and here they are:
the Clowns
maybe not so funny

Curaçao Island

"Hope for the best,
expect the worst."

the 2019 Curaçao political circus
nomen est omen: China

"Every nation has the government it deserves."
— Joseph de Maistre (lawyer, diplomat, philosopher).
From Letter 76 dated 13 August 1811, published in Lettres et Opuscules.

"Never, ever, ever apologise; always double down!"
James Dellingpole

Do We Have 20-20 Vision?
Good Question!

"You commit yourself and then you see."
Napoléon Bonaparte

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
The United Nations wants a 10% "global tax" (at least, of GDP) to fight the corona communist party virus, as the Hong Kong Free Press baptized it.
That would be almost 3000 times greater than its present budget ($3 billion).
Extremely small consolation: grabbers galore all over the world; not only here.

That Explains It
PM AKA Ass-Crack asked to borrow 400 million €uros! Judging from the comments in the media (by citizens; journalists hardly seem to dare criticize) people are getting really mad because nothing is planned to curb the outrageous government apparatus.
Especially as we are supposed to pay it back. What with? But PM AKA Ruggie says "we all must make sacrifices"—except he and his cronies.
References are already being made to a new May '69. That would come on top of an already ruined economy. Ouch; just what we need.
The good news is, there haven't been any new cases here for several days now. Maybe we can open for business shortly again, if Izzy agrees. Forget tourism, though.
In all honesty, PM Ass-Crack is not worse (but most certainly not better either) than many of his colleagues all over the world.

Real Pros
Portuguese cruise ship Resolute, according to the captain 1 mile outside Venezuela's territorial zone, was attacked by a Venezuelan war ship. Maduro says it was inside the territorial zone, you figure whom to believe. (Virtually all ships all over the world are monitored all the time so that shouldn't be hard.) At any rate, the Venezuelan ship first fired and then rammed the Resolute to force it to change course. After ramming again, it sank.
Don't laugh, it's not polite. But the Venezuelan crew was unharmed.
Resolute is now in Willemstad harbor. It has, admittedly pretty heavy, scratches on her bow.

But not really—if I'd thought. I run several websites and since the almost universal lockdown, the number of daily visitors has gone up with 50%, for all of them. People are bored out of their minds, is a good guess.

Neat Trick
Police is on the look-out for fake license plates. Not because these still owe tax, but to avoid the Sperrzeit lockdown. Meanwhile, the consequence of that is the chaos in and around supermarkets is much worse than last week. Personal observation.
No new cases here, we get to hear.

Oh No, Please Don't
We all saw it coming: Curaçao has asked Holland for 400 million guilders of support. We may even get it: as a loan. Then, at some date, we'll have to pay it back. That's 2500 guilders for each of us persons: man, woman and children. Here's an idea: higher taxes!
3.5, later maybe 40 million, is meant for small enterprises. As a credit facility.
Not a word on shrinking government expenditures, not even those which were promised; are you kidding?
PM Ruggie says we can't borrow this on the capital market. Big surprise! Ought to, but won't, open your eyes, Ass-Crack.
Other media say, 300 million or even 765.5 million. Who really cares? We can't afford it.

Why? Why Not!
In several locations, like South Africa, purchase and transportation of alcohol is forbidden now. Can anybody explain? For tobacco, there's at least some reason, although very long-term.
The result of the alcohol ban was that long lines were waiting in front of the shops waiting for their turn, this inviting infections. Grocery shops may be allowed again to sell cigarettes but tobacco stores must remain closed. Sounds logical?
Re. the bag ban, San Francisco has made a complete U-turn and forbidden reusable bags. No doubt more will follow.
In Israel, a two-day workweek is proposed. This would fit in nicely with our car-use scheme here, but... Yeah, but.
I've heard people complain they had the bad luck of, in a 2-car family, both cars had an "A"-number plate. Tough.

Maybe not my original thought, but I fully agree: the crackdown lockdown forced upon us by the government is unsustainable, to use the greenies/warmists' favorite word. Can't possibly go on for more than two weeks. Sorry, Izzy!
Also mention in passing that the flu, at least as far as I know in "temperate" zones, results in many more deaths.
When I say "temperate" I mean extremely, unbearably, cold of course.
I hope not, but we may get riots—just like in China. Then we're really nowhere.


What a Pity
In 2008, there was this big noise about an action "One Laptop per Child" (in education) that was never realized, but it is now supposed to be very useful; what with schools closing down and all.
Only, 2008 laptops wouldn't be worth a fart anymore now.
Replaced my own last year after it had grown 13 years old.
Then, there has been talk in 2016 about "Very Expensive" (you bet) digital blackboards, proposed by PS™ minister of education Dick. Nothing came of that (bad luck, Dick!) but the amount reserved is still on the budget. So scratch it, already, please.
As if that would be of any help now; something the media forget to mention. If they noticed in the first place, you're right there.

Sure... Yawn...
The Caribbean Weather Center expects an "active to possibly very active" hurricane season. They never, as I remarked oftentimes before, predict a less-than-active season. Occasionally, they're even right!

How Many?
Green Phenix and Ba3dprinting have started turning snorkel masks into ventilators. This is based on an Italian concept. They say they hope the things will never be used, but "they have plenty of them."
As usual, the media don't mention how many they have; an interesting question, or not?

Six California counties now have banned the use of reusable shopping bags. In other places, supermarkets packers refuse to touch the reusable bags customers present.

Not Clear
Say, with that lockdown on traffic: how about delivery services to replace shopping? Can't find the answer to that one. Nor, I guess, can our Leaders.

In order of numbers of deaths, here are the primary causes all over the world:
— Cancer 1,909,000
— Smoking-related 1,162,000
— Alcohol-related 581,000
— HIV/AIDS 391,000
— Traffic 314,000
— Suicide 249,000
— Malaria 228,000
— Seasonal flu 113,000
— Coronavirus 21,000
I do not know if "Cancer" includes "Smoking-related" or not.
Also, the Corona numbers may be much higher, seeing how China manipulates the info. Even then they would probably at the bottom of this list.

How Strange!
The two-month lockdown has ended in China. Now that those couples have been forced to stay together, with their kids, in a small Chinese apartment, the divorce rates have increased by 25%. Can you explain it?
Don't bother, I got it.
Average Chinese home is 500 sq.ft or about 45m2

That's Funny?
Not really. Just goes to show what worth those prognoses have: none.
If the borders reopen 6 months from now, the economy will shrink 14.2%. (Such precision!) But it may also be between 8.8% and 19.4%. So CBCS's Jardim says in his god-given wisdom. But this is for Curaçao.
For St. Maarten, the orginally foreseen growth of 2.9% will be only 0.8%. But if it takes 1-6 months the economy there will shrink from 5.7% to 29.6%.
I call bullshit.

Weak Panicking Politicians
Because more people than our Leaders like do not keep to the "social distance" measures, those guys in Forti have found the solution. They will take still more measures! Which amounts to impotent abuse of, if not lust for, power.
From now on, private cars are allowed to hit the road 2x per week, with just a driver; no pax.
Will work really well, I heard a motorcycle farting away loudly and clearly this morning; they are only allowed on the roads on Tuesday and Friday. Today is Thursday.
Hardware stores now will have to close down too. bad luck if your toilet leaks, or if you have a short circuit. Only supermarkets, botikas and gas stations are open. Gas? Who needs gas when you can't drive?

At Request
For some reason, people keep asking me what I'm reading these days. So here goes again:
The Green Ripper: A Travis McGee Novel
John D. MacDonald

For those who care, here's the former read.

"Then There Can't Be Much To It"
As Groucho Marx once remarked: "You think so, huh? &c."
Ex-USA president Obama says, that whole virus pandemonium pandemic is caused by "climate denial". That's at least one type who agrees with Green Force's unwise words. Obama conveniently forgot 2009 and H1N1 with over 1,000,000 cases in the first 3 months.

Blessings Counted
What the cops could not achieve, the virus did: criminals have mostly stopped their activities.
And continuing in this vein, Aqualectra's Supervisory Board has been denied the umpteenth raise of their fees in the last few years.

200 Days
Epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth is quoted as saying the term for ending the Virus threat is 200 days. My bet is less; much less. We'll see.
145 cases have been tested, 3 have been cured, 11 are under observation.
True, I may be content with not-much-of-a-threat while Izzy wants it completely eradicated. Who's more realistic?

Differing Opinions
The (soon to be recycled?) manager of Green Force writes long long letter in Knipselkrant Curaçao, blaming our "rape" of Mother Gaia for the Virus. And the more humans die now, the better the future will be—for the rest. Reminds you of burning witches because of the plague, or because of a bad harvest, or just because.
Meanwhile, the Dutch government has, in a way, come to their senses and "will not come up with new measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions before April 1 as planned." Economic affairs minister Wiebes says they have more urgent problems.
And Sweden has decided to prefer keeping the economy alive instead of locking down. Makes me really curious how that will work out.

Won't Happen Here
Thomas Schaefer, finance minister of Germany's Hesse state, has committed suicide; apparently after becoming "deeply worried" over the economic fallout from the virus.
Sure looks like Schaefer had more conscience than... let's leave it at that. No vulgar remarks, please.

What Else?
The spoiled brats are supposed to stay at home as well. They're also supposed to do their work there. As usual, I suppose.
Nothing but Virus wherever you look. This hysteria just can't go on; bound to bleed out. Trump has tentatively postponed end of the USA measures until April 30 and I guess that, for once, we won't be far behind.

There is a phone number [CENSORED] where you can report people not keeping to the, by now Nazi-occupation like, Sperrzeit Diktats. I have to tell you, I won't. Unless they set foot in my garden, that is. Aruba is at 50 cases now.

Sic Him, Judge!
A recidivist atrakonist has been given 8 years. He appealed and got it again.

Ten (10) Eleven (11)
Cases, you'll never guess of what. The last two were living here. Watch out now.
Aruba, with 2/3rds of the inhabitants, had 28 yesterday. Everybody, here and there, must stay home; they may only leave for shopping and sporting. Man's Favorite Sport?
Even ministers, MPs and the governor must remain at home. Good! I feel much safer already.
USA Dr Fauci expects 100,000 to 200,000 cases, on 330 million people. Figuring it out, would mean about 100 here. One has died already, so at death cases <1% not to worry. Overly. Go wash your hands.
On Bonaire, the disaster is complete: even casinos and sexclubs must close.
As pharmacies, supermarkets, minimarket, gas stations and hardware stores may remain open until 19:00, I'd guess you may go shop there. Or what's the use?

Forget It
You probably didn't remember anyway. Today is Earth Hour when everybody is asked to turn out their lights at 20:30 local. To Save the Planet. Never noticed any effect here, and right now, we've got more serious worries. Maybe next year? Keep tryin'!

Last Thing We Want
At least, most of us. "When you begin to shut down factories and condemn to closure every shop that is not 'essential', you are playing with the very fabric of the country and making of Italy the next Venezuela." The most important, may as well say only, factory we have on Curaçao, Isla refinery, is as good as closed already, true.
There are more factories; they make paper and drinks, among other things.

The borders are now closed down for inhabitants with a sedula as well. A curfew from 21:00-06:00 has been announced. Students are returned to wherever they came from. We now have 9 cases.
Everybody, this goes for countries as well, wants support, what else is new.
Lockdown will last 2 weeks. For now.
At AMS Schiphol airport, all passengers from Curaçao and Paramaribo are "high risk". Not because of the virus, but because of drugs. But there's only one unit available to check, so personnel is panicking. (So stop in-flights already, simple, huh?)

Ban the Bags Ban
As long as they're reusable. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Maine joined the club. Shops there may not even charge for single-use bags.

Amigoe headline: Students get out yesterday by KLM - stricter control for snacks and illegal brothels.
Recovery of hotel industry will take at least 3 years.

An accident has caused the entire guardrail to be ruined completely (near Parera if you really want to know). Must have been some accident. Speeding, anyone?

All Together Now: Haw Haw Haw!
Cuba has developed a "Wonder Drug" against viral infections, together with China. (Hey, why don't they use it themselves in Wuhan?) But those USA bastards stop them from distributing it all over the world—even to shithole sucker countries.
Too bad Quackie Constancia has been relieved from her "duties"; but not to worry, auntie Sushi is just as bad.
An earlier Cuban meningitis B "vaccine" was sold to Brazil, where they say they wasted $300 million on it.

