"You can't have a circus without the clowns."
"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in."
Good! Great! Excellent!
All government shares of UTS telecommunications will be sold. In other words, the company will be privatized. Its monopoly, that has already ended, will not come back. Next, please.
It's not certain by half that UTS-shares will indeed be sold; the company has been in the red for years and years now.
The government can do it as well! National debt now has grown to 52% of the gross domestic product. That's gross. Foreign debt has shrunk but inland debt has grown more. Still, there's more in cash than last year, but that is mainly caused by the fact that government has decided to stop consolidating income and expense of SVB social security in the budget. Of course, that's rubbish: it still has to be coughed up. By you and me.
A Fine? That's RFine
If interCaribbean doesn't come up with the bank guarantee, the company forfeits a $500K fine. I'd go for that. Cheaper than taking over InselAir, about which interC. obviously has second thoughts anyway.
The Soap Gets in Your Eyes
... and makes you cry. The judge once again gave InselAir and interCaribbean time to make a deal, now until January 15. In my time, judges used to be sharp.
He goes on like this, in spite of what I hear are everybody's expectations he'll get no time off for good behavior. Al contrali, the man is confirming what we all knew long since: he's a public pest, a nuisance I'm proud I helped abating. Apart from inciting trouble among his fellow prisoners who suddenly complain the food is literally rotten and that there are mosquitoes (just like at my place), he had the temerity of suing the public ministry, or the prison (who really cares) because they didn't want to give him what they grant nobody: extra visiting time because he's still the Great Leader of M*F*K.
PdVSA Guarantees Payment
Isla workers' salaries are guaranteed by PdVSA to be paid in 2019. Oh yeah? How can PdVSA guarantee such a thing? They're totally broke.
Even If True, No Good
The Central Bank, after saying that economy shrunk by 1.7% in 2017 and 1.9% this year, expects it to grow by 0.4% next year. Even if correct, that doesn't help. Besides, it has been shrinking for many more years than 2. And then, inflation is expected to be 2.4% next year. Count your profits.
Now There's a Thought CTB announces there were 4000 (11%) more stay-over tourists in November. This with all those closed hotels, so people are wondering out loud where, then, all these people have been staying!
CTB also claims tourism generated USD566.3 million in the first 11 months. You have my permission to seriously doubt this.
Oil for Isla
The attachment on the crude oil cargo of tanker has been lifted, so the ship can move from Bullenbaai to Annabaai and deliver 202,000 barrels to Isla. Isla needs those to reboot CRU and the refinery.
So get out those gas masks.
That's Not Good
There are less murders in Venezuela, one of the top countries in the world. Reason, there's so much emigration.
We don't really need that.
Go. To. Work.
A probe into the inventory, determination and valuation of the property for all the country's real estate was stopped at the end of 2010, resumed in 2015 and not yet completed as it should have been a year ago.
Also, nobody knows how many students have paid back (or not) their study financing debts. Further, an investigation is still ongoing in how much the country owes in pension obligations for C***-Post. And finally, loan arrangements of Curaçao island have not been transferred to the country, which therefore has to rely on repayment schedules to get an idea of what's going on.
All in all the cause of a 3.5 billion "uncertainty" in de country's 2015 budget.
No More Plastic
Even though it's not at all sure the ocean plastic problem is as serious as often suggested, a feel-good law has now been accorded that will end all "single-use" plastic before end 2019. Starting with plastic shopping bags which, in fact, have largely disappeared already.
I am very curious to see how this will work out. Is shrink wrap for meat products on the list? Pop soda bottles? Fridge and freezer baggies? I seriously doubt this but it's all pretty vague now.
Also, in the spot where this is announced in, we get to see a heap of plastic "collected on the North Coast"; no exact location is given. I would like to have a closer look at the items in there. It is rather well established that by far most of the plastics floating around in the Caribbean comes from the Orinoco-Amazon and it's safe to assume that some of that will end up on our North Coast.
Hold On There
Not so fast. It's not at all sure yet that Motiva will take over the exploitation of Isla refinery. There are all sorts of hang-ups, described in Curaçao Chronicle. At any rate, the new operator should take over for 25 years minimum. Some items that have to be worked on:
— as we all know, refinery modernization
— Curoil storage capacity enlarging
— Aqualectra switch to natural gas
— expansion and modernization of Bullenbaai COT
— training of local labor force
Bottom line: "Closing the facility is not an option."
Let's Have Some Immigrants!
It worked so well in Europe... Like everywhere, the aging population brings problems. One of those is, tell me if you heard this one before, the government has built up "substantial payment arrears" with the social insurers. The Central Bank interim director mentions all this, and more, and advises for a compulsory (basic) pension system, and interventions in health care that aim to increase efficiency.
Now There's Oil in the Sea!
Those drillings for gas exploration that were done for Aruba (of which we still don't have results; I guess because there aren't any) have transgressed applicable laws, and drill cuttings mixed up with oil have been dumped into the sea.
According to Arubian political party Raiz, it was done by drill ship West Capelle, run by Repsol. Not that it matters much.
My professional adviser in these matters tells me that it's a strange story. It would have been much less toxic "synthetic" oil, and Repsol should be expected to work following USA-standards. These allow dumping the cuttings in sea; the drilling mud is a different matter.
The company's first flight BON-CUR will take off today.
PS™ comes with a genius proposition: let the government buy Hotel Otrabanda and run it. These guys still think socialism is a good thing. Haven't they learned from Venezuela, to name but one example?
PS™ wants to install a committee consisting of 7 persons to look at their proposal. More money down the drain. Good thing they only have one seat left in parliament.
The story is that the hotel hasn't been paying taxes or social insurance for years. I shouldn't wonder: it's a tradition. Just don't try this at home!
PdVSA is not interested in running Isla refinery. Figures, there's not enough crude to process there. What's essential for the company is Bullenbaai's oil terminal, which they need to transport oil to China. To which Venezuela is heavily indebted.
Convict Shorty has talked to the press from prison; a strict no-no. He's only allowed to talk to his family. So prison management will give him (unknown) extra punishment.
He goes on like that, he'll forfeit the automatic deduction for good behavior (1 year out of 3).
Stop Complaining! Don't Make Waves
The UK Busisness Department has announced the closure of the "Export Tariff" for solar panels. Presently, home-owners are paid for excess electricity fed back into the grid. As from April, they may have to give it away for free.
And here, people are still angry that Aqualectra had the chutzpah to merely start paying back less.
Struggle and Strife
Contrary to earlier news, PdVSA wants to retain control of COT Bullenbaai oil terminal. Which figures.
Trade unions are paying a visit to Caracas for talks with PdVSA officials to guarantee an inflow of crude while negotiations on a new exploiter of Isla are taking place, whatever, so the refinery can go on belching filth working.
Not a Joke
The rules for online casinos operating from Curaç will become more stringent. Controls will be by Gaming Control Board, who now watch over the physical casinos. You think they will hire more people? So do I.
Those are the same guys who must look after local yokels not entering the casinos. It's a well-known fact the clientele consists mainly of locals, though. To be exact, 85%.
Auntie Suzy's proposal to tax pop soda drinks for their sugar content is not original at all (big surprise); in fact it has been tried many times. One of those places is in Philadelphia, where the soda tax was introduced almost two years ago, but where the Black Clergy is now moving to get it abolished. And for very good reasons too:
"Overall, we find that the estimates of the impact of the tax on the consumption of added sugars from SSBs and the frequency of consuming all taxed beverages are negative but not statistically significant for children and adults"
which boiled down means there is no meaningful positive benefit. The stuff just got more expensive, as many people predicted.
But of course it may bring in extra money in the tax coffers, and that's what really matters after all. Even that is not sure, though.
Shorty Moves His Ass?
It's impossible to say so definitely, but since he's in prison there's all sorts of trouble going on there. Now the prisoners complain that the sewage system is broken, resulting in incredible stench, flies and mosquitoes; and they don't get enough food. They want all this resolved in two days' time.
The judge has given InselAir, or interCaribbean, time until December 28 to come up with a bank guarantee.
They keep hoping until the lid is nailed down on the coffin. Or just possibly and maybe, it won't.
Makes One Wonder
From Israel, a country that like Curaçao is heavily dependent on desalinated seawater for its supply, we read it is now adding magnesium to it. It is stated that the magnesium deficiency is responsible for 6% of heart failures.
Makes one wonder: do we have a magnesium deficient water supply here?
Flop. Crash. BOOM!
InterCaribbean has not come across with the necessary bank guarantee to take over InselAir. We await future developments with considerable interest. I mean you, Unwise Men: Pinhead Martina and Uncool Ice.
InterCaribbean will have a last chance today, but the word is they've had second thoughts because of the country of Curaçao's insistence on keeping 51% of fruition. I see their point all right, but couldn't they have thought of that before?
If/when the deal falls through it means InselAir will definitely go bankrupt which means the 100 million they're still supposed to get from Venezuela are gone and lost. I wouldn't worry about that myself, they're gone and lost anyway.
Dats Jest Fine
Convict Shorty's lawyers complain that he gets even more punishment while in jail. But what they mention is (or should be) standard for all prisoners. He wants more spending money than 500 guilders a month maximum and wants to be able to receive "business visits"—another no-no. In fact, that idea doesn't even exists in prison.
Imalootin will not appear in court for now, because his lawyer has filed an objection to prosecution of his client. His client does not get a fair trial (I heard that one before) and there is no reason to prosecute because there would be a ghost witness.
Crude Flows In
Surprisingly, a tanker will arrive shortly from Venezuela to enable Isla refinery to go back to work now that their CRU has finally been fixed. Start-up may take weeks, no doubt full of stench and smoke.
The standstill is said to have cost hundreds of millions of guilders; how many hundreds of millions, we're not told except "maybe even more". Do they really don't know?
CRU refinery utilities has not been able to produce for 6 months, but they'll be back up and running before X-mas. So the refinery can start up again with pollution.
Only question is, where will Isla get the crude? Good question, huh?
PdVSA will cooperate in the deal with Motiva, which is now said to include the refinery, the Bullenbaai Oil Terminal and the CRU refinery utilities.
That Was Fast
Dick Drayer's article had hardly been published before it was announced the chief of RST has been called back to Holland and replaced by a new guy.
Looks Good—Except for Green Town
After the agreement with PdVSA on exploitation of the Isla Refinery expires end this month, the news (as yet unconfirmed) is a MoU will be signed with Saudi-Arabian Aramco to continue refinery activities.
Which in turn would mean, no Green Town. Also no details as yet on the Oil Terminal, and if these guys will pay a decent rent.
The company concerned actually is called Motiva Enterprises.
Green: It Just Can't Be Done
According to Popular Mechanics, who in turn refer to a document prepared by Leiden University, there may just not be enough materials available in the world to realize the ambitious plans to replace all fossil fuel electricity with solar and wind.
This, of course, is good news for our future. The stories about how fossil fuels are already being phased out by "green" are very much hyped up anyway: fossil is still growing at a faster rate than green.
Oh, Those Dutch
Reporter Dick Drayer tells a gruesome story on the RST's (say, Dutch police) so-called cooperation with the local forces. RST has been assigned to fight the drugs and money mafiosi here, for which some 50 people have come over. But their boss is reported to be arrogant and a power-beast, which doesn't work out well at all.
Suspense on Suspension
Auntie Suzy's suspension of health inspector Huurman ends next Sunday. Nobody, guess especially auntie, knows what will happen next. We only hear Huurman has to go visit auntie for a talk on his behavior the past month.
Russki Go Home
The Russians are said to have agreed to withdraw their two Tupolev nuclear bombers from Venezuela. Trump didn't like them (like most people).
Lack of Proof
Ex-central bank director Tromp has been acquitted again of filing a fraudulent tax declaration. The appeals judge said there was no proof that he had done so intentionally.
As I commented last year: "But the whole brouhaha served its purpose: Tromp has been fired as director of the central bank and replaced by politicians like ex-PM IJs and ex-finance minister Jardim."
The (not so) old Howard Johnson Hotel on Brionplein has been sold for 8.7 million, almost 1 million less than they wanted in October. It will reopen two months from now.
Cruise tourism has gone up by 23% this year. Sure.
Another grandiose project failed. Puerto Oasis has been auctioned off for 5.5 million guilders, payable in two weeks.
Trial by Media
The Two Stooges Peppi & Kokki claim to the media that the trial against Imalootin is illegal because important witnesses have never been heard.
As a non-lawyer, I always thought the defense could call their own witnesses; so why not do that instead? I guess because it's very weak.
Punda was closed off this morning (while the harbor was chock-full of tourists) because of a demonstration held by members of PS, Forsa Revolushon Korsow [Revolutionary Force]. I hear some three people were present, who were politely listened to by PM Rhuggenaath. He promised he would study their letter of complaints.
Saw a photo today, counted 15 persons.
I H#TE Tourism
This morning had to drive by Brionplein, across the bridge from Punda. Got stuck behind a taxi that drove at pedestrian speed, no doubt because the driver was pointing the beauty spots out to hes/hir passengers for about half a kilometer (1/3rd mile). Later on, sitting in a restaurant, I noticed at least 4 other such vehicles passing by there, each with a long cue following. Then, across the harbor, I saw that stupid choo-choo train which goes just as slow, only over a much longer traject where you can'
t possibly overtake it.
Must we really tolerate this? It's a working city, fer cryin' out loud, not Madurodam or what have you.
It's even worse on the Julianabridge, where after you're over the hump you may hit a crawling bus full of photo-snapping rubberneckers. Highly dangerous!
Used to have a minimum speed of 40kmh on that bridge, but they removed the signs to avoid having to fine all those drivers.
Trouble In Paradise Prison
There were riots in Our Future prison this morning and guards finally had to drive the prisoners back into their cells using tear gas. They want medicines, medicinal attention and better food.
Rumor is minister Girigorie wants to use these wrongs to force the present prison director out and replace him with Malvina Cecilia, a party member of his.
Next, China-Russia War—in Venezuela?
Moscow has sent two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers to Caracas Maiquetía airport. It's hard to imagine what good these possibly can do. For starters, will they fly in the fuel needed?
Anyway, these babies have nuclear bomb capability. Looks like there's a power struggle on hand between China and Russia over Venezuela. Both have lent Maduro so much money, they're heavily committed.
We watch future developments with considerable interest.
This is a repeat of a training mission, already held in 2008 and 2013, so don't read too much into it.
Definitely Not Good
In spite of all, at least expressed, good intentions government expenditure in Aruba has gone up with 100 million florins this year.
Now that Isla has not been producing for 8 months, it has finally become possible to fight the refinery's statement that it's not responsible for the inordinate amounts of SO2 found downwind. BOO, traffic, the harbor... whatever were just as guilty.
But while SO2 in 2014 was measured to be 170 mgc/m3, these days it's only 53.
Convict jailbird Shorty refuses to relinquish his parliament membership until his conviction has been declared irrevocable. That's smart, Shorty! So M*F*K has one less vote in Staten, good!
He may need the money?
The auction of Hotel Otrabanda, which was planned for today, had been canceled by court. The owners claim to have found investors who are prepared to take over the 3 million guilders debt. If that turns out to be wrong, Girobank will go for a new auction.
Come on Gijs & Bertha
CFT financial supervision has asked a number of hard questions to minister of finance Gijsbertha, to which he'll have trouble finding adequate answers. This of course has to do with the announced budget deficit, instead of the predicted surplus.
Don't expect the answers to come easy.
Rotterdam Harbor will buy shares in Curaçao Port Authority.
The hotels (that are still running) are filled to capacity; but then, they always are this month.
Yes, Got It
Some Dutch politician thinks, not unreasonably, that all Curaçao media are controlled by private enterprise and/or politicians.
So what else is new?
He doesn't want to get involved in this by subsidizing, whatever, some of the press, as that would result in complaints that Holland was trying to influence us here. As if they wouldn't.
So he's considering opening a public radio service here. This is so naïve, it's almost a stroke of genius.
Hey, medium is singular, media is plural.
How Hard Can That Be?
Negotiations on new car license plates were not finished in time for the new year, announces finance minister Gijs Bertha. As if they didn't know years ago they had to be made. At any rate, would save us some money (if they didn't come later in the year anyway).
Better sounding is the news that a new Motorrijtuigen, Belastingen en Keuringsysteem [motor vehicles, tax and testing] will be introduced. Turns out, one quarter of 130,000 vehicles has not paid taxes from 2014 to now. That's 12.5 million guilders. Outstanding.
You think those have been tested and are insured? Then I have this bridge for sale.
The Miami Herald writes that Iran plans to send three destroyers to Venezuela for a period of 5 months, and adds the comment that this would be the stupidest thing Iran could do. Well, leave it to the ayatollahs! It would be stupid because next thing Trump would do is send over an aircraft carrier, muy pronto.
I say, let him.
Okay, What We Expected
Finance minister Gijsbertha may keep smiling with one mouth and with the other one ask for ideas (that sounds a bit strange somehow), but the financial situation of the island has deteriorated still more in QIII. The first six months' 9 million surplus has turned into a 30 million deficit.
Here's an idea, Gijs or Bertha, or both: let's raise taxes!
UTS Drama Finish?
Newspaper Bala is quite sure that UTS Telecommunications will soon be, in fact has been, taken over by FLOW Internet Provider. But minister Jesus Leito clams up.
But È paper says the negotiations are between Liberty Latin America. Whatever that is. Oh, they seem to hold FLOW, whatever. Privatize yet, please?
Arrest Him, Pronto
Menki Rojer of K*NT is calling for riots. He thinks (that can't be right), feels that Shorty's prison term is illegal and that the people must rebel in violent protests.
Such calls can get you in jail, Menki.
The 2 floating docks at what was, maybe still is, Curaçao Dok Maatschappij CDM of Damen Shipyards have been inaugurated. 2 drydocks will follow.
The Kura Hulanda hotels are still operational. For how long, I can't tell you. I guess nobody really could.
Sehos Personnel Strikes
The workers at SeHospital want the money back, which was withheld from their salaries to start a group insurance that never came. With 4% interest it's over 6 million guilders total now, and 14 million later.
The first B737 of Corendon will arrive here today. Monday 5 weekly flights will start to St. Maarten, where you can book with InselAir and DiviDivi (whose name adorns the livery). InselAir asks for $223, Divi for $188. Insel expects the prices to level out, "because Divi does not want to lose money either."
But Divi isn't bloated like Insel still is.
Dead corpses tend to get bloated, nothing to be done about it.
This, I hasten to reassure you, is not about InselAir. Rather, I want to point to Boston as an example of what can be accomplished, and what not, by bribing airlines to fly to certain destinations.
The Boston Airport Authority had the following failures recently:
— Jet One was given a loan that can't be recovered because the company stopped flying (sounds all too familiar, ouch);
— Qatar Airways was given $1.48 million which went lost and gone; now there's talk of a new deal? The Welsh government also has a deal with Qatar but, just like CTB, refuses to tell how much that concerns;
— Delta Airlines stopped their seasonal flights to Paris when subsidies dried up;
— This is the topper: when Boston started subsidizing British Airways to fly to London, Delta pulled out immediately. Count your gains;
— And finally there's WOW Airlines, which is now as good as bankrupt when a merger crashed; WOW's raison d'être turns out to have been, collecting subsidies.
It's really funny how in Boston the public is complaining about these failings, but our Unwise Men here got away with wasting much, much more money. And Boston can afford it much better.
That I Want to See
Finance minister Gijsbertha has come up with an idea. To stimulate the economic recovery plan (and good luck with that) he invites all ministries to submit laws with possible changes that could contribute to a better investment climate, which should boost the economy ASAP.
The catch of course is, he wants those ministries to accomplish that in a week? Forget it.
Aha! More Than a Power Struggle?
That may well be a reason for auntie Suzy to want to get rid of health inspector Huurman. I'd forgotten, but I have been wondering before what Huurman would think about auntie's Evil Plans to introduce Chinese quackery here. No doubt she expects to make some more money there.
All this may be just conjecture, but I have strong suspicions.
Good Intentions, But...
The stray dog shelter center that was planned and already being built has run into trouble. People living around there are afraid (and they have a point) that the 400 dogs mean lots of noise, stench and flies. The place also doesn't fit in the EOP [island development plan] where that area is reserved for small rural inhabitations.
The shelter should never have been given a permit there, but a solution should be found.
One More Down
Or rather, two: the Kura Hulanda hotels in Otrabanda and Westpunt. They may not be out yet, but no matter: they have been declared bankrupt and there are not even owners to be found.
Nice job, Gelt Dekker. The part of Otrabanda that was split by the road leading to the bridge has been split in three parts again, with the hotel in the middle, and there we sit with the mess.
Not So Fast
Only today CTB came out with the message that they were "surprised" by Condor's decision to fly to Curaçao with a stop in Grenada. That was not the deal... So do something about it. If you can get your lazy well-fed asses to move.
Not that I care. Won't save any of us real money.
I didn't mention this before, because, WTF cares?
Too Smart By Half
But not as smart as Shorty thought himself. The way I figure it, he must have thought that when the prison wouldn't take him, he'd get house arrest or some such light "punishment" until March. That backfired badly on him: they welcomed him with open arms and locked him up.
He arrived in his Porsche Panamera 4S Turismo, in the tradition of all great socialists. Some reports say there were "a couple of hundred" of his supporters present, others say fifty. Not at all the popular upraising he no doubt counted on. Shorty looked rather depressed and even wiped away the occasional tear; so would we all if we had to enter those gates for three years. Even the holy bible under his arm didn't seem to give him much joy. Give us all a break, Shorty.
At least he's among friends: 40% of inmates voted for him.
Good Idea? If only
The parliament committee GMN Gezondheid, Milieu en Natuur [health, environment and nature] plans a seminar to look at Curaçao's environmental problems. Item, remove us from the list of top-10 polluting countries (we're not: that's just CO2 which is a pollutant only in the twisted greenies' eyes). And if the refinery succeeds in a reboot that may mean less SO2 but not much less CO2.
Also mentioned are Selikor (waste disposal), the Ramsar Convention (conservation areas) and the groundwater level. About Selikor they may have a point, things can't go on like this much longer. As for Ramsar, don't make me laugh with your hypocrisy.
That's a permanent committee. Gee, I wonder how much they get paid. It consists of auntie Suzy's only party member Rennox Calmes, Marilyn Moses (single rep. of MP), Quackie Constancia (M*F*K) and Meindert Rojer (K*NT) plus a PAR and MAN member. They recently participated in the regional climate conference—in Suriname. Yes, where all that gold mining is ruining the forests.
Money for Jam
In contrast with the school boards' complaints, today the council of ministers will decide about the X-mas bonus for the spoiled brats. Mustn't make the brats mad! But it's so serious, civil servants union ABVO has asked the government to give them two half days off instead, on December 24 and 31.
Please give it to them, it will save on airco, light, telephone, cars...
Shorty's Opening Night
Shorty, who didn't want the public ministry to turn up at his home and turn his arrest into a circus, wants to do them one better and will present himself at the calaboose at 9 o'clock today. He asks all his fans to turn up there as well, so he'll have a media circus of his own, he must hope. Too bad it's one of those rainy days. God mustn't like him very much... We'll see.
Meanwhile, Shorty has been publishing pictures on FakeBooc of him and family rigging a (very small) Christmas tree, talk about circus. His daughters are easily recognizable, so cute.
How Did That Come There?
In the Bonaire bastille where ex-Shorty minister Imalootin is locked up, a cell-phone has been found, together with some more unmentioned but no doubt interesting items. Curaçao has requested Bonaire to deliver the phone, as it just might contain interesting information.
All school boards are jointly protesting against the fact there's no money forthcoming. They're indignant that the government is fixing roads (if only after a fashion) so there's money for that, all right. But not for "unsafe and unhygienic situations due to overdue maintenance of buildings, no or obsolete computers and ICT systems, electricity bills that have to be paid for the jar that is actually intended for educational material, final objectives that do not meet the demand from the business community, methods that do not the demands of modern times."
Quite a list. I said "all chool boards" but the 9 Catholic schools haven't joined; they seem to have no problem?
The difference between roads and schools may quite simply be, you can easily get bribes from contractorss in the road building business, but from book publishers and such, not so much.
Almost There Gone
After everybody started sitting on their heads, the creditors agreed to InselAir's sell-off to airCaribbean. The argument was, "it's in the general interest"—without explaining how that works.
Next, 18 December, and last is the homologation of the deal where interCaribbean has to prove it can pay up.
If you wonder what homologation means, so did I. It means, that makes it official.
No all creditors accorded the deal; 4 did not but contrary to what I read before, only a 2/3rd majority was needed.
That Looks Better
The families who exploit among others Avila Beach Hotel, one of the oldest and most prestigious ones of the island, have taken over the ruins of Coral Cliff Resort, which have been sitting abandoned for almost 10 years now. They plan to invest 100 million guilders with work for 250 people.
These people sure know how to run a hotel. The main problem with it remains the accessibility. But maybe they'll improve the road leading there.
That Looks Worse
After a week of deferment, the buyer of the Plaza Hotel has not paid up yet. So they'll try another auction.
Ain't Green Great?
As there will be no wind to speak of this week-end, count with the possibility that you'll have no electricity at least part of the time.
Wait & See & Pray
Isla Refineria di Korsow has selected a preferred candidate to work with in the future. Not the first one. Of course we're not told who it is. None of our concern, am I right?
Wait & See
The court case concerning InselAir and the share holders has been canceled. Will that help, one way or the other? Tell you tomorrow.
They just keep wasting money over there; no stopping them. It's ingrained. Sure, they "lost" less than we did, but the island is smaller as well.
It has just been confirmed again, but we knew it all the time.
No Such Luck, Shorty
Ex-PM Shorty plans to go to the prison next Wednesday to report himself; he doesn't want the cops to come by his house to pick him up and "make a circus." This just isn't the way it's done, say the authorities. Shorty also proposes as an alternative to get house arrest with an ankle band, or start community service, if the public ministry doesn't accept his reporting himself. But that time (until March 2019, when he agrees to go to prison) must be subtracted from his sentence. He says demands.
I said it before and I'll say it again, Shorty doesn't lack chutzpah. I don't think he'll get far with this attitude.
That May Teach Him; Or Not
The USA Caracas embassy sent out the following Tweet, while president Maduro was gorging himself at the inauguration of Mexican President Lopez Obrador:
"Estadus Unidos está listo para ofrecer asistencia de emergencia en alimentos y medicinas al pueblo de Venezuela, si tan sólo el gobierno de Maduro la aceptara."
[The U.S. is ready to offer emergency food and medical assistance to the people of Venezuela, if only the government of Maduro will accept it.]
What will Maduro do? Not accept it, that's for sure. He will ignore it or throw a tantrum in the best dictator tradition. He is just Unteachable. As for the people, let them eat garbage.
Financiers MCBank and 2 pension funds do not agree with pinhead Martina's crazy plans to sell off InselAir for 1 dollar to interCaribbean. They want more money and who will blame them? Now InselAir's manager van den Heuvel will go to court to force them to accept.
I wonder if this will work out, and how. Anyway, it should be over and done with before tomorrow afternoon 15:00. If this last obstacle is taken, InselAir will disappear and with it, our money; if not, InselAir will disappear—and our money already has.
Always provided interCaribbean can come up with those promised millions, which is an open question in the first place.
Had to Happen
In the neighborhood of Westpunt, a burglar has been caught by the citizens and they beat the living shit out of him. Oh what a shame, taking the law into your own hands. But of course it was unavoidable. The police don't do a thing and the victims get incredibly frustrated. And there you are.
Remember Seven Samurai.
Inspector of health Huurman lost his case against auntie Suzy and at the same time probably his job. Not only I am sorry to see him go.
The money for the audited ruins of the Plaza Hotel, which should have been paid yesterday, has not come in. It is not know yet what Girobank will do to try and collect at least some of it, but is that really important?
Let's tear down that eyesore!
Cicely van der Dijs, Shorty's moll, who was convicted and given a 15 months jail term, is said to have applied for a pardon with (ultimately) the governor.
Her motives to support this are not known yet. ("Oh, my poor two babies"? Tough shit. Shorty's first son has already grown up to be a criminal, dealing drugs to his school fellows. Those things run in families.)
The director of the Central Bank reasons that, because of the bad economy situation, the government should get more leeway in their budget norms. Translate: go over budget. This should be carefully managed and under controlled conditions, she adds. You bet.
I don't know. This definitely smacks of Keynes. And she may talk about the economy going downhill because of Venezuela, which is obviously true, but just as much to be blamed are our successive governments since before 10-10-10—the present one emphatically included.
It actually happened. Shorty has been advised by bailiff-delivered letter that he's out of Staten/Parliament. Now he'll be replaced by another, if hopefully not as competent, crook.
He asked the governor for a pardon, how about a good belly-laugh here. We can all use that anyway.
The Curaçao towing service, with an income shrunk by 80%, is as good as broke. They now offer personnel to leave on their own with some compensation, instead of getting kicked out later.
Management declares that they still hope for a speedy take-over of Isla refinery. That's the spirit! But will it help?
Grab Him, Fast
Now that Shorty's conviction is final, he should locked up behind bars in a week from now.
If he hasn't left the island and gone to Santo Domingo, that is. Shorty still says he plans to appeal to the European commission for human rights ("in connection with the various violations of the law which he believes have taken place in this case")—as if that would be of any use; but that doesn't matter to our justice dept.
Shorty says he will not try to escape his punishment. But he's a champ liar.
But... but... it's so good for the economy! Well, if the government doesn't pay up what CTB got coming, CTB can't bribe pay the airlines and they will stop flying. Say diverse tourism clubs. That means a loss of 25,000 flights or 2.1 million less tourists. That's 84 tourists/flight: I figured out what we weren't told. We're also not told how much CTB pays to those airlines.
Point in Case
There's talk of it being a couple of days only before Shorty has to go to jail for three years. In that case, he obviously loses his salary as a parliament member; he has to stay out of active politics for 5 years anyway.
So how do they plan to collect on his 1.8 million debt? Ad hominem remark: did you see those photos with that really bad toupee? He must have been worrying a lot lately. Good. Fine. Excellent.
Break Out the Beer! Chill the Champagne!
The Supreme Court of the Hague has just now ruled that ex-PM Shorty and his Moll's convictions remain in place.
Huurman Fights Back
Health inspector Huurman has gone to court to contest his suspension by auntie Suzy.
NOW He's Asking
PM Rhuggenaath promises to ask Holland for help in getting a new partner for Isla refinery, early next year. Also, new and better pollution norms will be worked out. Sounds great—if they'd only be kept to.
Main question by now is, where will that refinery get the crude to process? Not from Venezuela, that seems pretty sure.
Let's Face It
If I was a creditor of InselAir for 3000 guilders or so, I'd never agree to its being sold off given away. That one-man show would be enough to stop Evil Rhuggenaath's, Pinhead Martina's and Unwise Man IJs's plans.
One More Try
The Otrabanda Howard Johnson Hotel will be audited off once again, on December 13. At least, that will be tried. The starting bid has been lowered from 9.5 million to 8.5 million guilders.
Higher Airport Tax
Will go from $39 to $42. As usual, we don't get to hear if this is for both arrivals and departures. Just doesn't occur to Antilliaans Dagblad to think of that. Transfers will go from $5 to $10; inter-island flights from $20 to $30; per flight—so better count on $84 when you fly to MIA or AMS.
By 2022 they will be raised again.
This looks like the highest airport tax in the world. Even in Cuba, you pay less for the privilege to leave that country.
He doesn't mention it, but you can bet the debt InselAir has with the government (taxes), SVB (social security) and also, fair guess, pension funds is not included in the money that's flying, flying away. What Pinhead does is give away landing rights etc. to a foreign company for free in exchange for nothing. And a company that may never make it too, and will then barter those rights with yet another company we will have even less to say over.
Struggle for Power
So that's behind the (temporary) firing of health inspector Huurman by auntie Suzy. Auntie wanted a committee to look into the facts, but Huurman, claiming there's a Landverordening [say, law] that stipulates that he as inspector-general represents the country, did not follow auntie's instructions. Which auntie cannot accept. Both are talking with legal advisers now.
Between you and me, strictly based on what I know about both characters, and even though auntie Suzy is a jurist while Huurman not, I shouldn't be surprised at all if it's Huurman's claim that's correct. But we'll have to wait and see.
InselAir has a 170 million guilders debt with 1200 creditors. No doubt some are larger than others, but that's an average of over 140 thousand per creditor; total 3.6 million or just over 2% of the total debt. 50 million guilders is owed to 400 creditors.
Pinhead Martina now threatens they'd better sign the agreement that gives them 3000 (three thousand!) or InselAir will go bankrupt and they'll get nothing, comprende? And before next Monday, too.
Tyrant? Bumbling gangster boss, or mafioso Martina. Minister of economic development? Make that decline.
Holland is one of the safest countries in Europe as far as traffic is concerned, with 32 yearly deaths per 1 million inhabitants. Greece, Rumania and Lithuania are the worst with 92, 96 and 100. We have about 135.
In Europe, one quarter is caused by alcohol, driving behavior, distracting activities, bad road surfaces, and fatigue. Might well be the same here.
Is That True?
Insel CEO de Brabander states that Insel has never owned any aircraft, but that they were all leased from Best Value Great Care. Hmmm. So why was somebody else just last week telling us that he was selling all those wrecks?
