and here they are:
maybe not so funny
refreshing your memory:
the conscience many political clowns lack
© Walt Disney Productions
when they were still great
selection of acts in Curaçao's political circus, starting with the most recent ones.
If any organization is left alone, the lightweights will rise to the top.
Hal Lewis to the American Physical Society
from Number Watch
plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery
from Political Clown Parade
up since June 2011 versus this page June 2003
It seems we've made some spelling mistakes:
putting an extra "R" in Asjes' name (like in "Arsjes-R-Us™")
so if you use the search engine, look for both versions so you won't miss a thing
oh yes and we sincerely apologize - really!
Cft financial supervision worries, like most of us, about delays in saving measures connected with the civil servants. Just so. They're also worried about Aqualectra utilities, CDM Dock, and C***-Post. Quite. The 2015 budget estimates these guys will pay 36 million guilders in dividends, but for some reason Cft doubts this. Exactly.
They Never Seem to Learn
Curinde (Curaçao Industrial Development) is a government-owned company. Yeah, one of those. So they fired all directors, but then canceled the firing of one—who "just happens" to be the president of Pueblo Soberano party (you know, those fighting corruption).
Remains to Be Seen
During the budget presentation in staten MFK PM Shorty stated that "in the coming months" a Memory of Understanding will be signed with Venezuela. After more negotiations between Isla refinery and Venezuela PdVSA decisions will be taken on renewing and upgrading the refinery.
Both Aqualectra will switch to lighter grade fuel oils as well as BOO for which it was designed anyway; most breakdowns seem to be caused by the fact that burning "pitch"—as in asphalt lake—is cheaper. But Shorty claims that fuel prices will go down and, as a result, our energy prices will be 30% lower. About time, too. If and when; "it will take at least half a year."
There actually is one even before the year has started, for a welcome change. Not everybody is impressed. For one, the new hospital that's sure to be a main item somehow doesn't show up on it. PAR also figures there's far too little time to discuss in parliament several rather complicated matters.
About Time, 2 (or Much More)
Next year, Isla refinery will be closed for 75 days as the cat-cracker needs a thorough maintenance job. The news that before this year ends the government promises to present a plan for continued exploitation of a much cleaner Isla with much less pollution may have to do with this.
We can only wait and see.
PM Shorty Wises up, Puts up and Shuts up
A welcome change. After nobody in the Dutch Kingdom meetings wanted to have anything of his high-handed demands for Statuut changes (and maybe the signature action helped) not one more peep came out of him and he signed the final papers like a good little kid.
Monk Eats Humble Pie
The judge decided Walroud does not need to apologize to sinister Monk for saying that Monk had asked for death by hanging for the forty traitors (Monk didn't and Walroud has publicly retracted long since); neither does Walroud have to retract his letter to Amnesty International, nor to burn the gallows used at a public demonstration. Must be one of the weirdest court claims ever, that; should go to Guinness! Monk does have to pay for Walroud's court costs.
On another front, Monk finally could get himself to apologize to the Curaçao people for saying he'd have been a member of FARC if he were still living in Colombia. Monk did not go so far, though, as to say that in that case he would not be a member of FARC; so now we know for sure.
Ambitious Plans for CDM
MFK sinister El Hakim announces Great Plans for Curaçao Dok CDM. They have been working on them for nine weeks already and know how to turn around from [over] ten years of losses and misery to a profit of ANG45M/year in less than five years. CDM must become a maritime center, it must become "green" (paint over the rust will help) and more locals must be trained to work there.
Pity that Damen's Shipyards commented that nobody had talked with them and certainly not about these grandiose plans.
Small Wonder It's Worried
Someone with the alias "debezorgdeburger" [worried citizen] yesterday sent an email from a gmail address (that meanwhile disappeared without a trace—wise guy) containing files on MFK sinisters Jamaloodin and El Hakim from diverse tax persons (income, wages and property). The documents show both still have debts there of ANG500K-ANG1M, which contradicts PM Shorty's statements that they have an arrangement with The Person. Dutch parliament wants a cosy talk on all this next week.
The First Act is over and the curtain is still down. PS sinister Monk's promised press conference for today will be held 'Some Other Time.' Meanwhile, both PAR and FØOL insist he should step down and even apologize to the Colombia ambassador (hey, Godett, don't blow your chances! Or did you smell out a coming change in the weather? Too bad, then it probably won't come—just when we needed one.)
