Curašao Island


And So On:
Let's Have a New Referendum!

new Curašao flag

inspired by Peter van Leeuwen

And then, another one...

Let's see now... the first one was in 1993. Overwhelmingly, the vote was for keeping the Netherlands Antilles intact. This was not good enough for our politicians, who had wanted autonomy. So they shoved another referendum down our throats, in 2005. Now the vote was more to their liking: A status aparte in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Which our great leaders chose to interpret as at least the same status Aruba haswe never voted for such a thing. Then they all went to Holland to negotiate for us. Actually, Holland's negotations were much more in our favor than those of our own: Holland insisted on guarantees for a judicial system and good governance, and in turn would remove the enormous debt that had been built up.
They all signed that slotverklaring [final statement], then came back here and finally turned it down.
After all, those signatures are only marks on paper.

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No dictator can live without an external threat
William of Orange had Spain
Hitler had the Jews
Stalin, Castro and Chavez used the USA
Bush has el Qaeda
and 'our' politicians have Holland

Voted Down
On November 29, the day after the Slotverklaring had been voted down, the island coalition broke apart. The politicians, who thought they had achieved what they wanted, did not care to consider the howls of rage and impotent frustration that went up. They want to 'renegotiate', only it is not clear with whom, not with Holland downright refusing. And after they have renegotiated to their hearts' content, only then we may choose 'for' or 'against' their piece of paper.

PAR and FOL, complete antagonists on the Slotverklaring issue, immediately were the ones trying to form a new coalition, while we desperately ask ourselves what good that can possibly do.

Ex-governor, and before that Public Prosecutor, Jaime Saleh feels there must be a referendum now, to break out of the impasse. The only alternative he sees is to wait un til next island elections in April.
But even a new referendum now would not be of much help. Not even 20% of the people have even read that Slotverklaring. But they are still ready to declare themselves PRO (39%) or CONTRA (31%), with only 30% saying DON'T KNOW. For all I know, not nearly good enough for a clear referendum vote.
In an internet poll there were 12192 voters; FOR 9953 (82%); AGAINST 2239 (18%). That's a lot of votes, but compared with other results it may be heavily biased.

Only, they called it a 'People's Reunion', held on Willemstad's Brionplein, December 9. The intention was for all PROs to wear a white T-shirt and hand in a paper signed to that effect. Earlier efforts by more or less the same initiators, Organisashon Pro Slotverklaring - Pro Futuro, flopped.
Speaking for myself, a demonstration like that, no matter if you call it a reunion, is a crowd scene and will thus apply to emotions; mobs only feel, they can't think. Exactly what we don't need.
The day before this demonstration, our democratic leaders made it be known that they didn't care how many people and signatures would be there. All in all 4929 were collected, say 5% of all voters. Youth group Grupo Sero (gruposero@yahoo.com) wants to go back to the very beginning: a completely new referendum, this time with some real info given, for a change. They presented signature lists at several shops, supermarkets and entertainnment centers and collected over 5800 signatures.
Hˇben Goberná and Kousa Komun also press for a new referendum, now. There seem not to be many around, except the politicians, who defend the government's decision. Little do they care, of course: Now, they have Power. Democratically, too! Shades of Germany, 1930s with another type of racist Brownies.

maybe we'll shortly get Referendum 3
and then, no doubt, Referendum 4.


A New Coalition
FOL and PAR are discussing forming a new coalition together, before 17 December 2007. I guess voters of them both will resent this, but as Curašao-style politicians, would they care about that?
Anyway, Godett is directing the efforts from his cozy cell in jail (maybe this time, sis Mirna succeeded in smuggling in a cellular phone; an earlier effort did not succeed because security, uh, snatched it from her.) At least PNP is, for a political party (no matter where or when) showing a credibly trustworthy and principled face by resolutely refusing to have anything to do with these machinations.
The idea is Godett will devise a slotverklaring adaptation. Whatever that means: you can only hope he does not do so himself. My idea is, here's a guy moves his lips while he reads.

Sounds Familiar?
The real culprit is Mr. Mugabe, who has run Zimbabwe since 1980. Now 82, the president is a master at the blame game, accusing the West of colonialism and racism when it criticizes his scheme[s].
New York Times, The Agonies of Zimbabwe, 2006-12-09

That's All Off
Dutch minister Nicolaï didn't waste many words on all those deliberately obstructing deliberations. He just announced business would proceed ASAP with the other four islands, and time after time firmly confirmed that the slotverklaring is not re-negotiable, also not with the new Dutch government. The consequences of the rejection with regard to the debts of Curašao and the Netherlands Antilles are, as yet, incalculable. Holland remains prepared to discuss with Curašao how the island can take part in further negotiations in case the slotverklaring will be, after all, accepted. And, at least a faint glimmer of hope, where our irresponsible clowns really can take a lesson from:

In any case, it's Holland's mandate to take care that serious consequences
for the people will remain limited.