The name Inselair will disappear, except from papers and licenses. It's not very marketable, says de Brabander. He got that straight.
The Rest Is Silence?
The buyers of the Plaza Hotel ruins should have paid within 14 days of the auction date. That's today! Suspense...
Big Bad Deal
InselAir has been sold for USD 1 [one Yankee dollar] to interCaribbean. Just one little problem (well, maybe more), the shareholders have to agree before the next meeting, which is virtually impossible.
At any rate, goodbye to creditors' claims, as I read it. And to the Unwise Men's our money.
It is not know yet what this means for the continuation of the brand name InselAir. As if we cared. Nice Work, Pinhead! 2018-11-21
Come On, Now
Everybody is advised to disregard the faux panic about vaccinations causing autism, and to have their children vaccinated. I could not agree more; if only for my own safety.
It's even more important than usual, as the Venezuelan immigrants tend to carry these sicknesses.
And by the way you know, don't eat raw vegetables from the USA. Because of the same sort of health freaks, it's forbidden there to irradiate them to kill germs. Or go ahead and eat them, see if I care.
That means "Schadenfreude" in English.
Ex-PM Shorty's salary is partly (only 1/3rd) confiscated to pay up for the 1,844,190.36 guilders he's been convicted to pay. Even though his appeal is still pending, the Public Ministry is entitled to start collecting.
Some wise guy figures out that the interest on 1.8 million is 12K/month, so his debt is just increasing. Good.
Aruba: All the Same, Mon
In spite of the protests of the new government against the incredible wasteland the former governments left behind, they're doing not one bit better. Are you surprised? I'm not.
To save money make traffic safer, some roads will be made less wide from now on, announces minister Jesus-Leito.
You're Kiddin' Me
The government will not have X-mas celebrations this year for the spoiled brats. There's no money.
As if that stopped them in the past. Well, let's not nag about that.
Not so good is that what has already been ordered for the celebrations will not be paid for, as finance minister Gijsbertha adds.
Not Enough Tax
You ask "Is it ever enough?" and the point is well taken. Meant is, for several reasons we don't need to go into, and sparing you the ugly details, in the 3rd quarter 26.1 million less was caught than prognosed.
Now the country has to make good in the last quarter to arrive at a positive year result. Good luck with that.
How True—Too Bad If You Can't Read It Nogsie Djes Festival; popfestival, vh: zeinuwe-takke-piep-knoâh-meziek voâh mense met sondâh smaak. Ut Groen-Geile Boekie, de offisjeile spelling vannut Haags; Sjaak Bral, Marnix Rueb, RJ.Rueb. KAP NÂH!!, den Haag, 1998
We were just informed there's a new festival underway.
A 7 hectare (17 acres) terrain will be auctioned off. In 2009 Godett (remember him? wish I didn't) announced a super resort with yacht harbor, lighthouse, you name it. The terrain has been largely what's called "cleaned up", which means denuded of all vegetation, and more damage has been done. All for tourism nothing.
Minimal Wage Up, Welfare Pension Not
Regardless of the expected further economy shrink, MAN minister Koeiman wants to raise minimum wages with 2.1%. This will result in a raise from 9.175 to 9.37 guilders/hour.
No mention is made of the Welfare Pension, which as far as I know has remained the same since at least 2013.
Some Good News Winair and French regional airline Air Antilles of Guadeloupe signed an agreement for cooperation, which in the future should lead to better connections between CUR and the rest of the Caribbean.
Good news, yes; but not for InselAir. We never thought we'd got our squandered money back from them, anyway.
Health inspector Huurman, one of the few officials who seem to take their job seriously, got into a catfight with some diabetes pediatrician. I didn't comment on it before, considering it a storm in a teacup; there have been complaints about him which I didn't take seriously before.. But now auntie Suzy has fired him; if only for a month. More later.
But She, Not (Yet?)
Cathleen Cecilia, civil servant notorious for her, let's say haphazard but I mean worse, application of rules for building permits, was not happy with two articles Amigoe journalist Marija Stojanovic had written about her. Cecilia thought it a good idea to go the Amigoe's office to ballyrag Stojanovic, finally forbidding her to ever write about Cecilia again. So the journalist asked a lawyer to write a letter to minister Jesus-Leito, asking her to react in 2x24 hours or he'll go the court. We're pending.
Seems Cecilia was hired for her function by M*F*K. That explains a lot. One of her remarks was she only signs the building permits without knowing what was in them. Which begs the question: can she read? or did somebody read those articles out for her?
A barquette came in with a large quantity (we're not told how large) of marihuana well-hidden below-decks. Not so well hidden that the customs didn't find them. It just goes on and on: people, weapons, cocaine and marihuana... it's all grist to their mills.
A good thing they're back in business.
Bad Luck, Sped-Up Maintenance
InselAir has canceled all flights until next Friday because their aircraft (I guess that's only one) has to undergo "sped-up maintenance"—probably for good reasons. If you were foolish enough to buy a ticket InselAir will help you book a charter flight.
Listen to Him!
EX-PM Shorty of M*F*K wants Staten/parliament to investigate the corruption around Isla refinery. Reminder: 10 or 9 days to go and we expect the Supreme Court in Holland to refer his conviction back to our High Court; which means Shorty will be locked up, with but separate from his Moll.
Question remains, when will that happen?
Dutch VVD-party MP Bosman has come with the unholy proposal to enable Aruba, Curaçao or St. Maarten to get out of the Kingdom of the Netherlands if they so wish. That is to say, if their government so wishes; without a referendum. A pipe dream for our corrupt politicians.
6 of the 8 remaining aircraft of the InselAir fleet have now been sold; the remaining two will probably go to the second-hand parts market. Which reminds me of InselAir CEO Juni Sluis saying in February 2017, that Dutch technical experts have declared there's nothing wrong with the MD-8X aircraft, and they will be flying again "soon" (Famous Last Words Dept.).
At any rate, as far as I know the proceeds of those sales didn't help InselAir's balance sheet one bit.
Oh, the Innocence
PM Rhuggenaath reacts to the bribery attempts around Isla refinery with the text "surprised, wrong timing and unexpected." Really? And if only van Kwartel c.s. had chosen another time it would have been all right. After all, it's our culture.
Now, Holland As Well
Inhabitants of Kinderdijk are complaining they get too many tourists. That's to say, 60,000 a year come in to gape at the iconic windmills, versus 60 who live in and around them. The tourists trample through the gardens and don't even buy souvenirs, drinks or food; they get everything on their cruise ships; which is what they paid for in the first place.
The Kinderdijk windmills are a World Heritage Site; just like Willemstad. The same problem, resulting in stops on tourists, is going on in Italy's Venezia, Capri and Lake Garda, Spain's Mallorca and Ibiza, plus New Zealand and other places—like Amsterdam. But our shortsighted leaders are still clamoring for more.
Tip of the chapeau to John.
In And Out, Next!
Isla Refinery manager van Kwartel has been sent on a 'mandatory holiday', together with several staff members. It's alleged to have to do with bribery connected with the coming take-over of the refinery by Who Knows.
That didn't take van Kwartel long. He was installed only January this year to check on the activities of his predecessor, van de Wall Arnemann, who was then also sent on a mandatory holiday and later fired.
We're Better Off, Maybe?
The oh so Happy Island, Aruba, is in serious trouble. After 8 years of government, using the word loosely, by Mike Eman the new cabinet discovered that there's a national debt of 200 million florins, about 90% of the GDP. Resulting in an interest of 600,000 florins/day.
Not told in that story is that the national debt during the preceding governments has been growing and growing as well. I remember we were shooting a meeting of ministers in Aruba a long time ago and the producer turning to me for a sotto voce remark "But they're gangsters!"
At least, here we have tried to get rid of one of them, even if it had to be a citizens' action. The High Court in Den Haag will pronounce judgment in the cassation procedure by ex-PM Shorty on November 27. The general expectation is, it will be bounced back to our courts here and then he may finally be put in jail. Remember: Shorty and his gang of goons made 400 million disappear in 2 years, while Isla Refinery funneled away 261 million, thus beating Aruba by an impressively wide margin in a much shorter period.
For all practical purposes, the Aruba florin has the same value as the Antillean guilder, USD0.55.
They Just Now Found Out
Auntie Suzy explains that a "design, Build and Maintenance" agreement should have been signed before starting building the new hospital HNO. Only they forgot the maintenance part and will now have a look at that.
That line is empty because words fail me.
Birds of a Feather
Certainly looks like InterCaribbean is an ideal company to take over from InselAir. The Turks-Caicos company is plagued by delays and canceled flights. Reason, the company has been growing much too fast.
So Much for Predictions
Because Isla refinery is, come right down to it, hardly working, the economy will shrink with 2% instead of the promised 1.6%. Tourism, supposedly growing, doesn't help a bit. IMF says that our Great Leaders are well aware of the problems and agree that determined action is needed.
If only, for once, they could.
Next, IMF warns for a possible devaluation of the "Antillean" guilder.
Once Again Knipselkrant Curaçao is not available. When you click on the link, you arrive at BEVER-NEWS; a newspaper for Beverwijk, Holland. At least, I did. Our enemies never sleep, whahaha.
Cows Are Coming
Even though there's an import stop on Colombian cows because of a foot and mouth disease epidemic, we don't have to worry: the Mad Cow Project of 1000 cows will continue as planned by (who else) pinhead Martina. Next year, as there are some delays. Good.
In all honesty and with credit where credit's due, all of our ministers could have thought this up.
In December, Bonaire's EZ Air will start regular services CUR-BON using two 18-seats Beechcrafts.
Say, what do we need InselAir for? Inter-island flights? Pshaw.
4 out of 8 date palms in front of the Hato Airport terminal will be removed. The management thinks it's a pity they cover the sight on their splendid new façade. Maybe somebody will tell them, we'd all rather look at date palms.
Wallowing in Money vs. Dirt
Classrooms are filthy because the government pays only 12 guilders per hour to have them cleaned, while the real costs are 16. The difference has to be coughed up by the schools, who just can't afford it. But remember, it's all free! 2018-11-09
Not only the Plaza Hotel has been auctioned off, the same goes for Hotel Otrobanda—this one for 11.25 million guilders. Problem is, two groups have bid that much and it's not clear yet which one will become the owner.
A new auction has been announced.
Tom Bolera, owner of a hotel in Ohio, has bought the remains of the Plaza Hotel for 13.5 million guilders. He was the only bidder. IJede van de Kooij becomes the financial manager, same function he had for Plaza Hotel and Plaza Casino under the former owner. At the last (second) auction the hotel went for 9 million guilders, but that was never paid. That we'll still have to see now, as well.
The Hotel has a debt with Curaçao government of 29 million guilders, so count your blessings. And hey, for once pinhead Martina was right.
Just Forget It
As the 2007 deal with PAC Parking Authority has never been consolidated, PAC has been sticking to the money all those years and by now it's become almost impossible to separate them from it.
You cant even blame Shorty for that. It's said to be over 40,000 guilders/month, over 5 million guilders swallowed up by PAC in the total period. Nice work.
This concerns 31 persons who made 400 million guilders disappear.
Not Satisfied by the Police
The public is not satisfied at all with the coppers. They can hardly be reached by phone (internet is even worse) and their service, which 71% judges comes too late, is found unsatisfactory by 65%.
Nice to know our impression was right? Not really.
Rigaud, director of Curaçao Bankers Association, said that there's about 1 billion guilders' worth of projects ready to be executed. He mentions them by name, and except the Refinery (very doubtful, that), Aqualectra and Damen Shiprepair it's all tourism.
Rigaud doesn't believe Green Town will get anywhere; for now, he adds.
After Fundashon Akshon Sivil started an action to hold persons responsible for mismanagement in government-owned companies. The Public Ministry then in 2013 asked for a survey, which was finally granted by the High Court last July.
Now, the Public Ministry asks the companies in question to file their complaints with Stichting OM Civiel [foundation PM civil]. Named are Refinaria di Korsow and Aqualectra and their branches.
SAL Keeps On Flying
African National Congress, the totally corrupt mess which has power in South Africa, has decided to keep the Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens in the air, disregarding the fraud in the company. ANC prefers to keep focused on grondhervorming—which means farms are taken away from white farmers to give away to the black people—who don't want them. Just like in Zambesia, right.
Down here, of course, people have long since been taking care of their own grondhervorming. Only, here they prefer to steal from the country.
That's not news, you say. Right, it happens all the time. It's not even news that they've been stolen out of the parking lot for cars confiscated by the police.
Bad Yes, News Not
If Isla refinery has to close, the national economy will shrink with 2.5% (instead of growing with 0.4% as "expected" haha). That's not as bad as I figured, in fact. If all trade with Venezuela stops, economy will shrink over 5%.
Guess There's a Parallel
In South Africa, angry voices are raised tot kill off SAL (Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens/South-African Airlines), which has been losing money since 2000. That's 6 years after Apartheid came to an end; before then it was a very solid company.
Anybody else see a resemblance here with what happened to ALM after our government took over from KLM, and proceeded to run it into the ground at top speed?
A Rabbit Punch Winair and DiviDivi Air have announced they are talking on cooperation on the CUR-SXM flights. That's just after Corendon announced that DiviDivi and InselAir will code-share Corendon flights on that route.
DiviDivi will have seats on 5 weekly flights CUR-SXM as from December 10 and on 2 CUR-Sao Pãolo from December 15. Flights will be executed with Corendon's Boeing 737-800.
InselAir has been buying seats on the CUR-SXM flights as well.
Pinhead Martina says there's enough interest in the three hotels standing empty in Willemstad. He forgets to mention that the Plaza hotel will be auctioned off (for the umpteenth time and finding no takers), and the Howard Johnson and Kurá Hulanda before the end of the year. He says.
Taxi, Go Home
The taxi drivers are angry again. This time it's about the tuktuks, who take on passengers for far longer trips than they're supposed to, but mainly about "Taxi 61" (officially CTN) which is the first real taxi company on the island. All the other ones are essentially private persons who rent out their taxi license; many of them never drive themselves (and have always tried to stop the introduction of taxi meters). End of the ride.
Maduro Curiel's Bank is investing 10 million guilders in 115 new ATMS; first new hardware with touch screens, followed by software offering more services. This is not charity, are you kidding? There's money in them thar ATMs, literally and figuratively.
Dumb Fool Judge
InselAir once more gets until December 4 to get its affairs out of their mess. The company didn't succeed as yet, but fooled the judge once again with that hot-air proposal by interCaribbean.
Isla Not Abandoned
Isla Refinery, despite an article in Argus Media, is not abandoned and "propped up" by the government. At least, that's what Isla says. Over a 1000 workers arrive their every day, Isla pays all suppliers and bills. The only reason the refinery is not operational is because of CRU repairs which results in no available steam.
All this sounds rather weird when you figure there's no crude oil coming in. Or maybe Isla pays everybody out of that fine PdVSA is supposed to pay Isla? You tell me. Please.
Now That You Mention It
The fruit venters of the floating market have been forbidden by the ministry (headed by pinhead Martina) to hang up curtains, so their fruit catches the full heat of the sun from say 14:00 to 17:00. Not good.
Oh. Is That Good?
Tourism, 'with 3 months to go of which October is over' we're told (huh?) has fulfilled 70-74% of the set goals, which is better than planned.
Once again I have to ask, so who's crazy here? 75% of the year gone with only 70% realized (and look who's counting) and that's better than expected?
Is This the Final Crash?
Don't count on it. Even though it's obvious from the latest numbers that InselAir is still rotten to the core, there are still doubts to pull the plug. Insel did not fulfill the two conditions for a delayed bankruptcy (leasing terms and tax debts). But there's still a trend to wait for the two pie-in-the-sky deals which Insel and pinhead Martina promise: a take-over by InterCaribbean or One Laser (who are said to be back after having retracted their offer).
Judge decides today.
China must be a mess, in spite of all wonderful claims that it's such an economic superpower. Only now they've discovered there what we here have known for a long time: GZE is a bunch of not merely incompetents, but even crooks. How did they get away with it? By hook and crook, and/or Wein, Weib and Gesang I guess—as is so often the case. After all, the Chinese bureaucracy may be even worse than ours, which is sayin' sump'n.
Did Not Work
Washington D.C. has a gun confiscation policy. Sad to say, it hasn't worked: the homicide rate dropped between 2015 and 2017, but this year there have been more homicides than the total of 2017 and the same as in 2016 (135).
At least, over there they're counting.
Two Weeks, Two Companies?
Government announces "at least" two USA and European companies are ready to sign MOUs to resuscitate Isla refinery. All I can say for now is, more MOUs have been signed in the past. With the Chinese, to name one example.
After a facelift during the period when the Floating Market was first stopped by Venezuela's president Maduro and then banned to Kleine Werf, the boats are back at their old location in Punda.
No news about the locals, not Venezuelans, who were supposed to start selling more tourist junk there.
Conoco-Phillips Gets It
The company received 2345 million in cash and commodities from Venezuela as part of a first installment after Conoco won a $2 billion arbitration award.
Selikor Does Not Get It
The government took away 5% from their budget. Now workers are worried, especially since Extra newspaper published Selikor had to shrink by 50%. But, says management, you can't adapt the budget in the midst of a year, just like that.
Tax Free Island
Boneco union boss Koense sounds the alarm: more and more companies leave the Free [trading] Zone because air connections have largely disappeared to Panamá and Trinidad. Many people have lost their jobs, especially those who are young and untrained. But the government doesn't talk about this.
Koense thinks the island must become tax free, but it's not clear from the media what he means by that. Like, for foreigners, as suggested for Punda?
Oh, That UTS
Their internet connection disappears several times a day. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes much longer. Is it the rain? What a pest. Can't wait until they're taken over, at least partly, as promised. Maybe it will help. Probably not.
More And More Money
HNO new hospital will need 100 more personnel. Not just cleaners, mind. We'll just have to pay up, as usual.
This Is Getting Old
More outdated stuff has been found at the same old place, Hector Henriquez. This time it's just spices, though. I never check those dates and keep using them myself until the bottle is empty, who cares?
The police has conducted raids and found at least part of the stolen fireworks back (they're not talking much).
Ain't That Sump'n
Three weeks from now, PAR PM Ruggenaath will have a meeting with schools to talk about how to get them cleaned.
Half True Asphalt Lake Recovery lets it be known that the Asphalt Lake is not a waste product, but a crude oil product. What's in a name? A black lake by any other name stinks just as bad, to paraphrase the Bard, as the expression goes.
Besides, it's not the asphalt, it's what it's Oilchartmixed with. ALR blames Belgian Oilchart. Time will tell.
Watch It Around There
Koreaal Specht, location of Nos Futuro prison, is plagued by squadrons of drones dropping arms, telephones, drugs, you name it, for the prisoners. Justice minister Girigorie has a solution: by next year, they will be shot down rücksichtlos.
Hope they teach those guards to shoot well.
We have raved and ranted often against Aqualectra, not without reasons aplenty. But they really seem to be struggling there to improve and, more to the point, getting results. S&P have increased Aqualectra's rating to A, leading to a 325 million loan by MCBank and First Caribbean Bank.
Aqualectra, rightly, proudly mentions that since they have succeeded in reducing the price per kW from 0.67 to 0.51, 27%. Water price has seen a more modest 3% reduction.
Immortally ridiculous, that is. He declares his army is "fully prepared" for a war with the USA. They probably have had run-away-fast training.
Remember how his guards all ducked for cover and split when, last August, they thought a bomb went off? Maybe it did, I really don't remember.
Out of Control
The Belgian environment minister had licensed Oilchart to sell the Asphalt Lake filth, "under certain conditions"—which obviously were not checked on in any way.
Don't Worry, Big Brother Looks After You
Rumors circulating on the social media have it that the Juliana Bridge (which once collapsed before it had even been built) is unsafe. But the government says, it's perfectly safe (oh yeah?). And besides, they add, it will be renovated next year. Oh.
More Bad News
The new HNO hospital has to pay 60 million morfe in rent/year than the present SEHOSpital; 240 versus 180. That's 1/3, to spare you figuring.
Other costs are much higher as well; more personnel, higher equipment, interest and sundry costs.
Out & Down KKCur seems to have succumbed to another attack. Blank website except for the header. "They" keep trying, don't they? Must be a reason, right?
Update: they were back this evening.
Corendon Is Serious Corendon Airlines will station a Boeing 737-800 on Hato Airport in cooperation with DiviDivi Air. Flights to Aruba, St. Maarten and São Paulo. Corendon is part of the Corendon hotel chain which recently took over the bankrupt Holiday Beach Hotel.
Looks like bad news for InselAir. And us, which follows: they still owe the 30 million + the Unwise Men gave them, not to mention the 200 million dbets with the Tax Person, Social Security SVB and pension funds.
Update: a bit premature, that. The CUR-SXM flights will be in coop with Divi and Insel.
FYI, Corendon has strong financial ties with Kunuku Aqua Resort and is also owner of Jan Thiel Resort.
Asphalt Lake Recovery, licensed to empty the Asphalt Lake have discovered an easy way; they mix the goo with diesel fuel or something similar and sell the result as fuel oil. Too bad their product is full of heavy carcinogens, but little do they care. Hey, money is moolah.
They do this together with Belgian company Oilchart International. Both seem to have small doses of conscience.
They Fit Right In Damen Shipyards is now the subject of an investigation into the bribes they have allegedly paid to get work. Sure, what else is new? In that business...
Small wonder our Great Leaders are so glad they settled down here as well.
No Audit for UTS
The Supreme Court in Holland has rejected the government's claim to start an audit of UTS telecommunications, because it agrees with UTS's claim that the Curaçao court of justice is incompetent to do this.
More money wasted.
Great! And We?
Since the theft of 600 (now claimed to be 500) keys of coke out of a police station's safe, work has started on a safety plan for the police. The cops are satisfied that this went so fast.
Too bad there's no safety plan for us.
So There We Are
The protestant schools are protesting the government not investing in education. Worse, the whole system is deteriorating. 80-90% is spent on teachers' salaries and there's little left over for maintenance, energy, cleaning, teaching aids and materials. The government obviously prefers to invest in pie-in-the-sky projects like the Tourist Master Plan, InselAir and keeping Isla refinery alive.
And we wondering why crime is so bad.
"Population is about 40,000 but the city saw 2 million tourists in 2016 when 800,000 came from 529 cruise ships. On a typical day, eight cruise ships, sometimes 13 a day, entered the port." This is what our Great Leaders strive for with their infamous Master Plan.
"The cruise ships do pay city harbor docking fees, but the local businesses do not benefit much, because of all the all-inclusive packages on board shops." So much for tax-free shopping.
Now that Cft financial supervision is satisfied that the budget is balanced, the government is allowed to start borrowing money again. For capital investments.
Let the Fireworks Start
Thieves have stolen fireworks from 2 containers in the Kruithuis [powder house]. The cops implore them to bring it back (hah!) because this is really heavy stuff and extremely dangerous if not fired by professionals.
They must have been professionals in a way, because you just don't break open those heavy locks with a safety pin. Also, what price the security cameras? It just goes on and on.
The Howard Johnson Hotel in Otrabanda which was brought to the hammer yesterday for minimum 9.5 million guilders found no takers. Even the casino, because that's what a hotel here is for, was not enough of an attraction.
Pay Your Tax! Or Else Cft financial supervision will not have Holland give that dreaded (by the government at least, not by us, not so much) aanwijzing [instruction]. On two conditions: 1—the old-fashioned tax system much be revised and 2—the New Hospital business case must be looked at carefully; about time, too. #1 means that tax levy, collection and recovery must be improved. Don't count on them going down, that's only for tourists.
Officially, the population is shrinking; this year by 0.8%. It's not a panic outflow like we (and Suriname) have had before. Also, many European Netherlanders come in (but nobody knows where they originated). On the other hand, who knows how many Venezolanos slip through the net and come in?
PM Ruggenaath is off to Holland to ask for help.
Hurray! A Committee!
This one is supposed to look at the choice between a new Curaçao guilder with new coins and banknotes, or a continuation of the present one with only "Bank of the Netherlands Antilles" text replaced. I wonder how long the fun will last; besides, of course, how much they will get paid.
No mention is made of a possible dollarization. Nos mes por! 2018-10-17
Bate That Breath
UTS telecommunications say they've found a partner willing to take over partly, and therefore expects to be able to pay the government 14.175 million guilders this month. I remember Gijsbertha was talking 18 million, but may be wrong.
That Turned Out Well
The tanker Red Majestic bought by Curoil to store fuel for consumption, has turned out to be a godsend. Thanks to the gasoline and jet fuel stocks, we could keep moving along when Conoco-Phillips started acting up. It also serves as an extra argument in relations with PdVSA.
In the long run, the ship will be replaced by tanks.
Tax Free Shopping
But not for us. For tourists, who'll have to prove they're not settled here. It's expected to result in 36.5 million guilders added to the national product. Sorry to say that I wonder how much it will really turn out to be.
Maybe It Will Become Clear Later
About all that cocaine stolen out of a police safe. Straight quote from Dolfijn FM: "As a rule, drugs are weighed, photographed and destroyed after an authorization from the Public Prosecution Service. A sample is taken if the defense demands a counter-examination.
Why that did not happen here is not clear."
Justice minister Girigorie, who only two weeks ago was bragging that crime was being reduced, says "no weapons, drugs or money" have been stolen. And we here thinking cocaine was a drug.
The police station was Rio Canario, the same where crooks have found it easy to just walk out.
Ups and Downs in Air
InselAir publishes a long story about how they expect to see the light two or three months from now. They don't have a single airplane of their own in operation, just one leased jet and one leased turboprop. They have now leased another jet from the USA to replace the one from Venezuela, and it is expected to arrive here in a couple of weeks. Then they expect business to pick up and take off. I'm not so confident.
Meanwhile, Hato Airport which has been in deep trouble because of InselAir's problems, resulting in much less flight movements, is more realistically optimistic, as recently more airlines are touching down there.
Out of Hand
Not getting, the situation with the Venezuelan immigrants (refugee, illegal, undocumented—whatever you care to call them) is out of hand. Curaçao just can't handle this and, maybe worse, is getting cherry-picking-blamed by Amnesty International as the only place where the situation is bad. No relief from Holland is forthcoming, either.
Maybe we ought to send them on to Hungary... Poland... or even Italy.
Not All Good News
The last bond loan (NL to CUR), dating from 10-10-10, has been redeemed. Good! you say. Well, one consequence is that foreign currency reserves have started to deplete. Now that interest rates are climbing again, more investors turn to the exterior, so money is flowing out.
Nice Work, If You Can Get It
But it's easier when you're a cop... 600 keys (Six Hundred! Street value €23 million) of confiscated coke have been stolen out of a safe in a police office. We're not told which one. To get to the safe, two metal doors had to be broken open first. Nobody noticed a thing.
Minister of justice Girigorie calls it "a reprehensible action." He says the safety of the cops is threatened. Most people are not so sure about that.
A number of years ago, kilos of coke were found on the plafond of a police station during building activities. We never heard more about that.
The End Is Nigh
Both Kura Hulanda hotels, in Otrabanda and Westpunt, have now been shut off from water and electricity. Guests have to wash with water from the (salt water) swimming pool. Just imagine; no, maybe better not.
In Otrabanda the neighbors complain about the "penetrating" stench of the diesel generator now in use. That one may be locked down by Milieudienst environment dept. in a few days. Why wait so long?
A new 9.8MW generator (diesel, good) has arrived. We can now figure how much Aqualectra's total capacity is: they say this one is good for 8% of our daily consumption; so the island uses about 110MW/day.
Well worth going nuclear for.
So, What Is It?
First we read that the government is asking Holland for help to get the budget balanced, in order to escape a much-feared aanwijzing as threatened by Cft finanicial supervision; then minister Gijsbertha claims that the budget is fine. It now shows a positive balance of 42 million guilders.
Between you and me, I have my doubts here.
Not News, No
InselAir had to cancel a lot of flights the past week, causing much grief. I just mention it (it is tiresome) because government and judges keep 'em in the air. In a manner of speaking, in fact they're grounded most of the time.
Rudy Sprock, ex-Hato official, warns that when InselAir is taken over, its debts will remain recoverable; which was the reason why DCA was not continued as Curaçao Airlines. Remember? Obviously, Unwise Men IJs, Ruggenaath and Pinhead Martina don't.
Didn't Miss It... You?
Because of the rain, almost all festivities around 10-10, the day of our Glorious Independence, were called off. So that's why we weren't bugged by boom basses all day long, like last Sunday: the day of Bandabao.
Gee, now we know at least how much one of those committees is paid. HNO supervisor Betrian says in an interview that the 135,000 guilders per month his 7-person club gets is not for him, it's for all salaries, rent and o yes, some lawyers.
That's a lot of money, even if Betrian wisely doesn't go into details. How long this is supposed to go on we're not told either. It's a million in less than 8 months.
Just a thought: what's the good of interviewing that money-grabber if you don't ask pertinent questions? I'm addressing you, Radio Dolfijn.
Keep Him Locked Up!
Ex Shorty minister Imalootin will be kept locked up, awaiting his trial, for 60 more days. His lawyers had asked to let him out, but the rechter-commissaris had "serious objections"—you bet.
Imalootin is suspected as an accomplice in the Wiels murder, and for embezzlement and fraud.
Chevron oil company is accused of sluicing "billions" away from Dutch taxes by way of P.O.-box subsidiaries in Curaçao. This has been done by notary Smeets's office, a guy who never shrank back when he smelled the glitter of money. His company was and still is called Citco, but quickly earned the alias used above.
Veneto Is in Trouble
Now Aqualectra has shut off the World Trade Center, where not only several government offices reside and now sit in the dark—and heat. It is not known why, but Aqualectra only cuts off because of payment problems.
A while ago, exploiter Veneto who has a habit of getting in trouble, was shut off because he had been fooling around with the meters; and another time because he had, contra to the agreement, sold electricity to his Hotel Cala. The judge ordered him to pay 5.5 million guilders to Aqualectra right away, but it's unknown if he did.
Update: Electricity was reconnected one day later after interference by ministry of government and planning [bestuur en planning].
The opposition parties M*F*K, K*NT and MP have joined the request for a parliamentary enquête into the goings on around the new hospital building. So it looks like that will come; in time. Later...
How it will turn out for them is another matter.
You're Telling Me
Cft financial supervision says the economy has been so bad since 10-10-10 is because there's too much red tape which scares investors off.
Amparo dos Santos is suspected of having relieved the bankrupt Veneto-owned Holiday Beach Hotel of 100,000 guilders. He had no claim on the hotel, and personnel at the time had been unpaid for two months already.
Dos Diablos, leader of K*NT political party, is a member of Staten/parliament, but rarely appears there.
After the safety audit earlier this year, the refinery will get a technical audit to check for a possible gap between the facilities available and those wished for eventual buyers after the PdVSA contract expires.
Hotel for Sale
This time it's Hotel Otrabanda. It will be auctioned off on November 7, starting bid 11 million guilders.
PdVSA is counting on Venezuela's immense gas reserves to help them get out of the impasse. But still, PdVSA doesn't seem to understand what's going on. For example, they hope that Natural Gas will help the Aruba Valero refinery to start up again. This looks like a dream to me. Valero sure isn't interested. And anyway, Aruba may have discovered reserves of its own, so why bother with PdVSA? Although the continuing silence on the drilling results is no confidence builder.
As for Curaçao PdVSA talks about an undersea pipe line to get gas here. If this should be meant to run Isla refinery on, okay; but if this does not happen pretty soon you might as well forget it. Like it or not, the world is switching over to LNG and nuclear with petroleum (and coal) getting of less and less importance.
If Venezuela doesn't get its act together pretty soon, and it looks like it won't, this malaise will go on for decades.
I won't bother here to discuss wind, solar power and biofuels. They may and do have their uses but will never take over on a really large scale.
We All Saw It Coming
The new hospital will be more expensive to run than the old SEHOS, because it's less efficient.
Makes One Wonder
Pinhead Martina claims that InselAir's 2015 contribution to the national income was 5.7% (a year later that was 2.4%). If InselAir goers bankrupt, 2100 jobs will be lost. So, Martina says, it was quite alright to give lend them 33 million.
Ex-PM Arsjes welcomes the enquête into the history of HNO. It's possible of course he thinks all tracks are well-covered.
Selikor Shrinks Selikor has to shrink by 150,000 guilders/month, as from September. That's a total of 1.8 million (USD1 million) per year.
Don't get me wrong. It's not we have to pay less, it's they receive less. To be more or less exact, 31.3 less than the 892.5 million, or almost 4%. "Mainly" because of the bad economy, but the other reasons we're not told about. Bad news for the budget, you got it.
Working on it... Don't push me like that...
Have been away for a month or so. You wanna know, it was cold down there. Awful. The day we left, spring broke out. Just my luck.
Anyway, picking up the pieces and catching up. You can't leave these guys alone without them making a big mess. Starting out here, work up from there; as usual. Thank you for your patience.
Finished on 2018-10-03.
Auntie Suzy Does It Again
Many or most Curaçao kunukeros are illegal. They just occupy a terrain, "clean" the natural vegetation and start farming. This is largely because the government (wait for it, you'll never guess) is so fornicating slow in giving out permits.
