neighbors we have!

That Won't Fly
Minister Römer states that AVA Airlines' permit applications were supported by documents that forensic reports claim were falsified. The permit application has been rejected, but AVA says they'll try again in January.
Worse for AVA maybe, a judicial investigation has started to look into those allegedly falsified documents. Römer lodged a complaint for alleged fraud.

That's Bad?
Last year, the government has only been able to fill 14% of vacant posts; in 2014 that was 25%. They seem to think that's a bad thing. As most of us think there are too many civil servants around, we beg to differ.

Nothing New
TUI will offer "seats only" flights from Europe to, among other destinations, Curaçao; which would result in lower tariffs. Makes me wonder, because I've never bought other than tickets like that.

What's the Use?
New pollution measuring devices, from the GGD Amsterdam municipal health service, will be installed early next year. That would be good news, if only anybody could definitely prove that the measured pollution is in fact caused by Isla refinery. Time and time again, Isla manages to have court accept that's doubtful.

No Way
A quarter of the Bonaire people would prefer to go back to being part of the Netherlands Antilles.

Yes, But...
The Atrako prevention team announces great success. The number of assaults went down from 1094 in 2004 to 442 in 2008. Yes, but it started going up again from 2012.
Making the cops more professional didn't succeed. Management has hardly improved, housing improvement has been delayed and trade unions did not agree with reorganization, in spite of a great number of projects and a sizable sum spent on all that. [How much?]

Keep It Simple
The guest tax will be replaced by sales tax, 7%.

Our Business Partners
Three more PdVSA top men have been arrested in the USA, for money laundering.

Godziño or Niñito?
Really, I couldn't say. First they tell us it will be a record el Niño this year; then we hear it's all wrong; then we're told it's a record anyway; and now we can read again that it fizzled out. Take your pick. Hey, if they can't even agree on what it is, why even mind their prognoses?
The reason why they were predicting a heavy one is, that would result in 2015 being the warmest year ever (at least, after the Middle Ages). Another one! Yawn. And then we see graphs showing that the average temperature has remained the same for almost 20 years now. All this while atmosphere CO2 content has actually gone down during the last year.
What I also mean to say, CO2 output of the refinery per se is no reason to shut it down. You may feel guilty because so few of us produce so much, but it's the same as driving an electric car to save pollution, while its power is necessarily produced by burning fossil fuels. Or nuclear, much to be preferred.
Which is no reason not to stop Isla pollution!

What to Think?
That Paris circus (don't think Curaçao holds a patent on the title) on climate control was sad and funny. Now we read that during the past 37 years earth's temperature has gone up 0,4°C (satellite microwave measurements). If that trend holds, total global warming for 100 years would be 1.1°. That's well below the 2° limit the Paris summit was all about to achieve—and did not. "What Me Worry?" just about sums it up nicely.
It does no harm to point to the often-obscured fact that the Green movement started with the Nazis. Many of them were vegetarians as well; another thing we supposedly could save the earth with. They were all for "organic agriculture" too.

Gas Price
Average price per gallon in the USA now is $2 or ANG0.95/liter. We pay 1.43, just about 1.5 times that much. A barrel of crude now goes for $35.37.
Weirdly, soothsayers fear this is bad for the economy, while at every "oil crisis" they were sobbing how bad this was. Go figure; I wouldn't know. Maybe, perhaps, they don't either.
How about buying a nice fat muscular power car now? With a serviceable back seat, just like the good old times.
And the latest is, the price for Venezuelan crude dived to below $30/barrel. WOW!

More Later
Ex-minister of injustice Imalootin has been arrested for mishandeling en vrijheidsberoving, assault and deprivation of liberty. Well well well. Tune in later.
Update: This is not on old accounts, but a new incident concerning his partner.
Would his lawyer be the same as Robbie's and Shorty's? Then Peterson is getting busy. Good for business. Imalootin was released after a couple of days.

She Meant Well
So do I when I call minister Römer a hopeless nitwit. So sue me... But the illegal building activities at St. Jorisbaai must be pardoned, because, Römer says, the owner meant well. She just didn't know she couldn't do that.
That's not a lawful excuse by law in any sense. Just about the first sentence in our constitution is: Iedere Nederlander wordt verondersteld de wet te kennen: Every Dutch citizen is supposed to know the law. I could deal in drugs, trade in women slaves, carry arms and slander Römer (there's a thought!) to my heart's content and say "Oh, is that illegal? Sorreee!" Not so.
Römer happens to be a lawyer, no planning expertise at all. Shame on her.

So Why Squirm And Not Enforce?
High Court has contributed an irrevocable judgment stating that those laws which supposedly went out of business per 10-10-10, that joyous date, did not do so. But minister Ribeiro says that "doesn't count for all of them." Is not at all what the high court says; but then, Ribeiro is no professional; just a mere politician. No offense.

Downright Disastrous
C***-Post is getting worse and worse. Especially this month. Just got an email "please let us know if there's anything wrong with our shipment"—when I replied "haven't got it yet" their incredulous come-back was "WHAT?"
Don't know if Maduro-Curiels's Bank still sends out those agendas, but I haven't had one for years. No doubt they were ripped off. Oh, so sorry: "miss laid".
Worst of course is when the Tax Person sends you one. It never arrives, and you're to blame. Pay fines, too late to protest, etcetera.
With eBay it's not so bad; they'll just reship. Didn't use to be so but they cleaned up their act.

How Will This End?
Discussion has started in Staten-parliament on the new pension arrangements for civil servants. Criticism is heavy, and it looks pretty often reasonable. No doubt we'll hear more. What I don't get is that they approved next year's budget first and only now start this discussion. Seems to me of some importance.
Update: Parliament adopted the proposals without further ado. What's the use?

The Name of the Game!
Lottery Boss Robbie dos Santos was not satisfied with the plain and well-known fact that the lottery always wins. He printed and sold extra tickets that were guaranteed not to win. But that's just one item on a long list of 16 items he's charged with, with on top money laundering and tax evasion.
The prosecution wants to hear 14 more witnesses; pre-trial December 22.
Robbie also owned gun(s)! Oooh... Bad Boy. His lawyer is Peterson, who else? Our best of luck, Robbie!

Wimpiri Time
Minuscule flies, real pests trying to enter your mouth, nostrils and eyes, are around again. The rainy season, this year hardly worth while, was still good enough for them.
The only thing that gives short-term relief is having a tobacco-smoker around. They are getting rarer and rarer, though.

Climate of Fear
While Isla's Gijsbertha denies there was a complaint by the Juan Pabloschool, shut down because pupils and teachers went sick because of the refinery stench, the school denies they have complained as well. They shut up (their mouths) and shut up (the school). Amigoe newspaper surmises they're afraid of retaliation by the refinery.
The school did send the parents a note explaining why they had closed, but now denies that. Nobody has turned up who even dares show that note.

Here Comes More Crude
With the lifting of the US oil export ban, we can look forward to even more crude glutting the market. American shale oil producers may feel the pinch of low prices but will do everything to sell their oil—cheap.

Of Course It Is
The registration of atrakos [assaults] is in "indescribable shambles". In 2013, 62% of complaints could not be found in the register. Justice minister Navarro's statement that the number of assaults is going down, be it ever so little, is highly doubtable. Corrected 2014 number is 624 assaults, against 2015 (as yet uncorrected) 655; 5% more.
Yes, that gun action last year that left only criminals with weapons really was a success. It's looking more and more like taking guns away from the people paradoxically leads to more crime, not less. But there's a powerful superstition that it's the other way around; and as usual with superstitions, believers just don't want to look at the facts.

It's a Habit
We're getting used to it: once again the terrain where impounded vehicles are kept has been raided by five guys who made their getaway with five scooters. One of them was stopped later by the cops.

Back to Borrowing
Curaçao will borrow 35 million more to fix schools, roads and tax automation. They can get a deal at very low interest (would be telling how low, of course). Also, parliament approved next year's budget.

Don't We Know It
Cft financial supervision warns that building costs of that new hospital "may" go up still farther.

Schools Shut: Stinking Stench
The Juan Pablo school in Buena Vista closed down yesterday to save the pupils from inhaling the Isla refinery's super-stench. It was so bad, some pupils and teachers had to vomit. But Isla's Gijsbertha declared they had not received any complaints.

Colonialism New Style
No, not meant that the bahstids are trying to trample us down by paying too low wages and getting the products cheap, then selling them with a fat profit. We don't produce so much it'd be worth while, anyway.
But what's going on is that European Dutch, not natives, are coming over in droves, attracted by welcome mats laid down by the government. With pockets full of €'s they build big houses on choice locations, resulting in the value of everything around going up, which is very bad for people who have a lower income and live there in their own modest abodes. Inevitably, taxes go up as those properties' values go up.
That supermarket prices keep going up, even while the € value is going down, is another consequence. Those makambanan (still) have plenty of money, plenty and little do they care.
Can't blame the honkies, of course; who wants to stick around in Holland with all those refugees coming in?
Another complaint is, many don't wish to learn Papiamentu. A point or not, for some reason people accept that from English and Spanish speakers, but not from the Dutch. Besides, the same complaint is often made about our natives moving to Holland.

That's a Lot of Fines
If they collect those, the spoiled brats can get their X-mas bonus! One in three houses has a mosquito breeding place on its premises. Figuring 1 house per 4 inhabitants, that would be over 35,000 houses. Each good for a 250 guilders fine, total 8,750,000. Cool! Expressed another way, that's worth 875 sprayings all over the island.
Granted there are probably less houses, but the way I figure, commercial buildings breed as many mosquitos.

The End of The Affair
CTEX has now been granted surséance van betaling, say, chapter 11 bankruptcy. It's the Arubian ATB that took care of the deathblow, for 30 million guilders not counting costs and interest. UTS had earlier taken over an equal amount of debts with a 60% discount, all to no avail.
So there it goes down the drain. Pay up, you and me, one way or the other. Did I hear "megalomania"?
Yes, I stole that title.

No More Rubbish
Finally, it's illegal (again) to just dump your trash wherever you like. Also, you may no longer park a car by the roadside with a "For Sale" sign on it. Hey, maybe they reinstalled all those other stipulations as well!

Down? Not So Much
PIAS minister of justice Navarro can't make up his mind. He says criminality has remained the same, then that it went down. But he's right: the decrease is not worth talking about, in spite of last year's great gun gathering. For some reason, all data are listed in a report Verkeersontwikkeling 2015 [traffic development]. Atrakos [assaults] went down from 685 to 655, almost 5%. The media did not list the old number of burglaries, but this year there were 735. All premature; the year's not over yet.

Ah... So Desu
What the Japanese say, translated as "Is dattu so... Very interesting." In Holland, there are 2% dropouts; here, 36%. Saka bo som.
If it's true and correct, because nobody really knows. Minister Dick clams up—if she know's, there's that.

That Should Be Easy
PS Cijntje hopes new development minister Rhuggenaath will have more succes than Palm, his roaming globe-trotting predecessor. Many projects that were expected to stimulate the economy during the last 5 years were never implemented; during 4 of which Cijntje's own party formed part of the government.
Cijntje also blames EOP [island development plan] but as far as I can see, that has just about no influence on anything. When somebody wants an exemption, they get it. And if they don't, they go ahead and do it anyway.

Not So Free with Fees
The government has not paid out the money to schools for "free education". Should have done so in October. So the schools can't pay for books and other stuff; which is extra awkward because by now several books have been sold out.

Good for Bijkerk
But bad for Shorty, who started proceedings against lawyer Bijkerk because he had the temerity, the incredible chutzpah, to suspect him of fraud and money laundering—just like the public prosecutor. He also suspected Shorty of being involved with Wiels's murder; but as Bijkerk had based this on Shorty's own lawyers' statements the Supervisory Council sent Shorty away with a flea in his ear. Bijkerk has the right to suspect Shorty; and by extension, presumably so do we.

Please Tell Us How It Really Is
Only last week, we could read that this year's El Niño after all had not been so strong; now we're told that it was the strongest ever! With all the fights between "Believers" and "Sceptics" of global warming oops climate change oops climate sensitivity (is that the latest? New names keep popping up, why?) Who knows what to think of all this? But to quote the skeptic's motto "I Doubt It"—all.
You can read satellite-measured temperatures have not gone up for almost 19 years now; sea levels are rising just as much or little as in the past centuries; pole ice is now growing; and atmosphere CO2 has gone down the last two years. You can read opposing claims as well. More often, in fact.

If Then
The new hospital will not be ready in December 2017, as promised after many delays; it will be "in the 2nd quarter" of 2018. I want to bet it will not. Any takers? No... thought not.

Deeper and Deeper
Investigate on and on! It's the Curaçaohuis, abode of Frädlein Wiels: what's been going on there after ombudsman Martijn's report? We all wonder if we'll ever get the real dirt, no matter what PM Whiteman promises.

Oh Yes? Really?
PM Whiteman claims there are sixteen companies interested in participating in Isla refinery's upgrading, as a third partner, for 3.1 billion dollars. With the present oil glut showing no signs of easing up, I'd guess they're more interested in buying storage capacity than in refining.
The refinery and power utilities will switch over to LNG, for which a terminal will be built on Bullenbaai, the Curaçao Oil Terminal. The search now is for an investor who will "finance, build and manage" it. But we've been told before that this plan was ready for completion; now we read, not even the design is ready. That fait is not so much accompli, then.
There should be a new proposition about Isla's renewal five years from now. One slight problem, the present agreement with PdVSA expires before then, in 2019.

Sense and Nonsense
Finance minister Jardim certainly has a point when he says that ex-PM Shorty's yelling about a coup d'état has been bad for the economy; ça va sans dire. And Wiels's murder may have had the same effect. But when he quotes the 2005 murder, on Aruba island, of Natalee Holloway as another cause, I think that's downright risible.
Talking about Holloway, the prosecutor just now arrested two guys who had been arrested as suspects and released a long time ago.

Neither Do I, But—
Justice minister Navarro says "Not one ministry functions optimally." He's so right, but do you feel as well this strong urge to put it rather stronger?

Poor Minister Dick...
Well, she got it coming. Both from the coalition and from the opposition. Nothing is known about the number of dropouts, let alone on plans to reduce that. After Papiamentu was announced as official school language, that was rolled back. First exam requirements were reduced, then that was rolled back to retain equivalence with Dutch diplomas.
In all honesty, it's not all Dick's fault. She has had a veritable caboodle of predecessors, one of which (Wilsoen) is now criticizing her. All members of PS party, too, by the way.

Quite a Cottage Industry
Past week police have raided two places which were full of stripped cars: they get stolen for parts, which comes much cheaper than buying them from the agents.

Bad Luck
Lawyer 'Kokki' Peterson wanted to call up 47 defense witnesses in the court case against ex-PM Shorty and his partner, an enormous number. But one of those cannot be found. Searching for him resulted in many delays, but now finally the judge decided "enough is sufficient" and the Babel case will proceed as planned February 17th. Without that witness.

Now That She Mentions It
Indie MP Leeflang wonders about the 2016 budget. The government receives less money, spends more, and yet has a surplus. How can that be? Others wonder why austerity measures must be taken when there's a surplus; spend the money! I say, go ahead and take them, by all means. Tax relief is promised for 2016 and 2017.

Loan Sharks
PIAS Rosaria wants to stop the loan shark activities. He proposes to limit the maximum interest, as if that would help one bit. Besides, I'm sure that the banks won't like it when their 18% yearly interest on credit cards debts is lowered.

Good Question
PAR MP Konket asked PM Whiteman, "Say, how often has the water in that SDK swimming pool been changed, anyway?"

The new hospital will become even more expensive, and completion will be delayed. We're quite used to that. Also to the fact that nobody can tell us how high costs will become and when the thing will be ready.
Budget has grown from 394 million to 421 guilders, but it looks sure that it will grow even more.

The Vomit Comet Makes Me Puke
Letter-writer da Silva tells us that not one single test flight of the infamous Space Gang rocket ships has succeeded. Ticket price has meanwhile doubled. Flights will only be executed during three months of the year (why?) At least, that's what da Silva claims.

They Found Cash!
PdVSA has paid several tanker owners so they could unload their cargoes. But twelve of 'em are still waiting offshore.

Strict Conditions
Fräudlein Wiels will keep her post in den Haag. But under "strict conditions"—we're not told what these are.

Funny Money
At Hato Airport the parking ticket machines give change in Aruba florins instead of Antillian guilders. Airport management says that's impossible! But it still happens.

Fumbling Bumblers
The merchants in Otrabanda complain, as well they might, that their landlines, maintained by UTS telephone utility, haven't been working for days. Which results in all customers having to pay cash... there go a lots of sales.
UTS "is working on it."

Sounds Good? Maybe
Derby of the ACAA announces that we're well on our way to, finally, get an FAA upgrade in March 2016. For that, we need an independent Aviation board, though, enlarged from 13 to 39 employees. That's 3 times as large as now. Which leads to the one-million-dollar-or-more question: who are gonna pay for that? You and me, of course. Out of regular taxes? Or out of airport tax (which then no doubt will go up—once again)? Nobody's telling, and nobody's asking; as usual.

Hot AVA Air
I admit that, while I always figured AVA Airlines had a point in their struggle to get a license, alarm bells started ringing when Peterson, one of the Three Stooges, turned out to be their lawyer. Now, according to minister Römer at least, several of the documents they have handed in seem to be fraudulent. Uh oh. There flies the license out of the window?

Facts of Life, Brats
Minister van der Horst explains that if nothing's done about the civil servants pensions, coverage will be reduced to 80% ten years from now (115% is the aim). The spoiled brats did not want to discuss this, but finally gave in; well knowing that van der Horst had the power to do it without their consent. An arrangement has now been reached, and five years from now coverage will be 105%. For the sake of transparency, we're not told how high it is now (as usual, the media forgot to inquire).

What a Joke
Representatives of political party MAN have departed to Venezuela as "observers" for the elections. That will make a great impression! President Maduro is sure to watch his step and stop any funny business. Especially as MAN coryfee Cooper has a high position in Isla refinery.

Ain't That Too Bad
Russia, Iran and Saudi-Arabia put down efforts by Venezuela to have OPEC reduce production to raise crude oil prices. Bad news for PdVSA... for Maduro... for Isla? Good news for SMOC?
Meanwhile, Venezuela which reportedly has the largest oil reserves in the world, is forced to buy up "sweet" crude to lighten their heavy product. But as they have no money to pay, that leads to even worse problems.

New Name, Old Problems
BOO utility is now called CRU. Big deal. They still break down with an iron regularity, resulting in black-outs all over.

Guest Tax
Fresh development minister Rhuggenaath wants to get a proposal from CTB tourist board for tourist guest tax. This has been going on for years. Hotels complain the tax is much too high. No surprise there, as it's fixed by Curaçao Tourism Development Foundation, which still exists after CTB tourist board grew from it. Both are run by the government.
Searching for CTDF leads to a brochure "Visions on Curaçao" with Palm still listed as minister and Adriaens as Hato Airport manager. Both have been gone for a while. CTDF seems to have no address, phone number or email. Gee, I wonder how many people have a job there.

Take a (Yellow) Powder
That yellow stuff that escaped in a foul fog recently has been declared by Isa refinery to be sulphur. Sounds bad enough, you say? Well, according to people who say they know, it's worse. It's catcracker-powder which contains poisonous palladium compounds which may be carcinogens.
UPDATE: Isla now claims it was "unburnt gas" mixed with steam. That would be yellow?

There We Go—Again
Uniek Curaçao and Amigu di Tera observed illegal building and bulldozing activities in the Vaersenbaai-Boca Samí saliña. Turned out, it was Isla once again, working on the pipeline connecting Bullenbaai COT oil terminal with the refiner. Says Isla, we have to maintain it to prevent oil leaks. True, but sounds pretty weak: much they care! At any rate, they are supposed to ask for a permit anytime, no matter what.
Then, that saliña is a protected Ramsar wetlands zone. Only marks on paper. Like with the Dolfinarium.
Isla is liable to be fined with ANG5000/$2750. If they do it again, that can be doubled!

PdVSA states that the situation with tankers holding crude, but not delivering without cash in hand, is now normalized. That depends on the definition, with literally scores of tankers hanging around in the Caribbean Sea (including here) waiting to see their money before discharging. Poor PdVSA is a little short of cash.

Delayed Again
The FAA-upgrade check has been postponed again, for the umpteenth time, until March 2016. Which doesn't mean that a/ we will make the grade or b/ we will be upgraded then.
Sure is taking a long time, isn't it? Since 2011...
But hold it, even that March date is not sure yet.

Of Course Not
SAP cop union members do not agree with minister van der Horst proposed new pension arrangements, set to start working on January 1. Nice timing, folks.

Watch Those Bills
A UTS telecommunications customer complains that if she is out of the country, she gets charged like crazy for no matter what. Complaints have no effect. Things like this can get to be pretty Kafka-esque, you know. I always just buy a throw-away chip when I'm visiting somewhere, and carry a cheapo LAN-to-WiFi along for use in hotel rooms if needed. Don't trust 'em!
Then again, this way I also avoid my own mistakes, there's that to consider—in all fairness.
Update: Digicel director Sprengers explains that you have to take care here: switch off your internet and data-roaming when away, as foreign providers will charge you like maniacs.

If He Says So
Justice minister Navarro assures us that no more illegal Venezuelans are here than usual. Uh... how many is that, anyway? He says it all depends on the coming elections. Weirdly, he expects that if Maduro loses, many will flee. Let's get this straight: so, if the cause of all unrest is kicked out, people will start fleeing?

With the lowest crude oil prices in many years and an economy that has gone down the drain without any help from that, the opposition in Venezuela hopes to win next week's elections. They probably will. But even then, what can they do?
Maduro threatens he will not give in and will start a "military-civilian union" with the people. Sounds promising.

Green Grime
People living downwind of Isla refinery almost panicked when the funnels started puking out an enormous green-yellow cloud. When they called the emergency number, they were told it was nothing. Isla didn't bother to comment or explain. I guess, they'd better not.

You Can't Do That
MFK MP Thodé has been subpoenaed for violation of official secrecy. Last year, Thodé secretly made a recording of a closed meeting of the parliamentary Commissie Financiën [Finance Committee] which he had broadcasted twice. (He hoped to accuse PIAS Rosaria of malversations.) Thodé and his party leader Shorty tried to come back with the argument that Thodé was only caught because a PIAS photographer managed to snap him in the act, which is illegal as well. You can't have it both ways, boys.
Thodé could get a year in jail or a 10,000 guilders fine. In court December 16.

Look Who's Talking!
MAN Cooper accuses Staten/parliament head Franco of "dictatorial behavior" because he declared that ex-PIAS Moses is no longer a member of the coalition—which she left herself. Well do we remember how Cooper supported the Obese Dictator Arsjes when, during the Grand Opéra Bouffe of 2012, Arsjes simply refused to take his leave from the same position Franco now occupies.

No Swimming for the Masses
Nos mes por! Some 65 years ago those colonialists and imperialists of CPIM/Shell donated a salt-water swimming pool to the island, which is still going strong. But the 30-year old SDK-pool of filth, built by our government, has to be closed down and we need to spend 6 million guilders for a new one. Or more.
Ex-PM Arsjes promised the money was available, but you know what that guy's promises are worth.

It's Over for this Year
The hurricane season officially ended on December 1. Can't say we noticed much difference. It has been one of the weakest ever, counting only 4 (weak) hurricanes. We were promised something different, but are now told it's because of El Niño. Even I saw that coming—why didn't the hurricane wizards? And then, el Niño was much weaker then predicted!

Not Unique
Just like here, the USA FAA has degraded Thailand's aviation safety rating to category 2. The Thailand tourism industry accounts for about 7 percent of the country's economy. The plan is to get an upgrade by August 2016. Here, it's supposed to come this month. We'll see about that...

Good for the Virgins?
The Hovensa Virgin Islands refinery has been bought up by Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner. However, Sinopec seems to be mainly interested in Hovensa's storage capacity. There is so much crude oil around these days that storage is of prime value.

It's Coming Along...
Had some problems with my trusty Brand-X computer. Most have been resolved now, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. You know how it is!
Take heart, I've been saving up links and will get around to commenting on all those Happy Happenings in our 3-ring establishment pretty soon now.
Thank you for your patience.

Good for Him. But
The local imam has stated that his parish (is that the word? close enough) is repulsed by the horror deeds in Paris. Which is much better than what we get to hear from muslims almost anywhere else: a deadly silence, if they don't joyfully celebrate, dancing and dealing out candy in the streets. The imam also says that this is against the religion. He must have another version of the Quran than I read.
But he sounds sincere enough. This may be explained by the fact that most muslims here are from Lebanon, a country that got along fairly well with Israel until Hezbollah came along. When several of them came back from a holiday there, interrupted by the 2006 Israel-Lebanon action, they exclaimed "We're living in paradise here!"
On the other hand, isn't ex-sinister sheikh El Hakim a member of that club? Rumors persist that he was associated with the 1994 Argentina massacre—and proud of it.
In Paris, only 30 muslims out of 5 million living in France showed up for an anti-jihad rally.

As if it's not enough to be stopped by the cops on any pretense when they need to collect money in the form of fines (next month is notorious), now a guy complained in court that he's constantly harassed and hassled by the cop friend of his ex-partner. He complained with police HQ already, but they didn't do a thing.
The judge was highly surprised. We're not.
Not that the cops are not entitled to stop. More often than they do. Wish they did! Just count how many people wear safety belts. How often cars cross ahead in front of you when your light is green already. No need to go on.
Also mark the guy was supposed to have abused his ex-partner; which he denied. 2015-11-17

Well, I'm For
The Curaçao government, such as it is (especially right now) is against continuation of Cft financial supervision. That act is easy to follow. My question is, color me simple, if they feel they're doing so fine, what's against supervision?

Laws or Money
The monumental Sebastopol building on Penstraat has been razed with bulldozers. There's a fine on that, but paying that's much cheaper than restoring it. So who cares? The buildings on both sides, owned by the same "project developer" no doubt will go as well; and soon after that we can admire a new characterless building to process tourists in.
While the cops have demolished the fences at Caracasbaai, a new set has been discovered around the corner (Kabrietenbaai, goat bay. Same trick, other crooks. No doubt they plan over glasses of booze. Or who knows, noses of coke. Let's hear it for those fearless tourism stimulating developers! Ray! Ray! Ray!
Minister Römer is awfully angry. "That's illegal!" Too true as the Aussies say. They should have paid her.

She Has Got the Dirt
Fräudlein Wiels will stay on as our representative with the Dutch government in The Hague. She must know more about that anti-corruption PS party her brother started than I would care to.

I do what I can, but who'll listen?

Popular with Hackers
KKCuraçao has been knocked out once again. They must really hit the spot every now and then some. This is the umpteenth time. Is why they have a mirror site.
I'm glad we are not that popular. What a hassle! The only time they tried to hack a site of mine was when I put up a "buy Danish" banner after the fake & faux cartoon scandal. Time to put up an "We stand with Israel" flag!
KKCur say they are moving to another country that has real anti-cyber-crime measures. Makes one wonder.

Two Curaçao companies have been fined with €240k (USD257k, ANG458k) each for illegally offering internet gambling in Holland. Sounds like a lot; but is peanuts of course. This is the second time they're hit; the first time they just coughed up €130k each and laughed all the way back from the bank. Still, these are the highest fines ever for illegal gambling.
Can't help wondering if Robby is involved here. Plenty more of that type around, sure.

That Was Fast
A new cabinet/coalition has been formed with PAR replacing PIAS minister "roaming Palm's" seat of economic development. Saved by the bell, but only until next elections of course. Fräudlein Wiels's position is still undefined. They have a majority of 21 out of 21, which is marginally better than before the last traitor left; but that was really marginal.

Anarchy Reigns
Complaints have come in from Baya Beach, Caracasbaai, where the management of Calypso Trips & Tours has just fenced off part of the public beach, which amounts to illegal occupation. You can rent jetskis, kajaks and snorkelsets there, and to stay on the beach a consumption is required.
We now confidently await the voices saying that those guys are so good for tourism and if we stop them, we are chasing investors away. We need investors like that like we need consumption.

Better than It Sounds
The judge rejected SMOC c.s. claim against the government, mostly to get more clarity in the "green deposits" affair (everything downwind of Isla gets covered with a mysterious green substance). As the government has gone far in meetings SMOC's demands, the process has reached its target, the judge says.
Goes without saying that SMOC would have preferred as stronger verdict.

Creeping Close
In St. Maarten, three men have been arrested who tried to get in with false Greek passports. They're from Syria. Hey, just like those guys who tried to kill half Paris! Must be a coincidence.
Immigration and police state that they're on "extra alert" since that started. So how many came in before then? Just like anywhere else. Like here.

You're Telling Me?
Finance minister Jardim says that the amount of taxes in arrears is not 1.2 billion guilders; of that, about 45 million has been collected, 190 has been written off and 312 has expired. But the rest (700m) still has to be checked.
Says Jardim, "Appeals are not properly dealt with and they often turn out to be correct." You mean, Jardim, that the assessments are wrong in the first place. And finally, 900 million have never been collected and, like my darling Clementine, are gone and lost for ever. If you add that up, it's almost 1 billion over 1.2 billion.
Total impression left, the tax office is one big mess. Quelle surprise!

Hope They Got Their Shot
There's a crew at work filming Frank Martinus's Dutch novel Dubbelspel [double play], and they thought they might get nice sunset shots from the high Juliana bridge. So they arranged to have it shut down for all traffic during evening peak traffic hours, with no announcement worth mentioning. A big traffic jam ensued.
They're still figuring out who arranged this, which shouldn't be hard. Wonder if we'll ever get to know. Minister Römer says she wasn't informed.
The police get the blame: they should have informed the public. That's still Römer's responsibility.
They probably didn't even pay a bribe. Hey, it's for the movie! So important...

Partying and Quarreling, That's What They're Good At
At any rate, our National Nanny has now instructed one of the factious kids (ex-PM Whiteman) to start forming a new cabinet. But the parties still have not signed a simple declaration of being prepared to cooperate. Big problem is our roaming minister of economic development Palm; PAR wants that post. But Palm is one of the founders of PIAS. Which explains a lot about that party...
Of course Shorty's MFK is trying to throw a spanner in the works. They're holding an enquête on Twatter, which even they should know is of no legal, and decidedly no scientific value.
PAR and PIAS at any rate have signed. PM Whiteman has been ordered to form a new cabinet and says "the crisis is over."

There We Go Again
Architect Weeber has looked at the (again) renovated pontoon bridge and saw that it's no good. Same kind of stupid construction mistakes as a few years ago; so we may look forward to yet another renovation. Time will tell. Not much time. Much money, yes.
But everybody is raving about the fabulous re-opening party! That explains why they do such a rotten job, so they can hold more parties.
Weeber mentions an interesting fact: the bridge has been declared a monument but CPA port authority doesn't want to accept this.

Big Deal
PAR, PIAS, PNP and PS parties have agreed that they are prepared to start negotiations about a new coalition; a turnaround from early this week. They must be scared you-know-what-less that Shorty would win early elections. So am I, true.
And so may be the governor, who has spoken "there must be continuity in governance". Not a nanny, this governess. But PAR still insists on a look at all minister posts.

Don't Panic
The authorities want to keep the police-fire brigade training against illegal Venezuelans under their hat. To stop us from panicking, I suppose. They obviously prefer us panicking when it's too late and there's a real panic.

Curaçao, Cocaine Island
Dutch author Vestdijk wrote a book once Rumeiland [rum island] by which he meant Jamaica. Thought I'd adapt the title which we richly deserve. Truth be told, Aruba is a close competitor when we talk about who's the champ.
I'm totally convinced a lot of those Dutch tourists who love Curaçao so much love cheap cocaine even more—one of the island's main tourist attractions. Face up to it.

Stop Them
Police and fire brigade have had two days of training how to stop an expected flood of Venezuelan immigrants around christmas. That's the time they'll have a valid excuse to come over for a visit; once here, they'll try to extend it ad infinitum.
They've also trained on the beaches to stop immigrants illegally arriving there. It's a risky business, we're told; those guys are armed. Venezuela is one of the countries with most murders per capita in the world. Let's hope two days' training is enough.
We read that the USA has been arresting a lot of president Maduro's family members for drug dealing; or more precise, his wife's. One of 'em used PdVSA's business planes to transport cocaine to the USA. Please keep away; it's bad enough here as it is.
Don't forget, Venezuela has elections on December 6, one day after Sinterklaas. It's anybody's guess who'll be taken to Spain in Zwarte Piet's sack.

Not Only Arsjes
The negotiations on PARtaking in a new cabinet are alleged to have fallen through because the party insisted on having Fräudlein Wiels go, which was unacceptable to PS. That woman really must have the dirt on the party, not only on ex-PM Arsjes.
Besides, says PAR Walroud, PS did not want to confirm their agreements on paper. Cute. PS now does not even have a leader, will elect one in December.

The ministry of health has asked Amsterdam GGD health dept. if they can do a study on the effects of Isla refinery. They have started already with a preliminary investigation to see if such a study can be reliable.

Parliament Disagrees
After the Raad van Advies ministerial council had already said that it was no good, parliament agrees: the idea to curtail old age welfare for those living in foreign countries with 25% is unacceptable. Rather than to improve the rotten structure, government seeks this easy way out. Which goes against the European Convention on Human Rights as well.
VBC entrepreneurs club has advised to forget about the spoiled brats' christmas bonus instead, but finance minister Jardim announced the government does not agree. PS Wilsoen said he ought to be free to go live elsewhere. Like, Switzerland?

That Explains a Lot
Moses the Resigner has told Curaçao Chronicle why: "I hope that Alex Rosaria (PAIS leader) remembers that when I joined his party he told me that I received a mandate from the Lord. We are now at the end of times and we have to trust God. I received my message to resign from this government from the bible." I've read the bible myself (it's true!), but I never found her name in there. Nor did I know Rosaria was a priest or sump'n.
And MFK MP Koeyman has also left her post. For reasons of health (she's been in Holland longer than I can remember) but also because of the state of politics (not a cent to be made in the opposition?) She'll be replaced by van Heydoorn.

One More New Party
Ex-PS, now indie MP Moses has announced that she will start a party to compete in the coming elections. I gave up counting, like I said before. I also remarked before that the yearly parade of parties registering at Kranshi office resembled the Carnaval Gran Marcha—so maybe this year they can be combined. That would be real fun.
PS and MFK both (I bet) want new elections, so that looks most probable. Probably just after Carnaval. The KKN chamber of commerce thinks it's a waste.

Too Late for Shorty
New elections won't be held before next February or March. I assume that's after Carnaval, February 7, as who has time for elections before that's over with? Tough for Shorty who'll be Babling in court February 17, one week after ash Wednesday. Finally (if it won't get postponed again).

Good News
Thanks to the blown-up Russian Airbus in Egypt, causing lots of airlines to stop their flights over there, people are reconsidering their holiday options. The Dutchies seem to keep an eye peeled for Spain and Curaçao. See how something bad can be turned into something good? Let's stay positive and rejoice! They all died for a good cause.

"It Couldn't Happen Here"
Only in Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago; close enough for me. Much too close: 100 fighters from the Caribbean have left to join ISIS. Let's quietly wait until they come back, shall we? Why worry! Better still, send more to train over there. After all, not all will return.
The three countries mentioned are "concerned about fighters returning". You bet.

That'll Teach Them. Maybe
Judge de Kort has ordered an investigation of Isla refinery pollution over 2014 by two parties, StAB and TNO. The 2013 figures were collected by StAB and processed by TNO, which Isla took exception to as in the court judgment only StAB was mentioned. So that excuse has already been taken out, in case. In another 75 million guilders case.

How the Mighty Have Fallen
It's final, the government has resigned. No takers were found to support them. Maybe there'll be a new formation effort, otherwise, off to the voting offices. That's another slight problem there, at this time there is no head of the voting bureau.
PAR is blamed by the present coalition; they kept insisting Frädlein Wiels had to go now, but PS wanted to give her 2 or 3 months more.
But other voices claim parliament is tired of minister van der Horst (maybe the only one doing his job) who wanted to freeze the spoiled brats' salaries. What a pest that guy is! He didn't want to accept that government costs here are 11% against the "acceptable" norm of 7%.
So here's my prognosis for what it's worth: A new effort will be undertaken by Camelia, who thought this cabinet would remain in business for 8 years. Palm and Wiels will stay on and van der Horst will be kicked out. If that will work is another question altogether. 2015-11-10

Is That Unique?
Or do I just think so? Of the 21 parliament members, there are now three independents. That's 1/7th, am I right? Seems like a lot... It's a virtual fragmentation bomb!

Pool of Filth
No, it's not the government this time. The SDK swimming pool, which had to close because the water was too filthy for words swimming, figured they had cleaned up and, without waiting for the fiat of GGD medical dept., reopened. GGD didn't like it.

Details, Please
A technical school has discrimination problems. Pupils are bullied for their skin color and the language they speak. Without any details, we have to believe that their skin color is not black and their language is not Papiamentu. It's come to that? even if I hope, not.

Hope Along With Me
Ex-PM Arsjes plans to join the fun with next elections. (Last time, he got about 400 votes.) His party is called Speransa pa un mihó Kòrsou [Hope for a better Curaçao]. Let's hope for the best; take that as you wish.
I've long since lost count how many parties we now have. Even beats the notoriously free-for-all Dutch.

Sounds Half Good
PAR is prepared to take part in the government, on spite of their dire oaths they would never cooperate with PS (hey, that's politics, folks!), on condition that they will get a ministry; or maybe more. First, Frädlein Wiels must go. Next, they want PM Whiteman's seat of medicine, which sounds reasonable. And they also want to replace that clown Palm, economic development. What they, and then we, will get is another matter; especially since there seem to be other negotiable options.
As for me, I'm still very curious why Moses decided to get out. Nothing special happened—as far as we know.

Wait and See
Now PS member Cijntje says that they long saw it coming that Moses would leave the party—but it still was a surprise. Sure. But with a 10-10 support in Staten/parliament the coalition can't achieve a thing; traditionally, the opposition possibly takes it name too literally and will always vote against. MAN Koeiman doesn't want to join the club (PS-PIAS-PNP) with only two seats in Staten. He hopes for more with the next elections. Sure. Indie Leeflang won't give them the time of day, even more sure. Indie Sulvaran supports them already. And PAR, who always refused to work with PS, just might be persuaded to support the present government, as the only alternative would be new elections with, oh horror, Shorty's MFK back in the saddle.

I Say "HAH!"
GGD medical dept. is alert to zika, still another nasty disease transferred by that same tiger mosquito (certainly a busy bug). Zika is not here yet, but they want to prevent it coming in. Good luck with that; color me skeptical. But I'll admit zika is an innocent compared with yellow fever, dengué and chicungunya.
All half measures. At the risk of confirming my well-deserved reputation of becoming a bore, why not look at what I proposed long since?