Be Prepared
The Boy Scouts' motto (I'll refrain from remarks about what to expect from pedophile schout-masters, but it ain't easy). Holland will help the islands with their financial problems, but it won't be a gift. As if our Leaders cared, they don't have to pay it back. Give you three guesses who do have to. Right first time, you cheated!

Let Them Pay Import Duty
There are now 8 virus patients, almost all import. One has died, two recovered completely. The best way to stop this import of course, government think, is to have 'em pay. Won't work, sorry stoopits.
But epidemiologist Gerstenbluth says further statistic research and testing is useless, because "all [possible] measures have been taken." If we get 500 cases, there are just not enough facilities.
On the Happy Island of Aruba, there are now 33 patients.

Not Here, Though
The gasoline price in South Africa, was 15.52 Rand (ANG1.59) earlier this month, is expected to be lowered to 13.47 (1.38) soon. This while price will go up there at the same time with 3 cents because of the blasted brandstofheffing.
Hey, we pay that as well! Only, here the price will be ANG1.859.
You think it's because South Africa has no money problems? Think again.

Kinda Inneressin'
It occurs to more and more people that the ways to fight the virus pandemic are contradicting what the greenies have been telling us for longer than I care to remember. Like, use disposable plastic bags; don't use public transport or car pools; stay in the suburbs at a safe distance from your neighbors.
Of course, they want to stop all air traffic as well. Nobody's perfect.

One More, Lucky Number
Total virus patients now 7; the last one worked at ADC diagnostic lab, but we're not told (yet) where he got the infection.
In Aruba, everybody has to stay home. Here, entertainment is closed; even Campo Alegre if I get it right.
A USA professor says Gerstenbluth should sample test the entire population, but at least is smart enough to add "But that needs personnel and money." Right, professor: a cigar or coconut for you.

Now Cft financial supervision is advising the Kingdom to forget about budget discipline for Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten. The poor whiners in the government can't help it.
God help you when you've had a bad year. Vote and pay.
Besides, it's us who'll have to pay later anyway.
Whiners galore: Van der Valk hotel businesscomplains that they want money to keep turning. What for? They have no customers anyway, let them shutter up and shut up just like we all do.

Gas Price Up
2 cents per liter next month. This while the crude price has tumbled in a deep empty hole. It's because we have to pay for Kresh's refinery take-over.

Drug Terrorists
The USA will pay you $15 million if you help them arrest our next-door neighbor president Maduro. 10 million for his fellow goons, among which Hugo Carvajal Barrios. Who was arrested in Aruba in 2014 but had to be released on Holland's orders, if my memory serves me right.
Just now, when we really need the drug money to keep flowing!
It I were Maduro, I'd have flown out with an Antonov full of gold a long time ago. But he probably, like most dictators, figures he is untouchable. Sadly, most of the time they turn out to have been right. Look at Stalin... Mao... Pol Pot... Kim Jong +... Castro... Chávez... Hitler was one of the few caught up with.
Don't hear much comment from Errol Bakoba or other guys who wanted to keep PdVSA going, cost what cost.

"Don't Touch Your Face"
Guess I'll have to stop shaving... Grow a fungus, not a virus!

Good Plan
The Massachussetts governor has prohibited reusable shopping bags. So has New Hampshire. And New York state has put its recently passed ban on single-use plastic bags on hold.

You may say it's not the government's fault that we got the virus, but the fact that they now say 60 to 70 million per month is needed to sustain the guilder comes to their miserable account. Anyway, Cft financial supervision advises to let go of the budget norms. And there we go.
The government intends to introduce a "solidarity levy", percentage not known yet. But nothing planned to reduce government costs. In short, they haven't learned a thing yet.

"Because of the virus" the food safety exams have been postponed. Restaurateurs may go on doing whatever they were doing without controls. Sounds like the world on its head to me.

Losers, We All
The syndicate of unions complains that no money is going to the workers, but it all goes to the employers. And the minibus drivers complain that they get no money, although they're entrepreneurs just as well.
The supermarkets ask for armed security to prevent hoarding.

The Integrity Bureau, part of the 2017-2021 government program, still isn't working. Doesn't even have a director. Reason, there's no money budgeted; less than 1 million guilders.

Guess Why
The signing of the agreement with the Kresh Group will hopefully take place before the end of June, we're told.
Because of the virus.

That's Good
The number of daily traffic accidents has been reduced to 20% since the anti-virus measures were taken. But the number of cars hitting the road has only been reduced by half. Interesting.

Almost Over
The general expectation is the USA will be open for (internal) business again by Easter, April 12. That's even faster than I expected. Very little doubt other countries will follow soon.
Now, 69 drugs have been identified that "may be effective" in combating the virus.

Emergency Measures
Now that we have a total of 6 Communist Party Virus patients (2 have been cured), the government has announced a solidarity package with emergency measures for mitigating the effects of the crisis. Says PM Ruggie there are three keys to our economy: "the government, workers and employers." Mark which comes first. An Antilliaans Dagblad editorial puts the employers first, like is done in Europe and the USA.
One proposal is not paying sales tax for a while. As if there are any sales to tax.
Bottom line: "It's inevitable that Holland subvenes."

Then, There's This
The USA is reconsidering its economic shutdown, as the cure it seems to offer may be worse than the disease. President Trump says he's looking at weeks rather than months.
That certainly would be good news, especially in combination with drug tests just starting in Minnesota and New York.

Sure, Anything You Say!
The Central Bank, now under new management by ex-finance minister Jardim, figures Curaçao needs 125-155 million guilders per month "to keep society turning". Which amounts to 1 billion per year. My highly educated guess is, the society mentioned is the government complete with Growth Strategy.
Curaçao is now conspiring discussing with Holland how to form an emergency fund from which Aruba and St. Maarten can borrow cheaply as well.
And pay back later. Not you and I, maybe, but our progeny for sure.

Good Advice
From Laffer: does not only apply to the USA, but just as much to us here. "Just a payroll tax cut and liquidity lending;" not support that won't accomplish a thing.
Another Laffer quote, just for kix: "Whenever politicians make decisions, whether they are panicked or drunk, the consequences are rarely attractive."

Ex-Central Bank director Emsley Tromp estimates the economy shrink can go up to 25%. I shouldn't wonder. What we definitely don't need is more money to be spent by the government to save "too big to fail" businesses; money that will have to be put back in the till in the near or far, what's the difference? future. We've had plenty of that already. One thing's for sure, the gambling "industry" won't lose money...
The coast guard is taking extra measures to intensify the control on illegal boats carrying refugees from Venezuela.
Aruba now has 12 Communist Party Virus cases; we're still at 4. A new symptom has been discovered: loss of taste and smell. Well, that could work out fine; depending.
Our government is looking at a curfew. I don't see any advantage in that; just enter bars etc. and fine those partying en masse in there.

Don't, Ruggie
PAR PM Ruggie is, like Aruba, contemplating a total lockdown for who knows, he certainly doesn't because what does he know? how long. That's what's called panic football... won't accomplish a thing and completely poison the economy. What he and his goons left of it already.

What Else?
It's so bad, they don't even talk about "negative growth": the Central Bank "preliminary" predicts an economy crimp of 4.5-19.4%. That is, unless we get a real communist party virus outbreak on Curaçao and St. Maarten. Then, all bets are off.
There are now 4 cases on Curaçao and 9 on Aruba.

AA Flights Stop
Today we'll have, for now, the last American Airlines flight CUR-MIA. TUI has also announced stopping all flights; those tourists still here will have to try getting on a KLM flight.

Don't Count on It
RdK refinery has seized the Bonaire BOPEC oil terminal property, to sell and use the proceeds to pay PdVSA's debt. They think they'll find a buyer. I'm not so sure, the tanks have been rejected and the oil market is, putting it mildly, sorta disrupted right now.

Can't Wait
All hotels are closed, nobody is allowed in without quarantine, so epidemiologist Gerstenbluth thinks 2 weeks from now the panic will be over. I give it three weeks, and the Communist Party virus, except for some pockets, as good as eradicated all over the world in 2 months.
I made a bet on this, heh heh. Any more takers?
Hopefully, this will hit the Chinese government hardest of all. They needed a little lesson; like Russia with Chernobyl. Too bad if you have to live there.
Everybody (not only) here wants government support because of the virus crisis. We'll have to pay up later, don't even need to bet on that. One way to avoid is to open a credit line to those in need, and have them pay back later—themselves.

Goodbye, Mini Bus!
Our Great Leaders have decided, among many other things to against the Terrible Virus, that public transport drivers may not allow passengers to sit closer than 2m from each other, and, I guess, hir/hemself. I checked one of the popular brands, Toyota HiAce, and it looks to me like not more than 1 (one) passenger would be allowed.
Guesstimating somewhat more, even the large regular buses (konvoois) would have their capacity reduced to 1/4 or 1/8.

(Some) media carry items that an anti-malaria drug, Resochin or chloroquine, works fine in preventing and curing the Communist Party virus. Problem is, it is not approved for anything but malaria. President Trump wants the FDA to approve this ASAP; he has promised immediate supplies to all USA citizens and Bayer is giving away 3 million tablets.
Resochin was developed in 1934 (ominous year, that) and has since 2005 been known to work against SARS-like diseases. However, as it is a generic drug and thus not much money can be made, the pharmacological industries were not interested. At least, that's the possibly paranoid story.
Another anti-viral drug Remdesivir is reported to show great promise as well. We'll have to wait for the results—which could show almost immediately and end the whole scare. On the other hand, some call it BS; and for all I know they may be right. Hopefully not.
Then there's Japanese Favipiravir, developed by a Fujifilm subsidiary, a new anti-flu medicine that promises to be highly effective against Wuhan virus as well.

60 Tests
3 infected persons of whom one, the first case, has died. 67 people are being "monitored". Vitamin C is sold out in Bandabao. Many of the tourists still here don't seem to think the "social distancing" rule applies to them. Well, tourists will be tourists.
St. Maarten people are requested to use the Antillian guilder for payments, which is pretty revolutionary. As long as I've been visiting there, in practice only US dollars were used and accepted. These are now needed to pay for imports.

Just a Feeling
I'm getting the idea that the Wuhan virus panic will be over before it gets a chance to really set in. There is an overreaction if I ever saw one. We can only hope the economic damage will not be a much greater disaster.
And giving credit where credit's due, the Hong Kong Free Press proposes an end to all PC-nonsense telling us not to call it the Wuhan or China virus: Let us call it the Communist Party Virus!

At Request
For some reason, people keep asking me what I'm reading these days. So here goes again:
Rumor, Fear and the Madness of Crowds
—J.P. Chaplin

For those who care, here's the former read.

For Now
The Kresh refinery take-over will not occur before May, a month later than optimistically planned. Corendon Hotel will not open on April 1. Plenty more like that going on.

Fer Chrissake, Give Me a Break
Not only did we have a National Day of Prayer yesterday, our auntie Sushi also requested agriculturists farmers not to export their produce but to keep it for ourselves.
What export? What produce?
Let's keep this serious and refrain from stupid jokes.
Proposal: Let us all, even the Leaders, behave like responsible grown-ups (may be asking too much) and just protect the vulnerable ones from the virus. All the money lost just is not worth it. Just keep the borders (airport and harbor) closed for countries with the virus. Which means no tourism, right.
Don't think, as many seem to do, that you're immune if you're young. It's anti-social anyway, but who cares? But of 508 hospitalized patients 38% were 20-54.

Take It Easy
PM Ruggie is either lying or has a very short memory. Hey, he's a politician so probably both. But now he's saying that it's thanks to the fact that travel from Europe was shut down immediately that we have, so far, escaped. O yeah? I remember differently; in fact, I made a note.
For the rest, nothing but virusteria in the media. Remember, unless you're an old fart and sick anyway there's nothing to fear, except for passing it on. Relax and have a nice day!

On the Other Hand
Just possibly, that Wuhan virus isn't so dangerous at all. Who could say, right now? Break down the economy just to avoid a few lives is worth it? I can't answer that.
Too bad if it's you or especially me, true.

Imagine That!
Income from OZB [real estate tax] will be lower than expected. However, this was expected by anybody except the government, who blame it on "several factors". And then some. (Our property went up in value 3 times in 4 years, according to the inspector.)
Also, income from omzetbelasting [sales tax] will be lower than estimated (as again, everybody else saw coming), and the higher receipts from income tax last year will not be matched. Same for higher tobacco tax ("for our own good", sure); will be lower instead.
Now what, Great Leaders? Panhandle in Holland for more money? (Forget it!)

