Our politicians keep doing the weirdest things, but it's hard to keep laughing at them. Here a selection of, at times, nightmarish acts in the political circus, starting with the most recent ones. After the FOL government was replaced with what we have to use now, frequency of items turning up for this page went down a bit. But it picked up very soon to get better than ever.
Make an Extra Buck in Your Employer's Time For every car you must have a test certificate and insurance papers to buy a license. It turns out a number of cars have never been tested but got their certificate regardless. Five workers at the government DOW test facility are suspected. A deputy stated this had cost the government ANG10K but the workers must have received much more. With a test fee of ANG30, it must have been over 300 cars anyway; another of those wildly inaccurate statements to make one wonder; also about all those freewheeling around without insurance. 2004-12-31
Design Failure Downwind of Isla refinery, people are plagued by a green precipitation. It has been found this is caused by the BOO electricity plant. The plant was designed to use much lighter fuel than it does, resulting in much lower smoke stack temperatures. As the stacks were designed for higher temperatures, Mitsubishi is blamed for design failure, but I bet they won't sue Mitsubishi. (That's a very safe bet as Mitsubishi is one of the shareholders here.)
They are now taking out condensing units in the stacks, which partly solved the problem. No information was forthcoming on money wasted here - that would be telling! (Our energy tariffs went up still more in 2005.) Mitsubishi have built themselves quite a name with briberies and even WWII and present-day slavery. The precipitation consists of SO2; to get vitriolic or sulphuric acid just add water, amply supplied by our 80% saturated atmosphere. 2004-12-29
David Dick Disgusted After ten years of having played along in politics, David Dick decided to get out of that racket. Having joined PAR shortly after the 1993 referendum, he announced politics had made him sick. Welcome to the club. In January 2005 he announced it wasn't so bad, really, and that he might go back. How like a politician. 2004-12-28
Moral Guardian After the judge forced the Aruban government to accept as legal a homosexual marriage made in Holland, our minister of economy Cova warned that the Curaçao government better act and tighten laws before the same thing happens here and disrupts our high morals. Note: This guy, not so long ago, started a vulgar fracas in bordello Campo Alegre when he wanted to come in there with what security judged a mere child. He later came out with a statement that it was all right, it was his son (still later he said somehow he'd been confused there, it had really been his nephew—maybe it's both.) 2004-12-24
Go Figure Algemene Rekenkamer [general accounting], which supposedly checks income and expenditures of country and island governments, itself has not published yearly figures since 1991. They now plan to publish those next year in 1 (one) report covering 1991-2004. This while the Rekenkamer was enlarged and made more autonomous in 1995. Don't expect too much, too soon, anyway... Curaçao island's last published account concerns 1999, they said. Or maybe not: later, deputy Rhuggenaath talked about 1989; Bonaire's 1998 or might be 1999, and that of the country 1995. They say.
The Rekenkamer used to work pretty well until the early 1980s; it then consisted of badly-paid members who saw it as an honorary job. After socialist party MAN led by Don Martina had won the elections, the president of Rekenkamer was replaced almost immediately by a MAN adherent; as a result the other members took their leave. By the way, MAN still use their slogan Man Limpi [clean hands]. Once more note the striking difference between their own accounting and what they demand of the tax payers. (In the first week of 2005 deputy Rhuggenaath announced they were now ready with 1989-1999 and working on 2001-2004. Rhuggenaath expects they all can be dealt with this year. He could not give an explanation on cause of delays.)
Cover it up - with Sand The Isla refinery started burying enormous lots of a material containing oil derivatives; Isla falsely declared it was asbestos. Milieudienst stopped it after they had been alarmed and ran a check — not before Isla's PR department had announced it was a disgrace that passers-by had the temerity of photographing what was taking place on their private terrain. (It was right in view from an important tourist spot, Jewish cemetery Beth Haim.)
2004/12/18 One year later, the bags where still sitting where they had been abandoned after these illegal activities had been uncovered. By then, they were falling apart and the contents had started leaking out. Finally, the refinery just started burying them anew.
With the Second Referendum steadily creeping up on us, our politicians seem to be getting afraid that the People will once again be wise enough NOT to vote for their favorite option of status aparte. This came as a complete surprise to them in 1993, but now they have started to take measures this would not happen to them again. At least the fact that they show some awareness of people's wishes might, if you wish, be called an improvement.