Wise up, You Clowns
There's an e-mail circulating written by Cooper. He, too, feels that it is quite simple for Curašao to get rid of our own debts: We just sell all our assets. He gets excited about Holland's refusal to re-finance all our debts instead of only 85%. This show no proper respect; we have heard that one so often, we're awfully tired of it. Very hard to respect a man like that, anyway, who writes something like this: After PAR took over in 1993, even though all political parties had been for independence [not the voters, but that doesn't count, there's a Curašao democratic politician for you] the national debt grew with 3.5G. Weird, it's less than that now?
Cooper also complains that PAR has achieved exactly what they intended with their party program in the last January elections. But PAR won, MAN (Cooper) lost! Maybe (hah!) he's jealous. Or, once again, his cheap substitute for a memory got it all wrong.

Think of That!
Meanwhile Defensa Ambiental and Amigu di Tera, two environmental organizations, are pointing at the dangers of having an almost impotent government of such a small country negotiate with giants like the USA, Venezuela, Shell Oil - you name 'em. Especially as 'we' never even signed the Kyoto protocol, and as there virtually no laws on environmental control. Those that do exist (Hinderwet) or even EOP (island development plan) are not enforced. In spite of the CITES agreement, dolphins are still kept captive in Seaquarium; beaches are built up to attract tourists, while it's well-known this results in irreversible coral reef damage; routinely, internationally protected trees like wayaká (Guaiacum officinalis) are cut down rŘcksichtlos. Of course, both organisations also point to the disgraceful manipulations to serve Isla refinery interests.

Advisors take their leaves
On December 21 Don Martina was the second advisor, after Freddy Curiel, to leave the island advisory commission on the slotverklaring. He said the date of July 7 for independence was not achievable. Raymond Begina, who accused Carles Cooper of lying about the advise he received, as far as known is still in. The commission's advise was not followed up at all by eilandsraad, contrary to their statements.
Bestuurscollege has invited Dutch minister Nicolaï for a discussion on Januray 14, to restart the dialogue.
Meanwhile, Dutch parliament member Hans van Baalen (VVD) is, maybe not so tactfully, insisting on a Venezuelan apology for the incidents where Dutch F60 parol aircraft were illegally chased away by Chavez' F16s. (The Dutch ministry of foreign affairs had obviously decided to let it go.)

St. Maarten conference
The Antillean government was represented and, naturally, all islands wanting to quit the AN formation for greener pastures. The Curašao delegation went as well (for all 17 of them, there's a lot of money to be made while relaxing in Sint Maarten) and managed to make a pest and nuisance out of themselves by insisting on time-outs for deliberations to make up their inferior substitutes for minds.
The Dutch will try to work around the many delaying problems caused by this stupid obstinacy and, once again, have emphatically declared the slotverklaring stands as-is. It may be up to Curašao now to come up with another approach, but, says Nicolaï, Curašao has no choice left but to agree with the slotverklaring; with Holland, the Antillean government and the other islands' governments.
Marilyn Alcalá-Wallé, PAR eilandsraad [parliament] member figured that trip has set us back ANG40K while they had nothing to negotiate there; merely present their point of view. (The 'other approach' mentioned above turns out to be, Curašao now does not want a monetary unit with St. Maarten anymore, either. Nor does Curašao wants to co-operate on social security or pensions.)
The other islands decided to go ahead without Curašao, which FOL's Rojer thought unacceptable. He then accused them that they tried to force Curašao into an isolated position; he felt they had been promised 'a sack full of money' to proceed full speed ahead, and expects the other partners to change views later. I don't know what his IQ actually is, of course, but anyway, if you're a megalomaniac paranoid a high IQ won't help one tiny bit.

On a dies-discourse at UNA university Meindert Fennema of Amsterdam university explains how Holland's attitude is influenced by experiences with Indonesia in 1949 and Suriname, 1975, and by pressure from the USA and EU. Fennema theorizes that the Curašao politicians hold out in the hope they will get still more money.
(But we won't get any of it, that's for sure.) Politicians discard this idea as a sheer concoction, need we really add?

