On December 15, 2008, after long deliberations between (mainly) the governments of Holland and of the Netherlands Antilles, finally an accord was reached where the Kingdom of the Netherlands will take over an 1.7M debt, in return for guarantees in matters of justice, corruption and democracy.
Fight to the Finish
the third referendum
what led up to it:
What's in Store?
There's Still Hope
Part of the opposition saw this as the occasion to renew their efforts for a final fight.
Some people are proposing a new flag -
we propose a new name for our country!
© Harvey Kurtzman - Humbug
Re: Referendum Results Putting it in a nutshell, SI "won" with 51% (41,000 votes), NO had 48% of the votes (38,000). Which means that now, for once, our politicians have to stop quarreling and sit down to talk. After all, that's what we supposedly elected them for.
SI had 41,000 votes, NO 38,000. A total 79,000 or 68% of the voters turned up, many more than at the last referendum with only 54% showing.
Really, we've had enough referenda now to last us a lifetime.
This nonsense has to stop.
Once Is Not Enough
We received the second "Informative Bulletin" on the referendum yesterday. It is exactly the same one we got a few weeks ago. They probably figured that, because it's so obscure, they'd better send it out again. Still better, they might have tried to explain. A mere suggestion.
At It Again
Now, the families of Da Costa Gomez and Jonckheer, both well-known for their historical fight for autonomy resulting in the Statuut, have protested against use of the iconic figures in another obnoxious NO! propaganda film. MAN Cooper has declared, what I freely but correctly translate as, "He doesn't give a fart what their feelings are."
Key Guide for Information Search
The indefatigable Etienne van der Horst has published, on his Nos Ké Sa blog, lists of questions in Papiamentu and Dutch on what the referendum is all about. He doesn't answer them - it's just supposed to help you decide what answers to search for. The questions concern points dealing with Option A, preferred by a large majority in 2005.
Van der Horst lists 13 items with a total of 26 questions. I have to the tell you, to most I certainly do not know the answers, and you won't get them from the Boletin Informativo rag distributed by the government, either.
Research Institute Curises found that over 1/3 of the population does not know what the referendum is about.
1984 Preview in 2009
In the first place, only after reading the latest bilingual Referendum Bulletin it became clear that this entire referendum was a last desperate effort of the old politicians to, once again, overturn the people's overwhelming vote NOT to become independent. Eilandsbestuur took the decision for this 3rd referendum immediately after its members had suffered a total defeat, before they could be replaced by a new coalition.As they fear their lying and scheming may, again, not be enough to convince the people to vote like they want them to this time, they have now proceeded to distorting history. I do not refer to the slavery gimmick; that period is so vague that nobody can really tell (gefundenes Freschen for them, yes.) No, they have taken a more recent instance of which even a video-tape exists.
The original 1993 recording was made and edited by Alex Alberto, now living in Holland - here is his version told in his own words:"Problems with Option "NO" using my video."Fundashon Pro Kòrsou's Nicasia and Curiel also, in a letter to Amigoe newspaper, strongly protested against the manipulation and misinformation by the NO-brers, and remarked that exactly those guys were always warning the public that they were being lied to by the government-coalition. Nicasia and Curiel state in the plainest words that they have been willfully misrepresented as preferring the "NO" option; they will vote SI/YES for the following reasons:
As long as I'm on-line, permit me to inform you that I DO NOT have anything to do with the were-were that, as I understand, is going on in Curaçao about the video that "OPTION NO" is using with images of the deceased Ornelio "Kees" Martina...
TWO YEARS AGO when the deliberations on our political future started to become intense, Mr. Cooper wrote me asking if he could get a copy of the video. It was about a recording of a PRESS MEETING where, apart from me, other people were filming and photographing, so it was not a private or personal event.
I saw no problem with that, and I took the trouble to look up the cassette again... "capture" it and import it into the computer, to burn and send a DVD, buy a special envelope and stamps to send it to Curaçao. I charged mr. Cooper a mere 100 guilders, which after subtracting costs hardly left me more money than to buy a refreshment with. It was nothing like a commercial deal.
Nobody can accuse me of anything... To the contrary I was not aware that OPTION "NO" was abusing the video with images of mr. Freddie Curiel; as his wife in an amiable mail informed me last Monday. And after I extensively replied the lady, she was full of understanding... Then I received a deluge of mail on the subject. As you know I was informed already, and now you know how this came about.
