and here they are:
maybe not so funny
refreshing your memory:
the conscience many political clowns lack
selection of acts in Curaçao's political circus, starting with the most recent ones.
Our Patron Saint
Original image Dreamstime
The Curassow bird will aggressively attack predators,
flapping and clawing for the eyes.
Further Favorite Furry Fauna Friends
Tasmanian devil Honey badger Wolverine
We're gonna have fun this Happy New Year... On your Bookmarks... GO!
What We Don't Need Nikita Khrushchev, during his stint as ruler of Russia, was most famous for a speech he made in which he detailed and disavowed all the cruel and dictatorial acts of Josef Stalin. At a certain gathering, someone yelled out, "If Stalin was such a villain, why didn't you stop him?"
Krushchev frowned and said harshly, "Who said that?"
A dead silence fell on the group. No one dared stir.
Whereupon Khrushchev said mildly, "Now you know why I didn't stop him."
From Isaac Asimov Laughs Again
Thank you for your helpful remarks during the past year. You're an, alas, much too small but certainly select audience.
Here's your link to next year's bookmark:
MAN in Trouble
KoeiMAN wanted to change the election laws, so nominees with most votes would get a seat in parliament; presently, their place on the ballot paper is decisive. With the result that there are now in-party quarrels about who will get the (well paid, hey!) seats. With the further result that one minister post is still open. KoeiMAN was warned that it wouldn't be that easy.
I Say "Hah!"
50 million guilders of backward tax payments have been caught up with this past year. Says ex finance minister Jardim, "the idea is that the more people pay, the less everybody has to pay." That's how it should work out all right, but we payers are not so naïve to believe it will.
Starting next Tuesday, we can go and stand in (a long) line to pay our car tax. As always, you have the choice of paying for the whole year or half a year. If you pay only half, the second half you can pay not in, but online! Ain't that just great. You'd almost go for that option—almost.
The sale of the Plaza Hotel has been postponed; again. Nobody wants to have it, not with all those heavy debts. Meanwhile, the building and contents are deteriorating so selling all that crap will become just harder and harder.
I say tear it down! Good riddance.
Nice Try? Not Even That
Curaçao is suing the State of the Netherlands because the krakers who settled in the Curaçaohuis allegedly stole some stuff out of the garage. Which they deny. Those krakers, as far as I know them, have solid legal advisors: they took photographs of the building with everything in it to avoid such legalistic hassles. More money wasted in other words; trust Fräudlein Wiels for that.
By the way, we still haven't heard if she'll be replaced in the new cabinet.
Now Ain't That Just Great
There was a (binding) accord between several government companies (Curaçao Port Authority, Refineria di Korsow, Curoil and Selikor to exploit Bullenbaai and other locations in cooperation. While the government was aware of and fully agreed with that, PM Whiteman and the other two Witnits nevertheless went ahead signing the agreements with the Chinese GZE; selling us out and ending those local plans. As said before and elsewhere, we can look forward to years of legalistic fights only profitable for lawyers.
All this info comes from lawyer Marguérite Nahar (until very recently with Isla), who's turning herself into a national resource.
Other related news is that Aruba doesn't see any problems with Citgo having been mortgaged to Russia by PdVSA. That's right guys, stay positive.
Business as Usual
Economic growth has been exactly zero (Ø) this year. Next year, more inflation is expected, but rather less economy (because the new hospital might get finished then).
Where's My Barf Bag
This is what you get when you click on one of those annoying ads that cover text or images you're interested in. It doesn't go away so you can see what you'd like to... no, instead they ask you to help them, gratis, to make still more money!
In Germany, there are complaints that the utilities, to guarantee net stability with more and more independable "green" energy being force-fed in, need to raise the consumer tariff to (are you ready?) €0.068/kW or ANG0.12575.
We here pay 54 cents.
See the Problem?
Now that seven ministers have been sworn in, the coalition has a minority in parliament. That's because they have to leave parliament before becoming ministers; and of course, new parliament members can only be sworn in after they've left.
Solution would be to have a parliament meeting ASAP where new members are sworn in. Problem is, the opposition's support is needed for that.
Dos Diablos Was Right!
When Amparo told the prisoners that, if they voted for him, he'd set them free and pay them a salary of 2000 guilders/month, as I suspected his figuring was right as far as finances are concerned. We now hear that a prisoner costs 350/day; times 30 is 10,500/month (USD5775).
What other costs in damage might result is left out of the calculation.
Making a Good Impression
Fräudlein Wiels, accompanied by the police, paid a visit to the kraker settlers in "her" abandoned building. She got nowhere, of course, not even after threatening that she would have the place set on fire, for which "she had her people." I dare say: she's the type for such gangster-like threats. The krakers did oblige her by leaving part of the garage at her disposal.
The fifty actual deaths [in Australia] from roof installation accidents for 1.5 million roof installations is equal to the actual deaths experienced so far from Chernobyl. If all 80 million residential roofs in the USA had solar power installed then one would expect 9 times the annual roofing deaths of 300 people or 2700 people (roofers to die). This would generate about 240 TWh of power each year. (30% of the power generated from nuclear power in the USA). 90 people per year over an optimistic life of 30 years for the panels not including maintenance or any electrical shock incidents.
Ironically enough [...] solar power is far more dangerous than nuclear.
Green deaths: The forgotten dangers of solar panels
Way to Go, Rhuggenaath
Minister Rhuggenaath wants to set up a movie production facility, in order to promote the "creative economy". A short lesson is in order.
It's an axioma in the movie industry that a feature film will not make its money back on the international market if it doesn't pay on the home market. Our home market is so small, it will never pay. Look at the movies by Felix de Rooij and Norman de Palm (sorry, I don't remember the titles). They may have done well at obscure festivals, but that's it. Tula was such an embarrassing flop that people who were suckered into investing in it lost their money. The only exception I know is, in fact, Mavis Albertina's television production of Ced Ride's soap Pentagram a long time ago.
Maybe Doubleplay may become a hit, or at least make its money back, but the only other money-maker I can think of is Michael Winner's 1978 Firepower. Neither, of course, can be called a local production. Like Tula both are in English; not in Papiamentu. Another mistake. Kurosawa's Japanese movies Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Ran and Kagemusha were enormous hits all over the world even though nobody could make out a word of what the characters were saying. (There's this marvelous invention called subtitles.)
Then, it's a little known fact that in Holland, where relatively many features are produced these days, a movie is a topper when it attracts 40,000 visitors. The only way you can produce movies for a market like that is by having them financed by the taxpayer; which is how it's done.
And now Rhuggenaath wants to start something like that here. Smart as always, Rhuggenaath.
Duh & Huh
The measures announced to
try andsave InselAir must first be approved by the shareholders (I guess no problem there) and the government. What government? Parliament or the cabinet? (I'm very much afraid no problem there, either.) Management will not be fired. Uh oh.
Long Since Used to That
CTB Tourist Office announces that stay-over tourism grew with 2.9% this year. Which is followed by, well, if you count the Venezuelans staying away, in fact it shrank with 5%.
Finally a Decision
Staten-parliament has moved for a motion to adapt the EOP island development plan so in turn Maal family can start te develop their Oostpunt. Last-moment efforts to stop this by Carmabi and Amigu di Tera were of no avail, because the judge would only decide on December 28, while the meeting was yesterday.
Only Leeflang voted against.
In Style Till the End
The old Curaçaohuis in den Haag, Holland has been gekraakt: illegally occupied by squatters, since Fräudlein Wiels decided to abandon it. It's impossible to get them out. So there's another loss of (guessing) several millions to the country.
The new cabinet will be sworn in today; maybe then we'll hear who's replacing Wiels.
The 3 Stooges, that comical group of lawyers who fail to be entertaining, are now inciting to riots. They want the public to go out on the streets and violently protest the government's decision to leave the consensus rijkswetten alone for now. [Quick and snappy translation: the Statuut will be maintained.]
We knew already they're not worth much as lawyers, so they don't have to prove it.
That's Even Worse
The government has decided, with all the Wisdom of the Wise Persons behind it, to help InselAir out of its misery. Not by a grace shot to end its death spasms, and not even by lethal injection: no, by a money injection.
Which may prove lethal to us, and then some, as in return it wants to have control of the company. Just like with ALM and DCA, with the same predictably deplorable results.
Even for politicians, that's a pretty dumb act. Don't they ever learn? Here's Hairy Slaw #2: The more interest the government has in a company, the worse it's run.
Can't let this go: that Rhuggenaath really honors his name.
Oh Jeez, Please
Our Great Leaders are considering yet another referendum on our political future. That would be number 4, if I haven't lost count. Lots of money wasted and a rich source of malcontented quarrels. What a bore. Leave it alone, dummies. Enough is sufficient, already.
Forget It, Kids
In the new government accord there's an item that Curaçao can start introducing new Rijkswetten [Kingdom Acts], supposed to be adapted all through the Mighty Kingdom. But Holland doesn't feel a bit like it. In the 1st place, we already can do so, via Fräudlein Wiels or whoever will follow her up (still unsure), so why bother. 2nd, of course, the Big Boys up in Europe don't want to be nagged by those nasty little kids who can't make up their minds. One can see their point. The Statuut is just fine, it works; don't fix it!
With the SpaceX first crewed space flight planned in 2018, thing are starting to look really awkward for "our" Vomit Comet. SpaceX is a cooperation between (Amazon) Elon Musk and Boeing, and even they keep running into trouble.
Looks Worse and Worse
Chinese GZE have built in many clauses in that agreement with the 3 Witnits which leaves them completely free to do as they want. Now there's talk of them abandoning the old Isla refinery, no upgrading at all, and building a new one at Bullenbaai. Of which PM Whiteman has said that it's impossible, because it's on the approach route to Hato airport.
On the other hand, just like maybe in Aruba, they might only want to use the facility to mix Venezuelan crude with sweet US oil, and shipping that to other refineries. Sometimes it all makes you wonder if the Chinese know better what they're doing than the Witnits.
Strikes a Familiar Note
The screening of the new cabinet members isn't done yet, but we do have a coalition agreement. MAN PM-to-be Koeiman promises a fight against corruption. I sort of remember having heard that one before. Lots of times.
Uh Huh, Oh Ho!
The Colombian who finally bought two hotels that have been struggling for years, Kura Hulanda Village and Lodge, wants the weekly flight by Avianca augmented from 8 to 24. Then he has not talked with InselAir management (such as it is) yet, but wants them to start even more flights from Medellín and Barranquilla.
I'm very much afraid that the Wise Persons will grab this as another excuse to give even more of (our) money to InselAir. "Get out of trouble, free!"
Meanwhile, in Santo Domingo
AVA Air has started up in earnest with a capital of $85 million. Almost what InselAir blew even with tens of millions in illegal subsidies.
Must be the smoke... Isla refinery's yearly emissions this year exceeded the 80µgram/liter, depending where you measure, with emissions of 225 versus 122. What's unclear is, how to rhyme this with the statement that they exceeded the daily average 39 times while 1 is the limit? They must have been at it all the time. Oh well, it's just a newspaper story.
Rotterdam customs people "suspect" there are guys in Curaçao harbor who "help" those who stash cocaine in containers for shipment.
They're Oh So Wise
The Wise Persons are afraid that, after a through investigation, that if InsulAir doesn't get money the company will go bankrupt.
We knew it all the time.
"This will result in great problems," they continue. As if we don't have any now. "Even creditors look at what the government will do"—you bet. The Wise Persons are looking for a strategic partner; like "Suckers of the Air Inc."
Meanwhile, the Aruba InselAir lawyer comments that if personnel continue their action, the company will fall without fail. I can hardly wait. The more so since I read that the personnel is blamed for standing up for their rights—not the company for trampling those and the government for letting them.
To Gloat Is Not Comme Il Faut
But hey, we are human. So the news that Shorty's mafia padrino Corallo and his henchman Baeten, who was supposed to become Central Bank director when Shorty was dictator, finally, after all those 6 years, have been arrested comes like manna from heaven.
No doubt this means long court sessions in the future with lots of wholesome entertainment for young and old.
That I Can Believe
PM Whiteman (PS™) tells parliament that, in spite of many tries, there was no way the PdVSA management was prepared to discuss continuation of their activities in Isla refinery after 2019, let alone sign a MoU. With the mess Venezuela is in, that sounds reasonable.
If that's a good enough reason to jump into the deep with China is another matter.
Even parliament Staten members agree with me, and not only those in the opposition.
There You Have It
The Wise Persons are ready with their report on InselAir. Prepare for the worst, i.e. the company will get our money, our hard-earned cash. Minister Rhuggenaath says that part of their mandate was "to see whether we could keep Insel's air service." They needn't have bothered for me.
More to the West, InselAir Aruba personnel want Insel to pay taxes and social security in ten days from now. Figure it out: Curaçao will go and help out in a hurry so Aruba will receive the taxes due there.
With the proposed higher minimum wages of 9 guilders/hour in 2017, the economy will shrink 1.3%. Just what we needed. But PS™ minister of social affairs Larmonie thinks that's not good enough, and wants to arrive at 11.41 in 2020; in spite of everybody else's opinion.
I Say, Let It Go
All in all, Venezuela owns Latin-American airlines the Grand Total (not a bad way to express it) of 3.8 billion Yankee Dollar$.
You think InselAir stands even the smallest chance of picking up their 100 million crumb of that? Funny, I don't either.
It's auntie Suzie and hubby Camelia. I didn't make waves about it when justice minister Navarro ordered a police academy to be started for 5.6 million guilders (USD3m), without bothering about public tender or such petty details. Finance minister Jardim also gave the go-ahead. But now it's all coming out into the sunlight:
Auntie's hubby Camelia got paid for the project plan; what he did was rip off the Dutch Amersfoort police academy plan and present it as his own. Auntie says she doesn't have anything to do with it, which makes it rather strange that she accompanied hubby on a visit to that self-same Amersfoort police.
Hubby Camelia is also involved with a training institute for 4 government companies, among which UTS and BTP (say, Post); both of which are the responsibility of auntie Suzy. Here we're talking 2 million, give or take. Mainly take; we do the giving.
Earlier in his motley career, Camelia was kicked out of Curaçao University who then instigated legal proceedings. He had the temerity to put their logo on his project while they had nothing to do with it.
Strictly ad hominem: Comparing photographs of the couple, it looks like auntie gobbles all the food at the conjugal table.
NOT. On January 1, the island counted 4422 spoiled brats. On September 1 there were 4351 left. Let's go figure, so in 8 months we got rid of (almost) 9 of the breed. Things go on like that, they'll all have gone in 524 months or 44 years.
Right now, we still have 3 of them per 100 inhabitants, man, woman, child and LGBT[+]. Am I being correct; even politically, for once?
Look at it this way, 10 families of 4 (this means You) pay for more than 1 spoiled brat; not only salary, but as well hir/hes, whatever desk, phone bill, airco and in many cases car. Not to mention the bribes.
Tis the Season to Be Merry
InselAir will be firing 100 + 80 people here and elsewhere, like, Aruba. A rather strange way to count. But they have only asked dismissal permits for 38, here. It will be the lowest-paid workers who'll go first.
Aqualectra is firing too, 100 persons.
But the spoiled brats insist on having their bonus and their customary salary increase.
And There We Go
Rekenkamer concludes that the so-called control on compliance with compulsory education law is a farce. The truant officials in charge just check around the schools if pupils are hanging out there, while it's pretty obvious that's the last place you'd find them. Just money thrown away, again. Is what we have a government (and PS™ ministers of education) for.
Amparo dos Diablos
Amparo dos Santos, during that same visit to prison, has promised all prisoners that, if he became Curaçao's tyrant, they would all be set free and get a government job for 2000 guilders/month. That would also save us a lot of money as the prison could be closed.
It sounds and is loopy, but yes, I'm afraid that prison does cost us more than 2,000/inmate/month.
"Too Good to Be True"
That's what the trade unions of oil industry workers say about the agreement signed by the 3 Witnits and GZE China. They would prefer to put in a pipeline between Venezuela and Curaçao for gas as energy source for the refinery. At a cost of $250-300 million the gas would be half the price of, as proposed by GZE, transport by tankers.
They also think it's not such a great idea to put the island's total energy supply in one hand.
They say the deal should be reconsidered—if it only can.
You must figure in that trade union leader Errol Bakoba is a notorious Venezuelophile.
Fasten Your Seatbelts
It looks like a hard landing. InselAir has to fire 100 people, 1 in 7. They want to "create a stabile, financially healthy and solid organisation for all stakeholders." Well, that certainly is news.
But it's rubbish and a clumsy lie: they announced less than a week ago that they have 600 workers.
More Later—You Bet
Lawyer Marguérite Nahar has written a critique on what she labels the framework agreement between Chinese GZE and our three Witnits. Like I said before in my uncouth way, we've been f*cked in the *ss. I'll try to condense her remarks later.
Point of most interest right now is, there was a Government agreement, which PM Whiteman signed, that the country would look at an alternative plan after the PdVSA-Isla contract runs out in 2019. They never did, so the new framework may be null and void. But no doubt it will take years of judicial haggling to get that worked out.
Nahar was a lawyer for the Refinery until half October.
Amparo Gets Morals
Amparo dos Santos is worried because on a visit to the prison (who was he seeing there?) he noticed a stack of condoms in a corner. "The prison management is promoting homosexuality!" Better to let 'em all get HIV, he must think.
The prison authorities deny they provided the condoms.
Tourism Spiraling Down
While our hotel association proudly announced that last month they had 0.1% more overnight stays (which doesn't help much in a year when total air-arrivals went down 3%), there's full panic in St. Maarten: two cruise companies decided to cut the island out of their tours, which will result in a (to me mind-boggling) reduction of 90 million guilders a year. Then, because online shopping has been growing so much, there's an enormous downturn in sales tax. Understandably, the government has no idea how to fight this. Effects like this were confidently predicted by Kevin Kelly in his masterful book Out of Control: governments would be the first to get in financial trouble, followed by banks, and from there on. He wrote it in 1995. You can download it, free, here. A lot of Power will be lost...
Now the workers of InselAir Aruba are suing the company to pay their taxes and social securities; which InselAir plum forgot to do for any number of years. Is there anybody but our government (among who Rhuggenaath, IJs and auntie Suzy) who doesn't see the parallels with ALM and DCA? They just may not care, you're so right. After all, it's not their money they're throwing away—merely ours.
"Wise Men" forsooth.
Sure, sounds just as premature as "our" Space Gang's Vomit Comet. But a UK firm announces trips (yeah, to be sure: round trips) to the moon 11 years from now for £8000 (just over $10,000 or €9500). Hey, that's an awful lot less than a short trip from Hato to space for $150,000!
MoonSpace works together with Elon Musk's SpaceX (who have had a few problems themselves recently). The story doesn't mention if a hotel will be included.
In June we heard the Vomit Comet's first test flight would take place "before this year's end." Must have escaped my notice. And their first passenger flights will start in 2020. Better make haste, boys.
Now It's Serious?
Even SLM SurinamAir has stopped booking tickets for InselAir, and code-sharing. Comments SLM "it only existed on paper anyway." KLM and TUI have stopped code-sharing earlier, but KLM has made a tentative move back to an interline-agreement; not so for TUI.
Move Your *ss, Auntie
A building that should have been torn down a year ago is still sitting there, the neighborhoods lawyers complain. But auntie Suzy has other things to do than keep to the law.
No Free Pass
Cabinet Formatteur Gijsbertha (MAN) has not passed the security screening, so can't become a minister. Same for present Social Affairs minister Larmonie Cecilia, who wants to move on to "bestuur, planning en dienstverlening" [governance, planning and services] (hey, I don't think up those names!) I'm not at all surprised, but this begs the question "however did she pass the screening for her present post?"
MAN PM-to-be Koeiman seems to have passed. All this info is from newspaper Extra—you've been warned.
80-20 Done Better
In the years before WWII, as we can read in Jaap van Soest's book Olie als water on the Curaçao economy in last century's first half, the idea was to limit the number of foreign workers to 1 per 2 Curazoleños.
Need I add that never got anywhere, either?
InsultAir Must Die, IA-IA-OH!
I took my neighbor to Hato airport this morning at 7 o'clock, for an IA flight to Kingston, Jamaica. She just now, 10:15, turned up in a taxi! The flight has been delayed until tomorrow evening 19:30; total delay 33 hours. That is, if it's not delayed any further.
Saw it coming: The flight finally departed after 35 hours delay.
The worst delays I've ever had myself were in 1952 on a KLM Lockheed Constellation flight CUR-AMS, when we had to return with an engine out of control (24 hours); in the 1970s flying a BWIA 707 LHR-POS (24 hours); the return trip because of a well-timed BWIA pilot carnival strike (3 days, we flew back on a British Caledonian charter). Trinidad & Tobago government fired all BWIA pilots.
OPEC Production Cut; Oil Price Up
For the time being, and oil merchants all over the world are besides themselves for joy. But I wonder how long that will last. Because what almost amounts to wild-cat shale operations in the USA will start producing more right away—and there you are. Will they never wise up? It has happened several times already.
Feeling the Pinch?
InselAir has articles published all of a sudden all over the place. They read like advertisements, and, in fact, are. Only they are being paid out of the normal advertising budget, is a good guess. After all, what newspaper can start attacking InselAir? Even Antilliaans Dagblad, always oh so straight, has not been able to withstand the pressure.
So AD runs an article about how, when a country cannot pay its debts to a company in another country, it is transgressing the aviation convention; which means that the countries must solve the problem in joint discussions. Straight from the mouth of InselAir CEO Kluyver. Incidentally, the total debt run up by Venezuela to the two InselAir companies is now suddenly almost doubled: from 100 million guilders to 97 million dollars, 175 million guilders. So, according to InselAir, Curaçao and Aruba must start negotiating with Venezuela for that money, while the management whose fault it is, sits back and relaxes.
Curaçao Chronicle runs an article on how fantastic InselAir's fleet management is, and how safe their operations—followed up by an article by Ramiz that 70% of that fleet has been grounded. "They are lying and hiding from the flying public their critical and dangerous situation."
Persbureau Curaçao has an item that 600 people work for InselAir directly and that over 2000 more profit from it (without indicating by how much); again a presumed reason for the company to be saved.
"Too big to fail"—like they said about fat cat bankers, "Too big to jail!"
The Guy Must Be Crazy
AVA Air director Arrindell issues an ultimatum to auntie Suzy. He has requested an operating license almost a year ago and has still not had any reply. So far so
And then he announces that he's willing to start a joint venture with the as good as bankrupt InselAir!
Compare In 1972 I was both a crew member and passenger on an ancient DC3, that served as a transporter, prop, set, and star all at once for the movie Dakota. Upon arrival in Amsterdam after having crossed the North Atlantic in that marvelous if antiquated machine we were, much to our surprise, received and fêted like intrepid heroes by Schiphol Airport and KLM personnel.
The point of the story is, that DC3 then was only five years older than the average InselAir MD8X is now.
Another point is, that DC3 of ours was very carefully checked and maintained by an old knowledgeable DC3 mechanic, Ome Ben—who always flew along.
A LAMIA BA 146 aircraft just crashed in Colombia. Causes are not clear yet, but it moved me to check its age. It had been built in 1999 and so was almost 18 years old.
The Aloha Boeing 737 that lost its roof in 1989 (and got down safely) had been built for 20 years/75000 flights of service. It was 19 years old and on its 89,680th trip.
I have not been able to find the MD-8X design's maximum age/numbers of flight, but it's probably close to the 737's. Here it comes: the youngest MD-8X operated by Insel is 17.2 years old; the oldest 28.9. Average age of the 7 aircraft in service (if only after a fashion) is 25.6 years.
Isn't it high time to junk them all, including airline and especially management?
Not So Good, Koeiman
Newspaper Vigilante accuses PM-to-be Koeiman of having signed a LoI with ZenCity, promising support of 100 million guilders (USD55m), in 2012 when he was a minister in Shorty's cabinet; even though that had already lost parliament's backing and Holland had given an aanwijzing [recommendation] to stop all that monkey business.
Besides, it was all Quackie Constancia's responsibility, says Koeiman (so why did he have to sign?) and we never had to pay up. Phew! that's a relief.
Koeiman is also accused of, while minister, helping his wife to a cosy job. He says he has all documents and will look at them before showing them to Antilliaans Dagblad, but says it's all nonsense. So why would he have to check first?
Maybe that explains why it's reported that the ministers' screening takes longer than expected. And there may be other problems as well...
If you search for ZenCity, you finally get a link that brings you to the site of some resort.
If It's True, It's Bad
According to an article in Curaçao Chronicle by Nelson Ramiz, the Curaçao government owns 21% of the InsulAir shares by way of Korpodeko—who should have several members in the board. They have none. InsulAr acts completely as a private enterprise without even allowing the government/Korpodeko a look at their accounting. (Don't try this at home.)
With one result being, "the State becomes an accomplice of any possible user fraud or of any accident that the financial crisis could cause." [By faulty maintenance caused by financial problems, a real danger.]
Minister Rhuggenaath tells parliament that no decision on further subsidizing of InsultAir has been reached. Yet. A commission of experts has been installed, "working in close cooperation with InselAir." I bet.
Golly, I wonder how much those experts get paid. Maybe double?
That's Good! Fancy That
The cabinet, in casu auntie Suzy, will not implement the motion accepted in parliament to have meetings with "all stakeholders" on adapting the EOP to the Habitat III resolutions of the October Ecuador conference. She repeats that parliament cannot force the cabinet to do things.
Needless to say, staten/parliament members do not agree. They will then do it themselves, they say; not explaining how.
The Curaçao Whinery has finally given up on attempts to keep hold of an enterprise on free terrain, with a free landhuis building and freedom of taxes thrown in, all free, since Hato Airport has kicked them out. They managed to get one season of harvesting in.
It's still unclear how they managed to convince Curaçao Airport Holding to give them all that in return for a Grand Total of 207 bottles of wine per year. Suspicions are they used Maurice Adriaens for that, who since in turn got fired from CAH and then managed to get the dream-job of his life: director of Curaçao Tourist Bureau, where they will hire just anybody.
They will now try to find out if the Aruba or Bonaire governments are sucker enough to walk into their free-loading trap. Good luck & good riddance!
Showing His True Colors
PM Whiteman looks black, but is actually red to the core. He sent out a message at the death of tyrant-murderer-dictator Fidel Castro that a Great World Leader had gone. World, not so much anyhow... Leader, of Cuba and maybe Venezuela... Great, look what state they're both in.
No wonder he gets on so well with the successors of Mao, probably the greatest mass murderer in history.
Have a Nice Trip, Auntie
Auntie Suzy flew over to Venezuela to throw the formidable weight of her personality behind a request to make the Venezuelans pay the country's debt to InsultAir. So let's get this straight, even guessing that InsulAir will give her a free ride, we will have to pay for her stay plus her sumptuous minister's salary for the time spent to support a private enterprise.
Is this corrupt or is it kosher? Next question: Will this help? We all know the answer to that one.
The Endlösung would be to incorporate InselAir in China Airlines. Is that an idea or not?
In a Hurry?
While the original EOP island development plan took years and years of planning, discussions and reviewing before it was finally passed, staten now wants to change it in less than 120 days. Parliament seems to be as much in a hurry as GZE and the Witnits. At least, that part of parliament which forms the opposition—with two PS™ members voting along with them; after all, they introduced it. You get what you vote for.
Auntie Suzy says this idea is against the trias politica concept: Staten may advise but cannot force the cabinet to take some action.
From Worse to Badder Worse
Everything we hear, which is precious little, about the GZE-Isla agreement makes us feel more despondent about the deal.
MP Leeflang complains that, while the agreement (which has been signed anyway so why bother?) will be discussed in parliament today, she hasn't seen a copy yet.
Remember all promises China made to Hong Kong when the British mandate came to an end? None of those have been kept if the Chinese government didn't want to keep them. And their only reaction to protests is "So sue us." Except for arresting protesters, sure.
And GZE tries to reassure PWFC union workers that they'll be
forced to becomemembers of the biggest trade union on earth next. Yeah, the Communist Party it's called.
Then the stories about how GZE wants to get involved in infrastructure, energy, tourism... what not? We'll become the first Chinese colony in the Western hemisphere, thanks to the anti-colonial, anti-Shell, anti-corruption Wiels PS™ party.
He Must Be Kidding
Minister Navarro tells the press that the number of atrakos by Venezuelan criminals has grown beyond all proportions. Please stop them, if you can? Maybe more cameras are the answer; or drones. And quite possibly not.
What a Shame
PM Whiteman (one of the 3 Witnits) has gotten death threats. Not for the first time; he already got some as minister of health (when many of us were living in fear of death by air poisoning).
M*F*K wonders why, with a hiring stop and all, the budget salary cost over 2017 is 3.5% higher, which is twice the normal. Minister van der Horst says there are several factors causing this. Yes, sure.
Health minister Victorina didn't bother to react on the Rekenkamer's report on how chikunguya has been handled. He said it was too general (so, nothing to react to?)
Just Like We All Figured
PWFC oil workers trade union wants a meeting with parliament. After PM White man had alarmed them by saying how difficult Isla's cash-flow was and that personnel had to go, Isla management reassured them there was no problem at all. "Which proves once again Whiteman has been lying."
PWFC also complains they know nothing about what has been arranged with the Chinese. Neither does anybody else. Maybe the 3 W(itnit)s do, but I doubt even that very much.
One More Time
Again, the cops are considering buying/renting a helicopter. Probably because last time it went so well! The machine crashed once at nighttime, becoming entangled in a kite; but the reason they finally got rid of it was that the cops took so many joy-rides (the pilot/owner happily obliging of course) that the bill grew out of all proportions.
But it's said to be included in the new budget; which makes one fear for the worst.
It Happened Before
And, as this is Curaçao, it will happen again. Place your bets... A money transport wagon was left unattended while the two guys entered a supermarket to pick up some cash. It was left open, and of course it was stolen. Must have been a pattern with some crooks waiting for it to happen again. Later, the wagon was found back, burnt out (no doubt after having been emptied first). A guns had disappeared as well. After all, that's sure as guns don't burn very well.
Almost the same thing happened a couple of years ago. They never learn, will they? Only in Curaçao?
Not True! Oh no?
Isla refinery management denies they're taking all those measures. The cash-flow may be less than they're used to, but firing people? Oh no!
But the rumors started with their own staff people, who have to give up their cars. No Christmas party for personnel, no carnival group and podium, is admitted. Hmmm.
Or, as the infamous Marquis de Sade used to say (pardon his French), "Fucked in the arse." Twice already, and that before three days have elapsed since the signing of the "Heads of Agreement" between our PS™ delegation and Chinese GZE state oil company last Saturday evening.
First, in spite of all assurances that this document was not binding, chapter 19 explicitly states it is.1)
Second, Ms. Nahar reads in that document that, while GZE indeed is supposed to scrape the money together to finance Isla refinery upgrading, if they don't make it back (plus interest) Curaçao will have to make up the difference.
Sold into slavery! Because that will happen 40 years from now. And who will control GZE's accounting? "An external accountant" - like, KPMG?
1) One solution may quite simply be that Whiteman, Wiels and Walle are just too dumb to have noticed that little item. Another one, they're too malevolent to care a bit.
I for one have this dark fear many more items to scare the living daylight out of us all may turn up yet.
That Would Be Nice, Yes
Isla is making so little money (they say) that they're forced to get rid of 300 workers. You bet those will be locals; Venezuelans will keep their jobs.
But as it's essential to president Maduro that Isla keeps delivering gas to Veneuzela, he proposes to replace them with (you guessed it) members of his army.
Vote of No-Confidence
M*F*K and the other opposition parties in the new parliament have introduced a vote of no confidence against the old government for their signing of an agreement with GZE China. If it will be accepted is another matter.
That Really Hurts
After the police had shut down Bandera Grill in Dein and confiscated 4 blackboards on which the owner accused the police of corruption, they've now had to admit he was right. Two cops have been arrested, accused of perjury and forgery of documents in connection with a
prostitutesex-worker at the grill.
Frankly, I'm quite surprised at that result. Shows even our police corps isn't all hopeless.
One of the cops was the nephew or cousin of the grill owner, who's still detained; which makes it all the more mysterious.
You Call That a Break-Through?
The much-looked-forward-to Marrakesh climate consumption conference has ended, after a 24 hour extension, in a "break-through": all decisions taken in Paris a year ago will be postponed until 2018. The undeveloped countries still insist on the developed countries paying them $100 billion a year, as in what's not to like; it's just that since Trump's election the developed nations are not so sure anymore.
So no conference next year? All those delegates will have to pay their vacations themselves then. In a way that is a breakthrough, sure.
The predicted mini Ice-Age would last 15 years and will really make itself felt 4 years from now. Or so they say, at least.
Could Get Interesting. In Fact, Is Mighty Interesting
Extra newspaper published a story that "a well-known shipping agent" (Maduro?) has seized one Venezuelan tanker at Bullenbaai and four in Schottegat harbor. Reasons are not entirely clear, it's because they didn't "keep the law"—which could mean a lot of things.
In actual fact, there were 5 tankers seized in Schottegat and 1 in Bullenbaai by SEL Maduro & Sons, mainly for not having paid their tugboat services. They were released in one day, thereby freeing much-needed harbor capacity.
That Festival with the Funny Name
The Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival. There's no North Sea around and, apart from the
DukeMercer Ellington band many years ago, it's pop, not jazz. No matter, it's coming to a stop. It's claimed because it's so hard to get Top Acts in September (which didn't seem to be the case until now). Others say the Panama Papers have more to do with it; and maybe organizer Elias overextended himself with that Rolling Stones Havana concert, who knows?
Inevitably, a cry went up to give the festival money. That's when we heard CTB subsidized them with 400,000 guilders this year already. Because it's so good for tourism! Sure.
RIP, and leave me in peace is all I ask.
Quick! Afore It Melts!
Demissionoray PM Whiteman PS™, Isla rep van der Wall and Guangdong Zhenrong Energy (GZE) will sign the "very confidential" Heads of Agreement tonight, selling our refinery and lots more out to the Chinese for a period of forty years.
But lawyer Nahar writes that PM Whiteman is not authorised, even if he was not a demissionary but full-force PM, to take this decision on his own. Besides, they had 37 months left until end 2019 when the PdVSA lease expires. Why the hurry? asks Nahar (and the rest of us).
That sounds a lot more reasonable than M*F*K's ex-PM Shorty's accusations that MAN, PNP and PAR fixed this with PS™, especially as (probable) new PM Koeiman (MAN) has explicitly requested Whiteman not to take binding decisions. But this is all in PS™ style.
All in all, it makes me wonder how long the new MAN-PAR-PNP-PS will last. If it ever arrives.
After KLM, TUI/Arkefly has also stopped sharing time codes with InselAir.
They Never Knew
Those PS™ ministers who signed all those millions of worth bills say they never knew they couldn't. Shows their caliber, even if they're not lying: who cares about rules? Included are ministers of social affairs Francisca, Larmonie-Cecilia and Whiteman
I was fooled into thinking Navarro and Dick were guilty as
hellwell, but am not so sure now.
By now, the internet is just alive with copies of the confidential draft agreement between Guangdong Zhenrong Energy and
our governmentthe PS™ party. First thing that caught my notice, there is no mention at all of the promised 10,000 jobs (which was laughable anyway) but only that GZE guarantees there will be no less jobs than the 1200 presently employed. GZSE agrees to invest a minimum of $5.5 billion in the upgrade, which should be ready in less than 5 years. Minimum contract term is 40 years.
No doubt other people who know more than I do (it's easy) will add their comments.
The agreement should be accorded within a year from now. We'll see about that.
The way I read the Aruba Lago-Valero-Citgo story, their "upgraded" refinery will serve as nothing else then a mixing facility between Venezuelan heavy crude and sweet crude from elsewhere. The mix will then be refined by Citgo in (presumably) Texas.
You Mite Well Arsk
With a 20 billion barrels crude oil deposit and 16 trillion cu.ft. of LNG (and more announced to follow) confirmed in West Texas, you would be quite entitled to ask yourself if upgrading that Isla refinery is of any use. But the Chinese can be just as mulish as our own Great Leaders, so hold on to your hats.
Would Certainly Save Us Money
A Russian scientist claims that the New Ice Age has started already. While it's true that the main temperature has dropped 0.3°C between July 2015 and 2016 (after a peak of +0.9 in Jan. 2016), it remains to be seen if the trend continues. After the last 3 months, I can only hope so.
Admittedly, Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov is not one of those obscure Russian cracks who regularly come out with panic nonsense stories like, you get cancer from living below high-tension wires. He's Head of Space Research Laboratory at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia.
According to ex-PM Shorty, today PM Whiteman (PS™) will sign a contract with the Chinese that will deliver us into Chinese hands for the next 40 years. If that's true, Shorty certainly has a point. After all, PS™ plus Isla refinery reps are not any more trustable than Shorty; who no doubt would prefer selling the island out to the gambling Mafia.
By the way, the appeals judge threw out Shorty's request to hear more witnesses, but did allow the defense more time to collect proof, or whatever. Next session April 2017.
KLM has stopped code-sharing with InsulAir and switched over to COPA. We are breathlessly awaiting if Insult's management will get away with robbing us of 100 million guilders via Korpodeko and Rhuggenaath.
SVB social insurance has spent 2 million guilders in 5 months for treatment of chikungunya patients. That's not counting dengue and zika. 2 million guilders is the amount it would cost per year to rid the island of 90% of the responsible mosquito population; not even comparing it with the cost of spraying.
Auntie Suzie Caught Up—Not Really
Next month, so we get to hear now, the stinking sewage sludge "Shut" [chute] problem may be resolved. The sewage collecting trucks may then dump their repulsive loads into a basin where they will be processed, some of it to be transported further on to one of the sewage plants. Naturally, we are not told what happens with the rest. Just dumped into the sea anyway is a very safe bet.
A real problem is the disposal of Selikor's PortaPotties, the chemical-polluted contents of which are just dumped into the sea.
We were promised more than two years ago that the problem would be solved in "two to three weeks"; that's Auntie Suzy for you! And worse, it's not solved at all.
Steigerung des Konflikts
Meaning, conflict surge—like Schicksalswendung [fate change] a German dramatic term. One more Trump consequence: USA shale producers are now confident that they can hold their own with a $40bpd price for crude oil, and that they will do pretty well on 45 or 50. Meanwhile, OPEC is falling apart like loose sand.
Bad news for Venezuela's crude; and looking farther ahead, bad news for the China take-over of Isla refinery.
But I won't deny it, that might be better than more tourists.
In 2014 and 2015, 7 out of 9 ministers have signed checks beyond their competence for a total of over 8 million guilders. We read that 3 of those are from PS, to wit Francisca, Larmonie-Cecilia and PM Whiteman. Most egregious case quoted, giving away over 300k to the carpenter shop of PS™ list nr. 9's hubby, Sydney Isidora (to buy new equipment and a car instead of, as avowed, personnel training).
Remember? Sainted Wiels claimed his PS™ was "the anti-corruption party".
Can't blame yourself for being curious about the other ones; most look just as bad.
InsulAir has not been paying social securities and taxes for a while now, "because they had no money." I have even less (and much less debt as well; I couldn't afford it), but won't get away with that silly excuse. And rightly so, too.
Meanwhile InsulAir is always complaining about unfair competition. One wonders what a company like AA would have to say about that. Insulting!
Rhuggenaath claims a bankruptcy would do enormous damage to the Curaçao economy, but doesn't explain how. InsulAir, insulating us from the world, doesn't need subsidies to achieve that purpose. Besides, the company, like ALM and DCA before, got enormous subsidies from Korpodeko, set up to finance and stimulate "new, small" enterprises.
Somebody claims this is against the €U directives: no private company shall be subsidized as this entails competition distortion. I wonder if that's correct, though.
What else can you call a bunch of politicians who kept supporting our national pride, cough and spit, InselAir, never mind the experiences with ALM and DCA, until it grew "too big to fail" so it now has to be bought out of the pit it crash-dived itself into? And we all saw it coming—except for the politicians.
Now they installed a committee of "wise men"; mainly consisting of politicians of course; even if we're not told other names than ex-PM IJs. Don't make me vomit. You wanna bet that they will give no money to InsulAir (no typo) for once? Thought so.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Don't Do It
Lawyer Marguérite Nahar explains very clearly in a letter to KKCur why it would be an awful mistake to grant the Chinese a contract under the BOO arrangement that has already brought us much chagrin. It would entail that if the LNG terminal at Bullenbaai comes to an end, the terrain and harbor will remain the property of the Chinese.
For all we know, that has been fixed already. By the Wiels-Wallé team.
Upon some research, it's found out that the good doctor Braam has indeed been found guilty of abusing a minor patient. And now he's in parliament as his own fraction member.
I now also hear that Braam was extremely angry with those people who left their parties in the past.
The Only Way: Sue
The court judged that Smoc and CAE (Clean Air Everywhere) case was inadmissable, because ""The wishes of the plaintiffs were largely met in the course of the proceedings." Which was hogwash or, if you like it better, apple-sauce. And now the government has promised that the refinery will be upgraded and will be much cleaner. But, says CAE, that can take another 10 or 15 years and we do not want to wait so long; so they have started a basic procedure to force to government to keep to the European Convention on Human Rights.
Stubborn & Stupid
Like a mule, social affairs minister Larmonie-Cecilia (PS™) wants to present the 80-20 law to Dutch Raad van State, now that it has been bounced back by the governor, after other parties plus RvA advisory council were against it. But it's Sainted Wiels's baby so it must go through!
The minister's arguments are not so easy to follow. She says the law is not discriminatory and that in England, also a €U member (never heard of Brexit?) foreigners can't get a job either (I know several who have one there). What a waste of effort and money.
Please check the posts below (until 2016-11-08) to make sure you didn't miss anything, I'm in the process of catching up. If you don't want to miss anything, there's that.
Broken legs have been glued, but it still looks wobbly with only 11 seats of 21 in staten parliament. The locks don't look really leak-proof either, but that's what we get: MAN 4 ministers (including the post in den Haag, exit Fräudlein), PAR 2, PNP 2, PS™ 2. As the den Haag post is not a real minister, I count a total of 9, which would save some money.
Candidate ministers now will be screened by VDC security, so their names are not published in case they don't make it. That will take two weeks.
They may not be so bad as in South Africa, but they're bad enough. Too bad! Of the 98 minibuses checked by police, 15 didn't even have a drivers' license. Almost half didn't show the required price list. 38 were fined.
Oostpunt and EOP
The entire Oostpunt affair is so complicated, with discussions and accusations back and forth, that I don't dare giving an opinion. I simply don't have one. Both sides make good points.
There's also talk, again, of reviewing EOP island development plan, which regardless of fine ideas about people participation, was just pushed down our throats. At any rate, some politicians mention that there should be some nature conservation, which is a step in the right direction. If we can believe them.
Without knowing anything about that, I still suspect that the whole affair would at least have been delayed, had the hungry government not introduced very high land taxes. Instead, they should have decided to pay people to leave nature undisrupted. But after years of spending like drunken sailors, by then there were only IOUs in the coffers.
Two Out of How Many?
Dolphin Academy proudly announces the births of two baby dolphins, a month ago. They stopped publishing those before the youngsters had reached that age, as so many died.
M*F*K has asked for a parliament meeting to stop all negotiations on the future of Isla refinery until we have installed a new cabinet. But I'm afraid that's of no practical use: the committee presently in China will not refrain from filling their pockets while they can.
M*F*K also wants to stop the, rather modest I feel, fee of 30 guilders/1000kg to deliver trash at Malpais landfill. They must be fooling themselves that it would stop illegal dumping. Nobody will be stopped from dumping an old fridge in the bush by this; you can take it free to Malpais anyway right now.
Get Rid of that Club
Menbers of CHATA hotel association are not happy. Of course, one factor is that the hotels are doing so badly (their own fault for a large part); another is that the top is thick as thieves with CTB tourist board and we know what that means: money flowing like a Niagara and with no results. Also, there are (that took long) doubts beginning to grow about that fabulously flopping Master Plan, of which we still don't know how much was paid for it.
Have Another Try, We'll Gladly Pay
The Space Gang, they of the Vomit Comet, is pushing for acceptance of the law to enable their pie-in-the-sky flights. PAR governments have in the past already spent almost half a million to get export-permits for the spacecraft technology. If I get it right, that was for lobbying only, and who knows how much more is down the drain already. At any rate, it does look like the Space Gang hasn't any money and Curaçao will have to cough up all the millions to be invested.
Remember? First flight was planned in 2014. They then said the rocket would make no more noise than a Boeing 747; now they claim it's less than "the Fokkers InselAir flies." It was supposed to go cost 150 million then. Dollars, naturally.
Don't Worry, Be Happy
I really want to show a gap-toothed Smiley icon here. Fact is, we have a national debt of 2 billion guilders (1.1 billion dollars), that's over 13 thousand guilders for every one of us. But Holland feels it's okay if our government borrows twice as much.
That's at a 3% interest. Wish I could get that on my savings account! Not a chance.
UTS May Have a Point
UTS telecommunication doesn't like the new law, already accepted in parliament, introduced by economy minister Jardim to regulate personnel in government companies. It's supposed to improve efficiency, but UTS says it can't apply to their hi-tech operations. (Aren't Aqualectra, Isla and Curoil hi-tech as well, or at least supposed to be?) But when UTS says they have competition, they're right. Digicel phone and lots of ISPs. The other companies have no competition at all.
In fact, nobody likes the new law. Chamber of commerce, trade unions, VBC entrepreneurs' club, RvA advisory council are just some of a long list of people against it.
When Will They Wise Up?
Aqualectra is in trouble again: much heat (and don't forget the humidity) and no wind, so aircos roaring full blast all over the island. With 20%, as I remember their bragging, of Aqualectra's capacity delivered by wind generators, they fall 20% short and so entire neighborhoods are switched off to cook in their own sweat, pardon the unsavory expression. Just wait until next year October-November with even more wind generators installed.
More police personnel is needed because of the security cameras in downtown Willemstad. They have to be monitored, got it? Then you're smarter then justice minister Navarro, who never thought of that.
We're told there's a new cabinet, consisting of MAN, PAR, PNP and PS™, after all. We'll see if this one gets confirmed.
No news yet about our Wiels Lady in Holland.
Rumors are that Braam, who left PAR because he wanted to become minister of health, has been kicked out as a general practitioner in Holland because of sexual abuse of a minor patient (Braam denies she was a patient). Not that it matters much, he'll disappear four years from now anyway. But he's suing journalist Cooper for libel.
Bale la Pena
Trump spent less than $5/voter (over 8 guilders) in the USA president election. That's peanuts. And we here wondering... let it go. You know, dontcha!
That's Politics, Folks!
"You know it's a vicious business. I used to think real estate was vicious. Real estate people are like soft people compared [to what we've experienced] the last year and a half."
First PS™ wanted 2 minister seats in the new cabinet. But MAN, PAR and PNP didn't want them to have that many. So PS™ walked out, and Leeflang of UKH was promised one instead; 4+4+2+1=11 of the 21 total parliament seats. Then, PAR Braam walked out! He wanted the Health portfolio and didn't get it. General feeling is, let Grandchild Moses (MP) have it (she's an MD as well) and get it over with, already.
Meanwhile, M*F*K and K*NT are claiming they're all ready to form a cabinet with PS™—and MAN! You just can't trust politicians. MAN and PS™ deny it, which doesn't mean a thing to me.
And Shorty and dos Santos claim they walked in on a meeting between Rozier (remember him? Traitor!) and PS™ where they saw 30,000 guilders lying on the table in plain view. A likely story. We don't have bank notes larger than 100 guilders, so they must have counted 300 notes in what I'd guess would be a few seconds, without even touching them. Oh wait, they say they took a photograph, but they won't show it.
Eat Your Veggies
Curaçao farmers are angry with mr. Gois(co) because he complains about the quality of their produce. (He has more complaints which they don't mention.) But Gois, they say, compares better quality foreign bell peppers with inferior quality local ones. Which I don't get; isn't that exactly the point Gois made?
My PC told me "I'm going to sleep now, so long!" and did so, too. On Friday afternoon. Wake-up calls, kicks, curses and threats made no impression.
So on Monday I took it over to my friendly PC-Clinic (unpaid ad) and when he switched it on, it behaved like a charm. Just got it back... please, right now in these days of horror and suspense. But I'll get to work tomorrow again. Promise, and not a politician's.
Unless the beast craps out again, hey!
A Neo-Colonial Mountain of
That's what Chinese Guangdong Zhenrong Energy promises us when they take over Isla refinery, plus Bullenbaai Oil Terminal, plus as seems probable our complete energy infrastructure. Something that never even occurred to those colonial Shell scoundrels! But we'll get 10,000 jobs, plus they will train 1,000 people a year.
Problem is, nobody in parliament has the faintest idea what exactly is in the Memory of Understanding, signed by demissionary PM Whiteman (PS™) a day before the old parliament accorded it; necessarily retroactively.
This Stinks. Of bullshit.
CBS says that in 2015 the entire labor force consisted of 70,000 persons with a labor participation rate of 55%. So 1 in 3 persons would find work in the oil industry. And by the way you know, I can get you a good deal on the Juliana Bridge.
Hotel stays, which went down by 4.1% in the first nine months of this year, really flopped into a death struggle in July, August, and September when it went down by 63.7, 62.6 and 72.4%. I really can't see how these figures can be reconciled; if that's true, hotel business can only have been growing during the first half year which doesn't fit in with what we've been told before. But those were lies anyway.
At any rate, the blame is now shifted to the apartment business. Those bastards don't pay their sales tax (may be true for part of them) and their service is below par, so they must become member of CHATA hotel association and become audited. I see... their service is below par, that's why they attract so many customers.
Willy Maal, he of Oostpunt, has been ballyragged and abused because he dared correct a restaurant menu item's name from Javaanse Honderdportie [Javanese Hundred Portion] to (correctly) Java Hondenportie [Java Dog Portion]. Racist!
True, many people believe that many Chinese restaurants will serve dog meat (and cats for that matter—so-called dakhaas [roof rabbit]). But that wasn't Maal's idea. Rather, he used the original colonial Dutch name for the dish, a sort of combination of left-overs.
But the restaurant didn't like it and attacked him. Hmmm. Sore spot?
Goodbye and Thanks
The only minister I'm sorry to see go is PIAS van der Horst, who at least sincerely tried to break the power of the Spoiled Brats. Alas, they still hold the island in an iron stranglehold.
Grab, Grab, Grab.
Who cares about Koeiman's, probably the next PM, protests? Certainly not PS™, after PIAS the biggest loser in last elections. The delegation to China is over there already and the new coalition in statu nascenti is powerless to stop it.
Is the new government going to tolerate PS™'s shameless machinations? Will we then ever get rid of Fräudlein Wiels? Answers seem to be Yes, and No.
All because PAR refuses to work with Leeflang, that traitor, so the only way to get a majority without M*F*K and K*NT is to join forces with PS™. You get what you ask for (which doesn't apply to voters).
Quick, While We Still Can
You didn't expect PS™ Whiteman to listen to MAN Koeiman's supplications, did you? The delegation will visit China and they will sign an agreement while there. As a friend of mine expressed it, Werner Wiels has his greedy snout in the biggest trough Curaçao ever had. And plenty of fall-out slop for the others left.
Smart? Impotent Incompetence
The police is distributing tips on how to avoid being attacked at home by masked guys carrying guns. What it boils down to is, surround your plot with an unclimbable wall (there ain't no such thing, ask any prison director), lighten up your garden with spots, alarm systems, guard dogs (I may forget one or two items), then lock the doors, close all your windows (leaving only a 25mm hole in the front door, forget about the other doors), draw the curtains and sit in there shivering with fear. Of course, if you can't afford airco, you're in trouble.
IS THIS A SYSTEM?
Almost forgot: when you get home with a valuable buy, switch off those garden lights, look all around you in as paranoid a fashion as possible and ZIP inside with the stuff.
Enough to make you cry. When I was a kid, we hardly bothered to even close the doors when we went out.
But the cops got one thing straight: Calling them won't be of any help!
Pretty Bad, That
The bolivar has sunk so low (even lower than president Maduro) that supermarkets just weigh it instead of bothering to count when goods are paid. Hey, time is money! A lump of cheese is lighter than the stack of bills it costs. Which means refugees can't take money along when they try to reach these islands. It would sink their boats.
It's not over yet by a long way, either. OPEC countries just won't lower production nor raise their price, so crude price will remain below what Venezuela needs to make money until, say, 2018.
Not an Election Stunt
Milieudienst [environment dept.] will inspect, this year, all terrains around Schottegat for pollution. That includes the refinery, but also BOO (now CRU) and Aqualectra utilities. The Milieudienst experts will be assisted by Fluor personnel, a USA company which at first sight looks solid enough.
Because two of Speedy Security's personnel opened their traps on their company and its boss Imalootin, the company lost a contract to provide security at the
CaribbeanNorth Sea Jazz Festival. So Imalootin is suing them for 120k guilders, the value of the contracts lost. Even if he's got a leg to stand on, I don't think that would have been all profit; surely Imalootin spent less money in consequence as well. Really curious what the judge will decide.
Beyond the Call of Duty
Lawyer Knoop and wife, imported-from-Holland to defend Shorty in his appeal, must get paid really well. Why otherwise have themselves interviewed on a radio station, where they praised Shorty all to heaven, saying he means so well for Curaçao? Really makes me nauseous; prostitution plain and simple.
But Will He Listen?
Winning party MAN leader Koeiman has asked the present PM not to take any decisions that would influence the politics of the new government, such as new nominations. But specifically he mentions the planned trip of a team to China to discuss the MoU for Isla refinery, and developments around the building of the new hospital.
The Multidisciplinary Project Team invited to China has as members Werner Wiels and José van den Wall Arnemann, refinery director. But Wiels denies MDPT will travel to China; instead a number of representatives of government companies (RdK, Curoil, Aqualectra, CPA and PSB Bank) will go there. Which includes van de Wall Arneman,I'd guess.
Just a reminder that both Werner Wiels and PM Whiteman are members of the PS Party. Which is expected to become part of the new government.
It's not only me remarking that Shorty's new imported lawyer ("nos mes por!") had very little to say in the first appeal session about Shorty's crimes and all, and was obviously forced to limit his observations to the way in which the poor guy was prosecuted. Telling.
This time, Shorty and Moll have decided to act as witnesses.
About Time, Or Much Too Late?
Inselair offers apologies to their customers for the many delays and other shit they've been flinging at them, and hopes they will remain loyal. "Remain"? I wonder who thinks up that rubbish.
Insel promises to do everything to its service up again to get a competitive level. "Again"?
We've since long gotten used to it, but it's always nice to get it official. Well, maybe not. However, the economy had a negative growth in 2016-QII. Only 0.2%, but it keeps adding up. Or subtracting down.
Especially stay-over and cruise tourism went down. Are there more kinds of tourism?
Let's Remain Expensive
CHATA hotel club advises members not to go down with their prices, to avoid building the impression that Curaçao is "a cheap island". They needn't worry, we're a long way from that point.
Hey, maybe more tourists will come when we're cheaper? A thought that may have occurred to those hotel owners.
Most People Did Not Agree
The PIAS party, who totally lost the elections, feel they still have a right to exist. That's true, of course.
Prof. O.G. Wotasnozzle
Popeye 37, July-September 1956
© King Features Syndicate
From the pen of Bud Sagendorf, who took over the Popeye strips after original creator Segar had died. Sappo is still right, but the alternative energy wallahs can't seem to take the hint.
Note (click the snozzle) how Sappo remarks about the price of gasoline: $0.32 per gallon in 1956. Which works out at $2.79 now—when the average price per gallon in the USA is only $2.27/gallon.
And you actually thinking, what with all those oil crises and peak oil, whatever, that gas was cheap way back then and expensive now! Time to buy a real Guzzler, like our dads and grand-dads used to drive. Dodge Royal Monaco Brougham Wagon or Buick Estate Wagon, anyone?
The most expensive U.S. gasoline can be found in Washington State, still cheaper at $2.73.
Aren't you surprised? Or even shocked? He said he would retire from M*F*K in parliament, but the sneak signed on as a member anyway.