The government has, finally, announced measures that really should work. We're not allowed to visit foreign countries ("for our own good," sure) or go to parties, sports events or religious activities (not to worry). Not to mention restaurants, entertainment, bars and snacks. Even funerals are maxed out to 10 visitors. Watch those supermarkets! Stay away 2 meters from everybody! Hey, I estimate there's no more than 1m between you and the cashier; if that.
Tourism is out. Now that's a real life changer!
PM Ruggie says "life will change"—well, for me, it started changing 2 weeks ago. President Trump estimates all this will go on until July or August, while Ruggie still thinks the schools may reopen 5 days from now.
All this is so obvious, one wonders why it's necessary to talk about it. But then, keep in mind how Ruggie and Auntie didn't have an inkling themselves just a few days ago.
But St. Maarten doesn't worry: all schools remain open. Even there tourism is locked out.

Don't Panic—Hah!
Because of the Wuhan virus, the schools will be closed for one week, starting Tuesday. Why not Monday, or longer? Hey, don't ask me. There are now 3 reported cases, and 40 people are under observation.
(According to the USA Center for Disease Control, the isolation measures may have to remain in force for 8 weeks. Israel, starting yesterday, "closes down" for 5 weeks; for starters. Schools will remain closed until April 16.)
KLM and TUI will pick up 30,000 plus (that's only TUI) passengers and take them back to Holland. So we'll get a chance to enjoy a good old empty beach these weeks.
Good riddance too: Zanzibar had a happy hour on Saturday where 200 (I guess not only) makambas turned up, regardless. Hope the nitwits enjoyed it, and even more passing it on. In contradistinction, in the Hague the police forcibly ended a giant marriage feast—held by Turks. Here? Oh no, don't let us stop your fun.
Some free advice: If you feel a sneeze coming on, pinch the bridge of your nose. It really helps to stop the sneeze! (Then, take out your paper hankies, just in case).

Compare: Taiwan and Israel
As from today, Israel will shut down large segments of the economy to contain the spread of Huwan virus. Also digital surveillance measures used to counter terror will be used to track coronavirus cases and the disease's infection and spread. This entails some invasion of privacy but been used in Taiwan with success.
"Pre-schools will be closed as well as all other institutions of education. Non-essential places of work with a staff or more than 10 will be closed for next five weeks. All places of entertainment: cafes, restaurants, malls, halls and fitness gyms, will be shuttered. Public transport services are to be reduced." Say, how about casinos? Just a thought. And those minibuses here?
We can hardly blame our government for not having a counter-terror system in place, but there it stops. This boils down to cellphone-tracking of victims, but we don't have that either.
A week ago, El Al was one of the first airlines to shut down; the company plans to suspend 80% of personnel.

Just What We Need
The government may, after all, borrow thirty million more from Holland. Condition was the Spoiled Brats Growth Accord would have a broad support in Curaçao politics. And the coalition was for, while the opposition was against; so there we go.
Meanwhile, 2017 had a budget of 117 million in the red; 2018 of 60 and 2019 of 20. Curaçao must reduce spendings, Holland says. Sure, but how?
Nobody has the faintest clue on what will happen in de future with these deficits, plus the new hospital, girobank and Crash's Isla take-over. And don't forget Wuhan and tourism dying with it in our hands.
I do have a clue: we'll pay, as always.

Rem Acu Tetigisti
Aruba is discussing if the flights with the USA must be canceled, and they say: "We have to choose between the economy and health." So of course they choose for economy, not for sanity. Leave it to the merchants (or politicians).
And it's not necessary for Curaçao schools to close down, for now. Only when the situation gets completely out of hand, I guess.

Watch Them...
It's going to be interesting what our Great Leaders will do now that tourism has come to a total stand still. Little doubt that they'll apply to Holland for more help, whining "we can't help it [they can], just like the Venezuela problem!" But the Dutch are not in an ideal position to give any; even if they wanted to.

Too Late
The government has announced a stop on all flights from Europe. Which comes more than a week after the first Wuhan patient has arrived. Only the devil knows how many he's infected, and how many more have still been undiscovered.
The to-be-expected run on the supermarkets started immediately. Hold your breath and stay at home as much as possible until the crisis has passed; probably a matter of 2 or 3 weeks. Don't go to the GP waiting room; rather, call 9345 if you have a sore throat, cough or a fever.
Bottom line: the government has been criminally negligent in first admitting extra flights and should be held responsible for eventual deaths. Forget it, sure.
Airlines are supposed to ask passengers if they've recently been in any countries where the virus is rampant. Haha. Ever heard of liars?

There We Go: Wuhan's Here?
A 68-year old tourist, arrived last Thursday, felt ill Friday, went to the doctor on Wednesday. So he may have walked around for 5 days infecting everybody around him. Not to mention his fellow passengers.
A press conference has been promised soon. But PM Ruggie says, "no reason to panic." He may even be right there, but he can't possibly know that.
Meanwhile, Princess cruises have suspended operations; for two weeks (don't make me laugh, this is serious).

Auntie Denies
Auntie Sushi denies she has illegally signed for the police academy to be run by her hubby (for a 5.6 million budget), but M*F*K wants a parliament meeting on this anyway. Eventually we'll see. You ask me, I don't trust any of that bunch.

For Starters
The Blue Seas music festival and the Curaçao Int'l Film Festival (Rotterdam) have been canceled. Virus, you know.
Don't ask me what Rotterdam has to do with it. I actually know but won't explain.
An interesting advice how you should sneeze into a paper hankie to avoid spraying your surroundings with Wuhan virus. Then, discard the hankie in a trash bin. A lined trash bin. "With what shall I line it, dear Lisa?" "With plastic, dear Henry!"
If you care, it's well worth checking out this report The Truth Behind the Plastic 'Crisis'

While all air travel from the European continent to the USA is suspended for 30 days, because of the Wuhan Virus, we are welcoming more KLM flights. What could go wrong?

Here's Your Chance!
You may apply for a seat in the Petroleumraad [petrol council] which has as task to look into the possibilities of finding and exploiting oil and gas reserves around the island.
Geologists maintain that's just empty hopes, so the council will be another fine way to "redistribute" our incomes to other parties.
Remember Aruba.

Forget It
Coalition parties MAN and PAR say the extra income of airport safety charges must be reinvested. That's what we'd all like, but what probably won't happen. We've seen it before: to name just one example, car tax.

Bloody Nonsense
The government and SER (social economic council) tell us that the influx of working immigrants makes the AOV welfare pension slightly more achievable—for the time being. But as it's a Ponzi scheme, in the long run it will inevitably grow worse. SER says the minimum age has to go up from 65 to 67 and the payments lowered. Which, as they have not been raised for umpteen years, in practice is the case already; what with inflation etc. And, SER adds, it won't help anyway.
But for a 4-year gig politician it's more than good enough.

It's a Conspiracy!
I figured it all out. That Wuhan virus... just a dirty governments' trick to get rid of all old farts and save, so they can start afresh with their Ponzi welfare pension schemes. How like them!

Are We Supposed to Believe That?
Justice minister Girigorie is fully confident that the theft of 500 keys of coke from a police station will be solved. The investigation is in full swing which is supposedly proven because they have lots of meetings.

Let 'em Come
Because KLM has extra capacity, as many countries have stopped flights altogether, the company has decided to put in some extra flights to Curaçao. All Wuhan virus patients are welcome, as long as they bring money. Hey, tourism! Tourism must go on—at any price. Which we'll pay.
But personnel of CTB are worried they'll get infected. Serves them right.

Sue the Bastids!
Hustisia Pa Un i Tur announced they will shortly sue auntie Sushi, and not before I was ready for it. She was until February this year registered with the Chamber of Commerce KKN as director of SR Holding & Investments bv, which cannot legally be combined with her minister's function.
This is the third minister this club is schlepping to court. Started with AlKLM-Wallé, then pinhead Martina and now auntie. I may not like the club, but must admit they seem to be quite right here.
Update: Auntie Sushi claims that those companies are not active, which she says make all the difference. I wonder.

Don't Hurry Me
The court case started by Amigu di Tera, Fundashon Rif and other groups united in G6 (Group of 6) concerning the mangrove-wood is still pending. Reason, auntie Sushi's GMN ministry keeps sending, or rather not timely sending, statements of defense which of course causes delays. Meanwhile, the dirty work just continues.

Not Yet, Pinhead
Martina will only become minister again on May 22. Nobody's talking, the reasons are a Big Secret. But it just might have something to do with a new complaint lodged by K*NT party: Martina has been accused of a crime and this needs looking into.
Correction: it wasn't K*NT but Hustisia Pa Un i Tur; same difference.

Pay Up, Suckers
Isla refinery needs to pay 110 million to (ex)-workers because of the redundancy scheme. What I really don't get (and what nobody tries to explain), I though Krash Group was taking over? So, Already?
Anyway, much of that sum swill be paid by us by way of higher ABB (sales tax) and what we have to pay in foreign transfer costs to cover Girobank's deficit.
Methinks I'll try and go broke and have the government (this means you) pay for me.

The Wuhan virus is now offshore here, and kept there; for now. An English Norwegian cruise ship is not allowed to moor because it has been found on board. Of course it's inevitable that one of these days somebody will slip through. Especially since the Wise Guys of Health say it's "premature" to stop influx from infected countries now.
But please relax: auntie Sushi has just released the health plan 2025, so everything is under control. Hopefully, by then we'll be rid of her.

Bring It On
Cft financial supervision has had no reaction to the 2019 20 million deficit, which is supposed to be corrected this year. So they have given the government until March 19, when they will ask the Kingdom for an intervening aanwijzing [instruction].

Holy Merchants!
You there on St. Maarten, you have seen nothing yet. The Israeli health minister wants all arrivals to be quarantined. This is expected to start today.
Don't think Israel has no tourism, either.

No More Mangroves?
We're assured that the roads now crossing the Rif mangrove wood are temporary and the trees will be planted back. Later. The roads were needed to make the area accessible for heavy material (Amigu di Tera disagrees, saying they're much wider than needed). The idea is we'll get a sewage plant and lots more. For now, the place stinks like a hell-hole and if you want mosquitoes, no need to look any further. This while the next door Corendon hotel will open in April.

Forget Tourism
Airlines all over the world are already feeling the negative results of the Corona scare. Goes to show you how bad it is to make your economy dependent on one fickle resource.
And even cruises.. hah! Would you join a cruise? Those ships are as full of meat as an egg... In St. Maarten, cruiseship Aida Diva was refused admittance because the necessary papers came in too late. Now the merchants there are pissed off, saying that's over 750,000 dollars worth of trade lost. They'd rather be sick than miss a penny.
Anyway, they must be lying exaggerating. Crew and passengers total 2629 people. Do they expect us to believe that every single one of them spends $285 ashore?

The 2020 budget is still not balanced. Curaçao's financial situation "remains worrying" says Cft financial supervision. The budget is 20 million short and that does not include the amount in the red over last year. Despite the government having lowered the estimated incomes from raised taxes, they're still much to high.

Now We Pay
Antilliaans Dagblad found out that there has indeed been a criminal investigation into Girobank, but it has been stopped because the public ministry had "insufficient funds". The process had the name "Pretoria", very fitting. What was discovered is that there were "internal malversations"; now they tell us.

Auntie & Hubby
Auntie Sushi's and her hubby had a nice (for them) idea: set up a well-paying (to them) police academy run by hubby. Auntie then was VVRP sinister and supposed to abstain from voting but voted nevertheless. (I bet she voted "for".) Mark, this was the former cabinet led by (if only after after a fashion) PS™ Whiteman; not Shorty's.
Dear reader, I have a terrible pain in the neck caused by other things, not politics for a change, and will continue tomorrow. Have a nice day and a great week-end!
There were plans already for two (2) police academies at the time, auntie's was the 3rd. None of them knew about the others. Talk about organization! Just our usual government mess. The plans were scratched in 2017, which saved us 5.6 million guilders.
But not to worry; the money eventually spent for the academy was taken out of the Bientu money paid by Robbie dos Diablos; even though that was illegal, it was accorded by then minister of finance Jardim. Do you want to know more? No? I thought so.

Shorty's Chutzpah
Now the criminal ex-PM wants compensation from workers at VDC (Security Service Curaçao) because they allegedly "purposefully leaked information damaging to him and his partner." VDC's lawyer even claims that Shorty himself tried to remove incriminating information (he didn't succeed).