But, sorry, the legal age is 18. Upon hearing this, deputy Lak exclaimed that he couldn't believe it: In that case, his esteemed colleagues in Bonaire and St. Eustatius who did lower the age would have done something illegal! Unimaginable, of course. (Note: people there voted for stronger future relations with Holland, dumb youngsters and all.)
Legal or not, the motion was after all accepted and 16 year olds can vote; mainly because PLKP and PNP sudddenly decided to join the opposition here. A fine new brawl ensued immediately when PAR used the word payback to characterize this change of heart.
The Referendum Committee has started to give out warnings that all this tends to decrease the international acceptance of the referendum as an act of auto determination by the people.
The Fine Art of Wasting Money The new Curaçao license plates, for some reason, have a decal with the Curaçao escutcheon in five colors (count them: black-blue-orange-red-green). We used to get a second-half-year sticker for the license plates. In the past few years we had to apply a more expensive sticker to the windshield; an obvious imitation of a system used in Holland, but there at least it makes some sense. Instead, now we get a smaller plate, much more expensive, to apply over the regular one as proof we have paid for the entire year instead of for just 6 months - with yet another escutcheon on it. It's also very easy to steal these and put 'em on your own license plate. Indeed, in August 2005 advertisements appeared in Via-Via magazine offering to rivet those to the plate.
I guess some fool, if asked, would explain that the sheer beauty of the plates attracts tourists. Or maybe it's to avoid counterfeiting? What we do know for sure without having to ask is, all this costs money. All this was still going on in 2006, with a new twist.
These license plates used to be made in the USA, I guess in some prison. But since a local factory started making them, they have been getting more and more elaborate. It's not really hard to think up, maliciously, some possible reason.
And they were pretty fancy already: Four-color decal... Graduated background color... Embossed star... Who Needs It?
What a Mess - Better Stay Out The first committee looking into the death in prison of former P.M. Komproe reported so many things wrong, we'll have to put them in a nutshell.
Following arrest by police, prisoners' rights systematically are grossly violated as there are no adequate medical facilities in the police cells. The Prosecutor only transferred Komproe to Bon Futuro prison after Court had warned the alternative was his release. Komproe should have been seen by the police M.D. immediately upon arrest (September 7), but was only seen on the 10th. On the 11th Komproe told the judge he had an appointment with a specialist on the 9th, which was then changed to the 15th without consulting the specialist.
He was finally transferred to Bon Futuro on the 16th; in the night of the 17th he was heard hammering on his door and calling for help (cells have no alarm buttons). Finally a guard, alerted by other prisoners shouting and yelling, called the prison doctor who prescribed something on the phone. Next morning Komproe, in a very bad condition, was helped by a fellow prisoner, an M.D. The regular doctor arrived at 11:30 but saw other prisoners first. After Komproe had vomited blood at 13:30 an ambulance finally arrived at 14:30 to take him to hospital.
Small wonder the committee holds the Prosecutor responsible. But prosecutor, prison and police all are the responsibility of minister of justice Ribeiro; ironically the successor of Komproe, in whose time prison conditions were just about the same. Ribeiro announced he will not step down: He ordered the investigation and has to correct all this himself. Then, the Prosecutor started challenging both the conclusions of the report and the committee's procedure. A full-blown quarrel ensued, which could go on for years, as the Public Health inspector's report blames conditions left and right without coming to a definite conclusion. 2004-12-08
They never seem to learn. Godett wants all politicians to meet for a cosy entre-nous palaver, to make sure they will all advise the people to vote for the same option (more independence) at the coming referendum in April 2005. That's democracy, folks! To their credit, not all are willing to do so; some even remember the 1993 debacle, when they all advised to vote for the more independence option, which the voters overwhelmingly rejected; one politician even figured the Curaçao voters could take their own decisions.
(Hear, hear; that's what democracy is supposed to be all about.) Meanwhile, watchdog organization Kousa Komún thought it better for all these guys to step down and have themselves replaced by a transition cabinet. Our best of luck to Kousa Komún!
Uncreditable Asjes, the optimistic Man Who Knows Better, exhausted the $5000/month credit card that was put at his disposal by Curaçao Tourist Board to pay for expenses like business lunches. After buying $2600 worth of suits, apparel worthy of a fabulous underdressed emperor, two laptop computers (one for Willy Neef whom he also helped to a job) plus maybe a portable phone (these guys sure love those things) and $900 worth of perfume, although that is denied, he applied for a larger credit.