Gotta Admit, He's Right There
Indie MP Leeflang wants the law changed, so that people like Gumbs get better protection. Gumbs was fired as head of Security by ex-PM Shorty and only now has been rehabilitated by the judge<. (Not that he got his job back.) But minister van der Horst replied to Leeflang that, as Gumbs has indeed gotten justice, the law is satisfactory as-is.

Water Weirdness
Those people who grow their own veggies can get water free from the government. Really. Is this a system? Nobody seems to know or care how much that costs to the rest of us.
Only found out about this because there are problems with getting their water to them these days, some truck is U/S or something. Not very urgent, we finally had some rain.

Same Difference
The conditions on which Isla refinery is allowed to operate under the nuisance act, which were supposed to be adapted 5 every years, have never been evaluated. Not that it matters, they always do as they like anyway. From the ARC [general audit office] it's clear that there's not enough budgeted for to get the job done next year, either.

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish
Of course (almost) everybody still in the government, be it parliament or cabinet, will try anything to save their seats (most of their souls have been sold to Satan long since) now that there's no parliament majority anymore. But just between you and me, even if the government falls tomorrow or today, would we notice any difference? Whatsoever?
The coalition announced they'll try until Monday to get their majority (11 of 21) back or to find a party that will support them. Lots of luck with that, they'll need it. And if they succeed, we may need it as well.

Tout va bien! Not to Worry
A private Amigoe letter writer has discovered diverse encampments by the more inaccessible beaches. Encampments of "several" illegally immigrated (nor ingratiating) Venezuelan families, who are not a problem. How weird that it wasn't the police or the Politur tourist police who discovered them! On second thoughts, not so weird at all.
Between you and me, I'd rather have that type of immigrant than those PdVSA gasbags working at Isla refinery. These are guaranteed to be no part of the Chávez or Maduro clan.
Didn't make this clear: if the story is not true, it could, or will, as well be.

PIAS MP member Moses has disgustedly terminated her party ties and will go on as an independent Staten member. PIAS is in a panicky emergency meeting. Nobody knows what will happen to the coalition now. Rumors are rife and ripe, not to say rotten, that Shorty has bribed her so we'll have new elections before he has to appear in court. That'd be a bit too soon, though. Provided we won't get yet another delay.

Game Over
Not yet, but by 2030, only 10 years after that Isla refinery agreement with PdVSA will have been renewed. If it will be renewed, true. The expectation now is it's not Peak Oil that will end it all, but rather Peak Demand. Shell expects crude oil price not to reach $100/barrel again. It's now half of that or (Bakken) even less. Which is the rabbit punch for Saudi-Arabia (who'll have to stop financing terrorism and building mosques all over the world), Russia and Venezuela. Not to mention Iran and ISIS.
Of course, Shell has been wrong before.
With technology that's already around now, by 2050 global fossil fuel reserves would almost double to 4.8 trillion barrels of oil equivalent.

That Could Be Fun
There are plans, albeit rather vague, to turn the Waaigat into a marine center, like a yacht harbor. This is why we have already paid many years back for new bridges across it. One plan is to open it up from both sides; probably by using about the same route the last hurricane that hit Curaçao took to empty the flooded Waaigat, sowing ruin and devastation in Pietermaai (where all that illegal building is going on). Also, the sewage system will have to be adapted and directed to Klein Hofje. That's across the harbor, folks. It's gonna cost.

The Gift that Keeps on Costing
That New Hospital! Not only are we biting our nails if designer-contractor Ballast-Nedam will be able to finish it, it's growing more and more expensive; as confidently predicted by several experts. Now it's the price of rerouting Hamelbergweg, originally budgeted for 3 million guilders but probably costing 11 million in reality.
Reason is the enormous amount of rock that has to be cut out. That occurred before when they started building, for the foundation. They must have been in too much of a hurry to start and couldn't wait for a decent survey. Why care? We'll pay up anyway.
Also, the sewer that has to be rerouted turns out to be "much deeper than expected". Don't they have a map somewhere around DOW public works? Probably couldn't find it.
Every day of delay results in 500k extra costs. Hard to swallow.

That's Going Well
Of the 320 million guilders of economic investment budgeted for this year, only 190 had been used up to October. Let us figure: (320/12)x9=240 should have been used. So that's why the economy went up for a welcome change? I'd guess not, though the government maintains it's thanks to their input.
The main reason all funds have not been applied is bureaucratic red tape which delayed projects.
But remain positive! Things go on this way, they'll have budget money left over by year's end. Don't you believe it. "All money must be spent, and then some" is the World's Governments' motto.

The Case Has Been Presented
The public prosecutor did present the Babel case in court, despite its postponement. Cicely van der Dijs, ex-PM Shorty's partner, is accused of forgery, money laundering and possession of 7 illegal phone jammers. Shorty h.h. is accused of corruption and bribery, forgery, money laundering, possession of 7 jammers (presumably the same) and finally false reporting of a lost diplomatic passport (it was in his partner's company's safe all the time).

Doesn't That Go for All of Them?
Environment rules can only be checked on a low "level of ambition" because the civil servants are incompetent. Neither does there exist any plan to teach 'em.
So that's why Isla refinery keeps stinking! But they can hardly blame us for thinking this is not unique for that department.
Worse, the ministry "has no idea" how many people are needed to check on the "new" regulations (which were accepted in July, so why hurry?)

Flopped Like a Fish
The grandiose project meant to help 1000 young folks to a job, started by ministry of social affairs (nothing good ever comes out of there, it seems) has to date resulted in 5 getting a job in 5 companies. 218 applied. Costs 1.6 million guilders or 320,000 per job.

What's Better... Or Worse?
In parts of Bandabao, island West, much of the time there's no water at all to be had from the tap. But in Bandariba, upwind, when there is water it's brown.
People don't even bother to call Aqualectra utility anymore, they just don't pick up the phone there.

Getting Worried—Finally
Minister Plasterk, after pooh-poohing it for a long time, takes the problem with illegal Venezuelan immigrants seriously, both here and in Aruba. That's good to hear; a sharp contrast with the crazy occupying-army like influx of Europe.
He also says Holland has no interest in the possible sale of the Aruba Valero refinery to Citgo, "an American company" as it's called in the media. It may be that, but it's fully owned by guess who? PdVSA! Citgo is in serious trouble as the USA government has seized a lot of its assets. That possible sale may well be impossible.

True Enough; Still
Michael Newton, associated with Monumentenfonds makes a good and strong case for those guys who are renovating the Punda-Pietermaai region of Willemstad. They may be working illegally and illegitimately, but at least they're acting where the government doesn't, is his argument.
Tue troo, Newton. But they're still transgressing the law and bribing civil servants, for all I know. It's like vigilantes taking the law in their own hands. Understandable maybe, but once that sort of thing starts taking off (and it has done so long since) you really don't know where you're at.

I Hope I'll Still Be Around
Once again, the days in court for ex-PM Shorty and His Lawless Wife, the Babel case, have been postponed. Mark your calendars, it's now February 17 and 19. So they'll be free for their last Carnaval, yippeeee!
The postponement is because the three defense witnesses have not been heard yet. One of them is totally untraceable. Wise guy.
That's slang, you know. Look it up.

Saudis, Oil, Crude and Venezuela
The Saudis couldn't care less about Venezuela (just like me—they asked for it). They will sell oil at any market price, which means, to China. Question: do you think China is interested in buying at a higher price from PdVSA? If you do, our pontoon-bridge has just been restored and I offer it for sale, cheap.

Van der Horst Acting Up
Minister van der Horst says his figures in next years budgets are correct. The number of spoiled brats must be reduced in the coming 15 years, which sounds a bit long; Van der Horst would be sumptuously pensioned off himself long before then. Also, says he, he'd like to see an assessment of spoiled brats' capacities as related to their functions. He darkly suggests there's a discrepancy there. Dream on, van der Horst!

Sure, But They Won't
PAR party thinks that PIAS party should take the responsibility and start kicking up a fuss about Fräudlein Wiels. Fat Chance Dept.

Those Damn Dams
Minister Balborda (at least he knew about baseball), now replaced by Römer (who only knows about the law) never did anything about repairing water retaining dams in 2013 and 2014, even though there was money available. I wonder where it went, don't you?
In that sense, a good thing we didn't get any rain worth speaking about the last couple of years. On my right hand side is a century old dam, one of the few built in stone, which was bypassed, as surgeons put it, by a bulldozer, rendering it to no intrinsic value. If and when we get a real downpour (Banjir! Banjir!) that new road through Tera Kòrá will just be washed out.
Dams are close to my heart because that's why the colonial government, maybe patriarchal but certainly well-willing, chartered Werbata c.s. to draw his famous maps. I have no less than three, count 'em, on my own terrain. Not maps, dams. I have many more maps...
Between you and me, a paper map is something Google can't beat. And to be sure, the other way around is true as well.

It's a Fracking Farce Anyway
Curaçao will be represented on the Paris climate conference, the last one since Kyoto 1992 in a long range, all labeled "humanity's last chance to do something about global warming!" I really wonder who they'll send; I'd vote for SMOC, Clean Air and Humanitaire Zorg but it's a safe bet it will be Isla's Gijsbertha or a Wiels brodder. Or both, and then some. After all, we pay.

Don't Cut Mine or I'll Cut Yours
The government once more planned to take the easy way out: we need money, so let's cut the welfare pensions a bit. RvA advisory council is against it, but that doan mean nuffin, mon.

Traffic Safety
The VVV safe traffic society remarks that it's a bit weird that theory exams for your license are still the same as in 1957. Since then, they add, 2000 new traffic signs have been introduced; there have been more changes. Small wonder traffic's a godforsaken mess. If they take the trouble to get a license at all.

Good or Bad?
Depends on what angle you take, I guess. The court of justice has scratched one day, Friday, in the Babel case against ex-PM Shorty and his partner. Only next Wednesday remains. I guess they figure, enough is sufficient. Which could mean two things.

Skype Robot Delivery
Can't wait... Skype is developing a robot that will deliver max. 40 lbs (~18 kilos) of groceries at your home for less than £1 (ANG2.75-USD1.55). Sure beats those guys at the supermarket who'll break your eggs and crush your breads for you; then, you have to give 'em a tip.
Would also end those plastic supermarket bags almost everybody loves and hates.

All Those Ads
When will advertisers start to admit to themselves that all those ads on the internet which you have to click away (getting worse and worse) before being able to read a page are just a source of irritation? What a sales gimmick. A plague is what it is... a pest... a Sodom and Gomorrah... Signed, Frustrated.

It's a Flop
In Curaçao Chronicle, geologist John Wright analyses the situation in which the Curaçao oil pipe dream is now. In a nutshell, it's nowhere. There is hardly or rather no interest from anybody to start exploring in a doubtful area like this, especially now with the continuing low crude prices and the general malaise of world economy. So much for, what was that name again? oh yes, Kompania di Petroli I Gas di Korsou (KPG). For which the necessary laws haven't even been presented in parliament as yet. I guess the first fresh enthusiasm has gone (now that even they've seen it's pretty hopeless).
Gee, I wonder how much those KPG board members get paid!

Oh Yeah?
Last week we were told that the Curaçao North Sea Jazz festival had added 65 million guilders to the economy. But now, we get to hear it's 15.9 million dollars, or about 29 million guilders. Oh wait, that last amount came from the Festival management, the first from CTB tourist bureau—well-known for their statistical manipulations. You just can't trust those guys; but then, they're a government institution.

It's a Start
Demonstrators have been shot at from the Aruba parliament building. At least, that's the story. If true, must have been the cops who guarded the building. It's a start, but of what? Democracy hasn't worked over there for many years, either.
This was by the end of last August; it's only now I read about it.

How About It?
Not that I'm in a hurry, but in January, we were told those fabulous security cameras would be installed by April. That's half a year ago already. My, how time passes.

All Bets Off
It's highly probable, if not unavoidable, that Venezuela will default on its debts next year. They may hope that China will help them out, but China has troubles of its own.
Which all means that what will happen with "our" Isla refinery is anybody's guess. Three years to go...

Oh, That BOO
Whoever started that thing should be hunted down and keelhauled under the island. I'm sure that person (probably more than one) made a lot of money. We've had nothing but doom and gloom from that since. According to KPMG (but who trusts them?) BOO has a yearly 11 million guilders loss. Which is paid for by Isla refinery, who since Shorty's reign own all shares; he forced Aqualectra to transfer their shares to Isla without any compensation. And Isla hasn't presented any yearly accounts since 2012. Like they say, don't try this at home.
One of the excuses Isla tries to find for their pollution is, it's not theirs, it's BOO's. So what's the difference?

For the first time ever, there will be a law on how to handle chemical waste. That is, for the first time it will be defined what that is. (We have had a refinery for just about a century now.)

No Permits
Next week, MP Whiteman will have a meeting with Advent hospital. As it turns out, we were right in jumping to the conclusion that the old Taams clinic, now Advent Damacor, is functioning without permits. There's little doubt the idea is to find a way to keep them open regardless.

It Was Political!
The defense in the Bientu case have claimed that it's a political process, and in a way they were right: because politicians interfered with it, the case took since 2011 to now finally get in court, says the prosecutor. Which politicians? Oh, just who you'd expect: sinister of injustice Wilsoen, PM Shorty, sinisters of stagnation Sheikh Hakim and of disruption, Monkee. And no, I don't forget Imalootin, Cooper and Trinidad. The two clownish lawyers are also reputed to be part of the gang.

News to Us
Minister Navarro says all illegal Venezuelan immigrants are known to his dept. O yeah? I'm so free as to doubt it. So why not kick out all those shooters and whores?
Your turn, Navarro.
Tourist Bureaucritters are also stopping propaganda to get those Venezuela wastrels over here. All they do is try and collect dollars, anyway, spending as little as possible. We knew it all the time.

Agreed—So Take It
Trade unions of Isla workers think the Isla, BOO and their pollution are the government's responsibility. They got that straight. It's not the protesters who'd cause the refinery to shut down (if that ever happens): it's the laissez-faire attitude of our government. So take your responsibility already; it's why you were voted in and why we pay you.
Of course, PdVSA-Isla may pay you more, there's that.

Wonder How Much They Got Paid
USA Today has nominated Curaçao as the top Caribbean tourist destination. One of their reasons is, we supposedly have an "exciting nightlife"—which is news to all of us. Boy, will those guys be disappointed!

If You Ask Me
Central Bank CBSC and Statistics Bureau CBS indicate the Curaçao economy is finally (2015-II) growing! Their idea is, that's because the government started reducing the number of civil servants and lowering social insurances. I think the main cause is the lower car gas price. Gasoline is the real fuel of the economy here.
So here's the good news: it will go down even further next month, to ANG1.49/liter (=S3.10/gallon). Which, counting inflation, is the 1978 level when it still was really cheap (say 0.40/liter); which means, reasonably priced.
In the continental USA prices now are from $1.86 (SC) to 2.83 (CA) per gallon. In Holland, €1.567/liter, ANG3.05.

Not a Word
Just for the hell of it, I searched Dutch newspaper sites, search terms "Curacao", "Isla" and "SMOC" to check if they offered anything on the SMOC vs. Isla court case.
Not a word. They just don't care, over there. As if we didn't know yet. Bunch of hypocritters.
How's by you Greenpeace and Milieudefensie, already?

Bale la pena
The civiele enquête [civilian survey? I really don't know the exact translation of all those legal terms, so sorry] of government-owned companies, started in 2013 on instigation of Frente Sivil has finally finished its first phase. Seems to be a booby-trapped mess.
Investigator Willems, working from Holland, says he will have more time available for the next phase but that he will need more money. I say, give it to him. It's worth it.

I Wouldn't Know
Lottery boss dos Santos's lawyers argue that the judge is unqualified in the "Bientu" process. To make a very long story very short. Well, of course they would come with all sorts of arguments. Money enough to pay them to think 'em up. If it will be of any help? Tune in for next installments.
Once again, they claim this is a political process. Why? Because minister of injustice Imalootin, member of Shorty's gang, refused to start procedures against dos Santos. Now that was political!
But the prosecutors fired back that it's a money laundering case, not as defenders claim concerning illegal lotteries.

More Popcorn, Please
Isla refinery started out, in the ongoing court case, by claiming that the measurements filed by SMOC were not done by the proper institution. But lawyer In 't Veld argued that the measurements were; only the calculations were done by a different institution, Dutch TNO. It would be hard to think of a more prestigious source.
Decision November 10th. Will be an interesting week, what with Shorty's Babel in court right before then.
Meanwhile, the government is in all states of panic and tries to frighten us with the most dire consequences if Isla will have to pay up. They should have thought of that before.

Let's Get Serious
Big Brothel Campo Alegre sees profits going down because of all the illegal Venezuelan women who come over to work as free-lance prostitutes, picking up Johns at snack-bars mostly. The management fears for a "social chaos" and has now decided to give the women working there sex education, "as many are not aware of the dangers of the profession and the desires of their customers." So to get this straight, those women are comparative innocents when they get here. A national disgrace, this "cheerful village" is.
Rather contradicts those assurances that there is no problem with Venezuelan immigrants.

That's Rich
The 1000 Isla workers protesting the 75 million seizure claim that Smoc, Humanitaire Zorg and the inhabitants (of whom two have died of cancer already) are only doing it for the money.
That's a textbook case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Watch My Step
It's official, or so they say: "PC, Political Correct" is incorrect now. It's felt to be derogatory. What made them think that? As it is, I'll have to think up another derogatory term to express my feelings. But why bother? They'll get the message louder.

Nothing Could Be Fairer
The management of CDM/Dok tells the workers to whom they own 1.75 million guilders that they just have to wait. After all, they have to pay those Cuban slaves and have no money left. Just wait until the ships come in! Yeah, when iguanas grow wings.
That shows the workers the net effect of following Shorty instead of a decent lawyer. Will they wise up now?

If You Say So
Immigration from Venezuela is "under control" states Dutch minister of foreign affairs Koenders. But he only says this because he read in Amigoe newspaper that our government said so. Now our minds are set at rest.

While restoring the Sentro pro Arte theater will cost 10 million, the government only reserved 7.3. Nobody seems to understand why, but it's clear to me: they must pay the spoiled brats their X-mas bonus somehow. And by the way you know, earlier claims were for 16 million costs and it's not even agreed the theater must be restored at its present out-of-town location.

Isla did have money to transport a thousand workers with 10 buses to Punda, to protest against the 75 million seizure; but they can't find funds to get the crummy refinery working as per specs. The action didn't help; for now the money remains frozen while the judge thinks it over until November 10.
Meanwhile, the government is trying to make us afraid by telling that, as a result, we won't have water, car fuel, electricity and cooking gas shortly. Boo Hoo! Too bad we only cook on gas; when we'd need it for heating we'd really get scared.
No hospitals, no transport (no beer!), no airplanes. Hey! That means no tourism!

No Godzilla El Niño?
Since May, the climate doom-sayers have changed their attention from the hurricane season (there was no such thing this year, in spite of predictions) to the supposedly horrible bigger-than-ever El Niño. Since then, predictions have grown weaker until there's not much left. Wait and see.
One of the effects of such a monster event for us would be a very hot 2016 with even less rain than we had the last couple of years. If such a thing is possible. Again, we can only wait and see. But at this point, doubts are more legitimate than ever.

A very strong growth of tourism in the Caribbean has been predicted—at a tourism conference. Wonder if we'll get a piece of that. In years past, not so much.

That's Settled
Pupils of high school KAP (formerly Peter Stuyvesant) have come together and decided that Isla refinery must stay. So we don't have to worry about that anymore. Why take the trouble to report this nonsense?
The pupils of another high school, Maria Immaculata, might have a different opinion. They are downwind of the smoke.

"NO" Is the Best Guess
As answer to the question "Does Advent/Taams have the necessary permits to operate?" (don't pardon the pun). No inquiries at the ministry of economic development get any reaction. That's transparency, folks!
Obviously, if they did have the permits, we would have been told long since. Am I right?

Di Nos E Ta?
Is It Ours? Technically Isla refinery is, even though PdVSA runs it to its fancy. This while in the USA all PdVSA-owned Citgo installations run a real chance to be dispossessed as a result of an ongoing investigation into Venezuela corruption. Then, they might also have been used for "something else"—like what? Coke money laundering, anyone? In total, that's 8 billion dollars worth of refineries, terminals and all that.
Ain't it lucky for PdVSA that they still have us? Maybe also for "something else"? Aren't we lucky as well?

Put That in Your Gun and Fire It
Nobody wants to hear this, they just know guns are bad: but between 1993 and 2013, in the USA the number of privately owned guns has doubled. In the same period, the number of murders went down by half (gun deaths by one third). Makes you kind of doubt (I always did) the wisdom of the public ministry's gun confiscations.
Agreed, we are not in the USA here. In South Africa, where everybody may have a gun as well, crime is much higher than in the USA or here. Then again, South Africa is definitely sliding down into anarchy and genocide, and hopefully we're doing better than that.
In England and Australia crime went up after guns were prohibited. Saka bo som like they say: work it out. Here, we never get hard facts & figures on how crime has been doing since all those guns were taken in. Now that makes one wonder.

The public ministry soothes us: there's no danger of more crime with the influx of Venezuelan illegals. What a relief! Too bad two cops were shot from a car last week, for which by now 14 Venezuelans have been arrested. Also, all that cocaine washing around has nothing to do with Venezuela, what made you think that?
One Curazoleño has been arrested as well, but was released almost immediately.

Water Theft
Aqualectra Utility estimates an annual water loss of 30 million guilders by illegal use, which they naturally want to reduce. After two years of planned efforts, they expect to make 13.5 million per year more. That's not even half.
According to the press, 30 million equals ANG3.5m/m^3. No, it's not that expensive. Just seems so.

Let's Look at It
Now that it's too late. For years, investors and exploiters of Willemstad's Punda have been illegally dumping along the seashore to enlarge their terrains. They have also, just as illegally, been closing off streets leading to the shore. Now minister Römer wants to investigate all that, the rest of us wondering if that will ever have any practical result.
You know, if there's anything neo-colonial going on here, it's that sort of practice. These guys just do as they like without bothering about our laws. And we ask for it.

Case Growing
After our own loving and caring government Curoil, distributor and seller of Isla refinery products, has also joined Isla to help lift the 75 million seizure. Isla says it's impossible to pre-finance the deliveries to Curoil. As Curoil always claims they buy for example car gasoline from other sources, thus explaining away the wild price fluctuations, this sounds like bull manure.
Naturally, they are close friends. Why always deny it? This stinks.
Case will come in court next Tuesday. The government here is transgressing the separation of legislative and judicial power. Come to think of this as well: George, who has had some problems recently, is still the man behind Humanitaire Zorg [humanitarian care foundation], involved as one of the groups taking action against Isla pollution.
We are now waiting for Aqualectra and Curgas utilities to join the fun.

That's a Lot
Lottery boss dos Santos, whose court case started yesterday, is accused of having evaded tax for over 224 million guilders. Which is appreciably more than what SMOC claims from Isla refinery. Couldn't help comparing.
With an Isla refinery profit of 100 million guilders per day, they can afford it. They can also afford upgrading the refinery. Frankly, I guess a yearly estimated profit of 400 million sounds much more reasonable, but that's enough to go around as well.
Robbie's personnel held a "spontaneous" protest demonstration in front of city hall. I wonder who paid their salaries.

Here's a Hint
Aruba is bugged by Venezolanos who use their credit cards to buy beer in supermarkets and then sell them in the streets (which is illegal, you need a ventvergunning [peddling license] for that). Anyway, those Venezuelans must be pretty dumb, why don't they just pull that money out of an ATM?
I'm told they can PIN for a maximum of $200/day. That explains it.

Come Have a Look Over Here, Will You?
"U.S. authorities have launched a series of wide-ranging investigations into whether Venezuela's leaders used PDVSA to loot billions of dollars from the country through kickbacks and other schemes", according to The Wall Street Journal. A Mr. Salazar, a wheeler and dealer for PdVSA, "received hundreds of millions of dollars in his accounts in Andorra from firms, many of them shell companies in Panama, Belize and the British Virgin Islands." I'm sure they just forgot to mention us.
Mention is also made of a Mr. Ramirez, Venezuela's ambassador to the United Nations, who ran PdVSA "like a family business."
Like I said, 150 million for SMOC? Peanuts.

Delays, Delays
The Maal family rep. complains about the interminable delays experienced with obtaining permits for the Oostpunt terrain, which the family wants to develop. After many preceding cases in court (which they all won) they now threaten to sue again. This time for 66 million guilders.
Minister Römer says the permits just follow their regular course through the bureaucratic red tape. That doesn't even sound so incredible; to the contrary, business as usual.

Quelle Surprise!
A car driver who hadn't his license with him during a traffic control offered the cop 200 guilders, cash in hand. But he was arrested instead.

New Road Ready
There's a new, improved road through Tera Còrá (Bandabao). It's supposed to be much safer. The very first day it was opened, while turning upon it I saw an ambulance busy picking up a traffic victim. Just saying.

Disturbing the Worker Ants
Isla personnel is in a high state of excitement because of SMOC's actions. But what's their problem? Isla manager Gijsbertha assures them that it will not interfere with the refinery's activities, so? As I've read, which I can hardly believe but who am I, that Isla makes a 100 million guilders per day profit, I'd guess Gijsbertha is right.
It's really amusing to read how SMOC c.s. are now accused of being neo-colonialists or just plain colonialists because of this. Say, who exactly are keeping the Curaçao people subjugated to their whims here?
The government has announced they support the refinery, its workers and whomever may be troubled by the actions. Anybody except the people, that is.

That's Rich
A bank museum had two gold bars in its collection. This morning, they were stolen.
Too bad they were fake.

It really doesn't deserve commenting upon what Isla refinery now says: the action groups are not interested in clean air; they're already buying up terrains around the refinery (no documentation presented) so that, once they've chased it off the island, they will be sitting pretty.
I'll admit that with 150 million in cash you could buy a lot of square meters. But then comes the clean-up. It's been estimated at 3 billion dollars (36,000 times as much), but my calculated guess is, it's worse: it's impossible!

Won't Work, Wouldn't Work
Even with the efforts of OPEC to stop the USA shale oil producers, "their resilience has surpassed all expectations." What they've done is, yes, limit production and refine (get it? big joke) their techniques. So, as soon as prices go up again, they're now in an even stronger competitive position to bring 'em back down.
Talk about backfire. This sort of outfit used to be called "wildcat"; times may change but certain types don't so much.

In That Case...
Minister Römer announces she will start checking the status of 10,000 illegal houses. 10,000, 10^4, ten thousand: it's come to that. What she plans to do with the results of checking is not clear.
Says one comment, "if these guys get the terrain they built on without paying property tax over the years they occupied it, I'll go to the judge and ask mine back." Great idea!
Total population presently is about 150,000. Say an average family is 4 persons, living in less than 40,000 houses; of which 1/4 is illegal. 3,500 people are looking for a house. Officially, that is.

Like London
Or Denmark, Sweden, and Jerusalem, where the light rail system service is switched off for Arab neighborhoods. Busses and taxis don't enter Seru Papaya anymore because they get pelted with stones; cops only dare come in with assistance.
Just wait until these people get a mosque there.

Go Get Them
Lawyer In 't Veld announces that steps will be taken to collect 75 million guilders [USD41+] from Isla over 2014 as well, when pollution was even worse than in 2013.

Everybody can start a driving school here, says the head of Association for Safe Traffic Curaçao. The sad results are obvious.
Goes for diving schools as well. And churches, of course. But that's the same all over; except in the vatican and islam countries.

Just Don't Eat Your Catch, You May Catch Something
A promotion is going on, like those golfers touring from course to course. Only this time it's 'kayak-fisher' champ Jim Sammons. Accompanied by a film crew, he will visit 4 locations, one of which is Schottegat.

Not Good, Maduro
Venezuela tried to get OPEC to cut production in order to raise the crude oil price. (PdVSA needs a price of well over $100/barrel to make a profit; it's now below 50.) Tough, nobody cares a stinking... er... you know.
What this means for Isla refinery in the long run is anybody's guess.
Problem here is, anyway, if OPEC cuts production to raise price, US shale oil producers will start producing more and there you go.
Much worse news is, president Maduro wants to sue Polar boss Mendoza because he wants IMF to bail Venezuela out: Treason! But where will we then get beer?

Bring Out the Popcorn
SMOC has imposed a penalty of 75 million guilders on Isla refinery, for exceeding 80µg/m^3 of SO2 emissions over 2013, the maximum stipulated in a 2010 appeal. This is a so-called executorial garnishment, don't ask. SMOC and protesting citizens also claim a total sum of 105,067.66 in damages and costs. Peanuts.
By what may or may not be a coincidence, Pueblo Soberano declared that as long as they are in power, no help will be asked from Holland to solve the environmental problems, reacting to recent motions in Dutch parliament.
Isla sues back, saying SMOC used a wrong calculation, and holds SMOC cum suis responsible for any damages resulting from imposing the penalty. But SMOC isn't worried, they have Dutch TNO research institute to back 'em up.

Shorty Is Getting Desperate
Ex-PM Shorty has, together with CDM/Dok director Caldera, appeared in a meeting with the 350 formerly temporary Dok workers to whom the company still owes half of 3.5 million guilders.
This can only be to pester lawyer Bijkerk a bit. Bijkerk, who has been representing the workers, is a main push behind the Babel case, finally coming to court two weeks from now. When Shorty was still PM, he absolutely refused to give the workers their due.
More popcorn: Bijkerk claims that Shorty bribes workers a raison de 4000 guilders each to leave him and join Shorty (who has an eye peeled for the coming elections). Bijkerk plans to complain against Shorty's lawyer Osepa with the supervisory council of the bar.
Osepa is a well-known member of the Shorty gang, as the predecessor of Fräudlein Wiels.

Don't Try This At Home
Because the Tax Person will come and get you! Soab government accounting is 7 months behind schedule with the yearly account of 2012. We have to hand 'em in by October or so at the latest—over the preceding year.

Next, Vigilantes
The people living in Emmastad are sick of the crime going on there and have taken measures of their own. Not only have they put up warning signs for criminals, they've also set up a network via WhatsApp.

Results, Please
The Caribbean Medical University School of Medicine (a tautology if I ever saw one) gave the participators in the recent "Stop Isla Now" demonstration a free check-up. Fine. Just wondering if we'll ever get to see the results; of course, compared with a similar double-blind random check (already impossible) of non-demonstrators. This is scientifically worthless. So much for that university.
Blame the media, oops: professor Roelof Thomas is quoted somewhere else that they need 2 groups of 30 people to compare. It's still not a valid double-blind procedure, as the researchers know where these people come from (unless this was sloppily reported as well). In any case a rather small sample.

Worse... Much Worse
That official who's so generous with building permits? This was not just the third building permit she granted—rather, it was the third in the last two years that was canceled in court.
As I've often, too often, have said here, the situation is endemic and piteous. Now, two permits have been applied for (Rock Beach and St. Tropez) both holy cow tourist attractions, where planning permissions already have been infringed as officially observed by ex-minister Balborda and his team.
But minister Römer says she needs time to look into this. How about that? Meanwhile, building just proceeds and the longer she waits, the harder to stop it. Which I'm sure she knows, she's not that stupid.

Isla's PR Machine
Isla refinery, understandably, is sick and tired of negative news on their pollution. Instead of doing something about it, now, they prefer publishing a list about what people experience as largest environmental problems. Mosquitoes are on top with 87% and "Isla stench" at bottom, 14%. But there's also an item "air pollution" at 20%. Which total makes Isla good, or bad, for 34%, which is quite impressive and brings 1 company to place 3 on the list, after mosquitoes and rodents.
Isla does have a point that the ECORYS report is not applicable to Curaçao.

Car Parts
According to a letter by a car dealer to Amigoe newspaper, the reason for all those auto thefts going on (ad 600/year) is that they are demolished for parts to restore (often imported) wrecks, which wouldn't be worth it with new parts. Sounds probable. He also denies spare parts here are outrageously expensive, which sounds improbable.

Energy Subsidy Continues
Holland will continue subsidizing energy for the people of Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire. The article we saw is illustrated with a photograph of the Bonaire wind farm. How fitting.

George Changed His Tune
The judge judges that Norbert George's appointment as civil servant never existed. Contrary to older news, George was never appointed by the RvM [council of ministers], but at the most by SOAW minister Koeiman (MAN). So his claims for rectifications in the press (plus a 10k guilders compensation), payment of 24k guilders study costs, supposedly made for a study in Holland have been denied, as well as his claim that pension premiums should be paid. He has already been compelled to pay his salary back.
We had some hope for George when he was the lone voice in parliament protesting higher members' salaries and pensions some years ago.

Minister van der Horst says that Staten may act surprised, but it's all an act: they have been told on several occasions, which he names, that next year the automatic official's salary increase would be frozen. And only for next year. Van der Horst says parliament is "mendicious".

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
That's how the fire brigade used to be called in New York, because they robbed you empty when they paid a visit to your home. Now here, McDonald's safe has been broken into—with firemen's tools.
The Fire Dept. says those were stolen from them.
Which might be true.

Enjoy Our Nightlife (Such as It Is)
Just don't use your car: take a taxi. Soon, they might even become affordable. But when you park near tourist centers Pietermaai, Piscaderabaai, Waaigat and Riffort, you may return to find your auto damaged. Looters and vandals have to get their kicks, just like you, after all.
"A large number" of cars is damaged every week-end. Too many to count perhaps, that's all we get to hear.

We Saw That Coming
If, or rather when, the agreement between Isla refinery and PdVSA is not renewed in 2019, they can just continue as now, or worse, for ten more years. They don't even have to modernize. It's been confirmed. Not much Holland can do about that, I fear.

Uncle Cop, Your Best Friend
A guy who was maltreated by a cop a few weeks ago came to the station to complain. He was then locked up by "a special unit", but before he was released from his cell he was beaten up again. Two cops have been relieved of their duties.

Police raided 4 security services. Two were okay, two not (that's half), but the police won't tell which ones. That's transparency of course. At one of 'em, they found a gun without proper registration, although the papers turned up later. The same office illegally had 2000 bullets in stock, which seems enough to start a small war. We do know which one it is, though: it's Speedy Security, the scandal-ridden company run by ex-ministers Imalootin and Monk (both MFK), who made an appearance at the police station.

And Who Else?
It's now known who renewed that building permit after the court had thrown it out. Turns out, that same official has pulled that trick at least three times. Throw her out! (won't happen). Is this only one rotten apple? Are there any good apples at all in that basket? Isn't it, come right down to it, finally the minister's responsibility? Answers: no, maybe, and yes.
We now get voices clamoring "don't demolish those buildings! It will turn away investors!" We need such investors like we need cancer.

Parliament Behind Brats
Parliament will not accept the proposal to freeze spoiled brats' civil servants' salaries for 2016. They'd much rather have us pay more taxes. Confirms once again who are our real rulers.
Ex-PM Shorty says that it's always civil servants who are victims of savings. Poor babies. In 2001 when cuts were made on IMF's insistence, 43,000 left the island, he claims. My, I never suspected we had that many of them. Don't you wish they'd all gone, too?

Always Complaining
We may think we are worse off since the 10-10-10 independence, and maybe we are. But Bonaire, which opted to remain a province of Holland, feels the same and will have yet another referendum shortly. What's their problem? Cost of living there has gone down since then!
It's official: 81% feels we have not done better since 10-10-10 and the same percentage says we are politically unstable. Too bad we're not told how many thought we're doing worse. Or maybe poller Cijntje didn't want to go there, being a PS party member.

Just a Symbol
Some people want to make the biná, endemic form of the Andes deer, our national animal. While there's much to be said for using the goat instead, that destructive anarchistic animal, the biná does have its points. We are collectively doing anything in our power to destruct the already limited habitat, and thus the future of the species. Which makes it a good symbol of our culture indeed.

Yes and No
Minister of health Whiteman, removing his PM-hat, says the botikas [drugstores] have no reason to complain about the 1 guilder-per-line they get paid out to fulfill prescriptions. SVB social insurance figures it's enough and that's that. Besides, there are too many botikas he says (which may be true), and also they should primarily serve the people, not make money. Are we in a crypto-communist utopia here?
But Whiteman may have a point; my botika doesn't charge me anything as I'm an old fart. I'm sure they feel they make enough money on the medicines. And Whiteman himself is the one to talk. As far as I can figure, he's collecting a minister's and a prime-minister's salary right now.

Nobel-Prize Winning Economist Tells Us Where It's At
Exactly what happened here when Holland first allowed us to have our debts grow to incredible and unsustainable heights, then gave us 2 milliard to pay them off:
"... large inflows of foreign aid change local politics for the worse and undercut the institutions needed to foster long-run growth. Aid also undermines democracy and civic participation, a direct loss over and above the losses that come from undermining economic development."
Angus Deaton - The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality, 2013
Strikes a much too familiar chord: along came MFK-PS-MAN and started gobbling up all that lovely loot.

After All
Although Dutch minister Plasterk didn't want to, his own PVDA party voted for a motion that Holland will "help Curaçao abate pollution". SMOC loves it of course, but let's wait for results.

Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst
We have a new ombudsman, Keursly Concincion, successor of Alba Martijn. Congrats to him, kudos to Martijn. As Concincion has been working for Martijn, looks like it might have turned out worse.
Martijn left her function in June. What took 'em so long?

Say, That Water
There is a way out for our agriculture, or at least for our horticulture. Developed in Israel, it uses closed-water systems in which most of the water is recirculated, to grow veggies and fish or shrimp at the same time. It not only looks very promising, it's actually in use and producing commercially. For example on the rooftop of Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Shopping Centre, vegetables are grown which are sold and used in shops and restaurants below. You can't get 'em any fresher than that.
I'll add a page on this to the agricultural section when I have time. Till then, you can look it up here. Meanwhile, maybe we could get together and start something over here.

All Bets Are Off
After the economic gurus, for to me unfathomable reasons, started cheering "I told you so!" when crude oil price crept up a bit (over USD50/barrel), it went down again. It doesn't mean it will keep down, but it does mean the gurus talk through their hats, to remain polite.
And by that tiresome old way you know, in 1978 we paid ~ANG0.40/liter at the fuel pump here. If memory serves me. Now we pay 1.61; counting inflation, just about the same.

Gee, I Wonder
Education minister Dick wanted to add 1 commissioner to the board of SSC [study financing]. However, the law says 7 is the maximum, and he'd become #8. Then, the guy she proposed already is a commissioner elsewhere and there's a maximum to the number of functions he may fulfill as well. But those other ones are dexterously left out of his CV.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those commissioners. And we're not told his name, either.

Bad for Them, Good for Us All
The taxi drivers don't like the plan to introduce taxi meters at all. Big surprise: their fav tune is "I can't stop robbing you!" (but they never even tried, to paraphrase Ray Charles). They are still less delighted with the idea to halve tariffs, starting next February.