Another Super Charge Coming
You may have figured those 2.3 cents/liter on car fuel weren't too bad? So we'll get another one on top, because more costs have to be paid for. By us, who else?
Total costs to find a new exploiter for Isla refinery were over 31 million, almost 17 of which has been spent by Wiels c.s.

McWilliams will take her leave as sinister to make place for pinhead Martina. She's been offered foreign gigs with lots of business class travel and stays in fine hotels.

"Even tourists would have been welcome."
Algernon BlackwoodThe Willows

Too Expensive
There was a new arrangement where you were advised by mail that your car had to undergo a vehicle inspection. But they stopped this because it was "too expensive". (The banks charge you 2.50 guilders for a paper statement.)
Sp now people have to stand in line for hours, with no shade provided, to make an appointment. They don't like it.

Gammon and spinach
In Dutch, smoesjes. PM Ruggie says the Growth Strategy progress report has been sent to Staten on February 26, but for some unknown reason it never arrived.
(Both cabinet and parliament are working from Fort Amsterdam.)
But it's safe to blame C***-Post: yesterday I received an invite from Tokyo which was airmailed a month ago. That is, if the government uses the mail; don't they have fat well-paid couriers?

It's a Viewpoint
A motion to introduce maximum prices for anti-Coronavirus medicine has been voted down in parliament. Naturally: can't those boticas profiteer by making extra bucks?
But interestingly, the PIN-guy Calmes who introduced the motion had as comment: "The economy is not really marching"—which is putting it very mildly indeed. If it marches at all, it's backward.

Terrorists? Now Come On
People who attack tourists are now to be called "terrorists" says soon-to-be-gone sinister McWilliam.
As long as they attack you, me or her, that's supposedly fine.
"Soon to be gone?" Seems to be a hang-up there. As long as McWilliam doesn't submit her resignation with the governor, pinhead has not a chance.

Used to Be Called "Bathing"
Now we say "swimming". Maybe because, according to Carmabi director Verweij, 86% of our sewage is deposited in sea unfiltered.
But it's all in style (maybe the wrong word?); illegal trash dumping is now going on right in the city center.

Extra Airport Tax
Will be ANG4.51/passenger, excluding collection costs, bringing the grand total to—we're not told. But it's for our safety!
No doubt it will soon become 5.86.

For the Better
By 2100, half of the world's beaches will have disappeared: "more than 100 meters" will have been lost. Because of climate change, or whatever, you know. You ask me, we have not one single beach that wide. Well, as long as half of our hotels will be under water as well, that's jes fine with me.

Nature Loving Tourist
He was attacked why walking around in the salt pans of Jan Kock, no doubt to get a closer look at the flamingoes and disturbing them in the process. Then he himself became the victim of an atrako, was wounded with a machete and robbed.
You are tempted to say "serves him right" but that's maybe a notch too far.

What Else Did They Expect?
In a Staten-parliament meeting on the gambling industry not a single rep. of that "industry" took the trouble to attend. What's the use, anyway? So the meeting was disbanded after 5 minutes.

Wasted Money
Justice sinister Girigorie said it himself, all that money for tourist promotion is wasted. (Alas, if you may trust CTB the statistics show different.) But Girigorie takes exception to the messages on criminality that appear on social media; they tend to scare the tourists off. Good.
Girogrie says the island is safer than 15 years ago. He could have fooled all of us.
Next, he might try and fine us for uploading a message like that. Stay positive! or else...
The safest Caribbean country, he says, is Barbados with 16.9 murders per 100,000; we have "only" 11.4, which makes us the 3rd safest country. Huh? Something amiss here. Oh wait, that's what Girogorie says he figures himself. The BBC figures differently.

As we all expected by now, pinhead Martina is back in his function as sinister of economic development, so he can go back to work on developing his own economy.

"Nos Mes Por"
Not now, but eventually "we" can run the refinery ourselves. Says PM Ruggie; and it's thanks to what we'll learn about management from the Krash Group. Not now, but in the future. A good thing that he'll have disappeared from stage by then.

Better believe it: a TUI plane has just like that sunk through the Bonaire Flamingo Airport asphalt. Tssk tssk. Nobody's been hurt (except maybe the airport's contractors).

What Else, New
Isla Refinery and Refineria di Kòrsow are fighting in court again. RdK wants 150 million dollars (so would I). No doubt some party will win and another one will lose.
But personnel is really enthousiastic about the Crash Group developments. Well, fine.

KKC Back
Knipselkrant Curaçao had some troubles the last couple of weeks, caused by what they say is over 500 cyber attacks per day. Has been going on since 2013.
Boy, somebody must really hate them.
KKC claims an average of 1 attack per second, but that sounds a bit much: 511 a day would be 0.35/minute or once every 3 minutes. Still respectable.

What's the Use
VBC entrepreneurs' club calls, once again, attention to the fact that the government, against all advice freely given, is only busy getting more out of the tax-payer instead of reducing costs. To the contrary, the government is only growing. VBC refers back to 2013 when the same thing happened, and look where we are now.

Right On
Cft financial supervision has torpedoed the 30 million PM Ruggie was supposed to borrow. Good for our kids.
On the other hand, now the budget has a deficit of 20 million. Which might mean, forget the grandiose Growth (for the government) Plan.

They Again
The spoiled brats just can't take subtle hints: they demand the government pays them the indexing sum, plus the 3% lumpsum for those who are collecting the maximum already. Which they won't get, as it's not guaranteed by law. But the government is prepared to adapt the budget (which is in the red already) to raise the wage rate.

Carnival is over; good. But still, not much is happening in politics; better. Maybe next Tuesday—keep tuned.

Let's See Auntie Sushi Adapt This
Singapore shows how to stop coronavirus: "It is virtually impossible to enter any building in Singapore without being offered a sanitising hand wash, a simple expedient for limiting the spread of the virus. Similarly citizens are encouraged to conduct regular checks of their temperature, thereby making early detection of potential new cases more likely."
Sanitising hand wash? How many families here you think even have a thermometer?

At Request
For some reason, people keep asking me what I'm reading these days. So here goes again:
The Island at the Center of the World:
The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan
and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America

—Russell Shorto

For those who care, here's the former read.

So There
The fuel charge of 2.3 cents/liter has been approved for 4 years, over 10% more than originally suggested. It's supposed to ensure fuel distribution, but in fact serves to cover extra costs caused by the refinery transition to Crasch Group.
But this is only an estimate. After it's all over, the real cost will be figured out. You wanna bet it will turn out to be lower than the estimated 54 million guilders? I thought so; neither do I.

More Trouble Ahead
The US Senate is proposing changes in the FAA certificates. Which, putting the crap in a nutshell, that could mean "banning U.S.-certificated commercial aircraft to operators in any country that does not pass the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) audit." We share this honor with 5 countries, Costa Rica, Ghana, Thailand and Venezuela. Talk about backward.
Taking the bright side, would maybe (but not probably) mean no coronavirus can come in here. At least not by air. Plenty cruise tourists, though.

Beers 'R' Us
Israel is the first country smart enough to advise all citizens to stop traveling abroad. Also, El-Al flights to Italy and Thailand have been suspended, and the inaugural direct-to-Tokyo flight has been delayed until April; for now.
Here, we get soothing texts by auntie Sushi about the Coronabeerus, although epidemiologist Gerstenbluth seems to be on his toes. It's only a matter of time, he says, and what can you do but agree?
What we really could use are Quackie Constancia surgeons' masks! You almost start to think she was ahead of her time and, too boot, smarter than she looks—not hard, that.

Good News?
Only for those who haven't got a digital CMC/new hospital pass yet. You can now make an appointment on-line to pick it up.
Too bad, if, like me, you've had to go over there and wait for hours: not on-line, but rather in-line.

Even Worse
DOW public works has analyzed the new hospital's sewage and concluded that it's unacceptable for it to be deposited in the sewage system.
So the solution is simple: it goes straight into the sea. The sewage is collected in trucks and transported to Shut/chute where it is dumped.

Insane & Irresponsible
The Curaçao government may borrow 30 million more. This is hard to believe. Our children will have to pay up.

"A Good Start"
That's what we read about the fact that more tourists than ever have come over here last month. Depends on how you look at it.
45,000 stay-overs were counted; if this trend continues that's over 3 times our own population per year. But no explanation is given for the fact hat hotel occupation went down.
This is readily explained when you think about all these apartments where tourists prefer to stay; not only because the general trend is away from hotels, but also because they don't pay any sales or whatever tax. Everybody must pay tax, do you hear me? So we can spend it all.
The number of cruise ships went down as well, but as those Monstrosities of the Sea get bigger and bigger, more cruise tourists came in. Total almost 125,000. As these hardly spend a thing that's no big deal; except that all those &%$#@ buses hold up traffic.

Who Cares...
PAR MP Obispo does. He calls attention to the fact that the yearly accounts from 2014 to 2018 are still missing. Let alone they've been approved.
The law states quite clearly this should happen on a yearly base.

Why Not? That's Why Not!
The minister of Transport and other matters wants to install an "aviation safety charge" that passengers must pay on top of the existing airport tax. The new charge can be increased with 30%.
This shows real chutzpah, considering that we still don't have an airport upgrade.

ABC Gets Money
ABC Public Transport is dependent on the government for 2/3 of its income. Last year's loss was 1.9 million guilders.
I must add that, compared with what you pay in many other countries, tariffs are very low indeed.

Got Him Them
Ex director Kwartel of RdK refinery has been convicted (with 36 months of jail) for asking a bribe of "at least" $ 5 million for the sale of the refinery. 3 others got 30 months.
These guys are responsible for the deal with Aramco falling through so we're now saddled with Krasch Group.

As If We Didn't Know
It's the low oil price that caused the problems with Isla refinery and PdVSA, and also the fact that crude oil supplies virtually came to a halt. In 2005 the refinery produced 205,000 bpd, which was the total production of the last 22 months.
Now the refinery, in court, wants 150 million dollar compensation from PdVSA. As if PdVSA could pay that.

Pay Up, Suckers
Girobank will, more or less, be taken over by APC pension fund; and everybody will get their money. For which we pay. The only good thing is, for once visitors pay as well as part of the ABB+. Still more sales tax.

Bad News All Over
For this one, I would advise you to go straight to Knipselkrant Curaçao and check it out yourself. It's a scribd article by Isla refinery (in whatever manifestation) protesting that they have a really fine, fantastic, excellent deal with the Klesch Group. Then, our national resource Marguérite Nahar takes it all to pieces and shows what an awful mess they've landed us, and our collective future, in.

Sub Rosa
After the public ministry first denied a complaint was lodged against Garcia of Girobank, now they admit that, yes, as a matter of there was one filed. The spox just "misunderstood" his boss's words.
The complaint was filed by Central Bank CBCS in 2015. No information is forthcoming on what has been done with it. I'd call it sub rosa if it didn't stink so much.

Oh, There Were More
Not 3, but 5 boarding schools had their subsidies reduced and hastily restored. Rose Pelletier and Casa Manita weren't mentioned in earlier news.

Hint for Hoogstraat?
In Amsterdam, after years of attracting tourists to the sex and dope scene, they've had enough. It's so bad, 30 tour buses an hour are stopping at Oudekerksplein (yes, there's what used to be a church there). Their maximum load is now restricted to 15 voyeurs passengers, down from 20. That's still a total of 450 peepers an hour.
The sex workers say all those tourists are "bad for business".

Funny? Depends.
Japanese policy makers have made the same mistake three times. Last October, Japan raised its sales tax to 10% from 8%—and spending tanked. Household consumption fell 11.5% in 2019-IV, fueling a 6.3% fall in yearly GDP. Sales-tax increases in 1997 and 2014 likewise knocked the economy off course. The three worst quarters for household consumption in the past quarter-century were those in which sales tax was raised.
"The thinking that led to such destructive behavior is bizarrely resilient." Not only in Japan, I may add.

Why Bother to Star With
The subsidies for caretaking institutes have been pulled back up to its former level, after protests.

Fed Up and Disgusted
People living in Hoogstraat have had enough of all those touring buses coming by in their street. The more and larger those tourist-carrying monster ships come in, the heavier their vexation.
Ain't tourism great?

Today? That Was Yesterday
Cft financial supervision has given the government until "today" to adapt the budget. Cft thinks 100 million more coming in from sales tax is "not realistic". The original deadline was February 12, but has been postponed.
However, the morning news is terrifyingly silent... More later?