I can't vote "SI" or "NO"... but I can tell you openly that if I could vote, I would ROUNDLY vote "SI"... NOT because I live here, but because of the fact that I do not see ALL THOSE problems with a Dutchman come and supervise the Curaçao finances (the motives are well known!) nor with a PG for one or more islands...
I see absolutely NOTHING like re-colonization in there - better, I view it as a relief so Curaçao can get out of its problems.
– Autonomy is guaranteed in the existing Statute;
– Independence still is one step too far;
– We finally can start working with one government for the country of Curaçao;
– The financial sanitation brings large social-economic advantages;
– Every citizen can count on better protection by law, and safety.
Yet another problem for the NO-brers is that the Holland dropped the condition of their appointing a PG (public prosecutor), which both parties had problems with. (I never discussed it here because arguments became way too technical.)
This, in combination with the money flowing in already (something they kept denying would happen) makes their arguments ever so much weaker.
Then, a week later, they pulled the same trick again! This time with PAR Mike Willems.
Alas, as ever, a vote is never rational but always emotional. We can only wait and see.
So That's What!
As there are so many complaints nobody really knows what we are supposed to vote on, Etienne van der Horst of blog Nos Ké Sa has published a list of the next referendum's subjects and accords.
The next two documents are the official documents as accorded on December 2008; the rest are referred to in these two.
Here they are, in in Dutch. I guess even our politicians (except of course Godett) realize it's not realistic to ask the Dutch to learn Papiamentu.
Conclusies Toetsingsronde (RTC 15 December 2008) Bijlage Toetsingsronde (RTC 15 December 2008) Slotverklaring RTC (26 November 2005) Slotverklaring Bestuurlijk Overleg (10/11 October 2006) Slotverklaring Bestuurlijk Overleg (2 November 2006) Verklaring Politiek Overleg (12 November 2007) Besluitenlijst Politieke Stuurgroep (16 February 2008) Besluitenlijst Politieke Stuurgroep (22 May 2008) Besluitenlijst Politieke Stuurgroep (1 October 2008) Besluit Politieke Stuurgroep (26 November 2008) Criteria RTC (7 March 2006)
Re-negotiate? Good Luck!
Geert Wilders' Dutch PVV party would, according to polls, now be the big winner in Dutch elections. This is mainly because of his anti-Islam movie Fitna, with which he was not allowed to enter the UK, and the Dutch lawsuit against him, trying to limit freedom of speech. Such an election result would be a serious setback for the "no-brers" of the Curaçao opposition.
The problem for our politicians seems obvious: If Wilders would win the next elections (scheduled 2010) it's goodbye to their chances to "re-negotiate" the autonomy. To repeat once again: They want their debts paid by the Dutch, without relinquishing any power themselves which enabled them to build up those very debts. Especially if you consider the present global economy crisis, it's very hard to believe the Dutch would not re-consider taking over those debts, even without PVV's success hanging over their heads.
The problem may seem obvious to us, but is it obvious to those
Well, maybe not exactly that, but DP George holds that the referendum is "a serious form of unsound government" - loaded words, those. They have often been used to threaten politicians with Dutch intervention, based on statuut stipulations. (Not to worry though, it never happened.)
George has asked gezaghebber [sort of mayor] Lindial to postpone the referendum, and not to grant the permit necessary for it, as it is against the public interest of the Antilles, the islands, and the Kingdom. He reasons that representatives of Curaçao and the Antilles have already accorded the laws for political changes and the committee for financial controls Cft has become operational; which means the political process already is in the transitional phase. He also wonders if it's in the kingdom's interest that laws approved by cabinet council must be retracted after a "no" vote - if that is at all possible.
Gezaghebber Dindial isn't having any, though. To which George comes back with the remark "She said the same thing, that there have been no 'evidently careless' acts here, about the pensions and past years' budgets. We'll see how this ends." Right.
That's a Bad Question
DP George will take it to court when the question asking for your opinion in the next referendum is not changed.
Read how it goes now:-
Kudos for the government for the great way they have negotiated for us with Holland.
I accept the results with all my heart and congratulate them on a job well done.
YES - NO
George, and needless to say the rest of the opposition is behind him here, feels this is somehow loaded.
Hard to put your finger on it, but still...
Actually, the question is put like this:
I approve of the result of the Round Table Conference to come to an autonomous Curaçao
YES - NO
It is worth mentioning George does not agree with the manipulation of the voting cattle by coalition and opposition.
Last news is yet another delay of the voting date, from April 8 to May 15. That's because 8 May is two days before Mother's Day. How touching.