CTB, approving of all this in a meeting that was presided by Asjes (so it's sure to be above board) commented he was wise enough to use his credit card in a responsible manner; but not everybody shares this opinion. It does explain CTB can't afford any budget cuts. Rather characteristic of our government members too, to spend over half of his credit on that sort of thing. Next day, CTB personnel went on strike because Asjes had the temerity of accusing them of CTB's financial chaos and ordering an investigation; just like DCA and too many others to mention here, they haven't shown any yearly accounting since 2000.
You (almost) have to admire the guy's chutzpah, who continues to claim his spending is reasonable for his function. He then started an investigation of former holders of same credit card, claiming some had used it to pay prostitutes with; but uh oh... several of those have already announced they never even took the trouble to pick it up.
It's not clear if, after his credit card spendings had been approved by CTB, the investigation of their finances really was called off. Still, thought I'd mention it in passing... interesting. Suggestive, you even might call it. One also reflects that it's not so easy to get the Tax Person to approve buying of apparel as legitimate business costs.
But Asjes' act was not over, with yet another gag to come. In an island council meeting, he started distributing credit card account details of other people to show how transparent his policy was. Opposition, to his surprise, at once in a motion asked for same details about his own credit card which he, unaccountably, had failed to include. Asjes' PLKP party now threatens to leave the coalition of which two members thought they'd vote for that motion. Might PLKP be serious? Mazel tof! Of course they did not when the motion was accepted. As a result, Asjes had to distribute his own credit card details among council members. Reports came in right away that, whatever he did distribute, those details were not in it. 2004-12-19
My Hero In the same meeting, Godett took along a photograph of Ben Komproe to put up in front of him and address it with occasional sentences in the course of his speeches.
Optimists Antilles minister Cova and Curaçao deputy of economy Asjes, both of the Pink Party PLKP, announced a government program for "developing a strategic economic policy to be executed in a structured and disciplined way." Sounds good, huh - fine words. And it is al based on optimism, they said; just what we pessimists were afraid of. By a coincidence, the same day Central Bureau of Statistics announced business turnover had gone down with 1% in the first half of 2004.
Good news is, so must have the Omzetbelasting [purchase tax] proceeds have gone down with 1%. Let 'em go hungry. Just like us. 2004-11-27
Budget Deficit - Now, seriously... The island plans to arrive at a budget without a deficit at all in 2008 (oops, sorry, three weeks later it's become 2009), and they thought it may be better to start preparing now. So they want to lower the planned deficit for 2005 (so far ANG150M only, which doesn't even cover the yearly interest paid on loans; then, we are aware of what happened to preceding years' planned deficits) with ANG90M to ANG60M. What they got was the other way round and at first they figured like "we'll have to make do with that." Alas, there were two (2) guys not agreeing. Spoilsports!
One of the bright ideas they came up with to save money, and I swear I didn't hear of any more than these three, is to send the monthly electricity and water bills in the same envelope as the garbage bills.
Duh. That would result, as we figure, in saving about 1K/year, very impressive—might even be more because our mail is so outrageously expensive. (In September 2005, one year later, this trouble had not been taken yet.) Another proposal to cut the Tourist Board budget with 3M didn't make it. And as from now they will prescribe Brand-X generic medicines when available; this while they recently were clamoring at UNESCO to get a Thirld Word discount on those expensive brands.
But a week later the Bank Nederlandse Antillen hit them all with a nasty surprise! The deficit of the Country may not exceed 150M and for the Island that's only 50M. The new budgets won't even be ready before the New Year. But will it make any difference? It then took them only one more week to reduce the budget to 60M. Seriously, does anybody reading this take that seriously? Besides, this is still only 20% way over. But our good deputy swears he will find still more ways.
Just one day later, the Country announced a planned deficit of 28M; less than 20% of the maximum allowable. What can we do but devoutly hope? (The budget was accepted a week before christmas). 2004-11-15
Time them Watch dog organization Kousa Komun [Common Cause], like many of us, is so disgusted with the non-presence of our politicians at meetings (they get their money anyway, so it's chronic) that they suggest to let 'em punch cards in a clock upon arriving and leaving, just like honest workers. As the chance of this happening seems pretty remote, Kousa Komún plans to start publishing actual time spent in meetings by those guys. We'll give you a link.