Independence Now!
Some hotheads in Bandabao, the Western (downwind) and rural part of the island, say that Bandabao has not profited from our five years of independence. True enough; not only for them. They say Bandabao would be better off were it independent. Highly doubtable.
I guess the Maal family would prefer to get Oostpunt's independence as well. They would certainly be better off then, no doubt about that.
The Bandabaoers main complaint is, after Shorty was kicked out everything grew more expensive. You bet. That's when we started paying for his bonanza. And his gang's, don't forget his gang—like, PS and MAN.

Get Lost—But Not Right Now
Four Venezolanos who'd come over here, not so much as to escape their country's régime as to commit several assaults on minimarkets and private homes. Demanded punishments were for 6, 8, 10 and 18 years of jail. The word is "atrako-tourism".

Sport: Bad for Your Health
The SDK swimming pool has been closed down for general cleaning and maintenance. This only after users complained about getting several ear infections and finally had the water tested themselves; exact results are not known yet. After GGD public health started testing as well the cleaning decision was taken. GGD will now test all public swimming pools on too many solid particles and bacterial infections.
There is no guide-rule on how much chlorine should be used, the pools add what they figure is okay.

She Means Well
That's all you can say. Indie MP Leeflang says that without an adequate water law, the water supply problem will never be solved. You know what? It will never be solved, period. We have half the world's average rainfall and many more than average people/m^2 needing the stuff. In fact, we're among the densest populated areas in the world. Please let us not waste our energy on unsolvable problems. Take it from The Sea Around Us, distil and drink. There's plenty of energy... plenty. Like strontium.
And by all possible means, sure, let the rain penetrate the soil. But that is not sufficient. Of course, Leeflang believes in local agriculture—good luck with that, she'll need it.

We're So Great!
We have an "INTERCONTINENTAL UNIVERSITY OF THE CARIBBEAN" right here in Willemstad. Impressive huh? Only, no other establishments exist elsewhere but in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Sounds pretty regional/provincial to me: not one continent on the list. Oh wait... now that would be the IUC, nothing to do with "our" ICUC that just ripped off the name. They're not even regional, let alone intercontinental. Braggarts.
I searched their site for "number of students": but got no results. There must be some, though.

5&10 Cents Store
Today it's five years ago that we grew independent (and poor). Aren't we proud and happy? Judging from the interviews I read, nobody seems to be. Look before you leap, but now it's too late.
Shorty has not been interviewed, not where I look.
Let's give it 5 more years, huh, gang? 5+5=10!

Carmabi Wins, Government Loses. For Now
Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity wanted access to the documents which moved the government to allow development of Oostpunt. The judge, based on the LOB law (analog to FOIA) agreed and the government now has four weeks "to decide on this".
Lawyer In 't Veldt would not be surprised if the country lawyers appeal, but gives them little chance. The country has to pay process costs and a 1000 guilder/day fine if the four week period is exceeded.

Wonder How That's Here
In the USA, federal workers earn 78% more than those in the private sector. Could we have some transparency on this over here, please?

Hope And Pray
Two American outfits, Dynaf Caribbean and Maxwell Silver Corporate Finance, have designed a Solar Park, for 10 or 20Mw, here. Hey, that's exactly what Shorty tried to get off the ground with those Spanish con-artistos (who are not really bankrupt, but definitely out of the game).
Keep trying!
Costs are USD24.7m for a 10Mw Solar Farm over 20 years and USD49.4m for a 20Mw Solar Farm. Shouldn't it get cheaper when it grows larger? Is what I offer my customers! Asshole... I'll have to dig up my Economy 101 course notes. Then, remember The Alamo Hairy Slaw.
"Maxwell Silver primarily focuses on realizing of investments on Curaçao, or structured through Curaçao." Please don't bother for me. Sounds like the Wodehouse "Silver River" certificates, sold by that lovable con man Oily Soap. I can't help it, love con artists... and detest 'em.
As for Dynaf, they may be more upfront I'll admit—grudgingly.

Locals Don't Count
Since the establishment of Politur, crime on tourists in Bandabao has been reduced considerably! Good, huh? Well... [soupy voice] they still mention 18 cases at 3 locations in 6 months. That's one per month per location. This is a reduction already?
Also, only holy cows tourist crimes are mentioned. Locals (who visit the exact same locations in droves) lodge their complaints with the police, and are not counted.
Also, for the sake of shortness I presume, what the numbers were last year is not mentioned. Do you think the media thought to, as they ought to, ask? Those bleeping sheep?
If somebody could please explain to me why Bandabao is spelled Bándabou these days? OK, in a way I can follow replacing the ao with ou, so far so good. Even if it hits my curmudgeon instincts in the plexus solaris. But why that accent aigu? Nobody, absolutely nobody, pronounces the word with the emphasis on the first syllable. But the spoiled brats prescribing what Papiamentu should be like instead of what it is, have so decided. And the sheep follow sheepishly.

It's a Start
Police, coast guard, customs and tax persons joined in a special action where houses were raided and expensive cars, jewelry, boats and loads of cash were confiscated. For years we've been complaining that people who could legitimately never afford all those luxuries got away with it; now at least some of them can't any more.
Sources of all those goodies are drug dealing and money laundering, what else? You don't get rich by burgling houses or assaults on mini-markets.
The news got here first via a Dutch newspaper. That's our state of the art.
I wonder when they'll get to my neighbor here...

Think of It as Democracy in Action
The merchants of Colon shopping center sued the government for compensation for damages because of the building of the new hospital next to them. They won. After some delay they met with the government, who agreed to pay; only thing left to do was to establish the sums to be paid. Then suddenly the government appealed the verdict.
The merchants' lawyers think this is because the government figures the merchants don't have the money to pay for the appeal's cost. Methinks the lawyers have a point. Isn't democracy great?

Not That I Care
The islands' autonomy, in other words the demise of the Netherlands Antilles, has "wrecked" our top sport, say the experts. This because we don't have access to the Olympic club. Big deal. As if that would improve the sport. The only reason I mention it is, another unforeseen disadvantage, on top of all the predicted ones.
Now Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten are suing international sport federations (like FIFA?) to become members. No doubt this is paid for by the governments, thus ensuring intellectual education gets less. Because sports are so healthy! But all that wouldn't have happened without Shorty's ruinous dictatorship, aided and abetted by Sainted Wiels.

HELP! No Way
In the next issue of Caribisch Juristenblad magazine of Antillean Lawyers Association three lawyers proclaim the necessity of having a benevolent dictator. They may be good lawyers, but smart historians, not. Name One! Possibly they're thinking of Singapore, a place I won't be caught dead in. Another example is ancient Rome, where you did have such dictators—for six months at a time. Who could they possibly have in mind? Themselves? Shorty? Dios spar nos.
You get tired and discouraged by people pointing to Singapore as our example anyway. The geographical conditions are totally different.

Stabbed But Good
That new gas terminal will be built, and we're stuck with the refinery until who-knows-when; stop trying to protest. Don't waste your breath as long as you have any left. The last development is that, according to that great light Werner Wiels (another saint's brodder I guess) "PdVSA probably will want to make use of the gas that the country is rich in, by the Isla refinery." If you know what that means, you're smarter than I am. Is Venezuela the country rich in gas, or is there a large field by "our" Isla refinery?

It's the Heat, Not the Humidity
Well, maybe both. I'm running a couple of days behind on my self-imposed schedule. Computer problems as well, and a fudzed-out airco. I'll spare you the rest. Anyway, however, etcetera, I'm catching up. Alas, it's not like nothing happens worth commenting on.
Sometimes people mention "my staff". That's a laugh.

That Really Showed Them!
Avila Beach Hotel and Veneto Holiday Beach started expanding their beaches by adding sand, large part of which is removed by the strong current running East to West along our South coast. Net result is, coral dies off and mangrove habitat is ruined. Who cares?
So after a June check the building permit was canceled, but Veneto just went on regardless (Avila stopped). Veneto's permit was canceled again but little did they care (and why should they?)—they just went on and the project has now been completed. Just like that.
How that minister Römer keeps herself busy, apart from announcing great new traffic plans, nobody could understand. Those plans were already started by her predecessor Balborda, who as rumor has it had to leave because he refused helping party friends to illegal permits. Römer does not seem to have such problems. She stopped building of one (1) house, and that only after her faithful servants had tried everything to legalize it but did not succeed.

Dutch PVV party claims that a survey shows that over 60% of the Dutch want to get rid of us (which is understandable). But Dutch parliament declined. So that genius Wiels, brodder of the saint and leader of Tim Magno party, says now's the time to step out of the kingdom. The guy really can't take referendum hints, but we have grown used to that.

That's Good to Know—NOT
PM Whiteman (he is also minister of health but as he doesn't do anything there he might as well double his functions, right) assures us that there's no reason to worry at all about an influx of Venezuelan immigrants/refugees. We can handle 250 of 'em, easy.
Yeah, well, but from Aruba we get to hear that every month 400 tourists from Venezuela illegally extend their stay; there are almost 2500 on that island already. At least, as they also come in by boats; it's that close. Nobody has counted them.

What to Think?
It's too complicated to explain it all, but boiling it down to the most interesting point: the "new" plan Maal family submitted for the development of Oostpunt seems to be exactly the same as the one presented 5 years ago—which was rejected. But hey! that at least is what the media tell us.
Once and for all, singular medium, plural media. So don't write me letters, save it for the others.

It's a Start
A very modest one. Not even the beginning of the end, to do Churchill one better: one (1) house under construction has been demolished. The owner/builder didn't even live in it and chose to disregard all preceding warnings. Serves her right.
But as somebody remarks, why isn't the van der Dijs clan stopped with their illegal building on Caracasbaaiweg, still going strong since 2011-11-11? To refresh your memory, ex-PM Shorty's common-law wife is a clan member. Sure looks like they're still untouchable.

Simply Stupid Suckers
What a bunch of asses. The council of ministers has unanimously voted for the masterplan for tourism. It will cost 40 million dollars, a mere pittance, for which we're supposed to get back in 5 years 200 million dollars, 4000 new jobs and 20,000 more tourists. If this sounds like con-artists' promises, that's because they are. Base is, Curaçao must become the premier, top, primary, principal tourist destination in the Caribbean. Dream on; we'll get the nightmare.

Don't Listen to the Professionals
"There was no call for input from specialists for the new hospital. This threatens to turn out to a debacle, a missed chance for generations to have a solid central hospital." Besides, the money saving cuts have led to a structural and serious shortage in specialists. Then, many people are sent to foreign countries which not only costs money but often results in treatments having to be redone when they come back. Much money could be saved by keeping these patients in Curaçao.
The specialists have been trying for weeks to get an appointment with minister of health/PM Whiteman, but he seems to be busy.

There We Go Again
The Plaza Hotel is on the market. It's a pretty unique location, on the old Riffort next to Fort Amsterdam, rooms overlooking the harbor, Willemstad or the sea. But the prospective buyers shrink back from having to settle the hotel's debts, as well they might.
Way back when, I was told by people who really were guaranteed to know, that the hotel was extensively restored, redecorated and refurbished for a price that was higher than what it was then sold for to the Dutch Van der Valk hotel chain. Hmmm. Needless to say, Van der Valk then got out after they'd had their fun and the next refurbishment was due.

Liar in Christ
No independent confirmation yet, but it looks like it will soon come: Advent's Panneflek was downright lying when she claimed that the former Taams clinic in Damacor has all necessary licenses. They actually have none. Or so I'm told. We'll see soon enough; actually, might be too late.
Confirmed: An article in Amigoe newspaper confirms this scoop: Advent has until October 15 to submit their requests for permits. They do not have them.
Health inspection dept. says that "only very few operations" will be possible if the state of the operating rooms is not improved.
MEO economic development maintains that the clinic has no license to open. Note: They were open all the time.
An uncheckable rumor is that Advent was underhand allowed to pay 800,000 guilders for the clinic's inventory in exchange for a medical license, so SVB would get their money. Just passing it on for what it's worth.

Figure Along With Me
Next year, 7 million guilders will be spent on social housing, resulting in 130 new houses. There are 3500 people with minimum income (max. 14k guilders) looking for (I take it as many) houses, so 27 years from now they will all have one. Provided the list won't get longer.
Each house will then cost 53,846 guilders. With rents between 100 and 250 guilders/month that's an average of 175. Normally, an investment should fetch at least 10%, or 448/house/month. Who'll pay the 273 difference? That's easy: the rest of us.
I'd almost wish I had a minimum income. Instead, I pay property tax.

No Deal
There will be no deal between the public ministry and Robbie dos Santos. The guy will have to go to court, pre-trial October 23rd. But it's expected the real trial won't start before March '16.
Dos Santos is connected with ex-PM Shorty's "Babel" case. Ex-sinister of injustice Wilsoen tried to interfere with him by writing a letter (illegitimately) to USA Hillary Clinton to unfreeze 50 million dollars, but that didn't work out. Maybe he should have offered her more. For the Clinton Foundation; charitable to the Clinton Clan.

The youth movement meeting held in Maritime Museum was remarkable: they didn't seem to trust the politicians. Nobody can explain the phenomenon. They can vote, can't they? So there.

Don't Trust the Bastards
What happened is, in Pietermaai-Willemstad there's a stretch of empty terrain along the seaside that was in use among the people of the neighborhood as a small park. Then, Jewe Investment and Management Group NV asked for, and got, a building permit for apartments on the site. Neighborhood went to court in protest, they won. The very next day Jewel had a new building permit and, as the judge had denied the old one, started building activities. [HINT: maybe they paid somebody. Just maybe.] The neighborhood has gone back to court.
You know how long it normally takes to get a building permit? Don't even ask.
The judge retracted Jewel's building permit. Beeg Kwestion: Will the building now be demolished? Knowing Römer ∧ her gang, I wouldn't be sure. 2015-09-30

Smart Sabians
In Saba, where people speak English (if only after a Caribbean fashion) more and more people are learning Dutch because it opens the road to get ahead. Yes. Saka bo som as the Papiamentu expression is.

Almost Funny
Author Frank Martinus Arion has died. That's not funny. What is (almost) funny is that now we get to hear that he was "the last great Antillean writer." Although Martinus was a great factor in the advancement of Papiamentu, he almost invariably wrote in Dutch. Would it be going too far to suspect that the Dutch decline is the reason we have no more great writers?
I can remember only one writer you'd call "great" who wrote in Papiamentu, Pierre Lauffer. The others, Cola Debrot, Tip Marugg, Boeli van Leeuwen, you name 'em... all wrote in Dutch.

Fair's Fair
Without going into the reasons why this would be so, one can only admit those two makambas had a point when they told minister Römer the Dutch did it better: just look at our roads and compare with theirs!

The Taams Damacor clinic was opened yesterday. Not really, as they have been functioning already. The claim is they don't need a permit as Advent is a non-profit foundation. Sounds suspect to me, but the ministry confirmed it. At least, that's what Advent's Panneflek says. Antilliaans Dagblad doesn't seem to have bothered to check with the ministry.
They should have made Isla refinery a non-profit! Yes, one can see practical problems there. But still, those Christians (just like FIFA, WWF and Greenpeace) can get away with almost anything. Religion, you know. Respect it, you know. I agree—up to a point.
But that free ride is not even enough for them. They're greedy! Check this giant Adventist hospital insurance fraud.

Good Question
Now that even her own Pueblo Soberano party has ordered education minister Dick to get real, there is a general doubt if that party should carry that ministry. We've been wondering about that for years.

Makambas Hit Minister
On the Living Expo exhibition minister Römer was accosted by a makamba [Dutch, originally stranger, foreigner] couple, who started telling her that what she was doing wasn't worth the trouble, and that the Dutch would do it much better. There really still are people around like that; presumably these two live here. When Römer ended the conversation by turning away, she got a push, or pinch, or hit, in the back. She's lodged a complaint with the police.
Römer's not-so-snappy come-back was that her own grandmother was Dutch as well.
Makamba is often used as an invective; like the Malaysian totok or Hawaiïan haole.

For the Birds
We have many fans of the murdered Wiels, and I guess just about as many of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. One of the first group is a guy called Baselmans who some time ago insisted on being heard as a witness in the murder case, as he had occult, or psychic (whatever) contact with Wiels and thus knew all about the murderers. He got nowhere with the judge, which is good to know.
Now Venezuelan president Maduro holds speeches in which he claims that he is in contact with Chávez by way of a mysterious bird that appears and whispers sweet nothings in his ear.
The bird tells him "Chávez is happy and full of love for the loyalty of his people." That's also good to know.

Which Means, We'll Never Get Rid of Isla
After all Aruba's green promises, the government is negotiating with Citgo, PdVSA's USA unit, to explore reopening and operating the island's refinery. The Lago refinery was abandoned by Valero in 2012 and has since been used as an oil terminal.
Color me deeply skeptical as to what this means for our prospects. We're stuck with Isla.

Maduro the Optimist
China will by year-end pay PdVSA USD5 billion more, bringing the total to 50 billion. But the money will go to contractors; PdVSA won't get a cent.
Still, president Maduro thinks that, as next year crude price will go up, they can sell at over $50/barrel. In the first place, this is a very moot point. In the USA there's a strong movement going to stop the oil export ban; combined with Saudi-Arabia's refusal to limit production there's little chance price will go up that far from presently $45/barrel. Second, even then PdVSA will lose money instead of earning it, as their production cost is well over $100/barrel because it's high-sulfur and heavy.
But don't take heart; that won't stop Isla from processing it. Meanwhile, Venezuela is falling to pieces. This may grow ugly.
The USA export ban was installed because of "peak oil" worries. Remember that canard?

Howzdat Again?
AVA Airways, still waiting for a license, held a press meeting in which they asked minister Römer to tell them exactly what she meant with a "letter of credit". She never did. Between you and me, don't let it get any further, I could understand how she might ask for a bank guarantee, but why a LoC?

Skeptical Insect
Amigoe letter writer Isenia fulminates against the "trickle-down" economy. When you give those at the top money to spend, it's supposed to trickle down to us poor blighters below, so we get left-over crumbs of it. He doesn't seem to have much confidence in it—because it's much more profitable to transfer that lovely loot to a foreign bank account. Some of his examples are BOO and IRUP (refinery upgrade), the Hyatt Santa Barbara and Rif Resort hotels, Ctex, Sambil and the new hospital. And of course the SPX Hato-Space Gang project.
Re the BOO where Philippine workers were found to be exploited as slaves, Isenia tells us that they were hired because so many local workers did not pass drug tests. That's easy to believe.

No, Not That Either
Gois of Goisco supermarket may have a point when he complains about the way a detachment of Social Dept SOAW held a media-supported razzia in his store. But now he wants to be told in advance when they come next time. Uh, no, I don't think so.
Would be just as stupid as having Iran report on their own nuclear activities.
During my delightful slavery in the Glorious Dutch People's Queen's Army, all squadron trucks were inspected before every week-end. When brake fluid was found on the wheels, signifying a faulty brake cylinder, the driver had to fix it before he could go home. So an hour before the inspection, wheels with brake fluid traces got a smart new coat of olive-drab paint. Who knows how much paint, brake fluid, and accidents this habit cost.

As Transparent as Soot
The government has promised better future communication with Smoc and Clean Air on the Isla refinery problems. "Transparency will be central" is quoted.
When again have we heard that before?

Plot Thickens; Soup Heats Up
A protesting neighbor of Advent [Taams] clinic was visited by a civil servant from MEO [ministry economic development] about their business permit. Rather, about their lack of it. This while they plan to open next Monday. The Man said he would go by Advent to warn them they couldn't.
We'll have to bate our breaths until Monday before we know what's the result. If any.

Where Did They Get That Idea?
A gang of crooks appeared in court. Their specialty was selling fake documents, signed by justice minister Navarro, which licensed you to drive, for example, in cars with dark foil on the windows. They cost between 400 and 800 guilders.
What gets me is and what nobody remarks on: so people are ready and willing to believe that if they pay Navarro (via a middleman to be sure) he will sign a special permit for 'em.
The judge gave light punishments, they were soooo sorry! Sure, when they were caught.

Sounds Good
PM-health minister Whiteman wants to improve the automatic adminstration of general practitioners. He says that according to WHO 70% of health costs can be saved by more efficient use of existing means. No doubt. And more emphasis on prevention sounds good as well.

We All Have Had That Experience
A guy complains in a letter to Amigoe newspaper how the Consumentenbond and the government regularly check prices of supermarkets, so far so good; but they never look at prices for, one example, spare car parts. So he compares local price quotes with what he'd pay when ordering elsewhere.
Figuring all costs, you pay up to 85% more here.

We'd All Like to Know That
PIAS Rosaria has asked the ministers of health and general affairs, howzabout that Isla-PdVSA agreement? Is it true that, if nothing's done in 2017, the contract that ends in 2019 will automatically be extended to 2029? That's the first time I heard about this! Worse, in that case Isla is not required to modernize.
Rosaria also wants pollution measurements directly at the funnels, to avoid excuses that the pollution measured at present locations was caused by "somebody else".

Great DOK Plans
Now that the Cuban slave affair has been resolved (we'll pay), CDM/DOK has announced great plans! They have had them ready since 2012, but now feel free to go ahead and become the Curaçao Maritime Center. Over the next 5 years 2000 new jobs will be created, with a GDP increase of 5%. Export turnover 200 million dollars. More jobs in the harbor as well.
We'll see.

Gas Price Down
Feels like a roller coaster ride: they take 20% off the gasoline price. This while crude is a bit more expensive and last month, it had gone down. Be that as it may, government wants to avoid such large fluctuations in the future. Down fluctuations I dare guess. As if we cared.
Now that's what we need in the economy. Just watch the traffic flow swell next month.

By How Much?
PIAS Justice minister Navarro says that since he became minister, crime has been much reduced and we can all feel safer now. Pity he doesn't mention one single number.

Good Market
A Venezuelan guy in court told that in his country, Curaçao is known as a "good market" for guns. That's easy to believe. He himself had smuggled in two weapons, making $400. The most obvious way is via what used to be a romantic "floating market", which has long since outlived its purpose of supplying us with fruits and vegetables. Essentially they're just filthy ships along a quay, set up as shops. The products sold are delivered by other ships crossing up and down. It's not even a good tourist attraction anymore.

Tourism Bad
Even CTB tourist bureau can't hide it behind their notorious statistics: tourism in August was downright bad. They partly blame it on the fact that the so-called North Sea Jazz Festival was moved to September; but that wouldn't explain why there were also less cruise tourists.
Besides, the whole year showed a downward trend. There were 4% more staying tourists—but they rented 1% less rooms. Great!

Watch It
Let's hope we won't find gas and oil here! Venezuela is now getting ready to start a war with Guyana to get their claws on the Essequibo territory, which is full of goodies like minerals and precious hard woods. How long would you think it'd take to come over here? Aruba, where gas and oil may well be found, should watch its step very carefully. The Dutch government probably won't lift a finger, as was proven pretty conclusively in the recent drug-king affair.
The guy had been arrested in Aruba and was supposed to be extradited to the USA, but when Venezuela sent 2 or 3 of their crummy warships over to Aruba, the Dutch capitulated right away and claimed "diplomatic immunity" for him.
Or do you think this is mere saber-rattling, like what Argentina maybe does versus the Falklands? Think again.

Knifed in the Back
Isla refinery is going to build a natural gas terminal at Bullenbaai, next to Curaçao Oil Terminal. The idea is that in the future the refinery's own energy will come from there, and BOO and Aqualectra will also switch over to gas. Pipes are already being installed to feed the homes to be built in Wechi instead of the cylinders we presently use (popularly called bombs and rightly so).
So once again we're faced with a fait accompli: Once we have invested in that terminal that much more will be down the drain should Isla stop their activities. In other words: we're stuck with it.
In itself it would be fine if those guys all switched to natural gas. But this also means that the Asphalt Lake will keep sitting there, as BOO would stop burning it up. Here's an idea: why not have Shell exploit it like they say they can?
Oh, and the gas will be bought from PdVSA. So even if the Chinese take over Isla (which is highly doubtable) we're still stuck with our Good Neighbors.

So What!
The group arranging the Rif Resort take-over denies Shorty's allegations and says he showed "old documents", but I'm too dumb to understand what's the truth here. Except that the hotel is in debt for 130 million guilders, of which half is gone and lost forever. Guess who'll have to pay? That's almost half a million for each and every one of us.

SVB social insurance announces that in the future we will be insured for illness while in foreign countries, so we don't have to take out expensive separate insurance anymore when going on a trip. It's not because they want to, it's because they're forced by law.
Say, do you think I can now claim what I paid for all those insurances back? Not a chance you say? Alas, you must be right.

Scammer Champ Reports Scam
Ex-PM Shorty claims that the Rif Resort Hotel, exploited by Marriott, for which 30 million guilders had been offered, was sold nevertheless to a group of "friends" (whose?) for 25 million. The hotel is owned by the government. If true, it proves that we have more scammers than Shorty; which we knew already.

Just Like That
The 111,000 guilders contractor's bill for urgent emergency work to enable a safe passage of last February's carnival march hasn't been paid yet, he says. One of the two guys who gave him the commission has been on a "compulsory holiday" since March (one of those, huh?); and minister Balborda has been replaced by Römer.
The government is prepared to pay the contractor 15.7% of what's due.

C***-Post Does It Again
Like others, I regularly buy books from Amazon (and other stuff elsewhere as well). Delivery delays are incredibly outrageous. Ordered and paid for a book (Popeye #6, not that it matters) 5 weeks ago on August 17, and still haven't received it. Sometimes it has taken over a year, I kid you not. Magazine subscriptions? Hah! Might as well forget it.
But on September 15 we ordered a present for somebody in Bali, Indonesia—and we got news it had already arrived there yesterday.
Amazon don't bill you before they have shipped.

Forget It
You know, those promised lower taxes? Cft financial supervision calls the 2015 and 2016 budgets "unrealistic". They presume an economy growth of 0.9 and 1.1% for those years, and it's quite obvious that the CBCS central bank figures of -0.1 and +0.3% are more reliable.
Sorry to disappoint you, but you know what this means for taxes: pay up.

Hold on There
Isla refinery also announces they have advanced plans to renovate and keep going until kingdom come. Those plans should reduce the impact on the environment. You know, somehow I can't get up much confidence in that; certainly can't stop worrying we're stuck with 'em.
Meanwhile, demonstrations against Isla are getting to be a regular street show.
Isla's claim is they've been investing 100 million per year, that's 3 billion by now. Plus 2.5 billion more to come go. If true, that explains a lot about our national budget. And then, they will rent the facilities out again for a ridiculous fee to PdVSA, or China, or whomever pays those in key positions.

Bad Luck
That took 13 years. I try not to be superstitious, but that's how long ago cells in the Nos Futuro prison were opened for arrestees. Was supposed to be temporary, as the cells in police HQ were "in deplorable condition". Enough is sufficient, the prison management thought and give the police two more months to fix their own cells.
Do try not to get arrested after then, because they must now achieve what they couldn't in 13 years. The police are "surprised" we're told.

Export of Experts
We have hardly any export, but one product is doing fine. In Holland, Antillean criminals are big hitters. Complete wars are fought out in the streets, often with bystanders getting hurt. Because they're so mobile, the criminals are hard to catch: they just hop on a plane and fly over here until things cool off. Which is not a holiday from their criminal "work".
What price those "100% checks" on Schiphol airport? Bug everybody but let those guys slip back in?

That Stinks
Isla refinery denies they're heavy polluters, to give you the gist of a long and boring story. All that negative publicity just results in less tourists coming over, Isla says. Now we're sorry!

It's Illegal!
You wouldn't think so, but it's illegal again to dump trash all over. Not that it helps.

Competition Is Healthy and Welcome
This week, Amazon.com announced a new rocket ship for their Vomit Comet space travel, labeled Blue Origin. They join the ranks with Tesla Company's SpaceX and Richard Brenson's Virgin Galactic. And don't forget South African Elon Musk. My, the wide-open space market gets crowded! Will our own Space Gang stand a chance?
Hopefully not.

Gooney Bird
Venezuelan Albatros Airlines will start operating daily on the route Las Piedras-Curaçao on October 1. No week-end flights.

Losing Count
A new political party has been started by indie MP Leeflang. How many do we have now, you ask? Feels like dozens.
While Aubert Wiels promised that he would announce the names of the "intellectual perpetrators" of the murder of his brother Helmin, we heard nothing further but a stony silence.
Last news, he denies he ever said that.

"What Does She Mean?"
AVA Airlines wants minister Römer to explain what she means with a Letter of Credit. Who should be beneficiary? Lawyer Peterson (on of the three Stooges) suggests that Römer just says something she's been told to say, without understanding it.
Manager Arrundell accuses director of civil aviation authority CAA Derby and Römer to have discussed with Inselair if AVA should get a license to operate, and wants the public ministry to investigate this.

So Honour Your Pledge
Marc Verkade of CAE foundation (Clean Air Everywhere] held a discourse in a Staten [parliament] meeting, not-so-subtly reminding the members that they'd all sworn a dire oath to protect the people. From their government, maybe? it's a thought.
His most interesting point was that when Isla refinery and BOO, delivering electric power to Isla, were closed down in 2010, the SO2 pollution was down to 10, to go up to 170mg/m^3 when they restarted. Rather obvious who are the culprits here.

CAP Criticized
CAP, Hato airport management, got heavy criticism from not only airlines (IATA), but even from CAB Curaçao civil aviation authority. They behave like monopolists (which they are of course) and introduce tariff raises without consulting anyone, without transparency about the results. But the management claims wanting to be "honest and transparent." Yeah, sure.
Minister Römer promises, promises that early next year, or maybe end of this year, the FAA will upgrade the airport back. When did we hear that before, again? Too often to count... but since 2011, already. Hey... maybe then the Space Bandits will get their chance!
Let's face it. Ever since the airport was taken over by Alterra (now long gone) Hato airport, once among the best in the region, has steadily gone downhill.

Fine with Me
The FOL agreement, allowing stationing American Coast Guard and Air Force units at Hato airport, mainly for drug smuggler interception, will probably be renewed for another five years. A good thing this is the responsibility of the Dutch kingdom government. If it had been left to ours, FOL would have been kicked out many years ago. For sure.
If we need drug interception is another matter altogether. But as long as so many government members, here and around us, seem to be involved, let's fight it. By all means. Get 'em where it hurts: in their wallets. The fact alone that Venezuela president Maduro hates FOL stationed here is sufficient reason to keep FOL around.

AVA Airlines-to-be reacts to minister Römer's announcement that they have to show their money: there is nothing in the law anywhere stipulating that. Hey, I wouldn't presume to say who's right here, but it is fascinating.

Police Protection
Not you are protected so much... but they are. There was a multi-million fraud within the police corps, with five guys involved. At least, that many have received a letter by minister Navarro: "You're fired!" If they don't like it, they can go to court.
How about accusing them of fraud and dragging them to court? How many millions have they stolen? We don't get to hear nuffin'. That's transparency, folks! Stinks like a pig-sty.

Tell Us about It
The Curaçao laws are adequate to fight corruption; it's just so that there's not enough expertise and 'material' to fight it. Besides, there's a structural shortage of staff with Landsrecherche [country criminal investigation department]. A lot of things, oh no, that's called 'measures', are recommended; let's all bide our time until they're implemented. When pigs have wings.

Looking for a Way Out
PIAS Rosaria, who always wanted to hold ministers responsible for their actions—at least, that's what he said—is now looking for ways to prevent mismanagement by ministers without holding them personally responsible for it. Would be quite a trick.

Won't Help Him Much
Mafioso Corallo appeals to his right to remains silent, so he won't have to appear as a witness in the Babel case. Rather weird, as it was ex-PM Shorty's lawyer Sulvaran who wanted him there. Be that as it may, he will have to appear anyway because he's a suspect.

Terror Democracy
A controller of the Social Dept SOAW (yes, those guys) arrived at Goisco megastore, accompanied (unannounced) by a camera crew. There had been some complaints by a worker there. The proceedings were also transmitted live by Radio Direct, complete with open phone lines for listeners to add their two bits. Typical Soviet tactics. Goisco management has complained with SOAW; not that it will help much, I guess.

DOK Pays Slaves
The government and CDM-Dokmaatschappij have finally come to an arrangement with their former Cuban slaves. They'll probably pay them less then the $80 million awarded by a USA judge (in the meantime with compound interest grown to 120). This means that DOK may look forward to getting new business. If they get any is another questions; it was not their only problem by a long way.
Minister announces that now, negotiations have restarted with Dutch Damen ship builders; they came to a halt in 2009.

How Nice of Him
Ex PM Arsjes says he does not mind entering the country's service for an undisclosed salaray, at a post that has been created for him specifically, several years ago when he still was heading parliament. I guess after all minister van der Horst really has no choice than to accept.

There They Go—What Now?
You and I don't know; nobody does yet. But it's worrisome enough: shares of Ballast-Nedam, the crooks building our new hospital, Wednesday morning have dropped to 20% of their former value. Will they go bankrupt? Will they finish the building? Or will we be stuck with the bill of umpteen millions more? It's pretty sure the answers are Yes, No and Yes.
Ballast-Nedam has announced they expect €20 million more losses.

the Judge
Morris & Goscinny: Billy the Kid
Babel Postponed
The Babel case against ex-PM Shorty will now come to court early November.
Contrary to what the image above strongly suggests, which is the conclusion many people enthusiastically jumped to, this is not the judge's decision but has been requested by OM [public ministry], who need some more time to hear three witnesses.

So Much for Van der Horst
Admitting I had some degree of confidence left in the guy, that's all gone now. Ex-PM Arsjes will get a job at his ministry, as sectordirecteur Openbare Dienstverlening [sector director public services]. The job has existed for four years and has during all that time been reserved for, first the parliament head and later for the PM. Which both don't happen to be Arsjes.

Show Us the Money
Minister Römer protests that AVA Airlines doesn't stand a chance to get licensed unless they show her a bank guarantee or an irrevocable letter of credit (for just about 50 million dollars). But AVA says there's no law requiring this.

It Just Keeps Coming
Poor Shorty. The Babel court case against him and his by-side just started this morning, and now the Public Ministry is investigating yet another complaint, about an illegal lottery his MFK party held. Which, as no one knows how many raffles have been sold, might just as well be yet another money laundering deal.
We await future developments with considerable interest.

"Better than Expected"
That's what the government says about the Curaçao economy. My, they must be real pessimists; or optimists, depending on how you look at it. They expect a growth of 0.5% next year, which, even if it occurs, is not nearly good enough to make good for the shrink over the past years. Algemeen Dagblad claims there was an average 0.1% growth every one of the last twenty years, which was 2% for surrounding countries. The last years it was certainly worse than that.
Main reason is "low oil prices", of which we hardly notice any effects. Then, they promise to lower taxes—starting next year. We can only wait and see.

They're Coming!
While we here can only hope the authorities are getting ready to stop the influx of Venezuelan refugees, president Maduro over there is prepared to receive 20,000 refugees from Syria! Maybe to replace the people who are getting ready to leave the country (and now get an extra impulse).

Old Story
But it's still on. Isla refinery's 2014 exhaust surpassed the SO2 norm, for the daily as well as for the yearly average. Same for Fine Particulate Matter (although it's sometimes contested this really is a health problem). Point still is, the government refuses to budge.
Now SMOC wants urine and blood tests for all people living downwind of Isla. But that costs money!

Legal Tender
Aqualectra refuses to accept legal tender, in casu Antillean guilders, in payment of their bills. It's to protect their personnel against robberies and assaults, which is a good argument, but not good enough: the guilder still is legal tender. Now they have to be sued.
Too bad if you're an old person and have to scratch a living from your welfare and can't afford a bank which charges you extra money if your account balance gets below 1000 guilders; and as far as I know, debit cards cost you as well as checks.

So There
In a Dutch Volkskrant newspaper interview mafioso Corallo declares he's always kosher, nothing to be worried about. Besides, all his accounting is checked by KPMG.
Rings several bells.

Pie-Castle in the Sky
Minister van der Horst is still dreaming about his ambtenarenpaleis [civil servants' palace]. He fondly believes that putting them all together in one gargantuan building will save the country money. I have not heard a reason why this should be so, except for the supposed phone bill savings. It's a well-known fact that all those spoiled brats are calling each other all day, and with an internal phone system that wouldn't appear on the UTS-bill.
First, the amount spent on that is totally negligible compared to other costs, like salary.
The building is now estimated to cost 120 million, so we can confidently look forward to 200 million.
To top it all off, UTS still is government owned. So, what's the difference? And as if they'd only call fellow brats.
Yes, van der Horst denies he will put all civil servants in there. Which makes the idea of even less use. Like so many of our leaders, stuck in a 1970s rut—centralization. Here, in Curaçao!

Goodbye PS?
One of the first Pueblo Soberano members has called up all others to end their membership. There are 1800 of them. Reason: the party leaders sent ex-PM Arsjers home; which I find the only decent thing PS ever did! All's swell that ends swell, but it wasn't fun while it lasted.

Flying Advice
Don't choose a flight where you have to transfer in Curaçao! Hato airport will charge you $5, and again on the return flight. This will be screwed up soon, and so will you, to $10, total $20. To attract more business, I presume.
Oh, Hato has such great plans! But it's no use asking about the upgrading of the FAA-status.

Ex-PM Arsjes, ex-member of Pueblo Soberano, says he has no idea why he was kicked out. I guess we're all much smarter than he is.
Of course, the whole cabinet should get out when the PM is forced to leave. But not here, imagine. They'd lose their jobs!

GDP Down
Gross domestic product for Curaçao went down by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2015. This in spite of larger government investments, mainly because of the new hospital.
Isla refinery, like last year, keeps refining more and more. It's an open question how long that will last.

Let's Get It Straight
The Curaçaohuis may look forward to get a hefty fine for the disappearance of two parking places. A lot Fräudlein Wiels will care, guess who'll be paying? Certainly not, like some media published, Wiels.

Downs and Ups
CTB tells us first that hotel occupation is up! It's now over 60%. Everywhere I check, you need at least 70 to make a profit. But cruise tourism is down by 15%. Not to worry though, next year it will be up again. At least, that's what the tourist bureau says.

Wolf Leaves the Herd
PM Arsjes has been kicked out of his PS party, and has resigned as PM.
And which of you would not call together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for the wolf which was after my sheep herd has gone." Paraphrasing Luke 15.
Not so fast, though: who will replace him? For the time being, that limp dishcloth Whiteman (minister of health). I have little doubt it will get worse. Other sources say, it will be van der Horst (wrong). Whoever.
Last news, or is it really rumors? It's because Arsjes kept supporting Fräudlein Wiels. In that case, we can confidently wait for her Mighty Fall. Too bad we will go on paying for her ravages.

Rabbit Punch
Italian company Eni announces the discovery of a 100km2 natural gas field, belonging to Egypt. It's estimated at 40 trillions of gas, the equivalent of 5.5 billion barrels of oil; 2.5 times as much as Israel's giant Leviathan.
If I were president of Venezuela, I'd consolidate my Cayman, Swiss and, who knows? Curaçao bank accounts and take my private plane out right now. But then, I'm much smarter than Maduro (it's easy).
Still, remember: Venezuela holds almost 300 billion barrels of crude reserves. So this is not the end of Isla.