Monk's secretary says he must have meant Fundacion Arco Iris, FAI. No Cuban cigar, Monk; that's not even close. Melvin Cijntje, PS party committee member, rather weakly suggests Monk "must have been joking." Sure; a belly-full of laughs, that one.
An advertisement by Movementu: Mi ta skohe pa e relashon den Reino [Movement: I choose for the relation in the Kingdom], signed by PAR Emily de Jongh-Elhage, calls for voters sending e-mails to Dutch parliament and the Dutch representative in Curaçao stating their wish. It has since been scanned and started making the rounds by email. You can read it here, in Dutch, with all the links intact.
Too bad we'll probably never find out how many emails came in there.
Did I Say FARC? I Meant... Uuuh...
PS sinister Monk declared that, yes, he's from Colombia and if he was living there now, he'd have joined FARC. We knew it all the time, after all he joined poor substitute PS. Later, he let it be known that he meant a quite different organization and in a press conference tomorrow he'll explain which one. No doubt he and his staff are maniacally delving through Colombian web sites and telephone books tonight to come up with a reasonable look-alike.
Unsurprisingly, this loser would join a criminal out-law terrorist gang financed by the coke-trade that's as good as defeated. Remember how FOL suddenly exploded and then imploded? There's a parallel here with PS. Could be wishful thinking, I admit. Oh yes, quite possibly!
Stinking Up Again
Eleven schools sent three thousand kids home this morning because (you'll never guess... how did you?) Isla refinery was stinking up again. It's a New Record!
Trouble seems to have begun when, after six weeks (again?!) of non-activity because of BOO-maintenance, the cat-cracker was restarted. There's also talk of an oil-spill but not to worry folks, nothing dangerous has leaked. Trust Gijsbertha, Isla director.
Dreaming the Megalomanic Nightmare
Old FOØL Adriaens, director of Hato Airport, still licking its Alterra wounds and even lacking the money to keep proper maintenance going (not to mention the FAA disaster), has announced they intend to have an "Airport City" in less than ten years from now. It will contain a shopping plaza, a parking garage, a 25,000 visitor entertainment hall and a "super-modern" hotel and also (really, no kidding!) a baseball center with training facilities and a university with campus. Adriaens fully expects the so-called Spaceport to be operating in 2014. He's also bragging again about the enormous amounts of money to be saved by an as yet unproven cooling system, but forgot to mention the Eco Park.
All this has been thought out by Swiss Nüesch Development consortium whose con artists may be even better than Alterra's.
To accomplish all this, the old airport terminal will have to be demolished and also the new one, only finished in 2005.
Don't Disturb Him
Sinister Jamaloodin announced he's "studying" the CFATF report and that Curaçao can comment on its 49 negative points regarding money laundering and financing terrorism "in the coming period of time."
Predictably Stereotypical Behavior
The den Haag Koninkrijksconferentie will probably go nowhere, as Curaçao essentially wants to end the Statuut and Holland thinks the partners should for now continue to work within Statuut and Slotaccoord; the last thing Shorty and his
mollaccomplice van Rijn want. Other partners Aruba and St. Maarten, who agree with Holland, might as well have staid home.
After all was said and done, Shorty wised up and swallowed a piece of humble pie, claiming those were just rumors, he never wanted to talk about independence. Now those Dutch are nagging him what, then, all the clamor was about?
Just saw a list of electricity tariffs in the U$A. They're worried: highest is Californica at 14.75¢/Kw or ANG0.27 [pee-nuts, Shorty would like 'em]. Oh hang on, that's the continental USA. Hawaiï, most expensive state, pays ANG0.51. We pay over 60 now. No doubt because wind energy is free (coïncidentally, also extensively tried in Hawaiï and Californica, which may help explain it.)
They Gave Up
guysscientists who've been predicting next year's hurricane season for twenty years threw up their hands in the air and admitted none (as in zerø) of their predictions had ever come true. They're stopping their December "coming season" predictions but will continue having a look at the coffee grounds later in the season.
You have to give the guys their due. The rest of those
predatorspredictors just go on with their act.
Insular Doesn't Like It
Inselair has gone to court (they love doing that, don't they?) to try and stop DAE from leasing an MD-83 from Falcon Air as it does not belong to DAE (once again, I can only tell you what the newspapers write.) Insel even points to a precedent, when Insel in 2006 was forbidden to work with SLM. Still, predecessor DCA habitually used foreign charters for flights CUR-AMS.