Two investigations After the first investigation, clamored for by FOL, into the circumstances around Komproe's sudden death has been finished, yet another one will start immediately. To make doubly sure (sigú sigú), or to waste even more money?
Rap Star As it turns out, ex-minister Salas has managed to spend ANG127K on cellular phone bills in just 9 months—over $7800 per month. (Except for a couple of weeks in that period he was in hospital.) The bill only came in last month - we have to pay every month, or else. Of course he feels we, the country, should pay. We'll see (and are afraid he's right; we have done so already anyway) Later it turned out his son-in-law Gerrit Schotte, who replaced him during his illness, had a 12K phone bill for six months (which also already has been paid). It included a new cellular phone for ANG1150, which he took home when he was discharged.
Guess who'll pay? As the BC has exempted everybody involved from liability, Impacto's lawyer freely jumps to the conclusion that this is just fine—now the government has to pay for all those old DCA debts. It may be fine for the creditors and directors, but it's not so great for the taxpayer. On the other hand, one day later the Nederlandse Vereniging van Verkeersvliegers [Dutch Pilots' Union] announces they will be suing all those exempt guys anyway and see if that holds up. Who was that again who saidmany people will be gloating?
Gimme one, too All fine rhetoric notwithstanding, when it comes to handing out new directorate jobs for government-owned companies, once again they all go to party members. These guys do have trouble learning simple lessons. Either that, or they are just super confident. Probably both. These days, no one can be blamed for calling them plain stupidly shortsighted.
But it's so complicated! When it came to voting, deputy de Jongh-Elhage got so mixed-up that she voted with the opposition against her own coalition. 2004-10-24
Quorum Trick Thought up by the coalition parties: They won't sign the roll when the opposition asks for a meeting, so there's no voting quorum - guaranteed. When they don't turn up, they get their money anyway (come right down to it, all that really matters), so this is a comfortable way out. 2004-10-23
Suspicious Death After some weeks in prison, ex-PM Ben Komproe withered away, was taken to a hospital and died very soon. FOL immediately loudly started protesting publicly that, no doubt, he had been tortured during prison interrogations. They clammed up pretty quick when it was made clear to them that this sort of wild allegation could get them up to a year in prison for slander. Then, they started clamoring for Chinese doctors to check on Komproe's illness; those from Curaçao, the USA and Holland were not to be relied on. (But we do have more than our share of acupuncturists and other quacks right here, just as well.)
ATM Antillean Television/TeleCuraçao is virtually run by FOL, so we get all their protests covered extensively. It's the only political party the name of which they always spell out completely. That's one reason why hardly anybody watches the station, maybe; there are more, all good ones. By the way, the hospital claimed it was a viral infection. Godett and Monte didn't get permission to attend the funeral; then, next day Godett was released from prison and went by a priest right away to get his blessing photographed for the newspapers. Wonder how much he paid—those blessings by god's reps don't come free. 2004/10/18
A Good Question According to what some of the media published, the former Bestuurscollege largely run by FOL, PNP and PLKP, has exempted DCA director Mario Evertsz from personal liability. It turns out to be only too true; and the BC decision is upheld by the present BC. It also turns out they gave themselves the same exemption: The island will answer for all acts of all those involved, even if they are held personably liable by civil law. One desperately wonders of what use a law like that is.