Please, Stay Away
For now, it's final. Because government can't guarantee good drug-smuggling controls, Arke's planned flights CUR-Eindhoven will not be realized.
Another interesting titbit: in Holland, Surinamese and Antillians are murdered 13 times as often as Dutchies. But "experts" state they don't know what this means. To explain to those dummies: it means that about 13 times as many Surinamese and Antillian people are involved in crime than autochthonous Dutch. Get it?
But don't ask me to explain that. It would take a book at least, not a clowns' act— even if it is one.

They Would Feel So
But we don't: the governments of St. Maarten and Curaçao feel there's too much attention on their financial management. Good! Keep it up! Better you can say, financial mismanagement; is why we'd keep going down the drain but for helping hands.

The Evalutation committee thinks it's too early to stop financial supervision of Curaçao and St. Maarten. One can only agree.
Gee, I wonder how much those evaluation committee members get paid? As long as there's supervision, they have a job evaluating.

What Are They Waiting for?
Transparency International wants to do a follow-up investigation in Curaçao. Money shouldn't be a problem, they say. Only, the people must wish for integrity, or it's no use. There's the rub.
What's the use anyway? The law to make ministers liable for the financial consequences of their actions, proposed in 2013 by Transparency International, isn't there yet.

Amstel Out, Plaza In
The grand idea to collect all civil servants in one spot, to be built on the old Amstel brewery terrain, has been canceled, much to everybody's relief. Now the plan is tto move to the Plaza hotel, which after all is smack in the middle of Willemstad. That's just an idea for now, but minister van der Horst still claims the government will save 50 million guilders that way. He doesn't day if that's per year or just once, and while it makes a lot of difference nobody seems to ask him.
Interestingly, the old Plaza hotel has a large debt to the government. I'd like to know, wouldn't you? how many of those places have large debts. But that would be telling!

Wait! Getting All Mixed Up...
The price of gasoline, electricity and water is going down again, by 5 cents per liter. What a delight. That's more than 2%. Fancy that. It's because, they say, the price of crude has gone down on the world market; too true, you can buy a barrel of crude now for less than $40, and it was over 48 last month. 20%.
But that doesn't count. Last month, crude price had gone down even more: from over 66.50 to 48: over 27%. But gasoline price went up! It's the price you get at the refineries, they then explained patiently, not the crude price.
And now, just when I thought I got it straight, it's the crude price again? Can we please have some consistency here, or transparent honesty? No, that's asking too much, you're so right.
But gas "bombs" go down more, from 60 to 50 guilders/100lbs. Small wonder, they're burning off the stuff like maniacs at the refinery these days.

Big Deal
Headlines tell us tourism from the USA went up by 21%. Great, you think? Not so fast: total remained on the same level, which is not headlined. That's communist-country like propaganda, you say? Now you've got it.

Not So Good?
From 2009 to 2014 there were 158 complaints against cops for maltreatment. Let's go figure (the media didn't, business as usual): that's 0.1 every week. Not so bad; I'd expected it was much worse. Then, finally 7 cases were prosecuted and 3 of those got of free after appeal. Not bad at all; you have to realize a lot of those complaints must be fake.

Well, No
Not this neighbor: If Venezuela implodes, will its neighbors be ready?

We Wish Him the Worst of Luck
Comical clown Sulvaran, ex-PM Shorty's lawyer, wants to judge Lips to be recused in the upcoming Babel case, because she is supposedly prejudiced: she refused to call all 47 witnesses Sulvaran wanted. He doesn't stand much of a chance, if only because he's much too late. Looks like they're getting desperate, as well they might.
Babel will come to court September 9. Don't look for me in the public gallery.

That *&%$#@ Garden
So hard to get info: Den Haag says that, while Wiels may claim the garden works will result in an extra parking place, Antilliaans Dagblad finds out the building was sold with "10 to 15" parking places. Pretty vague, hey! they can't be that hard to count. Anyway, if any turn out to have been offered up to the Tai Chi (oops! so hard to keep up) Feng Shui Zen shrine we, not Wiels of course, will have to pay up.
What to make of the item that Wiels "allegedly" paid €3500 for a watering can? Would even beat the $659 ashtray used by the USAF.

Hurrah! Let's Throw a Party and Decide How to Blow It
The Tax People have done it: they went to work and collected 18 million guilders the first six months; which is almost twice as much as last year's yields.

Just What We Needed
Received info on those good x-tians, the Advent hospital. Maybe they're not as bad as the Church of Scientology and the soon-to-be-defunct Christian "Scientists", and maybe they're not as bad here as in the USA. But over there, they have been convicted in numerous cases of fraud. Billing fraud: 100 million dollars worth between 1999 and 2009. Won't SVB just love to hear that?
They won't get that much of a chance here, but from what leaks out, it looks like they've started spending money as if there'd been no change of management in the Taams clinic.

Unneeded? Hah!
Staten parliament voted for a new motion to ask the Arsjes cabinet to implement all old motions. A fat lot of good that will do; why should they? Minister Römer went so far as to say that the motion (and by extension, any old one) was not needed; she herself, after all, had started this year to address traffic safety. Another real confidence builder.

Here We Go Again
Once more, judge van Schendel is expected to send SMOC, Clean Air Everywhere and the government back to the discussion table to come to an agreement. SMOC and CAE however see no future in this. The government just lays its ears in its neck and refuses to do anything at all about the heavy refinery pollution.

What to Do?
Traffic is a disaster and gets more dangerous by the day. Heavy discussions in parliament about causes and ways to tame the beast. All to no avail. Cameras at traffic lights might save more lives, than Navarro's Chinese security cameras will. It's the same all over, not only in traffic: anarchy reigns.
Personal anecdote: yesterday, after a traffic light had switched to green, three cars (3, count 'em) drove through the red light on the crossroad. Your life is endangered at least once on every trip you make to town. The minibus drivers often don't seem to care about their passengers' safety at all; let alone ours.

Forgot to Tell You
That garden Fräudlein Wiels is planning? It's gonna be a Feng Shui Zen garden. Whatever that means. Figures. Leave it to her.
But the city of den Haag says everything is kosher, there's no question of less parking spaces and for a garden of this small size no permits are needed. Question: who came out with this BS in the first place? We don't need all that excitement about nothing.
Caveat emptor: nobody seems to be able to find out who exactly said this on behalf of den Haag.

Honor Where Honor Is Due
Indie MP Leeflang writes a letter praising ombudsman Martijn for her dauntless and intrepid acts, the last of which of course was the report on Fräudlein Wiels, which PM Arsjes pooh-poohed—and parliament let him get away with it. Right. Kudos to Martijn!

Let Us Rejoice and Bury Him in History
PM Arsjes announced that, after his present term has ended, he will get out of politics. Even he, after the debacle of trying to become chairman of PS Party and falling on his face, must finally have got the message through his fat head that nobody likes him. He will not even start a new party.
But will we get anyone better, you ask? Can't be much worse.
Just a word of warning: this guy isn't what you'd call reliable. If he sees the merest chance, he'll go for another try. There's money in them thar politics.

That Won't Help
Holland wanted to send 50 cops to St. Maarten to check out the corruption. Local government is so angry (and afraid?) that they forbade this. No Dutch civil servant is welcome in St. Maarten. Regardless, they will still come.
Official reason given was "those Dutch can't understand Caribbean English". It is a point.

500,000 Good Reasons
In the process against former MFK member Rozier, who is accused of bribing several other party members, it's now the turn of Pisas. Allegedly, he was offered 500k guilders ($275k) to leave the party so it would come to a fall. In fact, it seems that he asked for money, as "all ministers around him were busy enriching themselves."
Interestingly, PAR member Dick also seems to be involved. But he never offered any money to try and make "the only honest coalition member" (MAN's Cleopa) leave the party. There has been pressure on Cleopa (now with PIAS); but for my two-bits worth, that's legitimate.
MFK was the third party Pisas was a member of. Besides the money, he was also offered a job as police inspector.

tree cover
This is in Hong Kong, but you get the idea:
Why pay for ads when nobody can see 'em?

Faithful letter-writer Pasman wonders, as he well might. The main street of Willemstad Punda, Bredestraat/Kaya Grandi will be rebuilt. In the process trees will be planted. Why? he asks. These will cover up the façades the tourists presumably come for.

At It Again!
Doesn't seem to help much that Shorty's mole van Rijn was sent over to Holland to try and keep Fräudlein Wiels under control (just try!) Wiels is now planning to reduce the parking space behind the new Curaçaohuis to half its size, replacing it with a mini garden, presumably so she doesn't have to look at the cars of her personnel. Costs 50,000 guilders.
But the city of The Hague may stop this yet, as it is not often prepared to let any parking spaces in the inner city go. Well, sometimes, as long as you pay up to tens of thousands of Euros per space. That shouldn't stop Wiels, am I right?

Make More Money
All of a sudden, much to the surprise of the directors of theater Sentro pro Arte an ad was published announcing public tender for the renovation. They were not informed. Worse, the matter of moving the theater to city center or renovate it at its present location has not been resolved. PS Minister Dick was not available for comment. It is well known that PIAS party is against renovation, but they haven't stopped this. Hey, there's 16 million guilders involved and you have to assume somebody will get a share.

Count Your Curses
OB sales tax here, different from BTW/VAT has to be paid again and again at every sale. Of course this culminates in a higher final price for the consumer; sometimes twice as much as with the VAT system (where the former sales tax is discounted from the next one). Finance minister Jardim is considering, after years of complaints, to change this. But then, he says, OB must go up for the government to collect the same amount. Just try to imagine they would be satisfied with less!
Why bother? Won't make any difference and just make the system more complicated and thus more susceptible to fraud.
BTW/VAT was introduced in the €U because those geniuses there figured it would reduce fraud. Now that became a classic howler, fast.

Somebody Has To
The minibus drivers have another reason to get mad. Then again, they're easily excitable. Now, the keuringslokaal where cars are tested for safety refuses to test minibuses with more than 8-passenger capacity if the driver doesn't have a large-bus license. So now we discover that most of those guys drive around with a so-called BE license; without getting too technical, that means they may transport 8 passengers. But many minibuses these days have a larger capacity. Hey, that stems from the VW hippie-van days.
But I avoid 'em like the plague anyway.
The drivers are mad, of course, saying that's not the keuringslokaal's concern. Right, it's not; let somebody else stop this.
Not that keuringslokaal itself is kosher. Not by a long way.

Volunteers Wanted
The Space Gang is looking for volunteers to help put Curaçao forward, make it famous all over the world, in the front of developments (the well-known megalomaniac blah-blah). To accomplish this, they now have the Curaçao Space Platform.
If things go as well as they say, why can't they pay instead of asking for volunteers?

So Get Out of Government, Already
Many voters are disappointed with PIAS, and rightly so (I proudly confess I never trusted 'em one bit). Rosaria now explains why he didn't act up in the Wiels-Arsjes affair and it's a real howler: the party only corrects its own party members, and doesn't give a fart about what the rest do in government. I don't think that's what the voters voted for. "Thought they voted for," you're so right. "Suckers" you say? Right again.

Dick the Destructor
While I gave education minister Dick the benefit of the doubt, MP Indie Leeflang does not share those feelings. She says Dick is the worst of all PS ministers, and that's saying a lot.lot.
Education was going better until 2010, when Pueblo Soberano party took over. In 2001 45% dropped out, which was reduced to 34.9 by 2011; now there reputedly are 9000 of 'em. No idea what percentage that is.

Say, That Action Is Illegal
The board action against Central Bank directors seems to be a bit weird. Only half the board is involved, and one of those is a guy who will be there for only one more month after he was fired by Tromp. Smells like revenge. And we're told the board can't take such an action anyway.
Tromp walked put of a meeting with commissaries after having lost patience: "What's the use?" They're on speaking terms again—for now.

Holidays Are Over
Our Great Leaders have really given me a lot of work the last couple of days; you may have noticed. Must be because the recesses are over and they're back from their vacations at the old stand.

No Second Greece
Oh no? Finance minister Jardim is well aware that lower and middle classes have problems with the high taxes. But they are really necessary, because otherwise we might have turned into a second Greece, he says, adding, and I quote, "otherwise the payments to the civil servants would have been endangered."
So there you have it. You may well have cause for complaints, but it's all for a good purpose. That's nice to know.

10-10-10, Once Again
As we all know, a lot of laws have been canceled on that ominous date. Now, finally, they may be brought back. But which of them exactly is not clear yet. The billboards, a real plague, will have to go, and "fighting and yelling in the street" will become a no-no again. Rubbish-tipping all over is out. Back to civilization! It's not clear if the loud music at parties in hoffis will be forbidden. Let's hope so.
Meanwhile, a screening for parliament members and a law to remove those accused of crimes is carefully not introduced. Do the names Shorty and Godett strike a familiar note?

Successful Export
While it's next to impossible to get an export going from here (though I happen to do quite well, thank you), there's one branche where we really have made our mark: Curaçao crime! There are at least ten organizations with divisions in Holland. We'll never get independent that way!

Only Now Heard This
The Queen of Superstition, herb witch Dinah Veeris, is very popular around here. But that got a setback when she started selling herbs against chicungunya. Even the placebo effect didn't work, and people got mad.
Only one thing would work, but with a government that doesn't work itself, we won't get it.

Unsurprising Impasse
After the judge ordered Smoc, Clean Air and Milieudienst [environment dept] to get together and work it out, there have been several meetings. But then, no more news from Milieudienst. Smoc and Clean Air see no other solution than to go back to court.

A Slap in Our Faces
Contrary to earlier news, Isla refinery does have to pay up for that saliña oil spill: the grand sum of 10,000 guilders ($5,500). Peanuts!
They will also help with new footpaths and such around the saliña, but it's not specified to what extent.

Next, Please
Poor education minister Dick. She really gets it from all sides now, when the fault of that malfunctioning department is not all hers. A long list of predecessors who were actually much worse have made her job next to impossible.

From Bad to Worse
You couldn't make it up: the person PM Arsjes will send out to Curaçaohuis in den Haag to get the show back on the road is Stella van Rijn, ex-PM Shorty's mole, still secretary-general of the island.

Meddling State
If you want to hire an employee, from now on you have to apply to the ministry of social affairs (yes, that very bunch). They will check first if there's no Yu'i Kursow available. Too bad if you don't like hir or hem.
Ironic enough, the minister says this is because the work permit system up to now was actually illegal according to a report of the Curaçao Court of Audit (ARC). Really! Just what we needed to stimulate the economy.

Arsjes Gets It—Almost
The problems with Fräudlein Wiels are all Antilliaans Dagblad journalist Rene Zwart's fault, says PM Arsjes. Had Zwart only kept his mouth shut, Wiels could just have gone on doing as she liked. Too true.

A guy working in a truk'i pan [snack van] was arrested for illegal gun possession. He says in defence his job is a dangerous one with high risk of atrakos. Little did the judge care: he got 15 months of cell; less than some guys get for committing assaults!

Market Mechanisms
We mere voting cattle can't presume to understand all that. Just too complicated... Leave it to those smart politicians. Now that crude oil prices have hit a new slump (price below $42/barrel), let us look forward to the next gasoline price raise!

Yu'i Hawai'i
Some Hawai'i (Hawaiï) politicians are proposing a law which would allow only descendants of the original (aboriginal) population to vote. This is the same infamous nonsense as the 80-20 law proposed here and will never be accepted for the same reasons. Matter of fact, the 80-20 law is even less acceptable: the "original" population has been gone long since.

Won't Pay Their Own Bills
The governments of St. Maarten and Curaçao have substantial arrears in payment of their bills with Soab, the government accountants bureau.

Keep On Muddlin'
Economist van den Bergh held a discourse titled Doormodderen is geen optie [Muddling on is no option]—which is exactly what's going to happen.

Keep On Spillin'
Isla refinery will not be prosecuted for causing the oil spill in saliña Jan Kock, since they have promised to prevent future spills. Hah! They also promised to build a dam or sluice in the saliña inlet to prevent oil penetrating.
I have not been able to find out what nitwit has opened up that inlet, which used to be closed, in the first place.

No Result
As anticipated, the parliament debate about the ombudsman's report on Fräudlein Wiels led exactly nowhere. PM Arsjes, also as predicted, declared the report nothing but a bunch of assumptions and refused to act against Wiels. While Shorty's MFK demands Arsjes must step down, no other parliament members went that far. Bunch of milksops.

Over But Not Done With
The Aruba Valero refinery, which was supposed to be dismantled next year, leaving not a drop of tar behind, is again up for sale. It's a fair guess the Arubian government, in spite of its pious pledges of going green, doesn't want to let those reported $200m/year without a fight. Prospective buyer is Citgo, PdVSA's USA company.
But where will PdVSA get the money? Good question.

Great Idea
Advent Hospital has bought the equipment of former Taams clinic. Now SVB and The Person are figuring out if they can collect the remaining funds from the former directors, among whom Esseboom. Good idea, as they are responsible for the whole sorry mess they made, in a few years, of a well-running clinic.
Advent announced to start charging rent if the equipment was not removed, so they got a bargain. The place will be up and running again ASAP. Meanwhile, Esseboom and gang set up a medical practice somewhere else.

Poor Babies
It was so hot in the World Trade Center (can't help smirk when I read that name) because of airco problems that the spoiled brats civil servants who work there went home at 10:15. I didn't notice on my afternoon trip to the city that road work and building activities, without any airco at all, had stopped.

Private Profit Not Allowed
PS party does not want Maduro-Curiel's Bank to handle all government transactions (after the Girobank debacle). MP Cordoba says "private banks make a profit over the backs of the people." How else? Don't we of the working people all try to do the same thing (it's called capitalism)? Besides, he's one to talk with his nice fat tax-paid salary.
Instead, he wants to use the PSB instead. PSB stands for Postspaarbank, post savings bank; and it would be surprising if they could handle the job.

Satanic Goats
The police followed a herd of goats who seemed to be very eagerly on their way in the kukuku countryside, to discover a marihuana plantation run by a Jamaican. More and more of these are found; but I must confess to being surprised that the goats left any plants standing, what with our California-like drought.

Don't Laugh-Show Respect
FOØL party is angry because a trash bin has been put next to the statue of their founder, Papa Godett, and, the horror! it shows up on tourist photos. They may prefer having the pedestal surrounded by loose trash; which admittedly would be fitting.

Our National Hobby
Chairman Joseph of PS Party is suing minister Palm, also a party member, for not re-appointing him as a commissioner in government company Curinde. Palm wonders why he didn't contact him before running to the judge; but we can guess Joseph has his reasons.

No! No!
PM Arsjes will not become the next chairman of Democratic Party; they deny it categorically. Question, where and how did that rumor originate?
As his own PS party chose another chairman, we may all wonder what's next for Arsjes. Nothing much, it looks like.

Bridge Closed
That Queen Emma Bridge restoring job of 2006 didn't turn out so well. Mainly because it has been done by some clumsy crony, who didn't know the first thing. Not too long ago, PM Arsjes's wife got stuck in the wooden pavement while crossing. Sure, she's on the heavy side (they're a well-matched pair) but it shouldn't have happened. Now, that pavement will be renewed; bridge U/S for two months until October 12.

They Asked for It
Algemene Rekenkamer [accounting] will investigate all government transactions after 10-10-10 to check if they followed the rules. MFK wanted them to investigate the procedure followed for those Chinese surveillance cameras; which was not accepted. The motion to check all transactions did get accepted.

Big Help
Venezuelan tourists who arrive in Aruba without a hotel reservation are sent back stante pede. (I hope InselAir gets paid for that—for InselAir's sake; the Arubianos would have to pay anyway.) TIP for Venezuelans who want to come here: reserve a hotel for one night. See how easy life can get?
I see a way to make money here for an enterprising entrepreneur: set up a booking agency for Venezuelans and send them confirmed reservations. For a modest fee, of course. They can then go sleep on the beach.

That's Final
SVB social insurance bank and the Tax Person will sell off the inventory of Taams clinic. Looks pretty sure not another clinic will be housed in there, then. Many neighbors will be really glad to hear that. Next question, though, is: what will be done with those buildings?
But I'm afraid SVB and The Person will not get all their money. "Most" equipment, I'm told, is broken down and U/S because of bad maintenance. Hey, maintenance costs money and Esseboom c.s. preferred to use that for their own purposes. One does have prerogatives.

Legalize Drugs
Even minister Navarro has discovered that legalizing drugs will probably result in reduced crime. Not a new thought by any means, of course. He points out that crime went down, not up, when alcohol was legalized (he must be talking about the USA prohibition, but that's a long time ago... the time when the Kennedy family made their loads of loot by smuggling and selling alcohol). But in Holland crime went down when marijuana was semi-legalized as well. You may smoke it there but you may not sell it to anybody. What sort of arrangement is that? Crazy.
Anyway, in Holland crime may well have gone down (just like happened with porn) merely because there were less arrests for smoking dope (and selling porn).
I have been proclaiming for years that growing marihuana is just about the only agricultural activity that really has a chance of success here. Wait a bit longer. Eventually, even ministers will get it.

Sure, That Figures
No flotillas of Venezuelan small crafts filled with refugees crossing the sea in our direction—as yet. What does happen is, they come as tourists and decide to stick around for the duration. Hmm... could get to be a problem. But not to worry, it's being tackled, we are assured.

Holland makes €80m available to fight crime in Aruba, St. Maarten and Curaçao. Of course, we here will get most of the fat. Now how to split this up? Easy: the biggest crooks get most, that's no more than their fair share!

If and When
Justice minister Navarro announces the government will ask Holland for money to absorb Venezuelan fugitives when they start arriving. What a second-rate idea: the stream must be stopped, not encouraged. Look what's happening in Europe... would get much worse here, fast.

Geertuida, head of the association for small and medium enterprises, says the government is "switching the economy into reverse" by introducing that [censored] 80-20 regulation via the back door (by manipulating work permits). How like them. You really can't trust 'em.

But How Many?
Justice minister Navarro says in a radio interview that the number of atrakos [assaults] has substantially declined after the measures taken last year. But he doesn't mention any figures.
Very next item in the blog where I read this was about an armed atrako on a bakery.

Pay Up or Close Down
The Tax Person, in hes/hir zeal to squeeze out the last drop of blood money has closed down 19 small tokos and minimarkets (all Chinese-owned), as they did not use the prescribed cash registers.
Story is, they must buy these from a guy appointed by the Tax Person (quite possibly a crony), price over $1000; similar registers are on the market for about 10% of that.

They May Be Right
But that's small consolation. Isla refinery once again broke all limits for SO2 pollution last month. But Isla snappily comes back that they kept to the limits imposed by Hinderwet [nuisance act]; omitting to mention that these are not nearly as stringent as norms elsewhere.

The Fun Stops
PM Arsjes has withdrawn. No, alas: not as PM. But as candidate for PS chairman. So has Werner Wiels. They complain the process is not transparent, open and honest. Hey, what did they expect? "The elections are a farce" says Wiels. Amen to that.

Hope & Fear: Little Hope for Isla
The general prospect seems that, with USA shale oil breaking the market, even King of Crude Saudi Arabia may be forced to retreat to draconian measures to save face. Which they fell flatly on since deciding not to support OPEC by lowering production when the crash set in. OPEC is now "effectively dissolved" and may soon have to shut down the Vienna office.
Now Iran will be joining the fun, even if their production costs are much higher than the Saudis'.
Which leaves little chance left for Venezuela with their extremely expensive crude, for which they have to buy and add "sweet" crude to make it commercially viable. (Three tankers with Nigerian crude are on their way here right now.) So Isla refinery may well expire with a no doubt extremely foul and feculent last breath.
Then we'll be left with a fine mess to clear up.
And, as one-in-the-know writes, "definitely the end of Curaçao's exploration dreams."

Shit for Shut
Minister Römer swears the planned sewage processing plant is not planned on terrain owned by Hato airport. A simple phone call to and from would have saved a lot of trouble here.

"Master Plan"—Will It Work?
The Master Plan for the economy, devised by Robertico Croes at the University of Central Florida, wants to promote economic growth up to 2% per year by 2020, which in itself isn't even impressive. For that, we'll have to become the prime tourist destination in the Caribbean.
Dream on... Ever hear of Cuba? Jamaica? Aruba? Get real! And then, revenue per hotel room will have to go up by 3.5% per year. By some magical trick, tourists will come in droves to pay more? So that's why CTB wants to invest 40 million. And nobody tells us if that maybe quite possibly is per year, for a grand total of 200 million. Are those $$s or guilders, anyway?
Gee, I wonder what the government paid to Croes c.s.

That Explains It
Minister Palm wants to start collecting that room tax (at last) because CTB tourist board needs the money. They get 30 million/year, but feel that's not enough; they want to start investing 40 million in the next 5 years to attract more USA tourists. (If things go on like this, no Americans will have any money left pretty soon.)
Otherwise, CTB will have to start borrowing from banks. And who'll pay the banks back? Right. You got it.

Paranoia Peanuts
According to PS Werner Wiels there's 750k guilders "in the streets" available to make the government fall, and that the amount gets "higher every day". But his party co-member Wilsoe says it's nonsense. Which makes it more believable; the guy is a compulsive liar. And let's face it, look at how much money Shorty and his gang (among which PS) made disappear in less than two years. One million is peanuts.
Wiels tells the media they should find out what's going on, "you are the journalists." Hear, hear.
To emphasize that, the media don't explain what Wiels means when he wants to "postpone elections": party elections? general elections? Let's hope for the best and expect the worst.

They Never Saw It Coming?
Since ombudsman Martijn took her leave on June 1, those in power have now finally started looking for a replacement.

You're Telling Us
IATA Caribbean director makes clear that screwing up airport tariffs, something that keeps happening here and about which we've complained many a time, chases away tourists. I don't care about that; I just don't want to pay exorbitant tariffs to use a crummy inferior airport. It used to be just about the best in the Caribbean, and look at it now.

We'll Just Have to Wait
The CBCS central bank Board has started a court case against the bank's directors Tromp, Romero and Hasselmeijer. Purpose is to investigate the integrity of the directors. This is a result of the accusations by ex-PM Shorty.
The three directors say they're surprised by the action; nobody thought to tell them.
But lawyer Bijkerk, also accused by Shorty at Raad van Toezicht op de Advocatuur, states in his plea that Shorty's accusation is not admissible. Anyway, says Bijkerk, Shorty's action just serves to deflect attention, with an eye peeled for the coming elections; and let's not forget the coming Babel and Maximus (Wiels murder) court cases. Shorty is rumored to have reason to fear the outcome of that last one, as well. Rightly so, as Bijkerk adds that Shorty's lawyer Peterson has stated Shorty's a suspect there as well.

The Fun Starts
PM Arsjes wants to get himself elected as chairman of PS-party. But he'll have to fight for it: present PS chairman Joseph doesn't want any. And another PS-member, Cijntje, states that Arsjes cannot be party chairman and PM or minister at the same time.
Too bad our great media didn't ask Cijntje, why not. Is it party regulations or country law? Could make a difference.

Short Memories
PS party has got the general assembly of Parlatino so far that they will request the United Nations to intervene in the relation of the Netherlands with Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. Without asking how much influence Parlatino has (virtually none), at more than one occasion in the past PS and other parties have tried to get the United Nations to move, only to have been told that the Netherlands way of handling their ex-colonies was cool. Hey, I didn't say that—the UN did!

Jardim's In a Hurry
Indie MP Leeflang reports on complaints (well, actually, only one) that the Tax Person is not being very coulant with people who have to pay off debts. I've had my troubles with those guys, but not with that particular department. Maybe because I'm careful not to slam my fist down on the table. What one needs is tact.
But I am quite sure finance minister Jardim is making haste. Times are hard, what with spoiled brats not giving in. Nevertheless, let's remind him of what president Kennedy said in 1962: "The paradoxical truth is that the tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now."

That's Telling Them
Felix D. Pinedo writes an open letter to C***-Post in which he tells them, and us, that the Post is bound by law to deliver mail at your home address, and that their money-saving plan to make you come pick it up at central locations is illegal.
If they don't comply, he will start suing. No, he won't, but somebody should.

It's Worse... Much Worse
Entrepreneurs club VBC states what we all know, economic growth is dearly necessary. But they add what we didn't know: while for the spoiled brats pensions to the tune 400 million guilders are reserved in the years 2015-2018, the voting cattle get no more than 113 million AOV (welfare pension) in the same period. No doubt this is the result of those negotiations minister van der Horst complains they go so badly. You bet. Nothing to brag about, van der Horst.

Such As They Are
One of the board members fired at CTB tourist office declares that he always acted according "to his honor and conscience".
Correction: he himself took his leave. His story is, if a seat is empty on an AirBerlin flight, it is paid for by the guarantee. So he might as well take two of those (for him and spouse), free.
So that's what they figure is "no problem" at CTB. "Honor and conscience" forsooth.
Hey, let's start an airline! We ask for a CTB guarantee—any unsold seat, they'll pay for. Who cares if they themselves occupy one? Who cares if the rest of the aircraft is empty?

So Much for That?
A bit early to judge. But, contrary to what you'd expect from the George-Shorty production, six companies have had the opportunity to subscribe to tender, in the Aqualectra Mundo Nobo demolition affair. Three of those have withdrawn. At least, that's what Aqualectra claims. We now hold our breath (not very long) for the Shorty-George reaction.

Putting Punda to Death
An Amigoe reader complains about it, and she's right. When you park in Punda, you'll get a 25 guilders worth wheel-block on your car as soon as you exceed the parking limit. The whole city center is full of the monsters (often unoccupied), put in there because otherwise Randy Neuman couldn't get his parking garage (a real eyesore) off the ground. I do know I avoid Punda; small wonder shops are closing down like mad. Didn't even need Sambil for that.
But if you do visit Punda, you can always park across the Waaigat water. Used to be a pedestrians' bridge there, reducing your walk from say 15 to 5 minutes; but that was removed to open up Waaigat for a planned yacht harbor there. That was some 7 or 8 years ago. Guess what? Nothing else has happened with those plans since.

Palm: Pay Up, Please!
Minister Palm wants all hotels to pay their room tax. All in all, that's 100 million guilders worth. Blog reactions were, he asks them because otherwise the government can't pay for his trips (and others'). But the point rather is, why have they been allowed not to pay until now?

Not to Mention Names
Why should we? We all know darn well that the whole tourist board is one corrupt mess. This time it's about board members accepting free tickets from Air Berlin. May be two or three, or more... what's the difference? We always wondered why Air Berlin got those guarantee subsidies, and now it's only confirmed.
One of 'em offered to pay a ticket back. Too late, dearie. But at least he accepts he was wrong to accept it. Too late, dearie—I hope.

Shop Around Please, 'Coz We Can't
While crude oil prices are hitting the lowest low in thirty years, here gas prices are going up again next month. They (don't) offer several explanations; one is that Curoil has to make good on their losses. They made more, new, losses, then? Another one is that it's not so much crude price, it's what they can get at refineries. In that case please look for other refineries? Those price-fixers can, but we can only buy from Curoil.
30 years? Looks more like 45.

UTS Saves Money
The government telecommunication company is in heavy financial trouble, but they don't seem to know what "economize" means. Not only do I get a monthly bill via email, which just like the bank's is gratis, but also another one by snail mail (which the bank charges for). And now, I also get a text message on my cell phone that they have sent me an email with the monthly bill. All that costs money.

Hard to Certify
In a document (in both Dutch and Papiamentu) making the email rounds, Aqualectra director Jonis is accused of selling us out with the dismantling of valuable distillation units, which are to be replaced for a reverse osmosis process. It claims Miles Trucking, the contractor of the demolition, has ties with Jonis's wife. Ex-MP Dean Rozier, who left Shorty's MFK party (what did he do in there in the first place?) is also said to be involved. At any rate, the document accuses Jonis of having robbed Aqualectra, which means us, of about ANG six million.
All this, however, comes to us from another ex-MP, Norbert George, who with an earlier document on mainly central bank CBCS, rather fell flat on his face. Still, certainly bears looking into.
Update: The document as seen on KKCuraçao carries the line "Published by Gerrit Schotte".

Römer's Non-Solution Stinks
After all those discussions and promises, Shut is still open for shit-spewing trucks collecting sewage from septic tanks. Leading, to repeat, to enormous pollution of our so-called crystal clear Caribbean sea, that tourist magnet (and don't forget us, please).
Now minister Römer wants to build an enormous sedimentation reservoir where the dung is dumped, after which the water can be safely transferred to sea. (What happens with the sediment is not explained.) No matter: Römer forgot that the planned reservoir location is on grounds upwind from and belonging to Hato airport, who immediately protested and would like a discussion first.

She Can't Leave It Alone
After education minister Dick, forced by a public outcry, had to retreat from her evil plan to lower standards for high schools she's at it again with a new plan. Again, based on the horrible disadvantage Papiamentu-speaking children supposedly have when being taught in a foreign language. Education experts, and I agree, say this is all nonsense. By the way you know, Dick herself speaks an excellent Dutch. To be sure, it wasn't Dick but her PAR predecessor Dijkhoff who started the official change from Dutch (which, in fact, had been going on in practice long since already).
If we have to teach them Dutch is another matter. But so long as we have a law in Dutch and strong ties with Holland, like it or not, I'd certainly want to have a good command of that language. Ugly as it may sound.

The Rijkseenheidboulevard [kingdom unity] will from now on be called Martina Road, or something like that; after Don Martina who started party MAN and a few years ago disgustedly left in protest against his successor Cooper's machinations. Not to worry though, everybody will keep calling it Nieuwe Havenweg [new harbour road], even if it dates from the early 1950s.

More Than Meets the Eye
EX-PM Shorty has lodged a complaint with the Raad van Toezicht op de Advocatuur [board of trustees on the legal profession] against lawyer Roelof Bijkerk for his role in the Babel affair. In the complaint (maybe, maybe not by Sulvaran, same difference) names are mentioned of a number of witnesses who were called in the Babel affair, but were refused by the judge. No doubt Bijkerk has his own story to tell.
Weirdly, my name doesn't appear in the list of potential witnesses. Who can understand people like that?

So That's How It Works
Amigoe newspaper reports Aqualectra director Jonis's explanation about how distillation works: you heat seawater and then, by a chemical process, turn it to pure H2O. They write that he says.
In all honesty, I'd guess Jonis knows better than that and it's the Amigoe reporter who got the difference between physical and chemical all mixed up. Don't those guys have at least high school? You'd often think, no, they don't.

Let's See Him Bounce
PM Arsjes has announced he's a candidate as chairman for the PS Party.
Other party members are not that enthusiastic about it. One objection is, as chairman he's supposed to look after party interests and as PM after the country's interests, which may conflict.
Not to worry though: Arsjes will only look after his own interests.

Illegality Prospers
Now it's diabase excavation on a really big scale: so big that it can only be done by a select few companies who're working for government projects. Like Wechi?

Does She Understand What She Says?
Minister Römer wants to put in an infrastructure of glass-fibre cable. That's better and faster than ADSL or cable, she says. Funny... In the first place, here we do have an ADSL connection—via a glass-fibre cable.
That would result in Curaçao becoming an internet hub (megalomania back on its post). How? If it works, it would only work on the island. Really, she does not know what she's talking about. That's usual for our ministers, right.

We'll Have to See About That
Minster van der Horst says he will not compromise with the spoiled brats' unions. They will get their new pension arrangements on September 1st, whether they like it or not. That's not what we were told only a few days ago.

First Gone, Now Back
Godett is back as leader of FOØL party. But is he in charge? Reason given is, they have no better known face for next year's elections. Maybe not a better face either.


So It's Expensive!
Comes 10 times as expensive as regular paint. So? What does it cost to repaint over and over and over again? There's a paint that repels urine: when you piss against the wall it's painted with, all the stinky stuff bounces back on your trousers and shoes. Serves you right. What a solution for our inner city, that in many places stinks so much that (not only) tourists walk through with their noses clamped tight.

Weird and Worrying
Dutch VVD party doesn't quite understand why Cft financial supervision allowed Curaçao government to start borrowing again when finances still are in such a mess.

More Messes
Not only finances are in a mess. As we all now, illegal building is a plague and we don't see how minister Römer will stop this as she plans to. And now we get to read how illegal farmers burn down woods where they want to plant, not caring about anything. They destruct dams and obstruct their overflows. Then there's the continuing problem of illegal trash dumps.

Some Reasoning
A so-called "natural" anti-rheumatoid/arthritis medicine happens to be forbidden here by the inspection of health. Of course naturopaths deplore this. They even quote Human Rights to support their claim that "all vitamins, supplements, minerals and herbs" should be freely available in shops. Er... no. Imagine if anybody could buy cyanide, or manzaliña fruits.
Amazing that quackie Constancia hasn't taken the stuff of the forbidden list. She probably had more urgent business to take care of.

Minister van der Horst may well be glad with the agreement by which the spoiled brats will soon be insured with SVB social insurance; but he omits to inform us how much we are paying for that extra package they get. Also, he did not succeed in raising their pension age from 60 to 65, of which we do know what it costs: 212 million per year. That means they get over 1400 guilders per year from every person: woman, man, child and babe in arms.

We've Truly Escaped
Nos a skapa berde—Jamaica is now selling $2million worth of bonds to pay up for the Petrocaribe service. Remember? That was the "good deal" offered by the Deceased Dictator, Chávez, to Caribbean nations: buy oil now, pay later. It was never offered to us; maybe because the Obese One figured he was already popular enough with MFK, PS, Frente Obrero and other political parties that now slip my mind (long gone...) Now it's time to cash in. It won't save Venezuela, that's pretty sure, but it may ruin some countries that fell into the trap.
Santo Domingo already arranged to pay 1.9 of the 4.1 million owned. All in all, Venezuela sold 28 million worth under the deal.

Must Be a Trick
All of a sudden, Fräudlein Wiels gives in, at least on one point, to ombudsman Martijn's scathing report. Her replacement Candelaria, whose VW Passat was taken away and who was fobbed off instead with a Seat Mini, now got the VW's keys back (but not his fuel credit card yet). Wiels herself has been observed shopping for a BMW 7 bolide.
No doubt this is meant to help her and PM Arsjes in the coming Staten-meeting; but I don't think it will help much. Neither do I think that meeting have much effect. Still, good for Candelaria.

Right On
Cft financial supervision mentions a "seriously failing financial management" in 2013. That would be minister Jardim's irresponsibility. Not only that, but the yearly account "does not enable parliament to form an opinion on policy implementation and government's management" [translation: it's a mess]. But this should be easily corrected, Cft continues. So do it. Please?

Really? No Kidding?
Aqualectra utility's yearly 2014 account is in! This calls for a celebration, you say. Well, yes and no. They did make a profit and expect to do so again this year. But heavy investments are needed.