Not So Fast There
The police have raided the Central Bank offices, in the court case against alleged fraud by director Tromp. But their lawyers have started a case to prohibit the public ministry from using what they may have found as evidence in court, as they claim the bank has explicit safeguards against just such proceedings. But what do I know.
Update: Central Bank has retracted the case.
That's All, Folks!
I have now completely removed the "CBCS-connectie" document from the site and replaced it with another document. After having had many visitors, which just cost me Bandwidth, I put in another landing page where I warned about problems with the document.
Somebody seems to be sending them over and has meanwhile adjusted the link so visitors skip that landing page. I resent that and advise that person (I suspect Norbert George) to upload it himself somewhere if he wants people to read it. This is sheer parasitism, or worse.
FAS is afraid that, because the investigation of malversations in government companies after the enquête has taken so long, any crimes committed may become superannuated before the cases get to court, and insists on extending the period.
Sure... We'll See
CTB tourist bureau expects a successful last quarter. If that really happens, that would be a real turnabout! No doubt thanks to that Master Plan. Haha.
Safe in so far, MAN, PAR, PNP and PS have declared to form a coalition. Minister posts will still have to be fought out. At any rate, M*F*K and K*NT are out for now. So are Leeflang and Moses.
Tried to do so myself (but hey, I was driving over that furshlugginer Juliana bridge where you'd better watch traffic) and I got up to 11 tankers bobbing on the horizon, waiting for PdVSA scraping money from the bottom of the barrel to pay for their cargoes.
If there's any left. Judging from what I read, not very much.
The new law arranging government owned companies has been discarded by trade unions and chamber of commerce. It enlarges rather than reduces the influence of the government in the companies, which in the recent past has led to disastrous consequences, when Shorty and his goons made 400 million disappear in less than two years.
In a Dein neighborhood restaurant/bar police have confiscated 4 blackboards on which comments were written on police and ministry of immigration, accusing them of corruption. The police say it's not only insulting for cops, but also damages the police force's image.
And who's to blame for that?
May Never Arrive
Auntie Suzy, who is held responsible for the community boxes flop, says she has to wait before replying for an answer from C***-Post and BTP&U communications bureau. Hold on kids, that may take some time before her letters even get there.
Those critters are gnats, fruit flies, whatever. I'm not an entomologist! But I do know they're a pest, especially in the rainy season. Just now had to wash out my eye because one of them had made its way in there.
There is an easy solution, but it's not at all correct: burn tobacco. They really detest the smoke. Which proves that even such a small insect has room left for sound instincts.
Problem these days, it's getting harder and harder to get the stuff and they look at you as if you were a criminal for buying it. Check out the facts about "smoking along" and "second hand smoke"; it's one of the main scientific-statistic scandals of the past century. But what would politicians know?
I'm not a smoker myself, that's not the point at all.
Always have this association wimpiri=vampire, but I guess that's all off.
That's Not Bad
Even though PdVSA is expected to default on its bonds next week, Aruba remains optimistic. They have guaranteed 300 million for the renovation of what's now the Citgo refinery, which is expected to cost 3x as much in total. Dutch parliament is not so confident; they're afraid Holland will finally be forced to pay up.
The more so as Citgo-US does not like this at all; PdVSA is eating into their assets. Oh yeah, and by the way you know, it seems 11 billion dollars have disappeared from PdVSA in ten years. Hey, that guy Ramirez who was head surely beat Shorty and Werner Wiels to it; they only managed to make 261 million guilders evaporate from the refinery's funnels in, admittedly, just 2 years. But that would have been only, oh, about .5 billion dollars in 10 years.
Take Heart: la Niña is Coming
Took longer than expected, but cooling is underway. Sea surface temperatures have now gone down (a bit late) to early 2012 levels. We still have only a 70% chance of it actually happening, but that's much better than the 40-45% we had last month.
With the month September declared by NASA the hottest in umpteen years (by 0.01° which is ridiculous, but let it go), Aqualectra have their problems. September-October definitely is the hottest period of the year with corresponding high airco use resulting in high electricity consumption. Especially when there's no wind, like customary in October.
So Aqualectra requests us all not to use aircos when it's hottest with no wind, because then the wind generators don't produce. Didn't they realize this would happen—and will get worse while they enlarge the capacity even more?
M*F*K Shorty has not yet confirmed his membership of Staten parliament, which he must do before October 26. I'm sure he won't forget. But reason may be, he has gone to a meeting of Parlatino; some South American conjunction of states which isn't worth the price of toilet paper (certainly not in Venezuela). Ex-MAN Cooper is accompanying him. These guys are sent out as our representatives? Who decides on such ridiculous capers, for which I'm totally sure we are paying?
I know Shorty's said he's left, but I wouldn't really trust him.
One More Week
The lawyers for Pietermaai residents give auntie Suzy one more week to start demolishing that building court has pronounced illegal one year ago, without her taking any action.
A girl, if I may be permitted to use that term (you never know in these hysterically correct days), has been suing the government (auntie Suzy's dept) because during Carnival's Gran Marsha a rickety wall fell down, trapping her and making her end up in a wheelchair.
The government lawyers say anybody could see you shouldn't have trusted the wall and she herself is the one to blame for the mishap, so she should not get the half million guilders she's claiming. (They also say that amount is just pulled out of the air which sounds more convincing.) But inspectors had taken note of the state that wall was in (with many others along the route) and nothing had been done to fix it.
So you have to be an architectural expert to watch the carnival procession.
At the time, auntie Suzy's predecessor Balborda declared that the route ought to be changed, but auntie Suzy left it exactly the same.
Supermarkets complain that the quality of locally produced vegetables is below par, and quantity often not sufficient; this while there's an import stop on many of them. Same applies to eggs. Last week, when there was a sudden shortage of eggs the import stop was temporarily canceled.
Meanwhile, the export stop from Venezuela has been canceled by the Falcon province governor. ("Off with her head!")
About the supermarkets' complaint that local growers abuse their position: you should see the pitiful cucumbers and bell peppers displayed in the racks.
Minister Rhuggenaath says the protection should be replaced by a free market mechanism (so far so good) and that production of fruits and veggies should be "more sustainable, honest and organic"—you tell me what he means by that, because I certainly don't, no matter how often I hear those words.
Bounced Back Again
Governor Wout has refused to sign the 80-20 law and sent it back to the minister (PS™, who else?) who is pressuring her lawyers (paid by us) to give it another turn.
Many people don't like US presidential candidate Trump, and I can see why. But when he wants to limit terms for representatives I can only say "Jolly Good Show!" Wish somebody did that here.
Hey, permit me to dream, okay?
It's bad enough, too bad, but why KakaCur would say "most drivers' papers are not shipshape" I can't understand. Only 29 out of 138! Not even one in five? Not very sporting, definitely not "most".
I had my own car checked this week. They never checked Vehicle Identity Number, front lights, wipers, oil leaks, steering play or wheel alignment. But the advantage of that is, it only took 3 minutes—while I had to wait for 15 minutes to pay for it and over 20 minutes to get the certificate.
But I drive a 2-year old car and happen to be dirty-pink colored. It's deplorable, but it matters.
Fly Me to the Moon
InselAir is looking for a "strategic partner" to help 'em out of their misery. Maybe they can find some
retardedoops (not PC, that!) not-so-bright fool who stumbles into the trap. (Like minister Rhuggenaath, who had most votes after Shorty. Really, can you understand that?)
At the same time, Consumers' Union is asking for passengers to send in InselAir complaints. I hope they have enough hard drive capacity. They want passengers to be recompensed for delays. Will never work, they couldn't afford it.
What Did They Expect?
FEFFIK has not had a reply yet to their letter to minister of education Dick. Hey, it was only dated October 3, that's less than 3 weeks ago. Did you ever send a letter to the government? And... had a reply yet?
Never Trust Politicians
MAN is rumored to have conversations with M*F*K who would like oh so very much to form a government with them, K*NT and PS™. Sure. Look, MAN albeit it Cooper has been working with them in the past; Koeiman was all with the two during the last independence meetings with Holland when the beeg kwestion was SI or NO. Watch it, friends.
But PAR, PNP and even PS™ don't even want to hear about it, and it's a good guess neither will Leeflang and Moses.
Shorty may say he's left (but is still a parliament member); Quackie Constancia has not left at all in spite of earlier promises, and why should she? She'll never make that much money again, so stick to it like glue as long as it keeps coming.
Home Is Where the Smoke Is
The students of Duarte School have been sent home again. It gets boring after a while, mainly because they all live right around the school. Remain positive: the school can't be blamed for what sickness the kids collect at home! (Saves us tax money.) (But you bet they find another way to spend it.)
They Want More Money
Sure... they're politicians; and even those are human. The outgoing cabinet wants to "fix" the pensions for Eilandsraadleden [island council members] of which there haven't been any since 2010. Fixing means, they will go up. Naturally, it's gonna cost us, and it hasn't been budgeted for either. Why don't they go home and leave us in peace?
Past tries to fix this have been bounced back by the governor in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
Please check out my update on the Isla pollution map? I was wrong there, misled by a bad copy of that map as published. So I corrected. (I'm glad to say I wasn't totally wrong.)
Holland has appointed Aruba's plenipotentiary minister Boekhoudt as the new governor. PM Eman is totally pissed off and has fired Boekhoudt. Won't help him much.
Maybe that's the only way to get rid of Fräudlein Wiels, for Holland. Too bad we'd have her around, then. One consolation is, she can't play around with our money then like she does now.
Just kidding. It should be only a matter of time, now that PS™ is almost powerless, to get rid of her.
How Like Her
Auntie Suzy just disregards the advice of SER social-economic council (a government institute) on the plans for Oostpunt's development. She claims SER's points have been adopted by RvA advisory council and then integrated in the final Landsverordening [law]. But RvA denies this. What Auntie has done is use the advice of KPMG; and we all know from bitter experience how reliable those guys are. They've done business with Auntie before, to wit on UTS telecommunications.
At least, that's what we read in the media. Here again, you know how reliable those are. But it all sounds quite in character for the woman.
CDM Dokmaatschappij seems to be full-up. Working to capacity. The managing director says this is thanks to the recent deal with Dutch Damen Shipyards. I'm not the only one who immediately thought "Nos mes por!" [we can do it ourselves]. One round of applause to independence!
I finally received some more, desperately needed, info on the development plans for Oostpunt. Weird behind-the-scenes fights have been going on and I guess I'll never get the story complete. But at least I now have something more than what has been published. Hang on a bit, it takes some studying which takes time. But it's worth it. More later.
As more and more gets known about the dissertation on Isla refinery's effects, the news gets worse and worse; nicely in step.
The biggest problem I see with it now, how to differentiate between what Shell and PdVSA did? Which doesn't make any difference about the present situation.
A map has been published (I saw it in KKCur but can't find it in the dissertation) on carcinogen-polluted beaches. Leon Pors of Carmabi hastens to comment this won't do the swimmers any harm; the stuff "merely" (my scare quote marks) gets in the food chain. But I don't really get it:
Piscadera Bay, okay, it's downstream/downwind of Annabaai harbor entrance. Jan Thiel, maybe although more questionable; it's at least downwind/downstream of Caracasbaai, another tanker harbor. But Ascension? It's on the North coast of the island with no believable link to the South coast with all harbors and connections to/from the refinery location.
The only possible scenario is that Shell/Isla/PdVSA used the Shoot [chute, to the East of Hato airport] to dump polluted rubbish, from where it made its way to Boca Ascencion. Wouldn't put it past any of them.
Questions galore. More later, you bet.
The map was reproduced so small, I won't copy it here; don't want to ruin your eyesight.Update: Eating humble pie. I since found a (scarcely) readable copy of the map where it says "No detectable levels in Ascension." So that explains it; of course there are not but I couldn't read it, just saw Ascension indicated.2016-10-15
Piscadera is mentioned as "low samples" and Jan Thiel not at all in the text; it's Caracsbaai the map indicates.
That Schottegat is polluted all over the place we hardly needed telling.
Was reminded of Jan de Hartog's dictum in The Captain: "Watch out for small men, because they hate you for every inch you're taller." But I guess he'd hate me anyway, can't blame him for that. Plenty other things left to blame him for.
Shorty's pre-trial appeal will serve on October 26; court was tactful enough to wait until after elections. Good thinking, his fangs are drawn.
Got a letter from the government. Not really bad news for once, they just told me that I had to have my car checked, with an appointment date and everything. Which is a real improvement. Used to be, you had to remember yourself and if you turned up late, you had to pay extra.
They also remind you to pay with plastic or cash, exact change please—but omit to inform you what the exact amount is.
Quick! Look! I'm Infringing!
CTB tourist bureau warns us all that the hackneyed tired old cliché "I heart Curaçao" is their registered trade mark and only they may use it. So there:
So sue me, already. This megalomania will never stand up in court. How patently (get it?) ridiculous.
Back in Business
SVB social insurance has guaranteed Sehos hospital payments for medicaments and other medical supplies. Now you can afford it again to fall sick.
That's a Laugh
Isla states that the negative publications on the refinery and its pollution are bad for tourism. What a weak excuse.
It's perfectly simple to put a stop to those publications: clean up your act, Isla.
Finally, the barkjes that make up the famous "floating market" are in trouble, because the Venezuelan authorities want the foodstuffs they bring here, sold locally. Which figures but will not be popular. It's mainly sweet potatoes, bananas and avocados, but also, much more seriously, beer.
On the other hand, for the first time as far as I know the barquettes are exporting goods from here to Venezuela, where there's nothing left to buy: sugar, rice, maize flour, cooking oil, butter and products for personal hygiene; but also airco parts, car tires and (now you're talking, but that went on already) whiskey.
Not Today, Boss
Dutch VVD party wants to kick us out of the Kingdom, for which they want to go the UN, but it has been gently explained to them that this is impossible if we don't want it. So Holland is going to ask us first. Once again? It does get tiresome.
Moral: take care what you start when you begin colonizing.
They Did Overcome
KKCuraçao is back. Took 'em some 48 hours. Kudos to them for keeping it up.
So Do It
Like Shorty before her, "Quackie" Constancia is prepared to get out of parliament to enable M*F*K to form a new coalition. What are they waiting for? Not that it will help any. Next... Thodé?
About these weapons of murder and mayhem. I just checked the CBS stats 2009-2014 and they are:
Interesting, huh? As you may remember, during 2014 when the number of armed crimes had shown a roughly downward trend for 5 years, the public ministry started an action to collect guns from the populace. You bet if that trend down had gone on, they would claim credit for it (without deserving it).
Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 crimes with firearms 98 102 72 56 30 33
It's therefore, let me say, slightly suspicious that we haven't seen any statistics since then. For all we know, gun crimes went up; which would be exactly what USA economic statistician Lott claims in his much contested book More Guns, Less Crime. Maybe more on that later; it's not my field of expertise at all so I tread with extreme care.
In my experience, people just don't want to listen to this 'junk' anyway. But things are not always that simple.
Another aspect of PIAS disappearing is that the sugar tax proposed by minister Jardim may have died a quiet death. Don't count on it though. It's bon ton to be PC, still.
If you need a good laugh, and who doesn't, try this one about a fool who ate a kilo of sugar every day to prove what a poison it was. It was, but he didn't prove anything but what Paracelsus said: "The poison is in the dose." How he managed to swallow that disgusting amount is a secret between him and his Maker. It only takes Will Power, I guess.
Too Late Too
KaKaCur had just announced yesterday morning they'd changed hosts once again, when POOF! they disappeared in the course of the day. What's the use of attacking them like that? Shorty's fangs have been drawn for now, so there can't be much urgency. Maybe it's just revenge, who knows?
Too Little, Too Late
Now, after his defeat which he won't accept, Shorty comes out and says he'll step out of parliament so his M*F*K can work with MAN (and, presumably, K*NT) in a new coalition. Which we as good as have already, sans Shorty.
I guess Shorty figures he'll be kicked out at any rate after the appeal. He got that straight.
PAR Leito comments that the judge has declared M*F*K a criminal organization anyway, so what's the difference.
We have a new cabinet (not really, details have to be filled in). Pretty fast. Too bad PS™ (a willing cooperator if not collaborator if not enabler of Shorty) again forms part of it, but you can't have everything. Especially in politics.
Both Leeflang and Moses have declared to work with the new cabinet rather than with MoFok and K*NT, so there's a majority of 14-7 in parliament.
PIAS justice minister Navarro has suspended head of AVD security department Romer for abuse of power. Romer was installed when ex-PM Shorty ruled. He is "alleged" to have threatened people with a gun, attempted homicide and disproportionate use of force. You may accuse me of believing it, no further proof needed. And I hope I'm not superstitious, nor a pseudo-scientist.
The thing I keep asking myself, how come this guy was now, over 4 years after his predecessor Gumbs was quite illegally kicked out, still in function?
Oh hold on. It may be CVD now, not AVD. And it's Römer, as I suspected.
Now they tell us: Römer had an affair with PIAS Rosaria's wife, and when she wanted to end it he threatened her with a gun. She then fled to a foreign country because she was afraid to lodge a complaint with the police. What a mess.
The woman was head of MOT [reporting unusual transactions] so you have my permission to wonder what has been going on there. The public ministry clams up.
Update: Römer is not a suspect (yet), ms. Rosaria denies she's been threatened and that she's fled; but an inquest is proceeding. So you decide what's going on, I give up.
Again problems, and a good occasion on this happy 10-10-10 date, commemorating Our Glorious Independence (snork). People who want to send orders over just cannot send them anymore to the AN Netherlands Antilles; and CW Curaçao doesn't result in "Bingo!" either. What to do? One thing's for sure, C***-Post and auntie Suzy don't have an answer.
I've tried Netherlands West Indies (no results in yet), like we used to do when we the six of us still were the Kolonie Curaçao. Ah, those were the days.
Transparent Smoke Screen
26 pupils of the Pablo Duarte School became ill early this week, after the school was closed down and pupils sent home because of thick black smoke. Isla refinery smoke, ça va sans dire.
Pupils were forbidden to speak to the media. Now that's transparency, folks!
The pollution alarm system is also, let's say, interesting. Isla must warn Milieudienst [environment dept], who warns the minister of health, who contacts minister of education, who finally permits DOS [public schools dept] to warn the school. Finally, I guess GGD health dept comes by in emergency gear to collect the bodies.
Nice Try, Shorty
His chutzpah hits again: in the orientation talks with the governor he's declared that "it's obvious" that the voters don't want to go on with the present coalition, but want a government consisting of his Mofok (which by the way, Shorty, went down from 5 to 4 seats), his chum's KNT and finally PNP; not winner MAN and PAR. Too bad PNP, who he needs for a parliament majority, declared they don't want to work with him.
But he's got a point, I don't trust PNP either. And yes, obviously the voters didn't want to have anything to do with PIAS any longer.
Remember? In 2012 the formatteur was bragging that his cabinet would last 8 years. Haha.
There They Go
Lionstone Group is getting out of CHATA. It's claimed this has nothing to do with the in-transparent, not to say opaque, rigmarole around the recent sale of the Marriott Hotel, but you can't stop us from darkly apprehending it does have to do with it.
But Lionstone mentions several other reasons, like CHATA has CTB do as they like without any proper controls. Too true, as well.
And That's Only the Harbor
With works to renew the Motetwerf quay walls, oil started seeping into Annabaai harbor. Seems there is so much oil in the ground, collected in many decades, that it finds its way out when you dig a hole.
Imagine, then, how much oil has soaked into the ground below the refinery! And some people want to build houses there ("Green Town")?
Taking the Hint
PIAS head Rosaria has taken his leave from the party; maybe an empty gesture as many members think it's over and done with anyway. The party blames all financial measures it had to take for the loss; most people would think it has been its weak attitude against PS and people like ex-PM Arsjes and Fräudlein Wiels. Members will reconsider and possibly decide to disband.
Wish some other parties would come to the same conclusion. Like FOØL; will they ever give up?
Meanwhile, Up in Florida
Oxitec is releasing male sterilized mosquitoes in some of the Keys, reducing infestations. Interesting info: they charge ~$7.50 per inhabitant per year. As a mosquito lives 2-4 weeks, after a month the results can be measured and more males can be released; or not. Success rate is 90%.
Price for Curaçao per year: about ANG 2 million. What are we waiting for? New elections?
The common idea is the mosquito can't be 100% eradicated, but I really can't see why not, on an isolated island.
Check it out here while the link lasts.
The air pollution measuring device at Beth Chaim, right downwind of Isla refinery, has been out of order for "an appreciable time"— which means, since September 26. By what may be a coincidence, there has been an enormous wave of pollution vomited out in that period.
SMOC don't get any reaction to their emails calling attention to this. Are you surprised? I'm not. But it won't make no difference anyway.
Plenty of roads to a coalition with 11 seats or more, thus avoiding another Shorty disaster.
# party seats votes 1 MAN 4 12822 2 MFK 4 12767 3 PAR 4 11945 3 KNT 3 4822 4 PNP 2 6922 5 PS 2 5293 6 UKH 1 4822 7 MP 1 4137
Cooper, Arsjes (who hit the bottom) and PIAS are definitely out of the picture. Serves 'em right. It also means that Shorty can be kept out—for a price. Price maybe being a coalition with KNT/Dos Santos (Robbie's brodder) or PS™ but even that is avoidable.
Schotte demands a recount, ho-hum.
More rain is expected this week-end, and auntie Suzy asks us all to warn if we know of any clogged up culverts, so they can come and clean them out. Hey, I thought that was supposed to have been done a week ago?
Just an Impression
Went out to vote. Last time, there was a long row at the same time of day. Today, we didn't have to wait at all. Not much enthusiasm, looks like it.
In St. Maarten, recounting has started but it's not expected to make much difference.
A Bit Late
Now, government and trade unions are discussing a law that should prevent future reoccurrences of the Great Strike.
Oh, That Oostpunt
While SER Economic and Social Council thinks Oostpunt should be developed, and it's hard to completely disagree with that, the council does feel this should be done in phases. But they have a lot of criticism on the plans as presented: Destination maps are missing; input of objectors is ignored; the impact study is unrealistic, and the financial section based on it misses additional terms and regulations; there is no account of international nature conventions and with the East Point-EOP [island development plan] amendment created an undesirable precedent.
I used to have a reasonably good relation with the Maal family, as I could only agree their rights were trampled by government actions; but when I asked for a readable copy of those maps I never got a reply. Not good.
Ombudsman has declared that the community mailboxes are contrary to law and that the minister (auntie Suzy) was negligent, has not acted properly and should review the process ASAP.
I can only hope this results in getting rid of the beasts, but Ombudsman isn't very powerful; he can only recommend. Remember the reports on Fräudlein Wiels where absolutely nothing happened except a lot of empty words in Staten.
So, if you think this means the project will end, think again. Our Leaders always know best and will force their recipe down our throats.
More Smoke, No Mirrors
A failing cat-cracker caused Isla refinery to burn off a lot of rubbish, which in turn caused the same school to close as a few weeks ago. Then, Isla had another excuse. I always feel I have to mention it. They need watching, but it doesn't help a bit.
The ministry advises those living around there to keep doors and windows closed. I hope they all have airco (October is the hottest month of the year). I'm sure
Ali Baba's grottoFort Amsterdam airco is working full power.
The place where those "illegal" excavations went on, has been issued last year by Domeinbeheer [domain management] to Heavy Mix Concrete Company, a factory that does not belong in a residential zone. That most probably was during minister Balborda's term, so for once we can't blame auntie Suzy.
Auntie sent some inspectors the very same afternoon (hey, organizing costs time... you have to phone the guys and everything) to watch what frantic building activities are going on there now, all of a sudden right before the elections.
Aqualectra utility is advertising that, when you elect to receive your bills by email (which has been UTS telecommunications' standard for quite a while already), you will get 25 guilders discount on your next bill. Turns out, you have to use the email service for two years. Checking out the postal tariffs, addressed direct mail letters cost 59 cents. For regular letter-mail it's ANG1.21. Then you have to print the bill, about 12 cents, buy paper (7 cents) and envelope (6 cents), print the address, say 3 cents; grand totals 87 cents or 1.49. Not counting all the work, that's 24 bills, minimum 21 to 35 guilders saved for Aqualectra.
I've done it anyway, because with that C*** Post, that's the only way I'm assured I'll get them in time to pay, for which they grant no more then 2 weeks.
Fish, fruit and vegetables will be free of import duty as from January 1, 2017, announces minister Jardim. Duties were raised when we had gotten rid of Shorty's disastrous government.
But sugar and products containing sugar will be taxed higher, "because they have undesired effects on people's health." That's mere Correctness speaking; amounts to punishing people for others' mistakes.
What's Going On?
Lionstone, the group running several hotels already here, offered the government $75 million for the Marriott/Rif Resort, which offer included upgrading. For some reason, the government preferred to sell it to the Orco Group instead. For 46.7 million only.
Lionstone is now planning to sue the government and minister of finance Jardim. You have to admit, this is really strange.
Update: Between you and me, both parties claim the other one is lying. We';ll have to wait for the judge, if and when. Those things have a habit of being retracted and arranged.
Not So Masterful
Hotel occupation has gone down by 12% in August, compared to last year. Must be that Master Plan! But CHATA hotel organization blames the freebooters who offer apartments. Is where I prefer to stay as well, except in Japan where you're much better off with a hotel. Let's face it, who likes staying in a place where every step costs you money?
No Internet, No Nothing
We had a flash of lightning striking within 30 meters (100') of the house, which caused our router to burn out. So it's only now I can inform you that elections have been postponed until Wednesday 3. Political parties don't like it, because their propaganda cash bin is empty. Good! Gives people a chance to think it over on their own.
Something Funny! We have had ADSL with an underground fibre-glass cable for many years now. After a while, we got neighbors, and the phone company (UTS) dug up the cable and hooked up above-ground connections to it. With the result that, in heavy thunderstorms, lighting will hit there and inevitably find its way to our otherwise well-protected underground cable, burning us out as well. Smart, huh?
We now have the umpteenth new router, and the provider blames the failure of electricity for the frying. Not so, we had battery power all the time.
Much Too Late
A sound recording of Fräudlein Wiels is doing the rounds, where she taunts and curses all PS™ members. Looks like it's by now clear even to her that the party won't stand a chance next elections—she being one of the reasons. Still, a pity that the recording turns up only now.
Cruelty to Animals
Like, flogging dead horses. While I'm not sure what's the truth on
global warming climate change climate sensitivity, whatever, I am sure nobody can be. Look at the dire warnings we just got about a hurricane wreaking havoc and absolutely nothing happened accept a change of wind and not even particularly heavy showers. But that won't stop the Scientists admonishing us that, if we behave as told, 80 years from now the global temperature will still be 2° higher; otherwise maybe even 8!
Apart from that, this sort of irresponsible panic story will make people tend to disregard future warnings.
Update: they will be postponed. At least, that's what the government tells us, and you know what that's worth.
Upper date: next Wednesday will be the day.
Matthew is predicted to become a hurricane but at the same time, it looks like it will be passing more and more to the North. About 250kms, which is close to the distance between London to Bruxelles. Don't panic. And the military are ready for it—that's good to know.
They don't inform us if they'll attack it with guns or bayonets. Top Secret!
Auntie Suzy at It
With a first night of over 30mms rainfall auntie Suzy announces that she'll have the rooien [ditches] cleaned before the week-end, especially the outlets. By then, the storm/young hurricane Matthew will have passed us already. I shouldn't wonder if we'd get a repeat performance of the 2010 Tomás disaster, which caused many millions of damages because of flooding. Back then, we got the blame because the culverts were clogged. (They hadn't been cleaned in over 40 years.)
The government has decided not to produce a budget for next year with any policy recommendations to speak of. Because of the elections, what else? This is strict neglect of duty, pure and simple. If Shorty wins (not at all a remote thought) he'll be really free to do as he wishes.
Yeah, Certainly Sounds Like It
Raad van Advies [advice council] has doubts about the independence of Projectcommissie Oostpunt, which committee advises the government on development of the Maal-owned terrain. Seems all offered opinions except those of the Maal family were left by the roadside. Also, the committee counts 3 Maal-associated lawyers as members. Another auntie Suzy [ir]responsibility.
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members got paid.... and how often, by whom.
"All Experts' Advice Discarded"
That's what Vermeij, scientific director of Carmabi research institute says about the plans for Oostpunt's development. He certainly has some points, even if I'm not so sure about sea level rise as he is. But why he drags Trump into the argument, by stating "it's all [Trump-like] blather disregarding all issued opinions and findings" is not clear to me; I never knew Trump did things like that.
He may, of course. But come to think of it, that's what Øbama habitually does. As long as we talk about the USA; plenty more of that breed elsewhere. Like, here.
So Forget It
About 15% of the people want independence from Holland; 68% don't. So way do the polls indicate that Shorty's MoFok will get 44% and Dos Santos's KNT 10% of the votes? Both are clamoring to get out from under the cruel yoke of neo-colonial oppression. That's 44% and 10% of only 75% of voters, true; still way more than 15%.
Moral: don't trust any poll. Remember BREXIT. But you knew that already.
OOPS: The 15% number is from 2012. Small wonder it doesn't fit.
Dutch broodje aap: outrageous story. Dutch newspaper Telegraaf, quoted by KKC, claims 29,000 kilos of cocaine were hidden in one container arriving from Curaçao in Rotterdam harbor. Alarm bells ringing in my head, I started checking and yes, the maximum nett weight of a 40' Hi-Cube shipping container is 26,330kg. No wonder customs got suspicious: that thing must just have been oozing and dripping coke. Like the British say, next time pull the other one, it's got bells on.
Deflation vs. Shrink, We Win
While the economy keeps shrinking, there's deflation as well, meaning costs of living go down. It has been going on for 10 months already. "Negative growth" is 0.2% and the deflation was 0.5%; meaning (for now) we have 3 cents more to spend per 10 guilders. Rejoice!
womanperson named Melissa Harris-Perry from the USA has had the MRC prize for the Quote of the Year. She had said in 2015 on MSNBC that to use the expression "hard worker" is "racist".
Don't blame me, it's she who said it. I hope I'm not superstitious myself.
The Venezuelan oil company states that it's much too early to start negotiating the lease of Isla refinery, which expires in 2019. They may have a point, in which case PM Whiteman and Isla director Wiels (both PS™) announcement earlier this week may turn out to be what was suspected: a mere election stunt.
Leeflang Sues Fräudlein
It may be only an elections stunt, but it's a good one: Indie MP Leeflang has started procedures against our Person in Europe, Wiels, for embezzlement of €235,000 (ANG500k). The amount has not been spent, but is not in the bank either.
Says Leeflang, in parliament nothing is done about this; it's like a theater. I prefer Circus.
Next, the Loonies Will Be Loose
Capriles kliniek personnel is on strike, because the salaries can't be paid. Which, cutting to the chase, is because the money from SVB health insurance doesn't come through. But don't worry, the government "does its utmost to come to a solution." Sure.
Don't write me any letters, I know it's not Correct to address loonies like that. They themselves do, though; in the 1970s there was a Dutch magazine for inmates called De Gekkenkrant. So do blacks call each other "nigger"—you can't win if you want to be Correct. My friends used to call themselves "freaks"; and we were.
It's forbidden to take photographs in the voting booths. Why? Because voters take photographs of their ballot papers to prove who they voted on, in order to collect. That's why.
But lawyer Peppie (one of the two clowns/three stooges) denies this is forbidden, referring to a Dutch court verdict. Neo-colonialism!
Dogs Are for Barbarians, Cats for Civilized People
It's not exorbitant to pose that civilization started with agriculture. Before then, you had savages hunting and scrapping. No wonder scavengers like dogs became "man's best friend." But when agriculture started, we formed an association with cats, who finally accepted us as company because we grew to be civilized—as they had been for ages.
Just a personal thought of course? It's been confirmed, in Scientic American, no less.
Static from Statistics
The monthly dose of jokes by CTB tourist office: in July, tourism has grown by 1%. Only, they omit to state compared with when. 1494?
Gift from Heaven
Yes, dear people, there's yet another illness the tiger mosquito Aedes egypti can give you. Even worse than chikugunya, it's called mayaro. More pain in the joints still, lasting longer. That's at least nr 15 that same mosquito can transmit.
Entomologist Seferina says that's been known for a "very long time", but nothing gets done about it. Here's an idea: more spraying and tell people not to dump trash everywhere. Oh, that's been tried and didn't work? Wait! here's another one. I wrote about it before, but, while other countries act, for some reason our government prefers not to look at it. Seferina, working for public health GGD, says "It all has to do with management." Touché!
Funny? Not Really
Venezuela is so bad off now that even oil workers hardly get money, and they couldn't buy food with it anyway. The country is buying US crude oil which all goes to Curaçao to sweeten the product. It's only a step away from imploding. Ironically, as Venezuela still delivers 2% of the world's oil supply, oil price would then go up—just what PdVSA needs. But too late to save them.
At any rate, USA shale oil production would jump in immediately and bring prices back down to the present level.
Meanwhile, guns and food, which you can't buy over there, still make their way over here in exchange for guilders; as good as dollars! Illegal immigrants also keep making their way over here...
Letter-writer Rudy Sprock enumeraties in KKC all minsters who came by in the past 4 years. And these guys think they've done a good job. Here goes:
5 PMs: Betrian, Hodge, Asjes, Whiteman I, Whiteman II (last 3 PS™); minister MEO (4: Jardim, Martina, Palm, Rhuggenaath (PIAS); minister Education plus (6): Jansen, Monk, Smits, Bitorina, Asjes, Dick (PS™); minister Soaw (4): Bodok, Josefa, Francisca, Larmonie-Cecilia (PS™); minister BPD (4): Willems, Monk, Trinidad, Van der Horst (PIAS); minister VVRP (3): Adriaens (ms.), Balborda, Camelia-Römer (PNP).
We Knew It All the Time
"Accepting money or gifts from politicians is buying [sic] votes" says justice. In that case, how about the food bribes Shorty's MoFok was giving away last elections? Everybody knew about it, but no action was taken.
Should be "selling" of course, but that's our media for you.
Auntie Suzy has found out (took her quite a while) that one person isn't sufficient to lead the CBA [civil air authority] and also manage the return to the FAA status 1. So for that, another person will be selected by an independent committee. CBA manager Derby, who was fired July 1, will remain in function until next month as adviser to perform his own analysis. No news about his 1.3 million consultant or about when this upgrade will be fixed at last. Not March 2016, that's for damn sure—I bet you don't want to bet.
Say, don't you wonder how much those committee members are paid, and for how long? The faster they work, the less they earn.
Now He Tells Us
Ex-PM Arsjes (I forgot his new, own, party's name) claims there's a film shot with a phone cell showing the murder of Sainted Wiels. And he immediately told the public ministry about it (but he doesn't tell us where we can see it). He also claims he knows all the guilty parties, he's heard their names out of prison. Sounds solid.
The public ministry, on the other hand, says they never heard of such a film.
"Israel has highest use of desalinated water in world; severe iodine shortage has been linked to mental retardation" is a headline in the Times of Israel. They're wrong, as we all know: we here use even more.
Maybe we should force our Great Leaders to take an iodine pill every once in a while.
First: that dissertation on the refinery's health effects. We all know it's pretty bad, but... I only read the abstract, and it makes me ask more than I get replies. For one thing, that number of children asthma patients of 60% all over the island is just not credible. Then, the measurements downwind of the refinery are compared with pollution figures in Zaragoza Spain, not a highly industrialized town at all, and (very vague, that) aerial observations in Europe—could be anywhere.
And I may be prejudiced, but I don't think the "Dolphin Academy" they were working with is a scientific institution. The academy is meant to train dolphins.
I now found a link to the complete report and may comment on it later.
I have remarked on this in the past, but I don't think it's in SMOC's, and ours, best interest to push, shall I say, doubtable information.
Next: Even if Whiteman and Wiels can sign a MoU with a Chinese firm that never worked in oil refining before, I don't think they can do this without any formal consent from the cabinet and Staten. In fact, keeping Isla refinery in our future or not may really be worth a referendum.
Sint Martinus University doesn't care much about the law. Professors and other personnel enter here without visas and get a job regardless. 8 are mentioned by name, some of whom reportedly do not have any qualifications. The same for students: many applications have been entered for Indian students with fake IDs and police certificates.
I guess this is the best way to train medical doctors for a bright future. Hopefully, in their own country.
Apothecary/drugstore Santa Maria will have to close, as number 5 or 6 in a row. There are no medical supplies available and the SVB compensation received doesn't cover costs.
Erin Pulster of the University of South Florida did some research on the health situation re. Isla refinery. It's not good; some of it we had no idea of.
Curaçao belongs in the top 10 countries as regards air pollution. While globally, the trend has been to a 50% reduction in SO2, the levels recorded here are among the highest in the world.
For (carcinogenic) polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs), the levels are again among the highest in the world.
Concentrations of PM10 and SO2 measured in Curaçao were within the ranges often associated with cardiovascular and respiratory effects and mortality as a result of short-term exposures.
Caveat: the negative effects of PM10 are not really generally agreed on.
Absolutely damning is that 60% of children below 15 years old has asthma, which is 4 times the world average. We are talking all children, not only those living beneath the wind.
Worst is, as Curaçao partially funded this research they have known about it for a year or so but kept it under their hat.
That's transparency, folks!
Beats the Master Plan
That's for sure! Granted, it's easy. If and when there's more to that MoU than just an election-time Memorandum of Understanding.
The public ministry announces a number of measures to increase the safety on the road. First, motorcycles and quads will have to conform to new rules; which in practice have already been adapted by the vehicle test unit.
Then, you won't get a tax-paid sticker unless you have paid all fines. I see problems with this; many vehicles drive around without a test certificate and/or insurance, which you are also supposed to show when paying car tax.
In the future, the owner of the license plate will be held responsible for traffic violations. I thought this was the case already; live and learn.
Finally, the law will be changed so breathalyzers can be used.
He explains how PdVSA stopped him meeting with Venezuelan president Maduro to arrange an MoU (as now signed with the Chinese) and blames Errol Cova for having a hand in this. I shouldn't wonder. Also, he wonders out loud what job trade union PWFC Meyer got after the recent strike was over, and if he has the necessary training. And he also can't understand why Isla refinery could not afford 1.8 million guilders for the striking workers, but could afford to build a trade union building on the Isla terrain. Which is a real chutzpah; talk about conflict of interests!
I'd suggest the Wiels family and your own party could do a lot of explaining there, Whiteman.
PM Whiteman (PS™) announces that Chinese oil company Guangdong Zhenrong Energy Co Ltd is planning to invest 10 billion dollars in the Isla refinery upgrade. That's three times the Curaçao yearly GDP and should have a positive impact on the economy, of course.
Other promises, like equal pay for workers and workers for subcontractors, clean nonpolluting operations and training of personnel don't make a bad impression. But what can we do but wait and see?
And don't forget, it's just an MoU announced in election time.
Enduring Injuring Insult
And what did we see during that Great Strike that cost the country 15 million just to pay (as I gather) 200 workers 3000 each? The revoltingly revolving wind generators of Aqualectra, supposed to supply Bandabao with electricity. Well, we live in Bandabao and have our view ruined by the monsters—but had no supply "because of switching problems". So what is there to switch? Not that I expect an explanation from those guys.
Now That's Populism
Dos Santos's KNT party publish their ideas. First, no profit tax for new investors for 5 years (too bad if you have an existing company. Maybe go bankrupt and start a new one?) AOW welfare pension minimum age reduced to 60 years (just recently went up to 65) and they'll all get 25% more (they don't explain how to pay for that). Households will have their shut-off water supply restored (Aqualectra will just have to lick their wounds and charge us payers for the loss). Oh no, I stand corrected: water price will be reduced to 25%.
I was already hoping they wouldn't win.
2016-09-18And, as we well know, here:Just Forget That
"But the average price of electricity had fallen throughout the preceding century, and it has continued to fall in all but the most clearly mismanaged markets (such as California) since then."
The Bottomless Well—Peter W. Huber & Mark P. Ellis, New York 2005; emphasis added.
Part of the MOU with Guangdong Zhenrong stipulates a ground survey, to investigate what can be done about the pollution caused by the refinery. In my honest, amateurish but informed opinion, nothing. In Aruba it has become clear that the ground beneath the Lago-Valero refinery will "never be fit for residential building." "Never" is a pretty big word, but from the politicians' 4-year shortsighted point of view, it fits.
Apart from the obvious pollution under the refinery installations themselves, lots of damage has been done by burying unwanted and often harmful trash on other, further unused parts of the terrain. So there you are. What to do with that? Export to Nigeria?
That Looks Serious
The government has signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Chinese state-controlled oil giant Guangdong Zhenrong for the future exploitation of Isla refinery. They have given up waiting for PdVSA, as well they might, of course.
It remains to be seen if this is a good or bad thing. We're stuck with Isla no matter how, it looks like. But China does not exactly have what you'd call a better name on corruption, human relations and pollution than Venezuela.
Now We're Getting Some Real Action
Four political parties (of which it's a pretty safe bet three will as good as disappear at next elections) have decided to install a committee to evaluate the Landsbesluit optimalisering overheidsgelieerde entiteiten [National Decree optimization government affiliated entities]. Great title! Snappy and sexy, yet not vulgar.
Gee, I wonder how much they'll pay those committee members. Say, that may account for it: they'll continue to catch a salary even when not parliament members any longer.
It's a Tradition
"Kodela ta hode hopi" [Kodela f*cks around much]
Aqualectra used to be Kodela (and before then, OGEM)
this was on the Havendienst harbor ferry in the 1980s
In the Dark
Aqualectra, before the strike, decided to cut off Plaza hotel's connection. The guests got 10 minutes of warning to leave the premises, which resulted in some having to stumble down the stairs from the 9th and 10th floors with their suitcases, in the dark. Welcome, dear tourist! Don't forget to bring a flashlight.
Really, couldn't Aqualectra give somewhat longer respite? Like an hour or so?
(Not only) the government gave in on all points the strikers demanded, so we all have airco and water to shower with again. They call this Kòrsou ta Avansá [Curaçao goes forward]; that's one interpretation. Till next time, folks, when some demagogues starts agitating. That wasn't a strike; that was extortion, pure and simple.
It does say something that they only gave a hair's breadth after this general strike started. Couldn't they have given this some thought before? Just askin'.
Supermarkets Goisco and Mangusa are reputed to have paid the 1.8 million (1 million dollars) to end the strike, giving in to the blackmail. Don't know itf it's true, but do know it would be cheaper to buy generators to keep their cooling going.
Also, Goisco has been bragging that they use solar energy. So that works out well.
We just love those guys. The new buzz-word is "Blue Economy" which started with a report to the Club of Rome (remember them and their panic stories in the 1970s: we are all doomed? Didn't get a single thing right...) First Omayra Leeflang went for it, and now auntie Römer is promoting a meeting where the author of a book, Gunther Pauli, will present his views. For ANG350 (USD195) you may buy the privilege to listen to him. Guess you'll get a coke or so thrown in, free.
You won't see me there, I don't go for gurus and their visionary solutions to all our problems.
It Rains... Confusion and Water
Aqualectra does seem to be on strike. Fact remains we do have electricity here. So don't ask. I'm charging my batteries to the hilt as long as it lasts, because there's no sun either.
And the cleaning lady turned up all right. She's not on strike.
Electricity and water came back, then, in the heat of the day, electricity went again. Shops are open but often can't use plastic, so you have to pay cash. Internet works, phone hardly.
The harbor is not serviced so ships can't leave or enter. Don't ask what that costs. Also good for tourism (as if I cared)!
Newspapers are out. Or do not come out, as you like it; or not.
Well, It's On
The threatened "general strike: nobody should go to work" is on, it seems. I had no water when I woke up. Living in Little Nigeria, we always keep 10 gallons in stock, which are due for replacement anyway now. Surprisingly, I did have electricity, coming from the same Aqualectra.
Nobody is giving way a single millimeter, so that could get to be real fun.
Though school teachers are supposed to join the strike, most won't. I suspect this goes for many workers, like shop personnel.
This time, Curaçao has asked for military assistance from Holland, which in 1969 would have saved a lot of trouble then and later.
Aqualectra, Hato airport and Customs/Immigration personnel won't join the fun either.
We'll see... Since Errol Bakoba (remember him? hardly, thank the lord for big favors) has insinuated himself into the trade union troubles, general interest has paled somewhat. "That old has-been... whish he'd stay home and shut up" is a rather general feeling. At any rate, he and by extension the units want a general strike tomorrow: "nobody should go to work." I think it will be a grandiose flop. Could be wrong, sure.
The smaller the dwarf, the louder he yells. Just made the proverb up.
Crikey! Criminal Criminals!
George Lichtveld, PAR member has dug through the public ministry's report on ex-PM Shorty and his MoFok party and lo and behold, he found a 2010 draft agreement between Shorty and mafioso Corallo that they "want to establish a new political party, called Society Movement for the Future of Curaçao 'MFK', to be controlled by both parties on an equal share basis.
The agreement, among other things, stated that the parties mutually agree to take all decisions on MFF [sic: meant is MFK obviously] and specifically but not limited to: the determination of the persons who will appear on the list of MFF for all elections, identifying the person or persons who will perform for and on behalf of MFF public functions and posts of ministers, deputy ministers, state secretaries, advisers and consultants."
I don't think this needs any of my comment. And I'm very afraid Shorty will win the elections regardless, and form a new government with the dos Santos KNT party. ¡Santos!
Just in Time
The fire of Sentro Pro Arte building brought to a halt restoring plans for the theater nobody seemed to miss much. The only obstacle was 8.3 million guilders which were expected to be paid by the government.
Suspicions are definite that the fire was caused by arson, by the members of the striking mob meeting in the union-syndicate building just across the street. That at least is better than in 1969, when a drunk mob of rioters made Otrabanda and Punda one big funereal pile. And they still call that a revolution.
Today a big general strike is announced, but at least the police won't join in. Other law enforcement units like VKC volunteers and the Royal Marines (taraa! here comes John Wayne!) are on standby as well. And by the way, sympathetic excitement for the strikers hardly seems to exist.
Keep tuned, maybe something interesting will happen. Like the usual lines at the fuel stations.
Dutch Damen Shipyards will invest €50 million in CDM Dokmaatschappij. Sound like a lot, but I've no idea how much that really means. That sort of operation is mind-boggingly capital intensive.
Ombudsman Does Not Like It
C***-Post's miserable idea to make us pick up our own mail at central community boxes is viewed with a jaundiced eye by the ombudsman, who has protested with auntie Suzy (took pretty long, even so). She has until today to react.
For starters, the minister just plumb forgot to advise people that they could file a complaint against the unholy plan. And the law plainly states that mail should be delivered at a home or office address.
Fine; But How?
KKN Chamber of Commerce says our future is, more export. Sounds better and more realistic than that Master Plan, or importing more tax payers, you'll have to admit. Only question is, what, then, shall we export?
The "new" (meanwhile pretty old) theater Sentro Pro Arte went up in flames last night. A most spectacular fire, I'm told. The building hasn't been in use for the last twenty years, except for one choller living there, it seems. (He must have gone Up in Smoke.)
That at any rate solves the problem of what to do with the old stumbling stone. And architect Weeber's idea to remodel the old Cinelandia cinema nobody knows what to do with, into a theater, thus renewing life in Willemstad's city center that's as dead as mutton at night.
Hard on the Parties
Hey, it's election time, full of meetings where political leaders scream and preach to vote for them. And what are they supposed to do with Navarro's riot act? "No gatherings on public roads" which, is my uninformed guess, includes public squares.
Well, they'll have to make do somehow.
The Central Bank, after having concluded that the economy shrunk, once again emphasizes that the economy needs diversification. Sure I'm not saying I know how, but I do say that the Master Plan our politicians are so crazy about only promotes further tourism; which rather is uniformity. More tourist divers are not more diversity, heh heh.
You Have to Admit, It's a Point
Amparo dos Santos/KNT refuses to debate ex-PM Arsjes and ex-minister Palm/PIAS. He claims he financed two restaurants for Arsjes's wife, which went bankrupt right away. And Palm "was a disaster" [...] he traveled around so much that he had to sign documents while in transit at Hato airport." (How often that has happened, he doesn't say.)
New Slogan: A Bit of Chicago in the Caribbean
It's now gone so far that gang members entered into a night club, well guarded (sure) by security frisking everybody (sure), and shot and killed two people. The shooter(s) then managed to make their way out.
But not to worry, the police states that it's not that dangerous here, "Now, in Curaçao!" It just seems dangerous. Yeah, to me too.
Wake Up, Auntie Suzy, Wake Up!
Right smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood, things are going on that, let's put it mildly, disturb the people living there. Bulldozers scrape and rumble, causing noise and dust. After first having stripped a diabase hill (there's no law to stop you) they dug a hole in which now rubbish is dumped.
Auntie Suzy is shocked! Nobody told her about this! Well, maybe she should move her [ad hominem deleted] out of her plush chair every once in a while and go out to check what's going on in real life. That's what we pay her for.
Can't Blame 'Em
60% of Venezuelans want OUT. There's no room for all those 18 million of them here, that's for sure. But that may not stop them from trying.
Instead of the announced meager economy growth of 0.5-0.9%, it has shrunk this year. Only by 0.2%, I should add. Must be that Master Plan making itself felt.
Which reminds me, 9 out of 10 politicians think EOP [island development plan] is "antique" and must be discarded, so we can build still more hotels to chase the tourists away.
The EOP was accepted by Eilandsbestuur in 1995, just 21 years ago. Methinks there are much and many more antique laws that should be "terminated with extreme prejudice" as it's called in spy circles.
4 Is a Mob
The riot act has been reinstated by justice minister Navarro, and not only around the refinery entrance locations. Could make life rather complicated, that. Like, for boy scouts and musical bands. It's not known when this nuisance will cease.
Not really, more like an investigation into voters' opinions. Biggest winners next elections may be Shorty's MoFoK, PAR and KNT (Dos Santos). The smaller party which may get some results is Omayra Leeflang's UKH. Nothing new there, in fact.
Nothing new either in the remark quoted by investigators van der Vegt and van den Berg: "it's all the same; it's all crap; they do not stand up us and they are there only for their own wallet" really are incredibly common, they say. Not so incredibly.
Still, about 50% has not decided who to vote for.
But it confirms my feeling PS™, MAN, PIAS and PNP are out of the game, where there's weeping and teeth-gnashing going on. Ajó auntie Suzy!
The public ministry announced, focus will be on three forms of crime during the next years. To wit, cross-border subversive crime, high impact crimes such as violence and homicides, and common crime in the immediate environment. So do it, already.
They will also continue confiscating crime-earned money and goods, which is to be expected. Plenty to be got there, but if it works?
Today the riot act, as read by the court of justice, comes to an end. The strike's still going on; the strikers are mad because the government chose not to support them; it would have been unlawful. So who cares? they say. Now the strike threatens to become "general" whatever that would mean.
There is a real terminal at Hato airport, where people can actually wait inside, in the shade, for arriving passengers. In fact, it's the old terminal... good thing they didn't tear it down in their misguided enthusiasm.
It even contains a replica of the old F-XVIII Snip aircraft, which started it all.
Because of the strike which results in reduced maintenance, Isla refinery claims they have to burn off even more rubbish than usual. Which caused a school under the smoke to close down and send pupils and teachers home. In fact, there was talk of sending the entire neighborhood home.
Home? That can't be right. But something along those lines was planned six months ago and now they're checking if it worked.
Fine. Get on with It.
Finally, Dutch shipyard Damen will sign an agreement that they will run Curaçao Dok Maatschappij during the coming 25 years. (By then the Wiels murderers may not only be convicted at last, but even free again.)
I confess I have had serious doubts about this ever coming to pass. Just like with the Wiels murderers.
No Pay, No Cure
17% of Aqualectra clients had their electricity cut off once or more last year, and 15% their water supply. Non-payment, no need to ask.
Is this poverty, or what?
Never Thought of That
But it figures. Quite possibly InselAir serves as a drug-transporter, but it's also probable that their main function is to launder money, a reader suggests.. Sure. It would certainly help explain why our Great Leaders are so fond of 'em.
A lawyer is now suing because her flight CUR-AUA planned 21:15 didn't leave until 13 hours later. About time somebody did that.
Ex-PM Shorty's lawyer Boersema wants to challenge the appointed judge in the mismanagement case. He says the judge is not competent. If that works out (for whoever) remains to be seen.
Auntie Suzy declares that she's keeping an eye on the InselAir delays. Hope she doesn't fall asleep.
Management of Aqualectra utility has, just like the Public Ministry, asked the court of justice to "name the persons responsible for the mismanagement" (during the Shorty years) and to punish them and ask for compensation. Court will follow up on the ministry's request on November 30.
Manager Heerenveen grudgingly says that with "extreme delays" (unquantified) they'll reimburse passengers. I think a 10-hour delay on a 2-hour flight is rather extreme. They may even give the passenger a ticket for another flight at 10% of the normal price. But he/she/hit/shit would have to pay all taxes, regardless.
In the €U you'd get £110-150=ANG250-450. There are plenty of sites around who'll handle it for you. But, you say, we're not in the €U here! Right, and a good thing too.
The Dutch don't want to be confronted with Wilsoen at the upcoming Ipko kingdom conference. One can feel along with 'em; I don't want to see him either. Will this get to be another occasion for petty protests under the banner "Neo-Colonialism!"?
ThoseDos Santos caved in, he'll select a new color. I suggest black. Or maybe purple, as the Catholics use for requiem occasions.
But Not Confirmable
PS™ Leonora, wondering while there's still no Memory of Understanding (which wouldn't mean a thing in the first place) between Venezuela and Curaçao on the future of Isla refinery, claims that PdVSA makes $0.75/barrel, of which Amigoe newspaper recently said 185,000/day are produced. Where's my calculator? That's over $50 million/year, for which PdVSA pays less than $13 million rent.
It's my personal and private opinion, based on nothing but intuition, that PdVSA makes much more on the deal.
Searching on the web, I find a "ballpark estimate" of 30 tot 60 cents/barrel, so the Amigoe estimate is reasonable. On the other hand, that would include costs of renting facilities.
Godett is enraged because some other political party has chosen the orange color for their flags, T-shirts and list. "It's ours since 1969 and they have no right! They show no respect!" (there we go again).
May we gently remind Godett that Orange has been the color of the Dutch since the beginning of their 80-year independence war against Spain, 1568. I've always wondered why Papa Godett chose it for his anti-Dutch party; except of course, it really stands out. And the guy probably didn't have much sense of history.
Quite a Trick
Dutch minister of defense says that there is no increase in Venezuelan emigrants to the ABC-islands. Oh. She sure had me fooled. At any rate, it's not a problem because most of them come by land. At least, that's how she's quoted.
No more money will be available for the coast guard until next year. By then, Maduro may well have been over and done with. See? The Dutch are learning from us: if you wait long enough, the problem will just go away. The immigrants won't though.
Norbert George, who has been ordered to pay back his salary earned as a never-at-work civil servant, has gone on to state that the Public Ministry has three journalists (he names them) on their salary list. The public ministry denies this and, more, wants George to rectify; which he refuses.
Hato airport was congested yesterday, reason, hardly any InselAir flights took off. For example, one flight to Haïti was delayed until pigs grew wings. Director Heerenveen said it was because of weather problems; but the weather here, in Haïti and in between was just fine, says the Meteo.
Why do our Leaders keep that disgrace up in air (and make us pay)? I have my suspicions but will refrain from slander, even mentioning no names.
Spoil the Brats!
So we all agree, the less spoiled brats, the better. But let's not exaggerate. The government now not only wants to pension civil servants of at a younger age, they will also get AOV welfare pension at that age. Which is downright discriminatory to the rest of the population, the worker bees (as in, not the drones) for whom the age has just been raised. And will, no doubt, be raised even further in the much-to-near future.
But of course, it's election time and even those aged brats have a vote.
Another boat has been intercepted by the coast guard, with 21 Venezuelan refugees in it. Another one, huh? How many are intercepted? We don't get to hear that (and the press doesn't ask, business as usual). And if it's like drugs, customs are lucky to intercept 10% of what's coming in.