Norbert George, who recently became the new Democrat Party leader, feels the autonomous state for Curašao should be pushed back to January 1, 2008. There just is no time left to get this mess in proper order. He certainly has a point.

The funniest part is, after Curašao politicians started all this clamoring for new referenda and independence,
very soon this may be the only island left in the 'Netherlands Antilles'. Forsa Korsou party is clamoring for a vote in the Antillean parliament to transfer power to the island. A majority of 12 out of 14 votes is needed for this; alas, parliament has just accepted a resolution to stand by the slotverklaring. What can you conclude but that Forsa Korsou is trying for a cheap political success, well knowing it will never succeed?

Meanwhile, there still is absolutely no news on 'new deliberations on the slotakkoord'—which Holland has emphasized time and time again are No Go in the first place. The new island government has been in power since December 22—just as long as the time that passed between acceptance and rejection of that same slotaccoord.

Even Ambtenarenvakbond Abvo [government workers' union] also states that the 1 July date for independence is impractical. They want a masterplan for workers' functions and clarity on what tasks will be taken over by the island from the country. Abvo wants a stop on new personnel as from March 1.

The Dutch regeringsverklaring [government agreement] rather emphatically includes a reference to the slotverklaring, naming justice, good government, social securities, education and Dutch language, public finance, and 'territorial integrity'.
The Curašao government claims not to have been invited to the next conference of 12 February in St. Maarten, where they would not have been allowed to say anything in the first place. They want to go anyway, which we can understand. Like the spoiled brats they are, they even want to have their say as a full-fledged partner, even though the conference is next monday and they haven't even decided yet who's going! Finally, their letter of protest to the central government was not even delivered, because of 'lack of time', so Curašao was not represented after all.Forsa Korsou party resents PAR's making the slotverklaring the crux of the coming elections; FK feels this is undemocratic.
The Curašao delegation in St. Maarten refuses to discuss the national debt; they want six more weeks for a commission to study this. (That would be early March 2007, four months before their wished date of independence; not even three times as much time.)
While Curašao island prefers their own civil servants first in the new island government, the central Antillean government of course wants theirs taken over in the new structure. The NA police chiefs, in contradistinction and a laudable show of practical pragmatism, are all set for execution of their plans to realize an actual inter-island cooperation, which they see as one of the most important factors in the future political structure.

In February 2007 the Commissie Boedelscheiding [inventory division] informs us their work will not be finished in July 2007; a more realistic date would be end of the year. And the civil servants could not reach an agreement on their future pensions; mainly because (you guessed it) Curašao was being difficult.

A Historic Date
Following the February conference of St. Maarten, it was announced that the new political structure will be introduced on 15 December 2008. This is almost 18 months later than the stubborn Curašao democratic leaders want(ed); it also 'happens' to be the day the Statuut van het Koninkrijk was ratified 54 years ago, in 1954. Dutch minister Nicolaï relates that even Curašao politicians of the 'No-brers' conviction are now privately re-considering their positions. Nicolaï doesn't care a bit they have not come up with their promised alternative to the slotverklaring, as there is no alternative possible. Of course, this is frantically denied by those opponents.
But Forsa Korsou's Navarro did suddenly declare the slotverklaring was negotiable, but first had to be signed—yet another 180 degree turn of this windvane-like party (it's not for nothing Navarro is more and more referred to as de windvaan). Minister Leeflang did not fail to notice, and welcomed him to the club of yes-brers, sarcastically remarking that, with elections near, Navarro may have judged the people were not at all that much against the slotverklaring as he presumed. The same opportunism also had the party make a sudden switch in its attitude towards Papiamentu. Finally, remarks Leeflang, Navarro is so heavily against the combined Kingdom justice departments now; but a while ago he advised positively on this as a member of the Order of Lawyers.

On Justice
Deacon of UNA [University of the Netherlands Antilles] law faculty and professor Jan Reijntjes,
at the occasion of his inaugural discourse, posed that with growing internationalisation
the Antilles 'don't need a criminal law of their own' now or after independence.
Many of our politicians will not like this. But, says Reijntjes,
Nationalism is a bad advisor.

Now IJs tells us!
The, by no-brers much vilified, financial supervision included in the slotverklaring turns out not to have been forced down our throats by 'Holland' at all. IJs tells it was included on explicit Antillean request and accorded by all representatives (only, as we know, to be rejected by some of the same participating parties later).