That same new BC is trying to get money together for a criminal investigation of DCA's, uh, transactions (not to use the ugly word malversations). HINT: Maybe out of those 12M reserved to keep the company running until start through with a new one? According to Evertsz himself, the exemption only holds for his acting as CAL director. Hopefully, he's wrong; it may be just the other way around. Those smarts that voted to get him exempted also took care to exempt themselves; could this possibly hold up in court? 2004/10/22
Don't bother The Antillean government has announced intentions to start cleaning up old bills, officially still in process, that never made it to laws. The oldest of these date back to the 1950s. (Note: Statuut independence dates from 1954. Why waste it?) Amigoe, 2004/10/06
Harbor FOLly As it turns out, the Bestuurscollege has been too busy to notice, what with one thing and several others, that FOL still holds power (with PLKP) in Curaçao Port Authority. Makes one wonder what other parties' board members in that organization have been doing the past three months. To really appreciate this one, you have to remember that Curaçao harbor is just about the most expensive one in the region, because of the trade unions - makes you think of the 1950s movie On the Waterfront. They were led by Papa Godett, who started FOL after the 1969 Willemstad riots; it's leadership was inherited by his son. Nobody even seems to have an idea who actually owns the 3 expensive cranes (2M to 3M each) in use there, CPA or the Island. 2004/10/06
That's what I want! Curoil's directors have discovered that their counterparts in other government-owned companies get more gasoline money and are now clamoring to get as much; plus 2 free cylinders of household cooking gas per year (total worth of those less than $45). Such pettiness? It's a relief to know that, in these difficult times, they don't have more important things to worry about. The members of Curaçao Tourism Development Foundation CTDF (managing CTB) turn out to have raised their allowance with a factor three. CTB is the Curaçao Tourist Board; they changed their name from CTDB Curaçao Tourist Development Board in the recent past, as tourism was doing so well that further development wasn't really needed. Talk about chutzpah! Amigoe, 2004/10/06
Where it hurts most The bailiff has visited eight prominent politicians with writs, because they are or have been members of the DCARaad van Beheer. The way this council was set up is really cute: the members can be held personally liable for DCA's debts, now reported to amount to almost ANG260M.
Ex PM Maria-Liberia Peters got one as well Antilliaans Dagblad
Commented one politician "Many people will be gloating." Whatever gave him that idea?
As government party PLKP, just like opposition party FOL (with many leaders in jail), does not want DCA to go bankrupt, yet another government crisis looms up. By the way, they only filed for bankruptcy 6 weeks later.
Wise Leader Meanwhile, the island government may once again fell apart; this time upon deciding DCA had to file for bankruptcy, after all lawyers had to agree there was no other way. Errol Cova, the day before, was loudly declaring "he didn't want those lawyers to tell him it couldn't be done, he wanted them to tell him how it could be done." Reminds one of Hitler firing his generals and replacing them with inferior ones, when they didn't agree with him.
The coffers are empty What with one thing and another, the year is not over by a long way and government's budget deficit has grown from the planned ANG50M to over thrice that. Nobody can even guess if that includes the 100M DCA is in the red, or how many other surprises are still hidden. Next year, over 90% of the national income will go to interest and paying off debts. Small wonder the people of Bonaire opted with an overwhelming majority for a direct relation with Holland in their September referendum. 2004/09/26
New smoke stacks Public protests against Isla refinery pollution have grown so loud that, finally, our Wise Leaders have had to sit up and notice. It turns out environment agency Milieudienst, having no measuring facilities of their own, are totally dependent on what the refinery chooses to tell them. Meanwhile, Dutch research agency TNO has estimated that fixing the refinery will cost close to ANG1G (that's 9 zeroes), or $500M. (Only.)
The white substance that has been snowing down on the downwind barrios turns out to be carcinogenic; inhabitants have already warned officials not to come present them with free cans of paint this time. Meanwhile, the May 2004 TNO report remained "confidential" in October; SMOC Foundation has announced they will sue the government if it has not been published by October 7. By the way, geologists have known for decennia and reported so, that the volcanic islands Saba and St. Eustatius are potentially dangerous, as they are still active; this, too, is held confidential. Avoid panic at any cost! 2004/09/26
Our National Pride After four years and longer of disastrous management DCA Dutch Caribbean Airlines is gurgling down the drain fast. The final straw was an employment agency seizing all government payments to DCA, so there was no money to pay salaries over September 2004, even though another 12M guilders was reserved for that (nobody understands where that's supposed to come from).
EHOS hospital and Curoil joined the turmoil with more outstanding bills. Island government was deliberating full-time for over a week without arriving at a solution. Of course, now they blame the employment agency for their troubles. (The last few years DCA never paid any taxes or social security, either. No fines for them.) 2004/09/26
Traffic Controls After umpteen years of drivers blithely ignoring red lights and all that, finally traffic controls were started, resulting in 50-100 fines daily plus a number of confiscated cars of which documents were not in order. These are towed to a holding location (at the drivers' cost) and held there until they come pick them up (price tag 35 guilders/day). As it turns out, many owners don't come to do so, and the holding space is chock full, with some cars damaged because of this. Result: The cars will be auctioned, or something and that money will go to the Antillean government, leaving the island government empty-handed for their all efforts. Some smart politician came up with the idea to turn the holding place into a junkyard and sell parts. But who'll run the store? 2004/09/25
Let's get out of here... ... while the going's better than ever. There are strong signs, warned Gumbs, Curaçao politician in Holland, that a new wave of immigrators will be leaving for Holland shortly. But why should they want to leave this tropical paradise? Holland would rather see those already there leave and take their crime wave with them. 2004/09/23
Is Nobody Safe?