Sweet Jesus, Help Us
I'm not what you'd call religious, but who else can you ask? A poll indicates that Shorty's MoFok party would get 27% of votes in next elections, followed by PAR-11% and Kòrsou di Nos Tur-7%. 25% don't want to say, 51% don't know yet. 70% say they have no confidence in politicians, hear hear. Between you and me, that's the only figure I really trust.
Goodbye Sweet Dough
Sona after all decided to pay Berenschot umpteen millions, anyway. So why all that song and dance and claiming they'd do the job themselves from now on?
O.W.T. - Good!
PS™ Wilsoen has left parliament after getting listed as a suspect in the Wiels murder case.
At least, much to my and many others' surprise, he's got more sense of honor than ex-PM Shorty and other MoFok members. He says "Parliament needs to be respected with no suspect persons as members." Sort of ruins the Grand Effect by following up with, he needs the time to start defending himself. Also, he doesn't really leave parliament; he just doesn't turn up there and keeps receiving his salary.
Success? Not Really
Auntie Suzy held a meeting with illegal terrain occupiers, to discuss ways to make their houses legit. She said it was "an enormous success"—250 people came to hear about it, of which about half planned to apply for a registration.
That's not impressive at all. At my location alone, right across the street there are some 60 illegal houses (if not more).
Also, two youths were shot to death inside a popular disco. Finally, we get it straight from the horse's mouth, justice minister Navarro: that gun confiscation action didn't help one bit; more guns flow in all the time. The only thing to do is get one for yourself; then, when you're forced to use it in defence, you'll go to jail.
The Court will consider the Public Ministry's request to look at mismanagement in several government companies. Alas, that's after the new elections (September 30).
Berenschot has stopped working on the new hospital HNO unless they get paid by Sona, who now owe them 10 million guilders. If Berenschot doesn't get that fee, building will grind to a halt two weeks from now.
Brewing trouble? Have we had anything but trouble from that unholy plan yet? UPDATE: Sona does not want to pay Berenschot as they have not present yearly accounting, and will oversee the further building process themselves.
Full of Surprises
42 passengers on an InselAir flight have been forced to overnight on Hato airport. Their (heavily delayed) flight to Barranquilla-Colombia had to return because of weather conditions, which can and will happen. Surprising is that InselAir director Heerenveen tells the press that it was impossible to put 'em up in a hotel, "as they were all full." That is really exceptionally hard to believe; try and pull another one, Heerenveen.
And it might be a good idea to have had more than one airline personnel on the set to take care of those passengers.
Heerenveen told them InselAir couldn't help it. But after the police had arrived to quell the riot, and the confiscated cell-phones of two passengers who had been recording the scene had been given back, hey, InselAir did manage to find hotel rooms! Maybe they were not so full, just like we hear them complaining all the time?
No So Good
What you'd call a really wild strike: Court order not to have gatherings (I'd call 'em mobs) within 1km of Isla refinery and 5km of
Ali Baba's grottoFort Amsterdam, where the politicians hang out. Shades of May 1969?
If they'd been wise enough to order that then, a lot of grief would have been spared us. Molotov cocktails have been thrown on the Isla terrain yet, from outside the fence. It's next to impossible to hit anything vital that way; Shell knew what they were doing. In sharp contrast with... let it go.
The court order will last until September 9.
Ex-PM Shorty's lawyer Boersema has submitted a LOB request (equivalent of FOIA) with minister of justice Navarro. He says it's for his own interest, but later admits it will help him in the defense of Shorty in his latest troubles (caused by FAS). He wants to see what amounts everything in the files of the Public Ministry: in- and external emails in, meeting reports... you name it, and does not limit that to the present problem. In three weeks, no longer. He also claims that Willems's report is not trusted (but doesn't mention names).
I'd say "fat chance" but once again, I'm no lawyer.
De Vries, also named in the Public Ministry's request to the court of justice, who is a lawyer, protests against defamation.
Boersema has been denounced in Holland for forgery by a reader of KKCur.
Strike: It's Serious
On the 4th strike day, trade union SGTK has forbidden Aqualectra utility and Curoil admittance to the refinery terrain. Which means large parts of the island have no electricity for at least part of the day, and also that there will be a new stampede on fuel stations as gasoline delivery has stopped.
Update: The same day, the court ordered the trade union to remove all barricades, so Aqualectra personnel can be relieved and fuel stations supplied.
"All parties have reached an agreement" except for financial implementation (small detail? the only thing that really matters): there's no money to raise salaries. Oh, where did it go?
Not Really a Solution
The fact that Sehospital can resume surgery and all that works for one month only; after that, the same problems are back.
Think About It
You may have noticed the USA has some problems with illegal immigrations (I use the term with gusto) and Europe with semi-legal immigration. Well, the USA now has 11.2 million of them, and Europe 34.3. Depending on how you count, that's less than 10% and 5% of the entire population.
But our Wise Leaders (a pox on them) want to import 50-100,000 people or 33-66% of our present population; including their families, that amounts to 135-250%. Bring it on!
Isla refinery threatens that, if the strike isn't solved soon (so solve it, already!) they will have to start flaring waste products, because maintenance is lagging behind—leaving us with the stink. Strike is now entering its third day.
Consultation firm Berenschot threatens to stop the construction of the new hospital today, because of a conflict with Usona and SONA (whatever those names mean). Berenschot wants 7 million guilders now. Health minister Victorina is working hard on a solution. That sounds promising.
If construction is halted, the total costs will be much higher yet; and the building is 150m guilders over budget already.
At any rate, the old hospital can work on; finances have been solved. For now. For one month, that is. Great improvement; it was one week
That's Funny! Or...
Entrepreneurs Club VBC remarks that, while Curaçao's economy may have had a marginal growth of 0.5%/year, productivity has shrunk by 25%/year; and the number of jobs grew 20.4%. Which, VBC adds, is globally accepted as pauperization. I'll accept that as well.
Just in Time
Nobody, not the companies, the government or anybody else, could be bothered to start actions against the persons involved in those Grand Scale Stealing cases (to the tune of 400 million). Which should happen before September 8 or the cases become superannuated. Which explains why the Prosecutor has taken action with the Court. Kudos.
"But the fact of it is, nobody cares" - Ray Davies. Almost nobody, Ray.
The USA is maybe prepared to give Curaçao maybe more than half of Robbie's blocked 70+ million, but has several demands. First, it's up too the USA to decide how much more (which figures no matter how) and second, the USA will tell Curaçao how to spend that extra money. Here's where it gets interesting.
At least, so Godett says; as far as I remember it's not the first time he said he'd leave politics. Or maybe I'm mixed up. At any rate, he says he tired of "alone pulling the cart" and "making debts". And we thinking he's been making plenty of money, plenty. The first FOL party meeting where he was supposed to retire didn't have enough members interested enough to turn up; they'll have a fling at it next week.
Godett still threatens not to leave if enough people beg and supplicate him to stay. Sure.
Another rumor is that his sister, Mirna Godett who once was our PM (really!) is still on the salary list of Selikor but hasn't been on the job for 10 years now. Maybe, quite possibly, Selikor likes it that way. I'm sure Mirna does.
I didn't report on how the conflict between workers for contractors and Isla refinery has now gone out of control, and how that marvelous minister of social affairs (one wonders where she keeps her brains, if any; but then, she's a PS™ member) had asked for 2 days respite to resolve the problems. Of course, she got nowhere. Now it became a full-fledged strike with workers obstructing the refinery entrance, burning tires and car wrecks on the public road. Traffic is a mess. Just a matter of time, maybe, until the next gasoline scare!
At Sehos(pital) workers are worried about the future of their jobs as well, and want guarantees on what will happen with the move to the new HNO. Deliberations with Sehos management are underway.
More Trouble Brewing; and Not Only for Shorty
The Public Ministry has requested the Court of Justice, based on the report by Willems, to establish there has been mismanagement at Refineria di Kòrsou (TPM), Aqualectra and Curoil and to identify the persons responsible. The Public Prosecutor also asks the Court to oblige Refineria di Kòrsou (RdK), Aqualectra and Curoil to authorize a person to do all that is necessary to recover the damage caused to the persons responsible.
Translation: Make sure those guys will pay up.
This is a nice hit for FAS, Fundashon Akshon Sivil, whose request for a civiele enquête resulted in Willems's report.
There's a long list of possible subjects and I'll just name a few (we all know 'em already): Aqualectra's Supervisory Board: Werner Wiels, Ray Treurniet, Oswald van der Dijs, Carlos Monk, W.J. van Dijk, and R.H. Doest. And administrator Darrick Jonis.
Refineria di Korsou (RdK) Supervisory Board with Oswald van der Dijs, Anthony Eustatius, Hubert Sambo and Yamil Laste. Also administrators Rudolph Garmes, Abigail Isabella, Jeffrey Parris and Henny Barbolina. Plus delegate administrators Sidney 'Bicho' Justiana and Henk Deira. Then, project managers Raoul Römer and Marcena.
Not to forget Certified Fraud Examiner/Accountant Terry Hernandez and several involved lawyers of HBN Law office: mr. Navarro, mr. Matroos and mr. De Vries. (The Dutch title "mr." stands for "Master of Law".)
I'm extending my hearty compliments to FAS and all those who enabled this.
(That's a Yiddish pun, sorry, you anti-semite bastard.) Most non-Sehos surgeons didn't show up for surgery today, so many patients were just thrown out to die in the streets. I suppose you'd call that a strike—but to make an impression that way, you'd have to shut off the gasoline supply. Or water... Especially these days. Wow, is it hot.
Rumors are circulating that Suriname's corrupt top man Desi Bouterse's son, now sighing in a USA jail for drug offenses (and I don't mean having a joint on his person) is a big shareholder in our proud, you'd almost think national flag carrier, InselAir.
If it's true? Don't ask me. But I shouldn't wonder one tiny leedle beet.
Defence and prosecution in the Bientu affair have agreed there will be no further appeals from both sides. Which means lottery king Robbie dos Santos is forfeiting well over 75 million guilders, but he won't have to go to jail (provided he behaves).
Don Martina, the spiritual father of political party MAN, is back in the party. He left it because he couldn't swallow Cooper (who has his own party now). Even seasoned hard-bitten politicians gag on Cooper and he sticks in their craw; even though admittedly he's taken off a lot of kilos.
By the way, did you ever actually meet anyone who liked Arsjes?
As announced before, auntie Suzy and several other politicians say they want to attract 50-100,000 new immigrants. Much better for the country, even if there isn't room for roads to let 'em drive on, they say. And of course, they'll all pay taxes! Now you're talkin'.
How to rhyme this with the 80-20 law, which forbids them jobs, they don't try to explain.
Auntie Suzy is highly satisfied with the enormous reaction on her plans to legalize all terrain thefts. Anybody can escape scott free! Lovely, not having to pay back taxes and all that over generations. Shows those suckers where it's at: what fools they all were to keep to the rules (and getting only extra bureaucratic hassles as a reward).
No more operations in Sehos(pital). There's so little money, they can't guarantee quality control. Only extreme emergencies.
For analog reasons, transfer to the new HNO is endangered. What a farting stinking mess.
You get to hear more and more that InselAir is nothing but a machine to transport cocaine; as I have been suspecting myself long since. But it's getting more and more obvious. There seems to be no other way that company can make money.
What to think, then, of auntie Suzy, ex-minister of economic development Palm and the present one, Rhuggenaath, who keep propping the company up? It's turning into a national disgrace, of which we don't need any more.
Aqualectra will remove political party flags, which have already started to adorn our cityscape, from electrical masts. It's dangerous for the people who hang them there, and they can cause short circuits as well. Taking all the fun out of it... And what to do with the resulting surplus of flags?
What I Figured
Auntie Suzy's traffic safety committee consists of a government traffic expert, an pensioned police officer and a media guy. The number of cars in the Safety Brigade is (only) 3 (three). A fat lot of good that will do.
We're told this by Henk Pasman, well-known for his thorough letters to Amigoe newspaper. He really knows about traffic. God forbid auntie should ask him to be part of that committee.
Big Fat Yawn
5 parties want to have the pre-elections declared null and void. They say the procedure is undemocratic.
By one of those coincidences, none of them made the pre-elections. (3 more who didn't make it either don't seem to bother.) 1.8% of the votes was invalid; the one I liked best was a lipstick-kiss on the voting form; a definite no-no.
Finally, only 3 parties decided to go to court.
Those Things Run in Families
Gaetano Corallo, father of Francisco Corallo who's in turn ex-PM Shorty's godfather (who gets angry when you call him "mafioso") has started suing his son for fraud. The falsified documents date back 30 years.
Way Ahead, For Once
The government had all electronic voting machines destroyed end last year. Wise, as it's becoming all too obvious how these can be hacked and pandered with.
And FOØL Godett is out of the game anyway. If memory serves me right, it was when he was Dictator that these were ordered, from Venezuela! Talk about crooked elections... Maybe with a fat provision? It definitely is a thought.
Election Time! PS™ Minister Larmonie-Cecilia wants to raise minimum wage to 11.4 guilders/hour by 2020. But this is too heavy to accomplish at once, as even she understands; so it will be raised by 10%/year. SER economic and social council has not replied to her questions, and the Central Bank is of not much help either.
Question: and how about raising AOW welfare pensions by 10%/year?
Inflation is 3.2%/year and AOW has remained the same since 2013; so it should have been raised with 12.8% by now, just to keep even.
What's Better Than a Committee?
The committee for traffic safety advises auntie Suzy to start a traffic brigade, that's supposed to be driving around in unmarked cars and filming traffic rules violators in order to fine them. Fine with me. This will not help to catch uninsured and unlicensed cars, though.
Putting cameras at every traffic light should help a lot. Which reminds me, the traffic lights at the Sa. Maria crossing were out of order yesterday and all cars were able to just zip through. Ke alivio!
Gee, I wonder how much &cetera.
Can't Go On
The only way to keep Sehos[pital] alive is a higher budget, says Saleh, head of VMSC (union medical specialists). Three years ago the budget was lowered after a financial scan which concluded there was a lot of waste. Maybe so (I'm quite sure, in fact, just by going on my personal experience—like having 4 blood tests in 3 weeks) but that's not the whole story, says Saleh. There's just not enough money to go 'round.
Not with our stubbornly dumb politicians. But IMF has advised that "[economic] expansion will mainly depend on... relaxing restrictions on hiring foreign labor." So how about 80-20?
Uh Oh... Again?
Clicking on KKCur results in the message "Resource Limit Is Reached The website is temporarily unable to service your request as it exceeded resource limit. Please try again later."
Yet another attack?
They're back up, false alarm. LAST UPDATE: There is an attack going on.
Only 7 of the 15 parties that needed signatures to participate in next elections made it. Which means that we'll have not less than 13 choices to waste our vote on; if I figure right and if they can cough up 2000 or so guilders.
The felons in prison gave 122 out of 181 votes to Ampara dos Santos. The Arsjes party, despite rumors that you got 50 guilders to vote for him and that invalids were pushed into minivans to go vote for him, was last with 965 votes. As I predicted, FOØL is down and out, not getting the 870 required votes.
What Do We Know?
Not enough to judge. Again, doubling down on earlier predictions, we get to hear that the 2016 hurricane season will be much heavier than average. This is because last year's El Niño has warmed the Atlantic so much.
And other sources tell us the Atlantic since 2004 has been cooling off like hell—oops, wrong expression; which "may" go on for some years. Take your pick.
We Got Off Cheap
"I would have truly enjoyed showing her the islands. How the big aluminum plant and the oil refinery of Amerada Hess blacken the stinking skies over St. Croix. Maybe she'd like the San Juan Guayama and Ybucoa areas of Puerto Rico where Commonwealth Oil, Union Carbide, Phillips Petroleum, and Sun Oil have created another industrial wasteland where the toxic wastes have killed the vegetation, where hot oil effluents are discharged into the sea and flow westward along the shoreline in a black roiling stench, killing all sea life.Now compare this with "our" Asphalt Lake. Yes, it's filthy and I wish we never had it. (On the other hand, I'm overjoyed we got rid of German Nazism and Japanese imperialism.) But Tallaboa Bay contains 750 times as much goop.
She might be impressed were I to cruise into Tallab[o]a Bay and describe to her the one and a half billion tons of untreated wastes from Commonwealth-Union Carbide which put a two-foot coat on the bottom of the bay. Or we could take a tour up into the mountains and watch how the trade winds carry the bourbon-colored stink of petrochemical stacks through the passes all the way to Mayaguez, ninety miles from the refineries."
The Scarlet Ruse—John D. MacDonald, 1973, p 256/7.
And in fact, when Shell left Curaçao 1/3 of that filth, which they had thoughtfully contained with a dam, had been cleaned up already. It's just because of the laxness of our successive Nos mes por [gana sen] governments that it's still around.
That Makes Us Even; Or?
Auntie Suzie is sick of the insinuations about procedures followed to fill personnel posts, she says. Well, we're sick of thinking and uttering them, so we're even. Or are we? As all our insinuating doesn't help one bit, she and her spoiled brats are way ahead of the game.
Cleaned Up... Oh yeah?
Earlier this week, Selikor proudly announced that they had finished the first part of a giant clean-up action, and by the end of the year, before (hopefully) we'll be getting some rain again, it should all be finished and we could expect a mosquito-free season for once.
Tough! Uniek Curaçao has found two giant new trash dumps, and there you are. Or go.
What a Shame
Three quarters of Curaçao shops don't follow the proper fiscal procedures (giving you a proper sales receipt), which means they evade paying taxes. And who shall blame them but the Tax Persons?
I have to admit, I almost always get a proper receipt. Looks pretty sure to me that it's small tokos, not big supermarkets and, say, hardware shops that make up the 75%. Which probably means most of the taxes do come in.
This "costs" the government millions of guilders a year, and how they'd love to spend that!
They implore us to always ask for a proper receipt. Pfui, sorry boys.
Solution to Riddle
That explains it... our politicians have been infected by zika! Because it's now shown to affect adult brains, with effects resembling microcephaly. Brains of adult mice, that is. But politicians are no mice, you say, no doubt remembering Steinbeck. No, I agree; they're rats, rather.
The people living in Marchena get a lot of asphalt roads. Hey, it's election time, get it? Too bad nothing is done about the air they have to breath. Isla, just about the only refinery PdVSA may have got left, is working full power these days.
Several government entities don't bother to pay what they should; like, pension allowances for old civil servants. They don't bother to react to requests (which is the normal mode) or don't have the money. And I thought things were going so well, budget-wise!
Also, Capriles Clinic still gets no permission to raise tariffs, which causes more and more trouble.
Beat That Horse to Death
PS™ Leonora insists that we have to get a law on petroleum extraction now or we'll miss out! He should read the newspapers or at least the news on his super-phone. There is not much money in petrol anymore, Leonora; times have changed (and fast, too).
Large Crowd? Not Really
Media write about a "large crowd" protesting for a new referendum (nr. umpteen). Turns out, 200 people—that's all. All, like in earlier demonstrations, workers for MoFok Shorty's companies? Most impressive.
Amazing? Not Really
After Canada, Curaçao is the second biggest buyer of US crude oil, with 54,000 bpd. No, we don't drink the stuff—it's used to sweeten the crude crude from Venezuela. That's over 10% of total US crude exports. But Canada is King (or should I say Queen) with 5 times as much oil going there.
There are two scripts for Curaçao's economic development this year: 1 forecasts a growth of 0.9% (hardly enough to combat inflation), the other one 0.5% - exactly enough to cover 2015 inflation. 0.4% remaining real growth is not what you'd call impressive, either.
Which reminds me, the "marginal growth" of 0.3% last year in fact was negative, 0.3-0.5=-0.2%.
The number of tourists will grow by 2% because of more flights, with more Norte-Americano Gringos coming in. Oh yeah? It's because of the Master Plan, stupid.
Hope That Works
Parliament has voted for a law that ministers can be held personally responsible for mismanagement (we can all guess which 10 members wished, but did not dare to vote that way).
When a minister wants to spend over 100,000 guilders it has to ask permission.
Sounds Like an Artist
Central Bank has a critique on the government: budget is everything, and as long as income/costs are according to the budget, everything is A-OK. Not so: "The emphasis on public finances hampers economic growth." Hear, hear.
That's what it looks like for Venezuela. This year, crude oil production collapsed from 3.2m bpd (2008) to 2.36m bpd (June). Next year will be even worse. In spite of desperate OPEC measures to freeze production, which are of little use anyway, production is expected to be below that of 2003 when the industry went on strike.
As the efforts to remove president Maduro won't have any consequence (if any) before a year from now, things look bad. Even when he's replaced, that will be by his vice-president who will remain in power until 2019.
Hey, that's when the Isla-PdVSA contract runs out!
Digital Road to Nowhere
Aunt Suzie announces that Curaçao must become a "digital hub", with all telecommunications leading to Curaçao, like all European roads used to lead to Rome. As if not every country in the whole wide world dreams that very same dream. She announces many future conferences on the subject; yeah, sure. Talk is cheap (but conferences cost money). And finally she compares this with the oil industry and tourism.
I'm afraid she's got a good point there, at least.
"Marginal" Is Correct
The economy, for the first year in a long long time, has grown by 0.3% in 2015. CTB correctly calls that "marginal". First, there's a lot of negative years to catch up with. Second, that's less than the 2% discount (say, only 1/10th of that) you often get for paying cash. Third, it's less than what's commonly accepted as the standard measurement error; much less.
I'm sure I heard that song before... "The polls show [...], despite his breaches of the law, despite his flouting of the law, despite his shocking failures, despite his flailing economy hanging on a thread, despite his lies, remains popular with a majority of the public - especially the low-information voter."
Only, it's not ex-PM Shorty this quote is about; it's Øbama. But it applies to many more, you got that straight.
Now it's ex-finance minister of Shorty's MoFok gang, Imalootin's Speedy Security and another office that has been raided. His ex-partner's home has also been searched; she's suspected of fraud and embezzlement.
Methinks Imalootin, dot dope, should take care what he wishes for.
The money on Dos Santos's (yes, Robbie) US accounts that was confiscated should normally be split up between the US and Curaçao. But big surprise! Curaçao wants more and is negotiating for that.
The money (72.5m guilders or USD40m) will be used to pay Robbie's overdue taxes, and the surplus to
Devoutly to Be Wished
Dutch parliament members want, before the next elections here, to investigate the connections between the criminal underworld and our
criminaloops! politicians. A laudable endeavor... but will it happen?
Never Give Up
Batten the hatches! Go buy hurricane tape! Stock up on water and food! NOAA, in spite of all the evidence up to now to the contrary, still maintains this hurricane season (of which almost half has gone by already) will be the fiercest since 2012. In fact, they just raised the odds.
Of course, it only needs one to cause serious trouble.
Out of Here
The announced parliament meeting on Fräudlein Wiels will have to be postponed. PM Whiteman (same PS™ party) is on a holiday.
Les Vacances de M. Tromp
Central bank director Tromp has taken a holiday since the cops raided his and Rolling Elias's offices in connection with a complaint. Tromp is supposed to have committed fraud, or something, when he acquired some apartment buildings in Florida. Of course he says it's all kosher, and he has taken that holiday to be able to cooperate fully with the Mighty Arm of the Law.
Kosher or not, somebody seems to be out to get him. Not for the first time; ex-PM Shorty's club plain hated his guts.
Ex-PM Shorty tries to make hay of this, you bet. He's clamoring that Tromp has to be fired because he's suspected, while he himself is sticking like glue to his seat even though convicted.
Wise for Once?
Looks more like a delaying tactic: the press conference Auntie Suzy promised on the Pietermaai coast troubles will be delayed for—I don't know how long, but until SOAB government accounting have finished their advise.
Weirdly and incomprehensibly, Amigoe newspaper writes that project developer La Rivera won in a process against Auntie's ministry; to the contrary, the court announced that the building permit was illegal and must be destroyed. Some small mistake, I'd guess; yet, you never can tell in these troubled waters.
Don't Forget Your Cell Phone
The phone lines of the Marriott Hotel have been cut down for the second time in one week by utility UTS. Marriott is in deep trouble.
Over and Done With
That Eye Op went like a charm, much better than the first one. So, as you may have noticed, I'm up and ready already to bore you all some more.
That's a Big Help
PIAS MP Cleopa has asked the Central Bank what would be the results of higher minimum wages. Answer: can turn out positive or negative. So now we all know for sure.
They'll be poking my other eye out tomorrow, so it may take a few days before I'm ready and able to read texts off a monitor screen. Let alone commenting. Be with you again ASAP.
Ex-minister Imalootin (MoFok) is fed up with being a suspect in the Wiels murder case. After all, it's 4 years ago already they croaked him! Well, I'm fed up with Imalootin so that makes us even.
Postpone and Forget
Hopefully? An announced parliament debate on Fräudlein Wiels will not go through, not even in the first week after the summer recess. PM Whiteman will be out of the country. Mebbe he's scairt...
PM Indie Sulvaran will not be eligible next elections. His wheelings and dealings with several other parties in the great Post Office game did not result in any, yeah, results. Can't say I'm sorry, even if there are many much worse ones around.
Owner of the second largest chicken farm, Rancho (not Moderno now fighting a pollution complaint) declares that the government is steadily working to finish agriculture and livestock holding, by changing the EOP-destination (read: zoning) from "green" to "built-up". He definitely has a point. But on the other hand, that looks like the future anyway, like it or not.
What a party! I won't name them all. Besides, all those not now represented in parliament (15 parties!) still have to cough up 870 signatures each (1% of the total number of voters last election). So some may still fall off.
Those Pesky Pests
The American FDA has given approval to a field trial of Oxitec's GMO mosquitoes, which Oxitec claims eradicated mosquito populations by 90% in Brazil, Panamá and the Cayman Islands, calling it "an unprecedented level" of human control over nature. (Not really, but let 'em have their fun.)
Our GGD is still trying with half measures: the Sisyphus job of eradicating trash dumps and spraying with insecticides the mosquitoes get more and more resistant against (hey, DDT is a no-no!)
Playing Post Office
It's on again, as usual. Principled politicians scramble for a place higher on the list, and if they don't get it, they change partners—er, parties; another popular political pastime. Only, you don't get kissed... you get a sumptuous salary when elected. Much better. Who'd want to be kissed by them? Toads are preferable.
The protestant schools will ask for a voluntary contribution; it's only to be expected that some parents will not pay it and what next?
It's a Thought
The Czech president changed his mind: he would now prefer all citizens to be armed and show it, like in Israel, where "almost every man walks with a machine gun over his shoulder" to stop muslim terrorism.
While we, for now, don't have muslim terrorism, we have plenty of atrakos but are not allowed any weapons to stop them: no pepper spray, no tasers, not even a decent knife (which admittedly is not so easy to handle).
In fact, we may well have more atrakos per population head than the Czech republic has terrorist attacks. But the president strongly exaggerates about Israel. You see a lot of guns in the streets, but those are carried by military; and not only men.
Finance minister Jardim, who wouldn't mind having another swing at the job, says "great sacrifices" have been made to straighten out the country's finances.
Yes, by us.
He also says the economy is improving—slightly. Le mot juste: very slightly indeed; 0.3% in 2015.
But he also says the number of
spoiled bratshas been reduced with over 500 to 3,312, over 7%. Which is all to the good.
That's Better, But Not Enough
The mangrove area (or rather, what's left of it) to the East of the mega-pier will be conserved as a recreation area. Connection with the sea will be reestablished so it can serve as breeding ground for fish, and measures will be taken to prevent mosquitoes breeding there.
No word on another, much larger area more to the East on the other side of the Holiday Beach hotel.
Or is that Chorty's Chutzpah? No matter: the guy comes out and says that it's everybody else's fault that the country is so short of cash. Too bad so many people are so short of memory, or they'd remember where and when the money disappeared. Then again, many just may not care.
That's A Record
Up to now, 22 parties have registered for the coming elections. Before next Monday (or, in fact, Friday) more may follow. Also some may decide not to join the fun after all. And then, some may not collect enough signatures; or can't cough up the 2000 guilders (USD1100) needed for registration. Some don't even have a name yet.
Whatever. You can read this as a sign of much discontent.
That range of colors I showed before may not even suffice after all.
Makes Me Curious
Aqualectra, while announcing those 5 new wind monstrosities, says they'll have a solution for the problem of electric power storage (essential for reliable solar power) by 2025. Gee, they're far ahead of the rest of the world!
Money Wins, People Lose—Lesson from History
After the first French try to build the Panamá Canal had failed, in 1904 USA Colonel Corgas arrived in Panamá to combat the yellow fever mosquito: the only way to stop the deaths which had caused the first effort to fail (176 deaths per 1000 workers).
Corgas took no half measures; he "advanced on the vegetation with flame throwers." "A phone call to the Sanitary Squad, reporting marauding mosquitoes, instantly produced a truck with a sanitary inspector and half a dozen men, crawling over your house with flashlights." Compare with the wishy-washy attempts by our Dept. of Health.
The Canal was opened in 1913. By then, the death rate in the Canal Zone was only 6.2/1000 (in the USA 14.1/1000).
But of course, the Panamá Canal was of high economical importance. So was the Isla refinery. Get it? Only, you don't need to combat diseases, or pollution, to keep the refinery running.
Yellow fever, which we don't have here (for now) is transmitted by the same mosquito that takes care of infecting people with dengue, chikungunya, and zika.
Info from Dr. Richard Gordon's Great Medical Disasters, New York 1983.
It's going so bad the last few months, even CTB's notorious statistical twists can't help them deny it. Hotels are almost empty and less people are flying in anyway. The best, for laughs, excuse is that American Airlines is now flying with a small version of the Boeing 737, so less passengers arrive. As if AA wouldn't prefer to use a larger aircraft if they could fill it.
One thing CTB/CHATA do note is the incredible pollution, which should be fought by fining the polluters. Alas, they only mean the trash-dumpers, not the refinery.
Don't forget the Master Plan where growth should start this year.
What Could Cause That?
Curaçao men living in Holland stand a "relatively higher" chance of being murdered than other inhabitants. "Relatively" is correct, that's 14 times as high.
Maybe it's their lifestyle. Too much listening to music. Or something.
PS™ party is still protecting Fräudlein Wiels. She really must have found some humongous skeleton in the party closet. Take heart, me lads, that party will be gone in a few months.
Oh wait, not quite yet. Oscar Derby, hired from Jamaica to fix our FAA degraded status, after having "worked" on that for 4 years has been fired. But he'll remain in function for 3 more months, during which he may try again, helped or not by the WICK group. Last definite date-of-fixing announced was March, 2016. Hey, that was 4 months ago!
He'll be replaced by M
rs. Caroline Manuel Gonzalez as interim director. Whoever that is. No new upgrade date is mentioned (wisely).
The devastating Soab report on Fräudlein Wiels has, after much pressure from coalition partners, now finally been forwarded to Staten/Parliament. Which means that it's public, which in turn means the public ministry can peruse it officially and act as they deem fit.
The protestant schools are not happy with the judge saying they should ask the government for reimbursement of extra costs, not the parents. No doubt they're skeptical if they'll ever get it, with good reason.
You may like it or not, but that glut is here to stay. What happens is, crude oil prices, like for any and all commodities, go up and down. As soon as they go up above, say $50/barrel, small US frackers jump into it and start producing as it's profitable; when the price goes down enough because of that, they stop. For the time being. Until it goes up again.
Which means, Venezuela can forget it. For the time being.
Don't Believe Me
Or the doomsayers, fair's fair. Check it out for yourself... Sealevel has not been rising, not so you'd notice.
Too bad all those beeped beach hotels do not in danger after all.
Carl Hiaasen discovered this "beeped" term as well, but I was far ahead. It was inevitable, a mystery it took so long.
Aruba's economy is 90% dependent on tourism. Very risky, that. Small wonder that they want to keep that refinery running (which, by the way, has been delayed again as we all confidently expected). But this "industry" which Our Leaders desperately want to build up here (as they don't have any better ideassmall wonder, they have very few ideas anyway) is coming apart at the seams. That is, if we may believe a letter by Remigio, ex-director of ATA. Which I guess means Aruba Tourist Association, close enough.
The beaches are being ruined by filth, with a cruddy muck covering the sea bottom. Atrakos, burglaries and car thefts are as popular as here. There has been a broad daylight atrako on the very beach of the Carlton-Ritz; so much for security. It will be a matter of time before the tourists start staying away; in droves, as the saying goes.
One Happy Island? That's Aruba's slogan. It's only now that they are polling the Arubianos on how happy they really are...
Ye Olde Delaying Trick
Ex-PM Shorty's appeal will be postponed because his new lawyers must be given time to study the case. Postponed until after the next elections, got it?
A long time ago I met a Chinese running a snack in Trinidad, who told me he'd swum to Hong Kong across the river to escape the communist régime. He said, not wasting any words, "China no good. Everybody must work for the government."
I was once again reminded of this by Venezuela president Maduro's recent decree that all Venezuelans are now slaves: "Any employee in Venezuela can be effectively made to work in the country's fields as a way to fight the current food crisis [which] is unlawful and effectively amounts to forced labor" says Amnesty International.
And it won't help a bit, either.
5 more wind generators will be erected in my field of view, at Tera Cora (doubling the fun). Even here in Curaçao we start reading negative comments and complaints, among others about house values depreciating. Not to mention the generally accepted fact that it costs more energy to build such a monster than it will deliver in its lifetime, so what are we talking about?
Cancer-fighting Fundashon Prevenshon will get their subsidy after all, "hopefully" this year; in parts and bits.
Godett wants a referendum to decide if the party should run in the coming elections. Well, what else do you have a political party for? My guess is, elections cost money, and money is tight; Godett has spent it all.
I guess not, but like with global warming, maybe an ever-lengthening pause. Shlumberger is said shut down 4 of the 6 oil drilling rigs off Maracaïbo, and Halliburton pulling a similar act because of non payment. San Antonio and Petrex drillers shut down 36 rigs.
"Such a downturn would have big implications for a) global oil supply, b) Latin American oil trade (including the U.S. Gulf Coast), and c) Venezuela projects, national finances, and politics." You bet.
PAR and PIAS say (that's what they do) they're so mad about the last Wiels brouhaha, there's talk about the coalition falling apart and the government taking its leave. The 2 parties want more transparency. Don't we all.
Hard to Rhyme Too
Or in Twitter lingo, 2. We read that the hurricane season has been below par because of Sahara dust which dries out the atmosphere, even though the Atlantic Ocean is hot enough. But also, we're told India has a heavy monsoon season because of all the desert dust in the atmosphere. Can't both be right, or is that only me? What you'd call "ad hoc".
Marc Morano, a well-known climate skeptic, foretells the hurricanes will still be coming, later in the season. We can only wait and see.
Hard to Rhyme
On the same day, we get to hear that drugs import/export via Curaçao is going down (must be a real blow to the economy) but that more drug couriers are caught on Hato airport. There's a contradiction here, or am I wrong?
That's Not So Easy
A new US "study" says that the only way we can be saved from catastrophe and doom is a total shutdown of all fossil fuel power. While this definitely would get rid of our refinery problems, I tend to think it's rather unpractical. But then, most of the warmists/greenies' proposals strike me that way.
"Say goodbye to Uber, iPhones, computers, trains, planes, automobiles, air conditioners, heating, or anything that even remotely relies on fossil fueled power". 2016-07-31
Back, Bad as Ever
Fräudlein Wiels has had another report, this time by SOAB government accounting. Nothing to get excited about, confirms everything once again. €235k have just disappeared, administration is a mess. But interestingly, PM Whiteman of the same Sainted Wiels PS™ party, has had the report for 3 months and keeps it hidden under his fat derrière.
Hawai'i is phasing out solar subsidies—for cost reasons. And me thinking solar energy was free!
Sunshine hours in the Hawai'ian islands are about the same as here.
"The subsidies shift the costs of maintaining the electrical grid onto households that don't have solar panels, thus effectively transferring money from the poor to the rich." But here, Green Force is protesting mightily against Aqualectra utility cutting back on buy-back tariffs. Makes you think a bit. Wish it made them think a bit.
Good to Know
Curaçao Hato Airport contribution to the economy is about 10%, just as much as that of Isla refinery. Caveat: that's what Hato tells us.
4 of the spoiled brats at Auntie Suzy's department are mad because of a radio program in which the announcer had the temerity, the unheard of foolhardy presumption, to claim that they were bribable. They will go to court, they say. Keep tuned, I'll tell you if they actually will.
That Will Help
A Venezuelan minister is ready and prepared to come over to Curaçao to talk with the contractors; he's sure that will calm them down. They have been complaining for a long time now that locals don't get a chance, as the refinery prefers to fly in Venezuelan workers who, when paid much less in guilders or dollars (virtually the same thing) make much more than they could make in their own country.
Those small tokos, who were first forced by the Tax Person (or as a Brooklynite might say, Poison) to buy expensive cash registers so they couldn't defraud on receipts, have found an easy solution. They don't give you a receipt.
Now the Tax Poison wants to go check on that more intensively. For which they'll need more
spoiled brat poisonspersonnel, of course.
As far as I know, we've not been told who it was that got the attractive cash register commission.
What Else to Expect
The Campo Alegre, our national pride, the biggest bordello in the Caribbean, is reputed to be a total mess. Of course. No social security payments, tax fraud, money laundering, crooked gang members hanging around with guns.
We Get Blamed, Who Else?
You get used to it... The hotels have a say 50% occupation, which of course is caused by those squalid private apartments, which tourists seem to prefer. Maybe because they're cheaper. That's not the tourists' fault, and certainly not the hotels'.... no, those exploiting money-grabbing private room-renters are to blame.
I can't remember when the hotel occupation rate ever was sufficient, and I'm pretty old.
Good News; That Is...
... if you're invited. Brush up your nightlife outfit, and especially don't forget your digestion aids. Plenty of sumptuous bites & booze guaranteed! A new Global Climate conference, this one in Morocco, November. And we thinking it was all settled in Paris last December. But the Warmies and Greenies need to spend more money and jet fuel. Don't forget the jet fuel.
The installation of security cameras is now entering its 2nd phase. There are 4 phases, so we're left to wonder when the last phase will be implemented. The 1st phase was supposed to be finished 1 month ago. Originally planned end date: March 2015.
It wasn't the DAE bankruptcy where Garcia embezzled $11m as curator, but at Banco di Maracaibo. He declared (to Girobank?) that he had deposited that amount in an MCBank account, but in fact, he deposited only 11K and put the rest in his own account; then he falsified the deposit slip.
Frightening, how easy it is to get away with it. Banco di Maracaibo went bankrupt 20 years ago and it's only now discovered.
Word of Warning
SVB social security bank director Capella warns us not to go for promises to augment the AOW welfare pension from 800 to 1000 guilders/month, and forget as well about reducing the minimum age back from 65 to 60. The money's just not available, but politicians' promises are cheap and abundant. Election time, folks.
At least Capella tells us AOW payments are guaranteed for the next five years. Don't grow too old! Pay up, then die.
PAR politicians are running away and joining PIAS, the spineless party. Same for ex-PAR, now indie MP Sulvaran. Neither party has been doing really well in public opinion (and mine) as far as I can see, so why the rush?
A while ago, you could suddenly start seeing Bandabao spelled as Bándabao; now I read Bandábao (and Bandáriba). What foolishess is this? Everybody pronounces the names for the downwind and upwind halves of the island with emphasis on "bao" and "ríba" so why those accents? Other places, you see Bandabao spelled as Bandabou these days. Next thing, like Macao became Macau, it's Curaçau? And why not Bandabau?
Still No Money
Fundashon Prevenshon still have not received their subsidy, all in all almost 2m guilders. Oh well, it's only for cancer patients. They've been waiting for 7 weeks now and may need to go to court. More money wasted instead of used.
New Chapter of Advent Soap
The Advent lawyer claims that the complaints by a neighbor prejudice the hospital in its defense interests, and should be declared inadmissible. But there's precious little his statement is based on. For example, one argument is that the foundation Advent bought the buildings from ought to be sued, not Advent (sounds very weak to this non-lawyer).
At the same time, moles report that the complainant has finally had access to the building permits and surprise! even the original Taams clinic did as they liked, often without any valid permits.
That protest march organized by the two clowns is on the day all suspects of the Wiels murder are to be announced. A KKCur reader remarks none of the media seem to have noticed. But maybe the comic duo never noticed themselves.
You can download a digital version of the Willems report on the site of the public ministry. Here's the link. So sorry, in Dutch of course.
Eric Garcia, one of the former directors of the as-good-as-dead Girobank, has been arrested on Hato airport. He's suspected of having stolen USD10 million in the DAE bankruptcy case where he was a curator, and of fraud. There's another case against him, for fake loans, together with Girobank co-director Capella. Also about USD10m. Funny thing is, Garcia was arrested upon arrival, not upon departure.
Try, Try Again
Ex-minister of justice Ribeiro has announced yet another plan to combat Curaçao crime. He wants to achieve this by promoting traffic safety. His reasoning is rather simplistic: after committing a crime, a criminal must (like the pedestrian in base school arithmatic) move from D to A, but on his way he has to pass points C and E. If you control traffic at C & E, voila! you catch him. (But Ribeiro forgets to mention what happens if the criminal chooses to drive by B instead.)
Ribeiro is a member of Amparo dos Santos's party Kòrsou di nos Tur which explains a lot.
Some Dough Left
Ex-PM Shorty does have the money to pay for a new set of lawyers in his appeal. We're so glad. That the delaying tactic didn't work, is why we're glad.
What's really laughable, he got two lawyers from Holland, assisted by one local, to represent him. This after his standard stooges wanted to have local judges for the appeal.
That Will Work
Auntie Suzy's dept announces, they will put up signs near places of illegal building, warning "tut tut, naughty!" Also at illegal trash dumps.
Still no news about those guys at Boca Samihi who got honored with a sign they'd have to get out before June 7, or else. Yeah, what else? What else is silence.
It's Free, Innit?
When the protestant schools got parent protests against the extra contribution they'd have to pay, the judge in his magnificent wisdom decided that's right, it's the government has to pay. So the schools now send the 1.5 million bill to the dept. of education.
The comic duo Peterson and Sulvaran, house lawyers of Shorty's MoFok party, want to organize a protest march for yet another referendum (number 4? I lost count). An "honest" one, as if anybody had any complaints about those before. August 17 in Willemstad, so I guess the beaches will be pretty full that day.
In a letter (in Papiamentu) to Ye Editors they demand their money back! The money stolen from us, or them, or both by PAR and PNP. A diversion of course; for sure those parties have been stealing but that's not the point right now, is it?
They want "Curaçao's independence back"; and me here never noticing we'd lost it.
Up In Smoke
What a pity. Large parts of the Isla/Rdk refinery administration from 2010-2012 seems to be lost without a trace. Just when we were really getting interested. Reminds you of those Clinton emails, and the USA IRS files; shining examples!
That was the period when Shorty played dictator and his father-in-common-law van der Dijs was made president of the refinery. With a little help from his friends.
What Could Go Wrong?
InselAir wants to make it easier for pilots with a foreign license to turn it into a local one. Funny thing is, the requirements were tightened to help get Curaçao the FAA A1 status back. Still funnier is, without that upgrade InselAir can't open new routes to the USA market. Does director Heerenveen even have equipment to think with?
100 Million Short
The AOW old age welfare fund is 99m guilders short. Situation became a bit better since the minimum age was pulled up to 65 years, but it's still in the red. No wonder they just voted to give 10% less and no Christmas bonus to those who prefer to leave Curaçao and live elsewhere (traitors!)
And forget about raising it to a reasonable sum you can actually live on.
Ex-PM Shorty complains that the report resulting from the public survey serves only to discredit him and his MoFok party. Everybody's against him, he whimpers, not for the first time just like the cartoon character. "They all try to associate MoFok with mismanagement"—which isn't hard.
We Hate Tromp
Herbert Suriël of FAS explains that, after the Gang of Goons of the Shorty coalition had stolen 262 million guilders (USD144m) from Isla refinery (not counting what more they got away with) their beady eye was directed at Central Bank, which has 3 billion in gold and foreign currencies reserves. Small wonder they hate director Tromp who stopped that robbery!
Remember Sainted PS™ Wiels† also lodged a complaint against Tromp?
Maybe Aruba will decide in November if they'll start test drilling. Then again, maybe not. One problem is, British Gas is now owned by Shell and got out of the Repsol combination. 100 million is needed for the tests. But Aruba remains optimistic. Sure.
Thinking of His Belly
PS™ Córdoba feels it's a shame the government wants to permit shops to open on Sundays. It's the pest for family life, he says, they can't eat together on Sundays like they used to. So that's what Sundays are for! And this is one guy who's clamoring for tourism.
He's also worried about the government talking about minimum wages. He might well be... if they go up too much, welcome robots! Goodbye jobs!
In That Case...
No 80-20 law yet, it still has to worked out before presentation for signing to the governor—who is rumored not to do so anyway, following the advice of Raad van Advies [advisory council] as the law is discriminatory. But PS™ Córdoba says he's ready for war, as the law is essential for the Curaçao economy.
In that case, I know a lot of things that could be done first; granting he's right.
Inselair, in severe trouble because of mismanagement, has been promised a third financial injection by minister Rhuggenaath. L'histoire se répète; which means, they never learn.
But Caprileskliniek, also in heavy weather, must negotiate and negotiate till the cows come home. The difference is, Caprileskliniek has to follow directives. This means the higher tariffs advised by the country can't be charged because the country forbids it. Capisce?
Rhuggenaath can't explain why Inselair flights are so often delayed. I guess they can't explain it themselves.
Oh Those Dutch
In the Brazilian national oil company Petrobras scandal, where corruption and fraud are the Leitmotiv and the country's ex-president may be impeached, those incorruptible Dutch have a player as well: ship-leasing firm SBM Offshore. They've just been fined $163 million, of which Petrobras will receive $149.2 million. Back, it's safe to presume.
Makes your mouth water to think what could happen here with Werner Wiels and all the other goons in the KPG gang. But best guess is for now, alas, it won't happen.
SBM is not operating in Venezuela or here.
They Asked Us!?
Well, no... not exactly. Dutch Tweede Kamer [parliament] wants to have the opinion of our Staten [parliament] on the future of Isla refinery. That's not exactly asking us, you know. That would mean a referendum.
More and more I think the Swiss got the right idea: important questions are not handled by delegates but by the people.
Here, PM Whiteman and health minister Victorina, both PS™, when confronted with a Dutch motion to pray tell in less than 3 months how a reduction in emissions was planned, appointed 2 external experts. That was in February, 5 months ago.
Gee, I wonder how much those experts are paid—per month.
That's a Relief
The zika epidemic extinguishes itself, just wait 2 or 3 years when everybody's had it. And if you start spraying against mosquitoes now, you just postpone that date, because less people will get it that soon. So better stop spraying. Is this logic? Reminds me of Curaçao doctor Spong, which genius came out a few years ago with the same advice on chikungunya: just wait until everybody's had it, then the epidemic is over. So it is when everybody's dead, Spong.
Epidemiologist Gerstenbluth says we're past that stage already here, and since dengue is known to exist in four forms, it's a more acute danger.
Too bad if your mother was pregnant and got it in that period, you pinhead.
Count One Blessing
One good thing about having a refinery right smack in the middle of Willemstad, we have real gasoline with no green ethanol rubbish mixed in.
Hit Her Hard
Auntie Suzy got herself another fight with ombudsman: this time about renters in social housing projects. They were supposed to be able to buy their houses after two years, but never got the chance. Some have paid over 325% of the value in rent already, instead of part-payment. Letters by ombudsman were just ignored; auntie now gets until July 29 or ombudsman will... yeah, what? He doesn't say. At least, the media don't say.
The story now is, that chicken farm has been working for years without a valid permit, and their handling of the chicken manure is shitty. Which doesn't change the fact that the government did change ruling zones to have some developers build entire new neighborhoods in an agricultural zone.
In case you wonder, that's Afrikaans for "chicken shit".
Be Our Guest, But Do Something
Public ministry's Serphos announces they will ask the court to make the report resulting from the civil survey public so stakeholders can take action on their own, like Aqualectra and Isla refinery RdK—and FAS who asked for the survey. But FAS's Suriël states they've done quite enough, it was a struggle to get the ball rolling in the first place, but the guilty parties by all means should be prosecuted.
Meanwhile, Indie MP Leeflang opines that, when parliament does not take any correcting steps, members are just as guilty for not doing anything about it. PIAS Rosaria says that's too heavy; sure, he never took any steps.
MAN Koeiman, PS™ Saint Wiels†, Mudbelly Cooper and everybody else in the Shorty coalition: all accessories and guilty as hell. Not to mention their party MPs, like Arsjes.
And while we're at it, lets not forget Mario Evertsz, Maria Liberia-Peters, George Hueck, Nelson Monte, Papa & Baby Godett... it goes on and on all the way back to Ronchi Isa and Juancho Evers. At least. Plenty more where they came from.
Went Too Far
VBC entrepreneurs club emphasizes that the people should not be the victims of malfeasances, just published in a recent report (problem here is, we are victims already). At any rate, VBC underscores that the guilty ones should be obliged to pay up. That'll teach 'em! and may prevent other politicians to try the same dirty tricks (problem here is, many, especially our, politicians are downright unteachable; it's a habit, a dishonorable tradition).
Residents of Pietermaai have gone to to court to prevent auntie Suzy handing out a third building permit for an illegal building, after the judge canceled the two preceding ones, but building went on regardless.
Others have petitioned to remove all 14 gates there in alleys leading to the sea. For now, they have all been unlocked (no doubt because of the Baoase scandal) but people want them removed entirely, as they are afraid (such paranoia!) locks will reappear in the future.
But auntie Suzy reassures them she's working on a plan to guarantee access to the sea. The residents' lawyers plan to hold her personally responsible. They give her one month. We all know her and her plans.
Britain Gets Out
The UK has not only appointed climate skeptic Boris as foreign minister, it will also close down its DECC: Department of Energy and Climate Change. Not the final nail in the coffin for the 2015 Paris climate treaty; not even the first one. But how many do you need to keep the lid on?
Saves the UK £19 billion/year (USD24b, ANG42b).
In related news, sea rise is now estimated at 1.8 ±0.3mm/year or 18cm/century (even less in the Arctic seas). A far cry from the .5 to 1.5m rise by 2100 predicted before.
Willemstad is much safer from sea level rise than from illegal builders.
Aqualectra is in trouble, and so are we. There's too little power available because of maintenance, okay, that can happen (even if it shouldn't); and also, wind is below average so the wind generators don't deliver enough.
But according to Meteo Hato, wind is expected to be in the range of 11 to 21 knots (not counting gusts); the July average is 12 knots.
Gee, He Noticed
InselAir director Heerenveen admits that his company has many delays. It's because "the distances are so short for the Fokker F50s" (it's what they were built for) and also, there's a pilot shortage. As if he doesn't know that when he keeps opening new lines.
Herbert Curiël of Akshón Sivil, the instigators of the civil survey, says the resulting report is just a start. Those responsible must be sued. Not only is Aqualectra almost bankrupt (and we're all paying for the damage resulting), RdK/Isla refinery alone has been relieved of 262 million guilders with 3/4 of its capital invested in BOO power plant. In fact, Suriël says, the report merely confirms what we all have known for years.
Maybe It Will Go Away
Ombudsman is losing his patience. Auntie Suzy nor C***-Post deign to react on his questions on the deplorable community mail boxes, so the next move has to be nasty questions in Staten/parliament. If that'll help is another question; our leaders have a habit of keeping their eyes and mouths tightly shut until it has blown over. And you know what? It often works. Too often. Much too often.
Put the Bite on Where It Hurts
Indie MP Leeflang proposes to confiscate money from all crooks responsible for the organized theft of Aqualectra's and other companies' assets under the reign of ex-PM Shorty. Than which nothing could be fairer. But PIAS Rosaria states we should follow the rule of law here; as if Leeflang proposes something else.
Leeflang, who in fact holds most of parliament members responsible as they, under Arsjes's great leadership, let it all pass by, also wants Werner Wiels fired from his super-paying jobs. Fat chance.
Unhappy Green Island
Even though Aruba is proudly bragging that it's a Green Island, parliament is not happy with PM Eman signing all kinds of (expensive) accords deriving from the 2015 Paris treaty without consulting them. In fact, he can't. So why worry? The accords, as far as I can see, are not valid. May give you a bad name, there's that.
Apart from that, they have a point. When India and China declare they will not keep to the Paris Treaty (which isn't even a treaty), why should Aruba? All that noise about Paris is just that: a big noise.
Eman is reported "to travel all around the world signing agreements" (nice hobby!) on other subjects, as well. Smacks of dictatorship.
Ex-PM Shorty is suing Curaçao country for "invasion of privacy" as Curaçao had the temerity, the impertinence, the deplorable effrontery to investigate his criminal doings. Which is why he had no fair chance in the Babel process, shortly to be appealed. It's true, too: the public ministry knew enough about his wheelings and dealings to get him convicted on all counts.
Interestingly, he does have a lawyer for this one, Sulvaran's crony Peterson. Which makes me think that getting rid of lawyer Sulvaran was just a delaying tactic—which won't work.
At any rate, I'm sure this will make no difference in the Babel appeal. I am no lawyer, but like to consider myself smarter than Shorty, Peterson and Sulvaran lumped together. Which, granted, isn't saying much.
Speculations are this is an ill-timed move, meant to come before the appeal sessions; but Shorty and his
MerryUnpleasant Men were take by surprise.
Hard to Please
By 2020 (1 year after Isla's desired definite demise) all gasoline car engines will be using gasoline direct injection (GDI) instead of port fuel injection (PFI), resulting in up to 14% higher fuel efficiency. (At first sight, bad news for electric and diesel cars.) But the greenies and warmies are already worried as these engines may produce more black carbon, expected to have a global warming effect. This can be canceled out by applying an exhaust filter, problem solved.
Said G&W are still unhappy; they just want all cars except electric ones to disappear.
Disregarding the obvious point: where do you get the energy to charge those car batteries?
Inhabitants of Pietermaai feel that the illegal building there, constructed with an illegal building permit, must be razed to the ground, and they hold the minister, auntie Suzy, responsible.
To recapitulate, the builders were permitted to finish even though the judge quashed the illegal permit during construction.
One Rotten Mess
That's the situation at Aqualectra utility, thanks to ex-PM's Shorty reign. Power was taken away from management and given to the board, which consists of government appointees. Among which Shorty's father-in-common-law van der Dijs, he of the oil imperium.
Experts were hired in great profusion for vague advices and exorbitant fees, a well-known phenomenon.
Result is Aqualectra now is at the edge of bankruptcy; we all have been paying for those machinations since Shorty was toppled, and will go on paying for many years to come.
It's more or less the same with Isla refinery RdK, but Curoil seems to have done somewhat better. All this is not news but has been confirmed by the civilian survey, the results of which have been leaked to Amigoe newspaper.
Justice dept. says not much can be done about youth criminality for lack of funds. They
needwant more money for that. No doubt for a committee to look into and report on the matter—in due time.
They do mention several taakaccenthouders; sorry, I can't possibly tell you what that would mean in English, not even in Dutch. Doesn't matter: these guys are supposed to occupy themselves with youth problems but "do not give full-time implementation to their duties."
See? Obviously, we need to hire and pay more of those types.
Let This Cup Pass From Me
The Whinery, after all that brouhaha, is getting ready to gather the grapes of wrath. They may even succeed in turning the sour grapes into wine and bottle it as the first Caribbean wine as they keep bragging. Even Amstel had to close their brewery long since, and while I'm curious if this enterprise has been worth while after all (I doubt it), I won't sample a taste, thank you.
No doubt the whine will be priced above my modest budget anyway.
Now the word "terrorist" is not PC anymore. At least, Reuters thinks so: if you write for them (good thing I don't) you may use the word but not for a specific event.
Hmmm... what to use instead? Gottit! "Muslim"! After all, everybody knows they're peaceful, so that can't be wrong.
On Those Ads You may have noticed, we run Google ads to eke out at least some money from these pages. Get rich quick, it ain't... if enough money came in to pay the costs of hosting alone we've had a good year.