The opposition, the NO-brers, feel the European Dutch should not be allowed to vote for the future of "our" country (where they happen to live as well.) One of them even said that those rich guys would invite all their fine friends to come over and live here for a while, so they can vote to keep this a Cosy Colony for them. Really!
On the other hand, the same No-Brers do not wish the Antilleans living in Holland to vote. Imagine, it could turn out quite thew wrong way.
Two Harvard juridical master students Ben Gardner and Jeremias_Prassl in an UNA lecture freely expressed their amazement that the Antilles had done so well in negotiations with Holland. Certainly, they said, they had achieved much more than you reasonably could have expected. Well, it certainly is a fresh angle.
I have tried to deflate some hot-air out of this document:
Onderzoeksverslag van_Ben_Gardner en Jeremias Prassl
but please download the original here
But Who Will Pay?
It's hard to believe, but the "NO"-sayers are so desperate that they still cling to their "alternative solution", long since ridiculed and discarded. It's understandable, though - they don't have anything else.
Let us look at the main point of their reasoning, such as it is: We will sell Isla refinery to PdVSA and get so much money for that rusting heap of scrap-iron that all our troubles are over.
only artists like junk
Just skip this if you've heard it before. It certainly gets boring to repeat the same arguments time and time again; but Hitler was succesful with it (for a while), and Goebbels, Cooper and many others got away with it as well - for a while. Taking a tip from them, here are our arguments once again:
¤ The refinery isn't worth the polluted soil it's built on
¤ PdVSA would be crazy to buy it, as they can now use it almost free until 2019
¤ PdVSA does not want practically to rebuild it to clean it up
¤ Venezuela, especially with the present low oil prices, cannot afford it anyway:-
PdVSA has now an accumulated debt of 8 billion USDollars.
Now print it out and slip it under your glass desktop-cover.
A MAN-ly Fight against Colonialism
MAN has announced a campaign to convince the people they should vote "NO" at the coming referendum. It seems they do not trust the people to know for themselvces what they should vote for - they have to go out and tell them. After all, same people already voted twice differently from what the politicians wanted! Have to watch that...
Of course, Cooper at least says and we're dutifully grateful, when the people vote "YES" he will respect that. (They said that two times already.) Then he starts explaining at length what they will do when the people say "NO". He has it all figured out: "Renegotiations with Holland will have to start. If Holland will not accept this, that will be challenged by means of article 26 of the Eilandenregeling. ["islands regulation", whatever that is; Cooper doesn't explain.] If that doesn't lead anywhere, we will go the United Nations."
Apart from the fact that they tried that several times before, not getting anywhere, Cooper continues to utter he can't imagine that the UN will neglect a referendum held under their responsibility, where the people has used their right of determination.
Not surprising: Cooper does not seem to have much imagination. He also doesn't seem to have googled it up. Look what happened in Bolivia, more recently in Venezuela, concerning the Lisbon EU treaty in Holland, and lastly in Ireland. He also plumb forgot his own response to the people's vote of our two referenda, which was first betrayed and then "translated" to something they never voted for.
Aside from all that, Cooper's main objection to the present deal seems to be twofold. He objects against financial supervision as a condition for the generous bail-out of the government (not the people's) debts by Holland. Nothing new there, what's the use of independence if the main purpose (fill your pockets until they burst at the seams) is not fulfilled.
Then, he objects against the PG being appointed by the Dutch minister of justice. Here his reasoning can not even be called "reasoning" any more. You vaguely understand him to say that Curaçao, just like at present in the Netherlands Antilles, should appoint the PG together with the other islands that presently form the Netherlands Antilles. But he and his cohorts want out of the Netherlands Antilles. How can he even consider such a claim could be feasible? It contradicts itself in an absolutely insane manner.
Not that we expect much sanity from a guy like Cooper by now.
What Is It All About?
Starting today, the Nos Ke Sa blogspot has a poll where readers are invited to indicate if they have any idea what they will be voting for in the next referendum.
Last time we looked, 73% had voted "no". There is a theoretical chance this will change with yet more boletins coming out shortly; but in our experience, these just sow still more confusion.
Anyway, as the Blog points out, there are nor referendum laws in the Netherlands Antilles. Just like the preceding referendum/referenda, the effect will therefore just be "advisory" or "consultant" or something vague like that. Nothing to worry about for the politicians.
"Neo-Colonialism" Apart from the emotional rabble several normally reasonably reasonable reasoning people, like ex-minister MAN Jules Eisden and DP Norbert George, express their idea that Holland is "re-colonizing" us. Eisden has sent back his knighthood in protest against the future appointment of a public prosecutor by the Dutch minister of justice, and the control of Curaçao public finances by the kingdom.