PM Shorty may have an X-Mas surprise for us, waiting to be unpacked at the Koninkrijksconferentie next week in den Haag, Holland. But (well, almost) everybody, now joined by Kòrsou Uní, is warning him that he shouldn't insist there on complete autonomy as that exceeds his mandate by the last referendum. What are you afraid of, guys?
UTS Telecommunications wants to fire all their temporary personnel as per February 28 and to replace them with steady workers. The temp[orary worker]s can apply for the jobs as well, but may not work for UTS during 3 months and 1 day; temps who feel they are underpaid should complain with the agency, not UTS. The temps are outraged and went on strike at once, but for me it's hard to see why. Maybe because I haven't been able to hang on to a steady job since 1966?
Errol Bakoba is representing them, so let's wish them good luck.
The government has agreed to a 3 year lease of license-plate printing machines from a private company. We can read in the newspaper how much everything will cost (leasing, import of raw stock, bla bla bla and so on) except for two, as the popular expression is these days, "crucial" details: How many license plates must be printed and what will be the resulting cost per license plate? As if those journalists care.
Look What We Got: a Guardian
CFATF Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (who thinks of all those names?) has finished a report on Curaçao. Shortly and unsurprisingly, it's a mess and the follow-up investigation amounts to a (temporary) guardianship on money laundering and terrorism financing. Some slight comfort can be derived from the fact that Aruba did even worse.
On something called Miljonair Fair in Amsterdam there's a model of the Lynx space craft. You can buy tickets for a trip on this vomit comet; turns out, they have sold a Grand Total of 45 already. That's about USD4M worth... doesn't sound so good. Or, depending on your point of view, sounds very promising.
Hey Shorty, why don't we apply for membership of the Alliance of Small Island States? After all, with the dreaded Global Warming uhh Climate Change... oho, no new term yet to replace the old wasted one nobody believes in any longer? Somebody's slipping up! Just found out: Climate Disruption! Yeah, that's got a ring to it... might be useful for a couple of months.
Where was I? O yeah, sea level is sure to rise so much that by 2500 (or later) Willemstad will be under water, complete with almost all hotels plus Aqualectra, BOO and Isla refinery; it's not all bad. And maybe those rich bastard countries pay up so well, you could afford that Ferrari after all.
Have to confess I never knew Suriname and Guyana were islands! Must be, they're both members. And Cuba, "small?"
USD75M Blown in the Wind
That's the equivalent of ANG135M for the renewal of the wind generators on Playa Kanoa and Tera Corá. The press mentions "two parks of ten mills", leaving us to guess if that's a total of 20 or 5 per park. We're sure to find out: the beasts will be 80 meters high with a prop diameter of 45, making them 125m high (1/3 of our highest hill, St. Christoffel).
These monstrosities are now called "turbines" as that has a more modern ring, I can only guess. A turbine is something quite different from a mill, though.
In two weeks, action group Dushi Kòrsou has collected 4021 signatures, which is twice what they expected. That's 5% of the total votes (79761) in the last referendum. The initiators will now notarize the signatures and go to the governor with a petition for an independent committee to investigate the ministers' integrity.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Who's to Blame?
This is getting awkward. Trying to establish a web-account somewhere, with a pull-down list of countries to choose from. No Curaçao on there, so I selected Netherlands Antilles. Uh uh... may be on the list, but doesn't exist. So now it's official: we're off the map, girls.
A Regular Nuisance
Arsjes wants Holland to apologize for slavery and to recompense Curaçao for crimes committed in the past. An "international committee" (he says, most impressive) has concluded in 1999 that Europe and the USA should pay 777G (a lucky number!) make-good USD to African countries (which ones? Egypt? oh, Nigeria!) Which leaves us here penniless, anyway, even if he told us what committee that was.
A couple of international friends and I gathered in a bar some years ago and after several rounds we noisily arrived at the conclusion our governments had stolen a lot of money from us, also quite legally, and we sang out our official protest accordingly to the bartender. She didn't even give us drinks on the house so we made her put her top back on.
Hey Arsjes, how about your government recompensing us for crimes being committed right now? (Read on below...) But we must empathize, he probably reached the limit on his credit card.
Several members of Dutch parliament state that, with the Curaçao government behaving like it does, the island should become independent at once. Proving once more they don't know their *** from their mouth. It's only the government you deal with, not the people, stoopits.
Maybe they think they're doing what their voters want. Wake up, guys and dolts.