Maybe It Helps?
Seven people have been arrested for their involvement in a series of atrakos. However, I very much doubt if these are responsible for most of them. Would be physically as good as impossible.
Judging from the location photographs, this must have caused heavy delays on the road to Westpunt, or rather, from there. Let us hope it was worth it.
Another suspect has been arrested on Hato airport, trying to escape to another country. I can't tell you if he was one of the 6, or 7.

Excuse or Reason?
The multi-annual SOFA agreement between the USA and the Kingdom of the Netherlands serves to enable joint trainings and assistance in case of a hurricane. Dutch SP (socialist party) doesn't like it, nor do several island parties and president Maduro.
The way I see it, any excuse is fine.

Forensic Investigation
The complete council of sinisters has decided to request the Central Bank CBCS to investigate the causes of the problems with Girobank, Ennia Insurance and CSBS as well. That last item makes me go "hmmmmm".
FYI, two synonyms for "forensic" are "judicial" and "juristic". No stone will be left unturned! we're promised.

More of the Same
Not only the boarding schools have had their subsidies cut; the same applies to Foundation Birgen di Rosario, Kuido Integral Banda Bou and Foundation Wit Gele Kruis voor de Thuiszorg 'Prines Margriet". Next to the Koeiman cuts of 6.5% to over 16%, auntie Sushi cut 'her' subsidies by almost 2%. All this on top of earlier cuts.
Reason seems to be, the new hospital is so expensive and needs money. So let the old farts whine and see where that gets them, fast: nowhere. Or, just maybe?

"Temporary", Huh?
There will come a "temporary" extra charge of "a few cents" (maybe 2) on auto fuel. This to pay for Curoil's transition costs of the refinery to the Crash Klesch Group.
As we all know from experience, those charges share a distinct trend to run on into perpetuity.

Sound Crazy to Me
Relatives of Venezuelans who were on their way to Curaçao or Trinidad, but went missing, demand the Maduro government to give them news about the fugitives' lot. No matter what you can say and think about that government, how could it possibly know? Those people board overloaded crummy boats and hope for the best. If there's a mishap and they drown, that's just that.
Yes, they do try to escape from the tyranny at home. That's bad enough. But those demands are a waste of effort. It's all desperation.

Does It Matter? No!
C***-Post [International] has raised the tariff for keeping an arrived package in store for you longer than a week. Now it's ANG8.50, 1 guilder more. Doesn't matter how large or heavy it is, which is interesting in itself.
But it's all rubbish, as the persons behind the windows know darned well that you get the "Notification of Receipt" days later than the date on it, if not more than a week. So they don't bother charging you.

Still Electricity Problems
After last week's total black-out, the electricity supply has remained constant. That is to say, the Aqualectra engineers have to keep adjusting the supply manually, which, they say, means the cause hasn't been solved.

The boarding schools' subisidies have been reinstalled; 15% has been added back to them. The same applies to Casa Manita and Kinderoorden Brakkeput.

Oh No, Another One
The Project Regenerative Biological Agriculture has finished its first learning project. This is part of auntie Sushi's "Wellness Bureau" hobby; the same that has cost us at least 8 million already, taken away from the GGD public health budget. We now discover that the project is run by the Institute for professional excellence, run by CHATA hotel club and, are you ready? the Maharashi International University of Iowa. This was set up by "the Giggling Guru" Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in 1973. You could learn to levitate there. I kid you not.
Where does auntie pick up all those idiot contacts? First Chinese alternative medicine, then India mystics, and now this. Kick her out.

Perfectly Safe
The Julianabridge will get a major overhaul. This was supposed to be done in 2019, but... well... At any rate, it doesn't have anything to do with the crane crash. The bridge is "perfectly safe" we're assured.

It's All Gone
There's definitely no more asphalt available for new roads or repairs. As if it matters these days.
Which reminds me, don't we have an asphalt lake?

Just Like That
Three boarding schools have had their subsidies cut for the 3rd time in 4 years, and were only informed of that as a fait accompli. Successively, 2017 -5%, 2018 -15% and now again -15%. Meanwhile, all costs go up.
The government promised them all in 2019, no more cuts.
But sinister Koeiman says this is not correct, the institutions should have been told. He will check why that hasn't been done. Sure, Koeiman. You're a great help.

Truer Word Was Never Spoken
"Government attempts to stimulate economic growth by increasing government spending end up discombobulating and misdirecting production, thereby impeding rational economic growth and making the population poorer."
Now for our nitwit leaders to understand the message. We read that the total tax receipts, expected to be slightly more than 1.5 billion guilders, turn out to be slightly less than that. It doesn't qualify nor quantify "slightly".
PAR Obispo doesn't get it: he says everybody must pitch in and the government must do more to collect taxes; what we all need is solidarity. Like the Dutch say, "you cannot pluck feathers from a frog," Obispo. Try and get that through your thick skull.

A demonstration has taken place by Union pa Kòrsou to protest the take-over of the refinery by the Klesch Group. Better we start calling it Clash Group? First they want openness in the deal. Good luck with that! As if these guys were so open when they wielded power. 4000 signatures have been collected.
Except M*F*K, PS™ and Action Group Kas, remember that René Rosalia is the guy behind Union pa Kòrsou; then you know enough.
Other clubs sound more serious; like those who insist that the refinery will have to keep to pollution standards. There's talk of it not having to in the start-up period. Just like old times, say 1985 to 2018.
Holland's help is asked for; but that country has been ordered by its High Court to reduce warming gases (among which our old friend CO2 without which life as we know it is impossible) to 20% in 2050, compared with 1990: an impossible task. But then again, judges are no scientists (and neither is Greenpeace).

Fundashon Bon Intenshon's Percy Pinedo confirms that the Curaçao International Blue Seas festival will proceed as usual this year, unlike the canceled North Sea festival. 10-11 of April.

For How Long?
Auntie Sushi tells us all not to worry, the SVB social insurance premium will not go up because the new hospital is so expensive.
Means, for now, we'll have to pay some other way; then, it will go up anyway.

Well Done!
The CPA container-handling cranes arrived yesterday. Too bad they were heavily damaged because, after weeks of careful preparation, they hit the Julianabridge. No info forthcoming on when they'll finally be put into service. Oh well, they're three years late anyway.
We've been told they came from Finland, but now I read they're from China.

Nos Futuro
The name of the prison may have changed (couldn't tell you what it is now) but the principle still applies. Youth criminality is getting worse and worse, and as we all know, as the twig is bent the tree is inclined.
Especially atrakos: 44 of the culprits were between 10 and 19 years old, 73 from 20-29 and 18 from 30-39. One of the measures proposed is to have youngsters enjoy a year of military service, where they'll learn discipline. At least, that's what minister Girigorie thinks.

At Request
For some reason, people keep asking me what I'm reading these days. So here goes again:
Song of the Sirens
Ernest K. Gann

For those who care, here's the former read.

Who Cares
Nobody but organizer Elias... The Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival (don't ask, I didn't think up that crazy name) will be scratched this year. 'No suitable main act could be found.'
That's the excuse. But others say it's because the off-shore business has collapsed since the Panama Papers, which leaves Elias with less in his pocket.

Fine, Action
La Rivera, British Virgin Islands, demands that the building in Penstraat that just got a building permit against court orders, is demolished, torn down and salt sown on the foundations. La Rivera asks for a penalty payment of 5000 guilders/day, total maximum 3 million, to be paid by Jewel Investment and Curaçao country.
But naturally, Jewel and the irresponsible Sinister Jesus-Leito claim it's all kosher and La Rivera is just twaddling. Can get interesting. Good clean family entertainment.

FKP, Again
FKP public housing has got media mentions again. As usual, not so good. This time it's their yearly accounts: nobody has seen them since 2012.

Goodbye and Good Riddance
231 spoiled brats have opted for early retirement. This means only they'll get 6% less pension for every year before their 65th that they leave their jobs.

Are You Awake?
Translated popular Dutch expression; "Ben je wakker?"
Cft financial supevison and CVBC entrepreneurs' club completely agree on the fact that the government's efforts to turn the economic tide are valueless. Nothing has been done to lower government expenses; but the tax-payer has to cough up more and more.
Need I add I agree? No, did that before. Often.

There We Go—Again
Auntie Sushi is on a trip to India, where WHO organizes a conference on "Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha Systems of Medicine"; so-called alternative medicine. There is no alternative medicine: there's medicine and there's quackery and, as Kipling wrote, never the twain shall meet.
This isn't the first time auntie shows an interest in this nonsense, but we were then saved because there was no money for her to set up a business importing Chinese products.
WHO is to blame, as well, of course. They are still claiming Cuba medicine is so great. Maybe, if you are a member of the ruling communist clan; otherwise, not so much.

I Wish
Amigoe newspaper complained with Fakebooc against a post by journalist Yves Cooper, which he had ripped from their pages. It finally came to court—here, local, that is. Fakebooc had blocked Cooper's account right away. Really?!
This may not be the place to tell you how many of my pictures appear illegally on Fakebooc, Google Plus or YouTube, but I'll start nagging anyway. They get away with it because they say they're not publishers, they just publish content uploaded by users. If you upload a complete copyrighted film, let the copyright owner complain. Which, I have to tell you, is much more difficult than uploading ripped-off material. Then, if you're lucky, they'll just block that specific photo.
Laws are in the make, both in Europe and the USA, to put a stop to this; if that will make Google etc., who make money on those deals with ads, pay up, is another question. Meanwhile, as Ray Davies sings: "If I ever get my money, I'll be too old and grey to spend it."

100 dB Max
The maximum sound level for carnaval's Gran Marcha has been fixed at 100 dB. That's the equivalent of "disco, 1m from speaker"—which is pretty loud. It now seems to be possible to measure this from a distance, so the musicians can't use their old trick of turning down the volume when approaching a measuring point.
And, for once, M*F*K party's Quackie Constancia is content about the measures taken by auntie Sushi to check Hato arrivals on the Coronabeerus, now named Covid-19 (as if that will help). This is supposed to isolate us from infected carnaval visitors. Keep your fingers crossed—and clean!
BTW, that could be really good for tourism: at London Heathrow, eight arriving planes were locked down for hours because some passengers... may have had a cold. It occurs on a daily base.

Join the Fun!
The movement Union pa Kòrsou will organise a demonstration on Wilheminaplein to demand the agreement with Klesch Group must be scratched. I don't know if that's possible at all.
But I'm sure it will work. Anyway, don't count on me.

Like Father, Like Son
Pinhead Steven Martina is now candidate for the political leadership of MAN political party, which was found around 1970 by his father, Don Martina.
There are no other candidates.

Por Fin
The container harbor's new gantry cranes will be arriving tomorrow. They're supposed to be operating this month (only 3 years late).

So What
PAR Minister Jesus-Leito has granted an entirely new building permit for Pietermaai 30, which the High Court explicitly forbid in the past. So what? The law is for citizens, not for the government. For those citizens who don't pay up.

Fine With Me
Jesus-Leito has to say, and you can taste her disappointment, that's it impossible to give out extra permits for small-scale tourist transports: there's a maximum stipulated by law.
But no such maximum exists for large touring buses.

Do Tell
The CMC/HNO, whatever tickles your fancy, costs are even higher than expected: 81 million guilders more than the old SEHOSpital. Which is 500 guilders per year more per population head.
Then, says CFT financial supervision, certain tax receipts have been estimated too high; and dividends of GOEs may not come in at all. CFT has advised emphatically to lower government costs and a budget adaptation is necessary; which the government has promised. When turtles have wings.

What Did You Expect, Anyway?
Minister Gijs & Bertha has visited the Gaming Control Board ICE LONDON. He wants to legalize gambling ; as if that isn't legal already; mark Wega di number and Landsloterij; plus the tolerance started under MAN PM Martina (father of pinhead). And don't forget the casinos, without which I read it's impossible to run a hotel.
He also wants to have more international gambling. Our government thinks it's just fine to have that; anything for a buck.
To quote KKC:
What does actually Gijsbertha do about now:
After 25 years, no supervision, investigation, enforcement and regulatory licensing requirements, the Finance Minister seeks the online gambling sector and offshore games of chance legislation veiled regulate terms too, but wants to lift the online gambling sector no back taxes and also delegates on January 28, 2019 monitoring in MOT messages at Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) way to the Gaming Control Board (GBC). A body that has no experience since the beginning of its existence in 1999 in monitoring online casinos.
The 25 years have elapsed since auntie Sushi, that great jurist, was THE factor in passing that legislation in conjunction with then-PM Pieters and governor Saleh.