First FOL ex-minister of Justice Ben Komproe was arrested, together with Campo Alegre bordello madam Xiomaira Bakhuis and her son's lawyer, Gibi de Windt. Said son, bordello owner Giovanni van Ierland, is behind bars already for fraud, drugs and money laundering. One day later, FOL leader Baby Godett was arrested as well on yet another fraud charge (he is now appealing a 15 months conviction.) Commented one FOL party member: People just don't feel secure at all anymore. You are completely at the mercy of those guys [the public prosecutor]. That, at least, is a change.
PM IJs later declared he hoped no more arrests would follow, as this was bad for the politicians' image. Uh huh. Duh. IJs doesn't seem to understand either how a trias politica works, or he would refrain from all comment. When ex-PM Mirna Godett came to visit her brother she brought him a packet of clothes, where a later routine search found a portable phone in. Next day she called the prison to ask for it back; it had "fallen into the bag accidentally".
Meanwhile, the prosecutor kept arresting more and more suspects: Nelson Monte was detained anew, which means that, until the judge judges on all this, his time spent in jail does not count as serving his sentence. Tough. Later, Mirna Godett, a new suspect, was interrogated to go to the police twice in one day. For the time being, she's still free, but alleged to be guilty of forgery, fraud and being a member of a criminal organization (we hope that doesn't mean "the government".)
Political Scrabble® Newspapers report that members of the island government Bestuurscollege at the start of a meeting play some sort of word game, where they sit around a table and together fill out letters to find a word. This is supposed to improve communications between them. One can only hope for the best—anything that helps...
The Same All Over When our new plenipotentiary minister in den Haag gave a get-acquainted reception, the Dutch PM did not show up. It was claimed he had another, more important, appointment. The next day, that smart politician published in his weblog that he had spent a relaxing hour or two going for a sail, instead. Which once again shows which country we learned our habits from. 2004/08/13
Stick it on your drawer bottom The request by NCA Northeast Caribbean Airlines to start operating from Curaçao seems to have been buried deep down in a desk drawer. This is quite in the fine old local tradition of taping a letter to the bottom of your drawer so nobody else could find it, but it was there and could be produced in an hour of need. In this case, the delay is expected to be some three months. Nice to see how old customs are still being honored. 2004/08/10
Clown Collects Cash After High Court gave him a still longer jail term Godett started appeal in Holland, for which he needs ANG150K. A case can only be appealed for technical reasons in this stage. He went to Holland to collect it from Antillians living there; once there, he announced the greatest politician of the Antilles had arrived. He's only the greatest until 2012, because then sis Mirna will take over. Or so he seems to think.
Give those thumbscrews an extra turn The government needs money, now! So all tax assessments routinely are much too high; if you get money back this is deducted from a later, just as fake, assessment. Then, if you fail to pay (even if they just didn't notice you did pay) you get ridiculous fines and even higher assessments. The realistic upshot is that, when the chips are down, much less money has come in than bargained for. As you and I know all governments spend all money they've got (and then some), this guarantees still larger deficits. Our smart leaders only discovered this obvious fact because of questions and answers in the Dutch parliament. Of ANG116M in income tax assessments over 2003, only ANG5M was received. The total amount not collected exceeds the Dutch development aid. The Man blames it all on the tax payers, who, imagine his chagrin, hire tax consultants these days.
Tax Payers pay Political Propaganda
Ex FOL minister Adriaens, he of the illegal aliens, has proposed to give all parties an equal amount of money from the government, for election propaganda costs. New parties would get it as well, provided they can show enough signatures. As politicians are so fond of saying, no comment.