Just now I received a reminder from Google:
Please reconsider your blocking of ads on the following subjects: "Black Magic, Astrology and Esoteric" - "Drugs & Supplements" - "Get Rich Quick".
All these are "standard allowable" unless explicitly blocked. Which we did.
Gripin' 'n' Grumblin'
Ex-PM Shorty is loudly complaining that he has had to read in the papers about the August 11 appeal date, while he has to register his MoFoK party for the elections on August 8. It's a conspiracy to prevent him to partake in the elections! he sobs. (He has been forbidden, that's what's he appealing among plenty other things.) At any rate, public ministry's Serphos says Shorty has received a regular summons.
Just between you and me, who would you think is lying here?
Also, Shorty is looking for money to pay a new lawyer; otherwise, he and his moll will have to defend themselves. Comments Serphos, "that's not our problem." Looks like lawyer Peterson (who could have thought it?) is wise for once, as he may be forced to give up his fee when Shorty is convicted again (as it'd be derived from criminal sources).
So Shorty spent all that loot he has been grabbing? How like him. Musta figured "plenty more where that came from." If he did any figuring at all. Hey, Big Spender! Spend a little time in jail... to misquote the old song.
Citibank has blocked all foreign payments by the Venezuela government, which means PdVSA cannot pay for the sweet, light, crude they need to mix with heavy oil to be able to sell the product. Which means they cannot sell any oil, period.
If Maduro doesn't find another way to pay, true. But that surely will result in delays.
Meanwhile, Aruba PM Eman keeps insisting that the Lago/Valero refinery will reopen August 1, "but in a start-up phase." Nobody seems to believe that anymore; probably not even he himself (but you never know with politicians).
Makes one wonder when all those tankers patiently waiting to discharge at Bullenbaai will disappear.
Curaçao has not paid its 16% share of the Kustwacht [coast guard] operations since 2015, to the tune of 7 million guilders. Holland is going to ask Fräudlein Wiels in den Haag, "how about it?"
Worse, the Fundashon Prevenshon (of cancer) hasn't had it's money either, complains indie MP Leeflang.
Navarro says the coast guard will be paid next week, they're waiting for ministry of finance. Sure... If you don't kick up, you won't get a cent.
Now for the cancer prevention funds.
Baoase management now comes with a proposal to put in a new special corridor for local yokels; also the beach will be renewed and become accessible to anybody. Nice try Baoase; doesn't take one iota away from the fact that first, you illegally tried to stop them, by force, from exercising their rights.
Baoase also deny they've done anything illegal, what else is new.
MoFoK ex-PM Shorty's appeal in the Babel case will come to court on August 21. Surely too late to prevent him taking part in the next elections, September 30 for which 19 parties, count 'em, have registered already.
Shorty has been convicted to three years in jail plus 5 years of deprivation of passive election rights for fraud, money laundering, possession of illegal jammers, bribery and false declaration of losing his diplomatic passport.
It's gonna be a real problem for further parties to select their color.
The good news is, clown Sulvaran may retire as lawyer. But judging from his past results, that may be good news for Shorty, and anyway: more delay as they'll have to get a new lawyer.
Song and Dance
The Skol Humanisto (which has absolutely nothing in common with humanism) was supposed to have been started by author Frank Martinus for education in Papiamento. But now that they have started a high school (in a new building paid for the government while other schools are fobbed off) they want to have lessons in English. Not Dutch, imagine, that would be treason. They can attract very good English-speaking teachers, they say. Not Dutch ones?
Also, Erasmus ["Erasmo"] isn't mentioned as the school's name any more. But hey, let's face it: Erasmus was a Dutchman, and must be ausradiert.
For Us, But Not for You
Cft financial supervision advises the government that government-owned companies' yearly accounts for 2015 have not been presented yet; should have been received beginning of June. None of them have taken the trouble.
Don't you dare try this with the Tax Person.
Beach for the Rich
Hotel/restaurant Baoase, from everything I hear expensive and exclusive as hell, thought it a good idea to put up a fence in the alley next to it (a public road), leading to the sea, so the locals couldn't access it any more. At the same time, they put in a chain so the beach can't be accessed from the sea, either.
Local inhabitants protested, accompanied by a lawyer, until the High and Mighty management gave in. Auntie Suzy says she's following it with an eagle's eye and will not tolerate it. But it happened, auntie! And you were of no help whatsoever.
Strike Me Blind
80% of all astronauts become blind. This has to do with the lack of gravity. There are more problems, like osteoporosis, but that one can be handled by diet and lifestyle. I also don't know how long the space trip has to be before blindness starts setting in. But I'd think more than three times before buying a ticket for the Vomit Comet.
Thing is, we just don't belong in space; not even on top of Mount Everest. But that doesn't stop fools to want to go there—or to Mars. Trend in space research is, wisely: send robots there instead!
The Russians knew this in the late 1950s, already.
There's so much refined oil in stock in Europe (diesel, gasoline, heating oil) that it's hardly worth while refining crude anymore. Earnings on that have fallen to $5.75/barrel, about 1/5 of what they were a year ago.
Looks really good for Citgo, PdVSA, Aruba and Isla.
Other news is, Maduro has been forced to cut oil exports to Cuba to half. Take that, Castro!
Tiara Air has not been flying for years now and the workers are getting tired. They want to start bankrupt procedures to try and get their salaries. I don't know about Aruba law, but in socialist welfare paradise Holland, personnel is the very last on the list to get its money in case of bankruptcy. (I know because it happened to me.)
A headline in Amigoe newspaper states there have been 6 illegal buildings a week during the last decades, Grand Total (but who's counting?) ~10,000, and asks "how did it come that far?". Alas, it's behind a pay-wall, so I, and therefore you, have to wait a bit for more details.
UPDATE: Nothing new there, only that the trouble is said to have started under Mudbelly Cooper and grew worse under Balborda. Bull manure: it has been going on since 1980 at least. (Amigoe says 30 years, close enough.) Measures announced to stop this now are sure to be insufficient, mainly because the authorities are said to be seriously understaffed and at DOW [dept of public works] there has been a strike in protest.
Another blast of hot air with elections in sight.
I read PS™ Córdoba (for once) has a bright idea: if you can pay whatever you owe in backward taxes and/or rent, you may stay. If not, get out of there and we'll rent the house to somebody who needs it. (Like you, at that point?)
Let's see: it's claimed there are 80 million guilders for the catching in tax and rent arrears. Over 30 years (this is very rough and ready) and 10,000 houses that averages out to 80 million/5000=16,000 guilders, ~$9k) per house. Ya know, I'd just pay up and feel I got off cheap.
Whom to Believe?
While SMOC claims Isla's SO2 pollution has grown, Isla denies this and says, no, it became less. But as far as I can judge, Isla's figures are still appreciably over UNESCO-norms anyway.
Main reason for less SO2 would be, lower, not cleaner, production of course.
The Baby Has Arrived
That was a long gestation, but it's finally there: the result of the civiele enquête into fraud at Isla Refinery and Aqualectra, Curoil and Curgas utilities. It's all about the good old (for some) times when Shorty ruled the roost. It started just under 3 years ago, when Frente Sivil started the civilian survey with the public ministry.
But it's not sure yet if the results will be made public.
Minister Rhuggenaath proudly announces signing an agreement with Seatrade, which eventually will result in 24 jobs for fishing professionals. What's fishy is, Seatrade is a reefer service and doesn't mention fishing activities at all on its website.
Doesn't mean the deal is fishy, of course. Just can't understand it.
The Venezuelan barquettes (barcas: we call them "little barques", barkjes but they're really much too small for that moniker), delivering mainly fruit and other produce, will be stopped from entering Willemstad harbor any time they like, in an effort to control illegal immigration.
Mercellina was fired à bout portant from his job at Digicel when he popped up as nr. 2 on Omayra Leeflang's Un Kòrsou Hustu election list. They had to take him back after media protests, but he won't have to work until his contract expires and he will get his salary. That's good training for a Staten-parliament member!
The Legalization-While-U-Wait for all illegal buildings and terrain thefts is also applicable to Klein Curaçao. Too bad you and I didn't build villas there, they would be worth millions now instanter.
The economy has grown 0.3% in 2015. That's great! We've all earned 3 cents more for every 10 guilders. Besides, we have more years than I care to count to make up for: still in the red.
Hotels, restaurants, transport and (oil) industry, always called the pillars of our economy, all went down. Government grew with 3.9%, 13 times the average. Sounds good huh? Not really—it's us who pay for that.
Other countries around us grew 4%. Just saying.
In this case, for the better. Not caring about dire predictions, since 2012 the number of Caribbean hurricanes has been declining to 1 against the norm of 2-3/year category 3 hurricanes. Since 2005, no major hurricane has hit the US coast. From January 16 until June 30 there have been no hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest period since 1977, and the second longest since 1950.
Of course, climate and weather being what they are: in a constant turmoil, this can change in an eyewink. It's only because it contradicts all those dire predictions I thought I'd mention it.
One quarter of prison cells in German Düsseldorf is occupied by drugs couriers from Curaçao. Remarkable, as the population of Düsseldorf is 4 times that of Curaçao. This no doubt has to do with the weekly Air Berlin flights, heavily subsidized/guaranteed by our government. To attract tourists, got it?
That's a training institute which is in danger of being abolished, which the personnel naturally doesn't like. What's ever worse, they can't get any certitude of what's gonna happen to them. The government talks of replacing them with a technical school and complains about twenty years of malfunctions and mismanagement at FEFFIK. But the funny thing is, present PS™ education minister Dick held a staff function at FEFFIK for years.
Safe and Sure
Finance minister Jardim wants a probe of Central Bank staff. All those guys there were hired before integrity tests were even thought of, so that's okay. Only, he wants to have the tests done by VDC security, where ex-PM Shorty appointed Römer (who didn't pass the old and reliable VDC-screening himself) still holds sway. What's the use!
Could It Be?
PS™ Leonora claims that there is no national policy on implementing digital education, and therefore, with education minister Dick, he wants to stop the 1-laptop-per-pupil plan. But Suares, one of the initiators, says there is one, dating from 2014 and approved by the council of ministers. He is a co-author.
Of course, Dick was no minister then; I forget who was. There have been so many... Dick by now is one of those longest on the job (which isn't saying much).
Leonora and Dick prefer a digital blackboard project, which is not part of that policy. Maybe they made some deal? But saying so would be dangerously close to slander, defamation, and libel. So no, I'm sure it's all above board. Quite sure.
It is just a tad suspicious that we're talking ANG19m, over $18m, here. 2016-07-07
At least, not about the low price Aqualectra utility pays for solar panel feeds. It could be worse (and probably will): in Pennsylvania, the utilities have stopped paying for that completely. It's a regular trend to stop subsidies on "green" power.
Small wonder: relatively, solar power receives 326 times more subsidies than conventional energy sources, but only accounts for 0.6 percent of electricity generated in the U.S. for 2015. When you read about how much alternative power (not fossil-fuel based) is used in the world, remember that those figures include people heating and cooking by burning wood—or dung.
The 2011-2015 Plan for Health Prevention (don't laugh! that really is what it's called) has not been executed. Only 10% of the planned projects has been finished, still working on 13% and forget about the 77% remaining.
Another missed chance! They could have installed a well-salaried committee to work on it.
Speedy Security has been given the job of protecting government buildings. What makes this stunning is that it's owned by MoFoK ex-minister Imalootin (still a suspect in the Wiels murder case). Besides, Speedy hasn't even taken part in the public tender.
Mudbelly Cooper and the other ex-MAN members join the free-for-all fray with yet another party, Patriótiko Adelanto Sosial or PAS. We wholeheartedly wish them the worst of luck.
Shall I Say It?
Yes: "I told you so!" Not only the opposition in Aruba is mad because the ballyhooed agreement with Citgo on the take-over and upgrade of the Lago-Valero refinery, on presentation by PM Eman turns out to be an empty windbag.
But Eman proudly shouts out that the Aruba-Citgo deal is much better than the Curaçao-PdVSA one. That ain't hard; we got the worst deal you could imagine. At any rate, we also have a working refinery, which for Aruba remains to be seen.
You just can't get used to it. PAR has asked the minister questions on the probably illegal car-lotteries by Shorty's MoFoK party, but minister Navarro keeps mum and the silent grave.
PM Whiteman is peed off because there were so few visitors at the Brionplein Dia di Bandera manifestation. That was because so many people were at Montaña where free tickets for a concert were distributed by (Rolling Stones) Elias. When Whiteman had the temerity to criticize Elias for this, Elias flew into a rage and in turn announced "no more free concerts."
Interpol will assist us in the pooh-poohed influx of Venezuelan refugees. That won't help much, kids; Interpol is only interested in registering criminals. And no matter what you think, not all Venezuelans are criminals.
Aqualectra utility is mighty proud. There will shortly be erected five more monstrosity wind generators, good for 16.5mW. We'll have to see about that. Curaçao is now 2nd in the world after Denmark with alternative energy, they proudly crow. In Denmark, electricity is the most expensive in the world at $0.41/kW or ANG0.75.; even here we're better off (for now) at ANG0.58.
Also, we're now ahead of Aruba in greenery! Wow, that makes me feel good. Such childishness.
The wind generators supposedly come from Holland but they can't fool us: Vestas is a Danish brand.
Not Quite Free
Pupils' parents of protestant schools complain that, notwithstanding "free education", they have to pay extra for divers items. Says the school association, yes, but we're religious and we have extra-curricular activities that cost. Like air conditioning, computers and noise insulation.
It won't help you much do go to a faith-less school, I guess. The parents have gone to court.
InterAssure tells us that they've made a small loss (which would break my back) last year, caused by the mandatory WA (liability) car insurance. There are 20 times as many car accidents per number of cars than in Holland, and the premium is just too low.
You Might Well Arsk
Parliament members have asked what is the meaning of the Dia di Bandera [flag day, vlaggetjesdag] celebrated past Saturday, for the Curaçao people.
You know, I always wondered about that myself.
Dear Prez Maduro
Here's some more bad news for you (excuse the Schadenfreude; it's extremely well-meant). China prefers the Russian sweet low-sulfur crude above the Saudi product, which also is farther away. Let alone the sulfur-heavy Venezuelan oil, which China has to accept because they were foolish enough to make a weapons-for-oil barter deal with former president Chávez. The deal has been renegotiated already but, as the Saudis offer their product for lower prices now, all that work has to be redone.
Looks good for the Chinese investing in an Isla refinery upgrade, dunnit?
PAR Ex-PM IJs, if you may believe letters to KKCur, has been working for Ansary, yes, he, in the past. And for Ennia Insurance; nothing but a coincidence—naturally! Hard to get more info, but it may still pop up. Pretty sure it won't be in Het Financieele Dagblad!
That SO2, sulfur dioxide, that our Isla refinery distributes so freely (much to not only SMOC's chagrin) is an important factor in the formation of aerosols. And guess what? Aerosols, tiny particles that float in the air (think paint spray cans) are an important factor in reducing heat from the sun, and thus have a cooling effect.
On the other hand, the warmer it is, the more rain. Though you wouldn't think so.
Come on, Let's Twist Again
As predicted, here's CTB tourist office's twist: number of tourists in May has fallen by 8%, but in the first 5 months this year, it was 2% up! Hey, that's good; only, 7% less staid (in May, 11%). Besides, it was the same all over in the Caribbean (talk about cold comfort). The infamous and notorious Master Plan counts on growth starting this year; good luck with that.
All illegal buildings will be checked if they meet criteria. If not, the owner "will get time to remove it." A lot of time, I'd guess.
Only one more problem: a building permit is not one of the criteria. In other words, all illegal buildings will be legalized if they stand up without crutches. Thanks, auntie Suzy! That will make people think twice before they'll start an illegal building.
In fact, all those illegal buildings auntie Römer was making such a song and dance about may well be allowed to stay up.
Hop On, Hop Off
It will cost you $150 to get on one of those boats transporting fruit etc. from Coro, Venezuela to Willemstad, Curaçao. That's not so much; Jews in WWII paid thousands of dollars to get from Denmark to Sweden on fishing boats (and not even counting inflation), just a bit farther. No doubt prices will go up when conditions worsen.
Once here, you just jump ship and disappear in downtown Willemstad. Since Chávez, 4% of the population has already left, but not all came here... That, we'd have noticed. Even so, the number of STD infections is climbing rapidly with Venezuelan women coming over to ply their trade.
That's Pretty Bad
On the black list of countries involved in human trafficking St. Maarten is in tier 1. But that's another country. We're in tier 2, slightly better until you start to look: we share that honor with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burundi... no need to go on.
You can look it up here.
Mudbelly's Throwing a Party!
Hurray kids! Mudbelly Cooper and 22 other MAN drop-outs want to start a new party. Slight problem: they'll have to get it all ready for elections before next Sunday. So they have to move faster than, er, usual in politics. Hurry kids!
Just Like You?
Holland tells us, we ought to be better prepared for a Venezuelan invasion. Hah! Taking them as a shining example, I guess. But Dutch parliament doesn't expect a massive influx. That's nice to hear.
22 members of MAN party have walked out, following Mudbelly Cooper. When I get to know more (it's behind a paywall) I'll pass it on.
Someone Didn't Like That
Since the fight between the Central Bank and Financieele Dagblad broke out, I got hundreds of clicks on the PDF document De CBCS-connectie. I had no idea where they came from or who sent them there, but I figured a fair warning that all might not be as presented was called for. So I included one on that page, before sending the visitors on.
As from then, instantly, as if by magic, the number of visitors stopped at 1242 (for this month).
Only 1.5 Million
Lots of people are getting quite excited about UTS telecommunications, Post and Aqualectra utuility plan to set up a joint training facility for their personnel, which in itself sounds like, why not? I do smell a waft of stench because auntie Suzy's hubby is involved, which makes my neck hairs prickle. Call it a Pavlovian reflex. But as a matter of fact, I can't a priori see anything wrong with the idea.
Just Keep On Building
CHATA hotel association points out that the hotels are doing very bad. Average occupancy is just over 50%, which is was to low, and that against prices that keep going down as well. It's a trend, kids! People prefer private lodgings against lower prices, where they don't have to pay for inferior service. (Think BNB.)
Now we await next week's spin when CTB tourist board publishes the monthly review.
10-year ago Central Bank of Aruba director Henriquez, in a very careful statement, makes us doubt once again the negative news about what Het Financieele Dagblad has written on CBCS and its director Tromp in relation to the manipulations of Ansary. Henriquez definitely seems to feel that his statements of ten years ago have been twisted. On the other hand, maybe Henriquez meant what he said before, who could tell?
Meanwhile, even KPMG can't fix Ennia Insurance's, involved in the scandal, yearly accounts before the date they're due.
No doubt you've heard about that ISIS (no, not the Kurds as those in charge were quick to spread the rumor) terrorized Ankara's Ataturk airport with almost 50 killed. Interesting quote from an Israeli security official: the first circle of defense is 6kms around the airport. Check it out on a map for Hato: that's from Daniel in the West to, well, absolutely anywhere in Willemstad North and West. From Bullenbaai to Isla to Brievengat.
We're just wide open.
An RPG shot from Shoot [Chute], or from the rock plateau opposite the airport would shoot down a 747 just like that. Sure (or maybe not), those terrorists would be found later. That's a big help, and they wouldn't care either.
Unexpected? Not Really
With Great Britain not even out of the €U yet, German Giant Siemens has already frozen future production plans of wind generators. Existing manufacturing will not be affected, though.
Feeling the Heat
Venezuela president Maduro is feeling the hot breath of failure in his neck. He is now asking the Supreme Court (that's supposed to be spelled with begin capitals, although these guys sure don't deserve it) to disassemble congress (they probably will too, sure Señor Presidente! Anything you say!) Congress consists of nasty opposition obstructionists who are pushing for a referendum to get rid of him!
Just like with many past dictators, you can only wonder why he doesn't collect his dough and gets out while the going's still good. The great socialist has no dough, you say? You could read the other week that Chávez's daughter is the third rich woman of the USA; which is saying sump'n.
Minister Dick says that's all off: instead of every child getting a computer every classroom will get one. That fits better in recent developments, she says without further explanation. What will happen with all the money that's available she does not explain either.
That Upgrade Is Costing Us
Oscar Derby, hired from Jamaica to fix the FAA upgrade for Hato airport, has been at it for 3 years already, and getting nowhere. Except, he makes 36k guilders/month (almost $20k). He was only hired 3 years after the 2011 downgrade.
Indie MP Leeflang, who write about this to auntie Suzy Römer, has also gasted her flabber because now a consultant has been hired for 1.3 million to assist Derby. He's a member of the Wick Group, which is so obscure, you can't even find it on Google.
Then, Leeflang is disgusted with the fact that the CBA civil board authority will be privatized, and will from then on cost 16 million per year: twice as much as now.
Selikor garbage service, which is now recycling 25% of the trash, wants to make that 80% by at the earliest 2030 (by volume or by weight, they don't say). Maybe they'll succeed; not if oil prices don't go up, though. Green Force is in trouble already because nobody needs their plastic soda bottles anymore. In that case, burning it becomes a better solution. But that has been "nyetted" several times already.
Apart from that, are we really waiting for those ridiculous rows of garbage cans to puzzle over? Or "trash inspectors" like they have in Oregon or Washington, I forget which (pretty much the same anyway) who look through your trash to check if you didn't misbehave? And if you did, they'll fix a sticker to your bin. Oh, the shame!
Of course it's a good thing to get rid of the landfill (as long as there's space to have one, don't forget).
Aqualectra utility makes it known that there is not sufficient reserve capacity; they'll have to start switching neighborhoods off (like in Nigeria and Palestine and other backward countries). One of the reasons is, the wind generators don't deliver enough. I just checked the meteo and the expected speed today is 20-39km/hr or 11-21 knots, which is well over the yearly average of 12 knots. (June average 14 knots.)
And then they want to build still more of those monsters.
11-21 knots doesn't mean the daily average is 16 knots, of course, though it just might. This is not a valid argument anyway.
War of Words
The Climate Change Believers (AKA Warmists and Greenies) have accepted the habit of calling the Skeptics "Deniers", with obvious associations to the Holocaust Deniers. More than a bit heavy-handed, I feel.
So now the Skeptics have taken to calling themselves "Climate Realists".
As you may and at any rate should know, (not only) the USA sugar growers are heavily subsidized. It would be much cheaper to import sugar from third world countries and allow them to make an honest buck, but agriculture is so important! Besides, those sugar growers pay enormous amounts into election campaign funds, so who's kidding whom? And don't feel smug, you €uropeans, it's exactly the same over there. Has been so since l'Empéreur Napoléon.
But our supermarkets sell sugar bought in the USA at a comparable price, even those who carry their own brands. Now, finally, some smart entrepreneur is packing and selling Eagle Sugar here, at about half the price we were accustomed to pay. And packed in plastic too, not paper bags, so the ants can't get at it.
Only problem is, if this catches on, will there be enough sugar left to make rum from?
Fine With Me
Isla refinery will have to lower production, and that's a long-term problem. They explain it's hard to get "sweet" crude which has to be mixed with the extremely heavy Venezuelan crude to get a marketable product.
Of course it's not hard to get that stuff; not, as Isla claims, "scarce" at all. There's practically a glut. What's hard for PDVSA is paying for it. Looks like a vicious circle to me: they produce less because there are no funds, so they make less money, so...
There's trouble in the MAN-party. They voted a new board in and swear it's according to the rules, but a substantial part of the party does not agree. Not only in government they have to keep fighting. But one thing is sure, Mudbelly Cooper has left the party.
Which Reminds Me
After the first moonwalk (1969) Pan Am started selling advance tickets for return flight Earth-Moon. I wonder if they ever paid them back. I wonder if the Space Gang clients will ever be paid back.
American Thinker on Brexit: In 1992 Denmark voted against the Maastricht Treaty and was made to vote again, In 2001 Ireland voted against the Nice Treaty and was made to vote again. In 2005 France voted against the EU Constitution and the vote was ignored. In that same year the Netherlands voted against the EU Constitution and, that, too, was ignored, In 2008 Ireland voted against the Lisbon Treaty and was made to vote again. In 2015 Greece voted against the EU bailout and that vote was ignored.
What does all that remind me of? Oh yeah... This, and this, and then this. Not to mention this.
3 guys have been picked up, making their way to populated places from Bullenbaai, after arriving by boat from Venezuela. People thought it strange that they walked around with all wet clothes. They'll be sent back. But how many have made it and will make it?
Own Stupid Fault
You should have stayed here and enjoy our Great Leaders' machinations! If you have AOV welfare pension and prefer to go and live elsewhere, you'll get 10% less and no christmas bonus; works out at -17%. Only to save the government 40 million guilders per year. It wouldn't cost 'em to pay what you paid for, they just "prefer not to" (as Herman Melville's autistic character Billy Budd keeps saying).
That Makes Eight
Countries talking about leaving the €U after Brexit: Austria, France, Holland, Hungary, Poland, Sweden. Earlier we read (but that doesn't mean it's correct) about Denmark and Italy. On the other hand, more than 1.5 million British have already signed a petition to redo the referendum. (I don't know if that's possible. Also, many of the signers are not even British.) Craziest clamoring is for London (which voted "Remain") to break away from the UK and join the €U. London has a muslim mayor who recently banned 'indecently dressed' women from posters.
No matter if the next paragraph is true, the mere fact it happened in the UK is a slap with a wet towel in the face of Øbama and the Bilderbergers.
Others mentioned are Czechia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and even Germany; but that may be wishful thinking. In fact, for most of them it may be just that at this stage. But wouldn't leave very much, would it?
About Germany, right now 40% want OUT, less than 35% IN. 2016-06-25
Sticking out their tongue at auntie Römer, some outfit has been building up in a hurry on a 13 ha/31 acres terrain—without a permit. This sort of thing gets outright fashionable. Rumors are, and the setup certainly looks it, it's meant to become a giant bordello. Competition for Campo Alegre! The government won't like that, so maybe they'll stop it.
On the other hand, the word is they have permission from a civil servant... could be. Why not?
That Same Report
A Curaçao majority (no saying how large) wants financial and juridical supervision by Holland. The police corps also should be controlled. At the same time, they don't like Dutch politicians and civil servants at all. Which confirms, that report ain't worth a [bad word].
Three quarters of those polled want financial support from Holland, and who wouldn't.
Good and Bad
The law lucht- en ruimtevaartautoriteit [air and space authority] has been presented in parliament. Good, because it is necessary to get the desirable FAA Hato airport upgrade. Bad, because it will legalize the activities of the Space Gang's Vomit Comet, which nobody but they needs.
At this stage it's not known whether the law, as far as space travel is concerned, has indeed been written by the Space Gang itself, as has been suggested in the past.
Putting It Right
It looks like this is the only site where you can find Norbert George's De CBCS-connectie document. Since the trouble started, the file gets an insane amount of hits coming from who-knows-where.. So I thought, it'd be better maybe to give out a little warning so innocent visitors wouldn't be led all astray.
PAR-voters want to go back to the Antilles (forget it). PIAS, MAN and PNP like the present autonomous status. MAN, MoFoK and PS™ are negative on the ties with Holland. No surprises there. But:
People with higher incomes prefer the autonomous status; people with lower incomes want independence or back to the Antilles. (Make up your mind, kids: you can't have both.)
What is the difference between "autonomy" and "independence"? Oh my poor brains.
All this from a completely unreliable report, keep that in mind.
Never, Never Ever Slaves
So Britain is out of the €U. Soon may be followed by Holland (where the people have already voted for a new referendum—what for if they don't want out?) France and Italy. At which point, there's not much left, is there?
Oil prices and stocks started tumbling immediately. And this while Venezuela was already considering to stop refining here because of low crude prices (good riddance, too!) Even the opposition wants to keep the business in Venezuela.
Next in line to follow? Denmark and Sweden. No, not Germany. After all, the €U is the fulfillment of Hitler's triumphal: "Jetzt steht ein großes Deutschland da!" [Now one great Germany stands there]
An unexpected consequence: the 2015 Paris Warmist accord will have to be renegotiated.
The number of atrakos [assaults] was less in 2015: "only" 664 (that's still more than 10/week). Just over 20 murders and about as many traffic deaths.
Keep It There
PS SOAW (I'll spare you the details) minister Larmonie-Cecilia said the 80-20 deal is still in the pipeline, without any details when it would be introduced.
For the 3rd consecutive year, the Curaçao budget is balanced. That's fine, but it's only part of the financial story. To name but one instance, where are the promised tax reductions?
CFT and C***-Post
According to CFT financial supervision, C***-Post must either be subsidized, or remediated, or develop new activities. Last year's 5.2 million loss will probably double this year.
The choice seems simple enough to me: remediate it! Subsidizing means we keep paying for it in another form (and then, also those who don't even use it will have to pay), and new activities will only result in more losses if there is no reorganization first.
That's how many people see auntie Römer's self-described aggressive handling of illegal activities. With good reason, because we don't hear a thing about long-running infringements: those just go on. But a team of 15 has been hired, 10 of which are driving around in big black pick-ups (really tactful that, couldn't they find a more threatening color?) to check on illegal building.
Gee, I wonder how much those guys get paid.
An opinion poll on Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten has not been what you'd call successful. All results of St. Maarten had to be discarded because of fraud; in Aruba there was an insufficient response of 53%; and in Curaçao only 80% of the sample addresses have been visited, with a response of only 80%. The researchers themselves say that is not good enough to draw scientific conclusions.
But that doesn't stop them of going on regardless, publishing reports based on nothing. Don't blame 'em too hard, they get their salaries and must deliver something.
Gee, I wonder how much those researchers are being paid.
Don't have mail from foreign countries sent to Curaçao. Nobody but we knows where that is.
I just now received a book from Amazon (the third try after 1 and 2 were "lost in the mail"!) where a helpful hand in the USA had scribbled "Netherlands Antilles" below the address. It was here in less than a week.
Ex-PM, now Vice-PM Arsjes has gone to help open the enlarged Panamá Canal. I don't think his presence was needed, but I guess he wished to see for himself if it's now wide enough to contain him.
OOPS! I stand shamefacedly corrected. Arsjes isn't Vice-PM at all, that's Asscher.
Never knew that, but according to journalist Dick Drayer the reason why ex-PM Shorty barricaded himself in his Fort Amsterdam room during the 2012 coup d'état farce, was that they were busy shredding the archives of his governmental period. Wise move.
Girobank, in heavy weather and under control of Central Bank for a long time now, may be taken over by Activo, a Venezuelan bank concern. Is this supposed to be an improvement? In these times?
Prices 0.1% Down
Compared with May 2016, prices are 0.1% down. That's less than the usual measuring fault. Very impressive; it means, when you spent 100 guilders last year, this year you'd have saved 10 cents.
Mudbelly Cooper, who wants to leave MAN, has been approached by several other parties. Who could possibly want him? But it's only what Cooper says. Wouldn't be his first lie. Still, who can understand party politics?
Just like Shorty, Cooper never passed the 2010 screening.
Ace Suares, co-instigator of the One-Laptop-Per-Child program, reproaches minister Dick that she hasn't got the hang of it. The idea was to give every child a laptop (or, these days, tablet) that they could take home to use. But Dick wants them all to be kept in the class-room; not at all what Suares bargained for. This way rich kids are privileged (hah!) but Dick figures all children have a computer of their own. He now proposes to seize the 19m guilders ($11m) meant for the project, to force Dick to review her ways.
Or maybe I should say, to the nth power. Year after year the government has to transfer items on the budget of the present year to next's, because while the money is available, they lack the personpower (that's PC, folks!) to execute them. Has been going on since 2013.
Maybe they could use these funds for this?
That's what Free Education is supposed to achieve, is what parliament thinks, who have voted "for" en masse.. Color me skeptical. It's a safe bet that all those drop-outs didn't drop out because their parents couldn't afford schooling. They're just plain not interested.
Now wait and see if they can scrape the money together. But minister Dick, disregarding the finance ministry's opinion that her department is in bad shape, is optimistic.
Let's not go into the hypocrisy of parliament members on fat salaries discussing "equality" after just having decided the welfare pension AOW can't possibly be raised.
It's highly unlikely Venezuela will have enough cash to pay its debts this year, and will most probably default in 2016, with PdVSA the first to go. But it's "not inevitable" says Moody's Investors Service.
If Maduro gets kicked out, it looks even worse because the next government would prioritize imports, necessarily paying in dollars.
There We Go
Education minister Dick states that over 3000 youngsters between 15-25 have no diploma, and don't or won't go to school. She says that's extremely high, and she's right. It's easy to figure how right with a little help: In 2011 there were 19284 in that age group; so 16% of our youth don't know anything but hanging around. (Maybe they can read and write a bit, but tell 'em "go figure" and they're at a total loss.) They are a total loss.
Since then, my guess is it's become worse.
Auntie Römer has announced a zero tolerance policy against illegal building. Where did we hear that before? Oh yeah, about crime... traffic offences... Sure helped a lot.
Best of all is, as from August those who have illegally occupied a government terrain can report it, so they can be considered for a permit after the event. So go ahead folks, take your pick.
Website terenopatur [terrains for everybody] gives more info.
Wait and See, What Else?
The Turkish Rönesans company, AKA Renaissance Construction, claims that they'll deliver the new HNO hospital earlier than expected. Oh. The evaluation of the building process, now that they've taken over from Ballast Nedam, is November this year; building finished before May, 2018. That I might live to see it...
The Tyrant Is Getting Ready
MoFoK Ex-PM Shorty has had an "Marketing Counterintelligence" bureau look into the antecedents of 19 coup d'état plotters, who wanted to get rid of him in 2012. And succeeded. But now Shorty is getting ready to be re-chosen and he's going to take revenge, you bet.
Newspaper Extra mentions 14 names, among which I'm not. Shorty can't fool me, though. I'm ready to flee to Venezuela!
Other interesting info is, that Dutch (!) bureau doesn't even exist.
The Chinese have started negotiations with the opposition in Venezuela, in the hope they will honor the debts to China after Maduro's regime collapses. Like I always say, hope is cheap. The opposition would be out of its collective skull to pay debts incurred for the purpose of buying submarines and other war material nobody in his right mind needed. But it's a sign that China is really getting worried.
$ Up, Oil Down
No matter that the IMF may be pushing for replacement of the USD by the Chinese Yuan (may be a tiny bit premature), oil prices are still in US Yankee Dollars. Which are now going up in value, so oil prices, hovering around the $50/barrel mark, go down. Bad news for some people South, West and Center of us—who didn't need any.
Anybody out there knows of this outfit still rules in Koraal Specht, Nos Futuro? Can't find it out (but suspect, not). It's kinda interesting, as the Orlando muslim terrorist shooter got a security certificate from Wacky Hut 9 years ago, signed by a psychiatrist who 1/ wasn't even around there at the time and 2/ denies it categorically. Just the guys our Great Leaders would pick. I shouldn't wonder if some mazoola was passed under the table... there's money in them thar cells.
Let me know!
Arrindell Is a Jolly Joker, Mon
Seems he hasn't got a St. Maarten operating permit for "his" AVA Airlines at all! Just a license to start an NV or BV, which means to incorporate the business. Anybody (excepting maybe ex-cons, but I strongly doubt even that) who pays a public notary will get one. I guess as good a name as any for AVA might be Hot Airlines.
Community Protests Community Mailboxes
As installing of these mailboxes goes on and on, finally Ombudsman has announced he'll do something about it. Up tow neither C***-Post nor Auntie Römer deign to answer. He's now "considering" his next step, go to parliament (fat lot of good) or to court. Before all that's over, we'll all have to pick up our mail, four years after we have been forced by MAN Mudbelly Cooper to sink our money in standardized [US-Mail] boxes.
The illegal builders at Piscadera supermarket got their third warning! The workers got so scared, they stopped working and cleared their tools away.
But next day, they were at it again. Of course.
Auntie Römer is making herself the risée here. Again. She promises tough measures and then comes out with one more weak warning.
The Venezuelan socialist utopia has free education—of course! A fat lot of use that's now, with nobody, teachers nor pupils, turning up for lessons.
They're too busy searching for food.
Wine Soap (Final Installment)
Hato airport (CAP) told the Whinery in November 2015 that they had to go, and they had the contractual right to do so a year in advance. The whiners may now stay until January 2017, but still complain that they have been deceived.
CAH and CAP (airport Holdings and Partners) seem to have different agreements with the vineyard. Apart from that, it's only now the whiners seem to get truthful; partly, at least.
Everybody is so glad with the protection of sharks around here and several other islands. I like it too, don't get me wrong. But when they say "more people are bitten to death every year by dogs than by sharks" I say "phooyeh"—how many people are swimming versus walking around? Sheer propaganda.
Please, just the fax, ma'am.
But it's just another good-looking gesture that costs us nothing. A professional diving friend tells me that in 5,000 dives on the South Coast he never saw sharks, except for a very rare nurse shark.
Just What We Needed
After that harbor accord minister Rhuggenaath is so smugly content about, now CPS stevedores are striking, because they don't have a CAO collective agreement. Oops, might have thought of that detail before. While minister Rhuggenaath says it's nothing to do with that, the stevedores disagree.
Supermarkets and all are afraid that, again, ships delivering goods will prefer to dock in Aruba. Not to mention the "hub" function.
Better and Worse
Shell Oil is getting rid of small refineries. Like the Martinez, California refinery, good for 166,000 barrels/day. Isla's max capacity is almost twice as large, 320,000bpd; Lago/Valero 265,000. You'd think they're safe, if Chevron hadn't sold the 54,000bpd Hawai'i refinery last April. You start with the smallest ones, of course... then, next!
Reason is, while oil price may be going back up a little for now, gasoline price doesn't so much.
Hato Airport will start an extension/upgrade which should be finished in 2018. The good thing about it is, it's privately funded with a 82 million guilders ($45m) loan from Maduro-Curiel's Bank. After completion, the airport should be okay for 2.5 million passengers a year (now 1.7 and bottlenecks all over).
Except to the Aruba government! Citgo, supposed to upgrade the Lago-Valero refinery, is looking for an "external source" to finance it. Betcha they won't find one, these times...
They'd Better Be
The OM [public ministry] is alert on voting fraud. That's good to know. Not that voting fraud was ever suspected to be a problem. The problem is, rather, bribery to get votes, and illegal lotteries by parties. Please do something about that!
Naming No Names
Justice minister Navarro has a message that sounds, like, yeah, could be: there are many more atrakos these days, which he says are organized to show "that this government is unable to offer the citizens protection [...] We all know there are criminals that want to enter government."
Sure, they have caught the perps of 1 atrako per day last month. There obviously have been more (how many?) So the criminals have made their point, Navarro.
Not to mention those criminals already in the government. Naming no names.
Stands to [Un]Reason
An Isfahan (Iran) muslim imam announced in a sermon that when women dress immodestly, it increases global warming. But of course! It heats up the menfolk and there you go. Not to mention the friction from the resulting rapes, which again produces heat (but the good imam forgot to think of that). He said it on TV, so it must be true.
At least, there's some logic in this guy's ideas; much more than when his Teheran colleague said in 2010 bad morals caused earthquakes. It's an effort to restrain from speculating what that could be based on.
With fuel prices keeping low down, Aqualectra announces they will put in 5 more wind generators at Tera Kora, regardless; total capacity as from next April will be 35% of 130megaWatts.
With the wind generator market collapsing all over the world, maybe they get a good deal. But I strongly doubt it.
Now We're Told
The Whinery has the contract extended so they can at least pick the grape harvest. Then we hear:
"It depends on new investors if the harvest can be processed." So all that talk about 19,000 bottles of wine was a bit, uh, premature?
CBS statistics has found that only 2.3% of the population trust political parties. Government gets 3.8, parliament 4.1, education 21.5, and police 26.5. That's all less than "most people" who get a 32% "Yes".
Seems that stopping using disposable supermarket plastic bags (originally introduced because they'd save paper and thus trees) results in more methane pollution. That's because the ethane used to make to bags is taken out of crude natural gas. They call things like that the Law of Unexpected Side Effects.
Down and Down
Venezuela crude oil production in May has gone down by 11% compared with average 2015. It is expected that will be the average for this year; even less than during the 2002/3 oil strike. With oil prices now going down again as well to ~$50/barrel, Venezuela is desperate to renegotiate the oil-for-loans contracts with China. Don't forget: if crude price goes up, USA shale oil will join the fray right away and bring them down again. Looks good for Maduro, PdVSA, Lago and Isla, doesn't it?
C***-Post stubbornly continues placing "community mailboxes", now at Boca Samihi. Who cares that people complain and some maintain they're de facto illegal? Minister Suzy knows best! And the ombudsman's letters? Simple, just don't reply.
Wish I could do that with my tax assessments.
Ready for It
Chances now are 75% that we'll have La Niña come September. At least, that's what they say... you know... At any rate, the earth temperature is plunging at a fast rate now since El Niño, which sounds plenty promising.
And now that we're at it, predictions are that rainfall will go up by 2% for every 1° of warming. Good for us, am I right? You hardly ever hear that mentioned.
I'd Never Have Guessed
UTS Telecommunications sent me an invitation to participate in a survey. I thought to help 'em out but gave up in loathing on the following page:
Which one of the following best describes the personality of UTS?
Talk about presumptuous!
If only they'd included "None of the above"....
80-20 Japanese Style
The Japanese used the 80/20 principle to concentrate 80% of their efforts on just 20% of the industrial cycle: production costs and quality control. By focusing on a small but important sector—and doing a better job than any of their competitors—they lowered production costs while raising the quality. We all know the end result.
Somebody should inform parliament.
While the judge has been very lenient against Isla refinery in the saliña Rif-St. Marie/Jan Kock pollution affair, this was on condition that they build a permanent barrier to prevent a repeat.
Well, the story is, the booms that were put in to stop oil spills from entering the on have broken and are lying on shore, completely useless.
May Be Something to That
Central Bank director Tromp claims that the allegations against him and his bank by Het Financieele Dagblad have been instigated by Girobank, after he intervened there and lodged criminal complaints against the bank with the public ministry. Could well be. A very bad thing for Het Financieel Dagblad, in that case.
Tromp also agrees there exist governance problems within his bank, caused by an incomplete board.
Tons of Terror Cocaine
Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah is smuggling "[multiple] tons of cocaine" from Latin America to Europe, according to DEA. Seven countries are involved in an ongoing investigation of "the most sophisticated money laundering scheme or schemes that we have ever witnessed," writes The Washington Times.
You think Curaçao is not involved? Think again.
No Reason for Treason
The public ministry sees no reason, for now, to take action on the complaint for landverraad (treason) against ex-PM Shorty. Parts of the complaint are still being studied by Landsrecherche, though.
Of the 7 tanker loads waiting for payment on the Curaçao roadstead since time immemorial, 3 have been discharged now. BP has swapped oil with Venezuela rather than waiting for money that may never come. Hey, those tankers are expensive!
Now We Get the Blame!
Venezuela complains that the shortage of food is partly caused by illegal exports to Curaçao and Aruba. Sure, but he should blame the traders who sell them here, not the buyers.
Of course they'd rather sell the stuff here for good old ANGuilders, just as good as USDollars (no matter the anti-Tromp allegations), instead of receiving a measly amount for it in their own country.
Venezuelan parliament opposition denies this, but we all know it's only too true.
Finally, at least a plan exists to sign a memorandum of understanding for restoring the Cinelandia cinema ruins, between the owner and the government. The building has been an eyesore for tens of years right smack in center Willemstad.
The foolishness comes in where years ago the government permitted Randy's parking garage on terrain that's part of the Cinelandia complex, so it's hard to restore it.
The first court has, finally, declared Isla refinery guilty for the 2012 oil spill in saliña Rif-St. Marie, next to Bullenbaai oil terminal. They must pay for the clean-up (€38.300) and if it happens again, a 500,000 euro fine.
Now we wait for Isla's appeal.
Tromp Hits Back
Central Bank director Tromp has explained how the article attacking him in Het Financieel Dagblad does not cover the facts. That's his vision, and to a know-nothing like me it seems he makes some good arguments. Fisking the article, he exposes several bloomers and calls the whole lot "falsifications and fabrication".
No doubt we'll be hearing more about this.
Doesn't Matter One Bit
The Venezuela parliament says that the agreement between Aruba and Venezuela about re-opening the old Lago refinery is illegal, as they havn't had any say.
Not to worry, it's obvious to everybody (but Aruba PM Eman and Venezuela president Maduro) that PdVSA can't come across with the promised investment of 500-600 million dollars (pretty vague in itself) anyway.
Not that parliament in Venezuela has any power.
Wish Upon a Star
The police endeavor to stop the number of atrakos this year at 600; awfully high in itself. But uh... what if, maybe, (un)organized crime endeavors to break the record?
Don't Trust Them
Look who's talking; but I guess he knows. PIAS Rosario warns that you shouldn't trust the words of several "Curaçao entities", referring to the Ennia/Ansary scandal. Sure; probably they're all lying!
Only PAR, PIAS, PNP and some unnamed parliament members took the trouble to appear at a meeting called by governor Wout to inform the parties on the laws re. elections. Hey, what are laws for except to be transgressed, is the well-known reasoning of MoFoK, PS™ and Macho MAN (and some other parliament members).
My guess is, one of those who did appear was Omayra Leelang.
Justice minister Navarro says the fire on the police parking place has been caused deliberately. Gosh, would he think so? But the fight against criminality will continue unabated (just like the fire).
With just as much result.
The parking was not even guarded.
Watch It, Whiteman
PM Whiteman plans to import erythropoietin from Cuba. It's used for kidney-patients to stimulate the production of red blood corpuscles, and is presently imported from Europe. But Cuba has started producing it as well, and for a much lower price. Whiteman has discussed this with an immunologist, an epidemiologist and an internist who think it's okay.
My question is, has Whiteman discussed this with a good lawyer as well? Cuba isn't exactly famous for their respect of patent rights. In which case this might turn out more expensive instead of less.
Police makes known, in a very short message, that last night 10 (count 'em: TEN) police cars have been burned at their Saliña parking place. Double You Oh Double You. No wonder the message is short.
They couldn't even tell if there were security cameras around. Not to worry, we'll pay up.
Somebody doesn't like the cops, I'd guess.
Choose or Die
We now have 20 parties for the new elections. Guess they're gonna have to print up a multi-page tabloid for the voting forms!
Waiting for It
Now Het Financieel Dagblad is aiming all barrels at Tromp, CBCS director. Shorty likes it! Sure.
Two tankers discharging cargo here for PdVSA have been detained by KTK towing because they couldn't pay their fees. They've been here for two weeks already.
Not to mention 7 or so waiting offshore. I have no idea how much a tanker costs per day, and I don't want to know.
Now that the Turks who bought up Ballast-Nedam, contractors for HNO new hospital, want to cut the budget, some people are worried about possible quality problems (as if the very design didn't lack quality already). But no... I say, pessimists! What could possibly go wrong?
Interesting detail is how a sub-contractor relates that Ballast-Nedam "may possibly have been too open-handed with awarding contracts." Plenty of money to fling around, in other words.
Two at least of the Turkish bosses work without permits; when they're sent away they pop up again the very next day. No problem, mon.
Here They Come... There We Go
Nine Venezuelans who had illegally arrived by boat in Curaçao were caught on the beach by the cops. They'll be returned home; for some of them, it was a second try. (Some may have escaped.)
Now InselAir may make some money, at least.
AVA Airlines, who for years have been entertaining us with great plans and sob stories about how our government was all against them (which, for all I know, may be the honest-to-Jove truth), have now got an operating license in St. Maarten. I presume it's easier there. No news on when they'll start operations.
What may be more interesting, they tell us that Korpodeko holds a 20% interest in InselAir and that the recent activities to support InselAir financially are illegal. I shouldn't wonder.
20 Years and Still Going Weak
Minister Navarro, who rightly resents that Shorty's MoFoK party tries to blame him for the disastrous Marriott Hotel, tells the media that there's been a dossier on it around for 20 years already; which means Shorty just disregarded it. 20 years huh? So from 1996 nobody could be bothered. Too bad the Circus only opened in 2003 so I can't check, but that must have been PAR followed by everybody, you name 'em: FØL, MAN, MFK, MPK, NPA, PNP, PS™; and don't forget Errol Bakoba's PLKP.
It Just Goes On
The illegal building activities for Piscadera supermarket just go on. Police has gone over and told them to stop, to no avail. Wonder what ms. Römer will do now (probably fire off more empty threats). And while we're at it, how about those illegal builders at Samihi? Jan Thiel? Pietermaai? Caracasbaai?
Which reminds me, 3 weeks ago we were supposed to hear from the OM public ministry what they plan to do about the landverraad [treason] complaint against ex-PM Shorty. I dint hear nuffin, mon.
Good to Know
Ennia insurers assert that the pension funds are not in danger. That's good.
I'm Not Worried, Either
PM Whiteman (PS™) is not worried about the hopeless financial position of PdVSA. "Venezuela is a good neighbor" he says, without explaining what that curious opinion is based on. And PdVSA is sure to come across with the billions of dollars needed to upgrade Isla refinery, he adds.
Well, I'm not worried either. PdVSA is sure not to come across with that money; how could they? So that spells the end of Isla.
If only we could find the money to demolish that rusty junk heap; now that's worrying.
Just Asking for It
A TUI flight AMS-BON-AUA made an emergency stop in the Azores to remove an obnoxious female and hubby, who were a rowdy nuisance. The passengers had to be put up in a hotel, and TUI plans to make the woman pay. Which'll teach her.
But really, what do they expect? Crushing and cramping passengers for over 9 hours in economy class conditions will turn many into cattle or pigs, because they're treated that way. So don't be surprised if this air rage occurs more and more. And the excuse of high Jet A-1 fuel price has long since expired.
I apologize to cattle and pig farmers, who treat their animals in a much more humane way.
Iran-American businessman Hushang Ansary certainly has been busy. In the process, he has been moving money around within his own companies, which include:
—Mullet Bay on Sint Maarten, which was in development when 1995 hurricane Luis ruined it all. Since, the ruins have been razed with bulldozers;
—Insurer Ennia which has been emptied of 75% of its assets, transferred to BCI Mullet Bay exploiter and other Ansary-owned companies. Ennia denies, what else is new;
—No need to go on, really. It's all spelled out in the media, started by Dutch Het Financieele Dagblad. Ansary is also the owner of Banco di Caribe, S&S gas and oil supplier, and has reportedly thrown a beady eye on Girobank.
The Dutch Central Bank De Nederlandse Bank doesn't like it one bit and wants to check the Curaçao-St Maarten Central Bank, led by the controversial Tromp. "CSBS is such a mess that DNB requested and got additional powers to act on CBCS territory."
The main reason I am not much anti-Tromp is that he's kept our money safe from politicians; one has to give him that.
Warda Un Ratu—Mas
Wait a bit longer for the FAA Hato airport upgrade, promised time and time again. Last time it would be past March. But now, it has been postponed again. Weirdly, with a half eye I saw this announced in the media but cannot find it back now. They may have lost interest, for which you can hardly blame them.
Also, PAR wants to have solid info on the developments around that HNO new hospital, where more trouble (not that we needed any) threatens because the
corbankrupt Ballast-Nedam contractor has been taken over by some Turks. PAR wants to know before the parliament's recess, or they/we'd have to wait until September 30. It's too late anyway you say? True.
A Family Affair
The Wiels family is suing PS® Pueblo Soberano™, claiming the trademark belongs to them and they want it back.
Pots of money in the political business.
Up, Down, Less than Zero
I always look forward with great pleasure to the monthly announcements of CTB tourist office. It's such fun to figure out how they've been twisting and turning statistical facts to make them show what they want them to show.
Now we get the headline "Tourism went up 3% last month" with finally, in small print so to speak, "Overnight stays went down 3%." So more came in, but they all staid shorter.
Besides, up to last month we had a Grand Total of 12% less compared with last year.
That rocket factory working on a spaceship for the Vomit Comet space gang has just fired 30 of their engineers. They expect their first test flight end of this year. Space travel from Hato airport is not expected to start before 2020 now (originally 2014). The law to make this possible has not even been presented in parliament yet. Ticket price has gone up from $100k via 125k to 150k, and one of their first customers has died of old age already.
Does any of this need comment?
While the meteo predicts a rainy season from July to December this year, I'll wait and see. Normally it starts in November, but La Niña is expected to make up for the last meager years. Hurricanes are expected to be normal, but as always panic is sown freely that the season will be extra heavy. In any case, more rain means more mosquitoes as the island still is one filthy mess full of illegal trash dumps.
Another outfit is predicting, contradicting cooler heads, that sea level "may" go up by 8 meters before 2100. You know, I have my doubts. Others say 30cms is the max for this century.
Sour Grapes of Wrath
A few years ago some Dutch winery (yes, such outfits turn out to exist, don't ask) decided it would be nice to open the "first Caribbean winery" here. They started out, not like you and I would do, with a small test plot, no! They rented 4 hectares (10 acres) from Hato airport (CAP/CAH), complete with the old landhuis with the best source of fresh water available on the island. (There even used to be ponds with swans there in the past.)
All this for the rent of 207 bottles of wine, which divided by 3 would be 68 bottles each. Oops, that's 69 (sure brings naughty thoughts to mind). Lemme guess, that would be (former FOL) Adriaens, then Hato airport director, MFK Thodé who was chief negotiator and who else but ex-PM Shorty? It's not clear if that was per year or for the 30 years of lease. Or maybe 50, even that's nebulous. Mark: No other rent payments are mentioned anywhere. Truly a modest fee.
Anyway, Hato airport has decided they need the terrain for purposes of their own and now the winers are whining. Everybody can come by and look at their contracts, they say. So the big question is, why don't they go to court instead of taking the case to the media? This stinks to high heaven.
Minister Rhuggenaath, AKA that limp dishcloth, is very committed to those poor winers' fate and has promised them other locations with free water galore. Make me wonder how many bottles of wine he'll be getting.
This time not about the government. Last year, justice minister Navarro thought his coffee tasted funny, and he had it analyzed. Turns out, there was rat poison in it. But not nearly enough to get rid of him.
Took some time, that analysis; 15 months!
Korpodeko announced they will, after all, help InselAir out of their financial problems. Didn't we all know it. After all, they did the same for ALM and DCA, the preceding flying bottomless pits. Our National Pride, continued.
Good thing about the news is, judging from history lessons InselAir now is in its final death throes.
Remember that great action where guns were collected, without as great results in stopping crime? It's even worse now, with automatic guns taking over that market.
Last year 85 guns have been confiscated. Big Secret how many were automatic.
Sure, It's Part of the Government
The Voogdijraad [guardianship board] director has been fired. Its name is not mentioned, but justice minister Navarro says it didn't want to cooperate with the "change manager". The last one has presumably been appointed because voogdijraad was "an organizational mess".
Tax receipts over 2016-I are disappointing: almost 10 million less than last year. And the poor babies had counted on more! Why, is everybody's guess. What with the positive shrink and all.
Too Much Money
It's such a godawful mess at FKP public housing, it's hard to believe. They don't even know how many houses they've got and how much rent is collected. Which explains a lot.
But don't worry, all problems have been dealt with; at least, that's what the director says.
Easy Way: Out
If you want to get pregnant, go someplace else. That's the advice of our GGD medical dept; here, there's no guarantee at all you won't get infected with zika.
Poke in the Eye
They've been poking me in the eye to cure cataracts. It went well, but for a while I have to take it easy with books and computers. And can't do any photography either. So be prepared for a flood of nasty comments in two or three weeks or so.
What one needs under the circs. is a bunch of Girl Friends you say? But even then, it's quite a miss without (im)proper eye contact.
(Very Small) Consolation
Or, the voting cattle is just that. 50% of Americans think Hillary Clinton should continue campaigning for president even if she's indicted (on her use of a private email server). So you think only Shorty voters are stupid? Admittedly, those in the USA do think she should get out after a judge has pronounced her "guilty".
Crumbling to Pieces
4, maybe 7, tankers with a total load of 3.85 million barrels are waiting to unload at Bullenbaai oil terminal because PdVSA lacks the money to pay BP for their cargo. The "sweet" stuff is essential to mix with the heavy Venezuela crude for refining. Starts to look like that refinery may not even make 2019.