Wait and See
After years of fighting in court, the owner of the classic Cinelandia city center cinema has lost his final appeal and what's left of the building may not be demolished. There's not much more to restore by now than an empty shell: a façade to cover a completely new building. Architect Klaus of ProMo[numents] says the fine is so low relative to the terrain's worth that it gives little protection. "It's up to the government now to restore the building"—continue breathing.
No Ferrari, No Volt
Rumors abounded that a USD500K+ Ferrari Enzo had arrived for MFK PM Shorty, but it doesn't seem to be true. It's the fact that everybody was ready to believe it that makes it interesting.
Schotte does have stated that next month the first Chevrolet Volt will arrive here. This was news for Chevrolet agent Auto-City, who points out there is no trained service personnel, no spare parts and no charging points on the island. But by now we should be used to Schotte asserting whatever.
Would be pretty stupid to drive around on Curaçao highways, such as they are with a maximum allowed speed of 80km/hr (57mph), in a Ferrari and we never said Shorty's stupid. Then again, a lot of so-called smart guys (bankers, accountants, lawyers) drive around in Beemers and such.
Beter Late than Never
MFK sinister Hakim, he of Hizbollah, has (re)started negotiations with Dutch Damen Shipyards about CDM/DOK and by the end of January 2012 they will have a meeting "on possible cooperation." Damen doesn't deny it this time.
Rosalia Won't Like It
But who cares about that has-been? For the time being, UNA Universiteit van de Nederlandse Antillen [university of the NA] will not be changed to, as we told you wrong before, UoC or even, as ex-sinister Rosalia wanted, University of Curaçao mr. dr. Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez. Thank goodness, who's got time to spell all that out?
It was later changed, I understand, but nobody ever uses that name. (The UNA façade isn't long enough to spell it out.)
Not So Sweet
Just some kvetsching for the sake of kicking up dust, or mud, or worse: even though we don't have anything to do with the USofA in this respect, all our sugar has the same artificially high prices the American Citizens have been forced to pay—since 1812 (rings a bell, if not cannons...)—to protect their own industry. 78% over and above world prices. Robbery! Don't get me going 'afore I start foaming at the mouth and other unmentionable body openings.
It's the same in €urope, there too it has been going on since that (words fail me) Napoléon. Thankfully in this household we consume like 1 kilo a year, or less.
Eight government department heads have gone to court in protest against their not being promoted to full-fledged functions. Earlier the judge had given government three months to take a decision, but those guys are too busy elsewhere. Now it's all on again. What a waste.
Dutch Donner declares he's satisfied with PM Shorty's application to Transparency Int'l while several Dutch parliament members are not. Now Antilliaans Dagblad interviewed Alejandro Salas, Regional Director Americas T.I. Berlin. Turns out that after an email, Shorty had his right hand Stella van Rijn call T.I. once, but balked at its asking price of €100K to 200K, which is where matters stand: T.I. has not been given the go-ahead. While we by now are quite used to Shorty's distortions (to put it politely), Donner's wholehearted approval gets weirder and weirder. What's his game?
Wesley Kook, director of Selikor, has received a letter that his contract will not be renewed after 1 June 2012, when it expires.
Only 5 out of 9 Selikor directors agree with this action. Workers have started an anonymous action protesting Kook's discharge which they feel is "purely political" and has "caused enormous tensions which will soon lead to an eruption."
In any case, the case in court between Selikor and Arsjes has been postponed until January 9.
Nope, They Won't Make It
Even with Holland's help, Curaçao won't be able to meet the date of December 15 for complying with the US FAA's requirements. It won't be before "mid 2012"; if you think that's vague, so do we.
Mudbelly Cooper claims the FAA is "impressed by the corrective acts" taken by his department. Huh. Big deal, anybody could say that. Besides, I am not impressed nor (like Queen V.) even amused.
I Was Held Prisoner on Scientology's Freewinds
Who knows if it's true? But an Australian woman claims she has been held prisoner for six years (or twelve, depending on whom you'd believe) by Scientology (who of course denies.) True or not, it's a national disgrace that this what in other countries is regarded a criminal organization is allowed to operate here. Another legacy of ex-PM Maria Liberia-Peters.
Ali Baba hhh Was One
Rosenmöller declared that PM Shorty was one of the forty "traitors" who talked with him. Hang the villain by his feet! Cut off his... 'but that's neither hear nor dare (drat, rong again.) Anyway, Schotte denies—but he would, wouldn't he? Right, or should that be, wrong? One gets so easily mixed up writing in a foreign tongue, or dealing with politicians.