Marks of Ontwikkelingsbank NA development bank says auntie Suzy underestimates the number of farmers by a factor 6; she says there are 200 but Marks claims it's really 1300.
And this woman is always going on about encouraging agriculture.
There are several proposals to start artificial ("constructed") wetlands to process raw sewage, thus ending the stinking Chut/Shute farce. One (by Green Force) is planned for Buskabaai, where it will have the Asphalt Lake as neighbor (good huh?); cost 11 million guilders.
Another one is by the University with the Longest Name in the World, or shortly UoC, who however lack the 325,000 guilders to test it out. A third one is by a guy who tested it out in concrete vats in his back yard. He says it cost him 7000 guilders but figures that would be reduced to a couple of hundred if plastic were used. I figure he's completely wrong there.
Auntie Suzy is outright lying (how like her) when she tells that the Isla pollution is well within the European norms, says SMOC president Peter van Leeuwen. The norms she refers to date from 2005 and have since been changed.
For example, there is no yearly norm for SO2 anymore, because any exposure is harmful and not tolerated. The Curaçao norms date from 1994. Norms for fine dust (PM10) and carcinogenes benzene and nickel have been exceeded.
Saved by the Bell?
I'm afraid not. 3 (three!) tankers have been visiting COT at Bullenbaai for oil loading and transfer. But that won't help KdT one bit.
No Deal One Laser Group, the almost mythical Venezuelan-Miami consortium that was looking into a take-over of InselAir, is out of the game. Wise guys. What now, pinhead Martina?
Great! Another Committee!
This one will be installed to look at the privatization of UTS telecommunications. Which in itself is a good thing we'd look forward to and throw our hats up in the air, if only.
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members will be paid.
In fact, the committee has been around since September 3, even though the minister did not sign the decision before the 18th; it's only now we're told about it.
Tugs in Trouble Kompania di Tow tug company is in trouble. No surprise: they don't have any customers to speak of, with Annabaai and Bullenbaai harbors as good as dead because of the Venezuela oil troubles.
There's enough money left to make it until next month or so. And then?
Measures will be taken, the management says. Sure. One way or the other.
Just Like Old Times
There will be no public tender for 16 million guilders to be spent on road patch-ups repairs. Minister Jezus-Leito says there is no time. As if those roads haven't been deteriorating for years and years already. Somebody maybe gets a cut? I shouldn't wonder. Looks pretty transparent to me...
Staten/parliament wants to hold a Parliamentary inquiry on the mishandling of the HNO new hospital affair, as well they might. The beast will cost, as we wrote before, 200 million more than originally budgeted. Specifically, the reasons why it was moved from Salinja to Otrabanda should be investigated. (Hint: especially Shorty and Arsjes, and probably many more, won't like this—if it ever happens.)
One victim of the whole mess is 1956 Trapenberg Aircondition Service NV, who went bankrupt last week because of the delays and overruns.
The hospital will be ready for use on March 31, next year.
Entrepreneurs' club VBC wants We, the People to participate in a discussion on to go for a new coin or to dollarize. I guess our Bosses will let us participate all right, then decide what they want to decide. Taking a line through all those referenda until they got what they wanted.
Now That You Mention It
The management of InselAir completely "forgot" to discuss their creditors in the discussions with interCaribbean Airways. You wanna bet that this deal will fall through once again? No? Thought so.
So That's How
Gijsbertha was guaranteeing the budget would get balanced, and now it became clear how. They want to sell part of UTS telecommunications. No wonder Cft worries that it won't happen in time.
While I am all far privatizing UTS (and then some) I don't think this is the best way to go about it.
Things would change as from his starting date, he promised. Just like Obama, oh sorry, let that escape. Now will you just look at that mess. Even Quackie Constancia has been on another worthless but expensive trip to Parlatino as representative—after she has been convicted.
And now minister Monk comes out and tells us that 1.3 million has been frauded away on social benefits. Last year, there were only 6500 receivers, which number has grown to 7100 by now. Total 30 million/year. Monk says control is hard because there still is no basic registration system. Figures, as soon as we have one, fraud would get more difficult and we don't want that, do we?
20 persons have left the island but their families still get the money; 350 have a job but get money anyway.
Action? If Only
Cft financial supervision has given the government 2 weeks to get the budget balanced. If not, the dreaded Rijksministerraad [ministerial council] will be advised to intervene. The last thing our clowns want to happen.
That would be on October 10. I noted it in my diary.
Only on Curaçao?
A guy has gotten 4 months in prison for stealing a car in use by parking guards, who were controlling meters at the time. Just stepped in and took off.
The take-over of InselAir by another company is expected "very soon"—but listen who's talkin': Pinhead Martina.
Now interCaribbean Airways is said to be interested. Why they should be is anybody's guess.
That upgrade of Hato airport with the FAA? Forget it. The fresh new director Hans de Jong of our Civil Air Authority who was hired to get it fixed, is taking his leave on October 1. For whatever reason[s]. Last time we were promised the documents would be ready in December. This has been going on since 2011.
Isla refinery has measured up to (almost) all pollution norms this year. They say so themselves, so it must be true, whatever SMOC claims to the contrary.
Isla, as before, claims there are other industries around as well. Another factor may be that they have hardly any crude to process these days, what with the Venezuela troubles and all.
Minister Jesus-Leito doesn't know a thing about a rental agreement with Mermaid Boat Trips for a terrain on Klein Curaçao. But the company is showing a 2003 copy to the media as proof that it has indeed rented 621 square meters there—which is against all legalities.
Several rats are leaving the crashing InselAir. Looks like they see they won't be enjoying their sumptuous salaries much longer.
The recently broken down Veneto Holiday Beach Hotel is taken over by Corendon, which concerns plans on an extension to 800 rooms. "A five-star all-inclusive resort hotel" it's going to be.
Ooooh... A New Coin of Our Own!
By 2021, we are expected to get our very own wee coin. The Netherlands Antilles Guilder will finally disappear and be replaced by the Curaçao-St. Maarten guilder; with a digital companion? I can hardly wait.
Some people, you always find these negative thinkers, propose "why not switch to the US dollar like the Dutch BES-islands did?" Something in that. The Curaçao and later NA guilder was always firmly hooked up to the $ anyway.
But Who's Counting?
Police announces the number of atrakos [armed robberies] has gone down the past years. There were 685 in 2014 and they expect this year to end with 299. I guess that translates as "about 300".
More and more guns are confiscated, 152 last year. They expect "only" 21 murders this year; that would be one per 7000 people.
The problem here is, how many crimes are not even reported as it's no use anyway?
As If It Was Not Bad Enough
SEHOSpital has a structural deficiency of 15 million a year. That's more than 10% of their budget. And they've not even moved to their new HNO building.
Here's an idea: as the feel-gooders want to introduce a sugar tax next year, why not give the proceeds to the hospital instead of hiring more spoiled brats setting up a prevention bureau? Aw, it's only 2 million guilders...
Am I Going Mad?
InselAir has received a letter from the Aruba aviation department, complimenting them for their great on-time performance. The best of all airlines visiting Aruba! (Hint: they have two daily flights there.) So the management jokes that their name CancelAir may now be lost. Forget it, guys.
Can't help wondering how much they paid whom for that letter. The first time I heard an airline got one like that, anywhere, anytime.
Sure, Throw Our Money Away
Korpodeko is at it once again. It's a habit! This time, they are lending money to the Kura Hulanda hotels, which will no doubt shortly go down the drain anyway.
Korpodeko was set up to help new businesses start up. That explains why they keep sinking money in outfits that will go bankrupt. Like they prolonged ALM's death throes, remember?
IMF International Monetary Fund predicts Venezuela's inflation rate will reach 1,000,000 (1 million!) percent by 2019. But for China this looks like an ideal opportunity to take over. Then we'll have a really nice neighbor sitting on our doorstep. Talk about neo-colonialism.
Finance minister Gijsbertha "guarantees" UTS telecommunications will pay dividend to the government, thus closing a large part of the budget gap. CFT financial supervision is not so sure, and neither am I. Say, listen; if I guarantee a product, I have to pay up if it fails, am I right? Same yardstick should be applied to Gijsbertha.
It's a Start
1 million kilograms of rubbish have been cleared from Curaçao by volunteers in the past week-end. That's over 2 million lbs. Too bad they didn't get rid of the politicians while they were at it.
But I admit that would be of little use. Just like the other rubbish, they'd come back only too soon.
Sweet Dreams Raad van Advies [advisory council] recommends the government stops borrowing money, but IF money is borrowed, then for investment purposes. RvA wants to have this in a law. Ha! That law will have to be passed by that same government.
Seriously? No Kidding?
Klein Curaçao turns out to be a RAMSAR area and should thus be protected from tourism. The American little tern, loggerhead and green sea turtles breed there.
But the island has been pirated by divers organizations who transport tourists there on a regular base. Some even have agreements with the government only they know about, complete with building permits and licenses. Who could explain such a thing?
It's pretty funny that the government is worried about this, while keeping the Dolfinarium in business against all international treaties. Not to mention other RAMSAR areas.
Sure! UTS Said So!
UTS telecommunications has made a deal with minister Gijsbertha to pay the tax debt. This will help in closing the 87 million guilder gap in the 2018 budget CFT is nagging about.
If UTS does indeed pay up.
No News Is Bad News
There are between 15 and 20,000 illegally occupied building plots on the island. (This Is Official.) Now they are trying to figure out—once again—what to do about it. What was occupied stolen after 2015 can be taken back. And the rest? Do we just give those away? Not an inkling of an idea how many there are before and after anyway.
Another interesting question: how many legal plots are there?
I still get Australian Google ads on my tablet, from where I departed the 10th.
Imalootin has arrived on Curaç from his Venezuela prison and been moved on to Bonaire. Presumably for his own safety, as one of the key witnesses in the Wiels murder case was found dead in Barber prison a few years ago.
At any rate, so much for his lawyers.
This is an important step in the Maximus court case on that same murder.
It Sounds Good
"Despite enormous challenges, the government of Curaçao is committed to addressing the issues of interest to the country. Cooperation takes place in an inter-ministerial and integral way to make important decisions."
Says governor Wout. Give us all a break, Wout.
Oh Yeah? Hah!
Finance minister Gijsbertha declares that the 2019 budget will be balanced. Say, I seem to remember I heard him say that before. About this year (just one example) when they're trying like crazy to collect 87 million guilders before it's too late. In my opinion, it will always be too late. Gijsbertha predichts 200 million more tax income, which at first sight is downright ridiculous.
Two More Down
Otrabanda Hotel Kura Hulanda and its Playa Kalki sister will be shut off by Aqualectra Utility for not paying their bills. This has always spelled the definite end for others in the past. So much for Martina's promises, once again.
But no worries, says hotel club CHATA. Shutting down all those hotels does not endanger growth of tourism at all! Oh. Good to know.
That affair where Shorty got 800,000 dollars in return for a (tourist, naturally) project near Knip Beach? One of the signatures on the deal is by our incorruptible present PM Rhuggenaath. Surprised? Not I.
Saw It Coming Long Since
The government will not succeed in covering the budget deficit of 82 million guilders, we're told by CFT financial supervision (not by the government, you bet).
If this is not resolved in the next fortnight, Holland/den Haag may have to intervene. Oh, Please! 2018-09-07
Imalootin's lawyer Osepa (another bird of a feather) declares it's not true that his client has been transported to prison. Officially, Osepa hasn't heard a thing, he says.
We'll see, Osepa.
Not Soon Enough
"Soon" InselAir will commence firing personnel, reducing the work force with 45-55 members. Maybe even next week!
Then again, maybe not. At any rate, this should have been done years ago.
On His Way
Ex-minister Imalootin is on his way to the prison in Caracas from his comfy house arrest. So there's still some semblance of justice working in Venezuela? Nexrt stop, Curaçao.
Shorty, Imalootin and the rest of the Clan of Goons are mainly suspected now of cooperating with the gambling mafia and, related to that, of having to do with the Helmin Wiels murder. Wait and see.
The Dutch attorney general has advised court to refer the Shorty case back to the Curaçao court; an advise that's only very rarely not followed by the court. Which, translated for the non-legal mind, would mean: Shorty's definitely lost. 2018-09-04
Good News? That Depends
Rotterdam and Curaçao harbor companies will become close cooperators. Is the Rotterdam one less corrupt? I wouldn't dare say. But one thing's for sure, they're much more professional over there.
Keep On Trying!
"The government is working on an integrated approach to improve the government's finances in a sustainable way. An approach that focuses on economic growth, improving financial management and strengthening the administrative power of the government apparatus."
Says PM Rhuggenaath.
Sounds good, huh? Too bad we heard it so often before. It probably will turn out to mean more civil servants, higher taxes and better ways to collect them.
He Got It Coming
Ex[?]-FOØL Maurice Adriaens, who after a comfy job with Hato Airport landed a gig as director of Corporation Tourism Bonaire, got kicked out of there with the agreed upon notice period of 2 months. However, CTB didn't judge it necessary for him to appear at his job during that time. In other words, booted out stante pede.
Allegations are several cases of fraud. Adriaens denies, yawn.
InserAil Goes on Frying
The judge, in hes/hir magistral wisdom, has given Insel one more last chance. They keep getting that, don't they?
Pay Up, Crooks!
The court has confiscated 2 million in total from Shorty and his moll, which they have stolen by bribery. Of course the Criminal Couple will appeal. However, the payment becomes irrevocable as soon as Shorty's last appeal will be declined by the Dutch courts.
Which doesn't look like it will happen: the Dutch attorney general has advised court to refer the case back to the Curaçao court; an advise that's very rarely not followed by the court. Which, translated for the non-legal mind: Shorty's definitely lost. 2018-08-30
Say, Green Force...
This is a good way to get rid of plastic trash: ship it over to Holland and hide 240 keys of cocaine in there. It was, however, discovered by customs; such bad luck.
My question is: who but Green Force ships out plastic trash? Nobody? Hmm.
Good Point, SMOC
SMOC expresses surprise that it seem impossible to get a really clear and well-founded answer to the question what the impact of Isla refinery on the Curaçao economy really is.
Fact is, of course, that all those empty-heads are just repeating what others said before.
Brag Along with Martina
Pinhead Martina claims his ministry has processed over 2300 applications for a commercial license this year. Presumably he does so because of the many legit complaints about long waiting times. But reactions are as only was to be expected: many of those applications (which we don't get to see) have been for one-day peddling permits, which hardly count.
Now that there is so much strife and struggle going on with the coast (Baoase, Klein Curaçao, Caracasbaai—to name but a few) the VVRP ministry [traffic, transport and spatial planning] has started an inventory of the coast line, which may justifiably be called our most important asset; and not only touristically.
Why have governments always to run behind the times and after the accomplished facts?
There is a second candidate wants to take over InselAir. Gee, I never knew before that airlines were run by retarded people. Except ours, there's that.
Not Recent Baoase, we're told by regular Henk Pasman, has started illegal expansions in 2002. Everybody let it go. Why? you ask? One has suspicions but that would be slander. Oh well, as long as I don't call any names: ministers and spoiled brats.
Fundashon Kas Popular has 100 million coming from the government. They can't go on advancing it. How they could until now? is a good question.
There's no money for the necessary upgrades of sewage treatment plants. Needed is 30 million for Klein Hofje alone (1 out of 3 of which 2 or not working). 67% of homes is not even connected to a sewer.
So there. Good thing we have that Chute/Shut.
Hold it! The same minister promises "uncontrolled disposal of raw sewage will stop." How, she doesn't really explain. Not that she could. Industrial sewage is the problem; it will have to be taken "somewhere else" than Seru Fortuna.
One More Week
The court will decide on InselAir's fate and bankruptcy on August 31. We can hardly wait.
That Figures Imalootin does everything he can, assisted by ex-PM Shorty and ex-ministers Martha and Josepa (all members of the clan, you bet), to avoid expulsion from Venezuela to Curaçao.
Ain't Tourism Great?
Playa Piskadó near Westpunt until a few years ago was a quiet place where fisherpersons worked their trade. It's ruined now by tourists, who have discovered they can pester visit turtles there. Poor turtles; of course there's always a number of swimmers who can't leave them alone but have to grab 'em by the shield or a leg. Be that as it may, the fisherpersons are sick and tired of it. You wanna bet who wins? Thought so.
They are already renting chairs and umbrellas on that beach. I keep having to look for quiet places to take a swim.
Pro and Contra
Baoase is a resort, a very expensive one, along the coast by Pietermaai. I am totally convinced that the management's actions there, shutting of the way to the beach, are illegal. I am just as convinced that it's no use protesting along "the usual channels" because that will just disappear in a desk drawer.
On the other hand, the spontaneous protest actions where Baoase property has been damaged, do look very well organized; probably by ex-PM Shorty and his Goons. Another give-away is that the police didn't lift a finger to stop that.
So what to think? The protestors are right but should take other ways, which will get 'em nowhere. Impasse.
As far as I get it, Baoase is run by the former exploiters of the Plaza Hotel.
That's That Conoco-Phillips has arranged a deal with PdVSA so the attachment will be lifted.
Remains the question, will PdVSA be able to pay the rest of the installments agreed upon (total 2 billion dollars). Because if not, it will start all over again.
See What I Mean?
The new hospital will cost yet another 200 million guilders more than planned (US$110 million). Oh that auntie Suzy. But in all fairness, this was another gift from her predecessors. A whole company of them.
This is good for a belly laugh: the extra costs will be financed by private companies, so they won't appear on the country budget. As if we won't pay for it anyway.
It should open in 2019. December?
Light on the Matter
It was most interesting to hear auntie Suzy, when parliament attacked her, or actually Health Inspector Huurman, declare that it wasn't she who had called him back but her predecessor. I had been surprised all the time that she's actually done a good thing.
Curaçao rep in Holland Begina wants te abandon the new location in den Haag and move back to the old one, now that a Dutch court has pronounced the sale of the old building invalid. Begina says the whole moving affair "possibly" was a rip-deal instigated by Fräudlein Wiels.
Why hasn't this woman been prosecuted yet? Or, for that matter, Begina himself, who was working for Wiels at the time but never opened his mouth.
Lock 'Em Up!
Quackie Constancia got 20 unconditional months in jail for her role in the surgical masks fraud. Also, she may not be a minister for another 5 years. No doubt she'll appeal; with her chutzpah she may gamble on getting off lighter—which I strongly doubt.
Hubby and "former friend" (hah!) also got prison terms of 20 and 8 months.
An experiment with free parking in downtown Punda resulted in more shoppers visiting. Quelle surprise! 2018-08-14
Those Cameras... Remember? It's a long time ago. Anyway, they were ordered from China where by now a gigantic 1984-like surveillance system is getting rolled out. Thanks to face recognition, you get negative points for terrible things like jaywalking and other capital crimes. Naughty.. not a good citizen! What this will mean for personal lives in China is anybody's guess (but I hate to think about it).
Police may also quick-scan your smartphone there for contact lists, photos, videos, social media posts, and email for "objectionable" material, and upload it to a central registry.
Say, does anybody really want anything like that here?
Newar Trinidad and Tobago, the seas are unsafe now bexcause of Venezuelan pirates. You ask, doesn't Venezuela have a XCoast Guard? It does, but one anonymous Venezuelan port official told the Washington Post that "Venezuelan coast guard officers have been boarding anchored vessels and demanding money and food." And there you are, or rather, go.
16 out of 3400 spoiled brats will get a one-year course in professionalism and personal development. It will take a year and nobody can tell us how much it'll cost. But I can tell you, it won't help much.
A big investigation will be started into why there's so much crime on the islands. They (=Leiden Holland University) want to set up a database containing all crimes. That will enable them to see how crimes in Holland are related to criminals coming from here. I wouldn't think there'd be much more needed for that than holding up a wet finger in the air.
Public ministry and justice have Great Expectations. Like, err, with the guns?
Gives Me a Buzz
I have been writing about mosquitoes before, here and there. Until now, no results but the same old, same old: remove trash heaps, only to get new ones in the same places a week later, and spray with stuff the mosquitoes become resistant against.
There are now several new techniques around to beat the problem. I already described Oxitec years ago but there has been no real follow-up there yet. Now, in Townsville Australia, a town has been setting out yellow-fever mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria. This bacteria, which is transmitted to new generations, prevents the spread by the mosquitoes of infectious diseases like dengue, zika and chikungunya. (Not a word about yellow fever, alas.) At a cost of $15/person everybody is from then protected against these diseases. Australia now plans to introduce this to larger towns and thinks the cost will eventually be reduced to $1/person. (This program is helped along by Bill Gates.)
Another hopeful development is what was discovered at Radboud of Nijmegen, Holland. The stuff used to treat cats against ticks and fleas helps to kill mosquitoes. This is still pretty vague and has to be further tested on humans, but looks good as well.
But minister of health auntie Suzy the Quack couldn't be bothered; she obviously prefers to work with murky Chinese alternative medicine. (There's gold in them thar drugs.)
Contractors complain that, as there is no money, government has stopped all maintenance on roads, schools, buildings etc.
This is not exactlytrue at all; they were doing pretty heavy work on the road to Westpunt only this week. And how about all those push pins and signs?
No Such Luck, Imalootin
His request to be set free has been declined. He will remain under arrest until his extradition (we can hardly wait). Alas, only house arrest.
In Newport Beach CA, USA, after 3 days the police have confiscated all rental scooters. The tourists people riding them were a nuisance. So there.
The plastic hysteria, I use the word with care, has reached Staten/parliament here. They want to join the feel-good crowd and forbid plastic carrying bags, cups and straws and cups and polystyrene (foam) bins. All good and well, but the straws is just ridiculous.
Everybody seems to forget what great stuff plastic is. We couldn't possibly do without it.
Yes, I hate plastic bags and food containers drifting all over, myself.
But take heart, solutions are on their way. May take some time. Then, it's off to the next unsurmountable problem.
Shorty in Court
He's getting to be an old pro acting there, but you wouldn't think so judging from his attitude. What I want to say is, he's getting his 2, or maybe 3 days, and the judge will pronounce on August 30. Then I'll tell you what he told. Don't give Shorty too much attention, is my thinking.
I Never Knew We Had Any
But we must have some export, because it keeps getting less. Not counting petrol products, 2016 exports went down with 21% in 2017 to 187 million guilders. Import was 6% less as well, total 275 million. Most export is to Bonaire, Holland and the USA.
Motorcycles and airplanes? That must be fake. Nobody builds those things here.
This year will be even worse, wanna bet?
Don't Blame the Cops
After a normal control (of Ostrich Farm) by the police was finished, a bunch of tourists arrived there riding quads. The cops saw two had the same license plate, and started checking further. Turned out, the rental agency hade made a total mess. Several quads had license plates for regular cars, you name it. So the cops confiscated the quads and the tourists had to rent a minibus to continue their tour.
Now everybody is mad at the police because "they are ruining tourism." And what else could they do? Let the tourists drive on, no doubt at least some of them uninsured?
What should have been done, but that's another department, is check those rental agencies. It's the tourism exploiters that are ruining tourism.
Aruba driving licenses are not valid in foreign countries. Somebody made a mistake in the registration and there you are.
Mafioso Corallo (Shorty's padrino) seems to have a Dutch passport (and also an Italian; at least). Holland is worried, but it's their problem. They should have checked when St. Maarten sent the application over there; all the islands must do that as long as we have a Dutch passport. Of course there must be many more around here who have two passports.
A Sign from Heaven
When Monday night Diosdado Cabello was urging socialist party delegates to give Venezuela's president Maduro unlimited power to "strengthen the party and revolution," raised his hand and asked others to follow suit, the lights abruptly went out and the live television transmission cut off.
What we need to look at the Chute/Shut problems is a committee! Why didn't they think of that before? Somebody's asleep at the wheel of the Ship of State and next it's gonna derail and crash to the ground. (Howzdat for mixed metaphors?) And think of all that money those committee members will be paid.
What Crazy, Nutty Times
Venezuela is forced to limit distribution of gasoline, just imagine. It can't be helped as their main source, Isla Refinery, cannot deliver since ConocoPhillips seized PdVSA's stocks.
Even mulish president Maduro has had to agree in public that the country is a mess. But he's not giving in, no sir: his Socialist Empire must be saved and his vassals and lackeys are supposed to come up with plans. Meanwhile, he has fought inflation by removing 3 zeroes, or maybe 5, from all prices. That will help!
I remember Charles de Gaulle in the 60s did the same thing with the French franc, turning it into the Nouveau Franc. But he only had to remove 2 zeroes.
It's All Gone
The government spent all money they had, so for the rest of the year they're stuck. They are also not allowed to borrow money. I can only hope it's going to be fun to watch.
It's Actually Happening!
The team that has been threatening to take out the billboards has actually started removing those eyesores. Owners will get the bill. If they know who they are, I can see some little possible problems there.
Ex-M*F*K PM Shorty and his moll will appear in court this week. The country sues them and wants the 2 million guilders they "allegedly" stole back, so the government can steal it in turn.
PAR minister Jesus-Leito is really working hard to spend our money on traffic signs etc. She is also having crossings marked with raised "push pins" that shake the living daylight out of you—and the nuts and bolts out of your car. (Hint: don't slow down, take 'em at full speed and you'll hardly notice them.) At any rate, people rightly detest them and are removing them, just like they did with those ridiculous speed bumps that appeared everywhere a few years ago.
The things are really all over. In some instances I can see why, but at other places they're really unnecessary and superfluous. In short, a nuisance.
Don't Give Them Ideas
Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons have devised a unique way to sabotage the system: they leave taps running continuously. If the crooks in Koraal Specht prison (Bo Futuro—Your Future) hear about this, it's gonna ruin us all. Water is even more expensive here than in Israel.
I Tip My Hat
Received a bunch of newspaper articles about Chut/Shut, whatever. This has now been going on for 4 years, starting August 2014. Every so often it has been announced that this was now being stopped.
Oh... And There We Go
A comment in KKCur claims there has never been a written agreement between the government and the parking meter gang.
A gentleman's agreement, then? Pas du tout le mot juste. 2018-07-30
Up In Air
It's not the first time AVA Airways Curaçao comes out with a long list of complaints against Curaçao government, whom AVA accuses of willful obstruction against the company. If only a third is true, it's serious enough. Let's take their claims point by point.
1—AVA has an email dated May 18, 2015 from InselAir's management to auntie Suzy, quote ordering her unquote, as minister, to deny AVA its economic permit.
2—AVA has filed [when?] a criminal complaint against InselAir and Römer on which the prosecutor has not taken action.
3—CSBS [Central Bank] was instructed [by whom?] to advise auntie Suzy to extort Ava Airways Curaçao by demanding an irrevocable and unconditional letter of credit for USD$48.9 million be posed by Ava Airways Curaçao in favor of the government, as a condition to obtain an aviation permit.
4—The same CBCS then loaned bankrupt InselAir an irrecoverable total of ANG36 million. This was supposed to save InselAir from firing personnel, which they had to do later anyway: 500 workers.
In fact, 300 or 350 were fired as far as I know. Bad enough, yes.
5—Neither did it help in maintaining inter-island connections; this was mainly accomplished by private company DiviDivi and SXM Winair.
6—Involved in all that was the same unwise man Etienne IJs who is now hard at work to try and save InselAir by a deal with Miami's One Laser Group.
7—Curaçao government seems to be prepared to cancel InselAir's more than 100 million guilders debt in social premiums and taxes, while asking AVA for a guarantee of 48.9 million dollars (88 million guilders).
8—Ava Airways Curaçao will sue both the government and InselAir for all damages resulting from the "criminal conspiracy" between InselAir and Camelia-Römer and Jesus-Leito to not grant their economic license.
9—AVA will address the Common Court of Justice to order the public prosecutor to investigate and prosecute InselAir, its management and auntie Suzy for public corruption involving the misuse of powers by Camelia-Römer as a minister.
10—According to AVA, this corruption is the sole reason why Curaçao has still not been upgraded to status 1 by the FAA.
Personally, I am convinced there's more to it, but it's certainly part of one fat mess.
AVA forgets to mention the 1.9 million dollars InselAir still has to pay to IATA.
The original article (in English) was published in Curaçao Chronicle.
As told by Arthur Donker, a guy writing irregular columns in KKC. When Wilsoen was minister of justice (really, wish I was kidding) and a jewelry store owner talked to him about the many burglaries in his and his colleagues' shops, Wilsoen told him it was their own fault. If they didn't sell such expensive stuff, the burglars would go someplace else. Wilsoen took a line through girls in miniskirts, who were just asking to be raped.
PAR minister Jesus-Leito says the parking money due the government has to be paid up retroactively. As if.
There is a solution in sight for the sewage discharge in sea near Hato (Shut/Chute). Typical government solution: a fee will have to be paid. This, after 20 million was claimed to have been reserved for solving the problem.
After that has been arranged and the money is rolling in, they will start investigating what technical solutions can be found to really stop that sewage discharge. Say, in 5 or 10 years?
They call that a solution?
A short circuit caused all electricity delivered to Isla refinery to come to a halt. Which means the refinery came to a full stop as well, of course. Now they're rebooting. Beware of the Big Black Clouds!
Ex Shorty minister Imalootin says he's going to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to complain about the teddible, teddible way our prosecutors are treating him. He's been held in Venezuela since March 2017 (that's something, at least) but there has been no case submitted in Curaçao.
His lawyer has asked the Venezuelan Constitutional High Court to set him free, but never got a reply. I imagine they're busy over there. At any rate, how can he blame Curaçao for that?
Mafioso Corallo (ex-PM Shorty's padrino), who has been turned loose by the Italians, is back on St. Maarten and checking out his gambling businesses.
Or good, whichever you prefer. LGO will not invest $20m in InselAir but not even half: ANG20m only. A mere 5% of InselAir's total debts. With that, they dream of buying 2 old Bombardier Q400 turboprops (at say $18m each) and 2 old-generation Boeing 737s.
The Unwise Men IJs and Martina hit again. At least, the End is Nigh.
2018 Even Worse
The economic prospects for this year are, just like we all had figured already, even worse than for last year.
KKN Chamber of Commerce wants Red Tape eradicated. I've been hearing that for 40 years. Not that they're wrong.
State of Anarchy
While everybody (well, almost everybody) is mad at Dutch foreign minister Blok for having called Suriname a failed state and seeing no future in multiculturalism (how does he dare?), here, again, 2 civil servants working for Kadaster land register were attacked by civilians. At another occasion, a journalist was attacked and had to be safeguarded by the police.
We haven't heard so much any more on plans to install lots of solar panels and change over to "green" energy ASAP. What we did hear about is Aqualectra going out and buying more diesel (so-called "fossil fuel" and hated by the Greenies) generators.
And now Goldman Sachs predicts a 24% slump in solar panel production over this year (was 3% just a few months ago); Ontario cancels 790m dollars' worth of green energy contracts—to save the customers money; Crédit Suisse predict a 17% slump.
The good news is, is you want to buy one, prices are expected to go down by 25%.
Same Old News
The Curaçao economy shrank with 1.7% last year. Nobody's surprised, except that it wasn't more.
This year will be even worse.
We Know That, IJs
IJs tells us that if One Laser Group LLC does not come to a deal with InselAir creditors, InselAir will go bankrupt. We don't need telling, IJs. Fly away, our 30 million.
At any rate, than this soap would finally be over. Curtain! and no applause.
More Power to Us
The government is investing 10 million guilders in Curoil to guarantee sufficient available fuel (snide side comment: you can make a lot of money if you're involved in building those tanks; and I don't necessarily mean building them).
And Aqualectra informs us that their new plant building proceeds like "greased lightning". Good. Now for underground cables before the next hurricane makes a total mess. Dream on...
Hurray! Another Committee!
Auntie Suze has announced a committee to look at the catfight between inspector of health Huurman and Advent hospital. Until that committee has delivered, she will have no comment.
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members get paid.
Caught Him on Tape
Advent Hospital has complained with auntie Suzy about inspector of health Huurman's "misconduct". What it boils down to is, Huurman and Advent agreed to restart talks between him and the hospital, but said he would file a complaint with the Public Ministry anyway. And they have that on tape (I don't think Huurman would deny it). So what?
In fact, Health Inspection has now filed that complaint.
KDT towing company is in problems. No ships coming in at the refinery means no work for them. A new partner for Isla refinery may have been found among 15 by early September, and then the first agreements will be signed in October, and only after that actual work can start. Which looks problematic, even if it all works out.
We Must Not Give Up Hope
Says trade union boss Meulen about the take-over of InselAir by OLG. Hmm, sounds very optimistic... The new planes will be a Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 and an (unspecified) jet. Meulen hopes all 150 personnel can stay and maybe even part of the 300 who have been fired can return.
Now You're Talkin'
Aqualectra announces they plan to enlarge the capacity of their Diesel plant from 39 to 113 MW.
In Aruba the anti-vaccination hysteria has started as well. Many parents refuse to have their children get their follow-up injection.
Let's all thank The Lancet for having published that nonsensical article coupling vaccination to autism. They retracted it, but then it was too late. Since then, illnesses that were as good as eradicated are making a come-back.
The InselAir flight SXM-CUR was full, and so they took off without any luggage loaded at all; too heavy. Too bad they "forgot" to tell the passengers about it. As the next flight is a day later they will have to wait that long.
If that flight isn't full as well...