"Too Ambitious"
The spoiled brats civil servants will finally get the same BZV illness insurance as we, common voting cattle, as per September 1. That's 10 months later than minister van der Horst had planned, which he now calls "too ambitious". You bet.
You don't have to take pity on the spoiled brats, they will get an extra packet so they will still have better conditions than the rest of us.

Aren't We Proud!
We've found the 13th murder victim this year in 6 months and 3 weeks. Let's not be petty, that's 27 weeks, so we have ~1 murder every 2 weeks; or, putting it another way, 25 by year's end or 16 per 100,000 inhabitants. Well, sure beats our much lauded and applauded sports records!

Just Happened to Occur to Me
Did Balborda's successor Römer give out that fraudulent building permit to a PNP party member which Balborda refused to, the reason for his demise? Huh? We don't hear a thing but tomb-like silence.
About a month from now, the judge will decide what's going to happen with the building permit for Wechi. Römer says she "will not give in to campaigns in the media". We knew that already.

Good Idea, Let's Do It
A letter by J.M. Eustatia submits that, to avoid future 100% drug controls on all airports when a flight from Curaçao comes in, it might be worth it to check embarking passengers here for drugs. Kudos J.M.!
I was recently passing through customs in Miami, where the guy looked at me and asked "where do you come from?" I said "Curaçao'—he gave me the fishy eye, but let me through. Hey, I'm a well-aged honkie and came straight back with the "I-know-what-you-mean" look; makes all the difference.

Maybe Later... No Hurry...
Mafioso Corallo, ex-PM Shorty's padrino, seems to make little haste with his threatened and announced court case against Knipselkrant Curaçao because they called him just that, "maffiamaatje". At any rate, no date in court has been set. Maybe he wised up.

What's Going On?
The Space Bandit Gang, those of the Vomit Comet, announced they had to raise the price of a ticket. Small wonder, what with inflation and all that... that last tariff was quoted years and years ago! But nobody deemed it worth publishing, except Amigoe newspaper, behind a paywall. I couldn't tell you how much it went up. So I googled and found website SpaceAge (which is Belgian, for some reason) where they give a link where to buy tickets.
That link is as dead as a doornail. Not a good omen...
The site did mention that the plan is for four daily flights. Nobody's told us that!

territorial Venezuela

A Thorn in Their Side
Look at that map and you'll understand. Venezuela claims a territorial sea border at 250NM/450kms from its coast, which is rather more than the internationally accepted 12 NM/22.2kms. (They also grab part of the sea belonging to Colombia and Guyana which need not concern us—for now at least.) The USA exclusive economic zone extends to 200NM/370kms.
Thing is, they can't touch us here—for now at least and knowing the small dictator's mentality, that must really bug him. Watch Out. Remember the Malvinas Falklands!
Caveat: Mostly, those NMs/kms are no more than (reasonable) estimates.

Bad News for Some, Good News for Most
Actually, it's good news for all, about the particulate matter (dust and soot) pumped with joyful abandon into the atmosphere on a daily base by Isla refinery. This seems not to be as harmful as claimed, for example by the EPA in USA, which agency uses it to enforce the closure of coal-fired power plants. In fact, judging from what I read here, it's not harmful at all. "No human test subject has ever died or even experienced a health effect traceable to particulate matter." But who am I? Check it out for yourself.
That the refinery still stinks and fumes noxiously is another matter. Not to mention the visual pollution.

Never Thought of That
Took somebody's letter to the editor to make me see that minister Römer's action to legalize illegal buildings is a smack in the face of decent citizens who followed the rules, and rewarding transgressors. I just saw the aspect "something has to be done"; which of course still holds.

Dick Defeated
Education minister Dick announces future exams will be heavier to conform to Dutch norms. She had to, after a storm of protests went up and indie MP Leeflang even threatening to sue.

Would Like to Know
The Hong Kong tax code is only 300 pages; that of the UK 21,000. No doubt we're somewhere in between. But my guess is, for such a small island we're much closer to the UK there than to Hong Kong; which has a much larger economy than we do.
If you wonder how much longer Hong Kong will keep this up, being slowly devoured by the Chinese state, I'm with you.

Prepare for Thy Doom
If things continue like this in neighbor Venezuela, we may look forward to a total collapse of that country's economy. Which in turn will lead to sometimes less, often more, predictable results for the Isla refinery, our vegetable and other food supplies, outstanding debts (InselAir!) and the expected stream of refugees: a politically correct form of tourism.
What might be even worse is an effort of Veneuzela's socialist government to pep up its image by trying to grab us; like Argentina keeps doing with the Falklands.
The only thing we may be damn sure will continue is the supply of cocaine.
Crude oil world price is still going down in an over-saturated market; inflation is on the brink of becoming Zimbabwe-like hyperinflation of over 50%/year.

Promise Finally Fulfilled
After MFK, now it's the own PS party of PM Arsjes and Fräudlein Wiels that is now asking for a Staten-parliament meeting on ex-ombudsman Martijn's report; and the party also insists on inviting Arsjes to answer their questions. Uh oh, he's not gonna like that. But he always kept promising he'd explain in parliament (which is in recess for the rest of this month).
By the way, when will we get a new ombudsman?

Lawyers Will Be Lawyers
AVA Airlines have come on strong with publicity that the government is dragging its feet in coming across with their necessary permits, for which all paperwork was ready last December. But minister Römer is not impressed. If they don't like it, "let 'em go to court" she says. That's real coöperation!
Römer is a lawyer, of course; what she's doing as a minister of traffic is anybody's guess. But that is the rule rather than the exception; not only here.

Well-Informed or Just Bragging?
Replacement minister Römer announces she's going to get the infrastructure fixed. Among other things, she mentions that maintenance work on the Weg naar Westpunt at Tera Corá will now start. Funny, because that's been going on for months already (don't I know it!) and last week we heard it will be ready one month earlier than planned.
This is nothing but picking up what ex-minister Balborda started in 2014, and evidently abandoned when he left his post.

No Stopping Her
The newly acquired Curaçaohuis in the Hague, for which Fräudlein Wiels let a really fine building go and for which we may have paid over 5 million guilders, is much too large for its purpose. That was explained away by PM Arsjes, as tourist bureau and others would become co-renters. But they seem to prefer to keep away and have their own rental contracts anyway. So that's much more money wasted, let alone the much higher maintenance costs.
At least, the new monumental buildings are right next to a center for drug addicts, so the location is just fine and appropriate.

Do I Get This Right?
Three doctors working at Sehos hospital publish a letter that a probe has shown that a surgeon has not submitted fraudulent claims with SVB social insurance. In 2013, the inspection of health indicated the claims were fraudulent.
That would have been done by that, rightly or wrongly, tarred and feathered ex-inspector Huurman.

Don't Bank on It
Central bank director Tromp says they're negotiating with "several parties" about a take-over of Girobank. Honestly, who'd want to take over that bank, which has been under trusteeship since 2013? But if we may believe Tromp (some won't) it'll be fixed by the end of this year.

Sounds for Sore Ears
Newspaper Ultimo Notisia informs us that PIAS party wants to send their development minister Palm home. He's achieved nothing but collecting air miles; economy keeps going down. Now that you can blame Palm for that, really; but on the other hand, no kudos for that scatterbrain either.
Then, PM Arsjes wants to fire his own party PS education minister Dick out for not getting any results. Does he seriously believe that he can find someone better? We've tried them all by now; the next one would be number 7 in 5 years (I lost count). And don't forget, in education it's not an 80-20 but a 100-0 law; no honkies need apply 'coz nos mes por!
But Her Excellency Fräudlein Wiels's buttocks are still solidly settled on that ministerial spoiled brat's functionary's den Haag chair.

Do It Now
Indie MP Leeflang will go to court to force education minister Dick to tighten exam norms for high schools before August 1, so they will conform top Dutch standards. Until now, Dick has refused to do so, resulting in pupils not being accepted for Dutch higher education.

fialwime"> So That's The Rub
Sounds good, huh? Minister Römer wants to check the legality of 10,000 buildings. That's to decide whether they can be legalized or whether "action must be taken". What action? Tear 'em down and stamp 'em out? Can't be done just like that. Still, Römer says that where homes are built to make money on (which seems to be done by criminal organizations) she wants to act. How, if people have bought or rent such a house and live in there? Tear 'em down and stamp 'em out?
But the rub is that we need more spoiled brats civil servants for this action. Aha! Now I get it.
Among those "criminal organizations" we must include political parties.

Meanwhile, Back in Banda Abao...
That same minister Römer refuses (no surprise) to act against flagrant breaches of law in Wechi, where building is going on by her government in a large public housing project. At least, that's what the heirs of the terrain owners claim. They assert to have started action with the public prosecutor, who did not react; which also applies to letters they sent to the minister and the former bestuurscollege [island council]. According to these heirs, there are errors in the terrain survey.
This is apart from the protests by conservation groups, who allege that there are no proper permits for the development. The judge agrees, but Römer c.s. just bulldoze their way on. "Only marks on paper."

Please, No
We're very popular in Eindhoven. The Dutch town council has asked the mayor "to do anything to prevent" the planned direct flights to/from Curaçao, twice weekly by Arkefly.

The Four Year Shrink
This will be the forth year of negative economy "growth": estimate is 0.1%, and for next year a 0.3% growth. Positive! Big deal. IF...

Whining About Good News
American Airlines will start flying CUR-Charlotte SC weekly as from December. They will follow-up with four more USA destinations, mentioned are Houston TX and Chicago IL. (I wish they'd resume the daily CUR-JFK flights, before 9/11 with a DC-10, no less.)
But InselAir's Heerenveen doesn't like it one bit. He's convinced that AA is paid money for that new route, by CAP/Hato Airport, just so they'll compete with InselAir because "they don't like us". Maybe because AA pays Hato on time? It's a thought.
Heerenveen whines on that AA flies on exactly the same times as InselAir, what a shame! Only, AA starts out from Charlotte on 10:00—while InselAir then leaves from Hato. Is that the same time? Oh yeah, now I see what he means.

Not Up But Down
It does get you down: not only has the economy shrunk (again) this year, the prognosis (hah hah) was that it would grow. By 1.1%, which is just not good enough anyway.

All of Them?
PM Arsjes announces he's going to do something about "unwilling spoiled brats". If they hold up projects because of political reluctance, they'll get a letter from the ministry's general secretary. That'll teach them!
Arsjes omitted to mention if Fräudlein Wiels will get such a letter. Oh no, I forgot; she's not holding up projects but rather undertaking too many. Besides, she's not a civil servant but an uncivil functionary. And finally, will the secretary of her "ministry" there send her a letter like that? I unrest my case.

The Thieves That Keep on Thieving
More "irregularities" at BZV, during the time when Quackie Constancia was that gang's boss. Remember the surgical masks affair she and hubby have been arrested for? That's a joke! In total, 11 million has been stolen in several devious ways. At least, that's what newspaper Vigilante claims.

Let Me Explain
Health minister Whiteman thinks private enterprise must occupy a smaller place in health care. That's because the government does such an awfully good and efficient job, capisce? ¿Comprende? Got it? Vat je 'm?
He gives China as a shining example... China! where acupuncturists and many other quacks are in official use, poisoning patients with toxic tonics. Dios spar nos. Next, he'll follow Quackie's footsteps.

Turnin' 'n' Twistin'
PM Arsjes doesn't want to comment on ombudsman Martijn's report on Fräudlein Wiels before the Staten/parliament meeting on the subject. I can imagine. What he does want to say now is that it's curious the Wiels report is the only one on the ombudman's site. Pretty weak, Arsjes.
Another thing Arsjes does say is, contrary to the report's claim Wiels is not a spoiled brat civil servant but a functionary. I never thought this man could be so subtle; it's hard to see what difference it'd make but his slyly sharp brain does seem to. And the report is based on "gossip and slander", he continues. We'll have to wait and see how many of our other Great Leaders agree; only those who have some character left; precious few).
He also said "We will not tolerate civil servants who stand in the way of progress!" As from what future date?

We Want 30 Million!
Sehos hospital is almost ready to go to court and force the government to pay the promised amount of 30m guilders, which would be some relief! PM Arsjes assures them the promise will be kept. I'm certain that pledge will reassure Sehos.

SVB in Trouble
Social insurance bank SVB is in trouble. Health costs are going up, and so is the number of old-age AOV pensioners. But there isn't much extra coming on. They will just have to pull up the AOV age from 60 to 65 years. I'll spare you the details but for one: we need economic growth to keep up with costs. Are you surprised? Well, there is no economic growth; to the contrary.

A Miracle for Sure
Smoc, Clean Air Everywhere, Ministry of Health and four private inhabitants after three meetings all agreed with the judge that it was much better to consent in a settlement agreement with binding "nuanced" penalty clauses instead of imposing penalties. The judge repeated not to believe in the imposition of disciplinary measures which can then not be complied with.
Now to wait and see how that works out.
The judge did advise the government to make haste with pollution control, or the future might turn out to be expensive.

Let's Hope That Works
The minibus tariffs will in the future go up and down with diesel fuel prices, starting next week with 15-20 cents up. Which can mean a hardship for minimum-wage passengers who often have to use more than one bus to and then again from their work.
Future refiguring every 3 months.

Bloggers Beware
After blogger Judith Roumou was arrested in her St. Maarten home (that real nuisance for politicians had to be abated), mafioso Corallo (Shorty's padrino) has another fling at filing complaints against Knipselkrant Curaçao, in Holland. The crooks must be feeling the pinch.
Roumou was released from jail, but her phone and computers have been confiscated; even her front door was removed.
However, it seems that Roumou is not a mere blogger, as she also stands accused of extortion, stalking and threats. Which is conveniently left out of many protests, like that of Dutch MP van Raak (SP).

Tell Us About It
The Curaçao economy has shrunk negatively expanded still further last year with 1.1%—0.3% worse than the year before. Only tourism grew with 5%; which is what in all countries around us happened with their entire economies. CBS statistics bureau tells us the economy has "stagnated" since 2009. I guess they mean, "shrunk". You think it's a coïncidence that stagnation started in 2010?

Mosquito Murder
As spraying with pesticides (like we do here) eliminates at best 50% of mosquito populations, this does not stop epidemics of dengue and chicungunya. After the Cayman islands, where introducing gene-modified males reduced the mosquito population with 80%, now Brazil is ready to go ahead with such an eradication program; tests had a success rate of up to 91%.
Here, we remain stuck in half-hearted temporary removal of waste dumps and a 500 guilder fine for having one larva on your premises.

He May Be Right
MFK ex-PM Shorty claims that CBCS Central Bank was involved in the fraud for which two directors of what amounts to the government's own bank, Girobank, have been fired, and which was one of the factors in bringing it to the edge of bankruptcy. As Shorty is CBCS director Tromp's arch-enemy, one is inclined to shrug. Still, he may be right.

The island's two worst polluters have got together to start fighting it. The plans are in a very early stage, indeed "embryonic". I dare say. It concerns Isla refinery and Aqualectra utility. About time, too. Maybe, just possibly, this has to do with the court session today in the case started by inhabitants down the stink wind.
Anyway, all those polluters are state-owned.
But Isla manager Gijsbertha claims that the green scum was not caused by Isla (of course not!) but by others, among which Curoil. Curoil? I thought they were mere distributors of oil products.

Why I Don't Feel Guilty About My Carbon Footprint
When the volcano Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in all its years on earth.—Geologist Ian Plimer.
Don't forget to add a grain of salt! Plimer, well-known among colleagues for his outrageous remarks and therefore AKA "Inky", actually was a warmist before he moved the beacons when the tide changed.
And now it's claimed Inky didn't say that at all (# 17 here). My head spins.

Little Nigeria Syndrome
We have these tourist jewelry shop for tourists "Little Switzerland", but for natives it's often more like little Nigeria. Granted, the electricity doesn't fail that often here as there—these days at least. But the internet! We use the state-owned UTS and there have been several black-outs daily the last few weeks, or months. Today, since 06:30 we have had three already, the last one starting ~08:30; I'll upload this item when the High and the Mighty (but impotent ones) decide to hook us back up. Good thing I don't have any urgent bills to pay.
No, I don't expect an email from UTS to apologize. In case you wondered.
Then, apart from at least 3 or 4 (or 5 or 6) shorter service interruptions, we were treated to an electricity failure lasting about 5 hours. 2015-07-07

Definitely Rings a Bell
The World Bank on the smash-up of Greece: "Among those obstacles are the role the government plays in many sectors of the economy - either through outright ownership of assets, such as a utility; price controls; and high barriers to entry, such as strict limitations on the number of players in a profession [80-20? not yet], and/or difficult licensing requirements, according to the McKinsey report. Add to all that very tough labor restrictions on large enterprises. The result is that very few businesses have been able to get started or grow in size..."
"Its government is so big that [...] it's dragging down the economy."
Not only VBC entrepreneurs' club nods in assent.

About Mitch
Five den Haag/The Hague cops stand accused of manslaughter after an Arubian died because of their heavy handling. It is not true that he told them "gottagat", he merely grabbed his crotch (an ineradicable habit among certain Antillean types) and told them he had a weapon himself. Such an amusingly delicate joke. I have not been able to find a report of what happened afterwards; what I read stops at that point and continues some hours later. But that period is exactly what we'd most like to know about.

The Space Gang, those guys who want top start the Vomit Comet, is in ecstasy. They have received a letter from the US State Department "which in principle grants exemption for the use of the XCOR Lynx spacecraft outside the United States (US), or on Curacao." That's offered as a straight quote, in Dutch, but is it? Sounds pretty vague in the first place.
They do add that the letter further sets certain conditions (like, FAA upgrading?) but those can be technically resolved. They say; and this is great news for Curaçao! I'm not so sure.

A New Plan
Now we'll see. Finance minister Jardim says that the campaigns to improve the "tax compliance" of the payers have had no effect. Matter of fact, total tax payments have effectively gone down when the higher sales tax (from 5 to 6%) is discounted. They are now considering a new program.
Nobody's asking how much those programs, plus the electronic cash registers that have been installed in all those stores and shops, have cost. And how much the new program will set us back.
Not to mention the Laffer curve.

Airline Safety Tip
"Do not fly airlines from a country that is not approved by the FAA." Like, InselAir?
From Seconds to Disaster—Glenn Meade, Ray Ronan

We Have It Confirmed—By a Guy Who Knows [?]
Not that we needed any. Errol Cova (former educators' union boss) now says "Free education was music to our ears but the execution has been fatal." I told you so well beyond the boring point. He adds "I don't want no free education." He says the problem lies elsewhere. In several distinct and maybe not so discrete places, I'd add.

The Bandabao (wrong, Politically Incorrect old fashioned etymological spelling—nobody can say a correct sheep is more stubborn than I, Mule) inhabitants feel they're deprived. No street lights, no cops at night, no whatever.
Hey, that's exactly why I opted to live there! Peace and quiet, please.
And an ambulance makes it from Westpunt to the hospital in 15 minutes, what more (or less) can you ask for? Sure, it can be fatal.

Who Cares
Campo Alegre, maybe the largest bordello in the world but for sure in the region (aren't we all megalomaniacally proud?), center of prostitution (sure!), crime, and money laundering will be auctioned off soon. No doubt business will continue as usual.
The public ministry (no pun, folks) say it's been built with drug money. Hoodathunkdat.

You Could Have Fooled Me
A law introduced in Brazil should get rid of the off-shore oil rights now belonging to state oil company Petrobras, privatizing them. Reason, the enormous corruption that's going on in the company. And here, the government is doing its utmost to keep of-shore exploration in their claws under government control. Why don't we do follow Brazil's example here? But there is no corruption over here, you say. Oh.

Run for the hills! Ruin for the shills? A new space company is planning to start a satellite launching site in New Zealand. Worse, they also plan on tourist space trips; just like those guys who are still trying to sell us the deal. Which they have to do before next elections, next year. It certainly looks like their starting date (this very year!) has already gone by..
Those guys in NZ are not out for passenger trips, really; they are much more interested in launching small satellites for which activity there is a steadily growing market. But they probably are less egomaniac than our Space Gang friends.

Just Curiously Wondering
Could or would somebody start a court case against PM Arsjes for breaking the law by withholding information from ombudsman Martijn?
And will we ever get to see that famous letter, faked or not, where PS Boss Wiels left the power in hands of his sis and Arsjes? I guess, not. Surprise me, please!

She Sure Fooled Us
Education minister Dick says, two different diplomas are out of the question. "That's all alarmism, because there are new elections next year" (I can hardly wait). But she omits to say what she did mean.
Dick retracted her idea after two week and will now confer with schools first.

Not Soap But Suds
Another opera: that of the spoiled brats. After their health insurance would first become part of Bzv [special health insurance] per November 1st, that was delayed until January 1 and then to today. But minister van der Horst again didn't succeed in rounding off the administrative and judicial details.
What could possibly be the problem? They'll much better off than the rest of us, paying voters, with a government-paid augmentation for dental care, glasses, upgrading of hospital class, family care and inevitable health costs in foreign countries.
My dentist tells me that it's a real struggle to gouge the government for civil servants' bills.

No Reason in Sight
PM Arsjes says he "sees no reason". But the sentence doesn't end there: no reason to drop his support for Fräudlein Wiels. For the time being, that is. He doesn't think Martijn's report is devastating (most would not agree with him there). Then he tries to divert attention by saying he thinks it much worse that three MPs are accused of money laundering. He'll have to defend himself and Wiels in parliament tomorrow.

Do Tell
Fuel prices have gone up again today. Not by a little margin, over 10%. Okay, so crude price is only vaguely linked to refined product price. Still, as crude is at about the same level as last month, this is rather hefty, and VBC entrepreneurs club wants PM Arsjes to please kindly explain about that so-called "correction factor" they're always using. That thing is not transparent but as opaque as the crudest of crudes.

That Is No Lady, That's Ms. Wiels
We have now read ombudsman Martijn's swan-song, and a beauty it is. I feel it's of little use to go into details, as what I have seen only confirms everything we've thought, read and written on this poisonous Wiels person. A word Martijn uses often to characterize Wiels's behavior is "onbehoorlijk" [unseemly]—amen to that.
What the consequences for PM Arsjes will be because of his unholy alliance, for which he even violated the law to hold back info in order to protect Wiels, I don't even dare to predict.
The one surprise is that Wiels had a point when she wanted to restore the Curaçaohuis in The Hague. Since 2006, there had been no money forthcoming from the Antillean government for maintenance; no doubt because of the coming independence we were all pining for.

That Arubiano, who became dead after a mix-up with the cops, expired because of an acute lack of breath. Figures; five cops have been accused of being guilty, and when five of those hulks sit down on you it's hard to say "I can't breath". What I can't find confirmed is if he really was dumb enough to've told those cops "gottagat".

That Took Long!
The law Openbare Orde [public order] has finally been accepted. We now have rules to promote the public order, peace and security and to protect the community. If this covers all the areas which since 10-10-10 were left open for pirates and freebooters to enjoy, I couldn't tell you. And anyway, a law is no good if it is not enforced—that remains to be seen. I just say the magic word "Isla"!

Papiamentu Is to Blame
Indie MP Leeflang reproaches PS education minister Dick that she hides behind the sob story that the pupils' mother language is Papiamentu, which makes it difficult for them to get a diploma in Dutch. Well, that's the educators' fault: before Papiamentu was introduced in schools, the problem did not exist. As they say in Papiamentu, saka bo som [figure it out].

No Surprise
The Ombudsman's report on Fräudlein Wiels can be downloaded all over (in Dutch, naturally). But it's all as expected, only more so. One wonders what the consequences will be now that all her and Arsjes's crap has been confirmed, that's all.


Good Example
Argentina, almost as desperate as Venezuela to keep up the government's façade for the people, has announced plans to seize the assets of drillers operating in the Falklands. Sure, when there's oil, they want it. They want the Falklands... oops, Malvinas anyway.
But if that works out (a good guess is, it won't, just like last time) it's sure to give Venezuela ideas. Like, that Isla refinery officially belongs to Curaçao, so why not grab the island lock, stock and barrel?
And by the way, Argentina possesses no part of Antarctica either, in spite of their frantic bragging.

Will Wiels Withdraw?
"Not today, boss" as the convicts say in Cool Hand Luke. Even though she may have lost, she's sure to put up a fight and not give up her plushy seat. And she may be called a minister, but she isn't! She's just a mere spoiled brat and maybe she can be fired, but not without another long and costly fight. And if you think PM Arsjes would kick her in the derrière, you are an innocent.

Pretty Dumb
Not only Aruba is all fired up because some Arubian turned out to be dead after having been roughly handled by 6 Dutch cops in den Haag. But really, the guy just asked for it when he told them he had a gun; at least, that's the story as we hear it now. Like, you don't yell "fire" in a crowded theater and you don't tell the customs officers you're smuggling drugs. Just begging for trouble.
Still, to stamp him to death like a roach, that's overdoing it.
They didn't find a weapon on him.

But She Did
Coalition party PIAS member Cleopa says that PS education minister Dick acted on her own when going for two diplomas: one real, one fake. She should not have done it without discussing in in the ministerial council. No, but...

Quackie's Rotten Health
Quackie seems to have had a large operation in a foreign country recently, so her health is carefully monitored in jail. She must follow a strict diet, but she somehow has eaten something that did not agree with her. She's even rumored to have talked gibberish; well, nothing new there. The prison director says a dietician has been on her case from the very start.
Hey, here's a suggestion! Why not send one of those quacks she's so fond of over to treat her? Maybe that will have the desired payoff.
Say, what was that operation? Liver transplant?
Quackie was released from jail yesterday afternoon.

Adding Up
MFK party now has 3 parliament members out of 5 who stand accused of crimes: Shorty, Quackie and Thodé. But we also read 3 more may be soon get accused of perjury in the Dean Rozier bribery case. Hey, 3+3=6, am I right? No, I'm wrong; they're Pisas and Koeyers-Felida; The Third Man is party head Garmes, not in parliament. At any rate, they may have no one left in Staten soon. Plenty more where they came from? Too right, look under flat stones...

Now that Taams clinic will almost completely stop working, it seems pretty certain that the capacity of the country's health services will not prove sufficient. The only way out you can imagine is for SVB social insurance to start sending patients to Colombia and Holland for treatment. Which costs.
When Cft financial supervision said health care was guaranteed, they must have meant for spoiled brats only. At any rate, for us it's not as SVB is short of funds already.

The Soap Is Over
As Taams clinic is now definitely bankrupt, with Advent having bought their buildings, all running contracts have been terminated and 142 personnel members will be fired as of June 30. The only departments that will run on are X-Ray and blood sampling.
The grapevine says that Advent wants all workers to apply anew for a position, which will mean that they'll be paid up to 30% less.

Vulgar Brawl
Ex-PM Shorty has organized a demonstration outside the prison where his minister of health Quackie Constancia has found temporary lodging, free. They were yelling, applauding and honking their horns to express their support. Don't worry Shorty, shortly you may be able to console her from the inside.

Parents Protest
Parents of students at Albert Schweitzer, Alejandro Paula, Maria Immaculata and Radulphus schools have protested with education minister Dick about not having been heard in the double diploma affair.

Are the Dutch Waking up?
Certainly not all of them, but at least the idea seems to be growing that we'll never make it on our own. Both here and there politicians want us to be kicked out, for diverse reasons, as we all know. But it's just not feasible. However, it means Holland needs to take its responsibilities more seriously as well, and stop looking at all of us as minors who still have to come of age.

Oh My, Who's Next?
Within PdVSA 152,000 work force, criminal gangs have been formed who go out at night and even by day to steal equipment from the oil wells in Lake Maracaïbo, "turning the oil industry into a no man's land where no one can instill order." They could cause the Amuay refinery, where in 2012 an enormous fire broke out, massive harm. In that case the Curaçao Isla refinery would become of even more importance to the state oil company of a country ruined by currency problems, corruption and governmental malpractice, while the prices of crude oil and production are both steadily going down.
Until, of course, those bandits throw a beady eye on Curaçao as well.
Amuay refinery workers are even held up on their way to the bathroom or to their parked cars.

That Will Turn Out Well
There are problems with one crane of the container terminal, and only one is left working now. And these guys want to compete with Panamá or even Singapore. For now, result is that the harbor is chock-full of ships waiting to be unloaded. For the record: a container ship costs over USD220/hour to run, so many ships are diverted to Aruba—which is a real competitor.
Two new cranes have been ordered and will arrive in 2017.

The Illegals Are Coming
More and more people are reputed to flee Venezuela. for Aruba and Curaçao. No figures are mentioned, and neither is Bonaire. Let's face it: without a major effort they are unstoppable. They can swim ashore after all while drugs have to be delivered.
And if it will be anything like €urope and the U$A, we can confidently expect terrorists among the "fugitives".

Good News
PM Arsjes, who had started a court case against Radio Mas, has lost. After all, the judge said, Mas had invited Arsjes to reply to their allegations. But Arsjes preferred to run to court, and the judge thought Arsjes in his function should be prepared to take a beating now and then.

Still Better News
Much to (almost) everybody's delight, Fräudlein Wiels has lost her case against ombudsman Wiels, whose report will now become public. That will happen in the last four days of this month, while she's still in function. And after that? Very good question... It's not the first time our Great Leaders would prefer to have no ombudsman. You don't have to wonder why.
PM Arsjes was also attacked by the judge for his continued protection of Wiels, for whose acts he is ultimately responsible. But it seems pretty sure they have signed a mutual Pact with the Devil.
The report will be published on June 30.

Wait and See
The lawyers of Fräudlein Wiels claim that she is totally kosher and so are all her acts. Her money management is exemplary! One does have reservations accepting this. I'll wait for the judge. If only I could lay my hands on that report, but those involved (Wiels and PM Arsjes) no doubt carefully watch out for leaks, and ombudsman Martijn has too much integrity.

Guns for Hire
Sounds like the title of a TV-series, but it's what's going on "Now, in Curaçao!" as the tourist slogan is. If you feel money is scarce, you can go rent-a-gun for an atrako.

When Governments Run Banks
Who'd expect it? The former management of Girobank was kicked out, then the interim management started fraud right away. To the tune of 7.3 million dollars, over 13 million guilders. Can't even blame Shorty for that. And they're in heavy trouble already, what with Ctex and all that.

So There
Exxon does not plan to stop exploring for oil in the territorial waters of Guyana, which were just declared Venezuelan by president Maduro in a shameless grab, after he earlier declared Venezuela was permitted to defend itself in Antillian territorial waters.

Priorities and Approach
Dutch Greenpeace activists have just won a class case against the Dutch state: greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 25% in 2020 (compared with 1990 levels). Otherwise the dykes will get too low and the polders will be flooded by the North Sea. Doom! Doom! If this proves one thing, it's that judges are no scientists.
The reason why I mention this is the shrill contrast with our local attitude towards Isla refinery and its pollution, where the danger is much more tangible and immediate.
The Dutch state may appeal the verdict. As matters stand now, emissions will be reduced with 17% by that time anyway. In €urope, greenhouse gases must be reduced by 30% in 2030, so what's the big hurry, in the first place?

Nos Mes Por—NOT
Indie MP Leeflang notes that education minister Dick (PS) proposes to have two diplomas for future HAVO and VWO students. One conforms to Dutch norms, so those guys can go study in Holland; the other one doesn't, so you can't do anything with it. It would just prove that you didn't make the grade.
In other words, Dick admits that our education is sub-standard (not that we needed any confirmation) and, instead of improving it, she takes an easy way out.
I take that crack back, they could become local politicians, easy.

Oh Yeah?
Cft financial supervision announces that the financial backlog from the years 2011-2013 (translate: Shorty's MFK-MAN and don't forget PS chaos) has now been canceled out. "We are now back at the start position of 10-10-10," they crow. "This means the government can fulfill their promises on pensions and health care."
So how about reducing taxes again, like sales tax and property tax, both raised to balance the budget? Not a word of course. And while we're at it, how's the situation with the spoiled brats? Because it's obvious, those pensions and the most expensive parts of "health care" are for them.

That Sounds Better
Dutch parliament members do not agree with their minister of defence, who pooh-poohs the problems with Venezuela and dictator Maduro. They feel more military units should be sent over to prevent illegal immigration.

Surreptitious Way Out In
Indie PM Leeflang notes the trend of installing a temporary department head, and turn this into a final appointment a year or so later. Awkward public job applications are then avoided. Those in charge will never be cured of nepotism and cronyism.

That's Easy to Follow
PIAS Rosaria wants to have less parliament members. So far so good, that would mean less salaries. He also thinks that quality of members would then go up, which is highly doubtable. There is something to be said for his argument that someone who's accused of a crime does not need to step down; after all, the accusation could be false with no conviction following. But one remark really is risible: that the public tends to regard all parliament members as criminals because of those few accused.

We're All Sick of All of Them
Panic among the USA media and politicians. Billionaire Donald Trump has announced he will join the presidential race. "Aw, that clown... forget it... He's no politician!" But, for now, it looks like that's his main attraction; and a strong one, too.
For now.


Good One, Keep It In
A Letter-To-Ye-Amigoe-Editor calls Shorty "Calimero", an Italian-Japanese cartoon character who's always whiningly complaining "They am big and I is small."

Just Rumors, Don't Trust Them!
KKCuraçao tells us that ex-PM Shorty is spooked that Quackie Constancia will make a deal with the prosecutor, and then start singing songs about MFK and Shorty. Who it now seems is also a suspect in the Wiels murder case. The guy certainly gets around.
And we are now the proud owners of a parliament with 3 members out of 21 accused of crimes, waiting for their case to come up in court: Shorty, Thodé and now Constancia (all MFK). Three other MPs (all also MFK—some coïncidence!) are shortly expected to be prosecuted for perjury, as witnesses in the Rozier bribery case.

CDM Loses Again
Not only Cuban slaves are exploited by CDM Dokmaatschappij. They also tried this with temporary workers, who now, however, have won their case as well. CDM/DOK is ordered by court to pay them the difference between their salaries and those of permanent workers, plus court costs.
In Dutch, CDM moet Dokken.

CBS statistics bureau says 10% of the population is unemployed (23% of youth). That's not so good, compared with the USA (5.6% or 6.8%, depending on who's counting, 12.2% youth) or Holland (6.9%, youth 11.1%). But take heart, it will get much worse if we just go on working at it. Compare South Africa, unemployment 25.2%, youth 52.9%. I didn't bother to look up Rhodesia oops Zimbabwe.

C***-Post continues their action to stop delivery to your mail box. Eventually, we will all have to go pick it up somewhere they think is handy—for them. That some people have to take up to two buses to reach that central location is not the Post's worry! But that they are in trouble is not our fault: we always pay for our stamps.

Is That a Good Reason?
Finance minister Jardim explains that the idea not to have people pay OZB property tax on houses they live in themselves cannot be realized. Reason, it would "endanger the 2015 and later budgets." In other words, the government needs and wants the money, so pay up, suckers.

Got Them Back
A crew of crooks made an assault on the terrain where those voitures seized by the police are parked. They made off with one pick-up, loaded with 4 scooters and 2 motorcycles.

Uh Oh... China on the Hook
Not only did China lend Venezuela 5 billion dollars recently, since 2008 they lent 37 billion in total, via CDB China Development Bank. Now, with tottering oil prices and teetering economy, it becomes as obvious to even China as it was all the time to many of us, that Venezuela can never pay back. And China's bubble is in danger of bursting any time soon, now. Wait for the bang.

Arrested, No Bail
Ex-minister of infirmity, Quackie Constancia. We don't have bail here; too bad for her, because she certainly could afford it. She went to police and gave herself up, because of the surgical caps affair for which hubby has already been arrested. Quackie, a strong supporter of alternative medicine, was a member of ex-PM Shorty's MFK party. Birds of a feather.
Quackie is accused of fraud, misappropriation of public funds, money laundry and forgery. She went to the station at the cops' request to come assist them with their enquiries, and was arrested on the spot.
Prosecution wants to hold her eight more days "for the investigation", the judge will decide tomorrow.

Arsjes Withheld Info
Looks like the court case Fräudlein Wiels started against ombudsman Martijn, to stop her from publishing her report, will backfire. Inconvenient fact: PM Arsjes withheld certain documents from Martijn, which was illegal. His argument that those documents would invade Wiels's privacy was declared null and void by the ombudsman's lawyers. But the ombudsman succeeded in obtaining the documents "from other sources", so Arsjes's effort to protect Wiels came to naught.

What to Think?
The judge convinced the government to start talking with the people downwind of the refinery about pollution and was surprised this had not happened on its own. (I'm not so surprised.) Now, research will follow to be finished within two month, after which both parties must settle in court on what to do. More discussions will follow and must be rounded off by July 8.

Why Should They?
Cft financial supervision complains that they still haven't received yearly accounts of subsidized foundations. Nothing new there. Also not of government corporations and "institutions resulting from legislation"—whatever that means. It means, all institutions the government spends money on or is supposed to receive money from. And why should they? It would only promote transparency.

Exxon Divorces PdVSA
Exxon and PdVSA have just sold their last joint refinery to PBF Energy, Inc. The Louisiana plant, capacity 189,000 barrels/day, was sold for $322m. PdVSA will probably use the money to pay Exxon part of the 1.6 billion they owe gas-and-oil properties expropriated in 2007.
Anybody out there still thinks PdVSA has money to patch up "our" Isla refinery, capacity 335,000 bpd? Anybody thinks that 10 billion dollars "loans" from China and Russia make a real difference? Venezuela owes half of that to Exxon and airlines alone.

Peppie-the-clown, ex-PM Shorty's lawyer, based his requests for 46 witnesses at least partly on emails intercepted by presumably Shorty or at least his team. Let's get this straight: they claim the prosecutor has acted illegally, and come with a defence based on illegal acts.
This item disappeared somehow and I had to rephrase it from memory.

Almost Funny
Ex-PM Shorty is now accusing justice minister Navarro of having ties with the underworld (look who's talking!), strongly insinuating that Navarro knew in advance that the Hato gang shoot-out would take place.
That the camera surveillance system could have been bought much cheaper from other sources, which makes it quite plausible Navarro has been bribed, is another matter. However, Shorty offers no proof at all, only allegations. Then again, Navarro may just have been suckered which makes him incompetent, not a crook.

Getting Close
An uproar in the Golden Grove prison of Trinidad injured 5 officers and 7 inmates. The prisoners resented a cell search, shouting "Alluha Akhbar" (that's muslimese for "God is great"—a standard battle cry) while starting a fight. The muslims claim they are being persecuted, also a standard gimmick. The holy month of Ramadan has just started, always a sure source of trouble in the Religion of Peace.
Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Venezuela are heavily infiltrated by muslims; T&T muslims go to Venezuela for Jihad training.