Dutch Don't Agree
Shorty repeats his allegations that
PAR"political competitors" incited VDC security to discredit members of the present government (with no proof of his allegations and no details on what was in the report.) While minister Donner, for what must be reasons of his own because nobody can explain them, says he's satisfied with PM Shorty's application to Transparency International, Dutch Tweede Kamer parliament not so much. Several members want a parliamentary discussion on it.
We also learn that the Transparency Int'l procedure is expected to take well over a year. But the signature action for a new independent investigation is still underway; and so is Walroud's letter to Amnesty International.
Those in power once again couldn't care less and didn't even appear in a court case started by a former recorder whose function had not been extended. Because of alleged credit card abuse she was fired—by (are you ready for this?) Arsjes.
So That's Why
Five civil servants have gone to court because the government does not follow correct procedures in posting people on jobs. Instead of promoting government workers, they hire new outsiders. Small wonder the amount of civil servants keeps growing, then.
Nobody of our
bossesrulers was interested enough to show up in court.
Conflict of Interests
The Curaçao government declares it wants to get rid of the kingdom's supervisory function. They say "in the future."
Too bad, boys, we want it to stay, as per referendum. For now.
Credit Rating: Not Standard Nor Poor
Standard & Poor's credit rating for Curaçao is A-. Compare with the USA who almost panicked when recently the rating was reduced from AA+ to AA. MFK sinister Jamaloodin says the rating is relatively high because of this government's "firm approach"—but PAR Sullivan remarks that S&R's report specifically mentions as positive points those that were agreed upon in the slotaccoord, which Jamaloodin c.s. opposed.
The Mud Thickens
The Asphalt Lake Review of all Asphalt Lake circus acts since 2003:
— 2005: Aqualectra somehow acquires "rights" to the lake. FOL states it's a "criminal act of blackmail". Question rises: Who and how has Aqualectra been blackmailing? (Nothing more is ever heard from FOL or Aqualectra; more matter for wondering.)
— 2006: Hapo BV (one totally unexperienced applicant from several) wins the right to "exploit" the asphalt lake. Hapo is represented by Aqualectra's Steven Martina.
— 2007: Milieudienst environmental dept. guarantees that removing the Asphalt Lake is completely safe and will do no harm. The extremely heavy contents will be used for BOO (which has been designed for light fuel grades.)
— 2010: A start is made to remove the tar and sell it to Petrobras Brazil for asphalt. DOK/CDM workers complain about the "hellish stench" exuding; work is stopped and resumed after installing an air filter. It has to be stopped again in one day, because DOK/CDM goes on strike in protest; exit Hapo or whoever it is.
— 2011: The last proposal is to fill up the lake with concrete; a very good reason to take Green Town's green ideas with a heavy dose of salt.
An anonymous source, so I don't have any means of confirming it (many thanks anyway!) writes me (edited from Dutch):
"It's even worse [than described]. Shell was also prepared to clean the asphalt lake at a cost of around USD400million. But Curaçao/NA governments thought they could do it cheaper, and Shell paid them the amount after signing a secret agreement. This led to serious trouble between Shell-NL and Shell-UK: the British were furious that the refinery had been given away for free, and even worse, that all that money had changed hands without any guarantees that the asphalt lake would indeed be cleaned up."
This explains why Shell will never be sued by the Curaçao government (and why well-meant actions like this will never lead anywhere—a waste of energy. Like I have said elsewhere, much less blame attaches to Shell Oil than it gets.)
This Dream Is Green
There has been a meeting on Green Town that would replace Isla refinery. Most interesting item was that Shell wanted to and would have cleaned up the entire mess, but that then PM Maria Liberia-Peters wanted to take over exploitation, so we got stuck with it.
The initiators may deserve more respect than the Isla-PdVSA-government triad, but seem to be boondoggled by naïve idealism, political over-correctness and a blindingly green philosophy. Then, one wonders what the statement "clearly the majority of the population wants the refinery to change" actually means in practice. Newspaper Antilliaans Dagblad's comment "it all seems too good to be true" just about sums it up. A pity, but no death-knell.
Well, It Has Been Tried
Earlier, we told about Aquafund receiving a kick where it would do most good, as Shorty (for once right) did not feel like Curaçao being a testing ground for unproven techniques; in this case using wind energy to produce hydrogen to burn in generators. Shorty was wrong at the same time: such a system has been tried in Germany; as it turns out, it has a 19% efficiency.
Churning in the Mud
(tune: Singing in the Rain). Monk has gone to court; he wants Walroud to retract his allegations that Monk wanted death by hanging for the traitors and to retract his letter to Amnesty International (in which letter there's no mention of death for traitors.)