Football, Flag and Fascism on the Dia di Himno i Bandera [Day of Hymn and Flag]
The government, in dire financial straits, has spent ANG1M for our proud national football team to participate in the 2004 world soccer championship. (They lost their very first two matches.) Another ANG600K was spent on distributing the national (actually, Curaçao) flag for free. Everybody was supposed to go pick up their flags at the post office. But for that privilege you had to pay ANG1. You see, they wanted to register who came to pick up their flag (and, of course, who did not) and we had to pay for the registration. Shades of the Hangman's Bill?
Then, after all it was all in vain as they didn't manage to distribute more than half of the flags before the Big Day, July 2.
Political murders, yet?
When the Orange FOL party went back to the opposition, they started making rude noises about the police protection ex- and now, again P.M., Etienne IJs had received when FOL was still in power. Allegedly, the Prosecutor is investigating a brother of FOL's leader (and of our ex-PM Mirna Godett), who's suspected of having tried to hire a hit man from South America or from Cuba to get rid of IJs and of their own minister of justice Ben Komproe because he did not act powerfully enough against the same Prosecutor.
Anthony Godett was furious and announced he'd sue any newspaper publishing the brother's name. Almost immediately, Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau ANP and at least two newspapers did just that. It was the same guy that has been in prison before, which was the reason he couldn't become P.M. and sister Mirna had to take over. Check Prosecute the minister and Future meetings in jail. Godett finally wised up and decided not to sue.
As Curaçao harbor is just about our greatest asset, naturally everybody tries to get his finger in the pie. Result is that deliberations for a new island government got stuck in a rut: PLKP, the Pink Party, wants harbor company CPAandDCA airlines all for themselves. Meanwhile, all harbors over the world had to be certified before July 1, 2004 against terrorism; or forget it. Curaçao Port Authorities, who have a contract for 30 years instead of the legal maximum of 10, declared they were all set (after changing laws in a hurry a couple of weeks). It seems they were not so set; they had not arranged for independent auditing, which blew the whole scheme. But they finally made it in literally mere hours before the deadline. 2004/07/01
It's not only FOL always talking about Curaçao for the Curazoleños (Yu di Korsow), without giving a definition of what that means. Do you have to be black? Born here? Nobody knows. Their own delegated minister in Holland, Adriaens turns out to have used illegal aliens, without work permits, on his own plantation. They were taken away in handcuffs. He managed to give three different sets of statements to the press in less than 24 hours as the truth kept catching up with him. He was lucky to even be here, having flown down to try and fix something up for a new government. This did not succeed, but not to worry - we'll pay the bill.
Later, it turned out minister Komproe of the same FOL party illegally has been giving work permits, no visa needed, to all QUOTE ladies UNQUOTE who came to work here in the biggest whorehouse of the Caribbean, Campo Alegre, the owner of which is in jail for money laundering and drug-dealing. In a rare show of zeal, the Gezaghebber kicked them all off the island; now, for a while, you had to go find a junkie downtown for your needs (it's not so hard). The prostitutes sued the government and won; one reason was that the government lawyer had been instructed by PM Mirna Godett to keep his trap shut.
Pension Now! while I still can enjoy it... The circus may be closed for the season, but the clowns keep going on: Jacintha Constancia, whose schooling is just barely better than grammar school and who was not hired by SVB (Social Insurance) after her trial period there, as cousin of Baby Boss Godett got a nice little job as Deputy. She lost it when FOL got out of government, but no problem: All her deputy friends, including those of other parties, joined forces to create a new job for her, with a salary of over $4000/month. But then government workers got mad and wanted this looked into and the job was cancelled. Some things do seem to be changing? Her Boss himself got mad as well, but that may be just jealousy, as his salary is much lower than hers.
When Rignald Lak, he of the Mercedes, who has a habit of applying to the Lord in Heaven during his political orations, was defending this in the Bestuurscollege, he got so excited that he suffered a stroke and had to be taken to hospital. At least, that's the official story: Malicious tongues hold that the same Lord lost patience and struck him with a lightning bolt.
photo Antilliaans Dagblad
The entire procedure turns out to have been illegal and shows how controlling elements put there by law, like the gezaghebber who's also head of police, shamelessly have joined the gang that's robbing us. Picture above from the Bestuurscollege meeting where they were forced to retract their decision. As it turns out, in some nine months the island government has grown by some 10% with jobs given away.
Future meetings in Jail? Minister of justice Ben Komproe turns out to have instructed the prison director to keep Nelson Monte in the hospital on "social indication", a condition not provided for by law. He should have been returned to his cell on December 16, 2003, as his doctor then declared him cured. Yet another illegal act of Komproe. Let's hope for the best so we get rid of one more crook. It's a beginning.