Of Course, Follows
Truck drivers have blocked entrance to Malpáis landfill in protest of the high tariffs Selikor asks for dumping trash there. I shouldn't wonder; the trash guys actually make money which, agreed, may be better than subsidies (although we'd pay in both cases). It is also claimed that popular illegal dumping is caused by those same high tariffs.
We hear very little anymore about the clean-up of those illegal dumps, so loudly trumpeted when chikungunya was around.
The bus drivers are protesting the lowering of tariffs, even though diesel fuel is very cheap these months. They have blocked Willemstad Punda, but as somebody remarked, "nobody wants to go there anyway anymore."

Filthy Mess
CPA port authority has not only renewed one ISO-certificate, but also acquired a new one. They're about reducing pollution and all that, which can only be called a good thing. But the last sentence in the article grabbed attention: "the problem of sewage dumping in Schottegat harbor will be analysed." Analysed? Not stopped but analysed?

1812: Heavy Counter Fire
An email received pointed out several items to counter-attack ex-PM Shorty's arguments:
— Shorty is obviously desperate, in view of the pathetic theory he's trying to fob off.
— There are many instances of earlier and other criminal acts by Shorty: misappropriating a car; insurance fraud; bankruptcy fraud; bribing with actions like "food for you"; leasing cars and never paying, building up tens of thousands guilders' debts; never paying restaurants serving food. The moment a curator was appointed, all pertinent administration had suddenly gone with the wind.... POOF!
— Borrowing a friend's credit card, upgrading credit limit without his knowledge to exhaust it completely, leaving the friend to pay the debt. Shorty has been condemned in a civil procedure for this.
Wonder if that friend sucker is still a friend. Some people never wise up. Like, most voters.
— Large-scale credit fraud in his paintball racket.
— Card-carrying sociopath: driving an uninsured car at over 100kms/hr (62.5mph) in a residential area and killing a woman. When her daughter accosts him he says she's an 'Italian pendew' [asshole] (like mafioso Corallo?) who should leave him alone.
All this has been very well documented.
Literally, of course, pendew [pendejo] means scrotum. Shows you what a great linguist Shorty is.
— Repeat, then repeat again: Shorty is a criminal sociopath who's nothing but bad news for Curaçao. A (much too small) bunch of people was forced to come into action because the public prosecutor, then led by Piar, failed to do their jobs.
A new action should be started against Shorty's illegal intercepting of emails.
Right... I guess that covers it. Let's go.

The judge in the Babel case against ex-PM Shorty has discarded 39 of the 46 witnesses called by defense lawyer Sulvaran, leaving 7. If they're the same ones the prosecutor wanted I couldn't say.
But hey, that's good! Mafioso Corallo is welcome as a witness. I do wonder if he'll come—that would be the day! There's a lot of his money at stake, true.
First there was talk of 47 witnesses. So don't ask. Still later, 11 were allowed. So don't ask.

Christian Compassion
All (142) personnel working at the Taams clinic will be fired on June 30 by the new owners, Advent Ziekenhuis. That's not even two weeks from now. Only 7 surgeons can work on in the clinic (they're not employed by Taams); without nurses and anesthetists? Better stay away.
So that's what the "second coming of Christ" means in practice.
Those in the know tell me salaries at Advent are 20-30% lower than elsewhere.

Tyranny Gets a Grip
The €uropean high court has spoken: a Swedish website can be held responsible for the texts readers upload as comments. This spells the end of free speech and, matter of fact, free thought. Because what's a thought worth if you may not express it?
Next in line: book burning.

The Advent Hospital, who'd thought they'd acquired the Taams clinic at an auction lock, stock and barrel now discover they've only bought the building; not the equipment and movables. Even though I'm told that was quite clear in the published public tender.
This soap gets in my eyes. No due diligence, possibly on both sides. Take pity on the long-suffering Taams staff.

Third Time Lucky
AVA Airlines have presented the papers necessary for their permits to the minister of transport for the third time. I'm sure they're crossing their fingers.

Something to It
Justice minister Navarro is considering getting out of the coalition. If this will result in the fall of the cabinet, as Indie MP Sulvaran predicts, is another matter; especially as that same Sulvaran says "I will do everything to keep this government together." (But why?)
Navarro later declared it's just a rumor and he will not abandon his soft comfy plush seat.

Alphabet Sex
Not only Dutch VVD party wants Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten to change their attitudes towards LHBT. That's LGBT, folks; in Holland, the word "homo" is still politically correct. We must accept the gay marriage, or else?
Meanwhile, there's precious little to be heard from there about the Isla refinery. Talk about priorities.

Pay, Pay, Pay
It's proof that, maybe, ex-PM Shorty does not always lie. Aqualectra utility loses 1/3rd of the water production in leaks. Now there's a report that, on top of that, 1/7th of the production is lost in administrative failures. Wait... let me figure this out... hang on... get me an aspirin... but quick! 33.3 plus 12.4 percent = 48%. So you and I and all other suckers pay almost double for our water (and then some).
No wonder those Chinese might buy it. They fix it, they keep charging the same amount (and kick the management out).
If that 1/7th is over production after leaks, which it probably is, it's even worse. No doubt you're so smart, you'd already figured it out yourself.

That, I Doubt
Indie MP Sulvaran says he doesn't hesitate to let the coalition come to a fall because of those surveillance cameras. PS, MFK and MAN (of which only the first one counts) are against Navarro's way of financing and tendering. I'd be surprised if Sulvaran succeeded. But it does explain his predictions.
Parliament meeting is next Friday.
Navarro called MFK Shorty "a criminal" during the debate, which of course he's not entitled to do until the judge has had hes/hir say. And that for a minister of justice... tssk tssk.

Below Zero
Just in, the KKN chamber of commerce economy monitor. Make a long story short, it's all still shrinking here, while the comparable graph for Holland is plodding along and that for the USA is growing strong.

To Copy Is Not Right
Finally the schools have been stopped from illegally copying books. Now for the papers and magazines, who often quite casually use copyright materials. Let alone the internet, where many people honestly think because it's on there, it's free-for-all to use. Not so. Texts... photographs... whole pages... it's all grist to their parasitic mills. Baby, I'd be a rich man if I got paid for all those rip-offs. Worst part is, before you know it a work is in the public domain and you can really forget about it.

It's Not I Who Said This
"... The negligent, incompetent and downright criminal fraudsters, KPMG."
That explains why our Great Leaders like them so much.
EU Referendum: not your business

Maybe That Works
Inhabitants of several neighborhoods downwind of Isla refinery have, united in a foundation, started proceedings against the government to take action in five days: they should maintain their own pollution law. Nothing new there, you'll say, it has been tried before. Ah, but wait. These are not the poor suckers of Wishi and Marchena, but the fat rich in Julianadorp and Blauwbaai.
PIAS Rosaria wishes them all the best but wants to discuss this in parliament—after recess. The foundation saw that coming, they estimate it will take four years to get those lard-asses moving.
It's Foundation Clean Air Everywhere, and they work together with Smoc.

ça Va Sans Dire
Well no, may seem obvious to us but it's not! Indie MP Leeflang wants Frädlein Wiels to pay for her own lawyer if she wants to assail ombudsman Martijn's report.
It's a pretty safe bet Wiels will not pay for that lawyer; no doubt PM Arsjes will jump into the breach.
Real food for thought is, according to Martijn the report does not come to any conclusions (yet), but still Wiels thinks a defense is in order.

Boring Story?
Only if you don't live close by the Isla refinery. Once again, there are problems. First with burning off of surplus butane and propane (which by the way they make us pay dearly for). There's so much of it, it looks like the whole ugly thing is on fire.
Then, once again the cat cracker is acting up and they may have to close it down. Not so bad, only after repairs it will have to start up again, bringing stench soot and noise to those downwind (not to mention poisonous and carcinogenic gasses)

Banana, Banana
MFK Thodé found his brake sensor conduits cut through after he came back from a trip. This is pretty clumsy; it wouldn't kill him as it only influences the ABS system. Shows you once again that there are amateurs in our politics—can't even get sabotage right. Remember how Dean Roziers trucks were burned after he left MFK?
Nos mes por? The Dutch are infamous for being among the best saboteurs in the world.

Won't Help Bloody much
Don Martina, one of the initiators of MAN political party (who stepped out when Cooper took over), has come forward to reproach the government that not enough is done to collect rainwater. As a result, groundwater levels are lower than ever. He certainly has a point; many dams, even those built after the Werbata maps were drawn for that specific purpose, have disappeared, broken down or erased. Wells have been filled up and measures have been taken to guide rainwater directly to the sea instead of collecting it.
On the other hand, you can build as many dams as you and I would like, but if there's no rain (like the past few years), there's nothing to be collected either.
The idea of PNP's Davelaar to transport Aqualectra's surplus water production to the (not working) sewage plants is just what you'd expect from that guy. What could possibly be the use of that? If Aqualectra has a surplus, lower the price so we can water our gardens.
That agriculture needs to be stimulated is an idée fixe of many politicians, Martina included. He himself indicates that only 3% of the island is fit for agriculture, even less than I'd guessed

Not That It's Important
A nice little quarrel between PS and PIAS. One party thinks that the new civil servants' palace must be built at the old Amstel brewery location, the other that it has to be in Punda or Otrabanda, doesn't matter much which of the two.

Say, That Government Is Going to Pieces - 1
An, even for us exceptional, series of scandals is getting out in the open. First, Shorty and Arsjes selling off the island's main assets to the Chinese, while they still have a chance. Fräudlein Wiels getting in hot water (finally). Then, justice minister Navarro and all his semi[?]-crooked tricks. Health minister Whiteman getting in trouble. And what's going on between the spoiled brats and minister van der Horst? No news is bad news here.
The last one is, Algemene Rekenkamer [accounting chamber] accuses the ministry of social affairs of facilitating women trafficking. It's been a real mess over there since long, anyway.
Looks like, kick 'em all out before those two weeks have gone by.

Say, That Government Is Going to Pieces - 2
The people of Marchena wants minister of health Whiteman before the medisch Tuchtcollege [medical disciplinary tribunal], because he doesn't do anything to stop the Isla pollution they are forced to inhale. After all, they say, Whiteman is an MD and has sworn the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm".

That Should Be Good
Fräudlein Wiels will sue ombudsman Martijn, because of her report that was supposed to go public Friday, May 29. She doesn't want it to be published. A bit late, isn't it? She says it will damage her position and reputation (such as they are). I dare say. You bet.

Down the Drain, Fast
After justice minister Navarro started promoting his gun shop, and then went to China with PM Arsjes to sell us out, now indie MP Leeflang warns that the immigration service, for which he's responsible, is a mess. She merely says that it's asking for fraud but that may only mean she has no proof of bribery. Yet.
Ombudsman Martijn will leave her post end of this month. No replacement has been announced. Maybe a good point to get rid of that function once and for all, those in power may think.

Pay Up, or Else What?
IATA airline union declares Venezuela must find a solution for the 3.7 billion USD the country owns to divers airlines, "as soon as possible". Whatever that means. Among those creditors is InselAir, who have stated several times that they were getting their money.
Must have been lying (no wonder that they get along so well with out politicians). It's a miracle they are still flying.
Tough problem for Venezuela is, the debt is in dollars, not in those almost worthless Bolivares. And their crude oil costs more to produce than what they can get for it on the world market.

Never Thought of That
A smart reader thinks Arsjes would have peddled the oil exploration rights as well. After all, they were not put up for public tender, which means they're up for private sale. Right, just like him. Not that it will probably do that Chinese any good.

Knipselkrant Curaçao drops some heavy bombshells. Usually the guys are quite well-informed, much to the chagrin of our louche politicians.
1—Shorty's father-in-common-law van der Dijs is selling his fuel stations, because they are registered in the name of his darling daughter Cicely and it's obvious to (almost) everybody that the couple will land in the slammer shortly. So better get rid of 'em while he still can; the more as Shorty might make Cicely sign... er... certain documents.
2—Aqualectra utility, COT Curaçao Oil Terminal, Isla refinery and Selikor garbage service are as good as sold to some Chinese billionaire. So that's why Arsjes went over to China! He must have made pots of money in that case; and even then the cheapskate wants us to pay for taking his wife along.
3—This has been plotted since 2009 by those same lawyers, the Peppie and Kokkie of court; Arsjes will have to share the swag with, mainly, Shorty. Probably, all ministers are aware of what's going on here.
4—Glenn Sulvaran announces the present government may well fall two weeks from now. In which case at least we'll be rid of Arsjes, Shorty and Fräudlein Wiels in one fell swoop. But one shudders at the thought who may replace them. Can't get much worse, you say? You're an optimist.
Sulvaran later retracted and said, he meant the government "may" fall.

Of Course!
Justice minister Navarro has a nice little sideline: dealing in weapons. So that's why he's working to hand out permits to people who need protection in their business!

About That KPMG
The guys advising an Isla committee on the future of the refinery? Somehow they missed the entire multi million dollar FIFA soccer organization bribery scandal. Another real confidence builder.
And by the way you know, we are now breathlessly waiting for a follow up: an analog Olympic games scandal. Too much to hope for the Fall of the House of Usher Orange, though; even while they must be heavily involved. While the Las Vegas scandal erupted in 1998, do you really believe it's all kosher now?

Now We Feel Safe
PM Arsjes has installed a work group to look into the consequences for us of present problems in Venezuela. What a relief!
Gee, I wonder who are members of that group and how much they'll get paid.
MAN Cooper says he's not afraid of an influx of refugees. The Venezuelans voted for Maduro, didn't they? Yeah, just like our people voted for Cooper, Shorty and Arsjes. And in the past for Godett... when many fled to Holland.

Will It Work?
Smoc wants to hold health minister Whiteman personally responsible for damages caused by Isla refinery. It's an idea, certainly, but I'm not so sure they can. Besides, Whiteman certainly can't afford it.

A Quote
PM Arsjes, just back from a trip to China, wants to promote Chinese tourism to Curaçao. He had this gem for us: "It may sound funny, but in China they have no idea where Curaçao is." Not only in China, to be sure.

The pre-trial against ex-PM Shorty started today. Defense attorney Sulvaran (one of the comic duo Peppi and Kokki) kicked off with a two hour harangue that the proceedings were illegal. No doubt the prosecution will deny this.
But I don't read that Sulvaran claims Shorty's innocent.
Sulvaran wanted to call 47 witnesses à décharge but the prosecution accepted only 7, among whom mafioso (so sue me) Corallo.
The prosecution claimed that it didn't matter how the proof was gathered, legally or illegally. Maybe they're right, this is not the USA. I wouldn't know.
Besides money laundering and fraud, other accusations against Shorty c.s. are infringements of the telecommunications laws (owning jammers), forgery and bribery. The judge now wants two weeks to look at all that.
We naturally take a vivid interest in this matter, as we were instrumental in getting this show on the road. Please bear with us—or just skip it.

Grandiose Uh... Flop
The Tourist Safety Conference, to be held in that megalomaniacally named World Trade Center, has been canceled. There was not enough interest. (They had counted on 200 participants.)

Even Dutch parliament is getting worried: any day Venezuela's government, heritage of Chávez, may crumble to pieces. And even if that doesn't happen, a stream of refugees may still head for Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire. We're much closer by than Italy is from Libya, and look what's happening over there.
Worst is, Venezuela (just like Suriname) is reputed to be a hotbed of Hezbollah terrorists, also a Chávez heritage, who will no doubt grab the chance to infiltrate. Just like in Europe.

Why Not Try?
The manager of Ctex expands what many consider his con-game to suing the company for damages ad ANG.5 million.

Old Habits Die Hard
PM Arsjes took his wife, who wasn't invited, along on a trip to China. So far so good, tastes differ after all. But he made us pay for it, which isn't so good. Of course, from the very first when Arsjes got in the public eye, he did things like that. Indie MP Leeflang wants him to pay back.
It's no surprise at all that the RvM ministerial council accorded the wife's costs.Hodie mihi, cras tibi—you today, I tomorrow as the funeral directors say; more commonly known as the mutual back scratch. Sigh.
What is new is why Arsjes, wife and Jardim went to China and then on to the USA: to collect info on energy extraction! What a joke.

Old Story, in One Word
The Isla refinery, oh so important for our economy, has not published a yearly account since 2011. While in 2010 there was a ANG19m profit, but in 2011 there was a loss of ANG125m. Mainly because BOO power station was taken over from Aqualectra utilities for 36m, and 68m was spent on maintenance. Why?
In one word, Shorty.

All For It
Task Force Curaçao (we have many of those, I feel, but this one is about tax) advises the government to lower taxes for certain groups and thus stimulate the economy. I don't know about the economy, but it would certainly stimulate me if they lowered mine.
VBC entrepreneurs club is afraid the proposed measures will backfire by further complicating the system; they'd much prefer a structural reformation.

Merchant, Get Your Gun
The new law, where merchants will be allowed to get a gun under easier conditions, is almost there, police announces. Hey, what about the rest of us, lambs to the slaughter? May we not defend ourselves?
It's for business holders in the "danger zones". As far as I'm concerned, Curaçao is one big danger zone these years, am I right>

Not News
Rather, business as usual: Isla refinery's SO2 and TSP particulate matter in May were way over the norm. Smoc calls it "absurd".

We Were Waiting for It
Cft financial supervision announces that the schommelfonds {swing fund, whatever that is] in in danger of being depleted and will end up with a deficit of over ANG47M instead of 0. Austerity measures are insufficient and investment costs will be higher than planned.

Now That
Business owners in Colon center, next to the site of the new hospital, want to go to court because of damages sustained by the building process. Their sales have gone way down because the parking space has been reduced and because the government, now owner of the complex, does not keep to its promises and deals.

"It's a Chaos"
"I came here in 1958 and since May 1969 it became worse and worse. It's a chaos now." Says owner Duarte of supermarket Esperamos, which was robbed yesterday afternoon.
Hear, hear. He must have been over-excited.

Soap Scoop - Just Breaking
The soap finally came to an end: Taams Clinic has just been auctioned off, and the lucky winner is Advent Ziekenhuis [Hospital]; the only bidder. Mist probably means, exit Esseboom and his friends.

Not-So_Grand Opening
That notorious shopping mall Sambil opened yesterday. Apart from a Shady Deal, it's a Grand Flop: no more than 40 of the 160 outlets have found renters. That's 1 out of 4 or 25%. Only.

The Germans Are Coming!
Air Berlin announces they will start flying twice weekly next winter season. Nobody seems to care to tell us, so what's with that guarantee?

The Gift That Keeps Taking
Latest news of the infamous Curaçaohuis, the press guy has taken his leave. Co-workers had long been wondering how he could stand the way Fräudlein Wiels treated him, but the last drop was when he had to explain to press, how come two expensive vases had disappeared and been replaced by two cheap Ikea junkers?
This is the second press attaché in as many years Wiels wore down, even if the guy denies his going has anything to with Wiels.

Unnecessarily Tormenting Animals Is a No-No
That's the Law. If you have a good reason, you may torment 'em to your heart's content, of course.
For tourists, it's different. They are routinely tormented upon arrival.

Then It's a Flop
PM Arsjes is a fan of the Space Gang and wants the project to go through. Might as well forget it, then? (Good!)

One More Farce
Tourists arriving here have to fill out a form. Nobody knows why. Some deputy from way back must have thought it a good idea; if we had the same thing as the great USofA, we'd be taken more seriously as a nation? What else? Just pestering people in the name of bureaucracy.
Now a luggage cart has been photographed on Hato airport, filled with plastic containers with those cards in 'em. Who cares? Let's get rid of that crap. Only costs money.
When I once wondered out loud what they did with those forms, a visiting cameraman said "they put 'em in old shoe boxes."

That's a Lot
1 in 8 cars are driving around without having paid their taxes (yet). That's almost 4.5 millions guilders worth.

No Wonder They're in Trouble
The yearly government subsidy to Sehos hospital this year has been reduced from 160m guilders to 140m. Sehos management remarks that it looks like the government is trying to bankrupt the hospital, so it's ripe for a government take-over. Do they really think they can get it more efficient that way?

Pay Up, Already
The Singapore high court of justice has declared that CDM Dokmaatschappij is obliged to pay the $50m claim, won in the USA by the three former Cuban slaves escaped from Curaçao. This is very bad news for CDM and our government; it means ships that have been handled by CDM can be confiscated in Singapore (and the USA, of course) to pay the slaves' compensation.
Singapore is, after Shanghai, the second largest harbor in the world.

They Want More Money
So do all of us. Air Berlin has been asked by minister Palm to fly once more per week Berlin-CUR (in the winter season). For which they ask €2.6 million or ANG 5m.
Air Berlin is already flying once weekly, for which they are guaranteed €2m (ANG3.8). This while they have over 80% of their seats filled, which is ample for a profit.
Minister Palm says they won't get it, but I'm not so sure.

$40 Million! How Much Is That Again?
We have to invest $40m in tourism the following 5 years, says that old standby (when it's about spending money) development minister Palm. Another instance of Hairy Slaw: that's 15 million guilders per year, folks.

Fire! Fire! Don't Call 911
So many people call it for things they shouldn't call for, much of the time you just can't reach it. DIY... try the garden hose.

So Let 'Em, Already
Hato director (for now, still) Adriaens announces that from Puerto Rico "millions" have been offered to the Space Gang if they'll take their project there. (He doesn't say how many millions.) Also Aruba and Bonaire have shown interest. That's fine, so let 'em move over there and stop trying to get many millions from us.

Comments Right, Toy Wrong
It's amazing how long it will always take for the officials to admit they were wrong. And it costs a lot of money. However that may be, in Dutch parliament they've been discussing how that toy-like Raven drone doesn't make it, as confidently expected. But no fear, they're shopping for another model.

That's What We'd All Like
MFK Shorty complains that the opening of the giant Venezuelan Sambil shopping center, now announced for this week, may not go through because Aqualectra insists on having them pay the same price for water and power as the rest of us. Shorty says they should pay as much as hotels because they're so big and will have so much impact on the economy—which is exactly what everybody is afraid of. A capricious argument.
But now we know what hotels pay: a maximum of ANG0.3749 per kWh, while we pay 0.5061. Another instance where we have to subsidize tourism, instead of earning money from it.

Tough, Kids
Dutch court has thrown out mafioso Corallo's case against Knipselkrant Curaçao, who had called him that. Reading between the lines, the judge figured KKC had a point.
More or less the same thing happened a month ago when the judge threw out the two Stooge lawyers Peterson and Sulvaran, who couldn't appreciate KKC connecting them with mafia just because Corallo and ex-PM Shorty are clients of them.
Just a thought: It struck me these three guys act like muslims against dhimmis under sharia law—if a dhimmi insults a muslim, it's slander, whether it's true or not. And oh yeah, that carries the death sentence.

Please Don't Use Our Airport
ArkeFly airlines, who had planned to open a new route Eindhoven/Holland-CUR, have been denied use of Eindhoven airport as customs control for bolita-swallowing cocaine smugglers would be too expensive.

When, Oh When?
The spoiled brats civils servants' unions were reported to have their counter proposals ready for minister van der Horst on March 11. So why haven't we heard anything about that yet? I thought van der Horst was in such a big hurry, and it's now more than 11 weeks later.

So We're Good for Something
The USA is using Curaçao, Colombia and Panamá to receive Venezuelan politicians and administrators who are witnesses of the Venezuelan's government involvement in drug dealing. They are collected in Venezuela to be transported to Bogotá, Panamá and Curaçao for interviewing, and then flown on to USA "for a new life".
No wonder president Maduro thinks we're a pest. But that's mutual.

Hurray for the Committees!
PS party wants a committee to look into the modernization of Isla refinery.
Gee, I keep wondering how much they pay those committee members.

Kitchen Mystery
Without pretending to know what's going on, you'd have to admit it's rather weird that a good-as-new kitchen interior just Poof! disappeared from the Curaçaohuis in the Hague. Suggestions were that Fräudlein Wiels had sold it, pocketing the profits. But lo! a photograph turned up of a kitchen interior at another, unnamed, location. Alas, missing from there were a dishwasher, microwave and sink top. And is it the same kitchen at all? Hmmm.

Hurricane Prognosis
For what it's worth: Florida State University predicts less hurricanes in the future, but more powerful ones. This year, though, that doesn't apply; business as usual.
As they say that's caused by the warmer sea, and (at least according to them—not everybody agrees by a long way) the sea has warmed up already, I remain skeptical.

Why Worry
There's a lot of criticism in Staten/parliament on the proposed energy law. Maybe rightly so. However, nobody mentions the hot point: do we need to invest time and energy in a law to regulate energy, when the chance that there is energy is exceedingly remote?
In principle, sure, but methinks we have many much more urgent matters.

That Airport Category Upgrade
Well, it has now been delayed to December. But even that's far from sure. This is the umpteenth announced delay. Remember, this started way back when in the mists of time, in September 2011, when they expected it would take 65 days.

Let Us Figure
Coïncidentally, we read in the newspapers yesterday that the Curaçao people deposited 8 million guilders in their savings accounts last year; however, they also withdrew 4.5 million. Let's assume they saved 3.5 million, close enough, right?
So they earned 3.5m*1%=35thousand guilders interest, of which the government would rob them (if it were this year) for 8%—or 2800 measly guilders, grand total.
They must be really hard up to pass a law like that. Wonder if anybody's figured out what that has cost. Us. Much more than 2800 guilders, that's for sure.
Sorry, got mixed up. The people saved 8 million and borrowed 4.5, so the interest was over 8 million after all; which leads to a total of taxes of 6400. Still some Big Deal.

Saving Money
The government has found yet another way to squeeze money out of us. As from now, the banks will be forced to charge 8.5% tax on the interest you get on your savings account and pay that to the Tax Person. Go figure: with an interest of 1% that leaves you with a net interest of 0.915%; with a 2014 inflation of 1.5% you'd be better off by spending it all.
Just like the government does.

Dream On, Dearies
Now a guy whose name I won't mention comes out and says we're just like Singapore, so why not try and emulate that place? Economically, I mean. What a joke.
Some several years ago, other jokers registered the trade mark, whatever, "Curaçao Inc."—a shameless rip-off of a Singapore idea. Couldn't we do something on our own? Hey, we're just as big as Hong Kong, area-wise, as well.
Sorry for the outburst; but after all, I do it on my own all the time. Not that many people are grateful. Not that many. Which may be the problem, right.

Sounds Promising
A kingdom-wide inquest into the flows of money between politicians and the underworld has already started. It's a bet the traffic is one way only: from the underworld to the politicians. Other things, no doubt, flow back.

Gotcha? or, Feeling the Pinch
Fräudlein Wiels has, on the very last day she could, asked for two weeks' respite in reacting to ombudsman Martijn's report. She also has engaged a lawyer. After her reaction has been received, Martijn will adapt the report and will have the final version ready for publication mid June.
Wiels is reputed to have thrown a tantrum when she first heard of the report, accusing those who had collaborated of being a "traitors". Also, interestingly, PM Arsjes accorded Martijn's report six weeks ago.

It's a Point
At the UNHCR conference in Aruba, Curaçao and Aruba have pointed out that if Venezuela's democratic society keeps deteriorating, in the future a large stream of refugees may try to reach the island. (And Bonaire as well, we may add.) It has happened with Cuba and is still going on in the Mediterranean and from Haïti, where so many have fled to Turks & Caicos Islands that they have become the largest population group there.
It happens in Australia as well, but there, they just get sent back.

Keine Ahnung
Cft financial supervision has not the faintest idea when the Curaçao government-owned companies will have their yearly accounts available. It's one big murky mess. Which results in country budgets that are just a flash in the pan.
But don't worry, Dutch minister Plaskerk doesn't give it a thought either.

Sure, Yes: Watch It
Dutch site VliegenNaar has researched flight tariffs offered by sites in Holland. Turns out, there's one (which, alas, isn't mentioned by name; may be Tix) that charges &Euro;300 for an Arkefly ticket AMS-CUR, while Arke themselves ask more than twice as much.
In the USA you will get your money back when you find out your neighbor-passenger had a much better deal. Not so in Holland.

One Long Drama
Usona, the actual arrangers of the new hospital building, have announced that time is getting very short and that they may expect a claim by builder Ballast-Nedam any moment now. Said claim for $65k/ANG112 per week. Especially since the court ordered no more illegal demolishing (and Ballast-Nedam is in serious trouble anyway).
No good saying "as Usona wanted Ballast-Nedam it's their problem" because we will be paying up. Everybody saw it coming... almost everybody—not Usona.

Welcome, Dear Tourist
Last year, the number of traffic accidents has grown by almost 10%, from about 11,300 to over 12,300. By far most, 13%, of those were on the Rooseveltweg. That's the road from Hato airport to Willemstad center.

Trouble Brewing
With PS Cijntje in Holland for a serious illness, the government coalition has lost its majority in parliament. Now, PS has announced they will not support PIAS minister Palm's plan for the CPS-CPA harbor concessions.

Hard Workers
The reason why the Wechi project still has no building permit, is that DROV who have to take care of that has too few civil servants at work; one third too few. Don't laugh, they're serious.
Doesn't matter, they're still going ahead full blast. Who cares what the court says?
The whole project will deliver 70 houses "to relieve the pressure on the 7800 house hunters." Not by much, I'd say: by less than 1%.

A 2005 report, presented in 2010 to the Curaçao government but which lead nowhere (they must have been too busy with 10-10-10), claims that there are grounds, after all, to sue Shell Oil and hold them responsible for environmental damage. It has already been decided to suspend the limitation period (I do doubt if that's possible).
Main argument is, corporate responsibility weighs much heavier now then in 1985. True, but this was in 1985, you know; not now. The way proposed is to call witnesses under oath, and then set up a propaganda campaign to pressure Shell.
In other words, use blackmail.
The value of the refinery, back then sold to the government for $1.00, is claimed to have been negative: "Probably between minus 100 million and 1.5 billion guilders." That's what I call hard figures—NOT.
Lawyer Frielink agrees: even if there would be a claim despite a watertight agreement (trust Shell on that!) the case would have been time barred long since anyway.

No Vomit Comet?
The Space Bandits let us know that, because of the ongoing delays in the Curaçao government, Lynx rocket factory Xcor is losing patience and threatens to get out of the deal.
Good. But it's just empty threats, because where else can they go?

Harsh Words
AVA Airways accuses minister Jardim of statements that are false, defamatory, slanderous and constitute tortuous interference with the company's business, and as such, are actionable under Curaçao law. Jardim, in his function as interim minister of transport, stated that AVA's permit was rejected because the company had failed to deliver one document. But AVA claims this has been delivered to former minister Balborda.

Open that Cesspool
Forensic researches in Holland and Puerto Rico have confirmed suspicions that in the document that appoints Arsjes as the new premier, Helmin Wiels's signature has been falsified. But brer Aubert Wiels is in no hurry to take measures: "With the illness of Cijntje [who has departed to Holland for treatment, ending the coalition parliament majority] the government has fallen already, anyway." Good point, but we are curious as to what follows.

Will That Help?
Much against and despite the protests of practically everybody, two buildings of the Sehos old hospital complex have been demolished. Court has now spoken: they go on with that, they'll have to pay a one million guilder fine. But there already was an order measure by court against that demolition; didn't help much.
Many of those buildings are monuments; the government changed the borders of the "inner city" in the hope they'd get away with it.
Unesco has written a letter in protest to the interim minister of transport and planning (now replaced by Camelia) as the buildings were unique examples of the Modern Movement. Ironically enough, it's anti-colonial MFK ex-PM Shorty who protested against the razing by works of Dutch architects.

Wiels's Bag of Tricks
It's not empty yet. Fräudlein Wiels, we read, is getting rid of her personnel and, by what she thinks is a back door left open in the law, replacing them with temporary workers. Of course PM Arsjes, that empty set of outsize silk underwear, won't even try to stop her.
There are seven new posts open at the Curaçaohuis. Wiels herself has "no comment"—sure.

It's Over
Yesterday, two years after the deed, the murder of Helmin Wiels was commemorated by three competitive groups. There were about 150 people at the largest occasion, among whom PM Arsjes, member of that PS party. He refrained from holding a speech, rare for him. Possibly he shrunk back from the prospect of being bombarded with overripe tomatoes and rotten eggs.
Commented Aubert Wiels, Helmin's brother: "Pueblo Soberano is dead." And his wasn't even a wishful thought.
Meanwhile, the public prosecutor seems to know who were guilty in the murder case, but is still collecting proof.

Quackie's Hubby Caught
Yes, the husband of our ex-minister of sickness has been arrested in connection with the alleged [?] surgical mask fraud. They never have enough, do they?

Where Did It All Go?
27 million guilders had been reserved to restore the Klein Hofje sewage plant. They've gone and nobody knows where. They say.
We do know where the raw sewage will go though—into that crystal-blue Caribbean Sea.
Also, the government had announced to invest 230 million in the economy this year, but on second thought, this has been reduced to 40. So much for optimistic prognoses.
That 230m was necessary to keep the "negative growth" below 2.2%.

They Need Her Experience
PS minister Whiteman has agreed to lend Sehos hospital 30 million guilders (although nobody knows where he's getting that from) and has appointed Elisa Carter as manager for the transition to the new hospital. Against the wishes of, it seems, practically everybody. Carter even seems to have been accused of fraud in the past.
Maybe that's just the experience needed.
Besides, she's one of the 80%, hey.

Last of My Worries.
That new petrol law we were talking about, remember? Our Leaders are mighty proud of the fact it was designed so that it (allegedly; it's just what they claim) it would avoid the "Dutch disease"—said disease being that when the Dutch found natural gas, the value of the guilder went up so much that their economy broke down. So, when if oil/gas is found here, the money will go into a fund à la Norway.
The contingency is a remote one.

The last man to leave from a Daaibooi beach party at 20:00 was attacked by two guys with machetes and robbed; they also took his car. Which once again proves, you don't need guns for this (even admittedly they sure come in handy—another guy was shot in town last night). Let's confiscate all machetes, knives, 9/11 style box cutters, and toothpicks!
That last murder is number 10 this year; we go on like that, we're all set for a new record of 30 killings in 2015: one in every 5000 inhabitants. Only Venezuela (36) and the US Virgin Islands (35) do better worse. Aren't you proud?

Part of a Hong Kong container harbor, total quays over 13kms.
Compare with Bullenbaai, total available coast line less than 5kms.

Curaçao Port
CPS (CPServices) complains that the politicians don't understand what's moving them as a private company: the wish for profit. The larger their harbor is, the more business they get and the more money they make. Also, the more economical they can work (here it comes): Panamá charges one quarter per container handled than CPS does, so we're priced out of the market right there.
They have a point, but we would have to turn almost one quarter of our South coast into harbors to make Curaçao a really important and competitive hub.

Game Changer
Antilliaans Dagblad publishes an article, based on research in the Dutch state archives, from which it's clear that PdVSA was forced by the Venezuelan government to rent the Isla refinery when Shell left. One of the reasons Shell sold the refinery was the exorbitant concession they were forced to pay PdVSA: USD220 million/year (but Shell had had enough of Curaçao anyway).
But Shell recently took over BG British Gas Group, who have a 30% stake in the Aruba Repsol project; who have been given a concession by PM Arsjes to explore in Curaçao territory. PS party thus gave Shell neo-colonial access to Our Country! This asks for rude comments about the PS voters being abused via their back door here.

Hato's Empty Promises
A month or so ago, Hato airport announced that they would reduce the time spent in the terminal after arrival to twenty (20) minutes. Hahahahaha. They put in an escalator (after all those years) instead of the narrow staircase passengers had to stumble down on with their carry-on luggage, and put in two (2) immigration checkpoints for residents against four, maybe six for non-residents.
So we arrived there this week on an AA flight MIA-CUR. Virtually at the same time, flights by SLM, JetBlue, KLM, and Arke (maybe more)were arriving—all in all by rough estimate well over 1000 passengers at once, easy. None were trampled to death, is all I can say. There was a guy on top of the down escalator who let small portions of passengers pass, but the upstairs corridor was completely jammed with people. And it was hot, too.
Bonbini [welcome] to our Tropical Paradise!

No End in Sight
Since Gumbs's honor was restored by court, nothing has changed. His successor Römer (according to KKCuraçao as corrupt as anynobody could wish for) has been kept on, also thanks to PIAS and PS—notwithstanding their fine talk. Governor Wout signed his appointment and that's that: we're still ruled by the gambling mafia.

What's Going On Here?
AVA Curaçao Airlines, not yet flying, has run into problems with the government and have not gotten the needed permits yet. AVA insists they have complied with all requirements, even that the investors are prepared to invest in Curaçao (which actually is not even a requirement).
While AVA doesn't actually say this is to protect Insel Air, they do mention that they're not out to compete with them. (Which in fact sounds unavoidable.)

He Lied
Indie MP Leeflang states that minister Palm lied in parliament about the CPS harbor concession. Not once, but four times (there may be more lies, but that's how many she mentions).

They Don't Want to Know
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands is coming over to open an exposition in the Curaçao Museum on World War II. But the group that works on preserving the memory of the "April-murders" is not allowed to put up a billboard along the route with the names of the 15 victims.
In the "April murders" 15 Chinese sailors were killed in WWII because of "mutiny"

No Fair Guessing Who'll Pay
The airport tax for flights to islands in the ex-Netherlands Antilles may be raised, so tourists will have to pay less. Why do we always have to pay instead of making money on tourism?
And mark that we told them so several times before they finally noticed: tourists do resent high airport taxes.

Don't We Know It
Justice minister Navarro tells us that the corruption in the police corps is "extensive"—nothing to see here folks, move along.
And by the way you know, a guy riding a scooter was killed in a traffic accident with a drunk cop, who just drove on. His family is now being pressured to clam up about it.

That's Why
Glad they explained. It's because there's little or, better said, no chance that any gas or oil will be found around the island that the government in its Majestic Wisdom has refrained from invitations to tenders. This would put off companies because their data would get known. And if one company finds anything, that would make it more attractive to them.
Operative word, "if".
Hey, sorry... this isn't too clear but neither is the news item I tried to understand.

If I Had a Civil Servants Pension, This Would Be Where I'd Start Worrying
Civil Servants pension funds APNA takes over the 32m debt of Sehos ("old hospital") so the threat of new hospital Ballast-Nedam builders who are in very severe trouble themselves (what with one thing and another, often bribery and such) to stop working and start suing instead has been bypassed.
For now.
This while Dutch parliament is still worried about the loan (approved by Cft financial supervision) to Curaçao for building the hospital. "And what if present Sehos goes bankrupt?" Good question.
Claim would have been 1.2m guilders (USD650 per week. Has been 14 weeks already. No matter what, add over 9 million dollars to the projected cost.

The Goat
A bunch of, from what you get to hear, mainly students in architecture wanting to improve a barrio have adopted the goat as a symbol of the Curaçao population. "They make their own path to where they want to go, don't let themselves get stopped, have a mind of their own, but coöperate. The Curaçao people can take them as an example." Goats also devour anything in their path—leaving desolation behind, without a thought for tomorrow. Holding parties when times are good, "dancing, dining, never thinking of tomorrow". Yeah, I can see the analogy all right.
That's a line out of Duke Ellington's 1932 number Sophisticated Lady (words added by Mitchell Parish, not entirely to the Duke's satisfaction).
Not to confuse the Duke of Ellington with the Duke of Wayne. Both were Great. And hey! I love goats.
Too bad the students never thought of asking the barrio-inhabitants what they thought of their efforts to improve it.