... maybe not about nothing, but comes close. Some fool of a Dutch foreign minister, going by the name of Blok, has said that there is no future in the much-vaunted multiculturalism the Europeans are force-fed. For Europe, I stroingly feel he has a point. But then, he made the mistake of saying that it had flopped everywhere. He should take a look at us, we don't know any better and are doing quite well.
That Suriname is a failed state, who cannot agree? That we may be on our way there, who can deny it? Still, there are some people who try to avoid that.
The good honest government folks say they've been negotiating with Miami One Laser Group LLC about InselAir for 4 months.
But OLG has only been registered for 2 months. Unless you'd rather believe the good honest government folks than Amigoe newspaper.
OLG is owned by a couple of Venezolanos. I hope they're good for their money. Drugs, you ask? How would I know.
Since 2010, we're told, no money has been transferred to the country by the gang that exploits the parking meters. That's about 40,000 guilders per month, get out my trick, total 3,840,000 million or $2,112,000.
Mark the year, that's when we got our glorious independence; you think it's a coincidence?
Weird Is the Word
I only read the intro to the article, because who really cares? But CTB statistics claim that in June overnight staying tourists grew by 10%, as 2% more arrived.
Sure, Quite Possibly
Radio Direct, who has been transmitting the public meetings of Staten parliament for the last 3 years, complains that the new contract for that has gone to Curom/Z86 station. Radio Direct feels this is a political thing (nobody would be surprised, parliament is chock full of politicians) and mentions several points that sound good. Like, Curom hasn't paid their SVB social insurance premiums as it should. But what do I know?
Hey, is there anybody at all but you and me who pays those premiums?
He Did It
Ex-Shorty minister Imalootin' filed a complaint against the Public Ministry and the country of Curaçao because they have damaged his good name. The guy does have chutzpah, you can't deny it.
Next, he'll be after me for distorting his name Jamaloodin. That should also be good for '"serious emotional damage", psychological injuries caused by psychological pain and complaints and loss of joy in life.' You're welcome, Imalootin'.
The guy who wants to start a cow farm now says that his original location is no good. He wants to move it to the old plantation Padiki/St. Patrick. Also he wants to include 2000 or 3000 sheep or goats in his grandiose plans. After all, what's 1000 more or less? And what's the difference between sheep and goats?
One cow, depends on who you talk to, produces 30 liters or 65 kilos (may be pounds which sounds more like it) of manure daily. That's 30,000 liters or 3 10-ton trucks—I did it in my head.
Too bad if you live in Barber, downwind from there. But don't worry, people say that in a later stage, once he has the area in his hands, he will just build a couple of hotels and all that instead.
Privately, I'd love to be able to buy lamb and mutton which is almost impossible to get here. But I guess I won't.
Until end 2019 (when the contract with PdVSA expires). 15 interested parties and Refineria di Kòrsou have signed it. What happens next? So don't ask.
At any rate, that's only if Isla refinery gets any crude oil to process in the first place.
Laser and InselAir
Imagine, for once Martina was right: One Laser Group LLC from Miami is prepared to start working with Insel. They are prepared to sink 20 million dollars in the company, for which they'll get 49% of the shares (the rest is held by Curaçao government).
Not so very much, you say? It's a point.
In fact, Curaçao government only has 51% voting rights; who actually owns the shares I don't remember having been told.
One More Airline
Turks and Caicos-based interCaribbean Airways are starting flights between Curaçao and Jamaica. More details on flight dates and times will follow later.
The too-big-to-fail 2008 USA bailout of the banks, in real terms, cost more than the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the Race to the Moon, the Savings and Loans crisis, the Korean War, the New Deal, the Invasion of Iraq, the Vietnam War, and NASA combined.
Or so I'm told. Small wonder we've had some little problems then.
Is What I Figured
Growing vegetables and fruits locally is not cheaper than importing them. Is the conclusion of a report by Ecorys and Curconsult, written for the Dutch government. I guess it's more about the so-called BES-islands, but what's the difference with us here? Ask me a hard one: our salaries are even higher.
Is what I figured.
In other news, New Jersey is considering to tax tap water.
As if we here haven't been paying that ever since DWD Drinkwater Dienst was established.
Israel has voted in a law (42-4) to privatize their Israel Electric Company. 10 years from now, production of 70% of total use now will be reduced to 30%.
"The reform will ensure competition, dramatically increase investment in the electricity grid to ensure reliability in supply, and solve the issue of the vertical monopoly of IEC," said Shai Babad, Finance Ministry director-general. The IEC will become much more efficient and will hold "significantly smaller debt," he said.
No such luck with Aqualectra here.
A company that's supposed to join up with InselAir has been announced, though not officially. It's some Miami outfit. Negotiations may take a month longer, so as usual Pinhead Martina was a bit premature. Is why I don't even bother to give you the name, as it's far from sure.
Praise the lord that the Chinese will not be taking over Isla refinery. They are worse colonialists than the Europeans ever were. For example, in Kenya they are building a new railroad for their "One Belt, One Road" scheme of world domination. Of course, Kenya borrowed the money—from China. Now the Chinese build it, locals get hardly a chance in spite of promises. In fact, the Chinese are accused of creating an apartheid scheme. Many workers are imported on tourist visa. Instruction manuals are in Chinese, and not translated.
In Montenegro something similar is going on. Again, for the BRI Belt and Road Initiative, a "road to nowhere" is built there from Bar port to Serbia. Again, this is fine for the Chinese. But Montenegro has borrowed the money (from China, who else?), amounting to 80% of their GDP. Nobody but the Chinese needs that road. Again, it is built by Chinese workers.
Let us congratulate ourselves.
Too Bad If You Need It
Surgeon van Leeuwen says it's three weeks ago since an operation was possible in SeHospital. That's not exactly the complete truth; I know this lady who had a cataract operation there last Thursday.
Anyway, you can always get a ticket to Nigeria and get it done there. Update: I don't know where van Leeuwen got this from, but Sehos denies this and says in the same period, 6 operations per day have been performed.
That's Not So Easy
Ex Shorty M*F*K party (boy, that was some party!) minister Imalootin, now resting his derrière in Venezuela until he gets extradited, if and when, announces he plans to sue the public ministry, dept. of justice, whatever comes in handy for the loss of his good name.
Didn't know he had one.
One More Orwell Quote
Couldn't let this one go. From 1984:
"Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."
Admittedly, we're not that far yet but slowly but surely, we're getting where sainted Helmin Wiels wanted us to get. Remember Pietermaai (everybody still calls it Pietermaai instead of Kaya Godet; check it out on Google maps); De Ruijterkade (now Sha Caprileskade); Peter Stuyvestant College (now KAP)? And by the way, that statue never turned up, did it, in spite of ultimatums. I'm sure the fish like it.
And also mindful of the hysterical iconoclasts taking down statues of USA Southern generals and such. But I admit loving it when they were tearing down Lenin's and Stalin's statues. Now for Mao.
The End of the Affair
Sugar packing company Suproco has gone bankrupt and its machinery will be sold. They didn't produce any sugar, they just bought it somewhere else, colored, sifted and packed it for export to the €U, where it could be entered free of duties. Because we're Dutch, you know. Anyway, that sort of parasitism doesn't work anymore.
Rumors went around that Dutch Supreme Court has declared ex-PM Shorty's and his moll's appeal niet ontvankelijk [not admissible]. Which would mean the Curaçao court verdict stands. This was first confirmed by Shorty himself, and then later denied by M*F*K who say the case has been declared admissible.
But both the supreme court and our local justice deny that.
Not the First Time
Pinhead Martina announces that the name of the strategic partner for InselAir will be known next Thursday or Friday. But I think I won't hold my breath. At any rate, even then: what good will it do? InselAir had a choice between four candidates and will now select one. (Just like Isla Refinery was supposed to have a choice between over 20 candidates?)
But let's remain positive, even though we have little reason for that.
What a Laugh
Auntie Suzy the Quack and Pinhead minister Martina are organising a "National Dialogue" on sound volumes. What for? The regulations are quite clear: in built-up areas, between 19:00 and 7:00 maximum sound level allowed is 45db.
If you're not sure what that means, that's less noise than a refrigerator makes (50db). But how would Pinhead and Auntie know? They'd have to look it up which seems beyond their admittedly weak powers.
Government Cash-flow Down
By end of April it was 185 million, against (2017) 247.9 and (2016) 262.7.
Good, then they can't spend it, you say? Not so fast; they'll just borrow and have your children pay the bill.
Many institutions complain that their government subsidies have been cut; but on the other hand, it turns out that those who do still get them are in heavy debts and often don't pay their social insurance costs. Which in fact should automatically end the subisidies, which has not happened. Yet.
I say, cut 'em off. "Automatically" is not so automatic after all.
Can Go On for Years
Against Quackie Constancia the prosecution asked for 34 months calaboose and 5 years out of politics. Then she will appeal, just like ex-PM Shorty.
Sehos in Trouble; Again
Though SVB social insurance has given SeHospital 2.5 million guilders, they are still unable to execute all their duties there. Airco in operation rooms doesn't work... no need to sum it all up. It's a mess.
Personnel of the Veneto Hotel have now taken action to have it declared bankrupt. In which case they will receive a lump sum from SVB social insurance, which they prefer to getting no salary.
Let's build a few more hotels!
Count Them It
There is, after a long time, now one  tanker in the Isla refinery harbor; and none at all in Bullenbaai.
You know, those reflectors in the road deck. Very nice. (On Hato Airport, I can show you some that are turned 90 degrees so they don't work for cars—only for pedestrians—who mostly don't use headlights, of course.) At any rate, there's a problem with a set of new ones. Someone has been making money, again: these are solar-powered! And I here thinking that reflecting your headlight was enough.
Anyway, they don't even seem to work but are just fudzing out. Ain't Government Great?
Same Minister, Same Difference
That woman responsible for the cat eyes is also irresponsible for the still downgraded FAA status of Hato Airport. Not that you can entirely blame her, but still. She is the follow-up of auntie Suzy, who was the follow-up of Mudbelly Cooper. Small wonder that it hasn't been fixed yet. The news is, it has been postponed again. Maybe next year?
Maybe. Then again, maybe it's deliberately. The operator of a bar, restaurant, whatever got a visit by the cops who told him that he was not allowed to have live music there. As far as I can read Dutch (in fact, pretty darn well—I'm sure better than the average cop) I conclude from his license that the business definitely does have a license to play live music.
So what now? Go to court? This sort of thing is tiresome and discouraging.
But I'm still glad I don't live around there. I like my undisturbed sleep.
Won't Help Much
As long as sewage is still sluiced untreated into the sea here. But in Hawai'i, the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate is now forbidden. These chemicals are not only harmful to coral reefs but maybe to humans as well, by causing an eczema-like allergic reaction and disrupting hormone levels. Octinoxate may damage skin cells and lead to premature aging.
So check that label when you buy the stuff.
That's how it crumbles: Court judges that ms. de Freitas had no employment protection as a board member of SSC Study Financing and so has no right to continued payment of her salary. What will happen with SSC's claim that she has to pay back 773.879,08 guilders, plus her responsiblity for the damage by her hiring psychological bureau Experientia and her credit card spending is not known (yet).
Shutting down Isla Refinery means an economic disaster, says minister Gijsbertha. He got that straight.
Forget about tourism; it's next to nothing. Harbor income? We'll be back to what we were before the Panamá Canal opened—a rock producing virtually nothing. Only piracy is left, and with shutting down the off-shore biz, even that's taken away.
Two weeks, huh?
Once again, the owners of illegal signs get two weeks to remove them. Just like on June 23 (which is two weeks ago). I'm sure they're shaking in their slippers now.
Ms. de Freitas might have to pay millions back to SFC [foundation study financing]. I bet she can't; at any rate, won't. Goodbye, once again to all that lovely money... we'll pay up as always.
That's Some Idea!
Israel thinks it over: privatize the mail services. Now, it's only costing (and not only) them money—that while there's money in them thar stamps.
As we all should know, the European post system was set up by dictator Napoléon's minions about 2 centuries ago. It has definitely served its time. Look at the USA... Israel... us here! You want to be sure it gets over there? Or somewhere at all (boondox don't count)? Use FedEx, HDL or UPS. There may be more. They all make money like maniacs.
But C***-Post doesn't. 2015 loss 2.8 million guilders (at first estimated at 1 million, hah hah but bitterly); which admittedly is better than 2015: 5.7 million. 2000 guilders/1000 dollars per man, woman, child and all alphabet soup members. 2016? 2017? We've all (well, most of us) turned in our income tax statements long since.
I am admittedly a bit down on them (and who's gonna blame me?) because this morning I wasted almost an hour there waiting for my turn, and then I was told "come back when we've called you, there's no customs people here right now."
I kid you not.
USA President Trump last August (and later as well) had serious thoughts about invading Venezuela and putting an end to its misery. But everybody else was against and he listened to them. (Hey, howzdat? Not a Method character actor, that Trump guy.)
A pity. Game over! in two weeks. This is no Vietnam or Afghanistan... Especially when the CIA is against, go ahead. There are strong suspicions, to put it mildly, that they make billions on the drugs trade.
Of course I agree there would have been, err, some trouble.
Hold Your Hats
50 million will be invested in the cold seawater for cooling project. I'll admit I never have expected that. But it's no guarantee it's going to work, of course.
This is the first time I heard Renaissance Hotel uses the system. That would be one client less, no matter how you look at it.
There's a law in the works to establish an Integrity Bureau for Government. It's supposed to start working on February 1, 2019.
Venezuela Now Province of China
China has lent PdVSA 5 billion dollars. Which in fact is peanuts and not nearly enough to save Maduro from perdition. Anyway, for all practical purposes PdVSA now belongs to China. Maybe they can be saved yet, especially since this is accompanied with a quarter billion investment in PdVSA. Personally, I guess it's much too late—but I've been wrong before.
As Venezuela, which used to export cocoa and coffee, has nothing left but oil, for me that spells the end of a once proud country. But I admit they're back at exporting Coca-Cola to us, thus undercutting our local Coca-Cola plant (price ~ANG3/2 liters against 5 for the Curaçao product).
Venezuela's national debt was 890 billion dollars in 2013. It got worse since then. Much worse. In fact, nobody could tell how much worse. Good luck to those Chinese, they're gonna need it.
Let's Build One More
Hotel in trouble... May go down the drain soon... So let us build another, quick! This time it's the Veneto Hotel where personnel, despite empty promises, don't get their salaries. They've gone on strike. Too bad if you're staying there (not too many people do, though, is a pretty fair guess).
Loud and Clear—Got It
The PAC Parking Authority (you'll never guess what the C stands for), who gets bagfuls of complaints about their crummy system, turns out to be the company Global Metals NV who are occupied with putting up the jungle of traffic signs that lately have been appearing all along the roads. Remember? 2018-07-04
Great Idea: "You're Fired!"
Six years ago, the 20,000 good citizens of Mexican town Cherán kicked out organized crime, politicians and their parties and cops, not necessarily in that order. (What's the difference anyway, you might well ask.)
Cherán's doing just fine now with a system of self-rule based on horizontal, direct-democratic assemblies. Every entrance to the town is guarded by an autonomous militia which confiscates all contraband: banners and posters from every major political party in Mexico.
We're Getting a Ferry?
At least that's what Aruba says: a ferry between Curaçao and Aruba. It will have room for 800 passengers and 300 cars. This sounds like over-capacity to me but what do I know? A fast ferry it will be, but they don't mention how fast. It's supposed to be operated by Spanish line Fred Olsen (not a very Spanish name), or maybe Dutch company Waterbus, or maybe an unnamed Turk.
Reading between the lines, pretty vague as yet. But we're promised a price of less than ANG100/USD55 per passenger (no price for car quoted).
Update: promised before the end of this year.
I Don't Care and Guess You Don't Either
Otherwise, tough. Read all you want, and then some, about the King's visit to Curaçao in the press. Not here.
Blow Me Down With a Toothpick
Tourism actually grew last May. For a change. At least, that's what CTB claims and why should they lie?
An old people's home has been raided and the people removed to other locations. It was a mess; unfinished concrete block walls with no doors put in, a Place of Filth. One "nurse" per 15 people. The guys running that place should be punished, and so should auntie Suzy. Not to mention the relatives of the oldies.
C***-Post Hits Again
Got a package back today, sent in October 2017 to Berlin. Meanwhile, the guy who ordered the Werbata Maps has come by here in person to pick them up. Long since, I may add.
Also, earlier this week we got two leaflets announcing good buys at some shop. Fine. Then, yesterday, we got an entire package of the same folder: six of 'em. I guess the shop paid C***-Post (International) good money to distribute the leaflets. Wasted.
Shooting at spoiled brats! That even beats shooting at tourists! That's crossing a border (or as the cliché goes, "red line"). The guys who've done that will be punished extra heavy, has been announced.
So if you and I get shot, that's not very serious. Seriously.
Curoil's profits went down with almost half last year. They hasten to add 2016 was exceptionally good. Turndown because of low bunkering and fuel sales. What kind of fuel we're not told.
Now They're Shooting!
There have been shots fired at members of the X-Team which serves to check for illegal building, trash dumping and stuff like that. That's going much too far. Anarchy is taking over, no matter what soothing words justice minister Girigorie utters.
Another committee! It's supposed to take a month to figure out what to do about the refusal of the G.P.s to sign sick notes to show to your employer. Costs will be paid by SVB social security bank.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Back Flying—For Now
After InselAir's F50 was forced to return to St. Maarten a few weeks ago, the company had only one left. (Not that they told us this.) There are no replacement engines to be had and the aircraft may have to be abandoned.
Now InselAir has leased an Embraer E-190 from Coviasa. Looks like a wet lease, which we have been told not so long ago was a financial disaster.
Not Hot Air: Cold Water
But maybe the same thing. Again, an effort is made to start using cold sea water as a source for air conditioning energy. All buildings located near Zakitó (if and when) must use it, plus the new hospital: then, a start can be made laying a pipe-line, which had a ANG25 million price tag back in 2012.
My guess is this will fudze out—again. It has been tried before, with Ctex (remember?) and near Hato Airport. Which reminds me.
Besides, you mean to tell me that the airconditioning installation for the new hospital hasn't been paid for and is not as good as installed yet?
Fisherpersons protest the plans to turn Rif and Zakitó into tourist areas. Development, you know. Tourism, you know. It means they'll have to stop fishing there. At any rate, their harbor may be gone.
Maybe auntie Suzy can give us her ideas on further promoting of fisheries.
Isla refinery would prefer to find one long-term sucker to keep them working until and after 2019, but would accept a short-term sucker to keep them alive until 2019 when the PdVSA-contract expires and switch to another sucker after that. So they are in effect looking for 3 possible sucker companies? Hard to find in the hard-boiled oil biz.
And the government says they are looking for ways to keep down pollution. They've always said that, doan mean nuffin, mon.
Great! Even More Tourists
CHATA hotel exploiters feel CTB should be more independent from the government. An wonderful idea... for starters, let's cut their subsidies. Ke alivio!
CHATA's head Slier also mentions it's about time work is made of that Tourism Master Plan. I guess he's about the only one who still remembers that monstrosity exists. Says Slier, ten years from now there will be twice as many hotel rooms, each with a double average daily rate. He obviously thinks that's a good thing. That would mean about 800,000 stay-over tourists per year, more than 5 times the population. In New Zealand, they are worried because they get as many tourists as there are people living there.
Slier is the owner of Papagayo, doubling the capacity of which will hopefully be stopped.
No More Sick Notes
By which are not meant criticisms like those habitually heaved at the government here; no, the doctors have stopped writing these things for workers who are ill. These then took those to their boss who is then obliged to pay them 2 days of their salary now as long as they don't remain ill any longer.
Being a hopelessly addicted free-lancer, I don't even see how that works. You get ill and you have to schlepp your wasted body to the doctor to get a letter? Presumably, when you go there after you got better it doesn't count.
The doctors also want to raise their tariffs from 42 to 60 guilders per consultation, as their hasn't been any indexing for a long time (how long?). That will really help to bring down the SVB deficit.
Illegal signs will get a warning sticker that they have to be removed in two weeks' time, or the government will do it and charge the owners for the cost. And you know how everything the government does is more expensive than what you do yourself, so...
Question here is, who knows who's the owner? We'll have to wait and see if this helps, and when. Two weeks? Count-down starts today.
Martina Does Not Agree
Pinhead Martina thinks Ecorys is wrong, Curaçao harbor is not inefficient at all. There is more to it than CPS/CPA, says Martina—thus confirming that those two are inefficient. No matter, Martina denies, while admitting he doesn't know as there are no microdata, that maritime transport is a factor in high local prices.
Oh no? By the way, we haven't heard much about that court case.
Oil No, Trouble Si
As there is no oil forthcoming from Venezuela, "Curaçao" is searching for a company that will take over the refinery from PdVSA so the refinery (and the harbor) can go back to work.
You know, that will not be easy. Where's the crude oil supposed to come from in the first place?
Because the last Memorandums of Understanding weresuchhits? This one sounds a bit more reliable, though, but still is rather hazy. It's with Dutch TNO [Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research] but how anybody could believe that auto-piloted cars will become reality here within a reasonable time period (say, 25 years) is a mystery to me. Let's fix the road surfaces first, right?
The rest of the proposals is still woozier. I (not really) wonder who's paying.
Those New Cranes
For the container terminal. They will be arriving by the end of 2019, pinhead Martina has been told by CPA/CPS. If then. That's only 16 months behind schedule.
So Are We Worried
Just like Cft [financial supervision]: they have trouble believing that the country budget is under control. You really don't want to know the details.
Oh, Where Did It Go?
According to Green Force, 20 million has been reserved for sewage treatment installations, but they have not been built. Where did all that luvverly money go?
We know where the shit goes: it's still spouted into the sea at Shut. An inheritance of auntie Suzy.
All legal weapons will be registered. What a great idea! Until now, all guns in hands of police etc. were a big unknown.
Minister Girigorie tells us how many illegal guns have been confiscated: 2016 - 111, 2017 - 152, and this year 84, which is expected to grow to 312. Such precision! Let's hope it helps; it's at least claimed the number of atrakos is going down.
Not really. An importer of medicines agrees with health inspector Huurman on generic medicines, and also emphasizes the government should be faster licensing them. Van Leeuwen slyly points out there's more money to be made with brand name medicines, and no doubt he's right.
Hint: Van Leeuwen imports generic brands only.
The shop owners of Willemstad don't like the change in sickness pay. They want to be exempted. Business is hard enough, they say.
Another Hot Air Merchant
A guy Koffijberg announces a group of Dutch investors will be visiting Curaçao in August. It's a great test market here, he says. Maybe, but how much money can you make that way? Koffijberg also claims we need five times as many hotel rooms. In other words, he's building castles in the hot sky. I'm sure he gets along fine with pinhead Martina and PM PM Rhuggenaath.
I understand Koffijberg is a highly paid spoiled brat.
Hurrah! Back to the Gambling Tables
Veneto Casino and Holiday Beach Hotel get electricity from Aqualectra utility again. It's not known if they have actually paid, and how much. Knowing Aqualectra, Veneto probably gets a discount—which we get to pay. So maybe Veneto can now pay his personnel; with our money.
Far too many medicines are prescribed by their expensive brand name, while much cheaper generic versions are on the market. Also, doctors write twice as many recipes as in Holland. This alone could save the country 10 to 30 million guilders per year (with an SVB deficit of 10 million/year now). Sounds better than auntie Suzy's plans.
Huurman also says that Curaçao uses too many medications, total 120 million/year, while a healthier life style would often work just as good for obesitas, diabetes, hypertension and kidney trouble. (Not always, though.)
And finally, says Huurman, doctors are much too fast asking for expensive tests. Don't I know it.
But It's OK
Half of the 330 spoiled brats who were hired or promoted during the short-but-still-much-too-long-lived Prick Pisas cabinet will be "placed back"—but they don't have to worry, none of them will suffer any negative consequences.
In that case, what's the use?
Prickie was PM for two entire months. You can't say the guy didn't work hard.
Can't Both Be True
Isla Refinery is supposed to come back on line, gradually, while the crude transports from Venezuelan harbors are replaced by Ship-to-Ship transfers. Oh. And I thought they were shut down because of broken pipes.
Who's Right Here?
When you're ill for two days, your boss has to pay you those days' salary. But when you remain sick longer, SVB social insurance pays for those first two days as well. So the law has been changed, "because" the bosses advise you to remain sick longer, so they won't have to pay. Which supposedly saves SVB 5 million guilders/year (worth it with a 10 million deficit).
That's what minister Gijsbertha says. But the employers are raging mad and say that Gijsbertha should come with some proof. Which, no matter how you look at it, could get interesting. Between you and me, I trust neither party.
Better Hurry Up?
CPS and CPA got a new concession to exploit the harbor facilities about two years ago. One condition was that the giant cranes in use at the container terminal would be renewed. They're 30 years old and don't work. CPA/CPS have until September to do this. Otherwise...
Otherwise nothing, of course.
Isla refinery has been out of order for two weeks now. This time is broken pipes. They'll first check why they got broken, then fix. I can tell them why: those pipes are old.
So much for the story the refinery has been largely renewed a few years ago. As if.
Got a new credit card, with a little paper "to activate just call this number." I called. Got a message that I had to choose one of several numbers for language. That led me to another (much longer) message to choose numbers for several choices. Mine wasn't mentioned ("activate" if you still remember). So I just pressed one at random. That gave me the message "We're closed today, these are our office hours."
All That Brouhaha
Pinhead Martina finally gave in. The Venezuelan fruit and veg sellers may return to their former location, the floating market on de Ruijterkade oops Sha Caprileskade. Some Curaçao sellers get a stand there too, but they may not sell fruits; only tourist junk.
Suzy deserves a new name. She has now definitely proved she's an unworthy successor to our former champ, Quackie Constancia. Hardly back from her visit to China, she has announced a list of "alternative" medicines that may be imported from now on.
Please do not read "generic" instead of "alternative" which in fact means "worthless, unproven."
Health inspector Huurman, where are you now?
Minister Gijsbertha is so proud! He came back from Venezuela with a permission for InselAir to resume flights to Venezuela. InselAir had to stop those flights in March 2017, because they were in financial problems; as Venezuela owed, and still owes, Insel 67 million dollars. Cuckoo! Gijsbertha says negotiations will start "soon" on getting that money. Question: When and especially if, will that be used to pay off Insel's debt to our government? Not that that will do any of us any good.
Airport Tax Not Up—Yet
Don't worry, it will come. Aruba raises the tax with 40% (forty percent!) on July 1, so why we not? Cuckoo! 2018-06-16
Great, Let's Do It
In New Zealand, tourists will be taxed from mid 2019. They'll have to pay US$17 to 24, with price hikes for immigration fees and visas starting this November.
"Rapid growth has impacted on the costs and availability of publicly-provided infrastructure," tourism minister Kelvin Davis said. "Many regions are struggling to cope and urgently need improved infrastructure, from toilet facilities to carparks." Tourism New Zealand says that despite overall support for tourism, 35 percent of citizens think "international visitors put too much pressure" on the country.
There is a similar trend in more places, like Mallorca and Ibiza; in Italy it's Venice, Capri and Lake Garda. In Paris and Japan the number of days per year a property can be given to short-term renters is capped. Part of Tokyo only allows rentals on weekends, with similar limits in other cities.
But PM Rhuggenaath and Pinhead Martina still want more tourists to come here. Hey, let's poll our people here, like NZ did! (Just kidding, I know: No Way.)
In 2016, 441,331 tourists arrived here (if you trust CTB's damn lies Statistics—which I don't). That is almost 3 times our population. In New Zealand, they are worried because the number of tourists over the year equals the population.
To select another word from the list. Pinhead Martina thinks we have too few hotels and another one is quite welcome. It doesn't matter, to him, if more of what little nature we've left is ruined.
There's no other word? In fact there are many. A delegation headed by MAN minister Gijsbertha has flown to Venezuela to try and collect the money the country supposedly owes InselAir. Like, 67 millions of dollars.
Does anybody think they really think this will have success? Do they really think this is not a total waste? What a scam.
Another Hotel! But It's Worse Papagayo resort is planning to build an annex Doggy Beach. Only, they say it's not an annex but completely independent. Whatever it is, it will be taking up part of a conservation terrain. Papagayo claims they have consulted conversationists like Amigu di Tera and Carmabi, who confirm this; after a fashion. They have had one or two talks with the architect, long ago, and have never seen the actual plans until now.
A petition has been opened; please sign! All this while many hotels are in dip sheetalready. Do we really need another one now?
PCN (pension fund Dutch Caribbean) has decided to invest in EZ Air. Two Beechcraft 1900D aircraft will shortly start flying between Bonaire and St. Eustatius. They will also be used for medical flights to Colombia. Total investment 5 million dollars.
And Haïtian Sunrise Airways plans flights Santo Domingo-CUR "in close cooperation with InselAir" for which Sunrise has executed flights in the past. Sunrise also already operates a flight CUR-Haïti.
Auntie Suzy has been visiting a workshop in China, invited by World Health Organisation, the same guys who keep telling everybody how great Cuban health care is. Next, they'll give Venezuela a raving review.
It's all about traditional medicine and how good that would be, especially when integrated in SVB public medical insurance. What the quacks naturopaths wanted all along and even under convicted criminal ex-PM Shorty and ex-minister of infirmity Quackie Constancia never got going.
I wonder what health inspector Huurman thinks about this. You want to know what I think, it's "Phooyeh to You, Auntie!"
That's what you get when you make a lawyer minister of health.
Chinese medicine was doing pretty well, until China Chairman Mass Murderer Mao sent off the doctors to work as coolies, just to teach 'em a little lesson. Cultural Revolution, ya know. Then he had a problem: no more doctors. Great idea (cue little lamp going on): we're gonna propagate Traditional Chinese Medicine, because for that you don't have to know a thing. And more than plenty suckers from the West went along, coz Mao was their Hero! rah rah rah.
Between you and me, I like that word "naturopath"—it smacks of loopiness. How well I remember those crazy Paris fascist students in their 1968 Paris revolution riots, holding up those Little Red Books. (I still have one, wonder how many there are left.)
These Statistics Don't Lie
After a brief downturn, "life crimes"—meaning, somebody tries to kill you and is rewarded with success—have gone up again. So have traffic killings this year; but, contrary to what you'd expect, since 2003 there's been a steady if irregular decline.
Or do you know larger ones? Because it's not peanuts what has been stolen from us all by subsidies given during the Shorty and Whiteman governments: 500,000,000 guilders. That's half a billion. Put it another way, USD275 million or €235 million. 2/3 of the total amount of subsidies was illegit.
One result is that some legit subsidy users do not get any anymore, like CCC music academy. And don't fool yourself, this, and much more, is still going on.
You bet there have been pretty of kickbacks here, a good reason why the administration is such a mess.
Of course! Coconuts!
On a conference several times the idea was expressed that, however important instruction in the mother language may be, it may be more important to have the kids learn at least one other language.
Remember David Hume and Scotland!
Truly, older people here still speak perfect Dutch—and seem to have had much better education all over, as well. Everybody notices.
Or, Back to School! The public ministry is worried: when 2 out of 3 drivers are drunk after a dance party, that's a bit much. We figured 1 out of 5—still Too Much. They got that straight.
But we knew it all the time. I refuse to go out and drive on week-end nights. It's bad enough in daytime on working days.
Good Action, Bad Drivers
The police started controlling traffic (on the road to Bullenbaai if you're interested). 6 cars were confiscated, 1 for driving without insurance and 1 without a license. 35 drivers were forced to call around and find a driver who had not been drinking to take them home.
Total cars stopped: 185. Scary! On Saturday night, 1 in 5 drivers you encounter are drunk.
It may not be that bad, as police don't stop every car in those actions. Also, this took place at the Kokomo restaurant/bar exit, where a party was going on. But it's worse than bad enough.
Whiteman Comes Clean
PS® ex-PM Whiteman owns up in what PAR MP Walroud calls "a dramatic confession" that he is to blame for the problems Werner Wiels is in. It was Whiteman who was desperate to get Chinese not-so-big oil giant GZE to Curaçao, driven by "frustration with Venezuela, Holland and local environment watchers." Also, he needed the empty promises of golden mountains to win elections—and look what that got us into. Thanks, Whiteman.
But Whiteman's mea culpa doesn't discharge any of Werner Wiels's responsibilities.
Chaos, Clutter and Confusion
And also debris and disarray. The only way to describe the government's subsidy policy. Is the word "policy" the right word? "Disorganization" fits better—and it looks like it's willful. Ministers don't keep the documents related to requests (I guess that could be much too dangerous). In some cases subsidies are paid without any application whatsoever. Others don't get any at all.
Keeping in mind that Curaçao law has holes you could drive an aircraft carrier through, all this is in fact contrary to existing regulations. Alas, all part of the big composition.
A guy down here has started a free range chicken farm, and wants to charge almost twice the going price per dozen of eggs. Claim is in Europe battery cages are forbidden, and we are backward as hell and cruel to animals to boot.
So I checked. In Europe a layer is allowed 750cm2 of space. That's 25x30cms, or 10" by 1'. What luxury!
Still, better than a cage; much better. But nothing to brag about.
I had a problem believing it but got it confirmed: health minister auntie Suzy Römer is in China now to follow a course "alternative healthcare"—what's the difference with Quackie Constancia?