Work on the renovation of the SDK pool will start end this week. It will take 3 months, they say. Reason why it took so long, money had to be found. No wonder that stuff is scarce.
Advisor Carl Camelia has been paid 300,000 guilders by the responsible minister (which one?) for a "worthless report" on the police academy. Better they should have used the money to fix the boarding school, says the police union.
There is no sin so great as ignorance.Not That Many
"Hundreds of people signed anti-pollution petition" is the headline. But if you take the trouble to read on, there were 110.
The terrain that was cleared of vegetation last week-end is meant for enlarging the Piscadera supermarket. There was no "planning permission", just a building permit of "dubious value" says minister Römer. Which was provided by ex-director De Lanoi of executive organization ROP (whatever that stands for) who's in trouble there for several reasons, but is still
earninggetting his salary. But of course!
The supermarket has applied twice for a permit in the past but it was refused. Now let's see what Römer will do about this—if anything.
De Lanoi is co-founder of new political party MP, with indie MP Marilyn Moses.
Only in Aruba?
Cruise lines worry about criminality in Aruba which has been growing the last years. Which reminds me.
Not related, so far, yet, maybe, is the fact that more and more Venezuelans ask for longer stay permits than the regular maximum 30 days. I'd guess growing tourism results in growing crime, simple as that.
MP Cijntje (PS) will not leave parliament. Why should he? It's only his son who's been arrested and Shorty, Thodé and Quackie Constancia are still members after all, and they have been convicted or are suspects themselves.
But I can't help still wondering in whose name that white Audi was registered.
There is no real connection between fuel prices and consumption, as shown by the lower prices last year without more gas and diesel being used. Sort of figures: you need to shop and drive to your work, now matter what it costs.
Finance minister Jardim explained this to MP Leonora (PS) who was worried that lower prices would result in more pollution. He must have been thinking: Screw the citizens! Screw up those prices! [and collect more tax]. All to hallow the name of the Green Gaia Goddess.
Go Home and Shut Up
Before 2010 it was possible to lodge protests/complaints against new developments with Eilandsraad [island council], but since we became independent, not any longer. So the judge can't decide on the complaints against the Oostpunt development plans.
Isn't independence great?
The MDPT (multi-disciplinary project team) looking at the future of Isla refinery has a yearly budget of 5.5 million guilders. Last year, it was "only" 4.5. The complete breakdown covers a half A4 size paper.
And gee, we now know how much those 8 team members are paid: 5000/month each for 7 or 8 of them plus 7500 for the 2 leaders. Plus travel costs etc. Werner Wiels promises to explain by the end of the month. Guess he needs time to think it over.
Wiels may collect an even larger salary doing absolutely nothing as director of our own cute KPG oil and gas company.
Saillant item on the budget is 200,000 to fight Green Town. Maybe higher than Green Town's own total!
Wiels resents the publication of the budget. I can imagine.
Taking Too Long
In 2011, Dutchman Ger Dale mans paid 63,653 euros for a trip with the Vomit Comet, planned in 2014. Alas, he was still waiting when he was found dead in his apartment the other week. Do you think he will get his money back now? Fat chance, I'd say.
But we're not the only ones asking that question. Shortly after he'd paid, the tax person came by, wondering where he'd laid his hands on such a sum. His brothers and sister have their doubts as well and sued him for embezzling their patents' heritage.
A tip of the old topee to André Fiji.
Work for Römer
Once again, a large area has been cleared of all vegetation. As it is a parkland area, this can only be illegal. As authorities are closed during the week-end, that's impossible to confirm. One more job for minister Römer, with so many pending and nothing happening.
All About Nothing
The panic stories about the government taking over Carmabi are just rubbish, says director Stokkermans. Everything is kosher and has been done according to the rules. He would prefer to turn Carmabi into a governmental foundation anyway.
Measly 2%; If That
Now that Dutch MPs are agitating against Curaçao on-line gambling sites, it turns out that we have over 400 of them. Are they illegal, as the Dutch claim? I couldn't say. They're supposed to pay 2% (off-shore tariff) tax. Do they? I couldn't say but have my suspicions. And why not tax them regularly and give the rest of us a break?
Do they launder money? I'd gamble on it.
One thing is for sure, "private" government-owned UTS telecommunications is heavily involved. A joint effort of minister Römer and KPMG—and then some.
The government tried to appoint more board members to Carmabi, while they're only licensed to appoint 1 of the minimal 5 and maximum 8 members. One of those has bombarded himself to president at once, which just can't be done. On the other hand, Carmabi has only 2 board members at present, which their own statutes say is not enough.
So let's have some volunteers already! You must realize that Carmabi is one of the few bodies actively working for protection of our natural resources. Like, Oostpunt? Could it be that the government has been turning its beady eye in that direction?
Same Old Story
Health minister Victorina has told us all that the lack of medical specialists in Sehos[pital] will be over 6 months from now. The specialists themselves do not agree: "government policy in recent years has led to a glaring shortage of specialists and nursing staff, breakdown of infrastructure and substantial shortage of material." Sounds all too familiar. What price education? infrastructure? airport FAA upgrading? Isla refinery?
Let's Hope They're Right
Now that Baywatch has rolled through court, the public ministry declares after a through investigation that the Kustwacht coast guard is not corrupt. "The  rotten apples" (never pears or guavas, did you ever notice?) have been removed.
Let's hope so. There were 8 suspects, are 3 really innocent?
In fact, there's a very good reason to use the apple metaphor but I really doubt if the public ministry has an inkling.
It may be only indie MP Sulvaran talking, but he thinks that, if the concept law to develop Oostpunt property would now be presented in parliament, it would not be accepted. The law (technically Landsverordening [Land Ordinance]) was introduced by minister Balborda (Römer's predecessor) without consulting the coalition.
Says Sulvaran "the government wants sustainable development" (that's a laugh!) and this plan is not.
Ex-Shorty minister Imalootin is in Venezuela "for health reasons": no doubt the situation here is getting unhealthy for him, true. Even though he's a suspect in the Wiels murder case, he's free to go. Rumors are he's busy acquiring a Venezuelan passport (no doubt he can pay with the loot he stole from us). This also he's free to do. But if he'd be convicted, Venezuela would not extradite one of their citizens.
Source of Income
Venezuelans who arrive here without enough money are sent back. InselAir (and no doubt others) accept them all, so they make extra money on the return flight. Aha! (In countries like the USA they would be fined.) Compared with last year, their number has increased with over 300%. "We might be able to catch thousands of them here, but there's no space to accommodate them" says immigration.
Finally, a new concession has been accorded: CPS have lost their absolute monopoly in the harbor exploitation. It will now be shared by CPA. 50 million guilders will be invested, and new cranes will be bought. About time, too.
Leaking the Leak
Somebody has leaked who were the pro-against voting ministers on the 80-20 law. Minister Rómer doesn't like it one bit. No surprise, she's completely opaque (and I don't mean physically, although... let it go).
They'd Like That
The Dutch, backed by the mighty power of the majestic Kingdom of the Netherlands, declined stopping the activities of Cft financial supervision which Curaçao government had asked for. In any case, the Dutch are legally bound to continue supervision for now, so why bother to ask?
Why Should They?
PS party sees no reason to kick member Cijntje out just because his son was arrested for dealing drugs and laundering money. After all, these things run in families.
Our hearts bleed for Arsjes, though.
There is "absolutely no capacity" in Curaçao to take in 500 refugees, should they come. Polite suggestion: do like the Aussies do, send them back where they came from and sink their boats. I'd guess those refugees would have been voting for Chávez and then Maduro all those years. What was that you said about rats and sinking ships?
Not That Far Here—Yet
In the Aruba parliament a fistfight broke out where members exchanged strikes.
In the USA, where in many places a $15/hr minimum wage is mandatory, fast food chains are seriously considering changing over to robots; will save McDonald's heaps of money. In Europe, 1/3rd of jobs may be lost to robots the coming 20 years. In Asia, Pizza Hut looks at robots as well. Matter of fact, last year in Kyoto we ate in a cafeteria where you could order on a touch screen. (Too bad it was in Japanese only.) Goodbye jobs!
It you wonder what that means for the 80-20 law, you're in good company (me).
Mind you, neither will robots spit on your hamburger if you're the wrong color.
That's What IMF Says
Curaçao's economy will grow with 0.9% (such precision!) in the "mid-long term" (which is worse than vague, though: this year? next 5 years?). Before I forget, only if Venezuela doesn't get worse.
Which it will.
<1% is nothing to wrote home about, anyway.
Hope They Use Hato
Then we make some money... Heh heh. President Maduro says Venezuela is ready for the American invasion. That's pretty safe to say, because it will never come. But if it does... For now, we can help them to plenty of Jet A-1, PdVSA or not, with Bullenbaai oil terminal filled to capacity.
Says Maduro "We're as ready for an invasion as we've ever been." He got that straight.
You Can't Keep a Bad Man Out
The replacement of PS Cijntje will be ex-PM Arsjes. And we thinking he'd started a new party?! Oh Lord have mercy upon us poor voters.
You may have noticed, reading between the lines as it were, I'm not what you'd call religious. But like that French philosopher, I'm sometimes tempted to figure, "can't hurt". No, it wasn't Descartes—and certainly not Voltaire. Oh yeah, that was Pascal's Wager.
Are You Peed-Off by All Those Ads?Hope for the Best
Pop-ups... whatever else they have... taking up screen real estate...
you have to take action to get rid of 'em...
then they have the chutzpah to ask you why you didn't like them... now really...
Getting worse by the day!
Prepare for the worst. Health minister Victorina cannot present any any clear picture of the (extra) costs for building the new hospital. Parliament has asked for another meeting, in which it is hoped he'll have some hard figures.
Victorina is a member of PS, so there you are.
PS Cijntje is "considering" stepping out of the party now that the cops have raided his house, because of his son's activities in drug dealing and money laundering. "Large amounts" of dollars and guilders were found and confiscated, not to mention a gun and ammo, several phones and a white Audi. The Audi wasn't even registered in his son's name, says Cijntje—which begs the question: in whose name was it registered?
SJC (definitely a relation) has been arrested as member of a club of 5. In total 6 houses were raided.
Elections Are Coming
PM Whiteman (PS) declares that the refinery must become cleaner! He must have noticed elections are coming closer. Two projects have been started to achieve this: 1, to inspect and control the refinery (dso they never took the trouble as yet); 2, an expert on environment law has been hired (to help fight SMOC and CAE, I guess). Funds have been applied for with the finance minister.
Whiteman does not want to wait for the refinery upgrade; wise, as it looks more and more like it'll never come.
Hato airport will change the parking automats; they will accept credit cards in the future. The press also mentions "pin passes"; which may mean debit cards. Hato explains that the cash payment system causes long delays. No kidding. Then again, everything at the airport leads to long delays.
The cops raided PS Cijntjes's house, among a total of 6. He's not a suspect himself, but "possibly" one of the other people living there is. Drugs-related crime, is all they say. So who is it using or selling drugs? His wife? Kid?
Not Everybody's So Sure
The minister's council, after parliament passed it, has now also signed the unholy 80-20 proposal. Just barely though, 5 for (PS-PNP), 3 against (PIAS-PIAR) and 1 blank (Jardim, finance). Social minister Larmonie-Cecilia is convin2017-04-05ced that the governor will sign, even while others say it's against her instructions.
If she does, it would be against the wish and advice of the entire commercial section.
PS Córdoba explained that the law can't be discriminatory, because "it's not about individual workers." We knew how smart you are already, Córdoba; you don't have to show us again.
There are new proposals to lower tax, boiling down to this: you and me will be paying just as much. But if you do anything to attract tourists, like opening hotels and restaurants, or developing terrains so people can come in and buy houses there, you're home free. As long as you invest two million, that is. Got it?
Could Be, Join the Fray
A letter to KKCur says that Green Town wants to start its own political party. I shouldn't wonder, with David Dick at the helm and all. But that doesn't mean it's true.
Please Do Think
A rash of angry letters-to-the editor and columns has broken out because somebody in parliament seems to have said there's not enough sunshine to make solar panels profitable here for large scale electricity generation. "What? Here in the tropics?" Please consider:—
It's not the fact that we're in the tropics that guarantees a large amount of sunshine, but that's beside the point. What does matter is, how much is at our disposal? And the hard fact is, the yearly average cloud cover is 44%. So all that sunshine is only available just a bit more than half of the time.
Maybe that parliament person had a point, after all.
It may be even worse, because the skies are clearest at night.
Source: Encyclopedie van de Nederlandse Antillen, Elsevier, Amsterdam 1969
Some people with suspicious minds are asking if Adriaens properly applied for that job at CTB. They're even blaming PAR minister Rhuggenaath that he's spineless and it's a political appointment. I wouldn't know, but it does strike me as strange that no better person could be found than Adriaens, with his Space Gang support and his crazy green power ideas, shelved by Hato airport after he was fired there. To top it off, he is a former member of FOØL, a supposed arch-enemy of PAR.
At least Adriaens hasn't come back in politics as he considered. Be thankful for small favors.
That Isla refinery strike of the past week was caused because the unions, or the workers, or both discovered a passage in a document—of 4 years go.
Maybe somebody told them about it without adding the age information.
It's a Trend
More and more tourists much prefer to stay in private lodgings when they come here, instead of expensive hotels where the service often is so-so anyway. This must be stopped! For starters, that's a black market and the people who rent out converted garages and (what's now a PC-incorrect term) meidenkamers [servant's rooms] do not pay income tax! This has got to stop. This can't go on. This is intolerable!
Environmental pressure group Clean Air Everywhere is starting a basic procedure against the country to enforce former court rulings against the government and Isla refinery. After that, next step would be an appeal to the European Rights Commission (then the politicians will be sorry they wanted to become associated with the €U). If the €U still exists by then.
They Do Know How to Pick 'Em
Just when we thought we'd gotten rid of Maurice Adriaens, who did such a marvelous job at Hato airport and then got offered a job as Bonaire's tourism manager, he's baaaack! He becomes the director of CTB Curaçao tourist bureau.
We've had one decent guy there several years ago, Hepple, who got so disgusted he moved to Trinidad, slamming the door on his way out. Remember Arsjes' credit card manipulations? You can't have forgotten Arsjes! And hey, almost forgot myself; Shorty worked there as well. The guy certainly got around.
Coca-Cola announces they're stopping production in Venezuela because of a lack of sugar. You may well wonder if they can still afford it; looks like it's all shipped over here in exchange for hard guilders; just as good as dollars (thanks to our much-scorned Central Bank).
But... but... but... Now we have to buy the say twice as expensive Curaçao bottling plant's product? I'm gonna hoard some—didn't bother about gasoline; but this is serious.
This happens quite regularly: there's some rumour that the gasoline supply is running out, and immediately long lines of cars wait for hours in the burning sun for a last chance to tank. This time, it was Isla workers on strike (clearly manipulated by Shorty) blocked the entrance to the refinery so gasoline trucks couldn't enter. They have our sympathy—NOT. But the judge fined the trade unions 250,000 guilders for each hour the blockade went on, so that was the end.
The unions are now looking at what else they can do.
And as always, the no-gas panic was resolved before it had properly started.
Lawyer-clown Sulvaran had requested Dutch judges for the appeal session of the Babel case against ex-PM Shorty and his moll (who were judged guilty on all points, but Sulvaran thinks none of our judges are reliable), but this has been denied. Dutch judges have to be appointed here to be able to take part. To quote Wodehouse, "I don't believe the man knows the ABC of law."
Ajó 40 million
Guilders, not dollars, for a second megapier. It's like the old times, when the government financed hotels so the tourists could come and fill 'em up. They never did, but who cared? We had plenty of PPP (Pre-Panama-Papers) money and there was a lot of dough that fell by the roadside. So are we repeating the same mistake?
Also, according to other info the price will be €60 million, which is a bit higher, over 3 times as much: 120 million guilders.
So that's where the money from a new loan, supposedly to be used for improving infrastructure and approved by Cft financial supervision, will go to.
Maybe minister Rhuggenaath should have quoted in dollars, after all.
Sure, Why No Give It Away?
As long as we get more tourists, seems to be how CTB tourist office reasons. The government and banks should show more suppleness when negotiating on the sale of the bankrupt Plaza hotel, they say. Millions are owned by the place, which frightens away prospective buyers.
So to keep the hotel running, we have to pay up, again? That's how CTB always thinks and acts.
Bunch of Bull?
It seems highly doubtable if Citgo as a matter of fact has made a deal with Aruba island on the refinery. Citgo flatly (USA) denies it; the deal must still pass the Venezuelan parliament; PdVSA has not reacted at all.
8 batido [fruit shake] stands were closed, some because they were not uh... hygienic. I always warn people, those things will give you the Delhi belly... Montezuma's revenge... slingerschijt... But they never listen.
That's Their Problem
Venezuela is a mess: food riots are breaking out and it well get much worse before it gets any better. As Aruba is by far the island closest to their shore, we can only expect a flood of refugees trying to cross over. You ain't seen nothing yet. And that will be bad for tourism, EEK!. Now the Dutch tell the Arubianos that, just like the Greek islands (remember that disaster? Still going on) they'll have to help those immigrants "in the name of hospitality, compassion and creativity." What absolute rubbish. This while Dutch PM Rutte declares Holland won't accept a single refugee (and I'm not saying he's wrong.)
To sum up, tough turd, Aruba. You're on your own.
Which is bad news. Aruba has no means whatsoever to cope with such an influx.
Finally the Facts
"Violent attacks continue unabated" is a headline in Amigoe newspaper. Finally we get hard figures: there were 641 atrakos in 2015 versus 685 in 2014. Wow! almost 6% less! How's that 2014 gun confiscation program, where a measly 406 guns were collected, working out for you? (The public ministry said they were very satisfied with the results.)
Follows a list of common-sense measures you can take yourself. Sure, because the cops won't help you.
Lax & Lazy
Fundashon Kas Popular will be kicking out 65 renters of public housing dwellings. They haven't paid rent since 2009. Total sum owed 600,000 guilders (USD330,000).
You ask how this is possible? Good question! Meanwhile, they illegally charge other people large sums.
And, come right down to it, why should they worry? If FKP runs short, we will help them out from our taxes, I guess.
Dutch MP van Raak suggests KPMG are involved in the UTS-run illegal internet casinos. I shouldn't wonder one bit, you know. Van Raak asks in parliament to have Cft financial supervision investigate the whole business.
Gotta Tell Ya
KKCuraçao re-published a letter to Amigoe by Orlando Meulens about the question why Aqualectra didn't go for solar energy. When I wrote a comment pointing out, quite gently, that I had to charge my batteries several times the last fortnight with Aqualectra utility current because the clouded condition just didn't get them charged, the reply was first published and then, with Meulen's original letter, got lost in the Bermuda Triangle: Without a Trace.
In some way, this may be counted a win. But I think giving the pertinent info is more important than censuring the original because of an unliked comment—pointing out the unpopular truth.
This is by no means the first time I have this problem with KaKaCur. 1 example: I once sent 'em a letter on why we shouldn't trust the takiyah lies spread by the Curaçao islam community, they waited with publishing until the entire thread had died out.
PIAS Rosaria wants to combine his party with others to have more power in the next elections. Maybe he's not too sure of the outcome, which shows he's smarter than we figured (it's easy). But PNP Davelaar says, no way. "That's influencing the voters before elections, and voting is a citizen's holy right" he says. Oh? PNP will not have election propaganda—for a change?
InselAir manager Heerenveen has not received the "financial injection" from the government he was clamoring for. Good. He's now negotiating for a bridging credit with several financial institutions (like, banks?) so InselAir can pay their bills in less than a month.
I can't lend him a penny, but wouldn't if I could. He's in problems because of his own stupidity, so let him find his own way out.
Rumors persist that Heerenveen himself is making pots of money anyway. As I don't want to get sued for libel, slander and vilification I won't say, how.
Before you and I forget, the hurricane season will start June 1. Check here for very helpful hints which you hopefully won't need. Better safe than sorry!
One thing's for sure, if the last disaster repeats itself all worries about those illegal buildings in Pietermaai are over.
Years ago, we had a bridge over the Waaigat between the so-called New Market and a pretty big, free, parking place.
But the ministers had Great Plans to turn the Waaigat into a yachting harbor, and started dredging it out after demolishing the bridge. Needless to say, after spending all that money nothing ever came of that. Sounds only too familiar. Result was, for all those years, but who's counting (years no! money si!), we all had to make a detour to get from the parking place to city center.
Now, however, let's throw a party! An old bridge will be rebuilt on the same spot. Will save a lot of shoe-leather (or some "man-made material"), worn out under the hot sun. As for money saved, not so much.
But take heart, somebody must have been making plenty of bucks on those deals.
Name the Gamer
Dutch socialist MP van Raak really seems to hate our government's guts. He must be a nutcase... Now he assures that it's UTS telecom that enables, aids and abets 4 on-line casinos doing business in Holland. That's forbidden! Yeah, well, how to stop it?
There is nothing illegal about the Panama Papers; they're only constructions that happen to be arranged via Curaçao, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands or Panamá (by a weird coincidence, all pretty notorious for tax-evasion maneuvers). Says lawyer Camelia (yes, our cabinet formatteur)—while shrinking away from ever mentioning the papers.
The construction may serve to protect the client's identity (from what?) and all that publicity is bad for the off-shore sector that pays a lot of taxes, says Camelia, which are used for education, social and health services. [They also pay a lot of lawyers' fees.]
As we have seen in the past, when Maria Liberia was PM, those taxes (2%) were mainly used to set up a gigantic corps of
spoiled bratscivil servants, which we still have and are still paying for.
Questions for Römer
Indie MP Leeflang asks minister Römer if she knows about that Fundashon Kas Popular [social housing] asks people to pay a tax that, as far as can be discerned, doesn't exist, so-called gebruiksrechten [usage rights]. FKP waits until the mortgage has been paid off, and then presents a bill for gebruiksrechten as a final nasty surprise. Leeflang wants to see a copy of the law.
Of course Leeflang's first question is superfluous, Römer knows next to nothing about anything.
Now They Will Report
After PAR party wanted a meeting on the future of Isla refinery because no info was forthcoming, Werner Wiels (yes, a clan member) denies this. He claims the so-called MTDB, oh sorry, MDPT, [a hex on those acronyms] regularly (once a year?) reports to the cabinet. Now they will
make an exceptionhave a meeting with parliament.
Getting too close for comfort, Wiels?
MDPT = Multidisciplinaire Projectteam. Doesn't even sound good.
Aruba island is now the proud owner of the oil refinery, just like we of Isla. They paid even less money than we, 1 florin (the guilder Shell asked in 1985 is now worth between 25 and 50 cents), and are now stuck with the polluted ground. However, the sale included the clean-up fund containing 19 million florins; but 20-30m dollars more will be needed to really clean it up.
Even then, the ground will "never" be fit for residential building; at best for industry.
Ajó, Green Town.
All Shorty's Fault
The fact that Curaçao is high on the list of money-laundering countries is not one for which the present government is to blame. It's all ex-PM Shorty's fault, as we arrived on there while he was dictator. At least, that's what minister of finance Jardim says.
Sorry Jardim, you had almost 4 years time to do something about it, with exactly no result.
... we can agree with Staten that the info, such as it is, that we get from the government, such as it is, about the future, such as it is, of Isla refinery, such as it is, is highly insufficient.
Of course it's obvious there is not much to tell; can only be one big vague mess.
Aruba has signed an agreement with Citgo, PdVSA's USA branch, to exploit the old Lago-Valero refinery. Part of the deal is, Citgo is not responsible for any pollution caused by their green refinery.
We were far ahead here of Aruba, where this arrangement was made in 1989; our PM signed it in 1985 when Shell left.
On the same day, president Maduro has prolonged the emergency situation in Venezuela. We wish the Arubianos good luck with that. They may need it.
Aruba believes the refinery will be reopened this year. We'll [NOT?] see.
Maduro, in the best dictator tradition, blames the USA and OPEC of plotting and conspiring to get rid of his government. They can save themselves the trouble, he's been taken good care of that himself.
More Time Needed
Isla refinery needs more time to study the public ministry's enquête [survey] report. Figures, to work in the Isla top the precondition is, you can't read. But of course they get one month extra! Means one month more salary for enquêteur Huub Willems, after all. I guess. Sure, unfounded allegations—so tell me, please.
The report is now supposed to be published a month from now. If. Only.
Have to admit, everybody's saying Willems hits a nasty punch.
Government is not open enough towards the media, says the UNESCO report. Parliamentary reports are no longer available via public libraries; only on special request. And if you don't behave, you're kicked out of press conferences. To name but a few.
The Dutch Navy may be selling off officers' houses, but that's because they're switching over to private rentals. They're not leaving us to beat off Venezuelan aggression on our own.
Aruba is taking extra measures to prevent more refugees to row, or sail, or maybe in their understandable desperation swim over.
The Same All Over
UNESCO published a report that our media are worse than worthless. It took them two years, but anybody could have concluded that in a week or so.
Indie MP Sulvaran says all Curaçao media have been bribed to brainwash the public into voting for those politicians we got. He certainly has a point; neither is this in any way unique for us. Problem is, that's what the public seems to want: those few sources with a more critical attitude are the least popular.
But it sure looks like many voters in the USA are sick and tired of the media and politicians and started voting for Trump. If we need that is not for me to say. Certainly I haven't noticed a Trump-like politician around here; not even close.
What Else Did You Expect?
Staten Parliament, after lots of words about the traffic safety problem, found a solution! A committee will be set up to study the problem. It's not limited to one committee either; there's a coordination platform, a project team, a road safety audit team, and a multidisciplinary team.
Gee, I wonder how much all those committee members will be paid.
At any rate, I propose techie Henk Pasman for membership. Would be a real surprise if he made it.
"Nice Work, If You Can Get It"
We can't do a thing like that, even if our hands are itching. But the government can and does. An action by Afpakteam [take away gang] resulted in lotsaloot: divers luxury cars among which 2 Audis, 1 BMW, 2 Accuras, 1 VW Amarok, 2 luxury vessels, 3 trucks, 1 residence, several scooters, 2 jet-skis, several motorbikes and jewelry. All those goodies are suspected to be bought with money "earned" in crime.
Too bad that, even if you turn out to've bought them making an honest buck, tough: say goodbye anyway. At least, that's what lawyer Santander claims.
Hear Who's Talking
Parliament agrees for once: something must be done about the unsafe traffic conditions (that's that woman Römer's responsibility). Steps must be taken, enough said. (What does parliament ever do but talk?) Not that we disagree, who could?
Funny how all those things that cost
tonsshiploads of money don't seem to work: narrower roads, roundabouts, humps... you name it. To my feeling, they just obstruct traffic and are of no help at all. But I'm no expert; more like a victim.
Drives 'em Nuts
Management of Caprileskliniek, formerly known as Rustoord, still before then Monte Cristo and PPPIC (=psychologically, psychiatrically and politically InCorrect) the Looniebin or Nuthouse have their problems. Things go on like this, they'll have to shut down and release the 199 patients. Government and SVB social insurance just refuse to adapt the tariffs from 278 to 340 guilders/day, almost 20% up, which means they're in deep manure.
Justice dept has raided several bureaus of lottery-ticket sellers, in a search for illegal tickets and sales tax dodging. Among those were Robbie's Lotteries, again.
Please Just Shut Up
Desperately, once more CTB tourist office announces that last month, the number of tourists has gone up—while the number of overnight stays went down.
That motion has been accepted by all 15 members present (only MoFoK party plus PS Cijntje weren't there). I don't really get it; they want a convicted parliament member to be kicked out "until the verdict has become irrevocable"—which can take years and years. And then? Can they come back in as irrevocably convicted criminals? Another burning question, will their salaries be paid on for the duration?
The government should act on the motion in less than 3 months time (we'll see). Lemme figure, new elections are September 30, 4 months from now. Should be safe.
Again, MAN Koeiman reminds us that back in 2010 his party voted for a motion like PAR/PIAS want to introduce now. Even Shorty voted for it, which shows he had no inkling that what he was doing couldn't be done. I'd like to know who exactly were the naysayers then (11 against, 10 for).
Now, of course, Shorty will vote against. And who else?
No Wind Generators in Bavaria
The judge have spoken: a 200m high wind generator cannot be built closer than 2kms from a residence under the so-called 10H rule. The Tera Kòrá turbines have a hub height of 80ms plus 45ms (half the rotor blade) totalling 125 meters. So they should be removed, were the 10H rule applied here, 1,250 meters from the nearest residence.
The nearest one is at a 600m distance from Tera Kòrá; nr 4 out of 5 at 1200 meters. Nr. 5 and all those at Playa Kanoa may remain; provided...
Marching in Sync
Venezuela must get rid of president Maduro, which 7 out of 10 want at the moment, before January 10. Otherwise, his VP will take over and remain in power until 2019.
Hey, that's a familiar year! That's when the Isla-PdVSA agreement runs out!
Of course, people may try and start a bloody revolution. Wouldn't be the first time there. Let's hope they'll find a better way out.
Just for Laughs: in 1993 Venezuela had 50 generals, now 4000. Chávez became president in 1999, I couldn't say how many generals he had then.
Hope That Works
PAR Jesus-Leito, together with PIAS, wants to introduce a motion in Staten parliament which follows the general kingdom arrangement that a parliament member is suspended after a criminal conviction. She doesn't want to call names, but that's not necessary; we all know who's meant.
Now let's see what members of what parties will vote for and against.
It seems the country must pay Tao production company for making 6 movies, 1 of which has never been released, commissioned by MoFoK sinister of theft Imalootin. No total amount is mentioned, but the collection agency's who started procedures part is 6300 guilders. The country never signed an officially agreement with Tao.
MFK: Gift Keeps Giving
A new investigation has been started on the surgical mouth caps ordered when MoFoK Quackie Constancia was minister of unhealth. The story now is, she and hubby stole for 11 million guilders (>$6m) worth from us.
For What That's Worth
And it's of no help, either. Two legal experts, a Curaçao lawyer and a Holland professor, take apart or rather demolish, judge Schendel's verdict in the case of SMOC and FCAE against Isla refinery. They make seven points, but it's a long story (in Dutch). It boils down to this: the judge doesn't even trouble to mention many of SMOC/FCAE's very hard arguments on the proven toxic Isla exhausts; worse, Schendel doesn't bother about the violation of human rights. He seems to follow the government's guidelines not to interfere with Isla.
SMOC/FCAE may now well be forced to turn to the court for human rights in Strasbourg. Which no doubt will eat money, of which their counterparts government and refinery have plenty—supplied by us, the victims.
Say, Mizz Römer!
On April 24 you had your peons courageously put up a sign telling the illegal builders there had to move ass in a fortnight. I still predict a small war.
But I'm also prepared to bet that nothing will happen tomorrow, when that time has elapsed.
That Same Dame
Carmabi will ask court to judge if the crossing out and deleting of so many passages in the Oostpunt files was justly done. Minister Römer keeps insisting it was done to protect her loyal flunkies, but as totally innocuous passages underwent the same, that's (to say the least) doubtable.
It's Not True! But...
Isla denies persistent rumors that PdVSA is staggering on its last feet and has no money to pay for Isla's services. Well, those come very cheap anyway, but that's another story.
Director Willems of contractors' club AAV does wonder why, then, there are so many austerity measures being taken. He also wonders if, the way things are going in the oil markets, renewing the refinery a couple of years from now is a sound business case. Good thinking, Willems.
Don't do it! InselAir has the temerity, the impertinence, the presumptuous intrepidity to ask for a 30 million financial injection. From the government of course. They need the money not to go down the drain; small wonder.
Well, let 'em go down I say, and I'll throw 'em an anvil when they do so for the third time.
A small wonder it would be if they don't, in fact, come right down to it. They're nothing but the heirs of ALM and after that DCA of not-so-fond memories.
But they'll get the money to throw way, anyway.
FOLLOW-UP: InselAir denies they have received or applied for that money. Director Heerenveen does say they now get subsidized "for bringing in tourists, just like KLM, TUI etc." Nobody's telling how much that subsidy is.
Heerenveen adds that they have indeed received the 80 million dollars Venezuela owned InselAir. Remarkable that he only tells us now. Even more remarkable that he then allowed the debt to grow still more! Smart, Heerenveen.
But next day, co-director Kluyver tells Antilliaans Dagblad that InselAir did ask for a "buffer fund". At least on of them is lying. And now it's 70, not 90 million, as well.
No More Minimarket Moratorium
Minister Rhuggenaath declares that the Chinese are welcome to open still more minimarkets, after his predecessor Palm had stopped the deluge. In fact, most of us feel there are too many of 'em, but that's Free Enterprise. At any rate, now probably new problems will follow because the Chinese like to have Chinese workers, so what about the 80-20 law?
In fact, other reporting tells us, the stop will remain until start next year. Rhuggenaath just asked for an "evaluation" (more useless work for government employees) and it's not only for Chinese tokos.
MRSA Still Around
On May 2, Sehos[pital] announced that no more MRSA bacteria had been detected. Three days later, new measures have been taken to avoid infections by nurses etc. of patients. That first announcement was a bit premature, as 5 new infections have been found since.
But Sehos tells us not to worry, healthy people are seldom bugged by this bug. Too bad most people in there are sick.
Now that Øbama has made it possible for tourists to visit Cuba, the law of unexpected consequences has hit again: food prices for the locals have gone up. Way up.
Just like how here real estate prices keep going up and up and up. You had a nice little kunuku place overlooking the sea? Some developer will come and take it away from you; or ground prices will go up so much that you can't afford the property tax anymore. This has been happening all over already.
Bad Luck Airlines
Aruba Airlines are suspending all operations (CUR-AUA-PTY) this month. They have been rather unlucky, what with management troubles and all. We'll see if they get back up.
Pain in the *$$
The government hasn't given opened the environmental reports on 2014 and 2015 to SMOC and court-appointed experts. These are about Isla refinery and BOO power plant. Must be something awfully wrong there, don't you think?
Turkey's Struggle to Get Behind Us
While we are at least trying, so far with precious little success (looks like almost nobody in there really wants this) to start holding politicians responsible for their misdeeds, in Turkey a "violent brawl" broke out among parliament members because of a try to take away their immunity.
You may well be surprised a guy like Erdogan wants to push this through, but it's because he wants to get rid of separatists by persecuting them selectively under such a law.
Say, That's Fast!
Repairs on the SDK swimming pool, which has been closed down since last October because it was downright filthy, will finally start end this month. I mean real repairs; they tried half-baked measures before but didn't get away with it.
Those guys, one the brother of MoFok Thodé and both former bodyguards of ex-PM Shorty, who were caught smuggling car parts out of Hato Airport in January last year, were not fired according to the rules (they were not fired until December 2015 anyway). So they will go on receiving their salaries until that has been fixed.
Here They Come?
Ten Venezuelans have been arrested upon trying to enter Aruba island. One got stuck on the reef; a week ago or so one has drowned. Remember, the distance to Aruba is only 28kms; we are at 75kms. (But Cuba-Florida is about 200 kms and they're still trying, Rolling Stones concerts and Øbama visits notwithstanding.)
2 million signatures have been collected in Venezuela so a request for president Maduro' s removal can be contemplated in the National Assembly. However, 4 million more need to sign to give it a real chance. Meaning, about one in three of the people would have to sign. That's an awful lot.
There are many more illegal Venezuelans in Aruba already. But obviously, nobody'd know how many.
Looks Like The End
Tiara Air, who announced resuming flights AUA-CUR three weeks ago to pay debts to their personnel, was stopped in Curaçao upon arrival because the aircraft's transponder didn't work. They were allowed to make their return flight and that was that. The transponder has not been fixed as yet.
Funnily, it doesn't seem to matter if the transponder doesn't work as long as it can. What's the use of that?
Please Excuse Me
I have this strong attack of Schadenfreude. Our Sheikh El-Hakim, minister of economic development under Shorty has been declared bankrupt with a total debt of 4 million guilders. How apposite! Makes you help understand even better why our country's economy (and more) went down the drain when the MoFok Party ruled.
Why Go Through the Motions?
The people who had remarks on the Oostpunt development plan complain that none of these seems to have taken into account. The final plan is just like the original one (just like with the EOP). What's the use? To teach us what our democracy is like, that's the use.
How's That Again?
CTB tourist office says that over the first three months this year, stay-over tourism grew with 5% overall. Alas, you have to dig through a mountain of figures to discover that they stayed a total of 7% less. So it didn't grow; it shrank.
Let's See How That Works Out
A new parliament meeting has been planned on what to do with convicted criminal members (like, in casu, ex PM Shorty). The last one was a flop as less people turned up than had asked for it; don't ask.
Paris Climate Agreement signatories celebrate the global environmental accord by massively ramping up oil and gas exploration and mining in the Arctic: ice-hardened shipbuilding in Finland has gone up by 40%. Just what (not only) Greenpeace is always protesting.
I Don't Get It
InselAir announces that Venezuela owes them $90 million (was 70m in 2014). I'd say, forget it. But they keep hoping.
They also say they'll start trying to open up a larger network around Suriname "because of the bad economic conditions in the country." Huh? Sure recipe for success, am I right?
Welcome, Dear Tourist
A Belgian (Flemish) couple has been attacked by guys with machetes while enjoying their vacation here. Cops told them there are 750 attacks like that a year. That's more than 2 per day. How's that Politur working out again, Rhuggenaath? And that gun-collecting action also had really good results; keep pretending those security cameras will solve it, Navarro.
No good trying to guess if tourists are more likely victims than we regulars. A moot point.
Safe to assume we'll not get any repeat business from those 750 attacked. Who said "mouth to mouth propaganda"? Spread the good word!
All Dutch Caribbean islands have negative opinions on their politicians, but Curaçao is worst. How strange! Also, Many Curazoleños are nostalgic about the former Netherlands Antilles, but at the same time, many want independence. Which was forced down our throats by those same politicians (they never really succeeded, true—as yet).
I wouldn't know; but the European court has condemned Holland for human rights violations committed in Curaçao. (A man got a lifelong conviction which is a no-no in PC Europe.) Question now is, if Holland can be convicted for a thing like that, can't they also be held responsible for Isla problems? I wouldn't now.
Maybe one more reason for the Dutch to want to get out of the €U?
And It's Legal
A subcontractor for Isla refinery has fired 45 workers because the refinery will start using a Venezuelan company instead. With Venezuelan workers, obviously. Social Affairs ministry, who just this week started threatening once again to introduce the 80-20 law, has given them all work permits.
Let's Hope It Works
Entrepreneurs' club VBC wants fiscal advantages for people who buy and restore monumental (and often unique, if not large in the usual "monumental" sense). Good idea, because it's much more expensive to restore than to build anew.
If their idea to eliminate sales tax and import duties for businesses in buildings like that is as good? Another instance where tourism would in fact be subsidized instead of earning money for us.
Apart from the fact that this will turn Willemstad into a giant sucker trap. I always go out of my way to avoid that sort of Unesco-monuments in foreign countries.
Who's to Blame?
Water, electricity and fuel go up again next month (car gas by 15 cents). It's the Colombian FARC's fault! And also the Lybian rebels and Nigerian militants (for the last two, read "
muslimterrorists"). They have been sabotaging pipelines etc. so heavily that production stagnates and the oil glut doesn't grow.
Meanwhile, Russia is trying to get its own oil price fixing, which should (they hope) result in higher export prices.
The DOK/CDM workers, who have been fighting for their money since 2009, will get it before this week-end. So says minister Rhuggenaath. What's more telling, lawyer Bijkerk confirms it.
In That Case...
... I'm certainly glad they helped us out already, paying off our debts in 2010. Dutch king Willem-Alexander the Small announced on his birthday party that the party's over. The welfare state is unsustainable, they "ran out of other people's money" as the saying goes. Everybody must go back to work, even the "immigrants".
Don't Give Up, Maduro!
A super-long 5-day week-end has been announced in Venezuela. This is supposed to save energy, but it can only worsen the economy. Not that it needed any.
With a crude price of $47.34/barrel, Venezuela needs $121.06 to balance its budget. While prices may fall back to the lowest level of this year, they might go up—but certainly not this far, not before the date Venezuela is expected to default.
In an amusing aside, Aruba banned the import of Venezuelan eggs "because" in Venezuela they banned export. I never heard of such a thing, ever.
Egg production is subsidized in Venezuela, but of course it pays much better if sold for a regular price in Arubian florins, just as good as US Dollars.
The Warmists keep talking about them, and I always wondered where they got it from. "If the world warms up more than 2 degrees it will never revert" is the slogan now; as if earth hasn't been much warmer several times in the past.
I have often worked with balance scales to weigh out chemicals, and there is just no such thing. Scales switch indication from one side to the other in a very gradual fashion, as long as you don't suddenly add an extremely large weight all at once. So I had my doubts.
Now I found out where they got it from: it was postulated by that great scientist of economy Karl Marx, who never had a prediction come out. "A requirement is that critical thresholds be surpassed, due to the warming of the planet, and thus lead to a tipping of the climate system. This would be similar to the transition over to a new quality from the piling up of smaller quantities, as postulated by Karl Marx in his 3rd Development Law Of Dialectical Materialism."
As so often, the warmists' and greenists' ideas turn out to be based on ultra-left long since disowned (if only) thinking, like communism and nazism.
Don't write me letters: I know that nazism is popularly called "ultra-right". It's not.
Just a Few Facts
PdVSA's Paraguana refinery is operating at half of its 955MPD capacity; Amuay operating at 360,000 of 645,000BPD; Cardon at 110,000 of 310,000. Blamed are "shortages of spare parts, lack of maintenance, and a shaky electrical grid."
Small wonder tankers are crowding each other out at our COT terminal.
Don't Give Up the Road
In 1999, the judge's verdict was that a road through Jan Thiel was illegal. That was the second time the case came to court, as APNA Ambtenaren Pensioen Fonds [civil servants' pension fund] had then started "developing" Jan Thiel. The same argument was used, to relieve Caracasbaaiweg. Since then, development just went on and on rücksichtlos, increasing traffic. They just don't care.
Same for minister Römer's great plans to get more taxes by doubling the population. Think Römer—if you can. And for once, not just about money.
Source: Algemeen Dagblad 1999-02-13
Transparency à la Römer
Carmabi has gone to court in the Oostpunt affair, because the documents they received in accordance with LOB (Landsverordening Openbaarheid van Bestuur, say FOIA) are unreadable, so many passages have been blanked out. Römer says "possibly too much has been blanked out" to protect the civil servants who signed them. I dare say they need protection.
This has been fought over since October 8 last year; finally on April 9 Römer had to come across with all pertinent info in two weeks. Which was last Friday.
I must add here that we've experienced a similar farce before, when comments and amendments could be proposed on the EOP development plan itself. Not a single one of these was accepted by the government to find its way in the final law.
But Who's Talking?
Advent Hospital Damacor has all necessary permits and licenses. But it's only their lawyer who's talking; he would say that, wouldn't he?
I guess it will have to be fought out in court.
What Else Is It For?
PM Whiteman repeats that the government will not accept any demonstrations on king's day (tomorrow or so, I forget). But the new party (?) Fundashon Vishon Bandabou (ViBa) will proceed anyway and have arranged police protection.
Whiteman warns citizens not to let themselves be misused for political purposes. Like, voting?
As every Dutchman knows, and Dutchpersons as well, that's the very day on which it's an age-old Amsterdam tradition to start riots and clashes, and more wholesome entertainment for the masses. Why can't we have that here?
Crude oil prices, which were going up for a few weeks, have stopped doing so. Main cause seems to be (in so far anybody understands it) that refineries in the far East are producing like crazy, resulting in especially a gasoline glut. New exporters in China are exporting as much as they can.
Looks good for the prospects of finding a Chinese partner for Isla refinery, doesn't it?
A friend's license plates were stolen from her car when parked in town. That's often done to disguise your car when committing some crime. She went to the police, but they couldn't care less and just referred her to the Tax Person to get new plates.
Democracy, Curaçao Style
We, the citizens, will not have the opportunity to react and comment on the law meant to change EOP [Island Development Plan] that will make the development of Oostpunt possible. Our Leaders (mainly the Römer woman), in which we have so much confidence, will take care of all that for us.
P*Ss Cordoba, who preferred not to be present at the parliament meeting to discuss criminal MPs, now all of a sudden starts fulminating against ex-PM Shorty. Last week his party said Shorty was innocent until proven guilty (which has been done by the way), now he says the man is a criminal, and he can't understand why people would vote for him. Even for non-criminals that's often hard to follow (don't take it personal, Cordoba).
Trouble At DOK
CDM/DOK workers are striking because they still have not received their money, notwithstanding promises, promises by minister Rhuggenaath and DOK holding director Carrera. Lawyer Bijkerk says it's all because the government wants to save on paying the 17% compound interest on several millions of guilders, and he's probably right.
This has been going on since 2009. Rhuggenaath has shown before how resolute he can be, though I can't remember when.
Make Up Your Mind, Already
Minister Römer wants to look at all other proposed possibilities to relieve traffic on Caracasbaaiweg, before discussing a new road through a protected natural area. I wonder that she cares. I wonder if she really cares.
This Too, We Heard Before
In Hawai'i, that's really dependent on tourism (like Aruba and St. Maarten) the people, like ours, are not so fond of the
scumbreed either. It's so bad that there, like here, they have to run campaigns tryingto convince the people that "tourists are your friends." But one of them is quoted as saying "I can't even take my kids to the beach on a weekend because it's so crazy." And the tourism agency should do more than promote "uncritical support for the growth of tourism," says a professor of Hawai'ian studies.
Strikes a Familiar Note
"... generations of executives and government-appointed [***] board members, along with [***] politicians who ultimately dictated [***]'s spending and direction, steered the agency on a different course; [***] in crisis, losing [***] revenue and exhausting public confidence."
It's not about Isla refinery, UTS or Aqualectra but about Washington's Metro.
The budget problems of Kustwacht (they were €3 million short) will be relieved by Holland. Sure.
€0.65 million can be saved without any consequences for their operations. Say, doesn't that mean they were just wasted until now? That's 1.3 million guilders.
Zero Halliburton is curtailing activities in Venezuela; there are just no dollars around to pay them for their activities. Which will result in still less dollars being around.
But InselAir announces more flights Aruba-Venezuela. Have they been paid in the meantime? I'm quite sure we'd have heard about it. So how can they afford it? I'm much too careful to utter dark suspicions here; but I have them.
That chicken farm turns out to be 60 years old, 10 more than I estimated. And those new residential neighborhoods that are complaining were built on a location that was reserved for agriculture in the EOP. (Only marks on paper.)
Still, I confidently predict the chicken farm will have to go.
At least, a Letter of Intent has been signed with Dutch shipbuilder Damen. A lot of things that sound good, we'll see. Just one curious item: DOK capacity will be enlarged by 30%, because Damen will deliver a floating dock. And I thinking we had one already! Maybe it's so crummy, it can't be used anymore.
Wot U Teenk?
Kustwacht [coast guard] is making an inventory of islands in Spaanse Water, the most popular (and expensive) shore real estate around, to check which of those have been appropriated. Also they'll be taking a look at sewage disposal and (I guess that's pretty closely related, not to say incestuous) living boats moored there. Some of these islands are protected under conservation laws, some are in private hands but who knows whose?
Another consequence of the laissez faire attitude of, let's face it, all our governments since the 1954 Koninkrijksstatuut—and before then.
A number of those guys have actually applied for permits! Suckers.
In Venezuela, not only car gas is cheap. One of the woes with their electricity is, it's sold for half a cent per kW so everybody uses it without a thought or care. I have no idea about the exchange rate here (who does these days, anyway?) but let's say that's 1 of our ANG cents. In the USA, the price is 12 cents, ANG0.22. The extreme is over here, where we pay 0.55/kW. They don't tell you, you have to take out your calculator and figure it out from your bill total. That's 3 times the USA rate. Rather extreme, what? what?
I don't care if I bore you, I'm pretty fed up myself. In Denmark, where our wind generators come from, it's the most extremely expensive in the world: US$0.41 or ANG0.74 per kW. Isn't free green energy great?
Colombia president Santos says the War on Drugs has been a failure. We knew it from the start. Then again, we here have made much money on it. A fairground attraction just arrived in Rotterdam from here with 500 kilos of cocaine hidden in it (must have been part of the kiddies' carnival recently at Goisco's supermarket/megastore). All that money does not appear in official statistics.
Not that I disagree with Santos, it has been a failure. But it's funny that he only talks about marihuana (which is legal in some parts of the USA but may not be grown in Colombia for export to the USA) and somehow forgets to mention cocaine.
O yes, that cocaine arriving in Holland is reputed to be worth €30M. Street value of course; if this was regular business you'd have to pay import duty on only €450,000.
Well... [Soupy Voice]
Finance minister Jardim says the present government is not to blame for us having the questionable honor to be nr. 14 on the list of money laundering countries. It's all ex-PM Shorty's fault.
Much to be said for that, of course; only, Shorty was kicked out of government in 2012 and the list is compiled anew each year, and we're still on it.
Minister Römer has made her subordinates put up a sign that the illegal builders at Boka Samí must get out of there in a fortnight. Obviously, nobody was brave enough to go and tell them in person. I'm afraid a small war will break out there two weeks, or a bit later, from now.
Römer then states that it's impossible for her to accomplish in a year what has been going wrong for twenty. Correction, Römer: First, it has been going on for over fifty years, before the rule of anarchy already maintained culminated in the May 69 riots; second, your predecessor Balborda started doing something about it, for which he was kicked out by your party members and replaced by you—and we have to suspect because his measures were too efficient to PNP's taste.
The chicken farm (on their delivery trucks called "Egg's Farm") must have been sitting there on Noordkant, far from civilization, for at least 50 years. So of course those in charge thought that, as there was an asphalt road leading to it, thought that would be a free help in development, and two neighborhoods were built along it. Which are now complaining of flies and stench.
It's always that way: no matter who was their first, the chicken farm will have to go. They're still discussing it, but mark my words.
If it's economically sound to import foodstuff in bulk to produce eggs, which would cost much less to fly in, is another matter altogether.
Even Worse Than We!
"EU - the only fact you need to know:" The EU has failed to pass audit nineteen years in a row.
Now I understand why ex-PM Arsjes wanted us to join 'em.
Count Your Blessings
Not to mention your money. Price index here went down during February and March with 0.7 and 0.1%; not very much and no doubt mainly caused by lower fuel prices. Still, in Bonaire they went up last month by 0.5%; mirabile dictu also because of fuel price.
Let's Have a Party!
Indie MP Marilyn Moses, who left PIAS a while ago, has started her own party, Movementu Progressivo (if you can't translate that, please go away). They plan to take part in the next elections, although I don't see how that's possible. There are rules, which admittedly I don't know very well.
I've long since lost count on how many parties there are. We'll see, eventually. And how many will bite the dust as well.
Isla refinery declares they have nothing to do with the Asphalt Lake scandal, even though the installations of that company are on the refinery premises. They also deny the cops have raided the Isla offices.
Neighbors of Advent Hospital Damacor, formerly Taams Clinic, have started suing again. The place is still operating without licenses, and we don't even mean medical ones (but they haven't got those either). The place has been sold with the restriction that no business can be operated from there because of [the equivalent of] zoning restrictions; it's a residential neighborhood.
Advent just do as they like and don't care a fart about licenses, permits and restrictions. Oh, those christians. About time Christ came down, as they profess to believe could be any day, and ended it all.
You Figure It Out...
Holland doesn't want anything to do with the Syrian "refugee" who arrived here by way of Venezuela and knows where else, with no passport, no money and no friends—except the muslim community. Holland has a point: the guy didn't even bother to contact the lawyers who have offered him support.
Here's an Idea!
The Coast Guard complains that, with the € so low, they have a budget shortage of 3 million. Well, as they keep bragging to confiscate so many millions of drugs ("street value" of course), why not sell those on the Free Trade market? Just kiddin', I know. Still:
By the time those drugs reach the street, they'll have been "stepped on" [weakened by half] at least 5 times, so "1 million worth at street value" realistically is worth just over 30,000. If that.
Also, for the past months the € is steadily climbing back up, so what's the problem?
Collapse Ahead, Lies Past
Last year we had 700k tourists from Holland, 430k from Venezuela and 300k from the USA. We can take it for granted that the Venezuelan part will shrink enormously this year.
Those media don't tell us what kind of tourists these were, cruise ship day trippers or stay-overs. The Americans spent more than twice of much as the Dutch, $166/day (staying in the big hotels, we're told, so they're stay-overs).
And minister Rhuggenaath claims that each day tripper spends $75? The liar!
Ça va sans dire
P*Ss party was not present at the Staten meeting on criminal members of parliament, because they say ex-PM Shorty is innocent. What else did you expect? No matter that, for now, he's been proven guilty.
But what that has to do with the price of fish escapes me. For the sake of argument, if Shorty's innocent does that mean criminals can be parliament members as far as P*Ss is concerned? Obviously, yes.
No Joke, Mon
I wrote it as a joke, but now it's for real (must be psychic): Venezuelan Polar Beer has to stop production because of a shortage of barley. Now wait for those refugees!
No doubt more will follow: ex Asphalt Lake director lodges a complaint against former subcontractor Herman Piso, who's said that the company mixed poisonous stuff from Holland with the asphalt they processed. That's defamation! We'll see.
Don't know why Aster is so angry, he himself claims he's only a small shareholder of Asphalt Lake.
This is a good way to rid of poisonous stuff which would otherwise cost a lot of money, and of course to make an extra buck by selling it instead!
CTB Tourist Office plans a serious of 4 sessions where in a democratic process a marketing strategy will be reached, in discussion groups. You can participate if you work in tourism-associated industries.
Nobody ever asked us about tourism at all. Wise, they might get disagreeably surprised. That's democracy, folks!
Minister Rhuggenaath gave in and will now open new negotiations with the minibus drivers. Sure, what else could he do? So consider before you utter those stalwart words.
An islamophobe is someone who's afraid of terrorists.
That Should Work
In the Noord Santa Rosa barrio the crime nuisance has been abated by cooperation between justice and inhabitants. Street lights have been repaired and augmented. Trash has been removed. People have been educated on burglary prevention and street drug sales have been dealt with. All that sounds a lot better than paying out good money for old worthless guns: looks like people keep shooting each other.
They Don't Care
The supposed-to-be-held Staten meeting on the position of convicted criminals as parliament members couldn't go through because of a lack of quorum. MoFoK and P*Ss naturally weren't there, imagine. 12 members had asked for it, 9 turned up.
Tough for Thodé
His lawyer's request for more witnesses in his appeal has been declined. He really should get another lawyer than Peppi Peterson the Clown. Like those Dutch lawyers Moscowicz and Spong, he and the others in his act just seem to lose all cases. I can't imagine why those MoFoK guys all use him. Maybe he's on a retainer?
Two cops were driving along, but not so quietly. The driver lost control in a curve and their car hit a wall. Doesn't say what time it was; one would guess, deep night. Both had to be cut out of the car by the fire dept. The car was a total loss.
That's what "driving your card hard" means, I guess. In fact, our car.
Look up Anasaweg on Google maps and see how gentle that curve is. They must have been drivin' like Shorty.
Too Little, Too Late
Crude price is going up again, as production of non-OPEC members drops. Now it's back at $46/barrel. Still too low for Venezuela. Worse, if prices climb to $50-60, the shale oil producers will be back in the game, big time.
So males who feel they're dames want the "right" to use the ladies' bathroom. Funny that butch ladies don't want to use machos' bathrooms.
It's in the Mail
My within-5-days letter arrived yesterday (only took 2 weeks, Air Mail from Holland); my Pictoright year account sent April 1 as well (took 3 weeks, Air Mail from Holland); my stuff from the Kusama Louisiana exhibition sent March 29 I can pick up today (Air Mail from Denmark, 24 days—and I have to pay duties over stuff sent free because my photographs were used).
Still waiting for my Amazon book shipped March 2 (Air Parcel from USA, 7 weeks +), DVDs, SAL from Korea March 12 (6 weeks).
Pardon me for thinking very bad thoughts about C***-Post.