Old KLM Tactic
KLM airlines are back to an old strategy: if competition gets too tight, they start dumping to force those with a shorter breath (read: Arke) out of the market. It has happened before and no doubt will happen again. You can now get a return trip AMS-AUA/CUR/BON for €498, a mere bagatelle. Well, not if you compare with other trans-Atlantic prices, like to-from New York where competition is really tough.
To Surinam, actually a much shorter (5846km) distance than to Aruba (7894km), they charge €849. Leave it to them!
But let's face it, if they start charging too little they will not be allowed to fly to Paramaribo any more, otherwise Surinaamse Luchtvaartmaatschij SLM won't make enough money.

Oh No!
Rosalia, the PS ex-minister for ignorance, has started a party of his own. To refresh your memory, he was the one who forced the Stuyvestant College to change its name, and who was finally forced to leave his post because of scandals caused by his authoritarian actions, complete with allegations of sexual misconduct. Name of the party is Movementu Kousa Promé (MKP)—yet another one to avoid voting for.


Oh Yeah?
Dutch D66 politician Brinkhorst opines that we can expect more from cooperating with the €U than with Holland. That's what you'd call an original opinion, as that same €U is in real danger of collapsing and many Europeans feel it was a mistake to join in the first place. But remember Brinkhorst is a "progressive".
That our relationship with Holland is far from ideal is another matter altogether.

Pay Up
WTC has been ordered by the judge to pay the entire amount of 5.5 m guilders (over USD3m) to Aqualectra for not only their overdue bills, but also the stolen electricity. Plus interest and court costs. Best is, the whole amount is due payable at once.

Crews of KTK tug company ask those who drive their cars across the bridge to please not throw any more bottles over the edge? These things arrive on their quay and decks at a speed of 200 kms/hr and explode grenade-wise.

Really? You Don't Say
The government will start reclaiming money from six spoiled brats civil servants who have officially left the island but are still collecting their salaries, regardless. That'd be 6 out of 81 erledigt.
Hey, don't ask me how this could happen and go on. I'm a mere tax-payer.

Whiteman's Black Lies
Health minister Whiteman told us that samples of the mysterious green scum that was found downwind of Isla a couple of years ago had been sent to Amsterdam GGD public health service for analysis. Turns out, GGD there has never had any.
But an inhabitant of one of the barrios has privately arranged for an analysis by TNO Utrecht, who were scared to death by the results. Smoc's van Leeuwen has inquired there himself and was told the stuff contained the carcinogen vanadium, plus sulfur en dioxines. "They were bewildered by the extremely high vanadium content."
Smoc suspects now that three tankers, which were reputedly directed to Curaçao Oil Terminal for transfer of their loads to China-bound ships, are in reality now here to unload 100,000 tons each of "Boscan crude oil" for refining by Isla. This type is extremely filthy and therefore hardly ever used anywhere in the world. A fourth tanker seems to be on its way.
Smoc concludes minister Whiteman has to go.
A knowledgeable guy informs me that Boscan (from Lake Maracaïbo) is what you might call the bottom of the barrels... it contains 5% sulfur. "They almost give the stuff away as most refineries won't touch it." But "our" PdVSA, no problem, mon.

Palms Keep Dying
Last December 50 newly planted palms had to be removed, dead. Soon, more will follow on two more locations. Landscaper Kleine says they get too little water: the irrigation system is fouled and has not enough capacity to start with. It was delivered to specs of DOW public works, who have nobody around who knows the first thing about greenery.
Let's order new ones and waste some more money!

For Aruba, It's Over
The Valero-contract for exploiting the old Esso Lago refinery in Aruba ends next June, and the refinery has to be dismantled and the terrain delivered clean and ready for transfer end of the year.
Does make one wonder what "clean" entails. To a depth of how many centimeters? Or are we talking millimeters here?

Rotsaruck with That
Mafioso Corallo wants to sue Knipselkrant Curaçao for calling him just that. He has contracted a new lawyer, Spong. An earlier effort by you know, those two clowns, came to nothing.

Monopoly Scattered
CPS has long ago agreed to give up their harbor monopoly position, according to a letter by CPA head de Castro. MFK ex-PM Shorty "found it in his mailbox" and sent it out to the press. Hmmm. This gets weirder by the day:
Why oh why would minister Palm have kept this letter under his hat? What's the date on it? Is this a system?

Just Saying... Er, Asking
Now Global Warming is definitely out, as it hasn't happened in like 20 years. Even "Diversity" has been shot down, sure! Doesn't mean a thing. So the new cry is for "Sustainability" and it's a good one, gotta admit it. Nobody can even define what it means, let alone falsify it. Let's all go for it like lemmings!
To explain: "Falsification" means, what would be the reason to drop your idea? In pseudo-science, nobody can or wants to tell you. They just hang on to it no matter what. Example from science: if the sun should come up in the West tomorrow, the earth is not revolving in the direction we have always assumed (and maybe is flat, even). That revolving-globe theory would then be falsified.

What Does He Mean?
Ex-PM Shorty has started yelling again, this time about Staten/parliament head Franco, who he alleges does not follow the correct procedures. It concerns a motion against minister Palm for his Hato airport policy. Franco is supposed to have accepted a motion without a head count, "following the rules". Which is pretty confusing: did he or did he not follow the rules? Shorty is quoted as saying "Franco was helping out minister Stanley Palm to get a motion in which his policy was rejected" which makes no sense at all.
I freely admit, Palm may have been all wrong but I can't make head nor tail out of this. Maybe it's the press account, wouldn't be the first time (nor the last).
Shorty claims "two renowned jurists" agree with him. We can all guess who they are, must be 2 of the 3 Stooges. Those also dubbed Peppi en Kokki.

Afore It's Too Late
PIAS Rosaria wants an independent Stembureau [voting office] and has asked minister van der Horst to set it up. Independent from all political influences, that is. It will have to organize elections, control political parties and give advice both asked and unasked for. Maybe those last two parts are too ambitious?

More Stinking Stench
The Isla refinery stench is "unbearable" these days, Smoc makes know. It just stinks and then, stinks some more. Or a lot more. Tough if you can't stand the smell; or have bad lungs; or a good nose... whatever. Whatever you do, it won't help one tiny little teeny weeny polka-dot bit. They just stink on.

We're Doing Better
Much better! But it's easy. Try it, you may even like it. Write us and you'll get an answer, guaranteed, in less than a week. As for the government, of 55 parliament-member letters only 15 have been replied to. Most of the letters were addressed to PM Arsjes.

Fly Avior!
Only a couple of days ago, InselAir gave as their considered opinion that lower fuel costs didn't matter much to lower flying tariffs. This after years of complaining that fuel costs were so high, they just had to raise prices! Not that they're any different from almost all other airlines in that respect.
But now Venezuelan Avior will start flying to/from Curaçao for U$D100 less.
Maybe their fuel is cheaper still? NO!

Pigs Grow Wings
While PIAS Rosaria and others are pushing for a code of conduct for parliament, his fellow party member minister van der Horst wants to achieve the same thing for civil servants. That would be the day!
Van der Horst notes that his proposal would also serve to protect civil servants from actions by their political bosses.

Let's Have It, Already
Ombudsperson Martijn's report on Fräudlein Wiels's doings has been ready for a month, but PM Arsjes keeps it under cover. Maybe he taped it to the bottom downside of a drawer, so only he could find it, in case. An old tactic in our bureaucracy. Hey, maybe minister Palm did the same thing?
Whatever, as Wiels is not a "real" minister (do we have any?) but merely a civil servant hired by Arsjes. The report will be published end next month, when it's required by law (and when they may have had time to apply some Band-Aids®).

Mismanagement: So What to Do?
MFK Thodé denies, naturally! that his party led by ex-PM Shorty was responsible for any mismanagement in 2011. The financial ruin was inherited from pre-independent Curaçao, he says, and may have a point there. But they let the 2011 de1icit of over 50m guilders grow to more than 166m in the year following, and Rekenkamer accounting did not accept their yearly account.
For once, it looks like the present parliament will not accept MFK's denials. Question then, of course remains: what can we do about it? We're all paying up.

Wait and See
PIAS Rosaria wants to get a code of conduct by parliament members accepted. That won't be so easy. So far, only indie Leeflang lends her support.

Oh Those Monopolies
Indie MP Leeflang wants to end the monopoly position of CPS Curaçao Port Services. Harbor service tariffs, she claims, are three times as high as in other regional harbors, which results in high food prices (and I'm sure, other things). Minister Palm has had a report on this in his possession for almost two years but does nothing with it (maybe he's too busy traveling). Crux seems to be, they have such a smart contract that we may be stuck with CPS for twenty (count 'em: 20) more years.
Update: Parliament accepted a motion to end the monopoly. We'll have to wait a bit longer.

PS Córdoba has found out that on the Isla terrain there are old pipes with an asbestos mantle, dumped there and waiting for removal. Two companies, now both incorporated in another one, have signed agreements to clear the mess, but it didn't happen. The asbestos insulation is now falling apart and powder is blowing in the wind, which worries Córdoba.
The one thing here worth a mention is, not all asbestos is created equal. Of the seven or so varieties, only two are carcinogenic, in spite of all hysteria whipped up by greedy lawyers. Neither Córdoba nor we know which varieties this case concerns.
Update: Isla refinery somehow stopped the stuff blowing away and tells us it will be removed later this year.

Who Cares...
Well, MAN does. At least, they say they do: it's not merely "a missed chance, it's a shame" Curaçao is not present at the Summit of the Americas in Panamá. No doubt they'd have gone—and make us pay.
Matter of fact, we are represented, as agreed on kingdom level, by the Aruba representative. I'm sure they miss us terribly over there in Panamá.

Not So, Still True
The gendarmerie denies any portable phones have been sold. What has been sold are their "secret" frequencies, so now anybody who, illegally, paid the price can listen in. Like your lower degree of press mosquitoes.
Those fired cops were also involved in a fraud worth millions, last year, concerning police corps management. Ex-commissary Wernet is one of the five guys fired. He's now at work at the calaboose management team, but justice minister Navarro has no problem with that.

But What's In It?
After they'd promised to deliver December 31, then delayed to January and, again, March, the civil servants' unions finally have a counterproposal for minister van der Horst's pension regulations. "It's so complicated" the unions say. Yeah, you have to make your brains work. But we have no idea yet what they propose.
Van der Horst wanted to change pension age from 60 to 65 (just like for the decent people) and proposed transitory measures. That was six months ago.

Political Jobs, Cont.d
To every insider's surprise, Michael Newton was passed by for a function as head of Monumentenfonds. Instead, some guy called Jukema got the job. The story told is, Newton didn't get along with Herman George and there you are.

No Reply
Opposition PAR leader Jesus-Leito is fed up with the government (aren't we all?) but this time because they never reply to letters. She mentions four ministers, and names two: Whiteman (health) and Dick (education). Their excuser is, the letters were addressed to the wrong ministry; and that's all you get to hear.
That's Transparency, Folks!

Fine With Me
The public prosecutor has decided not to follow up on the complaints lodged by Two of the Three Stooges (lawyers Peterson and Sulvaran) against Knipselkrant Curaçao for defamation, as they publicly associated them with the underworld and mafia. Whatever gave KK that idea?
Meanwhile, KK publishes that it were the lawyers who have repeatedly tried to block their site via their web hosts.

There's That
KBB Het Kenniscentrum Beroepsonderwijs Bedrijfsleven Curaçao [knowledge center professional education business world C.—nothing to do with VBC Vereniging Bedrijfsleven Curaçao is an extremely fair guess] applauds the efforts to come to the dreaded, Wiels's beloved, 80-20 regulation. But of course, "we must ensure that 80 percent is able to perform all these functions" they add. "Because if that would be the case, the regulation wouldn't be needed." They got that straight.

Four More
Or rather five, but who's counting? Four persons have been fired from VDC security, because they were involved in the Gumbs-affair (who as department head was illegally fired). The guys who made 'em do what they're fired for, though, are still warming their comfy chairs in parliament against a sumptuous salary.
Number five involved in the shoot-out at Hato airport between rival gangs. He had informed one of those when their foes would arrive there. He's also sold police portable phones to outsiders, among others press members.

Throw Them Out! Watch Them Bounce!
Minister van der Horst has stopped salaries of 16 spoiled brats civil servants. It's a start, but not more, as there are 81 who never appear at their jobs.
Last week or so, their union announced they will have a proposal for negotiations "very soon"—which is not even a start.

That's Better
Curaçao high school diplomas will remain valid in Holland. Probably, because there still has work to be done tightening the rules: analysis and final advice.
Which doesn't change that Utrecht university will kick out Curaçao students when they don't speak decent Dutch after their first year there.

Free Idea
About that Shut barrier, why not build two railings next to each other, but with enough space inbetween to allow a car or pick-up truck to turn through? More or less like this:

Presto! No more crap carriers, no crew of salaried bribable guards. Just giving it away for the good of the show.

Sporters Can Sport Again
After the SDK sports center has been closed for almost four months, it's open again. But the political conflict has not been solved, and nobody knows who'll have to pay the debts yet. Yet another court case coming!
Test Occasion: Now that those sporters have their place back, we're sure to see an immediate drop in crime. That's what's always claimed, at least.

Half Measures Are No Measures
After all, Hato airport decided not to put in a barrier on the entrance road to Shut, just some heaps of sand. Those crap carriers just laughingly shoved them out of the way. Now, two months later, a barrier will be placed as originally announced. Who even wants to guess how long that will take.

Still a Mess
Many members of VDC security service Curaçao, after all that messing about by ex-PM Shorty, are reputed to have strong ties with the underworld. Not so strange, says justice minister Navarro, as many have infiltrated that very underworld, even gangs.
In other words, double agents.

That's Telling Him
In the court case about the alleged bribes by Rozier, indie Sulvaran upbraided Peterson (one of the Three Stooges), saying he was "a politician in lawyer's clothing."

It's On
The raad van ministers (council of ministers) has decided that the old Amstel terrain will be used to build the new Ambtenarenpaleis (civil servants' palace) where "all" the civil servants, except some or maybe most, will be stored away. It's minister van der Horst firm conviction that this will save the country money. We'll have to wait and see.
We'll also have to wait and see how much is this going to cost us. Oh, I forgot, Cft financial supervision agreed that the country was ready to borrow some more. They tell us cost will be 120 million. First, we'll still have to wait and see; those costs have a habit of growing and growing. Then, how long would it take to earn that back? As if we'd ever get to know it.
The Amstel terrain, where the now defunct brewery used to be located, was intended to be used for the new hospital before that was moved without any appreciable change in plans to the present location.

Tourism Grows! Oh Yeah?
While CTB tourist office keeps bragging about their fine results because tourism grows so fast, Central Bank director Tromp has to state that it's much below the other countries around. No wonder they all detest the man.

Can't Be Done
In the parliament meeting on those security cameras it turns out that the contract says that, if the cameras are not bought, Curaçao will have to pay the supplier 3 million. The same amount as when the cameras are delivered.
What nitwit signed that deal? you are entitled to ask. Another lawyer.
It was justice minister Navarro.

Good Question
Technocrat Pasman desperately wonders why the two replacements offered by PNP party for ex-minister Balborda: Suzy Römer and Faroe Metry should be lawyers, while, as he mentions, the present secretary general is also a jurist and the interim department head is a business manager. Why not a technically knowledgeable person?
The party chose for Römer anyway.

Sic 'em, Boys!
Police have done house searches in at least five homes, among which that of MFK ex-minister of ill health Quackie Constancia. It concerns code name Dubnium (an element named after the site of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia). It was triggered by those 300,000 face masks ordered for ANG365,000, paid for and never delivered.
Dubnium is about "fraud, forgery, embezzlement and money laundering"—sounds only too familiar!

It's a Habit
The 2015 budget has finally been sent to Staten parliament for approval. Too bad that, with a total of expenditures of 1,350 million, there's a deficit of 360m, and 300m will need to be borrowed. Want to bet that parliament will approve it?
Don't try this at home, as a housekeeper, with your partner. Or with your credit card.

Arrogant Audacity
The new Venezuelan consul or maybe ambassador, who knows or even cares, here for less than a week, wants us to sign a petition against Øbama. No Way, Baby! Shove it. I don't like the man at all, but this is definitely over the edge.
I do wonder how many suckers she'll find to put their X on that petition. What an impression that'll make! Øbama, you're gone.
FYI, this woman was kicked out of the USA in 2014 after USA diplomats were kicked out of Venezuela in 2013. She hasn't even introduced herself as yet to our government.
After a talk with PM Arsjes she continued offering the petition for signing anyway.

Power Hour
It's that time of the year again when everybody is asked to switch off their lights for an hour, to throw us back to the most primitive times; before we even had fire. I'm delighted to tell you that at that time we'll be winging our way across the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles, USA to Seoul, Korea. Long live civilization!
Only, they call it Earth Hour. Not that anybody here seems to care one bit.

There We Go Again
PS (Wilsoen and Cordoba) again start whining about the infamous 80-20 law, where 80% inmates aborigines natives should get hired against 20% bloody aliens. But now, at least, one thing is clear: all colors count as natives, when they already lived in Curaçao before 10-10-10 independence day, or whose parents were born in Curaçao. One question, what does the IMF have to say? PS-ers probably say "you know where IMF can put it."

Oh Those Dutch
Dutch parliament members have discovered that, apart from our security information, gangsters and mafia have also been able to get the stuff on the Dutch, with that leak. Now they've started kicking up stink. Figures of course, just shows you once again where it's all at.
In this context, the Babel court sessions against Shorty and van der Dijs are planned on September 9 and 11.

More on Balborda
It's an intricate story, but one of the points why he left his minister's post is the fact that he may have been forced to coöperate in a scheme where some PNP party family member was helped to a second (and thus, illegal) leasehold; then helped to (illegally) change that to a rental contract; and then turned a blind eye when, instead of the allowed simple dwelling, an entire apartment building was put up instead.
And this the same guy who stopped illegal building on several occasions.

Show's Not On
The pre-trials against ex-PM Shorty and his partner van der Dijs have been postponed until June 5. Defending lawyer Sulvaran uttered imputations, just as expected, that it's a "political" process to prevent Shorty participating in the 2016 elections. Which may be the reason why the judge agreed to postpone: to avoid more trouble there.
Shorty and van der Dijs are accused of money laundering, several counts of fraud, and illegally owning jammers (signal blocking devices).

Fight the Windmills
Alas, not really. The Aureos Group is only fighting the way contracts were put out by Aqualectra utility for new windmills. Aqualectra wants to put them in Téra Còrá (for some reason) while those at Koraal Tabak are much more efficient. This is how we get to hear, finally, that the TC generators produce power for 22 cents/kw, against KT for 17, with production efficiencies of 35-40% and over 85%. Choosing for TC would result in a cost of 375 million guilders in 30 years. Is what Aureos figures.
Now let me try to get this straight. Average production now would be (40+85)/2=62.5% of capacity. So Aqualectra wants to add more generators with a 40% efficiency, bringing the average down to 55%.
But why? It's not beyond me, but to utter could be slander, libel and defamation. Even not mentioning names.

Sambil Reassures
That new super-Mall which will shortly open, a Venezuelan enterprise, tries to reassure the local traders. They are not meant as competition—no, it's for the tourists!
That's a real relief. So CTB tourist office uses tax money to attract tourists, who'll then go spend their money at a Venezuelan mall. Just great.
Let's see... with a second mega-pier we're supposed to get a total of 8000 suckers (day-trippers); Sambil would need to attract them all. Even then, there are 40 restaurants planned, each with an average maximum visitor count of 200/day. (Who all prefer to eat on board, a main attraction of cruises.) Not to mention all those cinemas, more than doubling the present number of seats. For day trippers, of course; oh, they just love to go the movies when visiting a tropical island.
Consolation may be, in the USA these things are dying. Only 1/3rd of a total of 1200 there are doing well. Maybe, a few years from now, minister van der Horst can park the civil servants in there.

A Funny Thing Happened on Balborda's Way Out
Very funny indeed. He left, but was judged the best minister by 23% in a survey which brought his party up from 2% tot 22%. PIAS went down from 21% to 10%, PS from 33% to 26%. PM Arsjes and health minister Whiteman got 8% of the votes. Most disappointing were PS (46%) and MFK (29%). Indie Leeflang went up from 0 to 10%.

Getting Tight
Ballast-Nedam, those guys who designed and are now building our new hospital, have lost over 40 million during each of the past two years (maybe it's the fines). I didn't pay any attention to this, shit happens after all. But now it's getting serious—they've got enough money left to continue operating for five weeks. Only. By that time, they will not have finished building that crummy thing by a long way. And what will happen then? We'll get stuck with the ruins and have to cough up more money to finish the job. Much more money. Kuff kuff.

No Cameras Is No Security
Be that as it may be, PS does not feel very secure about the way that Chinese company got the job and wants a Staten/parliament meeting on it. MFK justice minister Navarro says it's all kosher and according to the rules, which PS denies. But they would both say that anyway.
The agreement for 180 cameras was signed by minister Navarro on March 18.

That's No News
The ministry of SOAW is in a "total chaos" as was only to be expected. But the latest word is, that's because PS party wants to have total control there. Workers who don't do what PS wants are bullied out.

Punctures Plugged
Aqualectra will renew 140kms of water conduits in the coming three years; costs 25 million guilders. That should save us all some money. But 140kms of course can only be a small part of the total.
If there are as many kms of pipe as roads (my guess is, more) that's at most one third of the total.

Wilsoen's Chutzpah
PS Wilsoen goes on a mocking tirade against Dutch MP van Raak who wants to investigate the Curaçao gambling scene. His main argument seems to be, there's corruption in Holland as well. Yawn. That doesn't mean we should tolerate it here.
Wilsoen is preaching for his own backing choir. It's still a mystery why murdered Saint Wiels tolerated him as minister-member of a party that was supposed to fight corruption.

DP Worries
Democratic Party head Gressman worries that we are slipping of to the level of of a banana republic. Which we've been doing for years and years, he's right there. One interesting item he mentions related to the PNP internal fights, family interests also play a rol there. I shouldn't wonder.

Is Zat So?
Minister Palm denies he just took over a new (just leaked) harbor plan from MFK minister sheikh el Hakim. He made changes, he says, but we are not told where and how.

Windfall Blown with the Wind
The government has a 2014 budget surplus of 37.4 million guilders. Prognosis was 15 million, which was to be used to cover the deficits of former years. But instead of paying them all off (and removing the thumbscrews from our hands), only 23.5 million will be used for that purpose. So we'll still have to cough up 5.8 million this year. Hey, 37.4-5.8=31.6, am I right? They could pay it all off and still have 8.1m left in the old stocking! High time for a Tax Revolt.

Please Explain
CTB tourist office reports that in carnaval month February, compared with last year, the number of arriving travelers has doubled, resulting in 12% more tourists.

So Go. Already.
PIAS wants an initiative law to have all those laws that don't exist any more since 10-10-10, our glorious independence, back on board. Come on guys, get moving. It's quite a list.

Why Not?
It's suggested that no civil servants may become board members of Fundashon Wega di Number Kòrsou [gambling control foundation]. Still better, no owners of gambling houses need apply.
Until now, they can. Really. No kidding.

Political Mess
It was PAR deputy Dick who had Hato director Christian fired and replaced with Adriaens, whose turn to get fired has come now. Next...

Of Course
The yearly accounts of 2011 and 2012 aren't worth a fart, says the ARC accounting report. Small wonder, those were Shorty's years, you say? True, but the reports came after he went out.

Can I Please Get One of those Guns?
Today is a big day for Venezuela. They are holding defense exercises, which include the sea around us. So can I please have one of those confiscated or rather, handed in, guns so I can defend myself?
The Aruba navy commander says not to worry, 200 marines are standing by and if needed, all the Dutch will be evacuated before you can say "¡Maduro!" Hey, I thought we are all Dutch?
Better, you say, president Maduro should defend his economy? It's a thought.

Political Stunt
A sport stadium was locked down by the foundation who runs it, and PM Arsjes had the lock removed. But the foundation locked it up again, and Arsjes had it removed again. The foundation protests against the subsidy stop and says Arsjes having the lock removed is just a political stunt: politics should not interfere with sports.

Legally Illegal
Thesedula ID is actually illegal as it mentions the name of the country Netherlands Antilles. So0 says the head of Kranshi civil registry. And the same applies to our coins and bank notes.
Experts judge that, come right down to it, our autonomic independence is a legal nonentity anyway as we're still part of a larger kingdom (of the Netherlands).

Change Not, Hope Maybe Less
Development minister Palm has presented a program "Port Policy 2013-2022", a virtual Xerox copy of MFK minister sheikh el Hakim's almost two-years-old proposal. Hey, Palm travels around so much, we all understand he has no time to think up a new plan. But even MFK and their partner MAN's flabbers are gasted.

No Quorum
It happened before and no doubt it will happen again. Why bother? It was only a parliament meeting on the 2010 (yes, that's right—five years ago; don't try that at home with the Tax Person) yearly accounts. There was no quorum so they had to wait till lunch, if not later. Aw, who cares?
It's not as if our worthy and distinguished representatives are not paid enough. Well, their own opinion may differ.

A "sanctions law" is being discussed in Staten parliament, in accordance with the guidelines of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) in the context of the fight against international terrorism. In the first round, a majority was against the law because it was supposed to impair our beloved independence.
But PAR Jesus-Leito wonders how anybody can be against this, and concludes the nay-sayers among the parliament members must be terrorists. PS Wilsoen didn't like that one bit.

Back Where He Belongs
If Adriaens will be kicked out as Hato airport director, he considers going back to politics. Sure.

Stuck with the Lake
BOO electricity plant will switch over to natural gas from asphalt, which should reduce pollution to 20%. No surprise there! Especially as the plant was designed and built by Mitsubishi (with slave labor, but that's another story) for light fuels, and for opportunistic reasons had to be adapted (after a fashion) to what you'd call heavy stuff later.
One result is that for the time being, it looks like we're stuck with that asphalt lake. Ah well, we're used to that Pond of Pollution by now. Family member.
Best part is, Isla refinery will switch over to natural gas for fuel as well.

One More
Is it a matter of luck, or what? While many foundations get much less subsidy than they bargained for, FEFFIK is one that keeps on getting it without having to bother about those nasty yearly accounts. But they still managed to build op a debt of 20 million guilders; guess who's gonna pay?
You cribbed!

The Idea!
Minister Navarro denies that the price increase for those security cameras (from US$2m to 6m; but that may be a media error meaning 6m guilders, or $3.3m) was caused by remuneration of the committee dealing with the implementation and installation of the cameras. Whatever gave them that idea?
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members did get!

Bounced Out
The secretary general of the ministry of Social Development, Labor and Welfare and her quisling collaborator have been sent home stante pede, suspected of fraud.
PIAS member Cleopa said this was bad "for the government's image." He got that straight.

They Took the Hint
Aqualectra utility, suing board members of SDK sport center personally for the foundation's debt has now arranged an amicable settlement with them, keeping the whole mess private and out of court. Which to me means, those board members were personally responsible after all.

Looks Bad
Ex-FØL minister Adriaens is now director of Hato Airport—but not for much longer. He has protested against his dismissal by minister Palm, but it looks like Palm had a point (for once). For one thing, travel expenses for 12 Hato staff members were 600,000/year (while for the notoriously fond of traveling 21 parliament members the total budget is half of that). Then, Adriaens got a bonus of twice his monthly salary, while business is going so bad that he's not entitled to more than two weeks.

But Is It Safe?
A gang of four has succeeded in penetrating Hato airport to rob a quantity of gold bars. One of the (private) guards has been killed, two were wounded. First anxious question: How did they get by airport security? That seems to be easy.
Sure seems a lot of gold is moving through the island. And we've not even been told yet if the robbers got away with the loot, or not. (They did.)
I can also have been misled by bad reporting (you never get used to it). Apart from the man killed, there may have been only one wounded; and airport security has nothing to do with the building which is not located on the airport. And finally, was it even gold? Nobody's telling.
It was gold! 8 kilos of it, worth USD300k today, or ANG 560k.

Hey, Listen
Technocrat Pasman comments that's it's all very good and well that Aqualectra saved some money, he just remarks that much more may have been lost by their customers by damage caused by switching off and on. He avoits Aqualectra better woik on averding that in the future.

He's Gone
Minister Balborda has left his minister's post. We don't know yet why; only that the problems with his PNP party started when he wanted to change the route of the carnaval Gran Marcha for safety reasons but his party bosses didn't.
Just guessing, maybe more of Balborda's recent actions have aroused the ire of his party's pundits. Like stopping illegal building all over. Bad for votes come election time, they may figure. (I'm not so sure.)
A better-informed guess is that Balborda didn't do for project developers what his party boss wanted him to do. More power to Balborda, in that case. Alas, ends up as less.
Still other sources mention "party financers" as the cause of strife. Project developers?

Time to Panic
As from next year quite possibly the Curaçao high school diplomas will not be accepted at Dutch universities. Tough. Indie MP Leeflang has warned education minister Dick before, and warns that now it may already be too late to fix this; should have been done long before.
But Holland has replied that "for the time being" the Curaçao diplomas will be accepted there.

For the Kids
PIAS Rosaria is not very charmed that his party's minister Palm went to visit ex-PM Shorty; and in the MFK building, too. Palm says they talked about his and Shorty's kids, and it had nothing to do with politics. Why, then, meet precisely there? And I'm pretty sure, in his sumptuously salaried time as well.

What's Next?
The judge has decided that Amigu di Tera and Defensa Ambiental were right in protesting the Wechi development for social building. Hmmm. I wonder if they'll stop now. Wanna bet? (My bet is, they won't.)

What Market Needs Protection?
Sellers of fruits and vegetables are sick and tired of the bureaucracy involved with importing, because of market protection. They want to stop that—it's only good for the civil servants, they say. They have a point; there might well be more spoiled brats working on import control than there are local producers.

Was I Wrong? Or...
Aqualectra utility claims that using wind generators has brought total production costs down from 308 million in 2012 to 198m last year.
Impressive? Problem here is, they omit to tell us how much they paid to the windmill park and to the solar cell users. And there may be other factors which we can't have an inkling about. One thing is for sure, it's not all savings.

"Many Times More Expensive"
Renovating and upgrading the Schottegat container terminal will cost about 50 million guilders, and moving it to Bullenbaai where Curaçao Oil Terminal is located will cost many times more. Still, the advisors advise doing just that. Maybe because it's one way for CPA to get rid of CPS? I have no idea (because of transparency).

Tiara Air Restarts
After having stopped flying, thanks to cash difficulties because Venezuela didn't pay up (analog to InselAir) Tiara Air announces they will shortly restart services. Took a long time, though.

Politicians Quarrel
PNP party head Davelaar wants to get rid of Balborda as a minister, but that's not so easy. Nobody even seems to be able to figure out how, exactly. Anyway, Balborda will only go when if the party asks him, not only Davelaar; maybe. So Davelaar wants to introduce a vote of no confidence in parliament. Nobody tells us what's it all about; PNP party even announced a media silence. But the word in the streets is, Davelaar thinks Balborda acts "too independent."

80-100 Million Guilders—Plus
People with a leasehold have a habit of not paying their dues. Minister Balborda estimates 80 million guilders are uncollected. He is now working on a GIS registration system, also to catch illegal builders (who don't pay at all). The car tax, supposed to be paid before March 1, hasn't been collected by half yet.

Now They Went to Court
The country versus the spoiled brats: it's all about salaries and pensions, and indexing of same. ABVO civil servants union and the country both have to come across with more info before March 30.

Aqualectra Acting Up
After the utility started suing World Trade Center for millions of guilders, now it's FDK sport center which has a debt of 600,000 guilders in unpaid bills. Aqualectra (and the government) hold the directors personally responsible. Ouch, that really hurts.

It's On
The "Babel" pre-trial of March 20 against ex-PM Shorty and his mistress will concern fraud (fake bills), laundering money and violation of telecom legislation. During and after the period he was our PM.
Sic him, already.

Task Force: in Name Only
Last year a "Task Force" was set up by the government, to get projects that got stuck somehow rolling. But nothing seems to get accomplished, regardless. Now two more members have resigned in, I guess, disgust.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those Task Force members. Maybe not enough.

Wait Some More
The spoiled brats civil servants' unions have not succeeded in presenting a counter-proposal in the negotiations with minister van der Horst, as promised. No... they will do so beginning of March (that's next Monday, the day after tomorrow).

Yes, Please?
InselAir suggests that the exorbitant airport tax should be lowered, at least for regional flights. A ticket CUR-AUA costs ANG376, of which 108 is taxes and charges, say 30%. Which tends to explain why the regional flights attracts less and less passengers.
Hmm. I wonder what those "charges" include.

So Go!
Twelve years ago (when the FØL Dinosaurs Ruled the Island), a solution was already proposed for the sewage problem. But nobody seemed to care enough. Now the shit-suckers think this would be a good replacement for Shut. Problem is, they need a location. And just in passing, why is this not used in those expensive sewage plants we have already (but which don't work)?
About 1000m^3 of sewage is collected per day from homes; to which we have to add the sewage collected from those magnificent tourist ships. You see, they're not allowed to dump it in the sea, so we do it for them.

Good Riddance
St. Maarten wants to take over the telephone company there, owned by Curaçao UTS telecommunications.

And Now, the Airlines
Contrary to what everybody expected, the local minibuses have lowered their prices because of the low oil prices. Say, 7.5% (I don't feel like figuring it out. Hey, it's almost week-end!)
And like I said, now for the airlines to follow suit. Might as well try to swim over there.

Saved from Ourselves
Only, we did it already, ourselves. When's the last time you saw anybody smoking in public, here? The only occasions I notice is at Hato airport, where Dutch people at the arrivals terminal blow like maniacs. Curazoleños are too smart and stopped a long time ago.
So now that there's no need at all any more, our Great Leaders have declared by law that smoking in restaurants etc. is a no-no. A strict waste of time and energy.
And, as well-known commentator Arthur Donker remarks, will they now hire still more spoiled brats civil servants to control this and fine offenders? No doubt they congratulate each other on their marvelously responsible action. What a joke.

Expensive Passports
Those new passports may be valid twice as long at twice the price, but not if you're less than 18 years old: then you pay 150 guilders (was 100) and it will expire after five years. Not everybody in parliament thinks this okay, but I guess there's little to be done: Holland, where the things are processed, has raised the prices and we'll have to pay.
At least ex-PM MFK Shorty fetched us a good laugh, when he complained that while oil prices are going down, passports go up when everything else gets cheaper. Gasoline etc., yes, but nothing else.

According to Un Tim Magno, who want to continue the inheritance of Helmin Wiels, the plotters of the so-called 2012 coup d'état were the mainspring behind his murder. Hey, not so fast there!

No Integrity Investigation
In spite of all his enemies' efforts, Central Bank director Tromp escapes scot-free. Parliament decided and that's that. Too bad for ex-PM Shorty. Whatever Tromp may have done wrong, I shed no tears; hey, I am not a crocodile!
But as was to be expected, MFK and MAN still want an audit by Rekenkamer.

A Bit Late
They're finally starting today at 17:00 (that's 5 p.m. for you, gringos); or rather, I guess, tomorrow morning.

Political Appointment Disappoints
Opposition party PAR says that PIAS minister Palm should be honorable enough to get lost, because of not extending Hato director Adriaensz's contract. They say "a good director is a good director" regardless of politics, which is a truism; point of course being, is he?

Still Too Many Guns
When last year we were told that the public ministry was satisfied with the number of guns that had been collected in their action, nobody agreed with their judgment. Now they came around to agree with us: there are still far too many guns around, as we all know. If you have two guns, from now on you will get twice the punishment. If the judges agree, which is not so sure.

Please, Do Tell Us?
Minister Navarro told the press about those security cameras—about which no one seems to think it necessary to inform us if they have or have not been accepted in parliament.
Be that as it may be, PS Cijntje protests. There should have been a public tender, but the job was just given away to a Chinese company nobody knows anything about. We don't even have an inkling of what cameras they offer. And for an amount that high at least two or three other offers should have been requested.
But, says the cabinet, the minister of finance (Jardim) may depart from the rules if he feels like it. So try to like it: we're getting 180 cameras for 6.6 million; at least, that's guaranteed.

How Embarrassing
Since 1955, when CTDB (now CTB) replaced CTC, we have been paying them heavily to promote tourism to the island. And now they hit on a new slogan (are you ready?): "Curaçao... the best-kept secret in the Caribbean."
Cost us a lot of money to let them keep us a secret. 25 million in 2004, for all we know more than doubled since then. They ought to be ashamed.

Justice Minister: Guilty
PIAS justice minister Navarro, like PM Arsjes, blame ex-PM Shorty's Gang of Crooks for the firing of Gumbs as head of VDC security. But they were the guys who signed the decree endorsing Gumb's dismissal.

Those InselAir Debts
Now that Venezuela has finally conceded their bolivar isn't worth the oil it's printed with, exchange rates are free and you can get as many as 300 for 1 dollar, while only last week officially the rate was 12. Question is, will Venezuela now pay of their rem,aining debts to InselAir with those devalued bolivars?

Maybe Arsjes Agrees
PIAS Rosaria wonders why PM Arsjes doesn't inform us all about what's going on with Venezuela's rather surprising announcements. Has he at least called the ambassador? "A country can't just decided to appropriate us," he says. Maybe Arsjes thinks Venezuela can, there's that.

Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword
An enormous cloud of mud is stirred up between the Board of Hato airport and PIAS minister Palm, both contradicting each other: "Did!" "Not!" I'm not delving into that, will only cloud my, and your, vision. My point still clearly stands: Adriaensz got his Hato job politically and now he's losing it. Politically, I mean.

Paint It Opaque
ARC Rekenkamer auditing wanted to investigate expenditure and income of the crime fighting fund and the investment in equipment of the ministry of justice. But despite several requests, they never got any answer, so they finally went to minister Navarro himself. He didn't reply either.
But now he says he doesn't handle matters like that; the letters must have been "mislaid" in the ministry. How convenient. Wish I could do the same with my tax assessments.

Crime Galore
Rumors are, two Venezuelans still are on the island, who wanted to murder justice minister Navarro during the Carnival festivities. Didn't succeed, but they're rumored not to have done yet.
Then, Dutch Socialist Party parliamentarian van Raak claims that he has documents reporting how the VDC security service has been bought up by the mafia in the beginning of Shorty's short (but still much too long) reign. VDC head Lawrence Pietersz, who took over after Gumbs was kicked out, received even more money than he asked for from finance minister Imalootin. All information of VDC was "copied, destroyed or stolen" by Colombians in 2011, at Shorty's instigation.
According to the reports, finance minister sheikh El Hakim had close ties with gamble king Corallo and the Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah.