You may not be prepared to believe this, but you'd better. Our Great Leaders in their indomitable nitwittedness have declared the 6th of June to be National Freewinds Day. Freewinds, of course, is the ship exploited by Scientology, an organization which has been declared criminal in several countries.
PM Rhuggenaath and pinhead Martina proudly pose with a certificate and the Freewinds captain, thus proving once again their fatuousness. Not that they needed to. Gaaah.
The judge agrees with the Health Inspector that the care in Advent Hospital is subpar, and has forbidden internist Bakir to work there. The hospital also has to pay a 20,000 guilders fine.
Where did I read again, "a hospital is where you go to die?"
One More Mess
ACU, Ambtenaren Credit Union [Spoiled Brats Krediet Unie], with 29,000 members "the biggest in the Kingdom" is an administrative ruin. The Raad van Toezicht [Supervisory Board] complains that they don't get any accounting to see from the Board of Directors. I wonder if there even is any. I mean, there doesn't even seem to be a director.
Another question here is, why do the Spoiled Brats have this club, which not only gives them very cheap loans, but also helps them to discounts in many shops? Non-civil servants can't become members—and they often need it more.
We'll See... We'll See...
PAR minister Jezus-Leito hopes the necessary documents to upgrade Hato Airport back to FAA Category 1 status will be ready in December. Then we'll get an audit next year.
That's the umpteenth time the upgrade has been delayed. Last promise we got was March, 2017. The rest was silence.
For now, personnel has to be augmented by 50% before we can even start.
Suddenly, last week we got 2 times 5 traffic signs on a very modest stretch of road near my place. Before then, we only had the one in the middle, which was satisfactory. In fact, superfluous: it did get knocked down every so often, but that hardly mattered.
So we read how PAR minister Jesus-Leito is working on the roads. At least, she is spending money for work on the roads. But not to fill up holes and do a good job—that would be too straightforward. No, they're painting stripes all over; as if anybody could avoid driving on the wrong side to avoid those same potholes.
Also, they're putting up signs, just like those guys without licenses knew what they meant. And up there is an example. What a waste! 10 signs where 2 would suffice. Hey, does anybody by any chance get a percentage on those signs? Perish the thought!
The Oostpunt lighthouse (rather big name for what is a small steel tower) has been out of order since March; there's no budget to fix it. Tough if you're out on a dark night in a small boat without GPS navigation, like most fishermen use.
There You Are, Once Again
McDonald's is rolling out self-order kiosks to replace people who can't read, add or write but have to be paid the minimum "living" wage regardless. By 2020, they'll be in use in many countries, if not (yet) all over the world.
That's not a result of the law of Unexpected Consequences. It was predicted by practically everybody.
Go Ahead, Whatever
First Dutch Tweede Kamer [parliament] votes for a motion to augment defense of the Dutch Caribbean islands; then, one day later, we get to hear from PAR PM Rhuggenaath that there's no need for that.
Very Old Joke, Pinhead
Pinhead Martina comes out to tell us that there are 4 (four) "strategic partners" negotiating with InselAir. An old story that hasn't grown any better. Remember Avianca? We do, but Avianca hardly remembers InselAir or Martina.
And Martina also hopes that suspension of payment for InselAir will continue after August 1. I can't explain why and doubt he can.
Calimero II Werner Wiels, who as head of the MDPT-Team made many millions go up into thin air (not even visible smoke) complains that everybody is against him... it's a witch hunt! And ex-PM Whiteman joins him; he says Wiels is a good chap, really.
Calimero I of course is our one and only convicted criminal ex-PM Shorty. The Champ!
The majority of (80) people turning up at a meeting on the Return of the Floating Market wants it to come back at its old location. We will wait and see if pinhead Martina cares one bit.
California Has a Problem?
Even though the reservoirs are full again, California still has a water problem. Sacramento wants to restrict household water use to 50 gallons per person/day, which will be further reduced to 35 gallons in 2030.
Are they kidding? The two of us here together use only 25 gallons/day. Agreed, we have no swimming pool, no grass lawn and don't shower for 20 minutes long. That's all it takes; even with a washing machine and a dish washer.
Another problem is, Sacramento estimates their system loses 30% in leaks. "Real Losses" for 'our' Aqualectra amount to 40%; rather high. But for 30% of households, consumption is 3m3/month—not per person. That's 26 gpd/p. Take it as read, those are small households.
Even in Kaapstad there's finally fallen some rain, but over there they want to restrict water use to 12.5 gallons/person/day.
You may take exception to my saying Kaapstad instead of Cape Town. Go ahead, be my guest. But please accept the fact that after Zulu and Bantu, Afrikaans is still the number 3 language in South Africa. (English comes in at 9.)
The Saliña of Rif-Jan Kock (the one that got polluted) is popular with flamingos, who in turn are very popular with tourists. They park their cars along the road and walk up to the flamingos to get as close as possible, annoying me even more than they do the flamingos.
The latest thing is chasing the birds with drones, which has recently resulted in the death of one. Couldn't we stop this nuisance? Forbid tourism or something? If only.
But Why Not?
Fuel stations do not like Aqualectra's plans to install fast-charge units all over the island. They claim selling fuel, in whatever form, to cars is their prerogative. Now they want a study on pros and contras of electric cars. For one thing, they wonder why there is no import duty on those beasts.
They have a point. Because they don't pollute? Don't make me laugh; that power has to be produced somewhere else. Mind the low diesel fuel price, just because diesel was supposed to cause less pollution. We have since found out what a fraud that was. Update: The CEO of Sixt Car Rentals says the needed infrastructure to recharge electrical vehicles "would devour a lot of money". Electric cars are "a thing for the rich"—also one of the fuel station holders' arguments. But we know already that Aqualectra never shrinks from spending our money.
Now It's the Workers
It looks like Holiday Beach Hotel has made a deal with Aqualectra Utility. But now the workers will go on strike: despite several repeated promises, their salaries have not been paid.
Amnd we're the suckers. Once again, the government tries attracting investors with a Tax Holiday. On certain conditions. We've been through that often enough, too often, in the past. I just mention Texas Instruments who set up a factory, worked it to the bone until the Tax Holiday elapsed, and then moved to another island to profit from a new Tax Holiday there.
There You Have It? Not
According to the BBC, students get lower scores in exams when the weather is hot. Does that explain why the results have been going down here, where it's hot?
I'm afraid not; it has always been hot, after all.
Auntie Suzy Not Responsible
Better say, "irresponsible"—auntie Suzy claims that she, as minister of health, can't be held responsible for the fact that Selikor's incinerator for medical offal doesn't work properly. They just pour gasoline over the stuff and hope for the best, while there is no filter to clean the resulting smoke.
Get off that comfy chair, auntie, and at least hold the guy who is responsible, responsible. That's your responsibility.
There We Go Again
Gasoline, diesel fuel, gas, electricity and water all go up in price with (at least) 5%. Venezuelan veggies and fruit, now that they are available again, keep getting more expensive: 30% or more. The Venezuelans claim they have to pay their government 20% "tax" on these exports, imagine.
A Bit Late, Innit?
Now in Holland the Groen Links party [Green Left, watermelon style: red on the inside] is getting worried that the islands must have better defense against invaders. They want the English and French to help. Like they do in Europe, I guess; where it works fine against the influx of no-goods.
Holland also finally discovered that the Venezuelan invasion here started long before that country started collapsing. Now they're getting worried. Hope it's still of some help, this late.
The riots of the May 30, 1969 have been commemorated near the downtown statue of papa Godett. I saw a photo with 7 people holding signs; there may have been more ado, to be sure.
Because the education force is against closing down FEFFIK, the Dust Neck Force is on strike today. (Too bad if you got there already.) The teachers only have a meeting at 14:00, so they have another easy day.
The NOAA predicts a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal hurricane season.
However, meteorologist Joe Bastardi predicts a 65-85% normal season, because of unusually cool tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. But Bastardi warns hurricanes could still form close to the USA coast—which is not a concern of us.
Not everybody has much confidence in Bastardi, though.
This one not on Isla Refinery stocks, but on Sona. The one by Ballast Nedam International. Will building proceed now as planned?
Not So Good, That
Venezuela, in a declaration full of pontifical terms about the brotherhood between Venezuela and us, and references to that great leader Bakoba Cova, promises we'll always get oil delivered: via Petrocaribe.
Petrocaribe was a program installed by Chávez to deliver oil cheap on credit to Caribbean islands, who are now heavily in debt to Venezuela. Many have been cut off meanwhile, as I understand it.
So I'm not relieved.
That's what CHATA hotel association wants to do. They say we have 3500-4000 hotel rooms here, but only 2000 are of decent quality; which is worrisome as more flights are planned next season.
Hint for CHATA: it's not that worrisome because most people prefer not to stay in a hotel these days.
Last of My Worries
What will happen to the Caribbean Dutch islands when Europe turns into a republic? asks a headline.
Nothing, because that won't happen. It would mean that Europe becomes democratic, the last thing those Bruxelles trough hogs want.
Anyway, that only concerns Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. We, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten are independent.
May Feel Good
But it won't help much. An action has started by Green Force in conjunction with a supermarket to reduce plastic use. Not really, though; it just collects plastic packaging materials for recycling.
Works like this: you take your own (no doubt plastic) containers to the supermarket and unpack what you bought, put that in your own containers and leave the original packaging there. Very economical, it's not; takes up a lot of valuable supermarket space. I'd say, put up containers at strategic places where you can dump your plastic when you're done with it. Like in Tel Aviv:
plastic dump cage—Tel Aviv, Israel.
At any rate, 90% of all plastic dumped in the oceans comes from 10 rivers: 8 in Africa and 2 in Asia. The rest for a very large part is trash from fisheries: nets, buoys etcetera. Besides, it's an open question if that collected plastic sent to China or other countries, like Green Force does, is really recycled.
Tourism and Global Warming
Er... climate change. Because it isn't getting any warmer anymore, even the warmists are admitting it. "Climate change" is much safer to use; after all, climates are always changing. Where was I?
O yeah, tourism is expected to grow at 4% yearly over the world (if not here) and presently accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions (which still amounts to a minuscule 0.04% of the atmosphere). So all the doomsayers have a choice now: do we go on stimulating tourism and so risk turning the island into a desert with Willemstad flooded by the sea?
You say it doesn't matter? You may have a point.
PdVSA may "possibly" go bankrupt, we are informed by Dutch minister Blok. You ask me, it's highly probable.
You ask me again, it's almost impossible they will not go bankrupt.
Good for Them, But Not for Us
The judge has decided InselAir may not fire the cockpit crews of their MD-8* aircraft. So let's wait for the Unwise Men to lend InselAir more money to pay those parasites. And the cabin crews, sure.
Take Your Pick
There are several services taking care of delivering small orders from the USA here (instead of relying on the unreliable C***-Post). Playing the nut shell game, here we go:
The cheapest are EZone, PuntoMio (CPost) and AeroPost. Fastest are MyMalls, MyUS and EZone. who also give the best service. Seems logical you'd go for EZone, right?
But it will cost you anyway: for a package worth $88 you may pay from ANG57 to 170, part of which is customs/import duty; which shockingly varies from $12 to 40.
More and more pupils fail their final exams for HAVO and VWO (say, high school). This is a continuing tend; 6% and 3.3% over the last 4 years. Reasons are not indicated, but we are all free to guess.
Other news here is that the government wants to close down educational institution FEFFIK and put the pupils in other schools. Everybody in education thinks it's a bad idea; no doubt they have their reasons. For now, the government still plans closure.
Quoting Trump. The harbor, already doing bad last year, since May 3 when ConocoPhillips seized PdVSA's oil stocks, is now seeing no activity except for the tourist ships and freighters. No tankers, which were the main part.
Sleep on, auntie Suzy. You can't really help it. There has been a Concept Milieuwet [Concept environmental law] since 1998, but when VROM disappeared in 2003, so did the concept.
So there we are, everybody can do pretty much like they want.
Wake Up, Auntie Suzy, Wake Up!
It just goes on and on. Once again, bulldozers have flattened mangrove trees in the Spaanse Water and pushed land into that inland water, to extend the shoreline so more houses will fit. This results in still less opportunity for fish, crab and other organisms to grow and multiply. But as is her won't, we can expect that auntie Suzy will not react to Green Force's supplication to stop this.
Auntie Suzy is perfectly satisfied with spewing hot air on promoting agriculture and fisheries.
Another Hotel in Trouble
The Holiday Beach Hotel has been cut off electricity, as they are "millions" behind in bill payment. But the hotel hasn't closed down, oh no. Guests are welcome to their un-airconditioned rooms, and only emergency lights are burning.
PdVSA reassures us that we don't have to worry, the company will go on delivering fuel to Curaçao. Nor do Isla workers have to worry, the refinery will keep on turning and PdVSA is interested in going on after 2019. Which is what PAR PM Rhuggenaath hears from Holland.
I'm not sure how these can be more than empty promises. I also don't get all that talk about Isla going on with other companies.
In Q4 growth slowed down from 0.3% to -0.5%. After a 0.5% employment growth in 2016, it shrunk by just as much last year. Almost all graphs show the same thing: after a relatively good 2008, the economy made an extreme dip in 2013 (that must be a post-Shorty effect).
Info received from the Chamber of Commerce.
No Such Luck, Crooked Duo
After MP Yaël Plet had filed a complaint against crooked ex-PM Shorty and Mudbelly Cooper, accusing them of an attempt at bribery, it was finally shelved by the public ministry. At which point Shorty and Cooper lodged counter-complaints against Plet for defamation, libel and slander. But uh oh, the public ministry has now shelved those as well, explaining it's a good thing if attempts at bribery are made public.
Somebody decided it would be better not to go to court. That's rare, they just love it. But now that Isla Refinery has begun delivery of products to distributor Curoil again, the latter has decided to stop their new lawsuit.
And PAR PM Rhuggenaath says it's diplomacy what we need in our relations with Venezuela, after the last fake elections. There isn't much else left to do, anyway.
I did so already: Staten recently voted for a motion to disapprove of Holland's take-over of the corrupt political system in St. Eustatius. None of our concern and a totally impotent gesture.
Now, Antilliaans Dagblad opines that the motion was illegitimate in the first place.
More of the Same?
MAN Pinhead Martina has talked about his economy Herstelplan [Recovery Plan] with several Dutch ministers and functionaries. I'm sure we'll get somewhere now (but don't know where that exactly will be).
If So, All Bets Are Off
ConocoPhillips and our Lilliput state may have won for now but wait for this: The U.S. is almost certainly preparing to impose targeted crude sanctions against Venezuela, analysts told CNBC on Monday, in a move likely to constitute a "devastating" blow for the oil-dependent state.
In which case, do we get any oil as stipulated? Or will we get any money?
Answers are "No" and "No." You bet.
The coast guard is in trouble because the government works so slowly. Enough said.
Don't get me wrong: tax will not be lowered. As if. No, 10.3 million less than planned was sucked out of us in 2018-I. What a shame, as the government must make good 48 million this year to compensate for over 117 million deficit over 2017.
Europe Assists? Not So Fast
The EU is prepared to start mapping the influx of Venezuelan refugees to the ABC-islands, we read. But in reality, they don't plan such a thing. The EU will send delegates to Colombia and Brazil to look into the problem; not a word about us here.
Cabin Crew Loses
Court order: the cabin crews for non-existing MD-8* flights may be fired by InselAir, but they must receive compensation.
But Will They? The judge has ordered PdVSA to resume delivering crude to Isla Refinery in 14 days, as far as needed for the local supply of fuel and electricity production. Penalty 1 million dollars/day, max. total 100 million.
The impounding of oil stocks by ConocoPhillips has been lifted as well. At any rate, will PdVSA deliver? Will Venezuela pay that fine? Don't have the illusion that this has been settled. 2018-05-19
At least, that's what justice minister Girigorie claims. We read at the same time that less drug smugglers are caught (in itself meaning less crime has been registered); seemingly because they have found a way to avoid radar detection. Hard figures, he doesn't give.
Which Reminds Me
Auntie Suzy wants to stimulate agriculture, stock raising and fishery. The sector should start growing with 5%/year, which means we should have 2000 people working there ten years from now. Which reminds me.
Auntie Suzy says we import 160 million/year worth on fruit, veggies, eggs and cheese. (For all I know, almost all eggs are produced locally already. And cheese?) She also says, another reason to start producing ourselves, there can be 5 kinds of parasites in one head of lettuce. I suppose that's impossible when they're grown here.
I'm not saying it can't be done, except for certain details; I'm just predicting it won't work. Like the grandiose plans to grow beef.
Apart from all other considerations, it's 19th century thinking that agriculture is the pillar of the economy. We haven't had any since... well, never, and have been doing pretty well, considering.
SMOC and Humanitary Care, together with 24 citizens, are appealing the court case where Isla Refinery was held to be not guilty in exceeding pollution norms.
SO2 now, with no Isla activity, and a year ago compared courtesy SMOC—2018-05-17
Camelia doesn't like the complaint filed against him and will in his turn accuse FAS of a false complaint and libel. We'll see how that works out..
BOPEC, PdVSA & Bonaire
Bonaire's power supply depends on BOPEC's stock, which again is partly delivered by Curoil (so don't ask). But as ConocoPhillips has seized the entire stock, power on Bonaire is in danger of begging stopped as from Monday. Without boring you with details, everybody is trying to find a solution—except PdVSA who are stubborn and refuse to move.
And we thinking since 2015 Bonaire's power was supplied by wind generators? That was just hot air bragging, we now see.
That's What They Say
There'll be a strategic partner for the refinery, Isla declares. "Everything is on schedule."
They could have fooled me.
Last Saturday, on 70 locations in 23 countries there were demonstrations "Empty the Tanks" to protest against dolphins held in captivity. Like here. Only, here there was no such campaign. Who cares?
Wait for the Dust
The government, Isla, Curoil, you name 'em are trying (in court) to move ConocoPhillips to have Isla go on producing so the island won't get in trouble. As far as I can see (not very far in that dust) it sounds like that would be a nice gesture of ConocoPhillips and not something they can be legally forced to do.
PdVSA was not interested in appearing in the court sessions. No skin off their noses (on which very little skin is left anyway).
ConocoPhillips say they're quite ready to listen to Isla etc. and avoid bankrupting the island. Isla says it's quite happy to deliver fuel to Curoil, and can do so too as Isla is not limited to buying crude from Venezuela; but Curoil has stopped payments to Isla. Finally, it's impossible to get statements of how much oil for what value is in stock. What a jumble.
Eventually, by May 21, court will pronounce judgment. You ask me, all this is a big waste of money.
Pinhead Martina is afraid that people who flew in to join the Ponto[o]n Flop will be disappointed and will tend to distrust future festivals. Turns out CTB tourist office has spent 75 thou on promotion (one does wonder about kickbacks here, sorry, CTB drives me paranoid).
Work for X
Only a few months ago, the road leading to Shut/Chute was cleaned up. Now it's a just as filthy mess as ever, again.
Green Town Fight
The Curaçao board members of Green Town have... yeah, how shall I put it? gotten rid of two members living in Holland. Great timing? These wanted to stop the refinery right now which local members consider just not realistic.
But the Dutch members don't give up and are even supported by the people here who originally started the project.
I never tried to hide that I feel the whole idea is not realistic, period.
Curaçao government has gone to court to try and force Isla Refinery to sell products and thus keep their agreements, even though their stocks have been seized. Specifically mentioned client is Aqualectra N.V. A nice mess for lawyers to fight over.
There's a lot wrong with South Africa these days. The country is on a suicidal road, while most blacks think they are getting rid of whities. (The rate is about the same as here, 1 honkie in 10 brothers.) For one thing, SA has adopted something like the infamous Wiels 80-20 law (only, they made it 90-10) which we never accepted here. But let's look at one thing, the water tariffs.
SA and especially the West Cape, which includes Kaapstad/Cape Town, these years has a severe water problem. No rain, just like in California recently. So everything's tried to bring consumption down to 50 liters per person/month, or 1500/average month. (Which happens to be what we here consume in this household, so that's no hardship—it's much warmer here.)
This would cost you, at a max. of 6000 kiloliters (we'd call that 6m3)
RAND157.5 or ANG22.90 (a propososal to raise this with 55.5% was just rejected). We here'd pay ANG45.42. Saka bo som. 2018-05-14
Ex-PM Maria Liberia Peters writes a letter addressed to ConocoPhillips, wherein she blames that company for the problems we find ourselves in now. As if she, together with George Hueck, didn't sell us out to Shell and to PdVSA, and as if she was not a member of the stealing MDPTeam; never lifting a finger but to rake in money money money.
Plenty of Problems
PAR PM Rhuggenaath makes an effort to appease us. Thanks to the tanker "Red Majestic" which has been bought to keep fuel in stock for Curoil, there will be no problems in local distribution. Rhuggenaath also says that Isla salaries will be paid out end of this month. If Isla has enough money to pay other bills is another point.
Rhuggenaath wants the refinery to be up and running (his words) on June 1. I seriously doubt this.
Finally, Rhuggenaath says negotations are going on with British Petroleum BP for a refinery take-over.
Isla refinery, not active at this time because of maintenance, may never start up again. Venezuelan PdVSA has decided to stop delivery of crude to Curaçao and that's the death knell, of course. This because ConocoPhillips has seized all stocks, money and bank accounts of Isla Refinery and Cura&cceduil;ao Oil Terminal, Bullenbaai; total value USD 636 million. Plus a series of tankers who are on their way to Curaçao. Not, contrary to earlier news, installations (which do not belong to PdVSA).
Meanwhile, PdVSA is trying to change the destination of crude (one quarter of the country's total present production) to Citgo USA. Good luck with that.
Paranoia or Real Power Fight?
Auntie Suzy complains that there's a "network" striving to get her unlodged. She wonders where the money comes from to have SONA publish two-page newspaper ads on the HNO affair. Meanwhile, she is still trying to get the audits 2013-2017 but having no results.
But ex-MP Leeflang thinks Auntie Suzy may be partly blamed herself.
For what it's worth, there's a school of thought that insists both disgraced ex-PM M*F*K Shorty and ex-PM PS Arsjes have been getting very fat on the hospital manipulations. There may be a lot of stink bubbling loose shortly. Or some more money may be passed under the table to plug the leak.
That Worked Fine
PdVSA announce that they're planning to pay ConocoPhillips their 2 billion dollars, after the latter seized properties in Curaçao, Bonaire and St. Eustatius. Show your teeth and the bully cringes.
We're seeing that happening all over the world right now.
The cyclists are at it again, holding up traffic to satisfy their selfish desire to be healthy. All over the Road to Westpunt you stumble across them these days. Now, if they got out of the way and pedaled alone, not in pairs (which in fact they're obliged to do by law), we might have a chance to pass them by. But no such luck. Even three abreast with a long tail of held-up cars stretching behind them. I'm amazed not many more are hit.
Guess there's another race, whatever, coming on. Never fails to bring them out in packs to train.
Sparring Lichtveld-Camelia: Camelia KO
Camelia didn't much like what Lichtveld had written about him, to wit, that he was a corrupt thoroughly lawyer who had declared much too high, illegally to boot, sums to diverse ministries. So he went to court.
However, judge Lips thought Lichtveld was quite right and let him go, ordering Camelia to pay court costs.
Now it's FAS's turn?
Gold Smuggler Arrested
Remember that was president Maduro's excuse to stop all traffic between Venezuela and the ABC islands: gold was supposedly smuggled via the islands? Well, a notorious gold smuggler has been arrested just now; in Venezuela, by the Colombian border.
Doesn't mean there's no smuggling going on here.
How Can That Be
Saying it again: I'm no legal expert. But how can ConocoPhillips possibly seize the properties (meaning installations) of Isla Refinery, which are owned by Curaçao Island, emphatically not by PdVSA? Same for Curoil.
At any rate, the cooking gas supplies distributed by Curgas may soon expire. Judging from all I know, their stock is very meager indeed. Back to the future: use induction plates!
ConocoPhillips certainly got quicker court results than SMOC/Humanitary Care. EXTRA: All Venezuelan tankers on the loose have been ordered back to their home harbors, to prevent seizure of those and their cargoes. Which means, all Venezuelan oil export has come to an end. And there you are, while Maduro is nowhere.
We Don't Need No Stinking InselAir Avianca is enlarging its flight schedule Bogotá-CUR with 4 flights/week, total 11. So much for pinhead Martina's grandiose plans.
They Get Paid, Anyway
Only 12 of the 21 parliament members have appeared at every meeting this year.
About a week ago, 2 floating dry docks arrived here in an extremely heavy transport that just fit in the Annabaai harbor mouth. Now dredging will commence so there's enough depth for the docks to be actually used on the CDM-Damen location. Will take a month. Say, couldn't they have figured that out before? Maybe they did and just don't care. It's only money.
There You Have It
The forfeiture of PdVSA oil stocks in Curaçao has started already. So 1/3 of what was left of Venezuela's capacity for refining and blending has now gone.
As refinery and terminal are only leased by PdVSA, these remain "ours." Big deal, with no crude to process. Looks great for 2019, when the contract expires anyway.
As Curoil claims there is a stock sufficient to supply the island for two months, the question is only if ConocoPhillips can lay its hands on that. My guess would be, not. Much of it is not even bought from Isla-PdVSA by Curoil.
Isla refinery claims it's negotiating with two partners for a take-over. Just don't panic or you may we will be f*ucked, mind my words.
The St. Eustatius oil terminal is owned by USA NuStar, so there "only" stocks will be confiscated as well.
Huurman at Work
Several trucks were nabbed by the X-Team while dumping trash at an illegal location. Two trucks were confiscated. Ouch, that smarts. It may even help.
More Trash Dumped
Rubén Suriel of Fundashion Akshion Sivil has filed a complaint against former (2012) cabinet informateur, formateur (for the Hodge and Arsjes cabinets) and lawyer Glenn Camelia. According to FAS, Camelia's law office received "lucrative retainer fees" from all PS ministries. He has swindled Curaçao country out of large amounts of money, also by exorbitant invoices.
Suriel is not talking as he doesn't want a trial by media.
Remember how Pueblo Soberano was Wiels's anti-corruption party?
Advent Is in Trouble—Again
The Advent hospital will have to close down, as far as internal medicine is concerned, for two months. This is because dr. Nay Bakir (who was kicked out of SEHOSpital in the past) was only licensed to work with patients under supervision, but continued to do so anyway when his supervisor went on vacation.
Now Advent went to court to fight this and inspector Huurman announces that this will result in having the entire file on Bakir made public. Which, he suggests, is not so good.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
There was a memorial service at the location where Helmin Wiels (PS) has been murdered 5 years ago. Not even 90 people showed up, among whom Elmer Wilsoen, one of the suspects of the murder.
It Couldn't Happen Here
USA ConocoPhillips oil company has seized BOPEC oil terminal's possessions (installations and stocks) on Bonaire, after the company has been awarded over $2 billion in damages, as PdVSA had expropriated ConocoPhillips's properties. Which PdVSA can't possibly pay.
Same thing will happen on St. Eustatius. As for Curaçao, Bullenbaai COT nor Isla Refinery are not the property of PdVSA, so it couldn't happen here?
Update: It's not clear to me if the contents of the storage tanks at COT/Bullenbaai and the crude being processed at Isla are property of PdVSA. In that case, ConocoPhillips may be well entitled to seize all that, plus refined products.
That Is Not Threatening—To Us
After Isla manager Van den Wall-Arnemann was suspended last year, he's "threatened" now to be fired. To us, a relief. The guy was hired in 2014 by then PM Arsjes, in itself sufficient reason to raise your brows. It has now finally been decided that Van den Wall-Arnemann did everything the MDPT (alias Werner Wiels) wanted, and made a total mess.
Go Get It
The public ministry wants to sue ex-PM Shorty for 1 million €s which it claims he and his moll stole from the country. In fact, it may be much more; all in all 400 million guilders went up in air (which he didn't all get, obviously). Another court case? He's still around, remember, until Dutch Hoge Raad [High Council] is through with the appeal.
More USA Flights
As from next winter season, American Airlines will start operating 3 daily flights CUR-MIA v.v. with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, capacity 160 seats.
CPS is raving mad about Ecorys's withering report on its activities. So mad that CPS went to court (in Rotterdam) with a document "steeped in allegations about failures and unprofessional actions by Ecorys." In court May 6.
They're Out to Get Her!
When did we hear this before? Oh yes, out of the same mouth too. Sulvaran's, one of the three stooge lawyers, who was ex-PM Shorty's lawyer. "It's political!" He now uses it in court to try and stop proceedings against Quackie Constancia. The judge didn't go for it and will continue. In court July 5 and 6.
Minister Martina has effectively ended a prime tourist attraction, the Floating Market. Now the Venezuelan sellers must remain on the quay and are not permitted to enter town. Also, they need a ventvergunning [peddling permit] and health certificates. Their location has been changed to a place where there are no passers by, and to enter that place you must show ID. Kaput. Finis. Kabá.
Pinhead Martina would rather have people sell tourist junk souvenirs.
Goodbye to All That
Foundation Sumusica of the Ponto[o]n Festival has been declared bankrupt. Total debt ANG350,000 (over US$190k).
PAR minister Alcalá-Wallé announces a new theater will be built near Renaissance Hotel, Riffort, Otrabanda. She explains theaters these days must be multi-functional to make some money and not depend on subsidies, which she concluded after visiting several theaters in Holland.
She ought to know, she's notorious for her frequent business-class trips over there, where her children live.
The judge judged that Isla Refinery does not forfeit the 75 million guilders penalty to SMOC and Foundation Humanitary Care. What it boils down to, it's all a matter of how you measure. And more to the point, how the judge judges.
Ex-MP Leeflang, who didn't make it at the last elections, says it's a disgrace that auntie Suzy proposes a new committee to look into the can of worms HNO new hospital with SONA etc. are in. This is a matter for parliament, Leeflang says, adding that auntie Suzy, as much as she denies it, carries a lot of blame herself.
Gee, I wonder how much they were planning to pay those committee members. Peanuts, anyway.
Makes Me Curious
The white elephant Sentro pro arte theater, which burned out a while ago, will not be restored. At least not by the government; maybe by Pensioenfonds to which it has been transferred. Will they restore it or put up office blocks instead??
Just a Coincidence
Jamaloodin, former MP for PAR who has a high post at the ministry of justice, has been caught driving a car under the influence of the well-fermented juice. But because he has this high post, the judge gave him only a 500 guilders fine for public intoxication and 100 for irresponsible driving. Hey, I call class justice! He should get extra heavily fined.
The name certainly strikes a familiar note. But it may be a large family, so don't get paranoid right away. On the other hand... 2018-05-02
Won't Happen Here
After Mallorca and Ibiza decided to put the brakes on the flow of tourism, the same thing is happening in Italy. First Venice, then Capri and Lake Garda are doing the same thing. Capri says the island will "explode" with 2 million tourists per year.
The population of Capri (4mi2) was (2002) 12,200; say 15,000 now? 1000 tourists per inhabitant? I'm sure CTB and Rhuggenaath are turning green with jealousy. I, not so much.
Labor Day Today
So we don't have to work.
Finance minister Gijsbertha complains that the island is in a very precarious situation. You don't have to tell us, Gijs. Says CFT [financial supervision] Gradus: "The success of the measures depends to a great extent on the implementation, direction and involvement of both the government as a whole and each minister separately from her/his responsibility." Well, there you have it. No wonder Gijsbertha is worried.
A good start: in January, a deal was made where the government would get together with CFT every month. That hasn't happened once yet though.
A few problem items, as if we didn't know yet: FKP social housing, New Hospital HNO, Old Sehospital, Isla refinery, nebulous debt situation, uncollectable dividends of government companies, InselAir guarantees and the 'very limited improvements' in financial management.
And they can't even blame Shorty & his Gang of Goons for all of that.
It's King's Day, rah! rah! ray! and nothing is happening, count on that. Oh well, maybe a few atrakos and murders, don't let them spoil your fun.
The only thing of interest is that schools will not be getting one day extra free between Sunday and Tuesday. "Pupils get 60 days free per year" and that's that. Read, of course: "Teachers get 60 days free per year."
Time-Out for Something Else
As the politicians are celebrating this week-end, and the media are silent as well, may I call your attention to the fact that the world, during the past two years, has cooled down by 0.56°C. Keep in mind that since the end of the Little Ice Age (in the 1880s) total warming has been, at most, 0.9°C. Which has now all of a sudden been reduced to 0.4°C.
I wasn't overly worried, but now...
Then there's this precious little item: No kidding—humans happier on sunny days, perfect temp is 25C, freezing days similar to terrorist attacks on US mood You have read totally different things in the media. Keep in mind: Good news is no news. Also, all panic stories about how earth will turn into a hell by the end of the century are based on computer modelling and keep turning out to be unreliable.
That "hell" would still be much cooler than our local climate, do you realize that?
Those holes in the roads, primitively and temporarily filled? That is reported not to have be done by a Curaçao contractor. No, obviously they couldn't handle a simple job like that. So a Dutch contractor has been engaged—that buys the asphalt here, where else?
I smell money crossing the Atlantic Ocean forth—and back.
In April last year, MP Yaël Plet filed a complaint for bribery against ex-PM Shorty and MP Charles 'Mudbelly' Cooper. But after lots of raids and investigations, the public ministry found they had not sufficient proof.