Their main argument is that both justice and finance were regulated satisfactorily in the statuut. But Eisden is much less than honest when he denies this has worked out well. We may have escaped, until now, the disaster of Aruba "justice" under those same regulations; we certainly have not escaped the growing veritable tsunami of corruption, bribery and fraud that has overwhelmed us, and Aruba, since the statuut, growing even stronger after the infamous 30th of May, 1969 and Aruba's status aparte.
And then, the Dutch are generally known as pretty sharp business people. What do these guys think could possibly be in it for the Dutch? you desperately ask yourself. Colonialism is over - there's no money in it anymore and that settles it.
The opposition, now consisting of parties MAN, NPA, PS, FK and DP, keeps referring to the "democratic decision" of the second referendum. After this had been held, the then Curaçao government translated the option the people had voted for ("Curaçao will become an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands") as follow, bending it to the desires of the parties then in power (they were thrown out very shortly later and lost the following elections:)Independence at least equal to that of ArubaConveniently, these guys have forgotten completely that the people, whenever polled, do not agree with them at all. It has been done on several occasions, all with the same (for them:) negative results. Little do they care: Riot-inciter Helmin Wiels and NPA Pierre have even declared that, no matter what the referendum vote will be, they will consider the accord reached "undemocratic" and continue to fight it. Now that's democracy, Curaçao style:
with our own Central Bank, department of justice and police corps
The informative bulletins distributed before the referendum was held, explicitly stated otherwise
You have voted us boss, now put up with us.DP does not share these feelings. Long since, the party bowed out of the Aliansa Patriótiko, which was later dissolved. You get the impression it has now, more or less by magic, been reassembled.
There were relatively heavy demonstrations, which can mainly be called so because of the amount of noise produced, not by the number of participators. PS Wiels, from his stature alone an obvious striver for a dictatorship and MAN Puriel were both arrested in what may be a police overreaction.
Their followers had adorned themselves with yellow stars of David, as they felt their plight was the same as that of the Jews killed by the Nazis. However, nobody but Curaçao politicians has ever suggested such a thing.
Author Frank Martinus then announced he wanted to give up his recently acquired Dutch knighthood, because he feels you can't couple the debt take-over with our autonomy. The United Nations, though, seems to feel that's quite all right. Martinus also feels there's no problem with the star of David. No doubt Martin Luther King, who was the first to apply the term "holocaust" to slavery would agree with him. (Weirdly, in a letter to Amigoe editor he insinuates it may have been the Jews own fault for not seeing it coming. Small wonder he got a knighthood while Jan de Hartog never did.)
The Churches Give Up
The Council of Churches has been trying to build a bridge between coalition and government, but has now thrown their hands up in the air, declaring they give up. It may sound like an opera buffo but is more of a comic tragedy.
In preparatory meetings the opposition insisted the document Toekomst in Zicht would be the basis of negotiations, that Aliansa Patriótiko would represent the opposition, and this alliance and coalition would each appoint two persons for a deliberation "presidium". The coalition accepted.
But in MAN Cooper's words, part of the opposition left the alliance pretty soon. Actually only Wiels' PS did not. And, says Cooper, "I can't speak for another opposition-party" while it was they who wanted that condition. As a result they never proposed two members.
Early December 2008 the Council wanted a meeting on "the relations between leaders of the parties, represented in eilandsraad. The coalition was positive, but some opposition parties reacted negatively and others not at all. The Council then gave up on more attempts at mediation. They will "keep on praying for all parties and all politicians, and keep asking the Lord to give them wisdom and understanding." They've got their work cut out for 'em.
But Cooper says the opposition has indicated it's no use talking with the coalition. "They just carry on as they wish and keep away from real dialogue. It's of no use to go on talking. We'll wait for the referendum."
Sounds remarkably like an instance of the kettle calling the pot black. Cooper concludes the opposite from what seems to us the coalition is bending over backwards while the opposition just pushes on, accepting no compromise. And the same goes within the opposition with its continuous in-fighting, except when it comes to voting "NO".
A Real Pity
Central Bank director Tromp thinks it a real pity that the original concept of Holland taking over our debts totally, with a complete stop on new loans, has been watered down to a partial take-over and no such stop. He feels it has become more complicated, and no doubt he's right. But it may well turn out to be much worse that our new improved country will be able to build up more debts.
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