At Request
For some reason, people keep asking me what I'm reading these days. So here goes again:
The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity
—Douglas Murray

For those who care, here's the former read.

People living around a newly built mini-roundabout are getting worried, and wonder what these things actually serve for. In fact, despite being sold as improving traffic safety, they seem to work the other way around. Hear hear.

Makes Me Sick
A photo on the first page of Amigoe with the caption "Curaçao is flourishing because of tourists visiting the Bandabao beaches. At Kenepa there was hardly a chair available."
Too bad if you were looking for peace and quiet.
But the government hasn't paid out the 2019 wage rate for the spoiled brats yet, and there you are. Or go.

Now That
FKP public housing assumes there's a 200,000 guilders yearly theft of building materials. Such dedicated workers—to themselves.
It's unknown for how many years this has been going on.

One More Time
Electricity failed all over the island yesterday for nine hours. Started, just like the last one of 4 November, on the Isla terrain. But that was a totally different problem. Good to know maybe, but of no help.
Traffic lights expired. Schools and businesses just closed. Good for the economy, too! The wind generators on Tera Korá are still not turning, one day later. But they are the cause of the problem: because it blows so hard, the diesel generators have to compensate and, as a safety measure, the whole system was switched off automatically.
This is how it is explained in the paper, no doubt nonsense. The diesels have to produce less, if anything. What's correct is, the net voltage fluctuations can't be handled; a well-known problem with "green" energy. Look before you leap...

Take Your Time
The screening committee will have an evaluation report ready by the end of March.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.

We'll Miss Her
Marjo Nederlof, who has made a real impression in our media, has alas expired at age 66. Her journalistic career came to an end when she preferred a job with ex-minister Omayra Leeflang above that for Amigoe newspaper, who then let her go.
She leaves a real void. Our best wishes for the family members she left behind.

That, Too
MP MP (sorry about that, it's the case) Moses again asks for the HNO business case. Auntie Sushi said on September 4 (which reminds me) that it was ready, but we haven't seen it yet.

More Wechi Woes
A mr. Ferero has filed a complaint against PAR minister Jezus-Leito. While FKP is building houses on the Wechi-terrain which FKP doesn't own, Ferero doesn't get a building permit on another terrain, part of Malpais—which he does own.
At least, that's what he says. He also says that the minister is complicit in hostage-taking and murder. We share your curiosity as to how all this will work out in court.

There's an Idea
It may only be Córdoba who asks for more financial info on the Klesch Group who are supposed to take over Isla refinery; but the Dutch parliament would like to see that as well. Only, it isn't forthcoming. Would it be too much to ask if our leaders have any inkling themselves?
By now, we are getting very curious on how much the island has invested in that take-over. But it's a safe bet we'll never know. Same for Aruba, of course.

The X-Team, installed March 2018 by auntie Sushi with much fanfare, does not have near enough members to react on complaints. They receive 400 complaints per year, but say it can take some time before action is taken.
After all, we're quite used to that.

Don't Rush Us
The Curaçao government was supposed to have presented an investment plan for the Growth Agreement by last September. Almost needless to say it has not been forthcoming. Holland doesn't like that. Curious...
Meanwhile, our government has been growing all right.

Spare Me Your Sarcasm
The Catholic schools conclude that the "free education" plans of Wiels's PS™ have failed. The only result was that well-to-do people had still more money available.
Also, all schools have too little money because the government doesn't pay up what it's supposed to.

A Voice of Reason
Because these days children get their first four years of schooling in Papiamentu, they have a backlog in understanding Dutch. Which is a problem, as there are relatively very few books in Papiamentu, which prevents the forming of a lifelong reading habit; essential for further development of language and other skills.
Education expert Juanita Kibbelaar sticks her head out and pleads for a higher level of Papiamentu in education; and also remarks that with the small market for the language, this situation will not really change in the future.

"All I know is what I read in the papers."
Will Rogers

Drunk Dutchmen
They started being a nuisance at Mambo Beach, 4 of them. Shitfaced and pie-eyed: "stomdronken". Picked a fight with a security guard who had his eye damaged. Then the cops came and arrested in total twenty.
Wherever the Dutch go, they are well known for this sort of thing. Loudly singing low-caliber songs and spoiling for brawls.
Now tell me, "not all Dutch are like that"—sure, it's still a national characteristic.

Selikor Doesn't Do It—Again
Selikor publishes a schedule when you can leave bulky items on the sidewalks (where these exist) for pick-up. Only, they don't come and the rubbish just keeps lying there.

Roll Guard Rail
They were supposed to be installed on Julianabridge last night. There was a problem because some materials, stored at OW public works were not accessible. Fine organisation! The guard rail comes from Korea.
During a visited to that country in 2015 I didn't see a single one. Doesn't mean a thing, true.

Easy Solution
FKP public housing has instructed Algemene Rekenkamer [general audit chamber] to stop their lawfulness and efficiency research. FKP claims ARC is not authorized to do this, and ARC has already stopped. The judge has agreed. A pity.
That's not FKP's only problem: they also went to court to end a 3-day strike in protest of a new warehouse worker, which personnel says was hired illegally. But the management says he's only there temporarily. But the function doesn't seem to exist, temporarily or not.

Keep Trying or Give Up
I thought they'd given up by now, but Aruba is still looking for a sucker company to take the Lago refinery over. Experts are very pessimistic: the refinery is heavily decayed, and the oil market is in a slump since the USA turned into an exporter. But the government says there is a list of 25 interested parties. It's years old, though. All very doubtful, which makes the chance to reopen the refinery remote, especially now.

Very Vague
The costs of several banks have been compared and don't bother, it's a mess. One has cheapest transaction costs, another one offers more interest... no need to go on. It all depends on what you need.
Maybe you should go to Fundashon pa Konsumidó or Fair Trade Authority Curaçao. The last site says the report is downloadable, but I couldn't find out where.

Now They Tell Us
That's not all of Damen's problems: they also struggle with a shortage of orders for three shipyards they recently acquired in Rotterdam, Romania and Curaçao.

Not Good: Bad!
Ex CBCS central bank director Tromp says in 2016 there was a buyer for Girobank, who was prepared to guarantee bank balances and deposits. Tromp has a confidentiality obligation and can't name the buyer, but he does not understand why things went so wrong later.
But we have our ideas.
CBCS did file a complaint with the public ministry against Eric Garcia, and he can't understand why nothing was done with that.

At Request
For some reason, people ask me what I'm reading these days. So here goes again:
Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Christmas in Duckburg (Vol. 21):
Complete Carl Barks Disney Library (Walt Disney Series)

Carl Barks
For those who care, here's the former read.
Goodbye Damen?
Dutch Damen Shipyards, who took over Curaçao Dok recently, is in serious trouble. Not because of the bribery system to get orders, but because they underestimated costs to build ships.
We'll have to await what consequences this will have for the old Dok/CDM.

Does It Matter?
There's no asphalt available for road building. There is plenty of asphalt, but it's stored in Isla refinery tanks and owned by PdVSA. What a mess.
Well, it wouldn't have been used to fix potholes anyway.

You're Telling Me
The government says they have 4000 personnel spoiled brats, give or take. However, if you include people "working" in foundations, GOEs etc., turns out it's more like 6000. Tiens, c'est intéressant, ça.
Also, another occasion to remark to PM Ruggie still hasn't made good on his "Promise!" to have all those extra clowns hired by Prick Pisas fired. Come right down to it, they're all still there drawing their monthly envelope.

Repsol is stopping exploration of possible oil/gas fields in Aruba sea territory. Their first try, Bon Bini-1X, resulted in a dry hole and Repsol thinks it's financially too risky to continue on other locations.
We have been wondering why we heard nothing on this; surely, if it had been a success, the Aruba government would have triumphantly trumpeted it around, but all we got was silence. In fact, this was published on December 4, 2019, by Noticiacla.
With what looks like the finals for the Lago refinery, Aruba has nothing left but tourism. Just like us? Let's hope not.

Count Along With Me
It will cost the government you and me 19 million guilders/month, total 115 million, to keep the Isla refinery running until Klesch Group takes over. This was planned for April, which is now considered "optimistic".

Do They All Get a Pension?
Entrepreneurs' club VBC has figured it out: since 10-10-10 we've had 74 ministerial changes. Champ is education with 12 ministers, more than one per year.

Won't Make Much Difference
The workers of FKP public housing have gone on strike. They don't agree with the government appointing a job for somebody, who mysteriously remains unnamed, as "warehouse administrator"—a function that does not exist.

Just What We Needed?
MAN party has submitted a draft bill to give employees more protection when they're in danger of being fired. This will surely help in attracting new foreign investors—NOT.

Another Approach
Like us here and many other countries, the graying population is a problem. Who'll pay the taxes for keeping up the Nanny State and its army of spoiled brats? In Japan, plans are to keep people working until they're 70. I am long past that age and, as I hope you'll agree, still going strong. If you don't agree, I kindly submit you get lost.
A quite different approach from auntie Sushi's, who wanted medics to stop working at 65. It bounced back badly.

Too Late, Too Little; Too Much?
Roderick Kwartel, former director of RdK Isla, will be hit with 5 years of slammer because he (with 3 others) wanted 750,000 dollars from a company for taking over the refinery.
That's peanuts! Much less than many others made and got away scott-free. The total demand for all for is 17 years.

Backdoor Trots
AKA Montezuma's revenge, flux, and tourista. Or diarrhea. Is what I always warn you may get when you drink a batido [fruit shake] at a street stand. Now we're told there are 89 of those stands, but only 33 have a license.
Weirdly, it's the ministry of economic development MEO that wants to do something about it; I'd have thought it would be auntie Sushi's (health, haha) turf. The secret is, I guess, MEO now has a loss of income.

At Request
For some reason, people ask me what I'm reading these days. So here goes again:
Lost in Time and Space With Lefty Feep:
Eight Funny and Fanciful Fables of the Forties,
Plus One Brand-New Parable of Modern Times

Robert Bloch
For those who care, here's the former read.
Did Not Work So Well, Did It?
M*F*K Mudbelly Cooper says that the 2012 screening law was "occasional legislation" which was just meant to prevent Shorty to become PM. Well, Shorty did become PM, as we all remember and still pay for; if only for a while.
Reading between the lines, so Mudbelly thinks screening is a bad idea? How like him.

Oh Yeah, Sure
K*NT party blames MAN minister Koeiman for the fact that the fight against more unemployment has been lost, because he lacks policy and vision. True enough; I just don't think K*NT would have done any better.
M*F*K Quackie Constancia joins the fun. Why does she still walk around free?

Up, Up, Up We Go
Brings me down. The ABB may be still higher than formerly proposed: instead of 7, 9 and 12% it will become 7.49, 9.63 and 12.84%. You may well ask what genius figured that out to 2 decimals and convinced other [the word fails me] that this would work out.
A popular expression for this is spreadsheet juggling.

Rolling Barriers
A big deal is made of the fact that the guard rails, to start with at Julianabridge, will be replaced by rolling barriers. These are supposed to be kinder to cars, as long as these don't hit them frontally.
Problem is, they're also much more expensive; according to a letter writer 4.5 times so. That only matters to us, who have to pay, but hardly to the minister: the more we pay, the more she can make in bribes. Theoretically. Of course she doesn't; saying so would be slander!

Okay, Got It
De Andrade, who filed complaints against minister AlKLM-Wallé and PM Ruggie (both PAR) has never appeared on K*NT's election list, he wants us to know.
So what?

At Request
For some reason, people ask me what I'm reading these days. So here goes:
The Palestinian Delusion:
The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process

—Robert Spencer
Narrow Escape?
Santo Domingo's MP Peregrín Castillo is complaining that, by China's "Belt and Road" plans, his island is in danger of being overrun and taken over by China, so China will get a harbor close to the USA.
It might have happened to us, but that was prevented. But now we run the same real risk again: once Klesch Group has finished selling out Isla's and Bullenbaai's assets (a very real risk when you look at their history) they still have the ground lease for both terrains, which they can transfer to the Chinese. For a hefty fee of course. Just like that.

Mutual Back Scratching
The FKP [public housing] licensee is selling diabase from the Wechi-terrain like crazy, and Chea [Curaçao Heavy Equipment Association] thinks this is dishonest competition and wants FKP to stop it. To top it all off the way we're used to, PAR minister Jesus-Leito of VVRP (traffic, transport and spatial planning) has stopped reacting to Chea's letters.