Shorty and Mudbelly wanted Plet to stop supporting the Koeiman government, so they could take over.
Roads are still getting worse and worse. We all know and notice. This week, some department started filling up holes with asphalt. This only works for a very short while and results in a bumpy road service. Very noisy, too. But worst, the rule of thumb seems to be, only holes deeper than 10cms/4" and/or larger dan 50cms/1.5ft are filled.
The ministry says there's no money for a structural improvement. That we all get, they need it for other, more important things. Like what? Schools? Sports? Foundation subsidies? It's a mystery; unless you have certain disruptive ideas.
Gone With the Wind
Aruba has decided not to proceed with the Urirama wind park. They say it ruins the landscape. Right.
Besides, they have this vague creepy feeling that the former government made exorbitant promises to and deals with the developers. Same here.
Thanks for Telling Us
VBC entrepreneurs' club tells us that prosperity has gone down during the last years. Let me guess: since 10-10-10? VBC quotes US World and News Report:
Countries that offer the following facilities attract most investors: a business-friendly environment and government; a risk-taking culture; well-trained and skilled staff; well-developed infrastructure that provides connectivity with the rest of the world; well-developed legal system to ensure legal certainty; an attractive fiscal climate; stability; presence and easy access to capital and financing.
Well, there you have it. None of the above, except the legal angle. But our Great Leaders are working on that.
The "old" Sehos(pital) must pay over 20 million guilders to its personnel. That's because Sehos wanted to start its own health insurance fund, which was never realized. But the premium was subtracted from salaries anyway.
Far Ahead of the Game
In the USA, socialist (used? to be communist) failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders want a government job for everybody. It's what we here have been working on, and achieving, for many years now.
The Noose Tightens
Russian and Chinese experts agree that 3 of the 4 Venezuelan oil refineries are beyond salvation and should be shut down. KKCur calls it "mothballed" but I feel that's when you have hope you can use it again in the future.
Only Puerto de la Cruz is "salvageable with significant investments" (sounds only too familiar). That one has a 109,000 bpd capacity, the others total 1,080,000 bpd. So Maduro will have about 10% of his "capacity" left. But don't imagine he'll shut them down: just keep exploiting them until disaster strikes.
Isla refinery has a capacity of 330,000 bpd.
It's the Law
Much outrage was caused because 2 refugee children were picked up at school by the police. But justice minister Girigorie says he has no choice. There are about 500 illegal children in schools right now and if he lets these 2 go, that's a precedent he can't afford.
Update: mother and children will be extradited.
The government, in this case the cabinet of ministers, has to reply to letters from Staten/parliament. Well, they don't. The backlog since last year is 95 letters.
Of course, it's an agreeable surprise that Staten members managed to write so many letters. Who'd have thought they had it in them?
Quackie Comes to Court
Quackie Constancia, while minister of health for Shorty's M*F*K, didn't feel she made enough and set up a fake deal to buy surgical masks (more than we'd ever need in the foreseeable future) against a super bargain price, which were billed but never delivered. This is finally coming to court, May 3.
All in the Family
Felida, organizer of the flopped Ponto[o]n Festival, who refused to speak Dutch to journalists from Holland wanting to interview him, has escaped the clutches of his suckers. He took the plane—to Holland! No doubt business class (he can afford it, for now).
What came to light now, he's related to several of our politicians. See? I was smelling this out already. Those things run in families.
Call Her Irresponsible
Auntie Suzy is angry and sputters that she's not responsible for the mess her predecessing ministers of health left behind in dealing with SONA, the HNO new hospital and all that. How like her. First, her predecessors were members of her former party. Sure, party discipline does not exist, is why political discipline cannot exist.
But we've got news for you, auntie. You are responsible. You took on that mess when you eagerly grabbed your comfy ministerial seat and cozy salary. So clear it up. Not that she will—or can. So we'll pay up instead.
More Flights CUR-AMS-CUR
TUI is expanding its schedule to 9 flights per week, 3 of which non-stop next season; KLM plans as many total flights, 2 with stop-overs on St. Maarten (I always avoid those, life is a vale of tears already).
The idea is: justice minister Girigorie explains that we need the effort of the entire community to combat crime. He's certainly got a point. Problem is, how to achieve this?
It's Monday morning and I'm pretty pessimistic.
Don't Worry: It Will Get Even Worse
The Central Bank warns that "labor productivity per worker is lower than the average in South America and the Caribbean." Which, I may add, is already lower than most other continents. But the Central Bank tells us there are ways to improve this.
No doubt, but will they work?
You may have noticed that I don't think too highly of our esteemed politicians. Let me make clear it's not about them, here, only. It goes for all of them, all over. Well, there are may be exceptions.
For example, did you follow those USA sessions with FakeBooc's Suckerbug last week, where senators or members of congress asked him the most stupid questions, like, "how do you send email with WhatsApp?" And that woman who claimed that if you let a rock "drop from the moon" it would wreak damage down here like 20 nuclear bombs? And that other guy who worried that if too much material was stored on Iwo Jima, the island might capsize?
And that's for now the most powerful country in the world.
No Such Luck, Wiels
It's as good as a confession of guilt: Werner Wiels, he of MDTB, only wants to tell his story in parliament when he gets a free pass for all criminal and civil law prosecution. This is granted to parliamentaries in session, but as he isn't one he won't get it. At least, he shouldn't. You never know if those dummies go for it.
Do You Think?
At the Safety and Security Conference attorney general Bos came out with a, to us here, really original idea: the better the chance criminals get caught, the less inclined they'll be to commit crimes.
Last year the police bought 3 unobtrusive surveillance cars, but they're not in use. (At least, not for surveillance.) There is no personnel to man them.
Our politicians want to turn Hato into a hub between Latin America and North America and Europe. Good luck with that! It used to have that function, which was finalized when KLM stopped using Curaçao as a stop on their lines Europe-Latin America and, thanks to our then politicians, changed to Bonaire instead. Which was a drama in itself: everybody (except the Bonaire politicians) saw that it would only last for a couple of years more, when long-distance aircraft would be introduced. And so it happened.
Let's not even start to discuss the idea of making Aruba and Curaçao hubs simultaneously. The idea is too ludicrous to contemplate.
And then consider that Hato Airport is fond of raising the hidden transit tax for passengers which is included in the ticket. Of course the airlines do notice and try to avoid such airports like the plague they are.
One More Law That Never Was
What have our Great Leaders been doing since 10-10-10, except quarreling and of course raking it in? There has been a new traffic law, titled WVVC 2012, all ready since before 10-10-10, but it hasn't been passed yet. Like so many others—too many others.
Felida, organizer of the Ponto[o]n Festival, has disappeared, leaving not a wreck cent behind.
And now we read that this was his fourth festival that fell flat. Only now? Where were the media? Busy promoting it, no doubt for free tickets.
The story is that MAN pinhead Martina has helped Felida to get this flop off the ground. Quite in style.
Suckers are now starting a court case against Felida, and say that will stop him from trying again, as he's not allowed to do that with a criminal record.
But he can always try and become a politician instead.
Happy Days Are Here Again
As from this week, the work force of bordello Campo Alegre will be back at 135.
Isla doesn't understand why SMOC c.s. (among which Norbert George's Stichting Humanitaire Zorg) only now seized the refinery's shares, as that pollution report stems from 2014. That's simple: the report was finished early 2017 and SMOC started procedures in March last year.
Further, Isla promises that with a new agreement, the refinery will become much cleaner and asks us all for patience. When Isla loses, the problem might be over though; no new refinery.
And finally, Isla is afraid that when they lose, the 75 million will not be invested in society. Now look who's talking. Just think "Wiels's MDTB". Or InselAir. Or Ponto[o]n Festival. Or... what's the use of going on.
Judge will rule on May 2.
Now You're Talking?
Maybe... Auntie Suzy announces that SONA will be moved aside as the building monitor of HNO new hospital and replaced.
Only, it's not clear at all by whom or what. In fact, it's not even clear as yet how much HNO will cost. What is clear is that the original budget of 421 million guilders will be exceeded by 78 or possibly 125 million.
In parliament, M*F*K asked finance minister Gijsbertha how things are going with that bank, which Central Bank has placed under guardianship more than four years ago. If Girobank, which still is in heavy financial waters, has to shrink 80 to 90 people lose their jobs.
In March SMOC and several others seized the shares of Isla Refinery, value 75 million guilders, because in 2014 the refinery exceeded the pollution norm established in court of 80μgrams SO2/m3. Isla says measurements have not been done conform the norms and started another court case. Judge should decide in 2 days (I wonder).
Isla Refinery ran at 31% of capacity in 2018-QI, which is about the same as those in Venezuela (the ones still running).
Free Green Energy
There we go again: in 2015 it was announced that Bonaire would switch over to wind- and solar energy, with in a later stage algae grown to deliver fuel to the, still needed, diesel generators.
And now, we hear that Holland doesn't know what to do about the fact that energy prices there will go up "tens of percents" in May, after 1 month postponement caused by citizens' protests.
You think there could possibly be a connection?
Waiting for Disaster
The railings of the Juliana Bridge, spanning the harbor with a top height of 56.4 m (185 ft.) are rotten. At least on one occasion, the top tube even sticks out, ready to catch and puncture oncoming cars. (Only a few weeks ago, a minivan was almost pushed over by a heavy truck.)
That bridge is a disaster anyway; you can't see over the top and every so often you only see a traffic jam waiting for you after you've crossed it. Scary! You hit the brakes and hope everybody behind you does so in time...
But of course it quite fits in with the rest of our steadily deteriorating roads.
And hey, the railing is prettily painted in the colors of the flag, yellow and blue. Only, on one side they're so dirty you don't notice.
Good Points, Koenze
The trade union leader tells the politicians what everybody else knows: downtown Willemstad is dying. Getting worse and worse—over 40 shops have been closed in the past 2 years. Koenze blames the high rents, the strip malls and the parking meters (which were installed when Randy Neuman built his monstrosity parking garage). Koenze wants the Plaza hotel back in business (good luck with that) and duty free shops.
Almost at the same time, we hear that the first fruit boats are on their way back to Curaçao where they may not go back to their old location. This is still reserved for local souvenir tourist junk sellers. Tourists have been complaining that one of the biggest attractions has gone, but pinhead Martina doesn't have space up there for for than one idea. He prefers tourist junk, so the fruit sellers are out.
Koenze must mean strip mall Sambil. Even if this megastore really was meant for tourists (a big fat lie, but Martina—he again—went for it), that'd suck them out of downtown Willemstad as well.
Please Send Money
Our Professional Political Beggars have requested the €€C to send us them money, as long as they give it away to Colombia and Brazil, who have many more Venezuelan refugees than we; true, they're much bigger than the islands so the impact is relatively larger here.
Brazil has meanwhile closed the border.
Auntie Suzy's announced X-Team has actually fined several offenders who were excavating diabase (on government-owned terrain). Dumping and burning refuse is forbidden as well.
Health inspector Huurman leads the team. This guy really means business; no wonder some people hate his guts.
Rumors keep going around that PAR education minister Alcalá-Wallé came home drunk and hubby refused her admittance (which is a legal ground for divorce). But she denies and says she doesn't drink alcohol "because she can't handle it." That sounds correct, anyway.
As we're at it anyway, another minister gets into quarrels with his wife because he hangs around at sneks too often. That's where the Venezuelan trago girls ply for customers.
The US has again named several Caribbean countries, including Curaçao, as 'Major Money Laundering Jurisdictions' in its new International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, so writes Curaçao Chronice.
Recently, unlicensed banking through Chinese mini-markets has also been identified as a source for laundered funds. And don't forget the casinos.
Then domestic public corruption poses a money laundering threat to Curaçao. Money laundering occurs through real estate purchases and international tax shelters, and through wire transfers and cash transport among Curaçao, the Netherlands, and other Dutch Caribbean islands.
You can find the report here.
The Caracasbaaiweg is an obstruction. Long traffic jams stretch out all over the road, all day long. But a solution has been found in 2011; only, they were too busy with, er, other matters. Are you ready?
The solution is: they'll close off the access roads and hey! presto! no more traffic jams.
At least, not on Caracasbaaiweg.
The 11 pilots and 12 cabin crew who flew InselAir's MD-8* aircraft are still collecting their (fat) salaries. It's only now that court procedure has been started up to get rid of them.
The pilots complain that they will have to leave the island and follow a $30,000 training to learn how to fly a more modern plane. My heart bleeds. Poor babies. They could have seen this coming over a year ago, as we all did, and maybe started to save up a little.
She Could Have Fooled Me
Auntie Suzy got mad at Sona, Berenschot and Ballast-Nedam. They should have followed another course to collect their (what now is almost twice as much:) $100 million guilders, and applied directly to the country. Says auntie "It's not a banana republic here!" Oh, good to know. She's correct, it's not a republic.
Announces three weekly flights from Santo Domingo to Curaçao and Aruba, and two to St. Maarten. Starting June 4. "With the punctuality that characterizes the airline." That I'll have to see.
M*F*K ex-PM Shorty and PS have written a letter complaining about Holland's abuse of power here. You'll never guess: to president Maduro of Venezuela.
We heard about this before (just like every year). But it's not heavy at all; in fact, a lighter season than last year's is predicted.
Just don't count on it. Better batten the hatches anyway.
The thing is, crying wolf every year doesn't serve a purpose. Al contrali. 2018-04-13
Could Be... Could Be...
Now a complaint has been lodged against David Dick (who if I remember right has been a minister of justice once). He may have made the 1 million guilders meant for the sport field in Barber disappear. And we blaming M*F*K.
Then again, it may have been M*F*K* anyway. Time will tell. Maybe.
Of Course Not
Not only the ticket buyers for the Ponto[o]n Festival may well wonder if they get their money back, the sponsors are now starting to get agitated and have hired a lawyer. Because they can't even reach the organizers.
Her salary as head of the immigration service was not enough, she felt, so she started selling come-in permits to mainly Chinese and Venezuelans. Now she's in court for 9 cases.
Who cares about her name? She's just one among many.
They're Right Werner Wiels says Soab (accounting control) has never asked him to talk about the MDTB situation. I wouldn't have bothered either. A slippery liar, who cares what he says?
Pardon my cynicism. Some high-up people have signed a pact that violence must be eradicated. They principally mean against women (by their partners men), children (by their parents) and men (by their friends). That men may undergo violence by their partners as well seems to have been forgotten. Or parents by their children.
At any rate, good luck with that. Only marks on paper. Black marks, to be sure.
Who want to extend their driving license will get a nasty surprise: they won't get it when they never took the exam. Good. Not that I think a license per se is any guarantee that they won't drive through red lights.
Got a letter from ISP UTS telecommunications. They deplore that they have to raise the monthly price (to ANG111, USD61), but console me with the factoid I'll "keep enjoying the best Internet speeds at the best rate on Curaçao." Well, maybe. But that's a 'Standard' package with speeds up to 32Mbps, they say. Wisely, their own speed test was removed from their site, so I went to Speedtest and got the following result: Download 8.84Mbps - Upload 3.56 Mbps
You can only agree, "up to" 32 includes 1/4 of that speed.
Almost 500 drivers were fined last year because they didn't have a license. They will now have to appear in court, where the public prosecutor demands jail time.
Much worse, 4500 couldn't show insurance documents. The public ministry thinks, how original, this is only the top of the iceberg. But no doubt they're right. One result is that at least one insurance company wants higher tariffs. So we have to start paying even more.
What always lacks here is proper controls.
Not to Worry
The infamous official bordello Campo Alegre has a shortage of whores sex workers. Normally, 150 "ladies" are "working" there but these weeks there are only 65 available.
So what, there's plenty more where they came from.
There We Go Again
Ballast Nedam Infra, contractor for the HNO new hospital, via court has seized USD31 million (ANG56m) from SONA, the official builders acting for Curaçao country. They have little confidence SONA will be able to pay for the rest of the building process.
So do we. Will be discussed in Staten/parliament this morning.
Anyway, as ex-MP Leeflang tells us, there is, or rather, there should be a BIG law to regulate lots of things, among which health care. Only, it seems to take to much time (9 years already) and trouble to get it accepted. After all, why spend energy on such a thing? It's much more productive to grab more money.
The Thieves That Keep On Stealing
An amount of 27 million guilders (15m dollars) that was held in reserve for school maintenance in 2010 has disappeared. Nobody (except maybe, probably, ex-PM Shorty c.s.) know what happened to all that money. But we're free to guess.
Minister of education then was one of Wiels's Pueblo Soberano gang. Are you surprised?
Justice minister Gijsbertha has been asked to investigate. Bet you they won't find a trace.
The cops stopped a bus full of tourists. They were made to come out and wait for another one which had the necessary permits.
The tourists must have liked getting this authentic hands-on experience of a corrupt third-world country. They can put the story on FakeBooc (as long as that 's still around).
The cops say there are many illegal tour operators at the mega-piers. So why not check those guys right there?
You think the tourists must have paid extra for that second bus? I shouldn't wonder one bit. Alternative would be, walk back and miss the boat.
Werner Wiels, the guy who spent money as water when directing MDPT, wanted to hold a speech in parliament to defend himself. But for once, they thought ahead of him. The thing is, Wiels thought he'd get immunity from criminal prosecution this way, which made them scratch their head. The meeting has been postponed until parliament gets advice on this.
Wiels may try to stand up and start to talk anyway, but he has no right to do that, not being a parliament member.
He Got It
Dutch parliament is not entirely satisfied with minister Blok getting rid of Maduro's blockade. To wit, they don't like his dealing with criminal crooks. But van Raak, whose Socialist Party in the past sympathized with the socialist regime of Maduro and its predecessor Chavez, says "they're all villains in Venezuela", but in Latin America it is "very difficult to find leaders with a spotless reputation".
That goes for all politicians everywhere, van Raak.
More Tourist Junk
Even if the floating market comes back, it may have to change locations. 450 local entrepreneurs have applied for a stand at the now empty and restored quay. They want to sell souvenirs.
Crooks Deal with Crooks
You may have noticed in passing, reading between the lines, I do not have the utmost respect for politicians. Now Dutch minister Blok, who managed to reopen the border with Venezuela, is accused of dealing with the crooks of a crooked regime. True, of course. So what else is new?
Maybe that Venezuela has appointed an ambassador to Aruba who is high on the USA list of international drug dealers. Oops, sorry, "alleged" drug dealers. Net result will no doubt be further influx of what's called narco-terrorism on the islands. While Holland keeps blaming us for smuggling drugs over there.
That's a Lot
According to Famia Planiá [planned parenthood] there are at least 200 illegal bordellos on the island, with a total of 2500 trago (Venezuelan) girls/women work force. That's about 1 for every 25 men. Thank you, Maduro!
Surface area Hong Kong 2753km2—Gaza 365km2—Curaçao 444km2.
Inhabitants Hong Kong 7.5 million—Gaza 2 million—Curaçao 150 thousand.
Population density Hong Kong 2724 people/km2; Gaza 5479—Curaçao 338.
Unemployment Hong Kong 2.8%, youth 11.1%—Gaza 45% and 68%—Curaçao 14.1% and 18.8%.
Dutch Minister Blok announces the border between the islands and Venezuela is open again. Air and sea traffic is possible. An anti-smuggling accord has been signed, which of course is just a paper trick.
Now we can return those so-called "refugees". Will the fruit and veggie floating market reopen? Will ex-minister (member of Shorty's mob) Imalootin be delivered in our hands?
Good, or Bad?
Dutch officials as from now are again allowed to fly InselAir. The company is deemed safe enough.
Curaçao wants open skies agreements ('Convention on air services') with Colombia, Denmark, Oman, Sweden, South-Africa and Singapore. The Dutch are already working on this with the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), also for St. Maarten; which island also wants Brazil, Canada, Finland, Iceland and Qatar. An agreement for Qatar and Curaçao was signed in 2015. No flights CUR-AMS will be permitted for these countries' airlines.
A petition has been handed over to Dutch minister Blok, to request "attention for the border crossing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela" and "a humanitarian and just refugee policy" in the kingdom. 1200 people have signed it. But that same minister states that most Venezuelans cannot be seen as political but as economic refugees and should be sent back. And it's still the islands' responsibility.
Meanwhile, efforts are made to reopen the border.
An estimated 15,000 Venezuelans have settled here, which is far more than the numbers we were fed first. That's 10% of the total population.
Fiesta Time's Over
The proudly announced April 6/7 Curaçao Ponto[o]n Festival has been canceled—and at the last moment, too. The organizers blame the shrinking economy: people just can't afford all these extravaganzas anymore (at ANG75/night). Tickets will be refunded.
I Call BS
Why is it that we never ever get a prediction of a lower-than-normal hurricane season? Now it's Global Weather Oscillations (GWO) claiming we'll get another very bad hurricane season, just as bad as last year. Agreed, there were some very, extremely, bad hurricanes but in total it wasn't so bad at all. This will supposedly happen because of the still high ocean temperatures—which in fact are lower now than before the last El Niño. "In some cases they may make different landfalls." What a surprise.
We are having a peak in hurricanes, according to GWO. It's the other way around; we have had very quiet hurricane seasons before 2017 hit. In fact, 2013 was the lowest season in 30 years.
But sure, we'll see.
I Don't Get It
As long as president Maduro keeps the border with Venezuela closed, fruit boats are not welcome here says PAR PM Rhuggenaath. That's telling 'em, Rhuggenaath! I'm sure Maduro is shaking in his socialist fascist boots.
1. How can those boats try and get out to come over here? Our border isn't closed; it's theirs.
2. Rhuggenaath doesn't stop the crude oil carriers coming in, of course not! Much better to punish a few poor farmers and skippers. Also, much less risky.
The Great Escape
13 Venezuelans escaped from their holding cells in Rio Canario police station by making a hole in the roof and climbing out. Last time, a bunch just walked out of the courtyard there.
Too Bad I Didn't Know
The security guards of the plot for confiscated cars walked out of the job and left the gates wide open. They complained they hadn't got their raise; it was somehow "forgotten." Only in Curaçao.
For now the cops have taken over their duties.
The Asians Are Coming!
Holland has given Qatar Airways permission to fly directly to Curaçao from Doha (betcha don't know where that is). Means Schiphol Airport and Big Blue Bully KLM will miss out on Asian travelers. I mean, they'd be crazy to fly all the way up to Holland first.
I guess it would be easier for us to get to the East as well. Or to South Africa, for example. Not that I plan on going there for a while. Quite a while, the way things are going.
If Qatar accepts, that's not clear yet.
3 of Venezuela's 4 oil refineries have to be closed down, for lack of crude oil and personnel. They're also in an even crummier state than "our" Isla refinery. Repairing the facilities would amount to more than 10 billion dollars.
The three refineries combined are half PdVSA's total capacity, but the country's total production these days is only 30% of theoretical capacity. Russia's Rosneft and PetroChina politely declined leasing the refineries; they're just not worth it.
Pay Up Or It Won't Fly
CTB is trying to get flights from Düsseldorf to CUR again, after the Air Berlin debacle. This time Eurowings would be interested.
As long as we pay a guarantee, without ever knowing how much. Because transparency, you know.
Hire Some More
The former Shorty Prick Pisas cabinet has hired 330 spoiled brats civil servants without following the correct procedures; they all "work" illegally. Of 8%, the documents can't even be found.
But they can't be fired just like that, noooo, that would be illegal! So every single one has to be checked; which takes time and personpower (am I not PC?) You ask me, now the government has to hire extra, er, workers to figure all that out.
Now They Tell Us
No doubt it's well meant, but when the consumers' union comes out now to tell us what's the cheapest supermarket to buy foodstuff for Lent, that's just too late. Lent is over by the end of the week. Why bother.
A number of Venezuelans who were kept locked up in prison have started a fire in their cell, which is now ruined. While there are actions going on pleading for help and compassion and keep them here, the result of their own action is they will all be kicked out muy pronto.
The so-called refugees often arrive here armed to the teeth in boats loaded with cocaine. This seems to have been stopped now. At least, that's what we're told.
But there are still lots of women making a living as prostitutes, and lots of gangsters hanging around up to no good.
Pinhead Martina stands corrected by local farmers and his ministry will stop importing several kinds of vegetables from Santo Domingo, which caused local produce to remain unsold.
What nobody cares to mention is, the supermarkets much preferred the cheaper imports. Even with the air freight costs, they are much cheaper than what is grown here.
1.5 3 Million Gone
PSB [postspaarbank/savings bank] has loaned 1.5 million dollars (2.7 million guilders) to InselAir. The company can get one more F50 turboprops in service, total 2 (which contradicts earlier reporting that they had 2 already). Maybe they'll even get an F70 turbofan! or even an F100. Don't count on it, though.
Remember, Insel had a government guarantee. Even with that, looks like only PSB was prepared to lend them money.
Try for More
Sona, being sued by auntie Suzy's ministry because they won't show any acceptable accounting, thinks it good timing to come out now with a demand for yet more money, 7 million guilders.
Smart Driving Instructors
The driving schools complain that nobody knows what the rules are on what types of roundabouts, and they certainly have a point. But when they claim that nobody knows who's got right of way when leaving one, you can only shake your head.
Worst is, the driving test is based on a law that's been superseded long since. So even those (rare) drivers who take the trouble to get a license don't really know how they ought to drive.
MAN MP McWilliam turns up with the point her party member Koeiman made in the past: every house should get a cistern to collect rain, and she asks why this has not been realized.
Well, here's why, McWilliam: A cistern for a house of 10x10 meters should be about 40 cubic meters with a height of 1 meter high 5x8 meters, 40 square meters. Construction costs now are easily above 1000 guilders per square meter, total at least 40,000 guilders. With a mortgage interest of 10% costs are 4000 guilders per year, or 100 guilders per cubic meter. Cost of Aqualectra 1/10th of that.
And who has space in his garden? And how about the mosquitoes?
Pour Hower Tonite!
Remember EarthHour? Tonight is the night to rejoice in electricity from 20.30-21:30. PowerHour
Some of those fossil fuels have been waiting for 100 million years to return to the sky.
Things you can do:
Turn on all the lights you can find — Put on the party lights, the patio light, the pool light, the mozzie zappers, unpack those Christmas decorations. Get out your torches. Switch the movement detector spotlights to continuous operation. (Involve the kids — they love to help).
Eat Argentinian Lamb steak, New Zealand butter, Dutch Cheese, Belgian Chocolate, and Californian Oranges.
Drink German Beer and/or French Champagne. Drink toasts to coal miners, oil rig workers, and power station staff. Break out the ice cream.
Light your backyard with the landcruiser headlights! (Don't flatten the battery, make sure you keep that engine running.)
In the hundred thousand years since homo sapiens came to be, people have fled bondage, wars, small-pox, dysentery, died from minor scratches, starved to death, been ravaged by lions, stricken by cholera, and survived ninety thousand year stretches of abysmal ice age. We lived in the darkness for 99,900 years, cowering in corners, listening to drips, waiting for the sun.
Hat Tip: Joanne Nova
Business as usual. Pinhead Martina's latest effort to fuck things up, and succeeding again: importing vegetables from Santo Domingo to replace those from Venezuela. Only, we have plenty of bell peppers and cucumbers grown here—so our farmers' produce sits there rotting away.
The farmers have protested by way of a letter to the ministry, but (you saw this coming) didn't get an answer.
Pinhead Martina declares, at the announcement of a cooperation between Curoil and Aqualectra, that more and more "green" energy will be used. "The costs of wind- and solar energy are negligible" he says.
No doubt that explains why in the countries using it most consumers pay the highest tariffs.
SBAB [tax advise bureau] has asked all trust and related offices for a list of their clients. In less than a week, please; so they can look into tax liability and review profit, sales and salary tax.
Worse and Worse
China will not lend Venezuela more money. The country owes China 50 billion already. President Maduro's crypto coin got nowhere either, as anybody but he could see coming.
Tried Before, No Result
Pinhead Martina wants to stop the labyrinth of license applications and replace it with 1 window that handles the whole burocrazy. This has been proposed before, somewhere in the 1980s, and got stuck in a dead end.
Because of course, what to do with al those spoiled brats officials who sit there to stamp the forms? From then on, pay them to just sit there in the airco without even stamping forms?
As Long As It Lasts
InselAir has got permission to operate their 2 F50s again. They have been checked after one had to return to St. Maarten with a fuel pump out of order.
We now look forward to the next problem.
Dutch government members are worried about the defense of the Caribbean islands, as well they might. It wouldn't be the first time Venezuela just took over here, and in a situation like that it's finders keepers. But what to do? I hope they know.
Politicians are like bananas; they come in young and green and leave yellow, crooked and rotten.
So car insurance premiums have to go up, because the cops don't control traffic.
Here's a suggestion: Pay the cops more instead, so they do their work better. On second thoughts, no, that won't work so well.
From an amusing news item we learn that thieves have stolen gas vouchers from the police. We're not told how many. It's a miracle they got caught!
More Unwise Men
The so-called wise men who landed us with a continuation of InselAir were such a success, the new committee that's looking into the UTS telecom problems are also called wise men. Only, two have taken their leave because the other members did not want to look at UTS's management during the past years.
Why not? we ask ourselves. Too much mud to stir up?
Just Stop That Farce
An InselAir Fokker F50 had to return to St. Maarten because of a failing fuel pump. Now we have an airline without planes. Great.
But they do have a new director. Con artist Filiatreault has finally been bounced.
But new money, no.
Thank You, Auntie Suzy
Too late... she moved on to other, maybe fatter and greener, pastures. But remember how in 2016 she had this installation built at Shut/Chute to collect sewage from the trucks dumping it there, to pump it to Klein Hofje sewage plant? It cost 1.6 million guilders (almost $1m) and, we only now are informed, never worked.
Because of an installation fault the water can't be separated from the sludge. So the shit is still dumped in sea, resulting in pollution, less fish and dead coral. And no doubt less tourists.
Hope for the Best...
... Expect the worst. The government has announced that, by 2020 (is what I have to guess from the context) half of our energy will be produced by "green" sources: solar and wind. It's a 57 page report. originally dated 2017, stating that in 2014 crude oil prices have gone up. They did not; that was at least 2013—and in 2015 they went down by half, at which level they still are.
This is how the government plans to use 16.9 million €s available from Europe for "sustainable development". Another vague term very much en vogue these days. At least we won't have to pay extra for it.
Highest price was February 2008, $146/b; now it's about $65. Which, figuring inflation, is 1/5 of the 1970 price, before the first "energy crisis"—when gas was so cheap, remember? Who was it I heard calling out "hysteria" from the back of the room?
Granted, prices may go up again, you never know. Doesn't look like that at all, though.
InterAssure would like the police to check better and more on traffic violations. What can you say? Everybody wants that; except the police; and violators of course.
There You are; There We Go
One of the reasons why foodstuff is steadily and fastly going up in price here is because the harbor, in fact still our prime economic pillar, is hopelessly out-of-date. "The" crane has to be renewed (there used to be four, so?), more chassis have to be bought and customs take far too long. As always here.
But Curaçao Port Services has no competitors (sounds familiar?) so why bother.
Good for Them
Local farmers have started a market on the outdoor premises of giant hardware Building Depot. Open every Saturday. Sort of disturbing for pinhead Martina's floating market plans? We'll see; but I'm convinced those farmers pay less there then they'd be charged for a concession in Punda. And besides, they'd have to be there every day in the week.
Two experts in the field of industrial safety from Safety Region Rotterdam Rijnmond, have started a technical audit of Isla Refinery. It consists of three parts: physical analysis with the testing of different installations; data and information study; and finally talks with various department heads. A report by Texas E & D Technologies (after the recent cat cracker fire) concludes that the Isla refinery in recent years has been relatively lucky in preventing major incidents; there are parts at the refinery where the technical requirements are not met. SMOC opines that 'the state of many installations on the Isla site is such that it is irresponsible to keep employees and local residents exposed to the risks of continued unchanged operations.'
Not That Innocent
Remember that White Powder coming down from the refinery? I checked this and it probably is aluminum silicate. "Fibrosis and pneumoconiosis have been documented in workers involved in the mining and processing of Aluminum Silicate, Calcium Silicate, Zirconium Silicate, Fuller's Earth, Kaolin, Montmorillonite, Pyrophyllite, and Zeolite." (All those are very much alike, both in characteristics and in applications.)
So Isla management may poo-poo this but, in fact, watch out.
Think It Through
First in Bonaire and now here, enormous amounts of sargasso seaweed are washing up. Stinks like Satan in hell. Marines and real volunteers are cleaning up.
Now two well-meaners are proposing to set up a plant to use that stuff to produce biofuels. They claim this happens every 3 years which is news to me. It has happened before, maybe three years ago, true. But would you seriously consider to start producing "energy" with a plant that can run once every three years for a couple of weeks—if that often?
I have studied this pretty intensively a few years ago because I got a proposal to start an algae-processing plant here. Then, when crude was maybe 3 times as expensive as now, I could only conclude this was a pipe dream.
If true... Seems there's not even a feasibility study for that much-vaunted Greentown to replace Isla refinery. So what are we talking about? Nobody knows.
Pay Up, Little Shorty, Pay Up!
He's in court again. "Our best customer, welcome back!" This time he has to pay back 1.8 million guilders (US$1m) and his moll 200k. Peanuts, but okay already. In court August 1 and 2, maybe 3.