War on the Road
The bus drivers have announced they will determine their own tariffs, never mind what the minister says; the police have announced they will start checking on the road and if drivers have charged more than permitted, they'll be fined.
More Work = Corruption
Says Indie PM Moses on the new HNO hospital building. She definitely has a point. Ask any contractor (he'll deny it) or architect (he'll agree). Or client (you & me).
I swear to heaven that my wife, who's an architect, was totally shamelessly approached by opzichters [building supervisors] about blind eyes to malfeasance. Could make an honest [!] buck there, right? Regular business practices. All in the game.
Asphalt Lake director Debrot doesn't understand what all the ruckus is about. "We keep to all local and regional laws" (such as they are). Sure. Just ask SMOC.
And Isla's Gijsbertha's states it's nothing to do with the refinery. [It just happens to be done in there, this illegal mixing.] No doubt we'll see. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have dared say "no doubt". But times, they're a'changin'. Good.
Other suspects are Taryna company and a certain mr. Schep.
Says Debrot "You pay less for a KIA than for a BMW. Depends on the quality." Ees troo, señor.
No Doubt Whatsoever
On the quality of the products of Asphalt Lake Recovery, says director Debrot (so it's not Aster? It will come out in the wash). All products are checked by sworn-in inspectors. Ever heard of "perjury"?
It's a Belgian company sold the polluted fuel to ships. So where did those Belgian get the stuff?
I for one agree with Debrot; I for two have no doubt whatsoever.
Next Problem Looms
Things, and meant is drought, continue like this and Venezuela will lack the power to process their oil. No problem, ship all the stuff over to us. We'll all get rich! (at least, the political mob).
NOW They're Worried?
Ridiculous: Dutch MPs worry that Venezuelans will now start fleeing to Curaçao because (are you ready) they can't call international numbers any more. To them, that's worse than having no food, no toilet paper and NO BEER?
Addendum and Correction
Aster, whose house has been raided in what turns out to be called the "Andante" case, is angry about it. He says the raid was "unnecessary and very offensive." Tough. But I was wrong, he is no board member of our national oil company KPG. He says he's only a small shareholder of Asphalt Lake Recovery, but still happens to be director.
Apart from three other private addresses, Elias's United Trust office has also been raided. Elias, called "the richest man in Curaçao" who I see as a slick wangler, is the organizer of the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival and recently helped the Cuban government to some free propaganda by inviting the Rolling Stones over there, all costs paid. He of course denies any involvement, it just so happens that his company is merely a "fellow director". Hmmm.
PdVSA's Curaçao offices have been raided as well, as only to be expected.
TIP: Why not raid P*Ss party headquarters as well? All those Wiels guys must have left tracks.
One More Party
Join the fun! A group in Bandabao, the (still) rural western part of the island is starting their own party. They complain that we (yes, I live there) don't get enough government attention: the roads are bad (this while FØOL Godett just a few years ago had a large stretch renovated—and then was mad because he didn't get re-elected), the sport fields are wasted and TDS (our version of cable TV) and telephone are bad.
A bit late for the coming elections, though; so I guess we'll never hear more of them.
This morning, Justice dept. raided both the Isla Refinery and the Asphalt Lake recovery outfit, plus the home of its director; seven addresses in total. Rotterdam has been investigating complaints since 2013 about oil fuel sold to ships, contaminated with waste oil products. Like asphalt?
The practice is forbidden because of pollution, potential engine trouble and crew health concerns.
Not guilty until convicted, you say? I say "pshaw!"
I have also very little doubt several members of our government, who after all don't care if their own people get poisoned, know about this. Like Werner, and other Wielses. Meanwhile, they keep fobbing us off with gammon and spinach about clean LNG-burning refineries.
This Asphalt Lake guy Karel Aster is director of our national oil and gas company KPG, started under ex-PM Arsjes. Another likely prospect is Rupert Arrindell, board member of Isla Refinery and KPG. Stay tuned.
We All Knew It All the Time
But now elections are near and everybody gets worried about that new hospital HNO. Indie MP Leeflang was in the PAR opposition at the time it was pushed through our throats, and has reasons to say "it's been a mess from the very start." Right, so MFK Thodé should shut up. His party and PS are the guilty ones. You can only assume they smelled money, and lots of it, when they got the show on the potholed road.
"Information only reaches us via the media" MPs complain. That's precious little!
The deputy plenipotentiary minister in Holland, who just walked out of Curaçaohuis slamming the door, was superfluous. Now they're telling us. How long has he been paid a no doubt sumptuous income? Not very long, true. But it's true enough that, as he was supposed to rein in Fräudlein and didn't achieve a thing, he was superfluous.
Fine With Me
In a letter, MFK Monkee quotes a document called "Venezuela Freedom - 2 Operation - Phase preceding - South Command". Alas, he omits to state the source. In this alleged document the US Southern Command "exposes a mechanism to use parliament as a weapon to boycott Maduro's government; continue to create food shortages and basic products (economic pressure); use psychological pressure, financially and legally; use international support and execute violence in a selective way." I may be infringing Monkee's, Maduro's or whoever's (not US Southern Command's, that's for sure) copyright by quoting that extensively; so sue me, already. "It's almost comical" he writes, and here I'll correct him: "It's downright comical!" to presume that the Dutch government wouldn't know about the USA alleged plans to allegedly use Curaçao and Aruba as bases for their allegedly planned war-mongering.
In which case we'd be good for something, at least. In fact, that's our historically traditional raison d'être. Bolívar and Brion would never have gotten anywhere without us.
Remember, Monkee has strong Colombian roots. FARC, anybody? And Maduro of course is a champ himself in using "selective violence."
All Latin American oil production is falling, but Venezuela is the worst hit with 150,000 bpd, almost 1/3 of the 2005 total. Efforts to curtail middle East production have been worthless, as Saudi Arabia refuses to freeze production, which would only enable arch-enemy Iran to sell more.
Imagine, the Saudis who are suspected of being a main force behind the 9/11 infamy, are now cooperating with arch enemy Israel against Iran.
Some 50 gas containers were dumped in an illegal landfill, where they caught fire to demonstrate why we all call them "bombs". Only Curgas sells these things, but they say they're not theirs. So whose could they possibly be?
Transparency Starts Here
Only PAR and PIAS have handed in their required yearly accounts before April 1, as needed to participate in the elections. MAN, MFK, PNP, and P*Ss asked for extra time (their files are in such a mess... what a headache). FOØL, which may not participate anyway (what for?) and DP (with its all-girl list) just haven't done it.
What's called "the ruling party" in Curaçao Chronicle (so there is somebody at the helm? blow me down!)—they mean P*Ss— is pushing for an energy committee. Other parliament f
ractions also see its importance, they claim (which ones?) The committee would inform themselves about all sorts of things, with last but not least "oil and gas extraction" (where from?). It's a relief that P*Ss will disappear after next elections (wanna bet?) They'll have to get that committee installed in a hurry. Anyway, the Wiels mob has already been well taken care of.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Hopefully, P*Ss will take Fräudlein with them. Oh, how the heavies will fall. Some of 'em at least. Plenty more where they came from.
Something's Gotta Give
They need a lot of words to tell us, but it boils down to this: salaries of staff and workers in government-owned companies are (much) too high. Even is they are on the same level as in private life that's too much. These guys are protected against competition, bankruptcy, and against being fired. A well-encapsuled risk-free life, as compared with us suckers who cough up their salaries.
Which of course results in higher prices than we should have to pay. Don't we all know it. Aqualectra may be the worst offender.
What they're gonna do about it? Ah, that's a good question. No doubt the unions will fight to the death (wishful thinking, that) before it's changed.
The e-Gate Front
I didn't pay any attention to it, just hype I figure: those new e-Gates at Hato airport. Well, it's worse than that... it's a sham, a flop, a mockery. Can't they get anything right?
One of our mole correspondents had the misfortune to enter at the same time as 2-300 KLM passengers. (He was lucky, because a 747-400 carries 660 in a pinch—to make it worse, the TUI 787 flights with 335 passengers tend to arrive at about the same time.) He couldn't find the "residents" line, but was helped to the new biometrics "gates". As usual, the is-this-a-system didn't work (he couldn't even find the camera that was supposed to shoot his mug) and he was finally helped at the "manual desk". Still far ahead of that madding KLM-crowd.
In all fairness, I must add that I had to pass through the USA-system twice last year and both times it flopped liked a hooked fish ashore as well.
People living in Otrabanda complain that, since parking meters have been installed, visitors to the city prefer to park in the narrow alleys down there (hey, it's free!) and leave no space for the inhabitants, even blocking entrances. The minister says, when the old hospital has gone, there will be space enough over there. Sounds like BS; would result in pretty long walks. Besides, how long before that will happen, oh Lord?
The ambtenarenpaleis [civil servants' palace] minister van der Horst likes so much will not go through. At least not before the new elections.
Building was supposed to start July 2014.
Try to Think, Römer
Minister time-to-get-lost Römer wants to build two more population centra on this 61km [37m] long island. How she'll connect them to each other, a disaster already that can't be solved without demolishing entire neighborhoods and/or ruining conservation areas, she doesn't mention—proving that everybody can be wise sometimes.
This would sound even more ridiculous if she hadn't told us before she wants to double the population (don't ask how); so we can pay more taxes.
C***-Pest denies their "community mail boxes" are illegal. I guess Pinedo will have to go to court; then we'll see. C***-Pest says it's not to make more profit, it's to reduce losses. What an argument.
My "within 5 days" letter hasn't arrived yet; it's been 10 days now.
Could Have Been Worse... Much Worse
Nos a skapa! Remember how Shorty planned to build a giant solar plant here, with the expertise of Assyce, Spain? Looks like the best you can say about that outfit is, at least they're still around; if only after a fashion. Other Spanish "green" power companies are dropping dead like flies. Subsidies are drying up...
At that time, Aqualectra claimed the price per kW of 22 cents "could drop" to 17 (it hasn't). But for solar energy they'd have to pay 42 cents, not counting batteries for night supply.
Shorty's firm Eco Energy is still around, it seems (even the website doesn't respond). He managed to get all the stuff they import duty-free while he was boss.
Of Course Not
Shorty's MFK does not even want a public parliament meeting to discuss the point: will he be honorable enough to get out of Staten? We can't kick him out, they forgot to accept a law to accomplish that while they still could.
In all honesty, the whole parliament attitude smacks of hypocrisy anyway. Nobody tried to keep FØOL Godett out after he had been released from jail. Same for MFK members Thodé and Quackie Constancia. There are others. And now this song and dance about Shorty?
Don't think this is unique to Curaçao either. To name but one example, the US Senate is full of convicted crooks as well.
Just a thought, how about Nelson Mandela?
Over 90% of microcephaly found in babies is not caused by Zika.
Then again, popular mosquito repellant DEET is not deemed safe for using in pregnancy.
In the 1950s, the tiger mosquito (Aedes Aegypti) was eradicated here by the use of DDT, which was forbidden after the panic sown by the book Silent Spring, resulting in tens of thousands of yearly deaths. It has been brought back since in several countries (like South Africa) and still is just about the best insecticide around.
I'm not gonna flog my dead horse again here and now.
Won't Let It Go
Contrary to earlier announcements, ATM Telecuraçao will not become independent from UTS telecommunications. Or rather, it will; but as part of UTS, you figure it out. Totally predictable, of course; you don't think the government will let a propaganda machine go?
Same Old Story
The government has appointed six primary schools to instruct in Dutch. Each has a waiting list about ten times as long as they can handle. Which doesn't count the people who just don't take the effort to try and get their kids on those. But as one school explains, it's very hard to get a permit to expand, "certainly with this government."
No figures are given on how many pupils there are in total; but as there were 2014 babies born in 2014 and 6x200=1200 kids try to get on Dutch-only schools, most parents seem to go for Dutch. Especially as the many more bi-lingual schools have waiting lists of their own
Hurray for Papiamentu! We'll teach you to use it, if you want to or not. That's democracy, folks!
When you go and live in another country, your AOW welfare pension is cut by 10%. Serves you right, or not? Traitor! Hardly any MP agrees, so it's hard to understand how this came to be discussed at all.
PIAS Rosaria wants the government to come clean and tell us what the situation is with the AOW fund. We'd all like to know, yes.
You Might Well Ask
Sehos[pital] is in trouble. There's not enough money to keep up operations (get it?) A sly dig is made at government and SVB social insurance: "They have to come across at a point when it's needed." Which is now, so Sehos "can go on for a few months."
Sehos is also bugged by the enormous noise caused by pneumatic drilling for their new neighbor, HNO which is going to replace them. Head of medical specialists club Saleh asks himself "whether enough thought has been given to the consequences of the construction." The short answer obviously is "No".
Four Venezuelan cops were involved in a plot to smuggle guns to Aruba. "You call that amazing?" you ask scornfully. No, they were arrested in their own country, that's what's amazing!
Smart move, Maduro! Who'd thought I'd ever write that (certainly not me). Maduro will change Venezuela's clocks, which were set back half an hour in 2007 by Chávez, "so the children could wake up in daylight"—in reality, because he wanted to have a different time than New York.
Remains to be seen how Maduro will change the clocks. Give him some time (get it?) to figure it out, he's not so smart. Many people don't understand summer versus winter time, so you can't blame Maduro. In this at least.
Update: Maduro plans to scratch the Great Chávez time delay. Move those dials up! Maduro is smarter than I thought (doesn't mean much).
How Like Him
Even though it was explicitly stated that the approval of the 2011 yearly account only meant that the figures in there were correct, of course! Shorty's MFK immediately followed up with a statement that it proved that there was nothing wrong in that year.
Problem is, 15% of the people are stupid enough to believe him.
Actually, that's not so bad, as half of the people necessarily have an intelligence below average. The Shorty followers are to be found at the very bottom of the barrel. If that was politically correct, we'd call them "retarded idiots".
Living on a Volcano!
SO2 emissions of the Iceland Bárðarbunga volcano, which has been erupting from 31st August 2014 to 27th February 2015, were higher in 6 months than those of all of Europe combined in 2011, almost 12 million tons. The Skaftá Fires were much larger still (but that's a long time ago, 1783-1784). So what are we complaining about?
Well, you see, the Icelanders didn't go out to build a volcano. Nor can they demolish it.
More semi-riots at the Den Haag Fräudlein Wiels Palace. Yawn. As long as we have this government, with PIAS and P*Ss ruling, it won't help a bit. Waste of breath. What a bore. Capisci? We all know she's a despot and should never have been appointed; once she was, the rest followed irrevocably. Enough already. You want to read about that, this is not the place.
Unless/until the government starts taking measures.
No End in Sight
... to the oil supply glut. Crude price is falling, again. No agreement has been reached on freezing supplies, so there you are, Maduro.
Yeah, Well, Sure
Special committees visiting Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten from Holland (so we don't have to worry how much they get paid) opine that all three are much too dependent on tourism. I told you so. Matter of fact, if it depends on our Great New Plan and minister Rhuggenaath, that will only get worse in the future.
Or maybe those plans will stall; as usual. Won't make it better.
And in that connection, the Green Town initiative also depends for a large part on attracting more tourists. Just sayin'.
Stay Positive! Israelis are throwing parties because, finally after years of waiting, they can buy ZipLoc baggies over there.
We've had them since way back when...
How Rhuggenaath announced last year he'd retire from politics? He's baaaack with a vengeance as we all know. Sure, you'd be a fool to trust politicians' promises.
At any rate, his claim is that every cruise tourist spends $75 on the island, which I find hard to believe. They even walk around with their own bottles of water filled aboard, and I don't blame 'em either, don't get me wrong. So that new pier will cost us €60m; to keep it simple divide by 75 gives 800,000 tourists. (As if what they spend is pure profit.) We now get 176,000/year. Saka bo som.
Just for the hell of it, how much of what they spend is pure profit? 25% at the utmost, I guess. My guess is, in any case in those $75 are included mooring fees, bunkering, water supply, sewage disposal, you name it. That's like saying a tourists "spends" his airport tax. Which he does, of course.
The OM [public ministry] appeals the case against Robbie dos Santos. Robbie got two years in jail, conditional, but the OM had asked for four.
Peppie Peterson, Robbie's lawyer, had already announced he wouldn't appeal. Hah!
We're stuck with it: CPA and Dutch contractor BAM have signed an agreement for the building of a second cruise ship megapier. The protected corals at the location will cause "some delay" but it will be ready early 2017.
Only Dutch news site NU.NL thought it worth while to mention the price: €65 million.
Big Deals Free
Big Deals, AKA "Giant F*ck-*ps", "Elephant Orgies" won't have to pay sales tax anymore; actually, starting last year. Meant and mentioned is specifically the weirdly named Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival. These are sooo good for tourism and our international image! Projects must have a minimum budget of 1.5 million guilders, though.
Now we're there anyway, why not Karnaval?
Maybe now MPs get free tickets? It's a thought.
If She Must, She'll Have To
That's Transparency, Folks! Minister Römer has told her
inferiorsstaff to prepare the Oostpunt documents for publication; but first, she wants to discuss it with her lawyers. "If we must publish them, we'll have to" but she'd prefer a surreptitious way out. Don't think there's one myself, she appealed already and lost again.
Much Ado About Nothing
Actually, worse than that... less than nothing... The Staten meeting on the 2011 yearly account. Remember? When the Short Dictator ruled. But Shorty of course blames the deficit he laboriously built up in that year on the preceding PAR years, which is complete rubbish.
I didn't want to discuss this at all, so predictable: everybody is blaming everybody else. But then I stumbled over a pearl spit from the lips of frog-MAN Cooper: "PAR loves Holland, which is the dirtiest country of Europe. Look it up, it's on the Internet."
The account was accepted with 12-0 votes, not before MFK left the meeting. They couldn't very well vote against, could they, after all.
One More Party
This one's called PRIK [sting]. Actually, it's been around for two years but they now wish to participate in next elections. What they say doesn't sound bad, but if they'll keep to it? When and especially if, that is.
Tiara Air started reflying to pay off the debt to their personnel. They received deferred payment after Venezuela stopped paying them. I take it they're not flying on Venezuela.
Everybody wonders how InselAir keeps that up. Rumors are rife, but I won't repeat them here as, without proof, it'd amount to slander and libel. Hint: it has to do with drugs.
More Fräudlein Wiels Entertainment
Director Senior of the Den Haag Curaçaohuis, her excellency's p[a]lace, has taken his leave and resigned. Nobody knows why yet (except, I take it, Wiels and, to be sure, Senior). However, we have our dark suspicions.
We are still waiting for PM Whiteman to see fit to publish the third report on Wiels.
The Glut Goes On
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the U.A.E. will stop cutting production to help more expensive crude oil producers keep up prices. And after all, come right down to it, why should they? They will even increase production of crude and gas, by 20%, 5% and 15% respectively.
Bad news for PdVSA. Not that they needed any.
To Catch a Thief
Dutch socialist MP van Raak wants to look into the corruption allegations, related with UTS telecommunication and the gambling industry, against KPMG Curaçao—for which he wants to ask the cooperation of the good folks of KPMG.
I'm Afraid So
Or, I'm so afraid! Ex-PM Shorty yells that, when he wins the coming elections, there will a "a solid change". Yep, don't even have to guess—he's right.
PM Whiteman says education minister Dick is "boycotted" because details of a new law to improve final exams have been passed on by civil servants to educators. That's a no-no? That's transparency!
Back in Business
Tiara Air, which was in trouble, will resume flights AUA-CUR. That's taken a long time.
Old Folks Export
People who have been fired at their 60th will not get AOW (old age welfare pension) until their 65th here, so they're "exported" to Holland. [Not the] only problem is, over there you only get AOW when you're 67. So with them, we export our monetary obligations.
Doesn't matter that it's the only solution for which they choose themselves.
It Only Hurts When I Laugh
Are you ready? Isla refinery is considering to lodge a complaint against SMOC because of their "slander and libel". And Isla calls PdVSA their "mother company". Slip of the tongue: I thought the refinery was ours and PdVSA only rented it.
Are you ready? "WHO only establishes guidelines, not norms." [Translation: So who cares? Not Isla.]
They must be feeling the pinch; finally. We all wish they'd really do something about it.
Double the People, Double the Fun
Minister Römer declares Curaçao's population has to double for us to get anywhere, as we'll then pay more tax for the government (just when we keep getting promised they'll be reduced!) Beware of what you wish for... You'll get all sorts of troublesome characters back from Holland, like me; born here and after having lived there for a number of years not prepared to lie down and take it.
Besides, where will she put them? There are not enough houses by a long way as it is!
This is also the sort of argument heard in €urope (not so often anymore these days): the immigrants are needed to pay for the old people's welfare, extending the Ponzi scheme for some decades. And if you think they're in trouble now, just wait and watch.
Ad hominem: Suzy Römer herself looks like she's made a one-person effort to double the population. An obvious case of obesitas. But those things run in governments.
The new youth prison, of which building was three months short of being finished, has been stopped. Building will resume 3 months from now, leading to a six month delay and "additional expense". You bet. They stopped for technical reasons. So who was the klutz who designed that building?
Appels court has spoken, and the government must show the documents that led to the Oostpunt development permits to Carmabi. Minister Römer didn't like the first judgment and appealed. We'll pay for it. She now gets two weeks to come across with the documents, or she'll have to pay 2000 guilders/day, max. 60,000 (popcorn... much cheaper than peanuts). OK, we will pay that as well, if and when. Because she won't have to, it's all tax money.
More Crude Confusion
Iran needs the money to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, so they are selling oil below market price. So will the Saudis keep doing, just when price was slowly creeping up again.
You Get What You Choose
A poll published by KKCuraçao indicates that next elections, PAR will get 13.4% of votes, MFK 14.9%. 40% don't know yet. PIAS and Un Korsou Hustu (Leeflang) get less than 9%; the rest is below 3%.
Re ex-PM Shorty, 19% will vote for him and 81% not, because "he's the victim of a political persecution" (I like that), and 28% figures MFK will do well without him, 72% not.
Could be much worse, could be a lot better.
If the sample is reliable? I'm afraid, not if you'd ask statisticians.
More Piers for Less Ships
In 2014's 1st quarter Curaçao was visited by 109 cruise ships carrying ~221k tourists (or 2028 per ship); in 2015, 102 ships with 187k tourists (1883 per ship). This year, only 96. How many pasengers we're not told, but let's guess 176k/year. And we thinking the ships got larger and larger!
"It's not clear why we get less cruise calls." Seems obvious to me: they lost interest, in spite of all the Big New (and Expensive) Propaganda efforts.
Come on, let's build more piers! Maybe it's a good lure!
The day after this was published, we heard that Pullmantur will stop visiting here as well, from November. One less? 4/month or 12/quarter less; well over 10%.
It means we'll get 100k tourists less per year, say 13%. Not that those cruise tourists spend much in the first place.
Just applied, digitally, for one more crazy bureaucratic number at SVB NL. They replied that I'd get a letter by mail in less than 5 days. We'll see about that, via C***-Pest. Talk about snail mail.
Sona, the institute that arranges building of the new hospital HNO, says that the government will not be asked to supply the extra millions needed. It's not clear why and how, except that they say it's 'only' 60m, not 78m guilders. What can we do but hope for the best.
Freedom of Information? Whistleblowers?
Minister Römer doesn't like it that, more and more often, the responsible
spoiled bratscivil servants are explicitly named in the media. They should be able to perform their dark deeds anonymously! Like, from under a flat stone. She says it's "a particularly nasty development."
We disagree. Totally. We like it! Let the sun shine in.
Her True Colors Are Showing
Despite two court judgments that the illegal Pietermaai buildings should be torn down, minister Römer maintains that the should be kept up, asd there still is a request for a building permit pending.
Which, to my simplistic mind, means that there is no building permit - ergo the building is illegal - ergo, it should be demolished.
But Römer may have reasons of her own.
She proceeds to mention a few cases where she did stop illegal activities, forced by the media.
Our C-*** Pest
Yesterday, April 5, received an order that was shipped from Canada November 26 last year. With eBay, you have to complain 30 days from shipping date; then the poor bastards often ship anew and, naturally, I often get the item twice. Is This a System?
Sometimes I don't get the re-shipment either.
Minister Dick has sent a letter to all high school finalists that their diploma will be valid in Holland. But indie MP Leeflang is not so convinced.
The new hospital will not be ready before end May 2018, if then. That's another 8 months of delay. Plus, government is not prepared to accept the higher cost of 78 million (almost 20% of the original budget). So what will they do? They can only accept, it's too late now; so that's only wasted words.
It's just one thing after the other for the Venezuela president. Now that he needs more money than ever, which is sayin' sump'n, the crummy PdVSA harbor installations are falling apart, resulting in a refined oil export drop of 10% last month.
More Problems for Shorty
PAR Konket has asked justice minister Navarro to check the illegal car lotteries, organized by ex-PM Shorty in the MFK party building. This has been going on for two years already. Why should it be necessary for a political party to ask the minister? Shouldn't the police or lottery inspection have stopped this long ago?
Slaves of the Government
It's not the first time our government used what amounts to slaves to get its work done. Well do we remember the Filipinos who suddenly disappeared off the island while it was discovered under what lawless conditions these were building BOO, a Mitsubishi electricity plant owned by Isla refinery and Aqualectra utility (both government owned). To save money.
We also had the CDM/Dok Cuban slaves scandal, which turned into an enormous flop when some escaped and started suing the government owned company from the USA, resulting in an $80 million fine and a bad name for our land all over the world. Money saved? Not so much.
And now it's a new slave scandal: CDM/Dok workers were arbitrarily fired and rehired under slave-like conditions in "temporary" jobs. When lawyer Bijkerk, after years of fighting for them, succeeded in getting a court order, CDM/DOK appealed immediately. Then, Shorty tried to get the workers to leave Bijkerk and instead have his fellow mobster Osepa represent them. (Our former plenipotentiary minister in Holland; yes, just like Fräudlein Wiels.)
This week, all of a sudden the government announced they would pay the workers, after first subtracting Bijkerk's fee. CDM/Dok's lawyer de Vries plays a very dirty role here, aided and abetted by minister Rhuggenaath. His name just might be translated as "spine" but in fact, he's spineless and much better translations can be thought of. All this can be seen as a revenge for Bijkerk making himself a thorn in Shorty's side. Never trust politicians: they always form a club and a cabal, and outsiders are repelled. That attitude is no less strong even now, with elections approaching. Cover yourself, maybe Shorty wins! And true, his revenge will be gruesome.
No Public Tender: It's a Habit
We have grown used to it. DOW very rarely invites tenders for whatever. Now, it started in 2011 when Shorty's Rule Was Law. A German company got a contract to replace all street lights with LEDs, saving 60% of energy. But these powerful LED lights are much more expensive than regular ones as yet, so we'd all like to see a good comparison: capital investment vs. running costs. If such a thing exists; it should, though.
Since then, that has been done. And now under minister Römer, LED lights are being installed (w/o tender), made by the company that had the very worst results in a review by an independent bureau.
It's of course much easer to get your bribe without a public tender. I'm not saying somebody got bribed, oh no. I could get sued for slander.
Now, only after heavy bad press, she is finally prepared to start investigating the illegal buildings at Boka Sami, and police action at that occasion. She has a long history of promises to do something about illegal building all over the island; the builders just laugh in our faces and continue building.
We all smell bribery, but who has time and money to investigate and get proof, faced by a tsunami of corruption?
Check the past: here, here, here, here, and here. There are more.
Dolphin Therapy Business
The Nicolette Foundation, arranging flights and "therapies" at the Dolphin Academy, doesn't want patients to find accommodation somewhere else than "close by" the Academy. In a present den Haag, Holland court case, parents collected €10,000 themselves but Nicolette forces them to stay at a much more expensive location than they arranged themselves. Nicolette's lawyer states a 20 minute drive is too far away.
Sounds like a dirty business. In fact, it stinks. But then, the whole "therapy" is very suspect to start with. I also had no idea that what amounts to playing with dolphins for a week or so would cost that much.
But the parents ought to be grateful, says Nicolette's lawyer, and instead they doubt the foundation's bona fides. Well, so do I doubt them.
The media report that the CDM/Dok workers finally get their money, and the government acts as if it's out of their good heart; and claim that lawyer Bijkerk's efforts have nothing to do with it—which is doubtful, to say the least. Minister Rhuggenaath says he has nothing to do with the "extra costs", by which is meant Bijkerks honorarium.
Such Bad Luck
Rare and protected corals have been found at the planned location of the 2nd mega pier for cruise ships, so it can't be built there. You can hear the disappointment dripping out of minister Rhuggenaath's text that "we have to keep to international treaties".
Keeping positive as we should, this will save us a lot of money. But no doubt they'll build it somewhere else. Quick! plant some corals there.
An underwater park will be built there instead, so the tourists can ruin the coral anyway.
Since 2008, fluoridation in the USA has gone up, so that 20% more people get it, 74.7%. A good thing Shorty and Quackie Constancia never succeeded in taking it away from us.
Nice fat scandal, the Panama Papers. In the list of top-10 countries having worked that scheme, Curaçao's mentioned as well. They say, one office here helped Belgians to off-shore companies.
Now that's of very minor interest to me. Much more fascinating would be, who of Our Leaders have accounts in Panamá?
FIFA is involved as well (of course). 'Splains why they're working so hard to make us soccer champs!
Check out the Daily Mail and have a look at all those politicians' kissers. How did those jerks ever get themselves elected?
That "one office" comes from a Belgian source, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are others around who help other countries' clients, as well. I mean, top-10?
We're going to hear a lot more about this, mark my words.
Iran is looking forward to extending cooperation with Latin American navies, to wit those of Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Cuba, Mexico and Colombia, in a move to move to create an axis "against the colonialist powers". But don't worry, first they'll update their navy with state-of-the-art weapons. Like missiles? Nuclear warheads?
A good thing then that Venezuela needs Curaçao desperately, with their own crummy refineries and terminals for a large part out of order. As long as that lasts (may be pretty long, true).
Axis... axis... that word sure brings back memories. About 65 year old ones. But if memory serves me right, those guys were beaten.
Saudi Arabia is selling off its state oil company, while it's still worth something, to finance a giant wealth fund. By 2035, they expect that the oil business is finished. Kaput. Over and done with. It was fun while it lasted.
That's 19 years from now and only 16 from 2019, the year when our Isla refinery will have to be upgraded for (I forget, anyway:) billions of dollars. Is it really worth that? Looks like a good question.
We have "owned" Isla since 1985, 31 years, and look where it got us.
If the Saudis are right, I couldn't say.
Remember that Syrian that suddenly popped up here, illegally and without papers, and was helped by the muslim communiity? He was supposed to get on a TUI-flight to Holland.
Well, he's still here. TUI doesn't accept passengers without a passport (like all airlines I've flown since 9/11). Let alone they'd pay for his ticket.
Somebody's lying here and it's not me. Why?
A Closer Look
According to the OilPatchOnline blog, the capacity factor of the Curaçao wind generators is 38%. Which means that the total present capacity of Playa Kanoa and Tera Corá combined is, in practice, .38*30MW=11.4MW or 11,400KW. I'm pretty sure meant is "per hour", resulting in 8,208,000KW/month. If Aqualectra pays 5 cents/KW extra for those, that means about 5 million guilders per year flowing into the coffers of the windfarm.
I'm sure they can spare Shorty at least 5% of that; about 250k guilders a year. If they do pay him that? Ah, now you've got me.
Next, They'll Lower Taxes
Government is doing a fine business these days. Money's just rolling in. First 72.5 million of Robbie, in the same week 3 million worth of goodies in the Fiji case. (Don't know who thinks up those names, reminds me of army exercises.) Fiji concerns a drug-launderer who went on to smuggle gold, with false certificates. You and I are in the wrong business: drugs are small-time compared with lotteries. Not to mention government.
A Lot Can Happen in 6 Weeks
The negotiations on future exploitation of the Aruba Valero refinery have been extended for 6 weeks. Maybe someone is waiting to see if crude prices go up or down in that period? But it's still Citgo negotiating, so it may depend even more on president Maduro's misadventures.
Collapsing Green Dreams
In Germany, tax inspectors are looking into Danish wind generator builder Vesta's manipulations to get the country (and the North Sea) littered with those monsters. Bribery all over the place, it's suspected. How striking that fraud and corruption so often go hand in hand with the Greenies!
Like SunEdison which, after crashing, is now investigated as to what they did with that enormous amount of cash money which they had on hand last year.
And how interesting that Aqualectra had a deal to pay 17 cents per kW for their wind generated energy, which was screwed up to 22 during the Short Dictator's reign. One can't help wondering how much of that surplus arrives at some foreign bank account held by Shorty. In which case he could afford a lot of appeals.
That price may have been screwed up, but we're still screwed good and proper.
There We Go
Not hearing much anymore about Zika these days, right? I've been pretty skeptical about the Big Dangers myself: what we need is proof—which we now have. Especially microcephaly occurring as a birth defect has now been found in Colombia as well (29% of Zika-infected mothers have borne a baby with a serious defect), while a team in Finland indicated the way this works.
So there we go. Do we finally really do something about those mosquitoes, which can make life a pest anyway? Or do we go on making them resistant to spraying, by spraying some more?
That's how Peppie Sulvaran, Robbie's lawyer, describes the 72.5m guilders fine. He obviously expected prison time as well. And it seems Robbie has not been convicted of printing fake lottery tickets (probably for lack of proof). At any rate, this is "a bomb" under the lottery business, Sulvaran claims, when all the others can go on selling illegally. Can't say I follow that, but hope he's right.
And he's not screaming that they will appeal, either... they're considering it. A welcome change in attitude from the Shorty court case.
Eppur Si Muove
The enquête-commmissie [civilian surveys] is ready for publication of its report on fraud in Aqualectra, Curoil and Refineria di Kòrsou (RdK/Isla). Parties now have a month to comment, after which the committee expects the report will be ready in 2 weeks.
Not before we (and FAS) were ready for it. This has taken almost 3 years.
CDM, Minister Rhuggenaath and Good Governance
Now that, after years of struggle, lawyer Bijkerk has succeeded in obtaining a court order that temporary workers at Curaçao Dok (remember? a href="2015.html#DOKps">the slaveholders) must get their money, CDM/Dok, acting in concert with minister Rhuggenaath advises those same workers that they should get rid of Bijkerk. They will then get paid the net sum minus the 20% Bijkerk charges, which I'm sure they knew all about when they started their action.
What's behind it is that CDM/Dok and the government hope to save paying the compound interest, which after all these years has grown to 18%. But those workers who step into the trap by not paying Bijkerk will save only 2%.
Bijkerk hopes he'll get to talk this over with minister Rhuggenaath.
This is not the first time CDM/Dok tried a dirty trick like that.
Robbie Must Pay
Fined to the tune of 72.5 million guilders (<$40m). May seem peanuts for lottery boss Robbie dos Santos; but of course it must hurt. He also gets 2 years of jail conditionally, with 3 years of probation. Judge doesn't believe he'll stop evading taxes: it's a habit. Will he appeal?
She Has a Phone, Hasn't She?
Minister Römer explains that she needs a joint action with the ministry of Justice to do something about the illegal builders at Boka Sami. We need no 'splaining, ma'am, just do something.
The minibus drivers will not reduce their tariffs; economic development minister Rhuggenaath can say what he wants.
The Space Gang, who must be getting pretty desperate, announces that the first test flights of the Vomit Comet will start end of this year. How long that will take? There, they maintain an aloof silence. Figures, because paid flights were supposed to have started early last year.
300 tickets have been sold for $125k, they say. Supposed to be $37.5m. In the first place, I strongly doubt it; in the second place, that's probably not nearly enough.
3rd, if I'd bought and paid for a ticket, I'd ask my money back.
"Slave labour is a form of renewable energy but is far from good." Hear hear.
Meanwhile, even China stops building these wind generator monsters, because most of the energy produced is "wasted". 15% of all energy produced in China last year was squandered due to this.
Mol Gets Out
One of the primary members of the Space Gang is getting out. Looks bad for the rest of 'em; good for us! Now we discover Mol is a rich guy, thanks to his daddy, who first lost a lot of money in promoting a Spyker F1 race team; then he went for the Vomit Comet pipe dream, which must have cost him many leaves of lettuce as well. His latest hobby is a flying car, the PAL-V. Many of those have been dreamed up but they never took off. Maybe after that, he will have a fling at getting gold out of seawater. One of the primary members of the Space Gang is getting out. Looks bad for the rest of 'em; good for us! Now we discover Mol is a rich guy, thanks to his daddy, who first lost a lot of money in promoting a Spyker F1 race team; then he went for the Vomit Comet pipe dream, which must have cost him many leaves of lettuce as well. His latest hobby is a flying car, the PAL-V. Many of those have been dreamed up but they never took off. Maybe after that, he will have a fling at getting gold out of seawater.
The Spyker car was produced in the first half of last century in Holland, but was so expensive it flopped. Cost more than a Rolls Royce at the time.
Gas Down, Juice Up
Hard to figure out and to reason why; while crude oil price has gone up a bit again, car gas will go down again to ANG1.24 and diesel to .88. On the other hand, electricity and water will become more expensive.
Oh. That's because of a decrease (another one?) in wind energy production. No more details are given.
Leeflang Makes Waves
Let's hope they'll be permanent. Indie MP Leeflang will introduce a motion in parliament that instructs PM Whiteman to fire Fräudlein Wiels. Reason, or rather inducement is that the third report on our Dutch plenipotentiary person has still not been received by parliament, not even in its expurgated version. The report has been around since January 11. Leeflang reproaches PAR and PIAS that they let PS get away with this shameful affair.
Writing on the Wall
SunEdison, the biggest "green energy" giant, is collapsing. Worth 10 billion dollars 9 months ago, it's now valued at a "mere" 400 million; not even one quarter. Oh how the mighty fall with a terrific crash. Looks like there's not so much future for green energy, nor so much green energy in the future, after all.
JetBlue is starting a third weekly flight NYC-CUR. Good. It must be more than twenty years since we could choose between ALM or AA to fly there.
Private citizen Felix Pinedo is planning to go to court if he doesn't get response to a second letter to minister of transport (Römer), bureau telecommunication and post and the post office director. In his what looks like considered opinion the post office has the duty to deliver letters to people's home addresses, and not the right to fob them off with "community mail boxes" where they have to go pick it up themselves. Keep tuned.
We're still waiting for the post office's reply to Ombudsman's nasty questions on this.
Next, the post office will maybe start charging us rent for those things, like they do (and rightly so) for P.O. Boxes.
Those vehicle inspections... After, like here, they were obligatory in every USA state, by 1970 they started to get rid of 'em. By now, only 13 states still have them.
Funny thing is, in the states where inspections were eliminated the numbers of accidents, injuries and fatalities have continued to fall.
There must be a lesson somewhere in there. If only I could understand it; or better yet, Those in Power.
The only thing I'd really wish they'd check is the cars' headlights—which they don't. But as very many people routinely have their high beams on, regardless of oncoming traffic, that's of precious little use as well.
To preach a bit here, that's very dangerous for yourself. One's eyes tend to be attracted by bright light sources, and where your eyes go, your reflexes often follow. Crash-Boom-Tralala followed by the bridge to Over the Rainbow, ask any musician: another frontal collision, with you in it. But there's no curing stupid.
Look At That!
Talk about "hockey sticks" (note, this is for the USA).
This time not our Great Leaders, but rather illegal builders behind Boka Samí. A woman walking three dogs, or maybe seven, was viciously attacked by two cars, belonging to those guys. Other people living there are afraid to mention any names. Police doesn't seem to want to take any action. (Car license is known and published in newspaper photographs.)
Why should they, when minister Römer doesn't do anything about it either?
He Was Too Busy
Ex (thank the good lord for small favors)-PM Arsjes's new party announces they want to start an action to rent out the many empty government-owned building. Great idea! Why didn't he think of that while he was PM for 3 years?
The less money the government spends, let's face it, the more there's left to steal.
Cft financial supervision will come to an end in 2018, but PM Whiteman's club thinks, next year is good enough.
I'd rather wait for the result of the coming elections.
The Cameras Are Coming!
Finally, they're preparing the boxes to house the security cameras. That will be finished "before the summer" (not that we have any, but technically that means June 21). The first phase; it's not clear from the media if the cameras will actually have been placed then. Later more locations will follow; wisely no further dates are mentioned.
Tayer Soshal [social workshop] Santa Martha people don't want their former director Melfor back at any price. He has now gone to court, after five years of strife and struggle.
You must know, Tayer Soshal is a place where people find a job, who wouldn't easily get one in normal business life. I imagine they can be pretty hard to get along with at times.
So find somebody who can, fer cryin' out loud!
The Law? Who Cares
When the judge's verdict was that Jewel had no permit for their Pietermaai building activities, you'd expect Jewel/Rivera to stop, would you? Then you're a fool. They just went on and now we'll have to wait for that paragon of integrity, minister Römer, to take action. I hear next year when the moon is blue we'll have a month of Sundays. But that's too late.
Curaçao and Holland mostly do that, so it's no surprise now that Curaçao feels that the goalposts keep being moved by Cft financial supervision; Holland says the agreements are clear. The Raad van State [council of state] will decide; eventually.
Wanna bet their decision will agree with Holland's POV? No? I thought so.
Not all Cubans are so crazy about the free Rolling Stones concert. There has been a silent concert by two guys standing on a balcony, with their mouths taped shut and never touching their instruments. They were surrounded by secret police—you bet.
After they were arrested, one of them sent a video message to Mick Jagger and his band advising him "to inform yourself." A fat lot of good that will do, knowing those coke-hounds.
The 4 Curaçao high schools are getting worried. Despite all her reluctant promises, education minister Dick has done nothing as yet to guarantee their diplomas will be equivalent to the Dutch ones. If not, they are of no value for a study there.
The inhabitants of the former Netherlands Antilles are dissatisfied with their governments. Curaçao people are most negative, for some reason(s). Only St. Maarteners loves their government; but then again, the survey there was fraudulent.
Organizer Elias of the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival (or some such ridiculous name) has made it happen: the Rolling Stones went to Cuba for a concert, free. Elias paid all further costs to give the Cubans a treat.
A guy Derksen competes for the honor, and even says he paid the Stones their fee. I'm not going to try and sort that out.
Now, of course, the Cubans think it's their own government who arranged it. That's propaganda, folks!
The Cubans even expect it's the beginning of a new era. This while dictator Castro flatly denies there still are political prisoners; so the Cuban American National Foundation obligingly supplied him with a list.
Oh, Elias and Derksen did it together! It took quotes in our media from the Miami Herald and Dutch TV to clear that up.
Would Be Too Late, Anyway
Almost 2/3 of Venezuelans want president Maduro to go before this year ends. a—that's too late to save the country and b—he won't go of his own, is extremely safe to predict.
In incredible fact, Maduro's popularity went up from 32% tot 33.1% in January. Just like those (words fail me) here who'd vote for Shorty again.
More or Less Than Funny
The leader of the muslim community was announced to hold a discourse over the radio this afternoon. Even before it was transmitted, there were 7 comments on KKCur, of which 6 ridiculed him—putting it kindly. The reactors' main problem was, how dare this guy compliment us on being friendly to his kind, while "his family elsewhere lived in fear"?
Nothing to the fear non-muslims live in, in those same countries. Maybe if the muslim percentage here went up, we'd live in fear too! It's now less than 0.7%. In Germany 5; France, 9.6; Belgium 6; Netherlands 5.5; UK 4.8. Bear in mind these are 2014 figures, before the Great Modern Merkel Migration really got swinging.
The guy's name is Mohamad Khatib; he's a top member of Amparo dos Santos's new party. And by the way you know, many "hate crimes" against muslims by which they go in fear turn out to be self-inflicted to drum up sympathy.
As Long as It Lasts
Standard and Poor's rating for Curaçao remains A-/A-2. That, of course, is pretty good. Per capita income is about $20,000/year, expected to go down with 0.2% this year (so much for that growing economy our Great Leaders keep promising).
This is mainly because we have a stable political system in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. But the government thinks they are doing so fine, we don't need that commissie financieel toezicht [financial supervision] anymore. That drama will be played out shortly.
I don't dare prognose what the rating will become next year, if Shorty wins the coming elections; not imaginary at all. If he can take part; we can only wait.
"It's not only good for the government, it's also good for the people of Curaçao" says CEO Blanchard of CAP/Hato Airport, announcing a lot of things that should have been accomplished years ago. Now really! Who cares if it's good for the government? In so far, if it's good for the government it ought to be good for us (that self-same People). What do we choose and pay those fat overfed slick cats for?
This ingrained mentality drives me nauseous. So sorry. But do I have to apologize?
Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion Security The first check is when you are driving into the airport; the highway ends and then a new highway begins, exclusively for the airport. Every car is pulled over and asked two simple questions ("where are you going?" and "where did you come from?") but what's happening is, you're being profiled.
If you get past that, going in you are being profiled again by agents outside of the airport. Searching not just for objects, but also behavioral profiling. Those Bruxelles terrorists looked very, very suspicious if you look at closed circuit TV. No kidding.
In the terminal, as you approach your airline check-in desk, a trained interviewer takes your passport and ticket. They ask a series of questions: Who packed your luggage? Has it left your side?
"The whole time, they are looking into your eyes—which can be embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not. It takes 20, 25 seconds."
Lines are staggered. People are not allowed to bunch up into inviting targets for a bomber who has gotten this far. At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area.
I have to add, that's the only time ever I was complimented by a security agent on how I presented my laptop: "Very, very good!"
I have to add as well that this thing is almost plagiarized from I-don't-remember-where. Almost, I really passed through there twice.
Profiling isn't bon ton—not PC—not done. Well, ain't that a pity, because that's exactly what enables terrorists to do their dastardly deeds. We now read that Hato Airport will get 45, count 'em, security cameras. That will help! Those bombs in Bruxelles had hardly gone off before we were treated to "security" photographs of the three culprits. Did a lot of good, huh?
Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, home of Israel's El Al Airlines, where all the terrorists naturally have a beady eye on, nevertheless is one of the safest in the world. They use profiling there to weed out shifty types. It works.
I have passed through security there twice and it takes much less time, and is a much more pleasant experience altogether, than shuffling through an endless line like you have to in Europe, the USA and yes, here.
Now they want to turn the lotteries into a digital system. The same thing was tried a few years ago, so naturally the ticket sellers are not enthusiastic about changing again. Anyway, would it help one bit against fraud? "No," says PNP Davelaar—many tickets are written out by hand anyway, so what's the use?
Maybe some crony will make some money selling the new system? It's a thought.
An Aqualectra electrician hit the high tension and died. This would not be an item here if, one day later, it had not become known that the guy had not used a safety suit.
Aqualectra doesn't have enough of them.
Oh, Good Tip
That Syrian has fled from Venezuela and was arrested on Hato airport held because he's an illegal. He can't go to Holland at all. But after 6 months he'll have to be freed, such is the law. Aha!
That only applies where the country you came from doesn't want you back, like Cuba. The Red Cross may still find a way to get this guy to Holland, though.
UPDATE: He was suddenly released on Easter Saturday through the intercession of Khatib (yes, that guy) and will get a free TUI ticket to Europe next week.
Listen to Him Go On
Re the bomb explosions in Bruxelles, our PM Whiteman declares how horrible it is. He "strongly deplores that violence and aggression are responded to with more violence and aggression." Huh?
I didn't know there was much violence and aggression going on in Belgium; or in France. Not recently and not against muslims, anyway. If there is any, it's against Jews, always a welcome object. And of course against innocent bystanders. Those are the ways of the brave jihad fighters.
Don't Give Up
Labor minister Larmonie doesn't dare introduce the infamous 80-20 law, because of the barrage of criticism. Good. But how she'd love to!
Best thing about it might be, they would need lots of extra
spoiled bratscivil servants to control.
Five or Ten Years? At Any Rate, a Plan
"Back in the USSR"—you make a plan, the bigger the better; and that's that. Staten/parliament has voted for a National Development Plan, directed by the UNDP. 5 themes have priority: education, economy, environment, national identity and good governance. Workgroups have been installed to accomplish all this: Tiger Teams. Sounds terrific huh? Wow, Tigers! Beats panthers.
It's all conform the UN Sustainable Development Goals (read: Paris 2015). Logistics and transport, tourism (yeah yeah, sure) and the petrochemical sector. That's by them sustainable? Right, only marks on paper.
Aqualectra's wind park will be enlarged and sustainable energy projects completed [?] so Curaçao can claim funds from the €U. To compensate for those sanctions, maybe?
All that sounds like one of those business gurus who regularly come over to hold pep talks.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay the members of those Tiger Teams.
And I can't keep myself from sarcastically wondering how much longer that €U will be in existence at all. What with Brexit plus, and all those
muslim terroristspeaceful immigrants.
Didn't help much that our government was against the €U sanctions; the Dutch have adopted a law and the whole majestic Kingdom must keep to it. So there.
The law is supposed to protect us from human rights violations and terrorism.
That Worked Just Fine
Venezuela's oil production has fallen with 6% since OPEC started war on high-cost oil mid-January 2015.
A man has been arrested because he was threatening Shorty plus Amparo & Robbie dos Santos. He warned he'd kill 'em all; Shorty because he got less punishment than the killer of Wiels. Something in that. But nobody wanted to lodge a complaint, so he's been set free. Good for him. Maybe he'll pop up again.
Let's face it, I wouldn't lodge a complaint either. The guy's definitely got a point.
A Syrian guy who arrived here without passport and wants to go to Holland is helped out by the muslim community. Every one of 'em pays 73 cents for a 730 guilders ticket (figure figure, so there are 1000; .67% of the population). Asks somebody: "But how did he get here without a passport?"
Almost forgot: he's in jail (don't know what for) and has been since end January. No wonder they want to get rid of him.
Salient detail: they will all get their money back out of his first Dutch relief payment.
Two News Items
Algemene Rekenkamer [general accounting] has no right to check the UTS telecommunications accounts. UTS may be government owned, but is still privatised. So they can do what they want there; what you may call, out of control. Like all those others.
Proof of the pudding is that director de Geus is still director of the failed digital Suriname Uniqa branch, which will or will not be sold to Digicel. Nobody's talking.
Gee, I wonder how much de Geus gets paid for that job.
Shorty's lawyer Peppie "the stooge" Sulvaran doesn't want any Curaçao judges for the case appeal. They only read the Dutch-language newspapers which "give a distorted view", and he wants judges imported from Holland.
So he expects those to read Papiamentu papers, in contrast to local judges? He's an even bigger fool than I thought; quite an accomplishment.
But even Sulvaran can't be that much of a dimwit; it's one more delaying tactic: the judges will be challenged [gewraakt], then accepted by the wrakingskamer [recusal chamber] which will then be challenged in turn, which will also be rebuffed. Only then the appeal sessions can start. And all that time, Sulvaran's meter is ticking.
We were promised taxi tariffs would be halved last month. They weren't as far as I heard (honesty compels: I didn't take any so I don't really know). And the meters are still c. by their a. as well. Looks like those—how many? can't be many more than 500—taxi drivers have got a mighty political pull.
Maybe politicians get free rides, with free lunches thrown in for lagniappe.
That's not an oxymoron but a tautology.
Make, Not Launder Money: Save Water
In South Africa (or as I prefer, Suid Afrika) there's a company called Eco-Wash that runs car washes. They use 1 liter of water instead of the usual 200; or even better. I guess nobody would be interested in running one here, as the persistent rumor is they all seem to be laundering money like crazy. Still, for an honest entrepreneur, here's your chance. They even speak
your languageDutch (after a fashion).
Used to be so, the chollers just stole water from a convenient tap to wash your car with, mostly from government buildings; to which the guards just turned a blind eye, knowing damn well who'd pay for that water. Not they, that's for sure.
Where to Look
"The most transparent USA administration" ever is unable to find 1 out of 6 documents requested following the FOIA freedom of information act. We here are far ahead of them: just look on the bottom side of desk drawers. It's a habit of our civil servants to tape 'em there, so they can be found in a jiffy if really needed—but not before then.
Uniek Curaçao means well but tends to act too precipitously on their own. They made a deal with some contractor to take sand out of Boka Ascension, as this would get rid of a lot of trash that has been dumped in there. But they "forgot" to apply for a permit, and only after a dam was built up somebody raised the alarm and work was stopped.
Boka Ascension is not only known as Plastic Bay because all plastic dumped in sea collects there, but also as a turtle breeding place. It's on the Ramsar list of protected wetlands, and this has been defined as a criminal act.
Now a license will be applied for next Monday.
The sand was meant for the new horse racing track, as it can't be beaten for and by hooves—it remains soft and won't be compacted. Just like some swollen brains.
Keep Those Fingers Crossed
That Fair Trade law has been accepted by parliament. Only MFK was against, they're afraid that an independent authority to control competition would get too much power and would, therefore, prefer to make it a government institution. An original way of thinking.
I have very little confidence this will work; and we're still paying for it.
CHATA Chooses Color
Of course the hotel association did so long ago. They're best friends with CTB, what do you expect? But now they voted ex-Gezaghebber [Lieutenant Governor] Liza Dindial for president. To freshen your memory, Dindial was one of the people who aided and abetted Shorty to get rid of Curaçao security dept. VDC. Like Till Eulenspiegel, it's next to impossible to keep some people down—where they belong.
Dindial says: "Tourism is the right choice." She would say that, there's money in them thar tourist pockets (maybe). Only, not so much for us.
¡Que Viva Méjico!
The (criminal) Cártel de Juaréz financed the political campaign of Mexican president Peña Nieto through shell (not Shell) companies. Looks like they also used government programs to launder money.
Maybe that's where Shorty picked it up. Just kidding; he was 2 years ahead of Mexico. And he didn't take the trouble to use shell companies either, just his own and his moll's.
My Own Right in His Own Words
Crocodile tears wiped away and bold as brass again: "I will not leave Curaçao, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days." So ghost-writes Shorty on FakeBooc, with his usual gall adding a hash-tag Nelson Mandela.
I'll admit I'm not very keen on hardship and sacrifice, or even militant action. I just don't take it. Neither is Shorty very keen, I suspect; but he sure likes taking and grabbing.
New News Is More Bad News
KPMG, the same accountants who "audited" (after a fashion) Ballast-Nedam have been discovered as the accountants of Corallo. Remember him? you'd better, it's Shorty's mafia padrino. Not a big surprise. Matter of fact, it's what in the movie production business is called "in continuity". Of course KPMG denies it, and also all relations with Robbie dos Santos or UTS telecommunications. Interesting and suggestive, that they'd mention UTS.
MP-head Franco's letter to kick Shorty out of parliament is nothing but "political grumbling" and opportunism, says MAN Koeiman—whose party filed a motion to scratch convicts in 2008. Way to go, Koeiman. (Shorty himself signed the motion back then... little did he imagine.) But PAR and PNP were against (why?) while they now signed Franco's letter. (PIAS was not around at the time, a pity—depending on how you look at it.)
In Case of Surgery, Run Like Hell
One reason why Taams clinic's operating rooms will not get licensed is, the Fire Brigade doesn't like them. At least, that's what we're told. They'd have to tear them down and rebuild from scratch.
Earth Hour Again
Saturday night at 20:30 local (that's 8:30 pm for you, gringo) it starts. Everybody is supposed to switch off all lights for an hour to celebrate the demise of Prometheus! You're advised to use candles instead. If your house inadvertently burns down, maybe you've learned why we switched to electricity. And do you know how much energy it costs to produce a candle?
I don't, but paraffin is made of petroleum (there's not nearly enough wax in the world), and melts at say 40°-50°C; candles produce much more heat per lumen than light bulbs, and produce 10 times as much carbon dioxide.
In Greek mythology, for some reason Zeus got angry at humankind and punished them by withholding fire. How childishly petty those gods are... Prometheus stole it from him and gave it to us.
Please join me in turning the island into a Christmas tree during that hour. That'll scare off those aliens and honor Prometheus.
In Swedish östersund town, they won't celebrate either because of
muslimimmigrant's rapes. This is official.
He Knows Latin?!