Bunch of Bumblers
Only today, the council of ministers RvM voted on those cameras. It's not known as yet if the vote was for or against. Minister Navarro doubted all the time the project was feasible. So why did he announce it? Then, first the Chinese government would finance it; maybe even pay for it (again, this is not clear from what we get to read). But that offer was refused.
Now, an extra 500,000 for hooking the system up and processing the data must be paid for by UTS, already as good as bankrupt, raising total costs to 6.2m guilders. At any rate, the system won't be there before May; once again, I stopped counting the number of delays.
Originally the total price quoted was 5m, now it's 6.2m; "only" one quarter more. So balance that budget!

They're Coming
Navarro's crews are working to install those security cameras (we finally learn they will cost ~5 million guilders) but he gets many protests. He's not surprised, he says: "Those are criticisms from underworld members who work in the overworld." Like, uh, politicians?

Saint Wiels Might Have Agreed
He loved Chávez... only, both are no longer among us. Venezuela president Maduro states that his country has the right to defend itself in the Antillean airspace. The guy is even worse than Chávez! He claims Holland has been informed; only, they don't seem to know that yet.
His claims the presidential palace was threatened by an attack by "Tucani" may have been distorted in our great press. Maybe what was meant is one or more Embraer Tucano aircraft.

Orco Wins, Taams Loses
The judge has ordered Taams kliniek to leave the premises in two weeks from now, unless they find a way to pay their debt to Orco Bank.

Record Tourism
For 2014, tourism was a record year. Curaçao economy got an influx of 750 million guilders (USD412.5m). Too bad they don't bother to tell us when end what the former record was.

Info, Please
The Bentana di Informashon [information window] had 100,000 calls last year. 40% of those got an answer; which the media say is 70,000 people. Huh? Not even counting those who took the trouble to call again (how many? how many times?)

We'll Have to Wait and See, Don't We?
PIAS Party is proud to compliment minister Palm on his excellent prognosis for our 2015 development. That's like sending mes compliments au chef in the kitchen for the great way the lay-out man designed the menu—before having tasted a single dish.

Hato Airport director Adriaens will be relieved of his functions, which he's had for five years. He started yelling immediately that this was for political reasons. But everybody must agree that he only got the job because of his association with Godett's FØL party, now probably gone and lost forever.
But to my surprise, now indie Leeflang is defending him. Wasn't he the guy, she says, who started the Eco-Park (so important for agriculture too; a hobby of hers—and his) and who welcomed the Vomit Comet Space Gang to Curaçao? Yes, he was. And under his management, the number of passengers went down as well.
But of course Adriaens is right, it is political. The name of his own game, after all.

Don't Get Me Wrong
For a number of years now, clean-air Smoc has been quoting an Ecorys report stating that Isla refinery causes 18 deaths per year. I finally found that report.
First, bear with me. The venom of this message, like with the scorpion, hides in the tail. The number of deaths is based on a World Bank 2005 Jakarta report, but it's not what you'd call convincing. Quoting page 88: "It is assumed that the relationships [...] can be extrapolated to estimate and predict health effects in Curaçao." No, they often can't; that's like "any level of radiation will give you cancer." It won't or we'd all get it in childhood.
Then, the whole idea is based on a meta-analysis which at the time the report was published still was a very iffy method; characterized at the time as "elevating publication bias to an art."
All in all, that number of "18 deaths per year" is just not to be trusted. Please, use solid arguments.
But don't get me wrong; I still agree that refinery is a stinking heap of junk. But what really hurts is that our politicians all seem to accept that number and to be quite happy with it.
To make it worse, the number 18 is often quoted as "a minimum"; in fact, it's a maximum.

Pull the Plug, Please!
The police has announced that there will be a strict control on the sound level during the great carnival parade, tomorrow afternoon. Bands that exceed the level will get two warnings; the third time, the cops will pull the plug.
Too bad we're not told what that level is (how many dBs?), nor where it will be measured (side of the road? On top of the wagon?) Anything over 90dB for an extended period is definitely harmful.

Now, Really?
According to CTB tourist bureau, overnight tourism from the USA has grown with 24% last month compared with January 2014. This because JetBlue has started two flights every week, CTB says. That's very hard to follow, let alone to believe. American Airlines has 2 flights a day, and when I am on one of those they're chock-full. Insel Air has 3 daily (not counting 2 via Aruba). That's a total of 35 flights per week. To which the 2 (6%) new JetBlue flights are supposed to add 24%, the equivalent of over 8 flights? Come on.

CPA versus CPS
Government Curaçao Port Authority is sick and tired of private Curaçao Port Services, who have a concession to exploit the container harbor for 30 years. But CPA now wants to invest in new derricks etc. and to start procedures to take CPS's exclusive concessions away.
Problem is, the government in its unshakeable integrity has already given the next 30 years concession to CPS, without bothering to inform Parliament. That would be telling! (Just like with that oil company.)

Surprise, Not
For those 1200 new "community mailboxes", less than 900 owners bothered to pick up their keys. That's 75%, to spare you the figuring. They haven't had any mail at all for a month now.
But doesn't matter, next they'll be placed in four more neighborhoods. Hey, they've been ordered and paid for anyway.

Have a Taste of Reality
The Valero refinery of Aruba (used to be Esso-Lago) will finally close. Definitely and permanently; maybe they will retain part of it as an oil terminal.
This while the chances of Aruba discovering oil are much higher than those of Curaçao.
Dream on, kids: but please don't make us pay.

Budget Troubles
Things go on like this, there'll be no funds left by the end of the year to pay old age welfare.
Then, Aqualectra utility, CDM Dock Company, C***-Post and ADC diagnostics are all in financial trouble (not to mention UTS) and have a personnel surplus. Don't we know it. Also, as there are no accounts yet of Curoil and Isla refinery, it's a moot point whether they'll be able to pay dividends at all.
Tax receipts are considerably lower than expected, which is utterly expectable. But never give up: Cft financial supervision after talking to the Tax Persons is now convinced there'll be more rolling in this year. I'm not so sure.
Investments planned look more like a wish-list of ministers than real planning. Even Cft thinks so. And they all have to be covered by more borrowing.
I'm glad I'm not the minister of finance. But I never applied for the job.

Bulldozing Money
Amigu di Tera wonders how it's possible that the Wechi public housing site is now being prepared for building, while there isn't even a development plan yet. A number of years ago Godett had that same site "cleaned"—which means, rücksichtslos denuded of all vegetation except the lonely token kadushi cactus. It's not unreasonable to suspect he made a lot of money on that deal. L'histoire se répète?
In any case, there are some 140 protests against the Wechi development plans, which have to be dealt with before any building can start. Also the EOP island development plan ("only marks on paper"—sure) still lists Wechi as an "open area".

Hospitals in Trouble
Not only Sehos hospital and Taams clinic are in financial trouble, the same goes for (psychiatric) Caprileskliniek. Personnel has been taking action, which lasts for three days already The clinic may be forced to close down for lack of money. Capriles got two weeks to fix their problems.
But the judge has ordered the country to pay Taams 1.8 million guilders for eye operations done there. Which won't help much. The country fights this decision, what else is new. But this is yet another heritage of that wonderful Shorty government, whose economy minister El Hakim promised the tariffs would be increased. They never were.

Green Turns Black
Because of a lack of wind, several neighborhoods had to make do without electricity for a while, yesterday. Only when a good old fossil fuel generator was hooked up to the grid they could use their aircos again. Not to mention the fridges.

A new airline, AVA, wants to start operating in Curaçao. But their permits somehow seem to get unaccountably delayed. Curaçao Chronicle strongly suggests the procedure is being held up by a Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) director Derby, whose application for a function with AVA was declined.
So much for that integrity PM Arsjes was bragging about last week.

Sold Soon?
State-owned UTS Telecommunications may be sold soon to Digicel or Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC); which would be the end of a long-lasting period of... let's say, bad luck? For us, anyway.

It's True Enough
Antilliaans Dagblad has collected information that shows that, matter of fact, World Trade Center has been fudzing around with the utility meters and owes Aqualectra 10.3 million guilders. They even hooked up a hotel with an illegal connection. Aqualectra has seized several renters in the building, among which the Country.
This may well be the beginning of the end of WTC—and of the overextended ventures of Venezuelan businessman de Stefano. He's reputed to be in serious financial trouble, which is not very surprising. One of his many projects is the Caribbean International University.

Illegal Drugs on the Market
Nothing new, that. But they're sold in the Plaza Nobo market place, a superfluous ca. 1970 EEC "subsidized" project we still may be paying for, designed and built by Italians. The thing got rolling when five young (how young?) girls had to be hospitalized after swallowing abortion drugs bought there. The police found "enormous" quantities of medicine, among which Viagra and several antibiotics.
The word is they've overdosed, so the girls must have been very pregnant. But as customary, the hospital releases no information on patients.

So, Which Is Number Four?
The bottoms of 4 Curaçao bays have been heavily polluted with products related with oil refining. Mentioned are Schottegat (really not a bay); including entrance Annabaai? Number two is Caracasbaai. Why the other two are not mentioned by name is beyond me. I'd bet on Bullenbaai for number three but can't even guess about number four.
Naturally, panic reigns: oh, if only those tourists won't stay away! We've seen that before; nobody seems to care much about those of us who breathe, eat and drink all that stuff (but not necessarily dig it).
Oh that press! Turns out, only two of the four examined bays were polluted. Hey look, if you're foolish enough to swim in Schottegat you got it coming. But even Hong Kong harbor has been cleaned up now so that it's safe again for the yearly swimming event.

Oh Yeah?
Now that Holland is interfering in St. Maarten's interior affairs, no doubt to the relief of many inhabitants there, our PM Arsjes reassures us that it won't and can't happen here. After all, he claims, our government has high standards of integrity.
Like Marvelyne Wiels and ex-minister Francisca? Two name but too few.

Here's an Idea
In the course of a few weeks, the bish sent two roman-catholic pastors off to Holland with hardly time to pack. No reasons are given, so we can think what we like; or rather, what we don't like.
Say, why not send all of 'em to Holland? One fell swoop.

That Cheap Gasoline
The result of that low gas price is, the roads are chock-full of cars.

Free Enterprise
A private woman started a business by illegally tapping water from the Aqualectra distribution system, and selling it. And Aqualectra has accused the World Trade Center (really! we have a thing like that; talk about megalomania) of messing with the electricity meter. They've sent a bill for 5 million dollars (9 million guilders) and will cut 'em off next month. WTC high-handedly denies and wants Aqualectra to explain and deliver proof.

No Civil Servant
George, who was fired from his post at SOAW [social development, labor and welfare) is now obliged to pay back what he earned (18 months ad ANG8535-US$4695/month). He was not a civil servant, says the judge, but "merely" appointed by the council of ministers. Which sounds a bit unfair to George; maybe.
It was his stepmother, the governor, who signed the landsbesluit [land decision] that stated George was no civil servant. Kudos.

Those Tickets Are Fake
Department of economic development warns that some of those lottery tickets alleged to be fake, indeed are fake. Some have just been photocopied, and they all miss serial numbers and water marks the official tickets do have.
But the Dutch are now talking about having a close look at the Curaçao gambling industry, and especially their relations with the government. They must have a point. For example, nobody has taken a close look at the relationship of PM Arsjes and his casino-owning father-in-law.

Let's Hope It Helps
This year, all (as I understand it) traffic lights will be equipped with cameras. Also, 14 new police cars will be equipped with a tablet etc. so they can check for any car instantly if insurance and tax have been paid and if they have been properly inspected. Good, huh? Now, if only those tax payments and inspections were waterproof...
They put in cameras many years ago, but nobody could develop the films. Really? (they could have asked me, par example). Somebody must have made a nice little pile there, then. 14 motor-driven Leicas ain't hoenderdos.

Shut Keeps Giving
Last November when the road to Shut was shut off, they just dumped a couple of truckloads soil on the asphalt, so trucks couldn't pass. Now, note that they built a guard house with barrier. Which, apart from building costs, of course means that at least two, and I guess three or more, guys will get a job there. A salaried job. And they'd need a boss, am I right?

That Would Be Too Easy
Israel, a desert nation, now has a water surplus thanks to "an array of innovations, from microscopic sewage scrubbers to super-size desalination plants to smart water networks." But also because of a system to detect water loss. Actually, we with our 27% loss are not even so bad of, with average worldwide losses of over 30 per cent. But Jerusalem's utility wastes less than 10 per cent of its supply. This is mainly thanks to TaKaDu's software that can can detect aberrations that indicate a leak or burst (or theft). It's used in many places over the world—except here.
See more here.

Hard to Believe
And for some, even harder to accept: Holland (the country of the Netherlands) wants more of a say in appointing ministers in what used to be the Netherlands Antilles. Now it's Sint Maarten, tomorrow maybe Curaçao, next week Aruba. What happens is an Algemene maatregel van rijksbestuur ["general order of kingdom control" comes close]. I'm sure ex-PM Shorty's will be among the loudest to protest, but it seems obvious that his rule (with a little help from his friends MAN and PS) has caused this "interference". An interference the islands agreed on to get their debts of €1.7 billion taken care of.
Holland not only wants a say in choice of ministers, but in managers of government-owned companies as well.
It's hard to believe because for many decades, since the Statuut, Holland kept looking the other way.
And by the way you know, money management in the Antilles was so bad that old debts still keep popping up, now to the tune of a 300 million total.

Oh, Those Yearly Accounts
Aqualectra utility just a months or so ago finally managed to prepare their financial statements—over 2011. But they're far ahead of Isla refinery, who are nowhere yet.
Don't try this at home with the Tax Person.

Keep Larfing! It's the Laffer Curve
We've said this before but Our Leaders obviously don't read these remarks. It'd only confuse them anyway, true. Parliament asks nasty questions how come tax receipts were so much lower (about 80 million guilders) last year than estimated. It's the Laffer Curve! You raise taxes, people pay less. Figures, but may be too subtle for politicians.

One More Month
Can't these guys (meant are minister Balborda and Hato head Adriaens) give each other a call before telling nonsense to the media? Shut will be kept open for one more month. At least, I guess.

He Was Right (As We All Knew)
Edsel Gumbs was fired by ex-PM Shorty as head of VDC (national security) way back in 2010, When Mafia Ruled the Island. The judge said he shouldn't have been, and while he won't come back in his old function, he does get an extra year's salary.

One More Party
This one is not new, it's one of the oldest and largest ones, Partido Democrat. In the early 1980s after their disastrous PM Boy Rozendal they were wiped out; tried to make a come-back with Norbert George which ended in a disaster as well. Now they want to try again, as they say the political system is a mess with quarrels even between ministers of the same party; and who'll deny it. Still, there'll be a jostling crowd next elections.

Close, Open, Close Again... Makes Me Dizzy
Hato airport announces that now, seriously, they will close down Shut, that was closed down before on November 18 last year and then reopened. This time, it's definite: on February 1st, no more traffic will be allowed.
Er... hasn't that date gone past already?

And Now, for Those Roads
Minister Balborda promised that what was just about the worst part of the road to Westpunt would be renovated in January. That's at Tera Kòrá. But nothing has happened there.

Lower Prices? Never!
After the minibuses have been agitating for two years that, because of the high fuel costs, their tariffs should be raised (they might have a point—even though none of 'em stopped driving), now that gas and diesel have gone down we don't hear a peep.

Big Surprise
Tourists choose the islands with the most beautiful beaches for their vacations. Who'd have thought it. "We must pay more marketing attention to our beaches!" Only, we don't have so many. There's the rub, as we all know.

In Trouble. As Usual.
Sehos Hospital is in trouble; again. Serious financial trouble; again. Which probably means, if you have the bad luck to take up lodgings there... boy, are you in trouble!
Minister of health Whiteman says it's all caused by Miss Management. So fire her, already, he figures; but it seems to be not so simple.

No Deadline
Minister van der Horst wants to increase pressure on the spoiled brats civil servants' trade unions; but SAP police union's Vilchez declares he will not allow that. Van der Horst says he has no more time to spend on negotiations, but refrains from setting a deadline. Wish he did.
The Tax Person has just sent all of us hefty assessments for BVZ health insurance, starting in 2013 and payable within 2 months. Normally, you'd get much more time. But the spoiled brats still don't pay a cent—for better conditions.

Singapore Joins the Club
The anti-CDM/DOK slavery club, that is. Those Cuban ex-slaves have had the temerity, the gall, the boldness and effrontery (words fail me) to seize funds there meant to pay for repairs by DOK. Meanwhile, minister Palm still thinks he'll find a partner to continue DOK operations. Better pay up first, like actually announced, before it's entirely too late.

So There. Nowhere.
Geologist John Wright, in an interview with Curaçao Chronicle, gives as his considered opinion that the presence of oil or gas below Curaçao is unproven; and then, in a high risk frontier deep water environment. PM Arsjes, who stated the chance is 90%, is rumored to be much annoyed. Good. Maybe it ruins his appetite.
No, looking back it was Mudbelly Cooper who said it was 90%. Small minds think the same way.

Much Too Late
A new foundation, E Hende [the people] wants an audit of FKP public housing. Now there's a good idea. Too bad it comes so late.

But What?
KKN Chamber of Commerce Jonckheer emphasizes that there's one thing to save the Curaçao economy: Export. Hmm. Maybe hot air? We've got plenty of that.

And Now for a Real Discount
Car gas will go down again to ANG1.60/liter (down from 2.25 or so only two months ago); electricity (almost 10%) and water (4%). Even household gas will go 10% down; get it while you can (there's the catch).
But the solar feed-in tariff remains at the same lowered level, the judge has decided.

Balborda Did Something
And to be honest, not for the first time: 12 house foundations were bulldozed away on a terrain that had been "cleaned" in a conservation area. It was two soccer fields large, which equals over 15ha or almost 40 acres. Pretty sumptuous, plots of over 3 acres. But if the ground comes free, why not?
Still, what is the matter with Aqualectra utility? Nothing could be easier than refusing to hook up those illegals to water and electricity as they've promised not to. Hah hah.

Please Explain
CHATA hotel organization announces that a "yield coordinator" who was appointed by CTB tourist bureau has "saved" Air Berlin half a million guilders in one year. Now CTB is mad at CHATA because they shouldn't have published. Why? Is there something wrong? Well, I can think of several things: Who pays this "yield coordinator", and who "saves"? Answers may well be "we" and "Air Berlin".

I Wonder
Newspaper Bala has published that ex-minister Francisca has got a job with the "new company for natural resources" for a 15 thou guilders/month salary—which she arranged for after she was kicked off her minister's chair. Francisca is suing Bala to rectify, which Bala refuses.
That can only be Curaçao Oil and Gas Company (COGC or KPG). Is that why she never published her promised report on PS?

What White Powder?
After Smoc had complained about white powder found downwind of Isla refinery, Isla management went to have a look but says they couldn't find any. Anyway, it couldn't possibly be theirs, they say. But Smoc has collected samples and taken pictures (which, frankly, don't mean much to me; could be anything).
Smoc did ask again about the green gunk that was found about a year ago, about which they were promised more info. They're still waiting, and so are we.

Strike at Selikor
What a dirty trick! Garbage collectors Selikor have been making a profit—so much so that they published a book celebrating their 10th anniversary. But now, personnel is on strike. They complain equipment is just not good enough and often actually dangerous, and also wonder why outsiders are paid to advise on policies, passing Selikor's own personnel by. I don't wonder about it, seems quite obvious why. The yearly report is just No Good. Workers now want an audit of management.
This is the place where our former PM Mirna Godett (definitely a relation) for all I know still works, and where our present PM Arsjes was kicked out of.
Director Kook went on a holiday while he was temporarily relieved of his duties.

He Got That Straight
PIAS Rosaria wants a Staten/parliament meeting on the situation in Venezuela which, to put it succinctly, is one bankrupt mess. He worries that it may have repercussions on our situation and, specifically, Isla refinery.

Those Fake Lottery Tickets
The alleged distributor denies they're fake. Says, you might as well try to counterfeit a dollar bill. In his opinion, minister Palm just was much too keen on finding something to denounce. Which sounds reasonable (just like him).

See the Logic?
The passports get twice as expensive, from 100 to 200 guilders. But don't worry, they'll remain valid for 10, not 5 years. See? What a deal! "They" only have to change one line, we pay twice as much. The sort of thing that turns you anti-government.
Of course it's a marketing trick. "They" couldn't manage to feed all civil servants whose trough is filled with that meager fee, so found this way out. Did I say "meager"? Must be irony.

Big Shame
What turns out to be called "non-revenue water" (read: lost by leaks) for which Unesco figures 17.5% is acceptable in developing countries, has been "estimated" here between 24% and 28%. This must be reduced to 17%, the ministers feel.
What do they mean, "estimated"? There's more than 10% difference between the two, unacceptable in itself.

Riding His Hobby Horse
And not sparing the whip: ex-PM Shorty wants an emergency meeting of Staten parliament to discuss the PWC-report. A meeting like that doesn't need ministers present, and he means (and mentions) finance minister Navarro. The idea is to have parliament vote for an integrity research of the Central Bank board.

Better and Better
Not only four lawyers want to restart the case against the Three Stooges, the trio wants to do the same thing themselves! They'll have us all rolling in the aisles yet.

PIAS Rosaria thinks Green Town should take part in the deliberations on Isla refinery's future. Okay, why not? But then he goes on to reveal himself as a believer in anthropogenic climate change (as in, caused by humans). No, he's not even up to date and says "global warming". A thing that has stopped, oh no let's be correct, "paused" for over 18 years now. He's also very worried that sea levels will rise and "Curaçao will disappear under water." Come on now. Rosaria must be too busy playing at politics to follow the scientific discussions.
Admittedly, it would be a good way to get rid of the refinery at just a few meters above sea level. Too bad that would take many centuries, even with a rise of 30cms per century. But stay positive: Fort Amsterdam (AKA The Forty Thieves' Grotto) would be swamped much sooner.

Crime Does Pay
Minister Palm claims illegal lottery tickets are sold for a total 1 million guilders worth per day, which adds up to 200m/year. He says; go figure.
However that may be, during inspections of lottery ticket sellers fake and forged tickets were found, supposedly in the name of FNWK. Pretty riskless—as good as nobody wins anyway, right? Palm seems most excited about the fact that the sales tax on those, of course, is never paid to the Tax Person.

Not A Chance
Regular followers know that I don't think much of Green Town. Dreamers... But reading that it stands not a chance in parliament doesn't want me to exclaim "I told you so!" Why not? Because most MPs still think Isla refinery is of prime economic importance (we can only wait and see about that). Worst may be Mudbelly Cooper who is retiring from parliament and will get a job at Isla: he says we need Isla to refine the oil under the island.
What oil? Talk about dreamers...
The longer I think about it, the more attractive my "solution" seems.
Green Town next asked Dutch parliament to play a "more active role" but we all know the answer already: that'd be intervention in internal affairs.

Newest New Party
It's called UKH Un Korsou Hustu [a just Curaçao} and stars ex-PAR, now Indie Omayra Leeflang. Was started by pensioners who were disgruntled by the high health insurance premiums.

Hold On, The Show's Not Over
Three lawyers do not agree with the decision to let the Three Stooges go scott free. They have started procedures anew. In a nutty shell, they want lawyers to behave in court.

Everybody Seems to Agree... Almost Everybody
The Price-Waterhouse-Cooper report on the Central Bank seems to be pretty bad (for the bank). So bad that MFK Shorty's efforts to have it made public led nowhere and were cut off by parliament head Franco. Better keep it secret; for the sake of transparency I guess.
From what we can read (not very much) it looks like director Tromp and his management didn't keep to the rules. No doubt we'll be hearing more later.
What's really funny is, indie Leeflang says that Tromp has "begged for an investigation" two years ago, in February 2013, "but the Supervisory Board could not make it happen." And she also asks finance minister Jardim which finance ministers "have failed" as peoples representatives. Then, the report uses very restrained words, never saying the bank acted "illegal, corrupt or illegal"—which is why she will not join the thronging masses of PMs to ask for further investigations.
Neither is she the only one with doubts. Even Koeiman of MAN, part of ex-PM Shorty's government joins her. Except MFK only PS still wants to kick Tromp out on the streets.

The total costs for that new hospital have gone up again, from 400m to 435m. Almost 10%.

Tourism Up. But.
Overnight tourism went up last year: 3%, and they spent 4% more. Nice huh? Well, the funny thing is, more of the same thing happened in Aruba (growth 9%). But there, the Arubianios spent less money at the same time. So what's in it for them—or us? you might ask.
The Aruba government caught a lot more sales tax, though. Always look on the bright side!


Opaque Transparency
PM Arsjes announces a law on oil and gas exploitation is as good as ready to be moved through parliament. Once accepted, everything's ready for that new company that's already been started. But do we have oil and gas below the island? Geologists are not convinced, but Arsjes mentions a report saying there are very strong indications there is gas (apart from hot air).
He wants to be "as transparent as possible" but omits to tell us what report this might be.
Don't get me wrong. It could be great if gas was found in our bottom (couldn't let that go). Even with present low prices, nice for later.
Gee, I wonder how much they paid for that mysterious lone single solitary unique report that told them what they wanted to hear.

Keep Postponing
The civil servants' trade unions have not succeeded in presenting a plan for their pensions, as they should have done by now. They say "Minister van der Horst used to be a member of the pension committee of Hato airport, so he knows how complicated this is." But van der Horst reacts "Yes, that's so, and that's why I know as well how important it is to arrange it."
Van der Horst states that it wil take three months after plan presentation to finish negotiations, which he feels is much too long.

One Born Every Minute
UTS telecommunications still thinks Ctex is what g-d sent down from heaven. (They're in it with 60%.)

Security Curaçao Style
Two VIP security tough guys tried to smuggle a suitcase containing a gun through airport customs. The suitcase, complete with said gun, belonged to ex-PM Shorty, who denies he had anything to do with it (I just mention that for the record).
The security guys have been fired, and will no doubt be replaced. Hold on there... They were Shorty's bodyguards! He, of course, denies. So let's get this straight. Two of Shorty's personal bodyguards were members of the LBD [country security service]. Really makes me feel secure.
Shorty denies he's got anything to do with it, so that must be true.

They'd Like That
PS Cijntje is working hard to get rid of EOP Island Development Plan. He has the wholehearted support of developer Randy Neuman, who'd like nothing better than to cover the island with concrete, asphalt and some token palm-trees. For a price.

Pipe Dream
A what Robert Bloch's personality Lefty Feep would call personality, van de Sande, is pestering editors with letters on an idée fixe of his: dig a 7kms deep hole and use the heat down there to cool the new hospital. He says that would be worth half a million guilders a month. One'd think he'd better make the rounds convincing those with a say than to ask interested people to contact him. Sounds like hot air to me and so thinks Jonis, Aqualectra director.
Sounds even farther out than Hato's plans. Figuring out what a geologist has to say, drilling costs alone might well be 150m USDollars or ANG273m. Divided by van der Sande's .5m yield per month, it will take over 45 years before break-even. Not counting other costs (like, uh, interest). Will take us all into Hot Water, already.
Let alone that Aqualectra can't even keep pipes to the depth of 1 meter leak-free; which makes it 45*1.3=60 years. Most of us may be dead by then; be grateful for small favors, as you'll have stopped paying.

Good News Turns into Bad News
After Aqualectra announced yesterday that an accord was reached with the four (4... count 'em) trade unions, this morning part of the island had no electricity because of a strike. Go figure.
But the judge said it was illegal and sent 'em back to work.

Might Well Be; But...
Aqualectra utility has a 31.5% loss of water in their pipes because of leaks; together with the electricity loss of 25.1% that's good for 210 million guilders per year. At least, that's what ex-PM Shorty claims.
He also goes on about "mafia-practices" within Aqualectra, which he wanted to end—that's why his cabinet was overthrown. I'm glad that's cleared up now.

Kicked Out
Cicely van der Dijs, partner of ex-PM Shorty, has decided to leave her post at Korpodeko after she was asked to do so by both that development bank and Central Bank. They didn't seem to trust her.
Not before a letter was received, written by that stalwart lawyer Peterson, protesting that she could not be fired just because she was involved in ongoing penal proceedings. Maybe not, but she's gone anyway.
Van der Dijs and Shorty are both suspected of money laundering and fraud in the Babel affair.

New Party
There's a new party. It's named PUK for Partido Union Kòrsou. More later.

The Sh*t Goes On
At St. Joris a trash dump has grown so large that a semi-permanent shack has been built by recyclers of copper from white goods. There are regular fires on five locations there, where plastics are burned as a matter of course, bringing dioxin in the air.
So much for the big talk of how illegal dumping has been reduced.

There Are More Ways
It's really difficult to control MOT-meldingen [unusual transactions] when it concerns building materials. Sure. Here a tip for those in charge, but it won't help much: it's even more difficult in movie, video and music productions.

Indie MP Leeflang utters doubts on what's (been) going on with the dreaded chikungunya disease, spread by Aedis aegypti mosquitos. Epidemic expert Gerstenbluth prognosed 75,000 cases (that's half the population) but this was dialed back to 20,000 just a week later. While abundant trash heaps are still around in the center of the city, the mosquitos are allegedly becoming resistant to permethrin insecticides. There's a solution, but it may be expensive and they'd rather spend money elsewhere, anyway. But of course health minister Whiteman says they're doing just fine; without coming across with recent figures, though.
Aruba and Bonaire have like 100 cases each.

No Stopping Them
On Fuikdag for some reason all boat bastards drive over to Fuikbaai and cluster, to always leave a mountain of rubbish behind. This year it would be different! And it's true, only 1400 kilos of trash were collected by volunteers after it was all over, against 2110 last year.
Oh wait, that was during the second round off offal collecting. The first round collected 250 bags of trash—so, say, totalling twice as much as last year? About there.

One Filthy Island
There are at least three places where raw sewage is just discharged into the sea. Two of those are not-working sewage plants. Apart from "Shute" of course. Welcome to our crystal-clear waters, tourists!
Anyway, 40% of those wonderful cruise ships just dump their shit in the sea as well. Good for about a billion gallons a year from the US registered ones only—which includes the Holland-America Line.

Are the Chinese Suckers?
One would be tempted to think so: the story is they want to take over Isla refinery. But wait, it may be nothing but Werner Wiels's wishful whims. China, he says, has recently lent Venezuela $20m, which is what would be needed to invest in the refinery. But it's pretty obvious Venezuela, with oil prices below $50/barrel (they need $120m) craves that money desperately just to keep themselves going.
But Venezuela may only use this loan for internal affairs. That's that.
You could also be very skeptical about his news that Japan and Korea may be interested. Why would they be, when a Saudi prince declares oil will never go above $100/barrel again?
Only two months ago, we were being told "the Chinese" wanted to dismantle that self-same refinery for free. I still think my idea is best.

Dream On, Werner
Werner Wiels (their old man must have loved Nordic names) wants to borrow 1m guilders as seed money to finance Curaçao Oil and Gas Company (COGC or KPG). Many companies are interested to buy exploration licenses, he says, not naming one. Meanwhile, there's a director and a board, but they are not paid. Yet.
Other sources talk about a 100 million loan; that first loan is just for starters. We'd "have to pay back" the loan, stresses Wiels. That "we" means us, you and me. But they're wrong, thank Hell for a good turn: "Only" 1 million.
Wiels is chairman of both the refinery and the new Oil and Gas Company. It should be a conflict of interests but for Wiels it's the other way round.

Not So Bad
Every now and then I complain about the quality of our printed press. While one is definitely too piously accepting what's dictated, the other one at least asks nasty questions. (Let's forget about the rest.) So we're not that bad off. At least, compared with the USA—I'm reading James O'Keefe's book Breakthrough and can only conclude it's much worse over there.
O'Keefe is what he calls "a guerilla journalist" who started Project Veritas.

Steigerung des Konflikts
Knipselkrant Curaçao (in Dutch) writes that PS ex-minister Wilsoen is one of the prime suspects in the Wiels murder case. If the guy gets arrested, the PS parliament majority is finished and the government comes to a mighty fall.
So that's why PIAS started lobbying recently to broaden the coalition's base (finding no takers but PAR who may be ready to sell out), says KKCuraçao. Methinks they have a point. Anything better than new elections with the chance that Shorty's MFK wins? Well, almost anything.
Steigerung des Konflikts is a German term referring to a standard item in dramaturgy: at a certain point in a drama, the conflict gets aggravated, leading to a Schicksalswendung: turn of fate. We've been waiting for just that.
What I don't get is, can't PS just replace him with another crook (plenty more where he came from)?

Croaked CTEX Crooks
Curaçao Technology Exchange that was received so enthusiastically when it opened last year, then went bankrupt before you could say "It Stinks", had a business plan. Full of fancy graphs and tables, it also contained letters of intent by directors of among others American Express, Visa, Sony, DHL, Citi en Banco Santander. These have been faked to convince investors. The building then turned out much more expensive than planned; all in all the damage was some $40m (ANG73m). Somebodies must have made a lot of mazuma (=cabbage and lettuce) there.
Who did they make it from? Mainly UTS Telecommunications (60%) and Girobank. Both already in heavy trouble anyway; and as far as I know government-owned. Just like Korpodeko development bank, also heavily involved.
It's a good guess that the news Apple had bought the bankruptcy estate was a lie as well.
Minister Balborda says they will research this and eventually lodge a complaint. That will help.

Get Lost
Utility Aqualectra is planning to fire 90 workers if an agreement with the trade unions can't be reached. Food for future court cases? At any rate, if only the government could do that (best guess, minister van der Horst agrees wholeheartedly).

Hah! We'll see
The government, cabinet Arsjes, want to dedicate themselves fully to economic growth. Put it in the proverbial nutshell, I'm skeptic. But Arsjes says his expectations are very positive. Sure.
On the photo in Amigoe newspaper, all ministers look as skeptical as I am.
KKN Chamber of Commerce just sent out the latest statistics. 2014 mostly just doesn't make it, especially compared with Holland and the USA.

The Soap Goes On
Remember that building in the Hague that had to be abandoned by the plenipotentiary minister (AKA Fräudlein Wiels) because it was unsafe? Well, nothing has been done about it the past seven months. Except for paying the rent ad 17,500 guilders/month (say $10K). Not that it was necessary, according to other sources—who were not interested in a €2-3 million renovation. It seems the minister has now definitely moved her fat... Could just stop myself.
What I don't get is, that building was rented; so shouldn't those "urgent" repairs be paid by the landlord? Funny antics... And now they tell us the building will be sold? I'm all confused.

Feeling Safe Already
In April, the promised Chinese security cameras will be installed. Then we'll feel even safer in the streets then since the guns (those owned by decent people) were surrendered and that useless drone was flown in. What a waste.
First, they would be installed in January, then in March. Can't they do anything on time? Not that it matters one way or the other.

They Should Be Ashamed
In a letter to Amigoe newspaper, Ch. Davelaar opines that it's against international agreements to have passengers pay for our own wee CCAA. So there. He also mentions in passing that there are 9 countries not meeting USA requirements; Curaçao is 1 of those. So we're really special.

At Least, They Apologize
People who are in a physical location to enjoy the Isla refinery smoke are getting an even more intense treat the next few days! Yummy, gang! "Unforeseen maintenance" [translation: it broke down] has stopped one "installation" working, and now they'll have to burn, baby, burn... causing even more stinky soot than usual.

Soviet-Like Lines
When one large jet had a delay, it arrived at the same time at Hato airport as another jumbo, with 3 or 4 smaller planes joining the fun. Result was 1500 passengers had to wait for three immigration officers. It's claimed these work very fast, like 1 person per minute. Even then that would mean it must have taken 1500/3/60 over 8.5 hours before they were all through.
Now Hato airport wants to start re-using the old terminal as an arrival hall. (The new airport is not even ten years old.) The airport is growing too small, they say. This while the number of passengers had a positive shrink of 2% last year.

SDK sport center has closed because FDDK foundation (I'll spare you explaining what all those acronyms mean: not very much) has a debt of 2m guilders, while the government owes them 700k. The government says that's their problem.
So no swimming lessons for schools, whatever. While sport is oh so important for the people's welfare!

Guess Who'll Have to Pay Up?
As those bunglers have not succeeded in getting Curaçao's category 1 status back (as confidently expected), they have a new plan: CCAA [Curaçao civil aviation authority] will become independent from the government and we, the passengers, are gonna pay for them. Just like everynowhere else. And as if we didn't pay too much airport tax in the first place.
Meant are minister Balborda and CCAA plus all the other nitwits who preceded them. Such incompetence, even with the help promised by the Dutch. Nos mes no por nada! This isn't the first time they want extra money, either.
And what's the good? So InselAir can extend their flights to the USA and, in their turn, press even more money out of us. Big deal.
Now, the plan is to have the status upgraded "this year".

Minister Whiteman declares that there must be a boycott going on against the new law to stop illegal trash dumping. The bill hasn't reached parliament yet, but has instead been sent to Juridische Zaken [legal affairs] via a detour by ministry of justice.
If Whiteman's right about that boycott, it can only be the spoiled brats civil servants who're boycotting.
The new law would not only fine the dumpers, but also confiscate their vehicles.

To Be Sure
Those cruise tourists are a Beeg Heet, no? More and more of those Goofy Ships are coming in and the passengers spend like crazy when they come ashore.
Not so. At least one fifth of those suckers never even leave the ships. And those who do spend one third less than the cruise industry claims. All in all, we'd "earn" just over half of what is claimed. Count your blessings!
Figures: the tourists would rather fuck around aboard (remember the Love Boat?) and the shipping companies would rather have them spend their money there, as well. But our tax money gets spent to lure them here.

And I Thinking They Had Been Paid!
Not so. The usual bunch of lies. Inselair has reduced passenger volume on flights to Venezuela because Cadivi still isn't paying. How they can keep it up at all is beyond me. But then, I am no finance seer.

No News Is Bad News
We hear very little on atrakos [assaults] these days. But the Chinese shop-holders are complaining, so it must be pretty bad; and items about them being shot dead do make the newspapers. So the other ones are probably kept out of the news; happily, not all assaults with guns result in dead bodies. There still must be plenty of guns around, in spite of all actions.
And that drone was a real success, as well.

Back Broken
Ballast Nedam, the infamously fraudulent designer/builder of the new hospital, is as good as broke. Our heart wouldn't be. Negotiations are going on to buy them up lock, stock and barrel. Meanwhile, estimated costs for the hospital keep growing, and then growing some more.

What's the Use
First, the spoiled brats civil servants would be accommodated by BVZ (basic health insurance) on November 1. Then, it became January 1. But as the adviesronde [one of those typically Dutch words, advice round) still has not been finished, this has been posponed again. Not that it can make much difference, as conditions will remain exactly the same for them.

Don't Larf!
It's the Laffer effect. Put in a nutshell, "If you keep increasing tax rates you must reach a point at which the total tax take begins to decline." The fundamental result is inescapable.
Now let's see how that so-called tax alleviation works out.

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