Aruba Gets Aanwijzing
Meaning, instruction. Probably. We've had several, and it's not the first one for Aruba either. But PM Wever-Croes doesn't worry; after all, it's not her fault. When her predecessor Eman got one in 2014, he went on a hunger strike—for 6 days.
There Are Many More
Our national disaster coordinator (I'm sure he has a full-time job organizing all those coming at us all the time) says we can't absorb over 250 Venezuelan refugees; that's where our humanitarian capacity is saturated. More help (and money, don't forget the money) is needed.
A few days later, we can read that the number of illegals is "between 4000 and 6000."
As From Today—Sure
A ministerial decision wants to end the veritable jungle of advertising signs and billboards. Fine. Too bad we've heard that before. (The law dates from 2015, pretty ugly late in itself.)
Environment ministry, led (after a fashion) by auntie Suzy, is on strike. Not that anybody'd notice. Personnel wants an appointment for a meeting with her, but, I guess knowing her better than we do, they want it black-on-white.
It's as big a rubbish heap there as at all departments, judging from the descriptions. For example, they don't have paper or toner to copy; a real disaster for civil servants, that.
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
As 124 million promised subsidy for SEHOSpital has not been paid, they now have a "negative working capital" of 86 million. "Now" means end 2016, who knows how much it is presently.
Just wait until after the move to new hospital HNO. Building took so long, it will be old before it's finished.
Students who've had a scholarship are mostly not able to pay it back. Total amount outstanding 300 million guilders. Outstanding!
My Personal Opinion
Never Fly All Ways! Now, they announce the Suriname government (such as it is, can't let that go) has granted them a permit to make a stop in Curaçao on their flights Paramaribo-Santo Domingo after all.
Where Did It Go?
Almost 1 million guilders, approved by PAR just before 10-10-10 (Day of Doom) was transferred (by M*F*K) to a sport club in Barber to improve the facilities. At least, MFK claims so; only, all documents have disappeared. Investigations are set in motion.
It's No Use
PAR education minister Alcalá-Wallé opines that it's of no use whatsoever to discuss free education. The mess left behind by her predecessors must be cleared first, then we'll know what we're talking about.
Meanwhile, education may be free but there's no money to pay for the school buses, which doesn't help the pupils much.
To Catch a Criminal
MP Cooper suggests to use the Crooked Church of Scientology, pronounced a criminal organization in many countries, to fight crime here. Turns out, Mudbelly is a member himself—how like him.
For once, Staten didn't want anything of that foolishness.
All of a sudden InselAir announce they won't need 3.5 million dollars to continue on their sorry trip. No, 1.5 million is quite enough, thank you.
Free translation: they won't get 3.5 so they must be satisfied with burning up less.
Just Like We Thought
The new hospital HNO will not be ready for use, as just last week announced, in August next year. May take 2 to 4 months longer.
Let the White Powder Come
The Isla refinery cat cracker is out of order after the fire; should be back in business early May. Then, we'll probably be treated on a new load of the infamous White Powder.
Interestingly, the refinery has no shortage of crude oil and is even allowed to export products to Venezuela. Figures; where else can Maduro buy energy, with no money?
Not 250 people get a chance to build a house; only 100 for now. That's 3.3%.
Floating Market Ahoy!
Venezuela has prolonged the boycott, and minister Martina wants local producers to occupy the now empty stalls to sell their foodstuff. This at a distance of 200 meters from the Central Market—an EEC project we may still be paying for (and that stands mostly empty). Money is now spent to patch up the place.
Says Martina, the place is a strong tourist attraction. Here's an idea: put in foam-plastic mock-ups of the barquettes then, coz that's what those tourist suckers want to see.
From Bad to More Worse
The economy is steady: it's shrinking all the time; over the past 10 years by 10%. It's going much faster now, though: 2017-QIII alone it was 1.5%.
In this connection, I didn't bother searching back beyond 2013, but AOV old age welfare has remained exactly the same since then, while inflation has been 3.2%. When will those politicians wise up and realize old folks are getting more and more voting power? You say: "when will they wise up, period?" Touché.
That Will Help
There's a waiting list of 3000 people looking for a terrain to build a house on. Good news: PAR minister Jesus-Leito (PAR) announces 250 locations have been found that will be made available.
Only solution, not that this is an original thought (many people figured this out on their own), find some place and start building illegally.
Rotten to the Core
Insurance company Nagico has until now refused to pay up for all the hurricane Irma damage claimed by St. Maarten Princess Juliana airport. Total insured sum is USD193,359,223.27, of which Nagico has paid less than 40%. St. Maarten is furious and planning to take "all possible steps."
But in The New Yorker magazine, "Unnamed persons were quoted as saying sufficient efforts were not made to safeguard the terminal building from further damage." So Nagico may have a point.
In other and to me connected news, old-has-beenRosalia with his no-seat MKP party presents the "Santa Maria resolution" to accuse the Dutch government of a coup d'état in St. Eustatius, because they took over from the corrupt government on that island. The resolution "instructs" Staten/parliament head and the Dutch representative in Curaçao to inform the Dutch king, government and parliament of their protest.
You may well ask how the take-over of the administration of part of the Netherlands can possibly be a coup d'état but Rosalia and his followers have such a hatred for everything Dutch, it stops them from thinking clearly.
It's called the Santa Maria resolution because their party HQ may be located in that Curaçao parish. I guess. Sounds better than the nothing resolution.
We'll See; Eventually
The new hospital will be technically ready in August 2018. At least, that's claimed. Then starts the nasty business of moving into it. Patients must have patience.
"A Considerable Amount"
That's how much Condor is paid as a guarantee for their Berlin-Curaçao flights. How considerable we're not told. Of course not! That would be transparent.
But the hotel sector is surprised. There is no money reserved for airlift from Germany as part of the Master Plan. Is that still alive, then?
Now We're Getting Some Action!?
Justice minister Girigorie has installed an Action Center "to fight crime in general and import of guns and other illegal trade items specifically." This should frustrate criminal efforts and thus prevent organized crime to nestle deeper in the community; his words. It will be a new approach to fight crime, with results that should be noticable in society.
Now that would certainly be new. Color me brightly sceptical.
Which Reminds Me
Bonaire's drinking water will be subsidized: everybody will pay the same, no matter how much they use.
Which reminds me of a rumor that seems to be true: Aqualectra's BOO plant produces much more water than is used, but rather than lower the price, they prefer to dump it back in the sea.
Suriname Fly All Ways does not get a permit to fly between CUR and Santo Domingo. Better name might be Fly By Night.
Huurman Is Busy
He wants Sehos and Advent hospitals to start cooperating on internal medicine, and to come with a solid plan two months from now. The doctors are willing, but say it's not so simple.
The evaluation committee for UTS has taken its leave. It's not very clear why; in fact, it's not at all clear. The committee was supposed to evaluate the coming layoffs at UTS.
Gee, I wonder if the members will get paid anyway, and how much.
Yeah, Good Question
A remark in KKC: Why aren't we informed on what guarantee is given to Condor for their flights Berlin-CUR? Answer: That's Transparency, Folks!
Take That, Auntie!
Health inspector Huurman is not at all contented with the plans to start fattening imported Colombian cattle here, and has written so to his boss, auntie Suzy. Anybody can call himself a veterinary here, says Huurman; and the head of the Veterinary Dept. says that all cattle can be imported from Colombia, no restrictions. This while it is well-known that there are Colombia cattle strains carrying MRSA COL 923 bacteria, which are anti-biotic resistant and dangerous for humans.
It's a Start
Selikor starts today with cleaning two locations that are in use as illegal trash dumps. There are many, many more. That's how we get to hear that the announced X-Team is a re-establishment. Oh. So the first one expired, leaving only wrecks behind?
Do As the Romans Do
Rome has an unusually high number of automobiles—about 2.3 million—compared to its population: just more than 800 for every 1,000 inhabitants. (In the USA it's 450/1000.)
One of the reasons the number of vehicles in Rome is so high is government banned cars with odd-numbered or even-numbered license plate on alternating days. To skirt the alternate days regulation, many families buy a used car with a different number plate.
Floating Market Sunk
Because of Maduro's export stop, the famous Floating Market tourist attraction has now definitely closed down. Never to return? Possibly; then again, who knows. At any rate, for what it's worth, one of the departed captains claims 30,000 Venezuelans had been living from that. That must include everybody, farmers to sellers, you name them.
But that's an awful lot! Confirms my opinion that we have been robbed all these years, if 1 of us has been sustaining 5 Venezuelans.
Maybe the captain includes Aruba and Bonaire. Than we "only" sustain 2 or 3 Venezuelans each. And maybe he's just talking foolishness.
Free For All
Free Education will remain free at least until 2019/2020 for everybody, not only for the less wealthy. Reason, it's a total mess; no doubt thanks to all those PS ministers who had their claws on the department ever since we can remember. So says PAR Alcala-Wallé.
The ministry is also in debt to Fundashon Material pa Skol and Stichting Studiefinanciering.
German airline Condor will start weekly flights Frankfurt-CUR in November. No doubt Düsseldorf will be mighty relieved. 2018-03-02
Here's an Idea
Customs proudly showed off their new dogs, meant to stop drugs and weapons export from Curaçao. Say, why not use them to stop those coming in?
CPS port services are madly angry (or is that angrily mad?) with Ecorys for their scathing report and threaten they will sue Ecorys if they don't retract.
Pinhead Martina is getting things fixed so InselAir will receive 3.6 million dollars more in its gaping maws. A loan from the banks with a government guarantee, so goodbye to 6.5 million guilders, folks! Watch them take wing ins Blaue hinein.
A guy in KaKaCur rightly asks if DiviDivi Air shouldn't sue the government here for causing unfair competition.
Mark: that's twice as much than what we were told a few weeks ago.
Why does a farm factory to grow 1000 cows on 1.5 m2 (16 sq.ft.) each need 40 hectare (100 acres)? You could grow process 670 million cows on there. Sure, you'd need room for feed stock etc. but this sounds suspicious.
Oh wait, they plan to grow grass for feed on those 40 hectares. No doubt irrigated. Loonyville!
Don't know how long this link will last, but Curaçao Chronicle runs a long article on the great economic opportunities promised by CHATA (Hotel and Tourist club). If only... we will become a Tax & Duty Free destination; more development of tourism opportunities; becoming a wellness destination (no comment); destination marketing update by CTB (hah!). CTB says tourism went down, but this year looks much better. Sure... Dream on, kids.
Strong Smell of Cow Shit
So that's lurking behind those great plans to start a cow meat factory. We, you and I, are supposed to cough up the money to pay for what Martina calls a "high level feasibility study" in which all aspects of this impossible operation are studied. For that, 5 of the 8 ministers had to show up (show being le mot juste here) and sign an MoU (Memorandum of understanding). We have had plenty of experience with MoUs signed in the recent past; like with Synergy and GZE. Next? We may have to finance the whole deal, you don't have to be overly pessimistic to expect.
Like Antilliaans Dagblad justly remarks, let that Venezuelan guy pay for that himself. What AD forget is, this method of growing cows has been banned by the €U since 2007; and PM Rhuggenaath is clamoring for more Anschluss over there. Do those ministers ever talk with each other?
Auntie Suzy was one of the signing ministers. She says she doesn't know yet what to do with the tons of manure resulting. Dump them at Chute/Shut, whatever?
Can Hardly Believe It
The court has ordered "Dutchy" Schrier, owner of the Seaquarium/Dolfinarium, to stop building quays for boats and to remove the posts already planted. He must also remove the enlargement of his coast stretch, which is much larger than agreed. Another factor in this game is Curaçao Port AuthoritiesCPA, who were playing the same game.
Both Schrier and CPA have long since outgrown their breeches and it's about time, in fact, much too late, that somebody put a stop to some of their activities.
That Dutch is a real pirate in the fine old Dutch tradition. He wrote a letter to KKC stating that the court's verdict only confirms a compromise he offered Lions Dive Hotel a long time ago. That's what he says, at least.
HNO: The Gift That Keeps Taking
Auntie Suzy warns that there are several "possibly hidden" risks with the new hospital. She doesn't mean health risks, but financial risks. Sona, supposed to handle the building procedure and its management, hasn't told all. Good question is, does SONA even know? Does SONA even want to know? Persistent rumors are that persons like ex-PMs Shorty and Arsjes have received enormous bribes. SONA surely doesn't want us to know!
Auntie has assigned the audit to Rekenkamer. How I hope they'll turn up some real dirt.
No News Is Bad News
The container harbor is just awful, a new Ecorys report lets us know. "Facilities are obsolete and new investments are needed." That's pretty old in itself. Ships are handled on a first-come-first-serve basis, so planning is as good as impossible and many have to be unloaded in night hours, causing extra overtime charges.
In Jamaica, 30 containers are moved per hour; in Aruba up to 22, and in St. Maarten 17 to 18. Here it's 12 to 14.
And then there are still people who dream of turning our South Coast into one giant container terminal so we'll become the Singapore or Hong Kong of the Caribbean.No Way.
MAN ministers Koeiman [Cow Man] announce and pinhead Martina ("e mahoso fastioso") a wonderful new project. A farm will be started where 1000 cows will be fattened in a couple of months. They are forced to fatten fast because they get no more than 1.5 meters to move around in. (I take it that's "square meters" but no journalist seems to have asked. Sigh.) Would be 75 by 200 centimeters, about there (30"x80"): the inhumane and in Europe since 2007 forbidden practice of crate calves.
Meanwhile, Dierenbescherming (SPCA) is constantly asking us to take care of our poor best friends, the dogs. Must have slipped by them.
Also, auntie Suzy has not been asked what she and her department think to do about the many tons of manure that we'll have to get rid of. Not to mention the brand-new law on animal welfare. As usual, only marks on paper; just think of the Dolfinarium.
I've said it before and I'll repeat: at any rate, it's cheaper to import meat than to import feed, as planned.
But not to worry, it will never go through.
Don't Tell Us
Once again, a white powder has covered the neighborhoods downwind of Isla. It's so-called cat cracker powder, released when that thing is started up—a regular occurence—but Isla assures us it's not harmful. "Only after prolonged contact it can cause irritation to skin, eyes and respiratory system." Sounds good.
But why not tell us what it is? Makes you feel kinda paranoid.
Now They're in a Hurry
Council of Ministers has given the RdK Isla Refinery one month to come with an action plan for the integration of the MDPT in RdK, and the future of Isla refinery. The future of the refinery must be guaranteed, whether in its present location or a new one, but there must also be worked on a "fallback position" and a decision on the Bullenbaai LNG terminal.
Won't work. All that can never be decided in one month, after all those years of fooling around. Hurry makes worry and haste makes waste.
Wind Power Is the Future!
I give this to you straight as I found it:
The lifespan of a wind turbine offshore is supposed to be 25 years. Back in 2012 land-based wind farms in the UK were found to show signs of wearing out in just 12 years.
Not one of the turbines installed here by Aqualectra has lasted that long.
For onshore wind, the monthly 'load factor' of turbines — a measure of how much electricity they generate as a percentage of how much they could produce if on at full power all the time — dropped from a high of 24 per cent in the first year after construction, to just 11 per cent after 15 years.
For offshore wind — examined only in Denmark where it has been used for longer — it declined even more dramatically from over 40 per cent at the start, to just 15 per cent after ten years.
There is a five year guarantee on the rotor blades.
It's a moot point if Aqualectra uses on-shore or off-shore turbines. They're so close by the sea that the same factors (rain, corrosion) must have an influence.
Also please note that the power Aqualectra quotes is maximum power, which is hardly ever reached. But we knew that already.
Until last year, whenever [OPEC] crude oil prices went up, USA shale and fracking producers jumped in and forced them down again. But that has changed: their techniques have evolved and they are now able to produce for $20/barrel.
Take that, Russia and OPEC.
And by the way you know, BP predicts that by 2040, Paris or no Paris Climate Convention, total fossil fuel consumption (gas, oil and yes, especially coal) will have grown by 50%. Sorry! that's 20%.
The Seú feast is in danger! This corrupted and bastardized version of what used to be a harvest festival (only, there's not so much harvested anymore, if at all) needs 250,000 guilders subsidy and will get 75,000 less this year. Now it can't go through?
Betcha it will anyway, and nobody will see the difference.
4000 people join the party every year, cost about 60/person.
PS Córdoba, MAN and M*F*K Shorty are not happy with Huurman as inspector of health. He has too much power, they think.
Rather he than they, I'm thinking.
PAR PM Rhuggenaath is in Bruxelles to palaver with those champs of democracy, the Big €U Bosses. He wants more coperation between the €U and us. Just now when the Dutch parliament has decided that a referendum, where the people voted en masse against admitting the Ukraine as a member, is null and void.
That's Independence, Folks!
Auntie Suzy complains it's impossible to get any financial statements from SONA, the authority overseeing the building of the new hospital HNO. She's afraid costs will exceed the budget with 100 to 125 million guilders (over $50m).
We all saw it coming. How is this even possible? Can't she sic John Law on them?
Another New Try
Curaçao's new PG [Attorney General] Bos wants to reduce the number of guns hanging around. Reading between the lines, he's not very optimistic about his chances to succeed. Which I completely agree with.
Worse and Worse
While Venezuelan president Maduro is bragging that crude oil production is going up again, this doesn't seem very credible. Now, even the workers at PdVSA are leaving their jobs en masse. Reason, much too low pay and work conditions get more and more dangerous. Workers can buy so little food that they are much too weak and hungry for heavy work.
I've long since given up trying to figure how long that can possibly last. After all, the USSR/Soviet Union kept going for more than half a century before it collapsed.
Viagra Powered Machismo
This is only the illegal stuff: up to now, 7,000 pills have been confiscated (last year the total was 20,000). Go figure: 150,000 people, about half male, say half of those between 14 and 70, of which then over 4 would have used 1 pill/week. Not counting the legal supplies and what isn't caught.
Haste Makes Waste
Auntie Suzy announces they're going to use drones to check on people dumping trash, dead dogs etc. by the roadside. She also asks us to take photos of such activities and send them over. (It isn't mentioned where we're supposed to send them to.) This will help her ministry to catch those guys.
Too bad she admits that it won't work, because it's still impossible to fine people based on their license plates. Another thing forgotten to arrange on 10-10-10. I can imagine her impatience, but why not wait until that's been arranged before buying new toys drones?
Just What We Need
Auntie Suzy now plans to start several agricultural projects a herb growing business, which of course is fine (as long as it's not throw-away money to pay some "experts"). But then she goes on to say she wants to promote the use of herbs from Curaçao. She wants to set up a special project for the cultivation of local herbs and the sharing of "time-honored knowledge" of the application of specific herbs from Curaçao.
Which of course stinks of quackery. Dinah Veeris, anyone? Now, if auntie only took a look at the next item!
A letter in KKC from a woman describes how terrible the old people's homes are. She claims that doctors say there's not a single one that meets the standards. But this topic is not discussed at a higher level. Hey auntie Suzy, can you take a hint?
No Refinery Referendum
We all saw it coming, but if you believe Aruba PM Wever-Croes, the former government which made such a big deal about Citgo reopening the refinery had been warned that sanctions against Venezuela were to be expected. They proceeded regardless. (In all fairness, what else could they do?) Now Citgo has fired 300 temporary workers, still holding on to 300 regular employees.
Wever-Croes wants a "national discussion" on what to do in 2020 when the Citgo-lease expires. She prefers of a new economic pillar on the spot where the refinery is currently located.
Citgo Aruba may get an exception to the sanctions. Then again, it may snow here tomorrow.
Change for Change's Sake T
As proof you have paid your car tax, you apply a sticker top mid of your windscreen. So far so good. Those stickers always were horizontal, fine too. But this year's sticker comes in a vertical format. First, removing last year's leaves a gummy residue which extends on two sides of the new sticker and is not at all easy to get off. Then, the new sicker is much more obnoxious in interfering with your vision as it extends lower into your view.
Whoever thinks those things out? Right, "thinks" is hardly the proper word.
It's not going so great with Papiamento. Not only on social media mostly younger people make a mess out of it (nothing special there), newspapers are almost just as bad.
Here's an idea, as always, free: let the people decide what to do with their own language instead of telling them what it should be like. Will save money, too.
Smart & Original Raad van Advies [advise council] does not think it such a great idea for Hato airport to raise tariffs. They might first have a look at ways to lower costs.
Miracle: Martina Found Money
Minister Martina says the second phase of the Mari Pompun beach improvement project is proceeeding just as planned. He doesn't understand where the rumor came from that there was no money.
Fly, Fly Away SXM Winair will start flying between Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, the so-called Air Antilles Express operated by CN-Express. It's not that fast, though, and also pretty cramped for size. After all, only quite small planes can land on Saba. Two weekly flights.
Main reason, Dutch government reps are still not allowed to fly InselAir. For safety reasons.
Rabbit Punch for Titan/GZE
Their offer for building the planned LNG terminal at Bullenbaai by Tital/GZE is "irrealistic" judges New York's Poten & Partners. It was the lowest but it seems obvious the consortium planned to make money on upgrading the Isla refinery—which is far back of us below the horizon.
It was ex-PM Shorty's M*F*K who came out with this information. Funnily, it now looks like Royal Dutch/Shell has a very real chance to come back to the island; their offer was third lowest but technically number one. I don't expect Shorty would like Shell's come-back.
Good for Him
PAR PM Rhuggenaath is convinced that we can convert "a couple of challenges" into a turning point. These challenges are the economic development, but also the financial situation. Like he was convinced that tourism would go through the roof this year.
One More Try
Auntie Suzy announced it when she was minister in another department (she's a lawyer and knows nothing about both departments), and now it's planned again: get rid of all those illegal billboards (and smaller) that pester us on the road.
Wonder if it will succeed this time; the law exists since 2015. PAR Jesus-Leito wanted to start in September 2017 (after 10 of PAR election billboards had been stolen or damaged in April).
The End Is Nigh
PdVSA is losing workers "by the thousands"; 10,000 in one week last January alone. Reasons: low wages and dangerous conditions because of bad maintenance.
Just go on threatening us, Maduro.
2 years ago, PdVSA had 143,000 workers. The exodus of that January week is 7% of that.
CTB: No Deal?
Remember how minister Martina expected CTB to cough up four million? Seems like they didn't, prefer to stick to it like glue, as predicted. So that's one reason he wants to borrow more money now for his Herstelplan.
Aqualectra plans to cover all warehouses in the Free Zone with solar panels, including their own building close by; total 10-15,000 square meters. Minister Martina doesn't tell us what the price is, nor the capacity. Aqualectra will deliver the power straight into its grid and later plans to store it. How, they don't (and can't) explain.
Hopefully nobody sets fire to that free zone as happened not so long ago.
How Like Him
Three boarding schools complain that the ministry of social affairs [and then some] has reduced their subsidies from 7.9 million guilders to less than half: 3.6m, without any warning—just like that. Nice, Koeiman.
MAN Pinhead economic development minister Martina introduced his herstelplan [recovery plan]. It's funny enough to make tears come to your eyes. He calls it a "catch-up scenario" where you might well wonder who will do the catching (we have our pet suspicions there). The government we will do the throwing—of... hey, that's funny; he never mentionshow much. But let's try to figure it out: the government is now "entitled" to borrow 40% debt ratio (whatever that means), amounting to 60 million guilders/year, for investments. Martina wants to screw us for that up to 55% during 5 years. Am I right? That's 82.5m/year, total 412.5m.
In return, he predicts a measly economy growth over this year of 1.1%. Which is 0.8% better than predicted last December. Not really though, it was then predicted that tourism would help grow the economy by exactly that much.
Why don't we kick that fool out? Ruin his expensive suit with tar and feathers.
We Only Find Out Now That's Transparency, Folks! Last month a Chinese delegation from oil state company CNPC has visited the island to "assist us" with running Isla refinery until 2019, when the contract with PdVSA expires. But we weren't told about it, nor was the press: it was reported by KKC who got it from Argus media.
That CNPC isn't doing so well itself; last year it lost $800 milliard of its 1 trillion market value—that's 80% of its value, am I right? The Chinese claim they're entitled to 300,000 bpd of Venezuelan crude because of debts; which is more than Venezuela produces.
At any rate, what Venezuela produces is often of such inferior quality that it can't be processed; or cargoes of crude, or complete tankers, are confiscated.
Don't Push That Management
Now that its last MD-8X has been out of service for some weeks, after not having flown at all for over a year, InselAir is finally taking steps to get rid of the superfluous flight crews. This involves a court procedure.
All I can say is, those 11 guys and dolls (flight deck) and 12 (cabin crew) have had a jolly well-paid vacation all that time; thanks to the Unwise Men and our 33 million guilders.
Tough, So What
Dutch parliament has since 2010 been discussing a constitution modification, in which Fries [Frisian] was supposed to get it's own place as a language. Papiamento and English were not even considered. But it's all off, anyway. Nobody just seems to care (enough).
You Get Used to It
Isla refinery's cat cracker has exploded. No further news yet. Update: there's no real damage to the cracker, production will be resumed soon.
Venezuela president Maduro brags that crude production was back up to 250,000 bpd on January 1. Rather confusing, with OPEC claiming it was 1.8m bpd and other sources saying it's more like 1.6m bpd. I knew I was crazy, but now the whole world seems... that's no news, either.
The public ministry plans to sue ex-PM Shorty and his gangster moll for 1.8 million guilders (that's $1m). Good, but not enough by far.
Delaying tactics start at once, as his lawyer hasn't had time to prepare. First session March 15.
KLM stops selling tickets on which passengers, after arrival on one island, can fly on with Insel to another destinations.
Reason, Insel is never on time. Insel management say they "don't understand it." Well, we all do understand it very well.
No Wonder They Don't Like Him
President Trump wants to end the cozy work conditions for USA spoiled brats federal workers. They won't get automatic raises every year any longer, retirement benefits will be changed and it would be made easier to fire bad employees and reward good ones.
Just what we need here. Sigh.
In 2010, there were 8.4 federal workers per 1000 people in the USA; here, we have almost 1 per 3— counting children, unemployed people and babes in arms.
The preposterous great ten million guilders plan to turn the rocks of Mari Pompun into a Copacabana-like place of splendor has been put on hold: there's no money for the four million second phase.
Now pinhead Martina wants CTB tourist board to come up with that money. All together now: Hahahahaha!
Ex-PM Arsjes was the first one to come up with that grandiose scheme, after he, as tourism deputy, had visited (no doubt paid by us) Brazil.
We then got less than 100 tourists from Brazil per year; nice going, Arsjes.
That tightly blockaded border between ABC-islands and Venezuela is as porous as a sieve, to coin a term. First, we do not have to fear for a beer shortage during Carnaval. Plenty of Polar and Zulia from Venezuela, where I look. Then the illegal gasoline. And now, a guy traveling from Venezuela via Aruba to Holland has been caught with 50 kilos of gold worth $2.1 million in his suitcase.
But the authorities assure us there's no smuggling going on, no sir.
50 kilos! That's at least 30 kilos overweight. Guess he didn't worry much about paying for that.
End Expiration Fiddling Staten have accepted a motion with 15 measures to guarantee product expiry dates are kept to. Seems there are (unnamed) enterprises that use stamps to change the expiration date. Criminal prosecution is possible in cases of violation.
For once, Amparo dos Santos was present and he protested, as it put the supermarket owners in a bad light (you ask me, well deserved). He followed up with derogatory remarks about Huurman as a member of the X-Team. When he was silenced by the parliament president he left the meeting.
Aruba in Trouble
2018-02-22 didn't need a hurricane, let alone 2, or a Shorty to go practically bankrupt. They manage very well on their own:situation is much worse than everybody, including CAFT financial supervision, thought. They seem to have tried to fight regression with Keynes-inspired large-scale investing public spending, a system discredited since Roosevelt tried it in the USA long before I was born.
Now Aruba is borrowing to balance the budget, which can only make it worse.
Zinica Crypto Fund is approved to list on DCSX (Curaçao-based Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange). It will provide exposure to the daily price fluctuations of bitcoin, as measured by the Bitcoin Real Time Index (BRTI).
Not that those bitcoin prices are worth looking at right now.
How do you pronounce Zinica? "Cynical"?
Isla Must Pay
It took a while, but after Isla refinery had already been forced to pay for the reports and court costs after the damage their 2012 oil spill had caused to Rif/St. Marie, now they must pay damages to Monumentenzorg (owner of the salt ponds) and Sea Shore Properties. No amount is mentioned, only whispered: half a million guilders.
Now maybe Monumentenzorg can do something about the deterioration of those salt ponds. I photographed them over 40 years ago and they were in much better condition then. But nobdoy was interested in them and left them alone. Since then, flamingos started visiting the saliña and hordes of tourists walk over the dams to get as close as possible.
No, I don't mean the stinkin' kind. Though it should be declared illegal, but would it help? I'm afraidy not.
A Chinese toko at Santa Cruz has been caught selling illegal gas. I mean, for cars. That's what you get when you import gasoline (in Venezuela) at a (much) higher price than what you sell it for to the consumers—who don't really go for it anyway. They'd rather have food. Even toilet paper would come in handy. Where was I? Oh yeah, so those hermetically sealed borders of Venezuela somehow, mysteriously, get passed by to get us the gas. It happened in Aruba as well; probably still does. Aruba is much closer to that disaster area.
It's a Plan
Auntie Suzy says she's sick of the filthy mess we force each other to live in (please speak for yourself, "lady"), and she wants to do something about it. Better, much better, yet: she wants inspector of health Huurman to supervise the "X-Team".
Now she's talking.
Of course, all sorts of dummies start agitating against Isla refinery, and why she still tolerates that nose-sore. But in fact, if you read the news it does fall under his responsibility. Yes, reading takes an effort and training.
Good title, that. SMOC quotes an audit by ED Technologies Texas. I haven't read it, but SMOC claims that Isla is far from up-to-date (which we all know), and that it's described as a ticking time-bomb (how's that for a cliché?) It's only a question of time before something goes completely wrong.
Reminds me, I use the Casio "Terrorist Watch" (not the official name but well deserved), produced since 1980 or so, costs about $8, runs less than 1 second/month slow or fast. And it doesn't tick. Has a stopwatch and an alarm, gives you the time and date; you want the moon periods of Titan? Go somewhere else and get lost.
This thing is like the Douglas DC-3 or the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Or the Citroen 2CV.
Three Down and Counting
After the Plaza Hotel flop, where they tried to sell the worn-out moth-eaten building, riddled with concrete cancer—and didn't, the Howard Johnson's was closed for lack of a casino license (and being a deathly fire trap), now the Kura Hulanda sale to Colombia, said to be a sure thing by pinhead Martina (just like InselAir/Synergy-Avianca) has fallen through.
But this year tourism is sure to grow!
Venezuela is delivering crude to Isla refinery again. Now we hear that the last batch came in 7 months ago. In the meantime, we have been getting 1.73 million barrels of crude from West Texas Intermediate en DSW and again 1.44 from Russia.
MEO [ministry economic development] predicts tourism will grow this year. We're all wild with enthousiastic expectations. It will contribute 0.8% growth to GDP—which only last December was predicted to grow by a measly 0.3%. We are not impressed.
But hold it, that's based on a CTB prediction: 3% more nights will be spent by tourists, and we'll have 9% more cruisers. In that case, don't count on it.
At any rate, a far cry from Rhuggenaath's predictions.
But they didn't go so far this time to predict down to one pro mille.
The USA Trump administration is considering sanctions for Venezuela; to wit, stopping buying crude. Now I have in fact no idea where the Isla refinery products are sold. If the main customer is the USA, we're in bad trouble here. If it's China or other countries that don't mind Maduro so much, we're sitting pretty.
For the Aruba refinery, it would be really bad news as Citgo, said to start operating the refinery again, would certainly export to the USA. On the other hand, who still really believes Citgo will come to Aruba?
Celebrate for Statia
Dutch parliament has decided to (temporarily) end democracy on St. Eustatius. What they really end is the dictatorship running the population. The island is a mess, intimidation of people is a normal occurrence. Now the Dutch realize it's their own fault; they should have checked much better.
The Statia government thinks it unfair, what else is new.
Question remaining to be answered: when will they wake up in Holland and see that it's the same for all the islands (except maybe Saba)? Agreed, it's not that bad here. Yet.
Burn, Asphalt, Burn
The refinery's steam boiler problem is further explained. In 2016 new boilers were installed, but they are not fit for burning asphalt as fuel. As that is used anyway, they have to be cleaned and repaired more often.
The old boilers used by Shell also burned asphalt, but could handle it.
So what clumsy fool bought those new boilers, and probably got a nice fat cut?
Great! A Committee! Staten parliament have decided that, because Isla refinery is so important for the island, to install a "temporary committee for continuation and modernization refinery". It's really not so temporary, it will last as long as this parliament—or maybe longer, until 2021 (one might well wonder if they thought of that: what happens when we'll have premature new elections?)
The committee will have 9 members (out of 21 MPs).
Gee, I wonder how much they'll pay themselves. On top of their sumptuous salary.
Also please note, this is the end of the Green Town dream.
What the Hell Is CRU?
Isla refinery may close down next Thursday, because there may not be enough steam delivered by CRU. One of their 4 boilers has to be overhauled, and 2 are U/S anyway. As president Eisenhower when still a general said, SNAFU: "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up." But there is enough money for salaries, so enjoy the fresh air. If and when.