Shorty may be, is, a dropout who never finished high school, where Latin was hardly ever taught here in living memory, but he quotes Brutum fulmen [empty threat] in a letter to parliament. (It must be lawyer Peppie Sulvaran who wrote it, which proves that he picked up at least something while studying. But more probably, he looked it up on the internet.)
Shorty also says that all parliament members swore an oath they'd defend the constitution, and that none of 'em do. Combined with his claim that he's innocent (which he's not) until proven guilty (which he is), he ought to not to scatter loose accusations around. Here's another apposite one (so I can be a Latinist as well—actually, I did have lessons for a while): corvus oculum corvi non eruit. (It's on the internet as well.) At least he didn't have the chutzpah to add amor patriae ducit.
To save you troublesome internet searches (hey, Service with a Smile), these expressions roughly mean "honor among thieves"—"for the love of the country" and "I said so." Nice compact language, that Latin. Largely thanks to the genitives and declensions, don't tell Papiamentu lovers.
To Our Health!
The Taams operating rooms will not be refurbished, renovated or re-opened, contrary to earlier announced plans. Advent doesn't (want to) spend money on double theaters. This means a loss of three ORs to the island, at a time when surgeons are clamoring for more capacity (and some in Sehos hospital are closed, albeit temporarily).
A lot of OR personnel (surgery, anaesthetic, recovery, sterilisation nurses) is forced to work at much lower salaries at Advent. If they're employed at all.
And if they are, they may work for less than a gardener earns (10 guilders/hour).
A Romanian MP has been convicted of bribing voters with "vast quantities of fast food" in a bid to win an election. Sure brings back memories.
Let's kick Shorty around some more while he's down!
Now Aqualectra's Talking
The management declares it's impossible to get a total black-out. Oh no? It's happened before, and not only once.
You can always call their emergency number, says the management. Sometimes they even pick up!
Waste of Breath
Parliament head Franco has asked ex-PM Shorty to get out of his own free will. If Shorty does so, I'll eat my mouse.
And why not ask those other MFK convicts, Thodé and Quackie Constancia? Good thing Godett got voted out.
Minister Jardim may be pissed off because we're high on the list of drug smuggling and money laundering countries, but I bet he won't try explaining how the amount of drugs intercepted in Rotterdam harbor coming from Curaçao grew last year. Larger batches, too. Your turn, Jardim and Navarro.
Saw It Coming
If you want to count, check how often I've used the term "Little Nigeria" to characterize our island's future when it's up to Aqualectra (I'm too lazy myself). Yesterday we had a Big Blackout again, and the trade union is getting to agree with me and they warn for a coming total black-out. They are sick of the management's excuses. Aqualectra themselves should have enough capacity to supply the island independently from CRY (used to be BOO before Shorty) and those blasted wind generators.
Oh, about those: it's blowing up a storm these days, as always in Lent time, when kites go up all over. But the generators deliver only 12mW against 30 last year. While one of them was U/S for a week beginning this month (that's -20%) they're at least all revolving again. So what could be the problem? Aqualectra isn't talking.
Minister Larmonie of the infamous, nay notorious SOA ministry [social affairs] has stopped work permits for 34 professions. Too many local yokels have no jobs, and when a company gets in trouble they fire those first. How peculiar! What could possibly be the cause? One gropes in vain for an answer.
Even Chinese restaurants must now hire Curaçao cooks.
P.S.: Larmonie is PS.
Römer the Rotten Robber
After some checking, no pilots, flight dispatchers and maintenance mechanics could be found who work for the government. The only ones we did find are working for DiviDivi Air and InselAir. So get this:
Because private companies' pilots' licenses are not up to date, nor their flight dispatchers' and mechanics', our tax money is being used to re-school them. And why, after all? Only because private company Insel Air can then open new destinations in the USA.
Do you think that's worth paying a small fortune for? Because that's how much it's going to cost. Some sharp media shark should ask nasty questions. Too much to expect, right; but waiting for some MP to do that... just forget it. This can never be kosher.
It's a sorry state of the aviation industry anyway if the companies let their personnel's competency lapse like that. Small wonder the FAA downgraded us.
We suspect it's InselAir, not Divi Divi who's getting covertly and secretly subsidized here. They're the government's darling.
Also makes me wonder about InselAir's highly taunted service facilities.
Still More Surprises
13 Staten members, a majority, want a public parliament meeting on "convicted members" (you'll never guess who). This will not take place before Easter, so at earliest Tuesday March 29. If then; the poor dears have to work so hard for their 700 guilders/day salary.
Still, I'd call that some progress: a number of them finally admit this can't go on. After having their noses rubbed in it.
Parliament has adopted the new harbor concession, where CPS's monopoly is prolonged for twenty more years; then it will be renegotiated. All those songs and dances by minister Rhuggenaath (who hopefully has been pensioned off long before then) that it should be ended turn out to be phonus balonus.
30 "concerned citizens" have lodged a complaint with the public ministry against ex-PM Shorty for landverraad, treason of the country. Maybe even high treason, because it stinks to high heaven. The complaint concerns itself with Shorty's manipulations of VDC intelligence department, which as a result is not trusted anymore by other countries with which it has to cooperate.
Weren't traitors shot by a firing squad? This quaint bit of folklore is not in use anymore, here at any rate, but it would be a sure way to keep Shorty out of parliament sessions.
That's No Surprise
Hato airport will not be upgraded this month. As I predicted. To the contrary: minister Römer has given aviation technicians (pilots and traffic controllers) a year to get their new diplomas. Plus
she payswe pay their studies. A year huh? Then, the FAA will still have to check 'em out. Wait and see, we're used to it (since 2011).
Well, well, well. The new diplomas will also be needed by flight dispatchers and maintenance mechanics. Makes you wonder, are there any guys at all in the industry who are up to date? What a mortification. One more national disgrace. Thanks, Cooper, Balborda and Römer!
Minister Römer says she's learned "not to mention specific dates." She learns slowly.
He Won't Go
Like in the old Doris Day/Dutch/Afrikaans song, Shorty won't go home, even though parliament majority wants him to. Why should he? He's earning a cozy salary, too; and like cats, he has no shame anyway—and never lacked chutzpah. But a surprise is waiting in the wings, I can tell you that. Stay tuned.
Oh Those Turks
That too is from an old song, this one Eartha Kitt. Now that Ballast-Nedam has been taken over by Turkish Renaissance, the workers at new HNO hospital are afraid they will be replaced by cheaper Turkish ones. Ballast-Nedam assures them not, but who trusts them?
The minibus drivers refuse to charge their passengers less money, as they should. Worse (for them), by April the tariffs are expected to go down again.
Not only PdVSA is in trouble. It's a Latin-American trend, come right down to it: all government-owned oil companies there together are in debt for $275 billion. Brazil tops the list, followed my Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia. I smell more trouble ahead, as Iran announced they will not consider a production freeze until they've reached a production of 4 million barrels/day. That's about 4% of world output. No doubt all that will have an effect on our economy as well: negative growth, or positive shrink, take your pick.
Those guys were all borrowing like maniacs when oil prices were high, instead of investing. Venezuela bought a complete army.
(Private) CPS claims that negotiations on harbor exploitation concessions have been rounded off. These will be discussed in parliament today. (Government) CPA does not necessarily agree. CPS has a monopoly and, naturally, doesn't want to lose that 5 years from now. What CPS claims is that harbor tariffs will go up with 40-80% if CPA takes (partly) over and that the end of the world will necessarily follow.
PIAS Rosaria is starting an action to remove Shorty from Parliament. PAR is still unhappy with the fact that last year's motion to remove convicts from Staten was voted down, thanks to (you'll never gues) Helmin Wiels's PS and Shorty's MFK.
Finance minister Jardim isn't glad with the report that lists Curaçao as one of the top money-laundering countries. "We are doing such a good job" he whines. Doesn't seem to have had much effect.
Let Them Fight It Out
So, what it looks like now, next elections we'll have MFK, PS, MAN, KDNT and who knows what rubbish more. Hope they'll all steal votes away from each other like nobody's business, maybe then some decent dogs get away with the bone of contention to share the pie. Talk about mixed metaphors.
Forgot Arsjes, how could I. He won't steal many votes. I guess.
According to Dutch journalist René Zwart, then governor Goedgedrag refused to swear Shorty in as minister president, as it was well known he was a criminal. But Dutch minister for kingdom relations Piet Hein Donner was just then going for the vice-presidency of Raad van State [Council of State/Conseil d'état] and a conflict with Curaçao's most popular politician was most inopportune. So Donner dropped Goedgedrag like a hot brick, Goedgedrag went abroad for health reasons and his alternate installed Shorty.
If it's true, right.
How Like Them
Shorty's lawyer Sulvaran threatens there will be a repeat performance of the 30 May 1969 riots if the law runs its course. Which only led to more years of more corruption in Curaçao society, culminating in Shorty's power grab. Some lawyer! He's "lost his confidence in justice" while for us, it went up a notch.
PS Helmin Wiels also used that threat. He got murdered; soon in court as well with, strikingly, all the same actors appearing in Shorty's Babel and dos Santos's Bientu cases.
A letter in Knipselkrant quotes Landsverordening [Country Ordinance] chapter 2 article 2c stipulating that it is up the the governor to remove somebody who's been convicted from the electoral process. Come on Ms. Wout, show that you have balls and kick Shorty out on the streets before he does more harm, never mind the Dutch.
The public ministry has announced they'll wait for the appeal. But why?
UTS telecommunications turned a profit! 40.6m guilders. Last thing we had expected. And as from now, you'll get a month longer to pay your bill, so when you get back home from a vacation your phone will still be working.
Speed of fiber network will be augmented to overtake Aruba, now number 1 in the Caribbean.
Price for reconnecting your phone after malpayment has gone up from 25 to 45 guilders, "because costs have gone up". This cries for more efficiency.
That Sounds Better
A zika vaccine may be "years away" says the WHO; a few days ago we were told 18 months. That's "probably" (hah!) too late to stop the current
flash-in-the-panoutbreak. At any rate, spraying against mosquitoes has had no evident effect on halting the spread of dengue, so it's hard to see how it would help against zika. Which is harmless to most people infected by it, that's the good part.
Tough on all those 60 labs working like crazy to develop a vaccine: by the time it's ready, who needs it?
Nothing But Talk
For longer than I can remember, parliament has been deliberating on a law preventing (ex)-convicts forming part of the government. This has become more acute with Shorty's conviction, which will have no practical consequences until all appeals are fought out (which may take 10 years). "Part of" parliament parties want to make haste now. To be sure, Shorty's MFK won't, with 3 cons: Thodé, Quackie Constancia and now Shorty. Birds of a feather. Hope for the best, expect the worst.
There are more, of course. One that springs to mind is FOØL Godett (who got voted out last time so it doesn't count). But the USA Senate is full of 'em—small wonder, they're lawyers for a large part. But at least, the other senators can vote 'em out. Not that it happens often.
Hato Airport may claim that all problems are over and the new guilders fit in their parking ticket machines, but they don't. Personal experience. It's like tossing heads or tails if one will be accepted.
Lots of Interest
Even the Dutch newspapers have columns and columns dedicated to Shorty's downfall. Pretty rare; mostly Holland couldn't care less about what's going on here, let alone understand it. Pure neo-colonialism, of course, wot you teenk? Knipselkrant Curaçao, that bunch of neo-colonial racists, couldn't be reached most of today, and I'd guess that's not an denial-of-service attack. Just plain unwholesome interest.
Shorty's defence council announced they will appeal next Monday. Personally, I'd have waited for two weeks: maximum delay. But lawyer Peppie Sulvaran may have an eye on the week-end overtime bill, I shouldn't wonder. He says he's lost confidence in the judicial system. Good, maybe he should look for other work. Not doing such a good job in the first place.
Like elections, jailings should have consequences. Parliament head Franco hopes Shorty will retire from Staten, but I doubt that. At any rate he shouldn't be able to pass the security screening for MP or minister, opines Franco. Oh yeah? Just like last time, in 2010!
Gotcha. Break out the Champagne!
The judge has sentenced ex-PM Shorty in accordance with demand, on all counts, to 3 years in jail and 5 years of political ineligibility. Cicely the Mole has been convicted (also conform) to 18 months, of which 9 conditional.
Now the real fun starts for lawyer Peppi the Clown: years of appeals. Pots o' money! This must be decided within two weeks from now.
Sometimes it's very much worth it to stick your neck out. And somebody has to do it. I'll admit that I have tended to be pretty wary the past few years.
Smaller Becomes Best
Nuclear reactors, which used to be of giant proportions to make a profit, are getting smaller and smaller. Soon, small modular reactors may be rolling off production lines and there has already been talk of neighborhood-size plants.
But Aqualectra would be the last to look into that. Sigh. This while they're always whining that it's because the island is so small, their tariffs must be so high.
Way to Go
Japanese scientists have discovered a bacterium that gobbles TEP, the stuff all those cheap plastic bottles and things are made of. Sure beats recycling! Maybe we could turn the result into compost for the organics to feed their plants. Just kidding, they wouldn't touch that poison; rather get poisoned by salmonella outbreaks.
Where I found that I also found this titbid: "Anyone who has ever owned a large boat knows about the constant and often losing battle to control fungus and bacteria growing in the diesel tanks, and the hideously toxic biocides you have to keep adding to the fuel, to stop all the organic muck from blocking the fuel filter. Life finds a way."
That might open up possibilities to clean up the Isla refinery, if and when it goes. And even if it does not go.
Much Too Large
That den Haag Curaçaohuis, courtesy Fräudlein Wiels, is much too large. Three times too large, in fact, so both Stichting Studiefinanciering, now in Utrecht, and the Dutch detachment of CTB will fit in there as well.
Hot item from the report: Wiels ought to be assessed, i.e., have her head checked. We all thought so, and now it's official.
I Can See the Rub
PdVSA are trying to buy 8 million barrels of "sweet crude" (twice as much compared with last year) to lighten up the quality of their own extremely heavy product. Problem is, how are they gonna pay? They propose to use barter/swap,prepaid sales, letters of credit and open credit.
I would watch it very carefully as a seller. The deal will result in PdVSA getting some cash, but weith present prices (just over $40/barrel) in the long run, it's a loss, with production costs of $60/barrel.
All that crude would be delivered at COT, Bullenbaai, Curaçao. For us!
Microcephaly has, until now, only been found in French Polynesia and Brazil. It's not very clear then what the relation with zika is, as the illness by now is all over the place. But they're working on a vaccine against zika which won't be ready before 1.5 years from now. By then, the panic will be over anyway, I guess.
And we'll still be stuck with and bugged by mosquitoes.
Yet another sloppy press release. Microcephaly was a well-known if rare phenomenon, and now it's only found in those two places?
Local cocaine price has gone up, because drugs are fought more intensively, and successfully too. That means trainees will be less interested to come over here, reducing what some consider to be a problem.
On the other hand, it's just plain bad for tourism, let's face it.
PdVSA has ordered Isla refinery to "screw down" (their words, heh heh) operation costs with 30%. Hey, that's easy! Reduce production enough to achieve that... and pollution will go down accordingly.
Privatization, Curaçao Style
All those utilities etc. have been nominally "privatized" but don't go for that—take your blue blinkers with yellow stars off. Here, that means that they are not under direct control of the government, but all their shares are still owned by same.
Which only means that these days all hoodwinking is going on backstage, or, like they say, "Out of Control".
Inselair warns that ending the fuel surcharge won't necessarily result in lower ticket prices. Yes, we got the message. They'd rather stick to the money.
Now Trying Saba
Precious little has been heard lately about the Grand Plans to supply Hato airport with thermal energy. For what it's worth, my private guess is that since ex-FOØL Maurice Adriaens got his leave as director, Hato just lost interest in this project.
Now the same company Bluerise's beady eye has fallen on Saba. It would have even less of a chance there, needing a pipeline of 25kms long to reach a 1000m depth. So I have my doubts, especially when they start having dreams of exporting energy. From an island. But Dutch parliament is interested, they say. I can believe that, no offense.
At any rate, we can be thankful that Hato's pie-in-the-sky sea-cooled airco-plant, for which pipe-laying was supposed to have started in 2012, has been aborted. In all silence.
Minister Rhuggenaath probably, hopefully, means well, but to have a Fair Trade Authority installed as he wants to brings back fond reminders of 5-year plans in the USSR, Central Planning and all that. I don't think it will stick. It would be a zelfstandige bestuursorganisatie (zbo) [autonomous administrative organization], an independent organization charged with public functions. Parliament doesn't like that, we pay and they do as they please? And I don't like it either. Asking for power abuse and bribes.
The Plaza hotel, built on the old Waterfort, must be renovated again. Last time that happened, under Faroek Metry, it was sold for 10% of the renovation's cost to Dutch van der Valk hotel chain, who got out when the going was good. Maintenance is just not kept up. Other problems are that the building is "many millions" of guilders in debt and that negotiations have to be held with many different partners.
Except for the jail sentence of 4 years, which the prosecutor asked for against Robbie dos Santos. He himself should pay a 4 million guilders fine, his The Money Game company 3.5, Jamaroma lotteries of St. Maarten 1 and Administratiekantoor Dollar 8. Grand total, correct me if I'm wrong, 16.5 million guilders (over 9 million dollars).
Means Robbie has USD119,425,966 of loot left. Quite enough for cigarette money in the calaboose. What his actual punishment will be remains to be seen.
SVB social insurance has confiscated the funds of Foundation Skuchami [listen to me], an ambulant spiritual help institute. They didn't pay their pension funds to SVB.
Not a Good Idea
The treatment of cancer with herbs is not a good idea, says an Israeli research team: it may actually exacerbate the problem. But as far as I know (I don't follow that very closely) here herbal witch Dinah Veeris is still promoting the use of, for example, basora pretu [Cordia curassavica] which is notorious for being carcinogenic. Worse, her <scare_quote>expertise</scare_quote> is even referenced in scientific literature.
It has to be added that Veeris doesn't advise using basora pretu to fight cancer; she just denies that its tea she recommends will cause it.
No news at all from our Space Gang. When were they supposed to start flights again? One forgets, that's so long ago. But Amazon's Jeff Bezos Blue Origin company expects its first test space flight with passengers next year.
We couldn't be far behind, could we?
Please Shut Up
Greenpeace is worried (aren't they always?): 30 years after the disaster, people around Chernobyl are still eating radioactive food and the very wood they burn to cook it and keep warm is radioactive. That's so bad for you, especially long term! Methinks 30 years is pretty long-term, but Greenpeace omits to tell us what those bad effects now turn out to be.
Their "scientific tests" only measure what radiation is around.
The Only Way
Sex is a more common way to transmit zika than previously thought. We must eradicate sex!
It's easy, if you know how.
Feet-Dragging All the Way
The government keeps not doing anything about Isla refinery pollution, in spite of all juridical processes against them by SMOC and others, and probably is working to keep the soot-spitting monstrosity at work so our descendants can keep enjoying it. Because of this SMOC and CAE [Clean Air Everywhere] are now considering to start a bodemprocedure [proceedings on the merits] against the government.
Problem here is once again, that will take years and years. Both Isla and government have shown in the past they're real masters in delaying techniques.
At least Isla is working on their PR, which may be better than nothing. A delegation has visited under-the-smoke Marchena and talked to some people—but refused to meet union leader and agitator Valpoort.
Day of Women's Rights
Some statistics that make you wonder if there's not some, er, distortion going on. Average monthly income for women is 2483 guilders, and for men 3690. But men don't work as krias [maidservants], which is just about the lowest paid job around. Households headed by a woman have an average 3891 income, those headed by a man 6389. I definitely suspect that many of the latter households share two incomes. Which also might explain why women-headed households have a 35% chance to be poor (against 17%).
Please don't give us what seems to be mere propaganda, but straight and complete facts. This well get nobody anywhere.
The media report that out of 64 cars controlled by the police, 38 had problems. But it's not that bad; the police only check those that look like they might have problems. Which influences the results somewhat.
That's Planning, Folks!
TUI airline doesn't like to pay €U fines for arriving too late on their destinations, so they give an ETA that gives 'em much leeway, causing grief to people who arrive earlier than expected and then, after a >10 hours flight, have to wait to be picked up.
Don't Go Fly a Kite
Police have warned that in certain neighborhoods (roughly, under the airport approach and take-off routes) it's forbidden to fly kites. Also, they beg you to take them down at night: don't leave 'em hanging up there.
Don't laugh: a police helicopter operated at night by Blue Skies (formerly Pelican) got entangled with a kite around 2000 and crashed.
We Were Waiting for That
Stay tourism has gone down with 13% in January. 2% more came in from North America, 2% less from Europe, 43% less from South America. This will get worse before it gets better.
On February 1, minister Rhuggenaath declared that Zika had little impact on tourism. Talk about a shot in the dark. Or whistling. But he might be right, it could have gone down Zika or not.
Even CTB couldn't cook the figures so they'd look better than this.
Don't be fooled by the idea that those 2%s are the same in number of tourists. We get many more from Europe. And how about cruise tourism?
Illegals Are Cheaper
(Just ask Trump.) Negotiations on a CAO [collective labor agreement] between Isla refinery and subcontractors have come to a grinding halt. Not even grinding, they're just stuck with Easy-Glue. Problem is, Isla prefers to work with illegitimate sub-contractors, who may not have one single person working for them. Officially, that is. Comes out cheaper.
One More Mess
The public registry is a mess and must be cleaned up ASAP, to wit, before July 9th when the voter registry will be closed. That'll never work out.
Over 40% of the registered addresses are incorrect; it's a miracle we get any voters at all! The public registry really can't be blamed, people just don't bother to change their address when they move and, frankly, why should they? What, Me Worry?
Many don't vote anyway. What's the use? One can see their point.
Yes, We All Knew
One of the arguments in favor of Robbie dos Santos's illegal lottery activities is, everybody knew that was going on. Sure! It was made legit a long time ago, in the early 1980s when MAN's Don Martina, that personification of integrity, held sway. They were impotent to stop it, so they legitimized it. Now we see where that will get you. As if we needed convincing.
That the Tax Persons didn't bother to check Robbie, but preferred to pester the rest of us, is another matter—which you really can't blame Robbie for.
Moody's Investors Service, following Standard & Poor's, downgrades or prepares to downgrade many oil producing countries' credit ratings: Russia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, Trinidad and Tobago, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Congo, Oman and of course Venezuela. Only Norway as a major oil-exporting country is not on the list.
Looks bad for Isla refinery's future. Good; if only our desperate Great Leaders will not start pumping money into it. Our money.
Like USD7m (ANG12.6m) to buy a third gas turbine as BOO capacity is too small to keep the refinery working 24/7.
The judge has kicked out the former director of Aruba Airlines. Weird things have been going on... There are several, different, copies around of the shareholders register. And shares have been sold to a company Black
BroddersBrothers NV, which isn't an NV [Inc.] nor registered anywhere but in the shared office of unnamed (by me) director and another guy.
One by one, all those Willemstad parking meter ticket dispensers are fudzing out. Don't think you get a free
ridepark, you'll get your wheel clamped instead. Walk over to the next dispenser, and walk back. Don't forget your sun-screen lotion.
The prediction is, a few years from now all those dispensers will have broken down and when you dare to park downtown, you'll get your wheel clamped and have to pay a hefty ransom for your car.
Why Spoil It?
Minister Jardim tells us that the government will not interfere with government related entities. like foundations and corporations. He didn't explain what, then, was the use of a law on "government related entities"—you'd expect that would serve to control them better. But I'm not a politician, so I could never understand those writhing contortions.
The government will open a Bureau overheidsgelieerde entiteiten [agency government affiliated entities] which will "partly" be paid by the entities themselves, and the rest out of taxes of course. Don't be fooled by that "partly"—those 'entities' will make us pay for that anyway. So what else is new?
Too Many Crooks
I thought it was a typo, but justice minister Navarro announced that foreign cooks and waiters would not get work permits any longer. He said we have plenty crooks of our own... oops, there I go again.
Next: Getting Them One by One
Court finally got around to the Bientu [wind, original label Sirocco which is something else again] case against Robbie dos Santos, Amparo's half-brother if I got it straight.
Robbie stands accused of illegal gun possession, laundering money, counterfeiting lottery lots, false income tax tax declarations plus repentance statements, and false sales tax statements (to name but a few), all good for a total fraud of ANG244,257,658 (USD134,341,712), all in all 16 points. Robbie has been busy.
It was for the benefit of Robbie that then justice minister Wilsoen wrote an illegitimate letter to then USA secretary of state Hillary Clinton to get her to unblock Robbie's USA bank accounts, scoring no success.
From what we know about Clinton now, Wilsoen should have offered her a cut... no problem, mon.
'Peppie' Sulvaran (he again) is Robbie's lawyer. These characters certainly flock around the Three Stooges. We wish Robbie the best of luck; he's gonna need it.
Dutch minister Koenders is "worried" about the economic situation in Venezuela. He's worried now? We were worried long since!
But meanwhile, Holland is on the 2015 list of top weapons exporters to Venezuela: armored vehicles, artillery, war planes and ships from China (US$147 million), the United States (US$6 million), Austria (US$5 million), and the Netherlands (US$4 million) for a total of USD162m.
I hope they all get paid, or rather, not. No wonder Koenders is worried.
With the food shortage in Venzuela (they have to import 80% now) this brings back not-so-fond memories of Nazi minister Hermann Göhring's pronunciation "Kanone statt Butter" [cannons instead of butter].
According to columnist Donker this is not the first effort made to install taxi meters. 20, 30 years ago (pretty vague, that) 200 meters were ordered, duly delivered and then discarded because they couldn't reach an agreement on the price per kilometer.
They are now again trying to reach the same agreement. Frankly, I don't see the problem. Only the real problem: the taxis don't want no stinking meters.
"They" is yet another committee. Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Oh for the good old days when the AC minibuses were giant but regular American cars, and you could get a Cadillac for a taxi.
Don't We All Know It
Curaçao is named on a USA list of 20 South-American and Caribbean "major money laundering" countries. So is St. Maarten. Why Saba, St. Eustatius, Bonaire, and especially Aruba, are not mentioned is everybody's guess. Okay, I'll scratch Saba and St. Eustatius, giving Bonaire the benefit of the doubt.
There May Be a Link
But it's only a "quickly executed study" at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Florida State University, and Emory University that found the Zika virus may be a cause of encephalitis. The acid test is, how many cases will be found in Colombia (the only country so far affected that has a reasonably reliable health and information service).
"Israel can desalinate 17 liters of water for one US penny", writes the New York Times; which equals ANG1.07/m^3. The catch is not that Aqualectra leaks so much water (and maybe even more money), but also that the process takes enormous amounts of electricity—produced by that same Aqualectra against exorbitant prices.
Current minimum Aqualectra tariff is ANG7.6107/m^3 which includes a Fuel Surcharge (Yes! Really!) of 1.9788, more than 26%. Electricity minimal 0.4649/kW, fuel surcharge 0.1745 or over 37%. And we thinking we had "free" wind generators.
Consumer water price in Israel is $7.70/ccf or ANG9.90/m^3, roughly 2/3 of what Aqualectra charges for using 9-12m^3/month; for electricity it's ANG0.22/kW.
One of Israel's many problems is, Gaza steals water like they're being paid for it and traditionally don't pay their electricity and fuel bills. Poor oppressed people. So those "occupiers" have to pay for 'em.
Bulldozing Their Way
Minister Römer, a lawyer, for cryin' out loud, just gave out the permit for building to start at Wechi. The law? "Only marks on paper."
This is gonna cost us, mark my words.
Freeze Becomes Thaw
After some countries decided to freeze crude oil production at the January level, now Iran is boosting production to 1.65m barrels/day. And poor PdVSA having such a headache already!
Don't Trust It Myself
Just put up and deleted an item on alleged negative health effects caused by infrasound (<20Hz) waves from wind generators. One of the guys is an engineer and the other an osteopath (there are some doubtful versions of that profession around—one of a kind with chiropractors). If you wish to check it out, click on the links.
If they're right, it would mean that all the inhabitants of Tera Kòrá and Brievengat to Santa Catharina could be influenced. Bears looking into, but that's beyond my capabilities.
Throwing Good Money After Bad
UTS, who already were the biggest shareholders in the Ctex failure, have now, after paying off Ctex's debts, also bought buildings with inventory (at the bankruptcy auction). Lock, stock and barrel, like the expression is. UTS are convinced they will be able to reboot the flop and even build it out. Not everybody is so convinced.
It's a Raid!
Much to everybody's surprise, the Amparo dos Santos Servicio di Vigilancia Otrobanda NV raided the Holiday Beach Casino and made their getaway with all the cash money they could find on the location, about half a million guilders [USD225K]. Seems to be about the casino's outstanding debt to dos Santos.
I'm sure he can use the money for his elections campaign, but will it make him more popular? You're so right, it could hardly make him less popular.
The hotel and casino both belong to Venezuelan businessman Veneto, himself not a paragon of kosher business practices.
The money was returned a day or so later to Veneto, who then promised he'd pay.
Now They Ask 'Em
After the infrastructure all over the island has been saddled with roundabouts, elevated crossings and more such crap that only costs money and resulted in no traffic safety improvement you'd notice, there's now a UN committee on the island to look at all that tomfoolery. First judgment seems to be, they're not impressed.
Fresh in our memory are all those traffic bumps which cost about a million guilders and had to be removed after gesundes Volksempfinden caused neighborhood residents to start demolishing them on their own. You can pick 'em up second-hand cheap, they're rotting away in a heap on DOW public works premises, finding no takers.
The committee will also be asked to advise on the new HNO hospital. What's the use of that? They'll only have to pay them more; it's much too late to do anything about it. Besides, they never listened to any good advice on that before.
Gee, I do wonder how much they pay that committee.
Not So Fast
Those measuring devices which after all will installed by Dutch ministry of defense to check Isla refinery pollution will not produce any results before end of the summer. Let's see, that would be September? Too bad if you got cancer before then, by breathing that stuff.
That's Hot, Baby
Last February was the hottest
everin 30 years, not only here: .83° over world average. That's the dreaded El Niño speaking. We also had hardly any rain here. Maybe things will look up with La Niña; and maybe quite possibly not.
All for Nothing
A delegation of Isla trade unions had gone to Venezuela to negotiate about their refinery's future, but got nowhere. One union boss claimed he has talked to president Maduro, but that was a big fat lie.
They did have to listen to an hour long speech by Errol Bakoba (remember him? wish I didn't—he, if nobody else, loves to hear himself go on), making them none the wiser. Maybe that'll teach 'em.
Bakoba is both member of the Multidisciplinaire Projectteam and union advisor. People are wondering out loud if that isn't a conflict of interests, as they well might.
Gang Must Approve
InselAir plans to stop billing for the YQ fuel surcharge. Turns out, they need IATA permission for that, which explains why tickets are still just as expensive as a year ago. Funny thing, that IATA. Airlines always hide behind it when they do something which can only be unpopular with the passengers. "That's an IATA regulation, ma'am!" Oh.
But after all, IATA stands for international air transport association; it's their own club.
By Now, Only Expected
The new HNO hospital will not have enough room to accommodate all specialists. So they'll have to go to Advent, or somewhere else. And it's also not clear what will happen to investments they had to make in the past. Finally, in the hospital's budget proposals there's not a word to be found on the funding of specialist care.
Seda, Fundashon Sentro di Dama [foundation ladies' center] wants a "gender minister" in the new cabinet. They also want a National Gender Bureau as part of the government structure. Sorry ladies, I really do think there are more urgent problems to spend money, and ministers, on.
It's all in their report that further recommends establishing a surveyor to gather statistical and qualitative information on the status of women but also other vulnerable groups such as young people, immigrants and the LGBT community. More money-wasting bureaucracy. And who in the population is not vulnerable? The "gentlemen" I take it... bullies, all.
Maybe it's not as bad as I think. But it all sounds terribly politically correct.
Where Did I Hear That Before?
Oh yes, now I remember. Pestering all neighbors with noise nuisance by loud parties and all that: "It's part of our culture!"
No excuse any more, if it ever was one. The imam of the Aarhus, Sweden Grimhøj Mosque defended child rape among recent migrants also because "it is part of their culture." You know, I agree with him; it is part of their culture.
With "child rape" is meant men marrying underage girls. It's legal under muslim rules to rape your wife, anyway. Obviously a very old "civilization".
He Will Not Give In
Recently, Venezuelan president Maduro announced a take-over by the military of PdVSA. And what do they know about oil production?
Now his regime's take-over of the farms has back-fired, like in all countries where it's been tried: just think of China's cultural revolution... the Ukraine famine... Zimbabwe.... So what's his solution? Have the military run farms!
And what do they know about food production?
Good thing about it is, they'll be too busy to attack us.
Surprise in Stock for Suspects
Only the actual killer, Fonseca, alleged, yeah yeah, will be a suspect in the June court case on the Wiels murder. His maybe co-plotters and possibly outsourcers Robbie Dos Santos, Imalootin and Monkee are still suspects but will not appear in this session.
Come to Think of That
Now that Amparo's name is popping up again (his own fault) we're reminded of his claims on the Colon terrain where the new hospital is being built. Did he get any money or not? We hear precious little. Cover up, anyone?
The party may be new, but its members are getting old. Ribeiro, once PAR minister of justice and then Democrat Party flop; Monkee, not only notorious from his MFK Shorty-time; Amparo Dos Santos; Kokkie Peterson; more of that sort. It's called Korsou di nos tur, so you've been warned.
This is Amparo's second try after his 2013 Di bo també [yours too]. It is with the utmost self-control that I can refrain from spelling out my private thought associations with that name.
Coalition has not agreed on the future of ATM Tele Curaçao: will it become a non-commercial and expensive
educativestate propaganda outlet or a fully commercial independent broadcaster? At any rate, it will be become autonomous from as-good-as-bankrupt UTS telecommunications.
Call him maffia-maatje [mafioso]. After Curaçao refused to prosecute Knipselkrant Curaçao for calling Shorty's padrino Corallo that, another effort was made in Holland. But it has been quietly stopped on January 19.
Let's Hope That Helps
Uniek Curaçao, with a subsidy of Antillean Soap Co., is producing and distributing large Unikliko trash bins at spots where trash is being dumped. We'll just have to wait and see if those trashy dumpers will take the trouble you use them.
GoodBad and Disgusted
Finally got my package on the 29th of February: only two weeks in the grip of C***-Post since it left Curaçao customs. Then, it took me one hour of waiting before it was released from their clutches.
Still waiting for two books on their way from the USA since December 4 and January 14. Also a pack of books etc. which have my photos in them, from Denmark; sent half January. Magazines? I get 2 out of 10 per year.
OPEC will not reduce oil production coming month. While Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Venezuela and non-OPEC Russia have agreed to freeze output at January levels, that won't help Venezuela much, as production has been climbing steadily since 2009 from 84 to 98 million barrels/day, resulting in a market glut.
Meanwhile, Iran is pumping up production. Looks like price will not be going up soon, and more probably, down. A cut may be possible by the end of this year.
And Saudi-Arabia says they, Kuwait and the Emirates can live with $20/barrel: "Inefficient, uneconomic producers will have to get out."
The latest estimate I found is Venezuela needs $60/barrel to produce. So put that in your pipeline and burn it.
ALAP (As Late As Possible)
The policy document on foundations, written April 2015 after an alarming report of September 2014 still has not been approved by the council of ministers. It was supposed to be discussed in February, but then some amendments were made. For now it's not on the agenda. Should be "shortly" says minister Römer.
That Will Be a Hit
In another way maybe. SOAB government accounting figures that, now that gas and diesel are so cheap (went down by 2 cents/liter again) bus tariffs should go down. I predict loud protests and actions by the minibus drivers. Always clamoring they should go up with fuel prices, but when these go down, not so much. Besides, that was announced last July and fuel prices have been going down since months ago.
I must guess that's the way it's written up (you never get used to it) but according to Antilliaans Dagblad somebody who earns ANG3000/month will have left 100 after it's paid taxes. That can't be right. At least, I hope so... these days, you never know.
In fact, taxes have gone down after we have finally paid back the money that ex-PM Shorty and his gang of goons have made disappear in the two years when they were in power.
So Who Cares?
I say, throw Shorty in jail and let him rot as soon as the judge has given judgment. So he may sue for damages ten years later? Who cares, they can't be nearly as high as the money he would cost us upon re-election.
In St. Maarten, they want to install artificial housing for bats, so they can find places to stay; these grow less and less with modern buildings. Each bat eats thousands if not tens of thousands mosquitos every night, so that would mean relief in fighting disease.
Not a good idea, says Curaçao virologist Martina: bats themselves are riddled with viri. No doubt he's right, but I've never heard of somebody being contaminated by them. It is well known that they often carry rabies, but that doesn't occur in Curaçao.
The St. Maarten initiative will take a long time to be effective, though; first, the bat population must grow. I hope they don't have vampire bats.
Martina says it's much better to clean the island up. Sure, Martina. Be my guest.
... it could be much worse. We now have 4443 civil servants in a working population of 56,535, which means 1 in 12.7 work for the government. In France, it's 1 in 5.
Of course, that's the country where bureaucracy was as good as invented. The very word is French. Vive la bureaucratie!
The End Is Nigh
Venezuela's PdVSA is going bankrupt, fast. They were almost forced to sell USA subsidiary Citgo, but didn't. Now Citgo is "guaranteeing" Aruba's financing of upgrading the decrepit Valero refinery, and our government is negotiating with PdVSA on the Isla refinery. I'd rather shop around a bit, you know.
Venezuela has also sold off 1.3 billion dollars worth of gold bars this week to pay off debts. Between January and November last year, gold reserves diminished by 1/3; now there's only 9.6 billion left. Barring what amounts to a miracle, less than half of that will be left by the end of this year, with an estimated inflation of 720%.
I'm glad I don't have to figure what to do with Isla; we've got our masterly skilful experts for that.
Maybe now the price of Venezuelan Coca-Cola will go down! Forget it... Somebody is making pots of money there.
Other Country, Same Problem
It's not that bad here yet, but in South Africa students are burning down universities. They detest being taught in Afrikaans—yes, you read that right. The South African intelligentsia still uses that hated Dutch-derived but practical language. Funny how you're always taught that English is the South-African language. Funnier still how you never read that students detest being taught in English. Correction, maybe in USA La Raza places they do.
Stellenbosch University has already announced it'll switch to English. That place makes Willemstad buildings looks like they slapped on a coat of multi-colored paint to disguise themselves and escaped from there.
PAR wants to coordinate the coalition parties' harbor exploitation policies. They keep having in-fights on who's going to have the monopoly, CPA or CPS. Or maybe two monopolies?
Voting by Internet
Next elections (September 30) will be held the old-fashioned way, with red pencils on paper. Nobody's talking about what happened to the old electronic voting machines, bought when FOØl and Godett ruled. It is loudly whispered that he made a packet on them and why not? Why else would you go in politics?
But voting office director Römer says, 20 years from now voting will be done by internet. Hoboy! talk about fraud!
First phase of installing security cameras should be ready by
end JulyAugust this year, to be followed by the second of in total 4 phases. No telling how long all those will take. But we'll have a 2 year warranty and servicing will be done by a local contractor.
Last promise we heard, after earlier delays, was they'd be installed March 2015.
That warranty might expire before the system is complete. We're at least 17 months behind schedule already.
Four weeks ago minister Rhuggenaath declared that the mosquito-transmitted zika virus had little effect on tourism. But meanwhile, flight bookings from Europe to Aruba have gone down by 9%; to St. Maarten 15.
Bonus News: UK Air Analist Forward Data doesn't dare give a percentage for Curaçao "as there's a remarkable number of bookings from Venezuela" (which have to be substracted, resulting in a much lower number from Europe as well).
"Remarkable" number of bookings from Venezuela, huh? Tiens...
In Curaçao and Bonaire, 45% of people think there are too many tourists from Holland. They're a nuisance and behave badly. One gropes in vain for a reason people would think so... NOT.
They ain't seen nothing yet, with that Master Plan enthusiastically received by CTB and the government. A good thing it can't possibly work, then.
54% feel too many Dutch live here, and 83%, too many foreigners. How's that for "multiculturalism"?
About those Leaks
No, not the Wechi leaks, or the allegedly illegal Shorty money-laundering leaks, but the water leaks Aqualectra says it's trying to stop. They now lose 1/3rd of their production. Holland, which recently renewed half of its water pipes, loses 6%; the UK (which must have one of the oldest systems in the world, starting in 1609) 25% and the US 16%. We've got a long way to go.
Steigerung des Konflikts
German dramaturgic term meaning "the conflict intensifies"—which is what's going on re. Wechi. The foundation that fights for the rights of Malpais heirs claims that Rustplaats is mentioned explicitly in the contract of sale, exactly where work has started on the public housing projects.
Minister Römer says that everything is kosher and according to Kadaster [land register] the terrain belongs to FKP. She would say that, wouldn't she? and besides, Kadaster has been proven wrong before.
The last we could find was 2015-III, which were very careful to only mention country by country tourist sources; never a total growth/shrink. However that may be, Caribbean tourism growth has been 7% for this year. Let us patiently wait for the CTB figures for Curaçao. If and when.
Bunch of Crooks
Dick Drayer (one of those guys who lawyer Kokki Sulvaran had in mind as a racist Dutch colonial) has hunted down a 1999 document from which it becomes clear that the heirs of Malpais do have rights on the Wechi terrain. The document was submitted by Jandi Paula to FOØL Godett, then deputy, who had it disappear (no doubt with what spy novels call "extreme prejudice") after Paula refused to "adapt" it.
Paula now doesn't want to comment because he feels "the threats and insinuations on part of the government" are not good for his health. It's rather ironic that ex-minister Rosalia had no choice but to rename Peter Stuyvesant College after him, a man of higher integrity than Rosalia could imagine existed.
Jandi Paula, who set up the Centraal Historisch Archief was interim PM after the 1993 referendum, when the corrupt Maria Liberia-Pieters government had fallen and the take-over by present minister Römer, also PNP, failed in a matter of days. He appeared weekly on television and explained what was going on without bullshitting. It lasted only too short before we went back to democracy, but we actually had some reason to hope for something better—while it lasted.
I often think it's a pity there are no Circus archives before 2003. Even then, in the first years I couldn't have any idea that it would become such a rich source of documentation. Judging from the frequency of visitors to vintage years, many agree with me.
Run for the Hills
Not only do the UN under Ban Ki-moon want to "decolonize" Gibraltar and the Falklands (without asking the inhabitants), they now want for leaders of the Committee Against "Subjugation of Peoples" (are you ready?) Syria and Venezuela. Sometimes it looks like they go out of their way to pick the worst countries.
Good thing our referenda here were solid. It's not for lack of trying by some local politicians that the UN was not interested in interfering.
PIAS Rozendal thinks that, instead of voting in the 80-20 law, it'd be better to focus on better education and creating more jobs. She introduced her "Manpowerplan" to accomplish all this, as it would be even worse, her words, if employers would be forced to fire personnel and replace them with inadequate people.
If her plan would work is another matter.
Making a long sad story short and even sadder, there's no money for crime fighting as envisioned by minister Navarro. We don't need to know or say more. What a bunch of ****ing %$%&@s, excuse my Swahili.
We are holding our breath for those security cameras to make their entrée next month. Shortly, we'll be turning blue in our faces.
From Top to Bottom
Curaçao Hato Airport has been known, since WWII, as the best in the Caribbean, but times have changed and so has Hato. This changed for the worst in 2006 when CAP took over with Alterra. One of the greatest disasters that overtook the airport: from all regional passenger reviews it now gets the worst ratings. And it cost us a lot of money, too.
It has to be said that CAP is doing its utmost to remedy this. But you have a bad building, it stays bad. And it's costing more and more money. And we'll have to pay more and more airport tax, already among the highest in the world—where you do get service!
This will schlepp on for years and years more. And the foolish politicians, that bunch of con artists, counting on tourism to grow by thousands of percents to grow our economy by 2%. Lubida!
Teachers Strike On
After an accord had been reached between minister Dick and the teachers' union, the members declined. Schools have been closed for four days already. Now Dick will sue the union, this very afternoon.
It's all over, they reached an agreement and even the court session has been canceled.
The supermarket owners' club says that the 80-20 law will only enlarge, not reduce, their personnel problems. There's not a single yu'i Korsow registered in the Curaçao job bank; quite ironic, that. They ask the politicians to stop the "80-20 nonsense" and try to win votes in other ways.
He Forgot Gambling
The Bon Futuro prison is a mess. Management and ministry of justice do nothing to prevent smuggling, theft, prostitution and abuse. Weapon parts are smuggled in as key chain ornaments. Say, isn't there gambling going on? I find this surprising. Food stamps and medicine are sold outside the prison.
On the other hand, these claims seem to come from John Baselmans who calls himself an oracle. The guy says he's in spiritual contact with the Wiels ghost—straight out of Shakespeare, that. I'd take it all cum grano salis.
Which doesn't mean I think it's not a mess in that prison; better stay out of there.
Confirmed: (only on Feb. 28 in KKCur) Dutch Algemeen Dagblad never bothered to check that nonsense.
For the oldies who had the temerity to leave Curaçao and go live somewhere else, their fine of 25% of their AOW [old age welfare pension] has been reduced to 10%. Still weird; I get some money out of Holland and they don't fine me for not living there (which I'd hate to do).
That's Fine, But Is He Broke?
Former MFK economic development minister [Sheikh] El Hakim has been declared bankrupt. He has a total debt of 3,814,493,25 guilders (USD2,0979,7128.75). El Hakim didn't bother to do anything to prevent it, like submitting a concept agreement and a well-founded financial plan. He claimed he hadn't been given enough time.
Maybe the judge ought to have waited until after next elections.
I'd guess the Sheikh has salted enough away so he won't die from hunger.
Inhabitants of rural Bandabao are worried about reports of a panther that's supposed to be running loose. Or maybe two. Of course it's possible, but I have my doubts. Not only Tasmanians have a habit of reporting seeing the Tasmanian tiger, which is supposed to have become extinct long before
global warmingclimate changesensitivity set in. Still, you never can tell.
If they're jaguars, many of us don't have to worry at all. The Argentines used to call it "the christian's best friend"—with reason. They will protect rather than attack humans.
Atheists, hindus or muslims are out of luck, of course.
That's Pretty Good
A letter to Amigoe newspaper complains about C***-Post delivering a letter from court 5 days after it was stamped. Which she, rightly, feels is much too long. But she's lucky! For C***-Post, that's a speed record by now.
I am sitting here waiting for printer ink which, according to the tracking information I got, has passed customs and been delivered to C***-Post on February 15. Not to mention those shipments that never bothered to come in at all.
No news is that Isla refinery will now be sued for their asbestos pollution, although the management denies they have heard about a complaint. Bad news is that contractor Turbo Machine Shop who got the job of removing the asbestos was not certified but got the job anyway because he was associated with PS and ex-PM Arsjes intervened personally. Get out of the way!
Then, the story goes, there was fraud with certificates and the contracting sum was split up to get around the Isla board.
Oh, and by the way you know, FPDHC stands for Fundashon Promove Drechi Humano Curaçao [foundation to promote human rights you-know-where].
Crude: Cheaper and Cheaper
No, it's no pun. Saudi-Arabia announced it will let the market mechanisms work (they must be capitalists) and they will not stop pumping oil to pump price back up (that is supposed to be a pun, hah hah). The Saudis bluntly state that those who need more money just have to lower their costs, and that screwing up prices actually meant subsidizing other countries.
Bad news for Venezuela's Maduro; as if he needed any more.
Found out what Camimpeg means: Cia. Anonima Militar de Industrias Mineras, Petroliferas y de Gas. I can't find another "military" oil company in the whole wide world.
Too Bad for Those off the Grid
A new Internet data transfer technique using LEDs burning on utility power is in development. Called Li-Fi, it's 100 times faster than Wi-Fi and doesn't need no stinking radio frequencies but uses LED flicker frequencies to transfer data.
Which of course can't be transferred via the sun or wind. Tough. May take some time, there's that. Especially here.
More or Less Zika
After it has been successfully used on Madeira, a unit to irradiate male mosquitos with Cobalt-60 will now be sent over to Brazil. Sterile irradiated males upon release will mate with females who then have no offspring, resulting in decimated populations. Just like with the screwworm fly.
Why we keep muddling on here becomes more of an enigma by the week.
I wrote about this to Amigoe newspaper who published on June 1, 2014. The letter was taken over by Curom Z86 radio broadcaster. No note was taken by the authorities.
Here are the original Dutch and the Googlish English versions.
Aruba announced this week that, while there have been 18,000 chikungunya cases in Curaçao, they have had about 1,000 there, because they kept up mosquito control after the 1960s DDT eradication.
No Need to Know
Another party has raised its ugly head and joined the jostling mob, but I think that is utterly uninteresting until we know which will actually participate in next elections. So you'll have to find out elsewhere, sorry. If you want to.
Hoo R Yoo?
Foundation FPDHC has lodged a complaint against Isla refinery for not properly disposing of asbestos.
Blast those acronyms! Who are these guys? What do those characters (repeat) stand for?
Learn It, Not Take It, by Heart
Curaçao Port Services versus Curaçao Port Authority:
CPS = Private
CPA = Government
CPS will/may lose their monopoly on all Curaçao harbors, except the container terminal. Because they did such a fine job there, I guess.
Thought I'd Mention It
The teachers are on strike. Again. From what you read, it seems to be impossible to get them in a meeting with education minister Dick. Or the other way round.
Here, And There As Well
Russian nationalists are dissatisfied with national oil company Rosneft spending money on Venezuela, with "PdVSA's operational and technological dysfunction." Rosneft themselves criticize PdVSA for "not having evolved in technology ... since the '90s." Sounds all too familiar to us.
Not only that, but Russians see little purpose in swapping weapons for oil, especially at present crude prices. Good.
Shorty's Vaporub® Trick
People have asked me about that. It's a trick well-known among actors and other professional liars (like politicians) to make the crocodile tears appear like magic. Before you go on for your performance, dip your finger in Vaporub, Tiger Balm or any substance containing eucalyptus oil and/or menthol. I guess Ben Gay or Alcolado Glacial mixed with vaseline would be just as good. Then, when you need it, wipe your eyes with that finger and presto! the beads start dribbling down your cheek.
Obama was suspected of using the same trick during his last anti-gun speech.
What Do You Want?
It's such a mess, I really couldn't say who's in the right here. But the heirs of freed slaves Rasveldt maintain that the Wechi building terrain is their property and the government is building on it without their permission.
I don't know, again, if this is so. But I do know that this still has to be fought out in court; which means that the government for now is in the wrong. And this under the auspices of minister Römer, who's a lawyer herself.
What do you want if the government is thus acting in a criminal ground-grabbing manner, other than asking for characters like Shorty to take part in it?
Why Worry Now?
Shorty may be convicted or not. If Shorty or the Public Ministry then asks for an appeal, and the prosecution wins, then Shorty may go for another appeal at the European court for human rights, whatever. All this may take over 10 years. The point is, if they throw him in the calaboose before then, and he is acquitted at a later stage, he may ask for financial compensation.
I say, as long as he loses all voting rights I'm well contented. I'm informed this will only happen at the end of the ride; this may be wrong. Even better if he spends all that money fighting and at the end of the game gets thrown in jail anyway.
By then, his daughter will be separated from her momma at the age of 12 or so.
Aqualectra Utility made a profit last year, again! They even paid their fuel bills on time.
They plan to have wind energy fill 60% of capacity in 2020. I have my doubts. At any rate, they can afford to pay for their civilian survey now. Not that I had any doubts about that.
Now maybe they can afford to give us more than 6 days time to pay their bills.
PS, MAN, MFK, PIAS all agree that the monopoly to exploit Curaçao harbor must be ended. It now looks like a political power struggle between (government) CPA and (private) CPS is going on, resulting in a monopoly position of one of the two. It's hard to peer into the troubled waters and make out what's going on.
The temperature drop between 2016-2019 caused by La Niña is predicted to be the same as that between 1974-1979, viz. almost 2°C, so we could all save some airco money. But remember, it's just a prediction! In 1979, they were predicting a new Ice Age (God Bless). Not ten years later, they were predicting Global Warming. Some are now predicting another ice age again (like Russia). All bets are open! Step up and fear nothing.
Shorty's lawyer Sulvaran lashed out to KKCuraçao, where "possibly racist Dutch-speaking characters under fake names" publish mendacious stories. "This is Curaçao's real underworld and it's time these people are unmasked." My compliments, KKCur; whoever you may be; if Kokki hates your guts you can't be all bad. But as Shorty looks pretty white to me, just like his moll, I can't figure out where the "racism" comes in.
Sulvaran may even think I'm one of them; not so, Kokki.
For the record, Shorty has a Dutch father and a Colombian mother.
Stop Your Naggin'
PS, in the process of falling flat on its face, is now angry with Dutch parliament for having accepted a motion on Isla refinery. They say it doesn't show any respèt in an open letter in English to Dutch parliament.
How little respect PS shows for the health of its own voters kommt nicht im Frage.
The 80-20 law will not be presented to the governor, because it discriminates and is no good, has been decided in the council of ministers. If the governor would lay it down anyway, it might be suspended or annulled by Koninklijk Besluit [royal resolution].
What more did we inherit from Wiels that turns out to be worthless? Time may tell.
Not Much to Assassinate
Both Shorty and his moll complain that the process served mainly to assassinate their characters. Not much character to assassinate, would you think? Like they say about elections, crimes have consequences.
The first phase of the court case against Shorty and his moll is over; verdict on March 11.
Both declined, at the end of the process getting their chance to have the last words, to use their right to remain silent; a bit late. Shorty blamed his parents' divorce for becoming a mala mucha [Bad Boy] (so he admits that?); Cicely claimed she had to be a strong woman. Wish she'd thought of that before.
Both couldn't control their tears (maybe using the Vaporub® trick and Shorty speaking Papiamento for popular appeal—our court sessions are in Dutch) and Shorty supplicated the judge not to separate their baby from its momma. So touching. Of course my heart bleeds for the kid, but it has happened before.
I can't keep from gloatingly remarking all their chutzpah has faded away. For now.
Cicely's main regrets, to read it in the press, were that her parents had seen a photo of her in prisoners' outfit and that internationally her name has gone down the drain. Our fault for persecuting her, right? She hasn't learnt much from the experience.
Ajó, Vomit Comet?
It is not without a certain Schadenfreude that we read how Virgin Galactic will try for a new space flight, after the disastrous ending of the last one in 2014. The Schadenfreude is caused by the fact that 3 competitors in the race are named: SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
"Our" Space Gang isn't even mentioned. Their 2008 home page lacks a few years of maintenance, it seems (maybe they gave up hope); they quote a $95,000 price while according to Wikipedia this has meanwhile gone up to $150,000.
Even the XCOR site does not dare to give any vague indication how much longer development of their LYNXC will take.
About That Zika
Sounds more and more like one of those diseases not really worth bothering about. (Nobody cared when it was just some African blacks who got it, how typical.) But now that it's escaped, four out of five people seem not even to notice they have it. And that link to microcephaly is doubtful, to say the least.
In a way too bad as it was a great stimulus to get rid of mosquitos once and for all. Who needs 'em!
Finally, InselAir is considering to stop operation on Venezuela. They now have to pay cash in USD for fuel, landing fees and ramp services and make "enormous losses". It's a completely mystery why they keep this up anyway. One searches in vain for possible reasons; the ones you can think of are all, uh, let it go...
It Ain't So
That's what Shorty's lawyers say about the accusations of the PG. He just plumb forgot about his diplomatic passport, he was so stressed (which is no real excuse—he still forgot, poor baby). They wonder why the PG should think Corallo wanted influence in Curaçao. (I may be simple but it looks pretty clear to me.) And Shorty should have been occult to know that the enormous amounts Corallo paid him were meant to bribe him. (He still accepted them, committing fraud.)
Sounds all pretty weak to me, but now it's the prosecutor's turn again. Tomorrow.
They even quote me 14 times in their requisitory, even though the prosecution never mentions me.
The prosecutor told some mightily interesting tales on the Shorty-Corallo-MFK relations. If Shorty appointed ministers Corallo didn't like, he had to pay Corallo's money back. Now the public ministry in turn wants Shorty to pay money back to the country.