As Komproe and his Godettfather did not want to give in, this finally resulted in the crash of their, using the word loosely, government; their main coalition partners have resigned their posts. If somebody asks "What happens next?" the only reply is "That's a good question." Boss Godett, with his own retrial coming up next week, announced on April 5 that his ministers will not step down. But the very same day, they did. Good riddance, too. Not to worry: A rich source of clown jokes may have dried up, but there's plenty of other politicians left. Let's wait and see who'll be the next to grace this page.
In the last week of April 2004, the Prosecutor searched the prison cells of Nelson Monte as well as those of bordello Campo Alegre boss and his lawyer, who are in for money laundering and drug dealing. Burning question is, Does the police need a search warrant to search a prison inmate's cell? The first week of May, this was followed up by a search of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministers' Council secretariat offices; the prosecutor suspects having hit a trail of official corruption. Monte was pardoned on Christmas Eve 2004 because of his physical condition. 2004/03/17
compare Amigoe photo with Kees Brusse playing the Godfather of a crooked Dutch family in 1972 movie VD
Cover it with Orange Paint After all that time he's been in office, minister of Justice Ben Komproe finally announced his measures to fight crime, for which he reserved ANG1M/$555K. Next day, Bestuurscollege (island council) announced they will spend ANG200K/$110K for the same. To put this in perspective, in the past month they have been painting their building orange, the FOL party color (it used to be yellow—such childishness). A fair guesstimate is this painting job has cost over ANG10K, which indicates how important they think their War on Crime is. Since FOL lost power early April 2004, we'll accept bets on when the building will be re-painted, in what color.
Fat Black Smoke Milieudienst wants Isla refinery to clean up its act: heavy pollution, which at times might get to be over 1000 times Isla's own norms. Otherwise Isla will be fined heftily. Trouble here may be that such a fine would have to be imposed by Bestuurscollege, the island council. The best of luck to Milieudienst - they may need it as much as we do. Isla's first come-back is, Milieudienst has to use Isla's own figures on pollution and may not measure on their own. Duh.
One week later, Stichting Humanitaire Zorg (Humanitarian Care Foundation) started proceedings against Isla and the government's controlling organization, not only for pollution but even for manslaughter. The foundation also plans to charge Isla for crimes against humanity at international courts of justice. We hold their hats and cheer them on. As it turns out, PdVSA measurements are secret, but other measurements have been taken. As published by SMOC Foundation April 2004:
Prosecute the Minister Minister of Justice Komproe's threats against the public prosecutor seem to have been made without the knowledge of the Council of Ministers, which constitutes an illegal act punishable by a maximum of 3 years in prison. Let's hope for the best: May the prosecutor prosecute.
Patience with the patient Nelson Monte, behind-the-scene leader of FOL convicted for corruption, is not in jail but in hospital because of "heart trouble". There are complaints about political meetings in his room and the heavy cigar smoke drifting out on the corridor. Six guards have been detached for hospital duty, which is costing a fortune. Other prisoners are manacled by hands and feet when they have to go see a doctor. Monte was finally removed to jail in April 2004, after his stay in hospital had caused the government to fall. He was put in the psychiatric ward where guards could check on his condition. 2004/02/17
PM storms out of meeting Playing PM seems a heavy load to carry, for ours. After some vehement discussions with a couple of ministers and other dignitaries, she got soooh mad that she threw her wee president's hammer over to minister Cova and left in a Heavy Huff. She didn't want to play any longer with those guys who didn't agree with her. Seems not to have been her first eruption, either. 2004/01/24
PM meets the press from godett.com (in Dutch) all about Godett's performers' troupe
Fight at PM press meeting Prime Minister Louisa-Godett got mad at a journalist's "typically mean" question; a fierce struggle ensued when she tried to pull paperwork out of her hands, crumpling it into a ball. PM then barred journalist Marjo Nederlof from her press conferences; newspaper Amigoe sued and won. The government thinks they can win an appeal. We'll see. Unlike her brother's, to layman me her case looks more like paranoia with a heady dash of inferiority feelings. Rumors started in March 2004 that she's under such tension that she may need clinical treatment.
2004/01/15 (In September 2004, the appeal was retracted.)