This Can't Go On
PAR MP Walroud declares that the way public transport is arranged can't go on. The regulating law is 60 years old and needs adapting. He has a good point; problem is, the army of mini-bus drivers does not want change. They like it the way it is—except when diesel price goes up.

What Will They Spend That On?
Economic development minister Mc William (still there) is interested in introducing an Eco-Tax (ecotaks), where tourists pay a "nature fee" for the management of underwater nature. Just like the car tax, supposedly to maintain the roads, it will no doubt be applied to more urgent purposes. More urgent, meaning, where there are leaks in the budget.
As long as we don't have to pay our share... But no doubt, that will come.

Doesn't Matter for Maduro
The last two working oil refineries on Venezuela have been closed down for repairs and/or maintenance. Well, president Maduro makes much more money on drugs so who cares? Not he.
A couple of decades ago you were often presented with the theory that oil was speed for the earth. But cocaine is a much better paying drug.

What a Relief
Eleven Venezuelans, locked up in jail, will soon be released. Great! or in fact, not so great.

What Else?
The Catholic schools complain that they, too, will feel the negative consequences of the economy crisis. It's even worse because the government doesn't keep to the deal with Sitek teachers' union.
Just what we needed, with all the blah-blah about how we have to improve education to fight the crime wave.

Past Weird
Broke but probably saved Girobank made a profit of 26,5 million guilders in 2012, but in 2013 there was a 339.4 million loss. Activa went down with 626 million from 1.7 billion (2012) to 1.051 billion (2014). Where did it all go so fast?
Answer: that was the result of a clean-up, where bad debts were scratched. Those debts were served out by the corrupt board led by Garcia, who has been declared bankrupt himself.
Before I forget, I understand Garcia was in jail but he complained it was too noisy in there for his frail nerves, so he's sitting at home now for the duration. Has been extended until May.

Success Stories
Colombian tourists staying in the On Vacation Hotel paid for an all-in stay, but haven't had a single meal yet. They don't like it. Personnel hasn't been paid either. Requests for the government to do something about resulted in nothing; what else did you expect?
CTB tourist board says it is carefully monitoring what's going on, but can't give any info at all. How like them.
But the Protestant schools announce that they will include lessons on tourism in their schedule. Like, they will pay visits to hotels and restaurants. Ain't that great?

Not Here, Though
Line from an article debunking the Coronavirus hysteria: "In America, we use the little disinfectant cloths that stores provide every time we grab a shopping cart."
Good Luck!

Always Lying
Auntie Sushi assures us that the rumors are false: there is no 48-year old Chinese woman on the island who carries the coronavirus. But then again, auntie is well-known for her lies, so...

Old News
It happens almost every year: the yearly account of Curaçao arrives much later than it should. This year, it hasn't been received yet at SOAB tax accounting, who are supposed to send it on to Rekenkamer, who are supposed to have checked it on February 11. Forget it, that's next week.
You try this with your tax forms and you're in for enormous and ridiculous fines. But remember: you pay, they spend.

There are complete networks who arrange trips to Curaçao for Venezuelan refugees, however you want to call them. They all get a SIM-card upon boarding one of the boats taking them over here, and upon arrival they have to call a certain number, and they are picked up and taken further.
A few years ago the price was USD500, but it's probably more now as the market has grown. There's no fighting this; and think: all estimates about the number of refugees here are bullshit.

Now She Knows
It was Elvis de Andrade who lodged a complaint against AlKLM-Wallé and also against PM Ruggie. The guy has been a member of 3 parties, MAN, M*F*K and now K*NT.
So, sorry Elvis, I'll skip the brass band.

They Figure
About 30% of tourist vacations are spent in private rooms and apartments. This hurts the hotels, who have had less visitors last month while number of tourists has gone up. Serves them right. That amounts to a total of 50 million guilders per year, on which the owners are supposed to pay taxes. They often don't; or so we're told.
Nobody seems to know how many of those non-payers there are.

Follow the Leader
The Somali militant Islamist group al Shahab, with links to al Queda, announced that they have banned plastic bags, due to the "serious at to both humans and livestock". Logging of rare trees has been banned as well.
Al Shabaab was responsible for a deadly terror attack at the Westgate shopping mall [Kenya] which killed 67 people in 2013. Last October, twin bombings by the terror group in Mogadishu killed more than 500 people.
I'm sure it's all for the best.
Yes, I agree, because this is a bad example banning plastic bags isn't per se a bad thing. However, there are other arguments as well.

New Club, Old Names
The Union pa Kòrsou consists of people who are against the Klesch Group taking over the refinery and oil terminal. You have to admit, not even grudgingly, that they have several good points.
Still, to mention some of those guys: René Rosalia and Sheldry Osepa sort of eats away my confidence that this is so kosher. Money and power grabbers.

Watch Out
China wants to develop closer ties with the islands. They say their economy is going great and growing. Not everybody agrees; to the contrary. Apart from that, there are plenty of countries who stepped into that trap and now are bloody sorry.

Who's That Citizen?
Minister AlKLMá-Wallé has taken her leave as minister, because it turned out that she, just like pinhead Martina, overstepped the screening law when she was appointed. It all started rolling because a citizen filed a complaint, which resulted in the public ministry starting a criminal prosecution. This avoids a cabinet crisis.
Now we want to know, who's that citizen? so we can hire a brass band and give him a serenade.
I have my suspicions but am just as transparent as a politician: not a word!

Hate to Say It
But I can follow the alternative vacation lodging, who refuse to join the action having them pay sales tax. The campaign used animation movies, radio, television and newspaper spots; all to no avail. One asks, what has all that cost? No info on that, of course.
What we're told is, the more people refuse to pay sales tax, the more the rest of us have to pay. Now pull the other one.

How Can That Be?
That woman from Angola, a Dos Diablos relative? seems to have done her main business with a Curaçao bank. Has something to do with that guy Elias. Quelle surprise!—if true. Hey, I only repeat what I read, so, guarantee nothing.
But according to Dutch newspaper Het Parool the phenomenon of so-called mailbox companies ("brievenbusfirma's") is falling apart. No doubt Gregory will think of some new tricks.

Good Point, Bad News
Our national resource Marguérite Nahar wonders how the Klesch Group, by borrowing 150 million dollars from the Curaçao government, could possibly reduce the economy's shrink negative growth. It can only mean the government has still less money at disposal.
Then she mentions other government debt problems: 775 million guilders missing at Girobank plus 600 million for the Hospital Nobo, total 1.25 billion; which will have to be generated out of the growing economy.
Which will not grow at all, to the contrary, because of the new abb-tax.

Shut Up!
Auntie Sushi makes it known that the underwater park bordering Oostpunt will go through, not withstanding the Maal family's protests. Let 'em sue, already, is what her attitude boils down to; as usual. They did. (In the past, the Maals mostly won.)
The underwater park, to be run by Carmabi, is supposed to be in compensation of the damage to the coral reef caused during the building of the second cruise terminal pier. No news on the even worse damage done at Boca Samihí; I mean, where would we put that park? But I forget, no one was held culpable for that disaster; so no compensation is needed, am I right?.

In China, where as you may have heard, there's started an outbreak of a mysterious disease that, as far as becomes clear, may kill us all, building a new hospital to care for the patients will take 6 days. Here, it would take 365 times as long.
We're also told that the Air Authorities keep an eye peeled for travelers from China. As if. Many patients have no symptoms but do carry the coronavirus—which meanwhile has been found in more countries than China. For just that reason.
TIP: It's more use to wash your hands than to wear mouth masks. Oh Quackie, where are you now that we really need you?

That'll Teach 'Em?
Maria College has announces a new measure to fight habitual late-coming: regular late-comers will get a strafmiddag [punishment afternoon].
Students sent to Holland have been complaining that "our culture" didn't fit in there; among other things they were expected to turn up on time.

They Did It—Again
It's a talent, you can't deny it. CMC (HNO) has hired Germaine Gibbs as manager Communication and Information.
Ms. Gibbs was formerly associated with Ctex and Girobank.

Good Tip
Thanks! I'll keep it in: Germans have decided that the term "climate hysteria" is an "un-word"—à la Bram Stoker's undead Count Dracula. Good. From now on, that will be one of my fav. expressions.
If only as a welcome antidote.
But wait! Aussie journalist Faye Flam (really!) after 20 years of propaganda wants to go back to "Global Warming" because it sounds more scary than "Climate Change" which is too vague. Apparently, a Yale Study has concluded this after devoting five years to the problem.

MAN-PAR Troubles
The two political parties do not agree on the come-back of MAN pinhead Martina, and the opposition agrees with PAR. That is to say, PAR would agree on Martina's return if MAN will vote against a vote of no-confidence against education minister Alcallá ["KLM"] Wallé.
Alcallá Wallé has earned that nickname "KLM" because of her many work visits to Holland (business class, of course) where her children reside. Nice work if you can get it.

Doesn't Matter?
Driving instructors are fed up with the problems of the exams committee. Right not, you have to wait four months before you get a chance to prove you can drive.
Does it really matter? Judging from traffic controls, many people don't bother applying anyway.

Sint Maarten Is Out
Sint Maarten will not join Curaçao in raising the transfer rights with, what is now stated, 1%. They figure Girobank is Curaçao's problem; and I tend to agree.

Those Things Run in Families
The richest woman of Africa, who got that way by stealing and robbing in Angola, is called Dos Santos. Strikes me we have some people with that name around here.

Dark Skies
As if we here will ever get them. Especially with that Isla refinery, which you can use as a beacon if you're all at sea on a dark night and wish to find the island back. And the police advising us to light your house and garden to scare burglars away. Both my neighbor and the botica 500 meters away absolutely blind me; which is unnecessary.
Please check out how to avoid this. It's really simple.

We're the Champ!
Well, not really. There are countries far ahead of us. But the BBC has us know that we have more murders per 100,000 people than the USA—they have only 14! Not bad, huh? Keep it up!

Very Doubtful
The US Coast Guard is retracting from the Caribbean, and will concentrate on the Pacific drug smugglers. But don't worry, the Dutch sinister says cooperation of our Kustwacht with Venezuela is great.
You think? The minister of one narco state assures us that they work fine with another one?

Does This Mean...
Minister Gijs & Bertha tells us that all Girobank clients will get their money back, soon. Also, all employees will keep their jobs. Seems another sucker bank will take over.
Does this mean no higher transfer rights?

Heavy, Mon
M*F*K MP Carolina asks nasty questions about how many guns and other weapons are imported in Curaçao. As if anybody could answer.
His reason for asking is that a while ago a hand grenade was thrown to a residential house, and it took three days for a Dutch expert to arrive and defuse it, while the neighbors sat there in fear. North Ireland situation.

Look, Don't Leap
Tax expert Julian Lopez Ramirez addresses himself to the government, and especially to the Ruggie-cabinet. "Higher abb [sales tax] will not help the economy in any way, nor will it result in the intended revenues for the country."
If they've said it once... But wanna bet? The Government will proceed with their Evil Plans anyway.

Right, Sarah—Late, Gijs & Bertha
Sint Maarten MP Sarah Wescot-Williams states there's no reason why inhabitants of her island should pay extra transfer rights to cover the Curaçao Girobank problems. St. Maarten had nothing to do with the Girobank.
And Gijs & Bertha finally announces that an investigation will be held who are the culprits of Girobank's failure.

Get 'em All
A guy has been convicted to pay 3000 guilders for illegally selling diabase excavated from a government property. This is properly peanuts compared with what he made on the deal[s].

How Long?
The police say the number of life crimes has been halved since the start of this century. Oh yeah? They could have fooled all of us.

Parkinson's Law
Politur, the people who are supposed to check on crime against tourists, say that they are down to 11 people from the supposed 15. So they need 20 extra persons. Maybe you can follow.
Oh yeah, hint for tourists: if something happens to you, you can lodge a complaint at the Westpunt police station. And good luck!

No Progress
Greta Thunberg, the titless wonder from Sweden, has meanwhile grown 17 years old—but still no tits in out of sight.
Did you follow that revelation that it was her father with some UN-guy who wrote her Fakebooc texts? As if we didn't suspect that already.
Poor chick is being exploited. Now that's what I call Climate Sadism. Meanwhile, in Sweden most people are protesting the enormous amount of their tax money being spent wasted on fighting climate change.

Habit Has Formed
Even though a building permit had been retracted, builders went blithely on building in the Ladronchi street (which means "little thief"). That's not an exception.