There are other accusations, all well-known to us who have been following Shorty's shenanigans: such as keeping his diplomatic passport; using scanners and other illegal espionage equipment; and the evident fraud and money-laundering he and his moll are guilty of. All merely alleged until the final day in court, of course.
Peppie and Kokkie, Shorty's lawyers, as expected, say it's just the Dutch government that wants to get rid of Shorty so he can't compete in the coming elections. Frankly, that would be fine with me. I myself have put my humble efforts behind all this to avoid just that. But I take exception to being called a Dutch political activist. I am no such thing. Which is exactly why I was an obvious person to sign.
Also, the governor nor the PG have had anything to do with my original complaint lodged against Shorty, as Shorty's lawyers allege.
Funny Enough to Make You Cry
The money reserved on the budget for "free education" is not sufficient to pay for it.
Just starting to wonder when we'd hear something from the new Ombudsman and lo and behold! he is asking C***-Post nasty questions about the community mailboxes.
I do wonder as well when, and if, he'll get an answer.
3 Years Koraal Specht
At least, that's the prosecutor's demand against Shorty. He and his moll invoke their right to remain silent. I'm afraid (not the right word at all) that won't work. Against Cicely the moll, 18 months of which 9 on probation.
The prosecutor confirms what we all knew: MFK was in fact run and started by Italian-St. Maarten mafioso Corallo, who just used Shorty as a puppet on a string, in order to take over after independence. Corallo is not a witness.
Shorty's lawyer will explain that there's an international complot against the guy, meant to prevent him becoming PM again. He got that straight, even though I'm not sure about "international".
Just a link to remind you who was instrumental in getting this show on the road.
Crude oil storage capacity in the Caribbean (like Valero and COT) are filled to the brim, and then some. Producers are desperate to hold surplus stocks until (they hope) prices crawl back up; but even renting no-good rusting tankers for storage is too expensive. Which is why they're selling "at any price"; which certainly does the market no good. Good!
Venezuela and Colombia are selling crude at a loss, just to get rid of the stinking stuff.
Today is the big day: ex-PM Shorty and his partner-in-life (for now, he's been known to change 'em in the past) will be appearing in court, with another day planned next Friday. The bad thing is, judge Lips is notorious for being much too clement; the good news is, if he's convicted to a minimum of 1 year jail, that's the end of his political career as his "alleged" (HAH!) crime is an ambtsmisdrijf [professional misconduct while in function]. And that goes too far even for our weak laws. Not only can't he then be chosen in the future, he's not even allowed to vote himself.
Oops, wrong info. Oh those media! He loses his voting rights for foive years, only.
Professor Willems, who's working on the civiele enquêtes [civilian surveys] on Aqualectra, Curoil and Isla refinery needs more money. The 3000 guilders he got before were not enough, it's a difficult and exstensive process. Now he wants 10,000 each from the 3 companies, before end of the month.
Serves 'em right to pay for it themselves, you say? Tue troo, but still a bit weird that they have to pay their own Nemesis.
Not All Fools
Not all political parties are enthusiastic about free education. A pity their motives are a bit confused. Indie Leeflang feels only the poor should get it free, conveniently forgetting that the rich pay more tax by which education is presently financed.
But that nobody wants to pay for education as it has been run for the last six years by PS ministers, the same party whose Wiels started promoting the freebie, is only logical.
Won't Work Anyway
A motion to have people make free use of the Malpaís and Koraal Specht landfills has been declined by Staten . The idea was to stop illegal dumping, supposedly to combat zika. People are too lazy or don't want to spend money driving over there anyway. The Selikor management agrees with me here.
Koraal Specht? Thought that one was closed many years ago...
Will That Help?
Dutch parliament voted for the teethless motion to have our government accept its responsiblities re. Isla refinery. To answer my own question, "no"; but also, you never know.
PS sent an open letter to the Dutch that this was a reason to go for more independence. Whatever, PS. You are pretty teethless yourself by now, is my feeling.
Much protesting against the plans of Dutch PVV and VVD parties to send Curaçao criminals back to their country, so we can enjoy their presence. But a Curaçao judge has just forbidden a cocaine smuggling Yu'í Korsou, living in Holland, to return here for three years. Isn't that rather inconsequential?
Er... And 80-20?
USA citizens do not need a work and residence permit for Curaçao, justice minister Navarro says, because of a 1955 USA-Netherlands accord. Which looks like bad news for the 80-20 law now being steamrolled through its last phases.
Also, can't help being curious. Would this mean we in our turn can go live and work in the USA?
Was tipped off that those Yanks (as long they're not legally working) also get free SVB health insurance with non-Dutch EU passport holders not entitled to anything. Neither are we, of course.
Let's have another look at those people who sell their solar electricity surplus to Aqualectra, and are now protest the lower price they get.
What happens here is, they use Aqualectra instead of buying (expensive) batteries. In daytime, they sell their surplus back; at night they buy power from Aqualectra. How much they get, or pay, is not the point, which is, those without solar panels are forced to pay those who do have them for the use of Aqualectra as a giant back-up battery.
I have never met people like politicians. They are the most dishonest people I have ever met.Not Here, Please!
Venezuela announces a take-over by the military of mining- and oil industry. When, not if, PdVSA goes bankrupt, the new company Camimpeg will take over the assets.
Which would mean that the Venezuelan army will rule on our Isla refinery, if our government proceeds on its present course.
Democrat Party DP, who haven't had a seat in parliament since Norbert George's in 2007, will now try with a women candidates only list.
Paranoia Party Time
PS Cordoba, the same guy who is, again, pushing for the 80-20 law, is darkly uttering obscure allegations that the public ministry is involved in the Wiels murder business. The filthy bastard Dutchies don't want us to be independent, that's why they got rid of His Holiness.
Sure, that explains it!
Say, is this any better than slander and libel?
If Shorty still was the Big Boss, maybe then I'd listen. Maybe.
We Are Not Alone
Remember that stupid Spielberg UFO movie, where a guy leaves his wife for the latest model because that stupid [SELF-CENSORED] doesn't believe in UFOs? Anyway, we here were far ahead of the madding crowd with our chronic recession. Sure looks it's the same all over the world by now.
I remember seeing that flick in Paris with my now defunct brother, and when we left the theater he turned to me and asked "he really believes that crap, doesn't he?"
Much in That
Matt Ridley in his Times column predicts that oil will keep getting cheaper. He makes a good argument, with this quite quotable item: "... whereas many mineral and metal companies were privatised in the 1990s as their grotesque inefficiencies became visible, the same has not happened to state oil companies. The consequence is that most oil is produced by companies that are milked by politicians."
With us, it's all topsy-turvy. Remember how in the 1980s Aqualectra, Curgas, CDM and don't forget Curoil and Isla refinery were turned from profitable private companies into state companies? Also mind that other milk cow, tourism. Since then, nothing but doom and gloom. While UTS is going bankrupt, Digicel is coining money.
Also, if there's no cow to milk politicians just might lose all interest and stay at home.
The latest effort to introduce the infamous 80-20 law, part of the Wiels heritage, is on its way to the governor. PS points out it's a part of the government accord, which nobody told me before. So all those parties in power now agreed to that, notwithstanding protests from lawyers, chamber of commerce etc.? Shame.
But PAR declares that, as the law has been approved by parliament three years ago, they can't do anything to stop it. Three years ago? When Shorty still was king, aided and abetted by PS and MAN.
I'm afraid this will not stop here.
Do you understand the anxiety about robots taking over our work in [fill in your preferred number] years and leaving us without jobs? I don't... I'm so glad I have an electric saw and drill, to name but a few. Let 'em and welcome to it! Sure beats H.G. Wells's Morlocks from The Time Machine.
Sooth in the Crystal Ball
"I can't see a thing!" After predictions that crude oil prices would go up again, which may just have been wishful thinking, now we get news from Mexico that Maya crude may fall to $19/barrel by the end of March. Those Mexicans are realists or real pessimists, you choose.
Both this and next item are really promising for the future of Isla refinery, don't you agree? But doesn't matter, our government will go full steam ahead with their plans, not even pausing to adjust their blinkers.
Aruba, Valero, PdVSA, Citgo
The Aruba government has "guaranteed Valero that it can walk away from the refinery with zero environmental liability and without obligation to dismantle it." Sounds familiar? Sure brings back memories of 1985... At least Aruba didn't pay 1 florin for it, they're that far ahead of us. Shows you Shell are much sharper negotiators as well.
The idea is to have PdVSA's USA unit, CITGO to take over and renew "some processing units." It could take at least two years before production restarts. Not only are negotiations still going, but the refinery has been idle since 2012. Valero classified it as "abandoned" but wants to retain the terminal.
More Taams Dirt
Ex-CEO van den Berg of former Taams clinic is being sued for the "alleged" theft of 800,000 guilders. But she says it was just a loan and besides, she still has all the chits.
Most interesting. But of more burning interest is, does Advent now have the necessary permits to continue operations? Not that it would make any difference, just look at the refinery.
Correction: No CEO, she, but finance director. Ah, those media.
Digicel has stopped negotiating the take-over of Surinamese Uniqa telecomprovider. Uniqa discharged all personnel last year and none of its services work anymore; it's just a paper construction. Fully owned by our government's UTS who took over 49% of the shares from Intelsur.
That's a tweet by "celebrity" Hannah Hart, whoever she is. The 2015 "heat records" caused by El Niño, good for 0.26 degree Celsius higher year temperature, and paradoxically much welcomed by the warmist greenies who could exclaim "we told you so!" are already disappearing. Worse, much less snow and rain than usual followed up. So that the following La Niña may be a flop as well.
Or not. What do we all know? Once more, we can conclude—nothing much.
Even that modest 0.1C is contested by some.
Not That Bad
Smoc, and rightly so, resents our government being contented with 18 deaths per year caused by Isla refinery pollution. They just don't care.
Looking at it another way, we're pretty well off though. The University of British Columbia reckons 5.5 million all over the world die per year because of air pollution. With a word population of 7 billion, that would work out to 117 yearly deaths for our 150,000 people.
Both the Isla-Ecorys and UoBC data may be far off, sure. And in any case, no reason to stop efforts to halt pollution, don't get me wrong.
China, Burma and India are by far the worst, followed by Pakistan, Indonesia, Tajikistan and Bangladesh.
Now We're Told
Five weeks ago, we were told 2 out of 3 cranes of the container terminal were out of order. Now we read that one has been repaired, so we have 1 crane in service again. Somebody can't figure here; and it's not us. Look: 3-2=1, and now +1 should total 2, am I right?
Lying, that they can.
And minister Rhuggenaath was delighted to give these guys a 25-year exclusive harbor deal.
Nothing to do with the rest here; just a general rant against internet ads. It's now gone so far, that when you don't want to see 'em and click them away (thank Jove you still can, at least sometimes) they have the temerity, the brass, the effrontery, the incredible chutzpah to ask you to explain why. Go figure it out for yourselves, fools, but here's a (free) hint: We Just Don't Want to See Them!
Solid and Safe
Aruba Airlines has been saved by the bell; the judge has kicked out two ex-directora (and still shareholders) de Swart and Valles, and appointed an interim director. Insurance has been paid, the show can fly on. For now.
He Said It Himself
MAN Cooper will not return to parliament. He says it doesn't function properly, "it's a waste of my time and the people's." Right: note which comes first. But don't rejoice too soon: he follows up saying he wouldn't mind being a minister.
There still is no "Caribbean Guilder", meant to be the successor of the Netherlands Antillean Guilder, joint coin of Curaçao and St. Maarten. Now a new batch has to be made up, both coins and bank notes. Looks like that Caribbean Guilder is far off in the future (it's been 6 years already).
While PIAS minister Rhuggenaath was ecstatic about having reached a harbor exploitation accord with CPA (or CPS, I keep forgetting exactly which is which) PS Cijntje doesn't share his enthousiasm. Even the coalition partly agrees with him. This still has to pass parliament; at least that's what Cijntje feels. But it has passed the ministerial council already, and that really is what matters.
But, quoting Cijntje, "All those ministers taken together didn't even get one single vote last election." True enough. That's democracy for you, Cijntje!
Fast Workers, Not
There hasn't been a single decision by the public ministry on the surgical masks affair. But we're assured that ex-minister "Quackie" Constancia and her hubby, plus several others, are suspects still. Since 2012.
There are 4 more cases pending, all dating from the Constancia time. She sure has been busy.
The investigation into the mysterious green goop, maybe/possibly/probably originating (in 2014) from Isla refinery, hasn't been started yet. Reason, no money.
This airline, which only started operating last December, may go down the drain today already, when insurance must be paid. Blamed are problems between the shareholders, looting of funds, and numerous debts. A familiar story.
Conflict of Interests
One of the matters that have to be fixed before our country is upgraded back by the US FAA, is our own Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority. CAA hired an inspector who's married to the owner of Bonaire's Divi Divi Air, which makes him co-owner. Which of course is a no-no.
The question now is, will the upgrade now, for the umpteenth time since 2011, promised next month, will be delayed—again?
Only 30% of Curaçao wants total independence now. In Aruba it's 14%. My guess would be, the Aruba mess is even worse than here, so they wised up there. A pity they didn't ask St. Maarten.
Almost nobody seems to want to join Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius as a Dutch province.
Bad news for the government who don't want any Dutch interference with Isla refinery. Just thought I'd mention it.
During one of the carnaval parades the pupils of
PSCoops KAP had the old statue of Peter Stuyvesant on their float. Ex-minister Rosalia, who had it removed, obviously didn't hide it well enough. Some people predict old Peg-Leg will stomp his way back to the school's premises.
Ex-PM Arsjes new party PK (like the chewing gum—the taste lingers) wants politicians who are suspects in a criminal case suspended or fired from parliament. They also say the past few years there has been much political unrest and some parliament members show immaturity. Yeah, we'd noticed... see below and below and below and below and below...
Parliament must be reduced to 15 members and ministers to 7. That will save the country 3.2 million/year which can be invested in education. Not a word about the ample supply of civil servants, who cost a lot more.
Dutch parliament has voted that Isla refinery exhaust must be "appreciably" cleaner (whatever that means) three months from now (which seems quite unrealistic). Also, there are no details on what they'll do if it's not cleaner. Nothing much, is as good a guess as any.
They Could Have Fooled Me
"Snorkeling is not dangerous" declare the united Curaçao dive schools, no doubt with an eye peeled for the tourists who come over here to enjoy the sport. But they shrink from explaining the frightening amount of people killed while enjoying that leisure. "We can't explain it either" they say. But it's definitely not dangerous, oh no. Of course, we don't get a hard figure but I counted 5 this year.
Remember that anybody can establish a dive school here, no questions asked.
How Many Questions? Do Tell
Since 2010 the unanswered questions put to the PM by parliament cover 52 A4 size papers. They don't tell us how many questions there are per page. One of the problems is that some ministers (wise guys) want to see the replies before they're sent, which results in them never being dispatched, says parliament head Franco. I don't get that. Can't the ministers read (perish the thought) or what?
Full Speed Ahead to Another Epidemic and Damn the Mosquitoes
PM Whiteman says it in so many words: "Eradicated mosquito breeding places are immediately replaced by other ones." Meanwhile, the mosquitoes are getting more resistant with every dose of insecticide sprayed, which only hurts the imago and not the larvae in the first place.
The USA considers spending 1.8 billion dollars to eradicate the Aedis aegypti totally, using genetic manipulation (and bacterial infections which prevent the virus settling in the insects. Which possibly only works for a specific virus; Aedes transmits 4.)
The USA measures 3.806 million square miles or say 10 million square kilometers; as Curaçao measures 445 sq.km. a ballpark estimate is, similar operations here would cost $81,000 or ANG150,000. (One spraying all-over now costs ANG10,000. An -unreliable- Brazilian zika test alone costs ANG200.) What are they waiting for?
Naturally those figures can't be calculated as simplistically as that. But they will not be off by much more than a factor 10.
An Angle? Or Maybe Two
"Germany's Fundamental Law specifically expresses that the State is obligated to protect the life and physical body of the individual." Now we don't have a constitution or even a Fundamental Law here, just the Staatsinrichting. Means, more or less, "political system" but amounts to the same thing.
Article 11 states Ieder heeft, behoudens bij of krachtens landsverordening te stellen beperkingen, recht op onaantastbaarheid van zijn lichaam. [Everyone has, except by or pursuant to national ordinance limits the right to inviolability of his body.]
What price the Isla pollution, then?
And while I'm at it, Article 13 states Het briefgeheim is onschendbaar, behalve, in de gevallen bij landsverordening bepaald, op last van de rechter. [The privacy of letters is inviolable except in the cases stipulated by national ordinance, by order of the court.]
But the customs people in the post office routinely open my briefpakjes/petit paquets [letter packs], which, according to Dutch Post are regular letters and thus subject to full privacy. Years ago, I got a message to come to the post office where I was invited to open them for inspection (or refuse to do so), but this was abolished "to save money".
Thus are our constitutional rights trampled upon. By now, it's a tradition.
After a strong El Niño (even if it turned out less strong than predicted) mostly an equally strong La Niña follows. For us here, it wouldn't make much difference: both result in drought. Even worse than normal, I mean. You never get really used to it.
But I still prefer it to cold, snow, hail, fog and rain.
Right, Sue Them All!
Former Girobank director Garcia, now in court for malpractice, wants to sue all directors as well, plus house accountant Ernest & Young. They are just as guilty for allowing him and his financial director to proceed with suspect transactions and "fabricated loans". Guess he may have a point.
Girobank got in trouble and control was essentially taken over by Central Bank by the end of 2013.
It's not so easy to take PM Whiteman's claims seriously that 16 big companies or countries have shown interest in partaking in upgrading of the Isla refinery. He mentions China and PdVSA (both in severe trouble).
But PIAS Rosaria is surprised that Whiteman now only concentrates on upgrading the refinery, while the government mandate is to look at ways to get rid of it as well. That's out, Rosaria; Whiteman is a member of the Wiels PS clan, so we might as well forget it.
Seven parties have announced they will try and compete next elections. We will know by August 8 which have collected sufficient signatures. I haven't found out which 7 parties yet; until now, 12 were in the running.
For what it's worth, I gamble on DP, MAN, MFK, PAR, PAIS, PNP, PS, at any rate. That's 7 already; so at least one will be squeezed out by Asjes, Godett, Leeflang, Rosalia or the Wiels franchise.
Take Your Pick
The International Energy Agency predicts there will be an oil glut for most of this year, and while the price will probably not go as low as $10/barrel, it will not go up much either.
But Taylor of Vitol (world's largest independent oil merchant) predicts it will go up to $48, adding "I'm almost sure I'm wrong."
He got that right. Maybe.
Politur versus Police
["From one of our correspondents:"] An attempt to steal gasoline from a car parked outside the garden was foiled because the neighbors' dogs started barking and lights came on. The thieves left a jug, hose and bread knife in the haste to make their getaway, plus a "welcome" mat they'd borrowed to lie on. (In fact, a regular door mat; I just made that "welcome" up, sounds funnier.)
What makes this interesting is that our correspondent, a foreigner, called Politur tourist police on several numbers, none of which picked up. He finally called the regular cops who treated him very professionally. Here it comes: Politur doesn't work on week-ends!
This occurred last November with gas prices lowered already, so those thieves must have been pretty desperate.
In Heintje Kool a private bio-diesel factory has been dismantled and 80,000 liters of bio-diesel (670 barrels or 21,133 gallons) confiscated. The stuff was meant for export to Dubai (Dubai in the UAE? Isn't that even worse than carrying coals to Newcastle?) and also for local use.
The private enterprise plant located opposite the road from Isla refinery didn't have any permits at all. Not that, if they had 'em, they would have kept to the conditions. After all, neither does Isla.
Suspicions are some of their stuff has been stolen from Isla which would be quite in tradition. After all, the refinery is operated by PdVSA!
PM Whiteman announces an open public tender for switching Isla refinery to using LNG as fuel; should be held within a month or at least half a year. That vagueness really builds confidence. This should result in an "explosion of employment", with 4 years later 80% less harmful emissions.
Whiteman didn't mention where he'll get the money from with the present oil glut dominating the market. Needed are 600 million dollars.
About Zika... Don't Panic (Yet)
Of 404 babies with birth defects (microcephalism) in Brazil, only 69 (17%) were infected with the virus. In Colombia, none at all have been found with birth defects. May come later, sure. And let's kill those damn mosquitoes anyway!
The virus in babies, talking about Brazil, may have escaped notice because of inadequate tests. More than 700 babies, upon testing, were not microcephalic. 3670 cases still have to be tested.
They didn't test the non-microcephalic babies for zika, which would have made it really interesting. But the test is no good anyway, so why bother at all?
Ho Ho Hurricanes!
2016 and 2017 are predicted to be quite heavy. Average is 12 storms and 6 hurricanes; but 2016 "will have 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes" with 2017 even worse. At least, that's what the crystal-ball gazers at GWO say. For all I know, they may be right. But what do I know?
These predictions are specifically for the USA East Coast, but you'd expect some fall-out to hit us here, right?
Free For All
Next elections September 30. Participating parties will probably be DP, FOL, MAN, MFK, PAIS, PAR, PNP, PS, plus Leeflang's and Asjes's new parties, the Wiels family franchise 1 Tim Nobo and Rosalia's MKP. Even more may join the fun, Hallelujah! But that will become definitely known on August 8.
Not Fracked, But Close
The licensing agreement with Isla Refinery will not be prolonged. Don't cry out for joy: this means it has been automatically prolonged for ten more years without any obligation to "upgrade".
On the other hand, they tell us the agreement with PdVSA will be cancelled. Take your pick. Maybe this will be cleared up later. For now, it's all as transparent as the government and Isla smoke.
They've told me that IQ-wise I'm as smart as Bill Gates, dot dope; doesn't impress me. But this is beyond my feeble powers.
Update: Whiteman and Victorina announce Isla refinery definitely will remain open and working. We knew it all the time.
Whiteman is angry with Antilliaans Dagblad for publishing this. He says AD has a hidden agenda and wants to get rid of Isla. I would hardly call that "hidden"!
It's a Curse
Minister after minister of Sociale Ontwikkeling, Arbeid en Welzijn [Social Development, Labor and Welfare] pulls strange stunts. Now it's Larmonie, who rented a building in Willemstad and had her ministry moved in there—by hand, as there are no elevators to the 4th floor—but she gives No Comment. Civil servants union ABVO claims the building is unfit.
That the people have a negative perception of integrity here, as Amsterdam student Ellis found, was predictable. But that the political parties feel the same way is more surprising. Or is it? After all, they know best!
Our Southern Neighbor
You may think they had hit bottom already, but things keep going downhill there. Remember all those billions Venezuela borrowed from China? Venezuela was supposed to pay back in oil, but can't even keep that promise. Nobody could predict where that will lead to.
After having bought "sweet" crude from African and other countries, now Curaçao Oil Terminal is receiving oil from Texas, of all places.
And Colombia accuses Venezuela of hiding "hundreds of thousands" of zika cases. Medications were so scarce already that patients have been switched to veterinary drugs.
It sounds absolutely crazy to have any confidence that PdVSA can come up with the necessary money to renovate Isla refinery three years from now.
Not minding the court cases on Wechi property rights, minister Römer announces building of 62 houses will now start. She opines the terrain belongs to the government. Infrastructure is largely ready for a planned total of 4000.
If only she always was so steadfast. Hmm... I take that back, asking for trouble.
Minister Navarro wants to delegate 4 (four) firefighters to the Barber fire station, which has been sitting there empty for as long as anybody can remember. They can train 20 more.
Too bad there's no fire truck there.
Somebody must have been making money building that station. We hope it's only the building team.
The "Baywatch" investigation into drug smuggling and money laundering by Kustwacht [coast guard] personnel is finished. There are seven suspects, four of whom are (former) coast guarders.
But Navarro still doesn't want to give the other guys a gun. He expects the court sessions will turn up more suspects. Some investigation! Shouldn't wonder if they went on strike again, for the fourth time in three weeks.
"That's the last drop" feel the teachers, who will have to do a language and arithmetic test. Testing the pupils without knowing a thing themselves is what they want? No, they say they are too busy to be bothered. Maybe in one of the ample vacation periods, then. That'll teach 'em (get it? yuk yuk yuk.)
How About Us?
As there are more and more atrakos on tourists, the cure, naturally, is to have more and more tourist police, seeing how well that worked out. It is not known yet how many. Also, the tourists will get a panic button to hit when they are waylaid, and presto! the cops will be over there. Details about that panic button are scarce. Do they get one on their body? in their car? or one on every beach? Which sounds most probable. Run, tourist, run!
Why don't we get one in every house? Oh, you mean we can phone the cops, a quite different thing? Then, they don't come anyway.
And by the way you know, this is the first time we get to hear that the number of atrakos on tourists has been growing.
There We Go
One day later, we get to hear that there are a number of tourists who prefer to stay away. But, says Rhuggenaath, the government takes the zika virus seriously and has plans to combat the mosquitoes. Isn't it great how they always have plans? Meanwhile, he asks the population to reduce breeding places. Dûh. One in three houses have 'em.
Health minister Victorina asks for two weeks to prepare answers to questions asked in parliament. A bit long. Victorina does not like using chemicals to combat mosquitoes. He advises to use salt in vases to kill larvae, a fine way to make flowers wilt. Say, isn't salt a chemical, sodium chloride or even more frightening, NaCl?
To be sure, a mosquito larva takes 10 days to develop into the imago, and by then the flowers will have wilted anyway and been discarded, water, larvae and all. Some advice!
We Won't Never Ever Have Such a Candidate
Oh beautiful dreams. Without taking a position on Trump; just on the spoiled brats.
We Don't Need Your Stinking Measurements
Imagine: Amsterdam GGD stopped their plans to measure pollution in Julianadorp because PM Whiteman got mad. He said that wasn't the deal.
Do I get this right? GGD [or anybody else, hey!] is not allowed to measure pollution anywhere without the government's agreement? Tell me I'm wrong... please?
That's a relief! minister Rhuggenaath says that the Zika-virus threat seems to have little impact on tourism.
Last of my worries, Rhuggenaath.
Remarkable—for Us Too
Greenland has announced it will not keep to the much-vaunted December 2015 Paris agreement to cut emissions. It could not afford it "and will only be able to survive by exploiting its proven oil, gas and mineral reserves, which could take its emissions to some of the highest per capita on earth."
Which does strike a familiar note. No doubt the Greenland Greenies are green with rage.
Greenland's total population of 57,728 is about half of Curaçao's. Real-estate wise it's somewhat bigger, even allowing for Mercator projection distortion.
Seems Green Town has indeed been suckered into a take-over by David Dick, who since then sure looks he's doing his best to save the refinery instead of getting rid of it. Just an impression? I'm sure we haven't heard the last on this yet.
Keeps Them Busy
Uniek Curaçao discovers one illegal trash dump in natural spots after the other. With the mosquito problem, this is a real issue. Now it's trash from a Chinese restaurant, dumped there by "a white pick-up truck" which the restaurant owners declares he's paid to transport the rubbish to Malpais landfill.
PM Whiteman calls the Dutch "hypocrites" because they want to interfere with the Isla refinery. Or won't they? Now it's because Amsterdam GGD starts measuring the pollution on its own terms, not as previously arranged. That would be in Julianadorp, where a lot of high marine officers seem to live (they can afford it). Whiteman utters dark suspicions that there are civil servants here with hidden agenda.
Say Whiteman, do you want to end the pollution or don't you? Who's the hypocrite here? Just like the guys who say Shell has been polluting for 70 years, and Isla "only" for 30. In the first place, times have changed. Secondly, Shell actually seems to have been less of a polluter than "our" refinery. (It's easy.)
Dutch parliament wants a motion on the question whether human rights are abused and there is ondeugdelijk bestuur [improper government] as regards the Isla refinery. Minister Plasterk promised he'll try to get a new investigation of refinery-caused damage, will strive for more environmental awareness in Curaçao and will insist on a reaction to the help offered by Holland.
So many buzzwords... that's politics, folks!
Close Your Doors! Batten the Hatches!
Isla refinery announces they will serve us with a super round of pollution this week-end with extra flaring. They advise those downwind to keep doors and windows closed. Sounds like a wise move.
Not Before We Were Ready for It
Now the head of those civilian surveys into fraud at Aqualectra, Curoil and Isla refinery announces they're "almost ready"— took 'em since 2012 and will still take until March 31. Granted, those places must be an awful mess. We will follow future developments with considerable interest.
Sitek teachers' club wants to retrain their members so they speak decent Dutch (and hopefully understand their Dutch teaching books). Not only those in religious (Catholic and Protestant) schools, but also in public schools. But we'll have carnaval first, they say.
Let's raise a glass to Herman Wouk and his Don't Stop the Carnival!
Shorty's Inheritance Recovered
Because in 2011, when ex-PM Shorty was king, Curoil was not allowed to raise prices since then we have been forced to pay up to recover their losses. Which doesn't mean to say that Curoil couldn't be cheaper in the first place. Anyway, they're there now and prices will go down once again to a level much lower than we've seen in a long, long time. Especially when you count that flatulent inflation.
KKN chamber of commerce gives out their opinion on what to do to get the island economy out of stagnation. Rather different from what the government thinks, imagine: KKN want to end protection with six action points: attractive immigration policy; effective education and flexible labor market; free markets with no interference; abolish bureaucracy; privatisation of some government companies; and an attractive tax system.
Hear, hear. Oh wonderful dreams.
Clicking on Knipselkrant Curaçao we get a "Service Unavailable" error message. Somebodies really don't like those guys.
Update 09:51 - They're back.
Still No Cameras
Justice minister Navarro lets it be known that security cameras will be placed before carnaval. Don't get excited, they were there last year as well along the Gran Marcha route. Not a word about the other ones which should have been there almost a year ago.
Come to think of it, what price the drones?
Goodbye Green Town
New director for less than a month Dick declares that they will go on with a "clean" refinery, or without one at all. I always understood that the point was to replace the refinery and build Green Town there instead. Not that I saw any future in that.
The tumba festival, where the carnaval hit is selected, is a big deal. Lots of excitement and attention. Of course now it turns out people have been paying, or been paid, money so their group would make it—or not, as the case might be. Corruption! Would be surprising if there wasn't any.
Government doesn't record sick leave of
spoiled bratscivil servants. Minister van der Horst calls it an "unworkable and unacceptable situation" and has, after he got questions about it from PNP Davelaar, ordered an inquiry.
No doubt he has plenty of worries and doesn't need this. Still, now really, he only found out about this now?
To Be Sure
FKP public housing keeps charging sales tax over the rent, which is quite illegal; thrown out by the Tax Person hirself in 2014. Of course they wouldn't transfer it to the Tax Person: just an extra source of income. Hoo boy! when will we go out for potverteren?
Sorry, that Dutch term is hard to translate. It means throwing a party to spend last year's surplus. It's not around in English, can't help wondering why.
The island is almost overwhelmed by trainees from Holland, who just seem to come over to enjoy cocaine and XTC, extasy, for much less than they'd pay over there, and also, obstinate rumors have it, the Big Black Bamboo for even more intense ecstasy. The public ministry wants to do something about it. The drugs, I mean. Fine with me, but atrakos first—please? Besides, drug use is endemic; why not catch 'em all?
Highly amusing to me was that the Dutch press spelled "party-drugs" as in feast with party-drugs as in political party [partij].
Some think the 80-20 law will end the entire trainee problem. I'm not so sure. Oh, where's Bram Moscovitch now that we really need him? Just kidding, don't worry.
Isla refinery management lets us know they support the asbestos investigation. They say they have no fear, as the correct procedure was rigorously followed. I do hope so. That's the minimum.
The police Atrako [assault] team is understaffed, has too few cells and too little money. Which certainly helps explain why, in spite of the words of that always-optimistic justice minister Navarro, assaults just keep going, or maybe even getting worse.
Selikor Strike Spook
The Seligor garbage truck drivers don't like their 3 new foremen, hired without them being consulted. They were angry already because a guy fresh from Holland (what we call a "milk-bottle") was hired as garage head. If the new foremen and head are not kicked out, the drivers will go on strike. Today. That will be a filthy mess!
Latest: they're on strike indeed.
It was all over two days later. Now let's wait how long it will take until they pick up our garbage.
We'll See... But When?
Isla refinery claims their 2013, 2014 and 2015 yearly accounts are ready and accorded. What a little pressure can't achieve.
But Ruben Suriel of FAS complains (and loudly, too) that nothing has been accomplished with the civiele enquêtes [civilian surveys] on Integrated Utility Holding (IUH=Aqualectra), Curoil and Refineria di Kòrsou (RdK/Isla) started in 2013. "It's a mess in Aqualectra and the refinery" says Curiel. Patience, mon... you're in Curaçao here!
As the sickness undoubtedly will come here (if it hasn't already) women get dire warnings: Don't get pregnant for a year or two!
Too bad if you're pregnant already.
Without a Trace
Knipselkrant Curaçao recently published an item on new minister of economic development Rhuggenaath's plan to establish something like a commie-style central plan-bureau, where the government would advise entrepreneurs what business they should undertake. A sarcastic letter-writer commented "look how well that went in Venezuela!" Since, the article seems to have disappeared. If anybody remembers and knows more, please tell me. Thanks.
If it really has gone, it would prove that somebody still minds how we feel, mirabile dictu.
Just like for Isla refinery, the government is looking for a "strategic partner" for UTS telecommunications. Only a sucker would walk into that trap. Better take over completely and get rid of government influence. Much better.
Part of the plan is to split television station Telecuraçao from UTS and make it an indep[endent unit. Independent, that is, from commercials; they would start transmitting educational programs. In other words, a government-owned propaganda station. Another option would be privatisation. Now you're talking.
PM Whiteman has held a meeting last September with the Isla board plus several MPs of his PS party. This is completely against all rules and regulations; at least according to PAR ex-PM IJs. Another feculent item popping up in what indie MP Leeflang first called the Asbestos Gate.
Antiqua and Barbuda will get rid of income tax, now 8%. Bermuda is a long way ahead of that game with no income tax at all (just a payroll tax with a maximum of 5.5%) nor capital gains tax, purchase or sales tax, VAT or capital transfer tax. There are taxes on property; customs duties can be significant for immigrants. There is 'stamp duty' on Bermudan assets at death.
I'd bet all that brings in more into the government coffers than it does here. Antiqua and Barbuda certainly expect so. Remember the Laffer curve!
Nice if True
Curaçao tourism went up with about 3% last year, to a total of 140,000 visitors. Too bad CTB doesn't take the trouble to inform us what sorts of tourists they were. The year started out rather stronger than 2014, then grew weaker.
So They Say
PdVSA's USA subsidiary Citgo will invest $800 million in upgrading Aruba's old Lago refinery. Where they'll get that money from is anybody's guess. How they will get it back in present market conditions is an even bigger question.
Shenill Isidora was fired as accountant by Isla refinery because she had leaked sensitive company information to the media. She was forced to adopt "creative bookkeeping" because she could not justify certain expenditures of her director (that guy again!) She was then fired and a KPMG accountant (those guys again!) took her place and later became financial controller. Now she's suing the bastards for ANG300,000.
PAR Jesus-Leito says that the extra costs for building the new hospital may not become a burden to the people. She then continues "Hospital costs will have to be paid by the citizen in the coming years." Exactly. We agree with her that we have a right to know, but we'll still have to pay up.
Forget it. Holland may be having parliament meetings about Isla refinery, but obviously they're not going to help us one bit. "Exceeding the environmental standards is [only] alleged" minister Plasterk says, because it hasn't been proven in court. And it's the Curaçao government's business.
In that connection, press releases have been published recently that we're number 3 in the world as regards SO2 pollution per head of the population. That's not entirely fair, I think. After all, it's a very big refinery on a very small island. Too bad if you live downwind, sure.
Really makes me wonder who are #1 and 2 on that list. Oh, that's two Chinese towns, not countries: Chongqing and Guiyang, say 10 and 3 million people. Must be some pollution there.
We learned that that Isla director Van den Wall Arnemann, recommended by ex-PM Arsjes for which he was kicked out of PS Party, made a giant career jump there: from importing plastic bags from Puerto Rico to Isla director. Superman, jumping buildings in one bound! Personnel ads did not contain the sentence "Expertise not required" but did stipulate a university qualification.
One More Time!
In February, the ridiculous and probably illegal 80-20 law, Wiels's legacy, will be accorded in parliament. (You'd think that'd have to be seen...) Now, it's to keep out the Chinese who have been opening small supermarkets all over the island and, naturally, prefer their families to work there.
They have been trying this since 2012 already!
We Just Don't Know
2/3rds of German wind farms for generating electricity lose money, according to a ZDF [Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen] report. Well, at least 1/3rd does make some profit then? If we only knew how much. Here, our Aqualectra isn't talking either.
Sounds familiar? "Not only have a number of small investors, communities and towns been misled, many investments are doing poorly. But the exact data is being kept under wraps." [1'25"]
Now It's the Cops
Justice minister Navarro, who has been the cause of three recent Kustwacht [coast guard] strikes, now has a fight with the cops who don't have satisfactory police regulations and, matter of fact, work illegally. Nice for just that ministry.
Indie MP Leeflang suggests that ex-PM Arsjes had to take his leave because of "asbestos-gate" as she calls it. Arsjes was responsible for recommending ex PS party leader Van den Wall Arnemann as Isla refinery director, which was reason for PS to get rid of him. Van den Wall Arnemann was responsible for far exceeding the budget for asbestos removal.
Arsjes, who doesn't lack chutzpah, says with a deadpan mug that if he had done anything wrong, he wouldn't have come back into politics right away. Which he did—if he'll succeed is another matter.
Grow Your Own Terrorists
We don't need any Muslim terrorists here! We have so many of our home-grown brand that the anti-cancer manifestation Ride for the Roses has been postponed for a month, in order to enable the police to scratch up enough personnel to offer adequate projection.
Update: they applied for a permit much too late.
It's a Thought
The new opposition Venezuela congress wants to investigate PdVSA's "financial health and hefty Chinese loans" (50 billion dollars and no visible results)... they want to know where all that money went. Troublemakers!
Matter of fact, it's the same here with Isla refinery. On December 15 PM Whiteman sent a letter to the Isla management about the asbestos removal problems, in which he also mention that we haven't seen any accounts for quite a few years now, and that there's a shortage of key officials in core functions.
Both David Dick and Eugene Rhuggenaath announced, some years ago, that they wouldn't return in politics. And look who are back there again!
The asbestos dumped in drums on the Isla refinery must be gotten rid of, so far so good. But instead of 277m^3 it turns out to be over 500m^3. What a surprise! We are also stunned by the discovery that the public tender wasn't so public after all (and based on even less, 200m^3).
It's always quite funny though to hear ex-PM Shorty's accusations of corruption against the government, even if he has a point.
Coast Guard Sick of Navarro, Too
After a couple of strikes and more discussions, the Kustwacht workers refuse to have more talks with justice minister Navarro. They say he's playing a power game. Not so, says Navarro.
PAR states that the extra costs for HNO hospital should not become a burden to the people. After all, it's the government's fault. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Too bad it's still the people who'll have to pay up, one way or the other.
CDM dock has had 350 workers obstruct the gate in a strike. They were supposed to get a total of 7 million, of which CDM paid half but the Holding company nothing. Am I wrong in jumping to the conclusion that's the government?
The workers have announced more actions if they don't get their money. Ex-PM Shorty's "help" doesn't seem to have done much for 'em.
Good for Them
InselAir has been certified by the FAA as a maintenance station of American aircraft. That really is a big step forward.
The police will start controlling motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and quads intensively. Many drivers don't even bother to wear a safety helmet, which can make for dramatic crushed skulls. Now let's hope they really do.
Indie MP Leeflang, now with her own party UKH [a just Curaçao], proposes to get rid of road taxes and the Road Fund and go over to a gas/diesel tax instead. The heavier your car and the more you use it, the more you pay. Sounds good! At the same time, that sticker on your wind-shield would prove you're actually insured; ending a lot of corruption possibilities and waste of police resources.
The amount to pay per liter is easy to figure: divide the total of collected tax by the liters of gas/diesel, both known, and that's it. Later this becomes amount of money actually spent/liters.
For the first time, a (small) hurricane, actually no more than a tropical storm, has been observed this time of the year, called Alex. That's well outside the official Atlantic hurricane season from June 1 to November 30. Suspicions are, this has nothing to do with global change or whatever, it's just that thanks to all those satellites many more disturbances are observed.
When oh when will those humorless feminists allow us to go back to naming hurricanes after females?
An Old Tradition
We have an LOB [Landsverordening openbaarheid van bestuur, comparable to FOI/Freedom of Information act]. As you'd expect from bitter experience, in 5 years more than 1/4 of incoming letters were not even replied to. 2013 was the worst with over 42% unresponded. Take note: even when the government did respond, that doesn't mean the information asked for has been given.
UTS telecommunication is in trouble; in 2015 income has gone down with 30 to 40 million guilders. (One could wish for more exact figures.) They want to stop with offering services below cost price, like land lines. What a great idea! Maybe they could do something about those phone books as well? Seems Digicel and Cable & Wireless may be interested in taking over. Why should they?
In Short, Hopeless
Central Bank director Tromp says the St. Maarten and Curaçao economy growth has been moderate; but in fact, St. Maarten even went down. To advance our position he says education must be improved, connection problems on the labor market must be solved and productivity increased. That's all pretty easy! Go for it, boys!
Tromp also said that the slight Curaçao growth in 2015-III (0.3%) was exclusively caused by government expenditures.
Justice minister Navarro says it's intolerable that gang warfare threatens society. He finally got that straight. He also says that three decades of laissez faire can't be corrected in 3 years. In itself true enough. Let's see, that's starting in 1985. Means successive governments of PNP, PAR, FOL, MAN, MFK, PS and LAK, PLKP, (L)NPA (remember those jokers?); in short all of them except, conveniently, his own PIAS—party's too new. Other question is, will all his measures help? And then, it's sort of frightening to hear Navarro ruthfully declare that it's impossible to assign one cop to every citizen.
Anything better than to restructure the refinery! Isla has promised to give the Duarte School air conditioning so the pupils won't get poisoned by the stench anymore. Two questions remaining: who'll pay for the energy? and, how about the neighbors?
Those solar-users who sell "back" to Aqualectra will sue to get more per kW. Good luck!
The government hasn't done anything with a September 2014 report, from which it turns out that 55% of foundation subsidies is spent on salaries. Now, finally, they are going to discuss it. Who cares? We've got plenty of money... plenty!
Also, subsidy granting is totally arbitrary. Sure.
That refinery stench at the Duarte School must have been more intense than the director wanted to admit, and lasted longer as well: inspection of education has closed the school and sent the pupils home.
Sorry, before now it was called the Pablo School, now Duarte? Oh, it's the Juan Pablo Duarte School!
Level Too Low
UoC University of Curaçao complains that the entrance level of students is much too low, especially of Dutch, English and yes, Papiamentu.
Is That So
Tourism has gone up in 2015-III! At least, that's what CTB tourist office says. Not that you'd trust them. Most of the growth comes from Europe; it's well known that CTB includes everybody who comes over from Holland to visit their family as a tourist. And how about the last quarter? We've all heard stories contradicting that "growth".
The fight has been on for years and years about a horse race track. Will it come in Brievengat (where a track has been installed, actually quite illegally, years ago thanks to Pikerie) or Koraal Specht? Good question, and they're fighting it out. No doubt bags of money will change hands.
FØol Godett says it's a good thing no matter what, because this will give work to many unemployed young ruffians, as it's a well known fact that these will thus develop a love for animals. He says.
No mention is made of the fact that race-tracks all over the world offer welcome opportunities for scammers, fraudsters and tricksters to ply their dishonest trades.
Had Me Worried
The outburst of a gun fight, where even a machine gun came in action, had nothing to do with gang warfare, the public ministry hastens to inform us. That's good! Only gangs should be permitted to have public gunfights in the streets.
Now dire predictions are that crude oil will become cheaper still, at $10/barrel. The last time they were so low is 2009; but $10 in 1998 are worth $14.50 now. What that means, IF true, is bad news for Isla refinery—maybe good for the rest of us. It would also mean a gas price of ANG2.218/liter in England; now 2.76 while we pay 1.57 which would mean a gas price of ~1.25 here. Counting inflation, that comes close to our 1980 price (as I remember 0.40/liter).
That's all sooth-saying of course, but nice to contemplate.
Better Stay at Home?
After the last gang murders, a complete war threatens to break out between rival gangs Buena Vista City and No Limit Soldiers (the last were involved with the Wiels murder as well). Rumore are NLS is collecting money to eliminate all BVC members.
On the other hand, it's only Vigilante newspaper claiming this.
Again! What a Bore
Children of the Juan Pabloschool, under the Isla refinery smoke, have been calling home that they were nauseous, had burning eyes and sore throats. But the school director says it only lasted for five minutes and besides, the pupils are not allowed to call during school hours. But somehow, we don't trust that director.
Not Ready for Zika
PM Whiteman told us what we knew already: Curaçao is totally unprepared for zika, yet another disease transferred by the tiger mosquito (also responsible for spreading yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya). Small wonder, as they keep sticking to half measures to fight it.
But health minister Victorina says, no, we're well prepared. Famous last words? (Maybe they ought to get together and talk it over, er, once a week or so?) And lo, they hired a new entomologist! It's the tiger mosquito, dummies. A search on the triple-double-u will tell you all you need to know in, like, 10 minutes. A century from now, probably much sooner, this beast will be wiped out like smallpox. Why Wait?
Coastguard Mad at Navarro
Coastguard members are angry with justice minister Navarro, who has promised them off-hours weapons to defend themselves against people they have arrested. But Navarro wants to finish checking the members' integrity first; I'm afraid he has a point there.
Granted Navarro is not what you'd call a fast worker; how about those security cameras? We were promised a year ago they'd have been installed by last April.
UPDATE: Coast Guard workers went on strike yesterday. Today, back to work again.
What Does She Know
Van Tongeren, member of Dutch GroenLinks [GreenLeft] Party thinks Shell Oil, as they have constructed Isla refinery, is morally responsible for the present pollution. Shell, mind, left the island 30 years ago. It's our own government that's responsible, having exploited Isla for half as long as Shell already.
She also says "we will have to stop at any moment with fossil fuels". Dream on.
Now that the court has (conditionally) fined MFK member Thodé, his party has lodged complaints against PIAS Rosaria, parliament head Franco and Manuel—because he had the temerity to take an illegal photo of Thodé illegally recording the proceedings. Same for Cft head Bakker and MAN's Koeiman.
Seems pretty safe to assume that if Thodé hadn't published his recording, neither would Manuel and others have published his photograph, etcetera. But MFK prefers to see this as "class justice".
What a relief! Thodé may stay on as MP in spite of his conviction.
Update: Thodé lodged a complaint against Bakker, head CFT financial supervision, for violating professional secrecy on January 28.
Yeah, After the Flies
PriceWaterhouseCoopers informs us that there is no thought about a replacement for landfill Malpais, and it's anybody's guess how long before it's full. But PWC says the situation has improved between 2010-2014; when the judge forced them to get rid of that biblical fly plague.
Sure, But Here?
US army functionary Kelly warns that 100 (other sources quote 150) fanatics from the Caribbean have gone to serve in ISIS. When they return, you can expect terrorist assaults around here. One reason to tone this down: those guys will be from, mainly, the ex-British islands like Jamaica and Trinidad. Still, let's hope somebody over here keeps an eye peeled.
Hato airport, will get an larger check-in hall, a new arrival hall and a mirador look-out platform on the roof. Costs USD35m which means ANG63m. Hato & partners will finance it themselves. Present terminal was finished 9 years ago.
Fast and Snappy
The multifunctional sport center in Barber, for which building has been started 13 years ago, has only finished phase 1 of 4. Amigoe newspaper blames ex-PM Arsjes, but there have to be more culpable figures before him.
Oh That HNO Hospital!
Now health minister Victorina is pissed off because PAR Konket and, much worse, HNO area manager Garmers both declare that the extra costs of over 58m guilders are "the result of the hasty and thoughtless act of the government to change the location of HNO." Which sounds highly probable, even logical, but Victorina says it's "nonsense". Konket wonders where the money will come from, while we know: Pay Up, you and me. One way or the other...
Konket also says it might as well become 100 million, and sure, why not? Why so modest, in fact?
... the "first rule of thumb is never believe the United Nations, and never believe the IPCC."
Professor Markó, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
For a company that's in heavy financial trouble, telecommunication UTS certainly seems to spend an outrageous lot of money on their phone books. The new book is out, sumptuous lay-out and press attention like it was a world movie first night. As if they'd sell one extra phone call that way, or get one internet customer. And even their own cell-phones aren't listed, let alone the competition's.
But at least the foolish waste with new car license plates every year has ended. Somebody finally wised up after our yearly protests. Ours are 3 years old already!
How Like Them
But they do have a point. The mini-bus drivers do not want to lower their tariffs, which went up with the gas/diesel price, now that gas became cheaper. Still, nobody else has lowered any price, including the big buses.
But you can follow the bus drivers' rage when they say that the taxi drivers still charge pretty much as they wish. When are we getting those taxi meters? Will their tariffs be halved next month?
Most probably, but we'll know for sure at least three months in advance; that's in June. You may start praying now.
Let's Have One More Try
Privatizing government-owned companies must be put back on the agenda, says entrepreneurs' club VBC. We have plenty of 'em, the discussion has been going on for many years, and the only ones that actually have been sold are Hato airport and World Trade Center. (In 2010 ex-PM Arsjes got rid of Stip, the foundation to promote privatization.
At least, says VBC, then the government will have billions of guilders at its disposal. Hmm... is that such a good idea? But don't worry, those companies are a gold mine for politicians and they won't like to sell 'em off.
MFK Thodé got a conditional sentence of 1400 guilders for transgressing parliamentary rules. If he does it again in the coming two years, he has to pay up. At least his protestations of innocence went unheeded.
The Central Bank cautiously predicted a .5%
negative shrinkgrowth of the economy this year. While we need much more, even that's doubtful with a World Bank 1.1% shrink prognosis for Latin America. Or do you think that while Venezuela goes down we'll go up? Think again.
Stop Your Naggin'
Because of some law, Selikor garbage utility aren't allowed to schedule their own trash pick-ups. This results in some problems. But then, Upper West Manhattan has exactly the same problem: heaps of trash after a long week-end.
And in Nevada, the power company stopped paying 12¢/kW to owners of solar panels... it's now 2¢! Here, Aqualectra still pays ANG0.05 cents. In Nevada you pay only ANG0.225/kw, ~2/3rds of what we pay.
How About Us?
Indie MP Leeflang is going to court to reduce the BZV (heath insurance) premium for some people from 13.6% to 6.5% of their income.
I really don't know, it's such a mess; but I definitely have the impression that I, an old fart with no pension—just old age welfare AOV— pay over 10%. While the penshonados have that besides their pension as well. This strikes me as unreasonable: they have more money but pay less?
And talk about a mess; we are in new fights with the tax person who has given us a payment arrangement for a sum that was lowered already. Other items, they say we never paid (we did). Just try to get it back. And such a lot of throw-away work because they don't do their jobs.
No Confidence, No Wonder
The claimants in the Saliña Jan Kock pollution case against Isla refinery are sick and tired of waiting for their compensation and ask the judge to pass sentence. The idea was that some agreement would be reached between parties, but after all those meetings they, and we, are sure that will never come.
When Can We See It?
After ombudsman Martijn's devastating report on Fräudlein Wiels, our den Haag rep., no action worth while was taken. Now another report has been finished and it's in the hands of PM Whiteman. It is not known what he'll do with it; probably, nothing.
After the new wave of atrakos the public ministry has announced measures to [try and] stop crime will be reinstalled. You are liable to get stopped and searched just because the cops like it. We again get to hear that they had some effect, but no figures. Which figures.
Whiskey smuggling is going on from Venezuela to Curaçao. Small wonder; one would guess not only whiskey (apart from cocaine, ça va sans dire). According to Curacao Chronicle the customs people claim this is a joint effort smugglers-police, and why not?
Once again, 2 out of 3 cranes in the container harbor are out of order. Ships have to detour to Aruba (our closest and biggest competitor) to unload, from where cargo is shipped back to Curaçao.
The problem (who'll buy new cranes?) is a bureaucratic fight for power between CPA and CPS, Curaçao Port Authority and -Services. There's money involved here... much money. The government can't agree on the concession. HINT: Hey, how about some kickbacks?
Minister Rhuggenaath announces the government can pre-finance new cranes. It will take over two years before they're at work.
So Much for That
We have an FPI Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma. Imagine: they are involved with the planning of the language (Papiamentu). Authoritarian planning compulsion, anyone? Planning a language's development, forsooth.
But the foundation is closed, part of the ten workers has been sent home and a fraud investigation has been started. How typical and fitting, somehow! Word is out that these measures by education minister Dick sound the death knell for the foundation. Good.
Sue the Bastards!
Because of the great maintenance, many parking meters in Willemstad are kaput. Great! you'd think, just park there and don't bother to pay. But don't! When you get back, you may find your car wheel-clamped down and you'll have to buy it back.
Peanuts After All
Even though cruise tourism has gone down last year, CPA is going full steam ahead with a second mega-pier, also fit for the largest cruise ships. CPA will finance 10 million dollars out of their own resources (which in reality are ours) out of a total cost of 43 million—which equals ANG78m (Harrie's Law hits again). But still, that's only three times Ballas-Nedam's delay claim for the new hospital, so who cares? Just think of all those tourists who won't come and give us their money freely!
Mercifully, the threatened "Cruise Village" has been postponed. For now. Mind, even St. Maarten had 5% less cruise visitors last year.
Solution, Sort Of
There have been many complaints the last years about the awfully long waiting times to get through immigration at Hato airport. Imagine, you have just finished a 9-hours flight and then you have to stand in line for an hour or so. Welcome, dear tourist!
So Hato has found a solution: the hall is enlarged and there are less counters—which doesn't matter because they weren't used anyway, they say. Wish I were kidding.
Confirmed: doesn't work.
Something in That
Dutch SP parliament member van Raak (SP) thinks parliament salaries throughout the Kingdom are way too high and he wants to reduce them, as this "attracts the wrong kind of people". Er... like, smart ones? No wonder Indie MP Leeflang says that's "too simplistic".
On the other hand, if you've been a MP don't count on getting your admittedly sumptuous pension automatically; some seem not to even if they paid their premium.
Welcome Dear Tourist! Enjoy Our Gang Wars
Last week some rapper was liquidated, mainly, it seems, for being in the wrong barrio. (Why are so many rappers involved with crime? I hate the genre anyway.) And now, his brother's 6 months pregnant partner, studying in Rotterdam, has been shot in a car. He and some other people were wounded as well; probably a gang revenge action.
A handgun was found in the car. So there. Justice minister Navarro advises us to keep calm. He doesn't do much bloody else, does he?
A Good Start
The New Hospital will cost 13.8% more than we've been told up to now, total price 480.2 million guilders. For a large part this is because of contractor Ballast-Nedam's "delay claim", 18.35m dollars (hah! or 33.4m guilders). The council of ministers reacts indignantly but I don't get why; everbybody told 'em so. Many times.
Tip for Aqualectra
In Barbados, the water supply gave out for three to four weeks resulting in "bone dry" taps. The utility, Barbados Water Authority, blames Global Warming but parliament members are unconvinced.
How's That Working Out?
With the last Aqualectra bill I got charged 0.348/kW. That's 1.5 times the average USA price (12.5¢). But take heart, it could be much worse. Since Denmark and Germany changed to "free" alternative energy, people there pay 42 and 40¢/kW. When those countries were using fossil fuel to generate electricity, prices were much below ours.
France is going full steam ahead with nuclear, and selling surplus power to the Danes and Germans when they run into trouble because there's no sun or wind.
Those Pesky Neighbors
President Maduro of Venezuela took the easy way out: he ordered his henchwoman of the supreme court to declare the oppposition's 2/3 parliament majority null and void, so that's that. ¡Viva la República Socialista Bolivariana! Down with Democracy!
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