Production of gasoline may grind to a halt, but they always tell us the stuff comes from other places. Maybe it's true.
I use U/S to take revenge on CRU. It means UnServicable. See? I can be polite.
Bitcoin Bubble Burst & Blown: Crypto Crisis
Don't mind me when I say "I told you so." Mostly, I can (only just) resist this awful impulse, but this time let me have my nasty fun.
Still, something like that will come along and actually work; and pretty soon too.
Old Old Song
Doesn't improve on hearing it again. Dutch minister for Medical Care and Sports Bruins says, "if there's no dentist on Saba, you can always go to St. Maarten." (Saba is his responsibility, like Bonaire and St. Eustatius.)
Most Dutch have no idea about the geographical situation here. They always used to ask "why not build a bridge between Willemstad and Paramaribo?"
But this guy is a minister. What a Royal Cl*$$ *$$.
For people in Holland who read this and don't have an inkling, Willemstad-Paramaribo are 1676km apart (would be an absolute world record bridge—with filling stations, fast-food joints and motels on it, just about Amsterdam-Roma); Saba-St. Maarten is 50km. There are 3 daily flights, return ticket price over $100.
Finance minister Gijsbertha has discovered that after years of measures to stimulate the economy, it hasn't been stimulated so you'd notice. So now he wants the government to save 1 billion guilders and use that to stimulate same economy. It certainly is an original idea, a government saving money.
As he didn't even manage to present a balanced budget, it looks not so easy to achieve.
First, he wants a good plan. And we thinking we had several of those already; like the much-lauded Master Plan. Didn't work out so well, true. Once we have that great Central Plan (can't help thinking of the infamous 5 and 10 year Soviet Union plans), we must borrow more money. From Holland, where else? Genius!
Next idea is absolutely brilliant, too. Why did nobody think of that before? The unoccupied buildings owned by the government must be used instead of just sitting there empty; that will save on office rentals. If they can't be used, they must be sold, money going into the 1 billion fund. After everybody has taken their cut.
Then those government companies. He would not sell them: no, they must find a strategic partner to sink more money into them and put the money released that way into the fund. How it will be released, he doesn't explain.
And finally, the local business must work along and invest. Where they are supposed to find the money, he doesn't explain either. Hey Gijsbertha, did you notice what's happening in the USA since taxes were lowered? Just a hint.
This took more words than I care to write in most cases. Thank you for your patience.
Price index in December 2017 was 1.6% higher than in February. Too bad if you only have a welfare pension, which has remained the same for years now.
Let's be reasonable here, how else do we find the money to pay InselAir? Wiels's MDTB? To name but a few.
About That Surgeon?
Inspector of health Huurman now wants him to be reestablished in his job. It was all caused by communication problems.
Oho! There We Go! The consortium that's prepared to lend InselAir what now amounts to 3.6 million guilders wants a government guarantee. Say goodbye to all that lovely money, folks. Not that you can blame the consortium, hey!
All in all, it's 300 million to the Tax Person and SVB social insurance, 33 more from the Unwise Men, giving us a grand total (and it's really Grand) of almost 340 million guilders, USD 185m. But who's counting? Plus the rest of debts InselAir is sure to have. Like in Suriname, Aruba and who knows what more. They probably don't know themselves, nor do they seem to care.
InselAir now says they'll be up and running with 3 F-50s a months from now. Reminds me of earlier prognostications. Like, 48 hours. (They still dream of expanding further, though, ouch.)
Free Education Is Over
One more PS Sainted Wiels heritage gone: free education is over and done with; the government can't afford it any longer, even after planned reforms. Only lower incomes may still get it.
Also, the lawyer offices used by almost all ministries on a retainer basis lose that steady income, amounting to ANG 20-25K per year month. They will only by hired for specific cases. Now they think of that.
About That Un/Employment
The real meaning of those figures just now hit me: almost 25% of all jobs are in the government.
So three of us sustain one parasite.
Maybe That'll Work?
As most people don't seem to be very worried about global warming, climate change, diversity or whatever names they thought up for a phenomenon that may or not be important, some genius came up with something that's meant to scare the living crap out of us: Atmosphere Cancer! In the USA, only 2% of people are really worried; which worries those who make a living out of Green Research.
Swimming Pool annex Hotel Remember? Turns out, those guys who devised this plan just plum forgot to ask the sport federation (running the swimming pool) how they thought about it.
Fruit and Veggies
Minister Martina has made a deal with Santo Domingo to replace the Venezuelan import with Dominican produce. Problem is logistics; it takes 10 times as long to get the stuff over here. Plus it's more expensive. Martina hopes to get Aruba and Bonaire in the deal as well, which would reduce costs.
More Unemployment, More Spoiled Brats
Don't tell ex-PM Shorty because he'll start bragging "I told you so" but the last 4 years unemployment grew every year. That started 2 years after he was kicked out following his failed coup d'état. Unemployment in 2017 was 14.1% (I don't know if drug dealers and atrako criminals are counted as jobless).
But don't worry, in 2014 20% of the population "worked" for the government and now it's 22.9%.
Specialists and Surgeons
Makes me think of Dungeons and Dragons... Anyhow, health inspector Huurman had some criticism on some surgeon, and the Vereniging van Medische Specialisten [union of medical specialists] didn't like that, so they wrote a long unreadable letter defending the surgeon. Turns out, it was only the board who wrote the letter—of which said surgeon seems to be a member.
Seventeen specialists (about one quarter of the total membership) didn't like that in turn and wrote a letter of their own, protesting that this is not the first time the board publishes a standpoint they don't agree with. So Huurman is in the right?
The Tourist Board says we make a lot of money with carnaval (about now erupting in all its noisy glory) and we should push it along. That's okay lads, but I'm pretty sure more money is spent than we get back.
The public ministry is now suing ex-PM Shorty for €1.8 million (about $2 million these days) and his gangster moll for €100 thousand, money that both are alleged to have obtained unlawfully. First court session February 21.
They have stolen much more, obviously, but you have to prove it. There's the rub.
Grumbling & Growling
Some people stuck in St. Maarten were forced to return to their hotels for a second time, because InselAir couldn't take them. They didn't like it.
Isn't it time the government just forced this farce to end? Won't happen, I know...
Other news is, PAWA Dominican airline is forced to stop activities for 90 days because it's in desperate financial straits. Now there's an idea, all ready to follow up on.
KLM, even though the SXM-CUR flight had 30 empty seats, didn't take in any passengers because they figure InselAir can't be paying them anyway. Smart.
That's Fine With Me
Because the government is looking forward to making less money from the Isla refinery, harbor money and all that, they are looking into how to economize on several departments.
If only they'd thought of that 50 years ago. Wouldn't have helped against Shorty and Prick Pisas, true.
A Good Start
17 illegal immigrants have escaped from the detention center at police office Rio Canario. We're not told how many there were in total, but a fair guess is, 17. I mean, why hang around and wait for your deportation?
The illegals can't be sent back in three days as used to be done because Madman Maduro closed the borders. Except, he sent a Hercules transport to pick up the bodies of 4 drowned escapees from Venezuela.
PM Rhuggenaath has asked for help from Holland.
To get out, the detainees smashed an iron grillwork with a heavy metal drainage cover from the courtyard. They don't know how that thing got inside, but I do: they took it in there and nobody noticed a thing.
I Can't See It
The Gold Investment Company applied 3 years ago to the government with a plan to integrate the Benny Leíto public wimming pool with a hotel. The pool could continue to be used for swimming lessons etc., while also in use for hotel guests.
Gold never got an answer; I can understand why. Lots of potential headaches there.
Besides, I read a tip that Gold is allegedly involved in a bribery scandal, together with old reliable ex-MAN Cooper. Extra reason to tread with care.
There are not hardly enough male school teachers around (and more keep leaving), the drop-out problem is very worrisome, the 1991 compulsory education law needs revising; the main problems with our educational is-dissa-system.
And we wondering (not really) why crime is a problem.
Our Culture? Phooey!
A regular fight has broken out when people living in the Brakkeput Mei-Mei neighborhood started collecting signatures on a petition to protest the insanely loud music they are treated on from the landhuis annex restaurant/stage every week-end, for nights long. "It's Our Culture!" the some Yu'i Korsows yell. As if even 20 years ago it was possible to produce 120db of volume in every snek that invested a couple of hundred guilders.
A counter-action has started where people who think it's just fine to disturb the sleep of their fellow citizens collect signatures; they hope to collect 15,000, 10% of the total population.
This is endemic over the entire island. Milieudienst [environment] officers don't even work at night, so there's nothing to be done when a party breaks out around the corner.
Interestingly, some MAN member tried a number of years ago to limit the Yu'i Korsow title to those of African descent. As if it was even practically possible. It was not accepted; still, such people roam MAN.
Being exposed to 90db for 30 minutes means irreparable hearing damage; for 110db it's 30 seconds. 2018-01-28
When you check today's flights to/from Hato Airport, you'll see there's only 2 InselAir flights listed: ARR SXM-CUR 15:05 and ARR BON-CUR 17:00, expected 21:05 (presumably, these depart first). 7 other flights are listed as "Cancelled".
You Don't Say
Some American remarking "Imagine how bad it would be if we had only one telephone company... one oil company [etc.]"
We don't have to do such imagining, that's how bad it is here.
Kinda surprising? Not really. The graph above shows how the more "alternative", "no fossil fuel", "renewable" electricity is produced, the more expensive it gets.
On the top are Denmark and Germany—sharing our Aqualectra tariff.
Hungary, Poland and the USA mostly use King Coal; France nuclear.
Source: Judith Sloan in The Australian.
Day of Disaster
Those crummy geriatric second-hand fly-a-wrecks in use by InselAir? Oh, one is flying again but will soon need engine work so don't count on getting to your destination as planned.
And on Bonaire Flamingo Airport, an Aruba Airlines was delayed for six hours because the ground handler didn't have stairs for the plane, and their competitor refused to lend them one. There are three ground handlers there, of which two cooperate, and those hate the third one's guts. Which resulted in passengers stuck in the aircraft for hours. (I hope the airco was working.)
Meanwhile, DiviDivi's first brand-new Twin Otter has arrived and will soon be operational. That's the way to go, folks.
(Almost) Sounds Like a Joke
InselAir Aruba, in the process of being declared bankrupt, has a claim of 37.9 million florin [same value as ANG] on InselAir International, which IAI has declared they're willing to pay.
Which of course means, InselAir Curaçao must pay up. Sit back and have another popcorn while the plot thickens.
Wonder if the Unwise Men knew about this. Guess not, why bother with details when spending our money?
In further news, all InselAir flights will stop this afternoon, and what happens tomorrow is anybody's guess. There is no money to buy spare parts for the two F50s, and the rumor is Insel's Air Operator Certificate (AOC) will be canceled.
Who'd Have Thought It?
The short-lived cabinet led by Prick Pisas, straw man for ex-PM Shady Shorty, has taken 334 decisions. 180 of those have been looked at and almost half of them do not comply with regulations. Of these: 49 percent are cases for promotion, 25 percent for appointments and 15 percent for bonuses. The word is nepotism.
Face Up to It: Times Are Changing
The hotel "industry" complains that their business is being eroded by all those apartments and rooms let to tourists by private owners. Look kids, when I go away I always try to get a place like that: it's much cheaper and more pleasant as well, with not a whole bunch of intrusive personnel pressing you all the time for tips, trying to do things I can handle myself, thank you.
Now the hotels want the government to "regulate" their competition. Good luck with that. And you know what? It will not help them one bit.
First, InselAir is once again in problems with the schedule, because one F50 is U/S. Which stands for "unserviceable" or, kaput.
Then, the curator of InselAir Aruba comes with the note that Venezuela does not owe Insel $49 million; the country merely has an obligation to exchange "a certain amount" from Bolívares to USDollars according to the official rate; which is a joke. Besides, InselAir did not even get the deal right, so it's "worthless", says the curator.
If the same applies to the 70 million dollars InselAir Curaçao is supposed to get nobody knows yet. Certainly not the Unwise Men who gave InselAir more than 33 million to waste.
Now That'd Hurt
If Maduro is really serious with the air-sea traffic stop, and tankers would stop coming in to the refinery and oil terminal, government company Curaçao Port Authorities and daughters CPO en KDT towing would miss out on a turnover of over ANG31 million/year.
If the refinery grinds to a halt, we need to buy fuel etc. elsewhere, for which a storage tanker is already on its way. For once, somebody thought ahead.
But really, as Isla refinery and COT are one of the few sources of petrodollars Venezuela has left, I don't see this happening before the Isla-PdVSA contract expires. With the proviso that you never know with such a nutcase.
The barquettes are good for half a million harbor fees/teas, which is peanuts but much more than you'd expect.
No New Tokos
A moratorium on new tokos and mini-supermarkets, dating from December 20 last year, will be prolonged until February 2019. That will stop a lot more Chinese coming in, you bet.
There's a Task Force for crypto currency, initiated by CIFA Curaçao (International Financial Services Association) and two government ministries. The development of these fictitious value coins (but so is gold's value for a large part fictitious) is seen as very important for the future of the island as an international financial center.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin has been rapidly losing a fictitious half of its fictitious value. Still, it's obvious there is some future here; but how long it will take before it's become more than a hot air bubble is another question. Also, who needs so many of those coins? Maybe the criminal world does.
Fat Lot of Good
Venezuela has been requested to please open the borders again? But Maduro (who's reported to govern by decree published on Twitter) doesn't care to react.
We do still get oil for the refinery, though. Hey, wot you teenk? But we can't drink oil.
Why Don't We?
After the hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico another disaster followed close on its heels: many, if not most, Puerto Ricans still don't have electricity. Puerto Rico is now considering privatizing the utility company. Why don't we? 2018-01-23
PAR PM Rhuggenaath informs us he's not ashamed: he has talked with Holland about ways to modernize the refinery. Of course he has. But, he adds, he has not talked with Shell nor about Shell.
The man is right, he has no shame; when you say "Holland" you say "Royal Dutch"; be it Airlines or Shell.
Not that I mind, don't get me wrong.
Now, because of the sanctions the €U has imposed on Venezuela, Maduro takes his revenge out on us—who else? The blockade will continue until we perish. Or Maduro does, it certainly is an attractive idea.
Hope he doesn't read this, he'll even get angrier.
Stop Dreaming. Wake Up.
Now we get law experts explaining that a take-over of InsultAir by Avianca/Synergy is not hindered by any Curaçao laws obstructing such a deal. So who cares? Avianca doesn't want nor needs InsultAir.Got it? Verstehst du? Vat je? Comprenez vous? Capisce? B'a komprendé? 2018-01-22
That Looks More Serious
The Venezuelan barquette captains, going back and forth between Venezuela and here to deliver fruits, vegetables and fish, are at their wits' end. Maduro the Mule tells them that the next meeting on his blockade will be on March 25, by which time they'll be as good as bankrupt.
Will Maduro still be around by then? Good question!
Supermarkets are now forced to buy the stuff elsewhere, and complain that's so expensive. For them it may be expensive! For us, it's business as usual.
Look, somebody is fooling us here: either the captains or the supermarkets, and probably both. We, the public, heavily overpay for those worthless Bolívares with our as-good-as-dollars guilders.
Gosh, Would You Think?
Mulishly, president Maduro refuses to sign the agreement stopping the blockade (I know it's not one, not really, but it's as close as he can hope to get). Everything has been discussed and all parties agree, but he just won't sign. Maybe he can't write? It's a thought.
The follow-up meeting between all parties has been canceled because of Maduro's stubborn refusal.
Somebody speculates that he's angry because we're confiscating tankers loaded with crude oil. That certainly is a thought.
About Time; But Will It Work?
The MDPT multi-disciplinary project team (who thinks those names up?) for Isla refinery must be completely revised. It's primary task, developing a schedule for refinery modernisation and restructuring of Schottegat should have resulted in a scenario—that doesn't even exist.
Even now, finances are a mess and obligatory monthly statements to the government are not delivered. The new team must also put "integrity" in its program. As if that will help.
Looking at some of the members, they wouldn't recognize integrity if it was presented naked on a tray with parsley.
Curaçao police is assuming the Venezuelan boat that was lost at sea a week ago with at least 6 people drowned, was used for human trafficking; not for people smuggling. Two Venezuelans have been arrested; they're also being suspected of membership of a drug and gun smuggling ring.
The Den Haag High Court has not yet received the Shorty dossier, after the cassation request which Shorty's lawyer said he'd file right after the appeals court returned the verdict. That was July 21, 2017. It takes 500 days for the High Court to give a verdict.
It's not clear as yet what caused the delay. As far as I can figure it's Shorty's lawyer who should have sent the dossier. In that case it's just another delaying tactic, which may backfire as the term to do this may expire on January 21.
Trying to get the pertinent info. Not from the media, that's for sure. Update: Turns out, the dossier was in Holland all the time but got held up at Buitenlandse Zaken [foreign affairs] and just now popped up. Still in time but with not more than 2 days to spare. Nice timing, Shorty. So we're stuck with that howler ape for over 16 more months.
Van den Tweel supermarket denies that expired products are re-packed and re-labeled, and that the inspection is aware of that. So boss Van den Tweel wonders why this was given any publicity at all.
We Could Do Worse
M*F*K Ex-PM Shorty came out from under his flat stone, where he resides (instead of going to the parliament meetings he gets paid for) crying out it's a big shame that the Rhuggenaath government is secretly negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell. He has shown the documents allegedly proving this in a press conference. It's a shame, Shorty cries, they've been lying to us! Because Curaçao started dealing with Shell while still negotiating with GZE.
And the reason is, there's much money to be made. Really?
Shorty calls this "korta orea" [adultery]. Well, he sure is an expert there. 2018-01-17
They Just Can't Resist
Again, supermarkets have been caught with Label Fraud: when a product in fact has expired, they repack it and put on a new label.
This is exactly what Dutch chain Albert Heijn was afraid of when they forced their local brand here to change its name to Van den Tweel. But Van den Tweel is not the only culprit.
Van den Tweel
Went by the supermarkets yesterday to check Maduro's blockade effect. Obviously, we won't need to die of scurvy for lack of vitamin C. Loaded with veggies and fruit to the gills. (Nor for lack of Venezuelan Coca-Cola or Presidente beer.)
It was announced today that Willemstad's Floating Market is getting up and running again as well.
In Holland, they have a thing called Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid [scientific council for government policy] which may come as a big surprise for everybody. At any rate, these mighty brains are warning that Venezuela might well try and annex the ABC-islands. My, they're smart!
Venezuela has been trying to do just that for centuries, and we well remember how the then Dutch minister of defense immediately sent over a navy squadron over here when Argentina started trying to take over the Falklands.
Besides, the USA wouldn't like it one bit either.
If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them
To stop illegal gold smuggling from Venezuela, the proposal is to open a stock market for goods and raw materials, among which gold: the Curaçao-Multi Commodities Centre (C-MCC). This is supposed to legalize the influx of gold from Venezuela to be sold elsewhere. Maybe, but I'm not so sure. But as long as Maduro goes for it...
We read estimates that half a billion dollars worth of gold yearly is sold from Curaçao, which is "largely smuggled from Venezuela." This is not so easy to follow. That gold is reportedly sold from the Free Trading Zone, and how can that be smuggling?
Girobank in Trouble
They have been in trouble for 3 or 4 years, so now they have finally decided to close half of their 4 offices and fire half of their 80-90 personnel.
They were hoping that the GZE deal might save them, but no such luck.
Venezuela demands that Curaçao accepts its immigrants as political refugees, but justice minister Girigorie remarks that this is more like "human trafficking" and besides, those poor refugees have a habit of carrying drugs and guns; so no. Got it?
In fact, that "human trafficking" point is rather weak and contradicts the rest of his statement.
GZE Is a Bore
Now GZE, after all their hemming and hawing, twisting and turning, want an amicable settlement. For once, PAR PM Rhuggenaath shows some backbone and tells them that it's out of the question to annul unilaterally the MoU, HoA and Addendum (who cares what those things even are, except lawyers), because of agreements between China and the Kingdom. So there.
Still, the government is (wisely) seeking juridical advice.
Strikes a Familiar Note
A postal worker in Louisiana has burned "tubs and tubs" of mail, rather than delivering it. Here, I guess they do it on the Post Office's premises. Who knows what hidden evil goes on back there in those dark caverns of that Rio Canario building? Or possibly they just dump all that mail at Malpais landfill.
I mean, it has to go somewhere! Certainly not to my mailbox.
Which reminds me, many eBay dealers refuse to ship to the Netherlands Antilles. Can't blame 'em: it never arrives. Small wonder, as the country doesn't even exist since 10-10-10, a fact that eBay stubbornly refuses to correct. Only consolation is (not really): that list of countries grows longer and longer.
Correct your vocabulary. It's now "Climate Crisis"—global warming is out, climate change is out. After all, both didn't seem to be correct; only politically. Besides, "crisis" sounds much more scary, don't you see?
They also tell us, this comes a bit late but it gets so tiresome and even boring, that last year's hurricane season wasn't really exceptional. Hard to judge on that when it hit so hard, close by home. That certainly was exceptional, and that's the only good thing about it.
One thing I can't repeat often enough: PC or Politically Correct was a term invented and, shall I say popularized? by Chinese mass murderer Mao. If you didn't share his views, you asked for it.
It's a long time since I dared get some food from one of those what are officially called "movable kanteens". I was right. These "bread trucks" are old panel vans from which snacks and drinks are sold, but it would be a miracle to see one drive or even be towed away from its location.
Last week, 12 were visited for a check-up and only one passed the fire dept.'s requirements; two were closed altogether: personnel of one had not had a medical check and no work permit; the other one was alive with dead cockroaches and there, medical papers had expired. Both will have to apply for a new license.
Curoil has bought an African (Togo) tanker to serve as extra storage capacity for Bullenbaai Oil Terminal, instead of building more tanks; maybe later. The extra capacity is meant to guarantee fuel for Curaçao and Bonaire use, including air and maritime traffic, during three months. That will make Curoil less dependent from Isla refinery and PdVSA.
Present stock is good for almost three months, already.
In an atmosphere of the utmost cordiality (as they used to write when reporting on talks between Chamberlain and Hitler—check out where those led to: WWII), Curaçao, Aruba, The Netherlands and Venezuela have been discussing the border situation. Good results were obtained, is claimed.
Air and sea traffic will remain closed, so I don't know what they're talking about. Maybe they do. Maybe.
3 More Days, 1 More Dead Body
President Maduro has extended the air/sea traffic block for 3 more days. Hey Maduro, why not for a year... or ad infinitum? Then we may be impressed. Or not, right.
Another corpse has been found on the North coast. In Coro, where that boat came from, no Carnival this year. At least it's not starting tomorrow.
We see photographs of completely empty shops in Dutch newspapers, worse than Moskou 1970; but that looks like Fake News. My guess is, they were "made in Venezuela" not here.
Does Not Fly Always Fly All Ways airline, operating from Suriname, announces no flights between Paramaribo and Curaçao January 17-31. Their one and only MD-8* is to be serviced. Anybody will get their money back.
Hey, why didn't they figure that a bit sooner?
Not Water Tight
Four drowned bodies have been found on Curaçao's North coast; 2 people have been picked up alive ashore, soaked to the gills. The story is a boat containing 34 passengers has left from Coro and may have broken up. There is talk of another boat that left at the same time.
Three of the four have been deported last year and made this a second try. Going price for the trip is $100.
Now everybody's wondering how it's possible that, with Maduro's supposed tight control of maritime traffic, these two boats could just sail out of Venezuela harbors.
One consequence of that lockdown is, refugees from Venezuela caught here can't be deported back to their own country.
An Aframax tanker has been seized when trying to leave Bullenbaai's Oil Terminal, fully loaded with a 600,000 to 700,000 tons cargo. The Curaçao government considers the incident as a private commercial matter. It has to do with PdVSA's continuing bad payment of debts. But Maduro won't like it.
Here Comes the Marines!
In fact, the Dutch Navy. Holland is quite convinced that they can handle any aggression by "the second-hand Venezuelan navy ship." Even though NATO will not help out below the Tropic of Cancer, we can take it as given that the USA won't like an attack either, with their FOL bases on Curaçao and Aruba. Come right down to it, that might give president Trump a fine excuse to invade Venezuela and put the country out of its misery.
Boy, What Fun
Had a semi-crash this morning and am still restoring the damage. Yesterday's clone was a disaster as well. All-in-all not so bad, but a lot of work. See you guys tomorrow.
About Those Tents
They were supposed to cost 22,500 guilders to put up 1 (one) refugee—that's $12,375. I look at eBay and you can but a very nice 10-person family tent there for less than $1200, free shipping.
Looks like the UN is buying these tents second-hand from the Clinton Foundation, left over from Haïti. In fact, I have the definite paranoid impression that a lot of those relief actions primarily relieve the action takers.
Don't send me letters: I'm fully aware that you have to give them shower stalls, toilets and feeding places. Sure. It's still outrageous.
Cft financial supervision says the structural solutions to compensate for the 107 million 2017 setback are insufficient, and the government had better do something about it quick or Den Haag will send a much-feared aanwijzing ["instruction" covers it nicely].
Venezuela president (for now) Maduro is cutting off all air and sea connections for 3 more days. As if we can't get that stuff elsewhere. The thing that mainly hurts him is, copper production is subsidized in Venezuela and naturally, this is smuggled to Aruba from where it finds a ready market. The same thing happened last year with gasoline, which was smuggled to Aruba and sold in the streets—mind you, gasoline that even then already had to be imported for a higher price than was charged on the interior market. The triumphs of socialism: inflation rate is now 30,000% and may go up to 200,000% before the end of the year.
Maduro's brilliant idea to start a crypto-Bolivar coin has been declared null and void by the Venezuelan congress. So they still do have some power? Maduro must be raving angry and will take it out on us.
I Do Apologize
Not, not against our Great Leaders and others who may feel insulted by my ravings. They got it coming. I apologize for having compared our AOW old age welfare with a Ponzi scheme. It is a pyramid scheme, but that crook Ponzi deserves better. He never came by your door and forced you to cough up "In the Name of the King!", ultimately backed by men with guns.
What Maduro keeps forgetting is that it's the independence (at least, from Venezuela) of the ABC islands that's of utmost importance in the history of his country. Without what of course was downright smuggling weapons from Curaçao to Venezuela, the Great Bolivarian Revolution they're so proud of wouldn't have happened. Pedro Luis Brión, one of their great heroes, was born and spent long exiled years here. As an admiral, he sailed with his fleet into St. Jorisbaai, quite a feat in itself, proving the strategic importance of the island.
But of course, that's exactly why Chávez and Maduro (and others before them) want to annex the islands. They don't want it to happen to them. 2018-01-09
The concept law for alcohol control in traffic is ready; in fact, has been for years. Shortly, the cops will be able to take breathalyzer tests. If tests will be taken for cocaine I don't know; in my view just as serious a problem.
Right now, if you're in an accident they will take a blood test.
Curaçao has requested help from the kingdom in dealing with the Venezuelan refugees who are becoming a real problem. As much are coming in as are sent back; many carry drugs or guns upon arrival and are detained. But all barracks are full and the prison has no more capacity either.
Isla refinery has a new director, Roderick van Kwartel, to replace van den Wall-Arneman (accused of fraud). At least, at first sight he looks like he may have the capacities needed, but there are signs that his appointment has not taken place following the usual channels. He is needed, so says the government, to ensure continuity in the process to renew to refinery. Does this mean, goodbye Green Town, forget it? As transparent as the Asphalt Lake.
What is continuous is that Isla keeps using asphalt from that same lake for fuel, never mind promises the refinery would switch to cleaner fuel before last year's end.
Van Kwartel was the refinery's control manager for Hygiene, Safety and Environmental, which doesn't sound so good, considering the results.
Put Them Out with the Trash
GZE who were supposed to invest many billions in Curaçao Isla refinery turn out not to have any back-up by the Chinese government at all. In fact, China is sick of 'em and just keeps them alive because the government would lose face if state enterprise GZE went bankrupt.
In the 1980s the smarter governments were privatizing a lot of of state owned enterprises, having discovered that it resulted in (what a surprise) much more efficiency and savings. Utilities actually could make a profit!
But here, in the same period, more or less starting off with socialist MAN PM Don Martina and continued by successive governments, the country started taking over privately owned companies. Look at the list and weep:
ALM from KLM—Aqualectra and CURGAS from OGEM—Isla refinery from Shell Oil—Curoil, ditto. There are more, what a bore. Most recent example of course is the InselAir disaster.
Venezuelan president Maduro has cut all air and sea connections between "his" country and the ABC islands. He says smugglers divert all Venezuelan gold, diamonds, minerals and foodstuffs via that route. Like, crude oil? Like, drugs which his family makes a fortune on?
PM Rhuggenaath has protested strongly. A fat lot of good that will do. Anyway, it's only for 72 hours. That will help Venezuela very much in turn.
You Don't Say
InselAir personnel has little or no confidence in manager Filiatreault, who promised almost a year ago that the company would be back on its feet in two days. Whoever thought of hiring that guy for 40,000 guilders/month must have been a loon in the first place. Hint: it was Inselair's board that did.
Personnel is thinking about a protest strike. That would be what you'd call a Final Solution.
Filiatreault alone has consumed 1.5% of the 33 million the Unwise Men lent gave to InselAir.
So Disssolve It, Already
Our prime natural resource, Marguérite Nahar, gives good reasons to dissolve the MOU between Curaçao and GZE Oil. First, the Mighty Kingdom has signed the 2016 Paris climate treaty, so we here should follow its conditions. Which entail decreasing fossil fuel use—bullshit of course, look at India, China (and the USA, who however stepped out of the treaty)—but still, Curaçao will be tresspassing those rules as long as the Kingdom keeps in. As the signers are €uropeans, that will be as good as forever.
The former government has also violated company laws by making Isla refinery admit GZE in Isla installations and by allowing GZE to cooperate with PdVSA; both outside the government's competence. And finally, the government should have consulted Dutch BZK ministry of foreign affairs.
What it all boils down to is one nasty boil, rotten to the core: the entire MOU agreement is in fact illegal. A nice chunk of food for lawyers, that it is.
Curaçause Burgerluchtvaart Authoriteit [civil air administration] announce they hope the US will upgrade Hato Airport to status 1. They have 1 more year until the next audit by ICAO [International CAO) after which upgrade "may" follow. This has been going on since 2012 (after two years of Shorty's rule, but you can hardly blame him for this debacle). Last time the upgrade was promised was March 2016.
No airline operating from Hato is allowed landing rights in the USA. One of the prime reasons excuses to pay many millions to keep InselAir operating was to get tourists in. Hahaha. Now they've been reduced to maintaining traffic between the former Netherlands Antilles, for which we have other, better and cheaper ways available.
Have Your Flu Shot!
That's what we get to hear every year. My advise is, don't. In England, the jab they all got was for the wrong strain, so they'll get the flu anyway. Or maybe they're sucker enough to get a new shot—that maybe does work.
Ex-MP Leeflang advises to accept a law that future binding agreements (such as the disastrous GZE/China deal) cannot be signed without parliamentary approval.
Not that I have much confidence in what passes for our parliament will help much, but better than nothing.
Let's Have Another Committee!
The customs dept. has to be tackled, who could possibly disagree? So we'll have another committee to look into how.
Gee, this time they tell us what it's gonna cost: 60,000 guilders, split over the 2017/18 budgets. (Too bad both are in the red already.)
What the committee members will be paid remains a secret.
Auntie Suzy Twists the Facts
She says that costs of medical treatment abroad in 2016 went up with 6.5 million (was 26.1); and just after that she says that the total costs (including transport and living, which is what counts) went up from 455 to 495.
BZV [basic health insurance] costs went up from 33.1 to 41.3. All in all, says auntie, that's "only" 10% of the total SVB budget. Possibly, but these costs have gone up by 25%.
Auntie can't be held responsible for 2016 (and a good thing too) so why blur the facts? Politicians' habit, I guess.
The UN At Work
The number of refugees from Venezuela has gone up since June 2016. There are now 200 registered cases and we'll need to spend 4.5 million to put them in a tent camp. Where, we're not told.
The impression is that the UNHRC [human rights commission] actually advises Venezuelans to flee to Curaçao. That would be well in their line.
That's 22,500 guilders to put 1 [one] refugee in a tent? Outrageous! If you started a camping and applied for a loan to a bank you'd be sent away with your ears black with fleas.
The government has 4 months to look for an expert who will have 8 months to find a new "strategic" partner for the Isla refinery. Then, they'll have 12 months to arrange everything before January 210.
PAR PM Rhuggenaath wants a much more transparent progress. But mind Hairy Slaw 3.
GZE still maintains that they're perfectly able to renew and run Isla refinery, but at any rate the government say they're out of the game. GZE may look for arbitration in the conflict which is sure to cost us, no matter what the results.
Could Be Worse
In 2011, 11% of the Curaçao was unemployed. After two years of Shorty, that was 13%. Subsequent governments didn't do much better, with 13.2% last year.
But that's still better than the USA, where 2011 saw a black unemployment rate of 16.7%. That was after Obama had taken over: in 2007 it was 8.9%. Now it's 7.1%. Is that the Trump effect? Don't ask me.