Debts and Interest
Centrale Bank figured it all out for us, in March 2007. The country's debt should not cause a payable interest of more than 5% of state income. This results in an allowable interest of 59.2M [$32.9M). The country's debt, at a 7% interest rate, could then be 845M [$470M].
As is written with blood on all our hearts, the present debt is almost a factor 5 higher.

Just over the horizon Venezuelan president Chavez has nationalized electrical and telephone utilities, and has also announced close-down of TV-station RCTV—the first one. No doubt more will follow. The Bolivar immediately lost 20% of its value.
RCTV is much too critical of Chavez to his exquisite taste. This at the time our clowns have selected to consider giving PdVSA a virtually total control over the Isla refinery.
In January 2007, Curoil manager Capella complained, after 7 months of efforts, that we pay the same fuel prices as the American Gulf does (China gets it cheaper!), notwithstanding all empty Chavez promises. Chavez' PdVSA oil company doesn't bother to react to weekly phone calls and e-mails, and didn't even deign to receive an Isla delegation on a visit to Venezuela

Alternative Proposal

Finally, after 3 months of waiting and two weeks before elections, we were presented with a proposal on how to deal with the financial future. If you really want to read it, you can find it here.

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For good measure, the document starts with an outright lie, referring to the Crax rubra bird that's supposed to have lived here under the Papiamentu name K˛rsow grandi [sic]. There is not a shred of evidence for this, and that name is an obvious modern total fabrication, all to pep up fake nationalistic feelings. Assuming, only for the sake of argument, that such a bird actually lived here in the past, it would certainly have disappeared long before there was any question of Papiamentu. Besides, where's the k˛rsow chikí? Presumably on that islet to the east.
This historical falsification sets the tone. The very lay-out shows that this report contains a lot of hot air; it's presented as a slide-show with no details at all. It ends with a grandiloquently sounding, but really dog Latin, expression translatable as 'we have an alternative explanation.' Again, quite in style: The show-offs seem not to know the Latin word for proposal; to help 'em out, it's propositionem (correctly declined and all.)

The solutions offered are quite simple: First, we just ignore Curašao's part in the Antillean debt. Instant relief! Instead of 4.4G guilders, our debt now is a mere 60% bagatelle: 2.6G (US$1.45).
Then, we will sell shares in Isla refinery for ANG1.5G. Pierrot is trying to accomplish this, but the best deal he can get is to have interested parties buy shares, all which funds must then be applied to renovation. Cash proceeds: Nil.
The 'remaining' 1.1G are easy as well (as you realize, the debt really still is 4.4G guilders.) Taxes will be better controlled (read: we pay more). Money is to be borrowed from banks, who have explicitly stated they will not extend credit when the real slotverklaring is not accepted. The rest will come from the private market, which with the latest bond release already clearly showed the same unexplainable distaste for more lending to the government (only 18M of the needed 42M). But this time, the U.S. government will guarantee the bonds! (Conveniently, it is not explained how they will be pressed into this foolish act.)
Other debts have been 'formalized', so they don't count. Really! (One consists of Curoil having been seized by debtor APNA, after which arrears have arisen anew.) Government will grow even larger: More costs instead of less. We will surely, guaranteed! strike it rich (tomorrow) by looking for oil and gas in the territorial waters (no fair guessing who will finance that).
But you really don't need to have more obviously nonsensical items like these pointed out. Read it for yourself and you'll see for yourself.

One final remark: Even this proposal insists that privatization is essential, something our present island government (such as it is, by all means) does not agree with at all. But what is there left for those clowns to do except vote it through in the greatest hurry, and hope that will result in an election victory?

It's hard to find anybody who's positive about this document (excepting, of course, FOL's fools and friends): All banks, chamber of commerce, newspapers, political parties like PAR and PNP and civil workers union Abvo needed just as little time as we did to condemn the scheme.
Enough time wasted on this foolishness, already:
Nos ostendo is sum calamitas

DP George Proposes
Seven monts after the slotverklaring has been rejected, three weeks after the new eilandsraad has been installed, and two weeks after the same slotverklaring has been accepted, it occurs to DP (who had nothing to do with all preceding brouhaha) we'd better have a look at what comes next. George has asked bestuurscollege to come with a concrete, detailed and complete plan with measurable objectives, indiactors, target dates and a risk analyses on the transition accord, the final RTC and the supervision on public finance.
George also wants a summary of the legal aspects in the slotaccoord on which an agreement with Holland has to be reached. He poses a lot more difficult questions that are very much to the point. Trouble is, more than one somebody will have to do a lot of work to reply to all this. We can only hope it won't turn out to be a case of George proposes, BC disposes.

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