Good Work!
The number of car thefts last year went up from 197 to 283, which in fact is less than most past years. 733 cars were broken into (666 in 2018). Robberies reached 407, up from 336; which includes 237 overvallen [invasions, say atrakos] and 170 street robberies. There were 649 burglaries, up from 562. That's in private homes; for businesses it was 248 versus 275. Guns were confiscated as well... ah, why go on?
Look at it until your eyes cross, there's not much of a trend discernible. "Just as bad" nicely sums it up.

Hey, That's Great!
Starting in March, you may, if you can afford it, fly directly in a private jet AMS-CUR. That was possible already, but they had to make a fuel stop which has come to an end by changing to another aircraft, the Dassault Falcon F70, max. capacity 14 seats.
Meanwhile, hysteria on the global warming disaster and higher sea levels continues unabated.

Not Really Good News
The 2000 people who had a balance of over 10K guilders at the Girobank will get their money yet. Of course, we are the ones who'll pay them.
There is now talk about a deposit arrangement (depositoregeling) that guarantees the balances; but that has to be fixed by the no-good ministers: so forget it.

As Always
The Maal family has started another case against the underwater park bordering their Oostpunt property. But auntie Sushi says, it doesn't matter: the government will proceed with the plans anyway.
Just like with Wechi; and other examples. "Shut up and pay up, we'll do as we like."

Only a few days ago, Holland was complaining that the Curaçao government hadn't done a fart to stimulate the Growth Plan; and now, it's announced we'll get 30 million guilders of the 180 that "we are allowed to borrow additionally". Gurroan.

Murders vs. Traffic
We had as many deaths in both categories last year: 17. Only, those killed in traffic accidents tended to be in the age group of 18-28 or so, and male.
Of the murders, "almost" 60% have been solved.

Fort Amsterdam Pravda
PAR PM Ruggie announces that the government will start their own information service, thus bypassing the regular media. We have only seen objections in Amigoe newspaper.
The government will open a Fakebooc page, just what we needed, where the voting cattle citizens can offer suggestions, complaints and comments. Sure. As if that means they'll be listened to. This dirty joke on us will set us back 2.8 million guilders more from 2020-2023. All in the light of more transparency? And don't forget the Growth Plan! Government grows, we pay.

Klesch, Pollution, SMOC
SMOC is worried because, as far as we've been told, Klesch Group may continue working the refinery under the same environmental conditions as PdVSA has done all those years. And we all know what a disaster that was.

Ho There!
The government reacts to VBC's remarks on the higher transfer license fees, that this is no devaluation. Because, our governmental friends say, the rate of exchange versus the US dollar remains the same.
Technically, that's right. But our money does decrease in value, just like VBC says.

It's Even Worse in California
Well, we may have our share of fecal bacteria in the sea, but thanks to the homeless population in California, it's a problem there as well. Only here, the shit first goes through an (often) worthless sewage treatment installation; except of course when it's dumped straight in "Shute" near Hato.

VBC entrepreneurs' club is worried because of the higher transfer license fees. This means, in effect, a devaluation of the Antillean guilder. It's not only that: there's a deficit of the SVB social security funds, and the transition costs for the refinery have to be coughed up as well. VBC has little or no confidence that our government will find solutions for these problems.
Also, VBC wonders why Girobank and refinery workers get salary compensation, but other people don't when their employer goes bankrupt.

Less Private Flights
The number of private flights using Hato airport last year has gone down by 52%. This is partly because there is much less traffic with Venezuela, but also seems to be because we are judged unsafe because we're so close. What do those dummies know... Also, the island is avoided in the hurricane season. Same comment: used to be so that the airport was full of DC3s and other smaller aircraft when there was a hurricane around, because these hardly ever touch us.
Of course, this is bad for business.

But For What?
IPKO has announced more training for tourism functions is needed; but ICUC has a legit question: training for what exactly? Maris Stella SBO has other questions: do we need more schools or more cooperation?
FYI: IPKO stands (translated for your convenience) for Interparliamentary Kingdom Deliberation; ICUC for Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean. A prime oxymoron, that.
SBO stands for BeroepsOpleiding professional education, but what the S is supposed to mean? Don't ask.

Allez Hop, Auntie!
Raad van Advies [advisory council] says the country must find 6 million guilders more to balance the Health budget. Don't look at me, auntie Sushi: I haven't got it and you wasted it.

Sounds OK
The agreement on overtaking Isla refinery by Klesch Group entails that Klesch, in contrast with RdK, will have to pay for new pollution norms themselves. But SMOC would like to see a digital copy of that agreement. They have some experience with that.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong
We hear a lot from there these days, but this is good: Ocean Park will axe its dolphin shows.
What are we waiting for?

Modesty Becomes Marie
The beach at Marie Pampoen, between Willemstad and the Seaquarium, will be smartened up. However, compared with earlier plans it's a very modest effort.
Especially compared with the dreams of ex-PM Arsjes of turning it into a second Copacabana, after he'd paid a visit (paid by us) there. I have little doubt that his dreams mainly consisted of how much money he'd catch in bribes.

Weird Is the Word
Now Refineria di Kòrsow (or is that Kòrsou? who knows or really cares) claims that PdVSA want to hang on a bit longer, because they've still got products in the Isla tanks. They're a real bunch of muddle-heads!
Remember they announced that in 2012 they'd be opening new refineries all over the region? Chávez was still alive then; after a fashion.

Still took much too long: Glenn Camelia will finally, after two full terms, say goodbye as president of the law enforcement council, which has existed for eight years. This corrupt clown should have left that function long since. It's only too gradually that he's relieved of his so-called functions which mainly serve for him himself.

So That's How We Will Pay
To "solve" the problems with Girobank, the license fee for all transfers to foreign accounts will be raised from 1% to 1.7%; or maybe as good as doubled to 1.9%.
How this is supposed to solve those problems goes beyond my comprehension. I only understand that, once again, we will have to pay for the dumb moves of the goofs in charge.

Yes or No?
Aruba Airlines announces that the flights CUR-MIA have not been canceled. But in fact, they have been canceled. Only temporarily, says the management—which, in fact, may be illegal.
Bate your breath.

Making Waves
Mudbelly Cooper has sent a letter, signed by 600 citizens, to the governor. They are worried about the Klesch deal, and especially the lease part of it.
Won't help a bit.

There You Go
The price for a room in the CMC new hospital is twice that of one in the old Sehos. So Guardian Insurance have decided to raise their price as well; naturally.
Now we all sit back and wait until SVB social security premium goes up as well.

A PAR MP has been attacked by two dogs, belonging to his neighbor. He had to go to the hospital. The dogs have been killed. Correction, it was only one dog. Sorry, there were two dogs. Hey, I said it before: I only read the papers.

That's an Awful Lot
Read that how you want: end 2020 there will be 21,000 Venezuelans on the island. That's over 10% of the total population. No way we can handle this.

Because of the introduction of the 15% ABB-tax next April, inflation will grow to 4% this year.

That's Better
The Klesch Group may start operating the refinery in April, instead of June-July as planned. Which will save RdK a lot of money in salaries, earned by not-working workers. Crude will mostly cvome from the USA.
In 18-24 months, the refinery will undergo a "major overhaul".

But That's There, We're Here
"In response to ongoing court cases, the German government recently introduced a measure stipulating that wind farms had to be built at least 1,000 meters from residential estates. These were defined as five or more homes." [News Item]. The plan is to start paying those who live closer.
If you check Google Earth, you'll see that practically all FKP houses on Kaya Dirit, Kaya Diabaas, Kaya Porfido, Kaya Pomez, Kaya Piedra Machu and Kaya Andesit are closer than that to wind generators nr. 3 and 4 (counting from the South).

Going Dutch
27 people who chartered a luxury boat which was supposed to take them to the yearly Fuikbaai floating party, discovered after flying over from Holland there was no such boat. They had all paid ANG750 in advance via a website www.fuikdagexperience.nl, which showed a California boat.

Court has decided that Girobank cannot be forced to transfer money to other accounts, even if they were instructed to do so before the moratorium of December 10, 2019. It also doesn't matter of Girobank has delayed the transfers while executing other ones.
This is tough for the workers at SOAB (government accounting) who can't be paid their salaries.
Another interesting aspect here is, how about Isla-PdVSA? Will we get new strikes after all?

Interesting, But Not Cute
The average yearly wind speed here is 7.1 meters/second, which is 25.6 km/hr or 15.9 miles/hour. Say it's 8 m/sec-28.9km/hr-18mph from February-July. For convenience's sake let's assume those velocities are steady; in fact, they're far from it which makes the outcome optimistic.
A wind generator produces only 40% of its rated power at the 8m/s wind speed; at 7.1 it's only half that, 20%. Check here. So all the giant monsters Aqualectra has put on our North coast together only produce .2x30MW=6MW over the year. Interestingly, Aqualectra claims it's 7MW.
Aqualectra also has a PV (solar) system at Mundo Nobo, peak capacity 20kW. As the sun shines only 70% of the (day)time, this system delivers 75kW/day—enough to feed 4 households. Aren't you impressed now? You may be when you hear what it cost, but we haven't been told.
I have figured international miles, skipping Nautical, US and UK miles.

New Taxes Approved
Doesn't matter if practically anybody is against it, and has pointed out good reasons why. The government, consisting of our Great Leaders, has decided taxes must go up to hire more spoiled brats fulfill the Growth Plan, and so up they must go. Voted through in Staten/parliament, coalition parties for, opposition parties against.
Prepare to get hungry and poor.

Booby Trapped
Refineria Isla Curaçao, daughter of PdVSA, refuses to pay the over 900 personnel their redundancy money, as long as the PdVSA Girobank balance is not made available to PdVSA. All account balances over 10,000 guilders were frozen on December 10.
So there.
Mind, if PdVSA get their money, how about all other Girobank account holders?

You're Telling Us
"Overtourism is a threat to Aruba" we're told by a report commissioned by the Aruba Central Bank. Gee, I wonder how much that report has cost. I also wonder how long it will take before somebody "translates" it for Curaçao. For Aruba, it took 50 years since tourism really started taking off.

Icy Silence
It has been two months already since it was announced that pinhead Martina would be screened, before he could accept his minister's post back. Since then, November 2019, nothing. Hmm.
Martina's post was that of Economic Development. Mainly, his own.

Drones intensely visit the prison, delivering cargo like drugs, weapons and (also illegal) cell phones. This was told to journalist Dick Drayer by an inmate, in an illegal cell phone call. By the way, if you haven't guessed: like anybody else in prison the inmate claims it's a misfire of justice: he's innocent. Just like Shorty and Imalootin.
Somebody misses a drone? I found a dead one under my kenepa tree the other day. Battery and camera were missing, and who knows what else.

The oil workers' trade unions, after their useless demonstration, have now advised their members to sign the contract with CRU; which at this time more than half of them have done already. So much for Big-Mouth Bakoba.

Not the First Time
Fundashon Kas Popular [public housing] says it's been a bad year. They haven't been able to build the desired number of houses. Also, they still don't have a new CAO [collective workers' agreement], which doesn't help.
Is this supposed to be news?

He Well Might
PAR PM Ruggie asks us all to collaborate and make the best efforts so his Growth Strategy (for Them but not for Us) a success. And, of course, we must be Positive!
My best effort is, I'll refrain from pointing out all his further clichés.

Our national resource Marguérite Nahar does it again. She explains how, if you give somebody a ground lease on a terrain, for all practical intents and purposes it's not yours any more. The leaser holds it in perpetuity and can even use the lease to pay off debts, or sell the rights to another entity.
So this is what our Great Leaders want to do with the Isla refinery and Bullenbaai oil terminal terrains: lease them to the Klesch Group, which means the government has lost as good bad as all control.
Nice, dummies. We can only hope, probably in vain, that the final agreement has not been signed yet.
Sure, I know this is an oversimplified view. Still, it's what it boils down to.

Not a Good Start
The fireworks display from our porch, looking out over the Tera Korá public housing project, was very meagre indeed yesterday night. People just lack the money to buy the stuff. Beeg surprise!

Just for the Hell of It
I checked how large all these year files are, Kb-wise. Except for the first few years when my mind really wasn't at it yet, the trends are obvious:
2003 - 14.4; 2004 - 59.3; 2005 - 72.4; 2006 - 180; 2007 - 166; 2008 - 239; 2009 - 177; 2010 - 199; 2011 - 301; 2012 - 643; 2013 - 475; 2014 - 449; 2015 - 504; 2016 - 704; 2017 - 597; 2018 - 434; 2019 - 503.
Mark how the figures more than double after 10-10-10.

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