While Dutch ministers act as if PM Shorty's faint of running to Transparency Int'l is an adequate reaction, Dutch parliamentaries think differently and want an investigation by Dutch Recherche (analog to FBI) or AIVD (analog to CIA). Dutch SP member van Raak stated "Holland is and remains responsible for good governance in Curaçao."
Here, people are starting to wonder if governor Goedgedrag was even aware of the contents of the screening report when he gave Shorty the go-ahead. More, people are finally getting so fed up that they want to take action.
It's totally, pathetically obvious that Shorty and His Gang will do everything to avoid publishing any contents at all of that report. It must be really bad.
They have to publish or must just go; it's simple as that.
A New Job?!
Van der Veen, who was fired as financial director of Aqualectra because of "mismanagement" is now been talking with PM Shorty to become director of BTPU (utilities, post and telecommunications.)
But he refused and was then "summoned" to take a vacation lasting his collected free days; if he refuses he will be suspended for two monts. Van der Veen announced he refuses.
PM Shorty and his gang must be transpiring. It transpires that they are asking Transparency International to investigate government integrity. Dutch parliament doesn't think that's enough; the individual ministers should be investigated—like has been done before. But it's understandable Shorty's clowns don't want a repeat performance.
Akshon Dushi Kòrsou has started collecting signatures to insist on a new independent investigation. They have printed 80,000 forms, distributed at supermarkets, but they are also downloadable in Papiamentu or Dutch.
Tips Not Tax Free
They changed their minds! After first announcing personnel won't have to pay tax over tips, now only those over and above the "service charge" on the bill will be tax-free. If and when the employer does pay the service charge to hire personnel (most stick to it like glue) they have to pay tax. If she doesn't pass it on, it must pay the tax himself.
Extra tips can't be checked on anyway, you say? No problem for the tax person; it just charges an imaginary amount. And tax persons have a great, if limited, imagination.
Stephen Walroud, initiator of the Grupo 40 tells newspaper Antilliaans Dagblad that the group is getting more structured. They now plan to have the VDC-report checked by an international private investigating organisation and are looking at two to make a choice from. The report will be presented to "the Curaçao people and parliament."
Sounds good, but what then? The people generally seem to accept what's in the VDC-report and government can't act upon it. Obviously it's the governor who has failed to stop Shorty and his gang when there was a chance.
The VDC report is now a mere source of "Is! Is not!" quarrels so I don't even bother to keep you informed of all that. Do have a copy of the "leaked memo"; it's in rather bad Dutch and it's hard to check on its accuracy (which doesn't mean it's not correct.)
JOKE China invented a machine that catches 1000 thieves per hour.
Japan bought one and it worked fine there as well.
So our government thought they'd try one on Wilhelminaplein, hot-bed of government workers.
It got itself stolen in less than 5 minutes.
Still at It
Raad van Advies advisory council warns that, as government income is not showing any growth for 2012, it is "not expedient" to augment the number of civil servants now. Duh.
While one of the supposed advantages of independency was getting rid of a surplus of civil servants, we now have more parasites than a year ago, after all those working for the Netherlands Antilles had been added to those working for Curaçao.
A Real Setback
Brazilian airline GOL has decided to choose Santo Domingo rather than Curaçao as their hub for 737 flights from Brazil to the USA. Dominican media write the 200 weekly GOL flights mean about 780 jobs immediately, with 2500 associated jobs, while Curaçao's Chamber of Commerce claims a loss of "over 3000 jobs, 2.1 millions of passengers and 75,000 tons of freight per year" (ANG30million/year earnings for Hato). Hato airport director Adriaens pooh-poohs the idea that GOL's decision has to do with FAA's downgrade of Hato. But he has to admit that this may have caused hesitations for US airlines that wish to link to GOL's hub.
Who thinks of those names? Anyway, we now have precious little more information on the grandiose plans to build a boulevard, beach and islands on the Willemstad Punda shore. Here's a plan, combined with a Google Earth view.
Looks to my jaundiced eye like a lot of houses along the coast will lose their view on the sea. Also looks like the proposed road connecting the islands runs right along the edge of the coral reef (where the sea color changes to dark blue). There are no buildings on the new islands now, but it's hard to believe they will not appear in the future.
The initiator says that he will completely finance the first phase. How about the following phases? After all, this is only about 1/5th of the total plan.
However, it remains to be seen what Havendienst Port Authority has to say about this. They tend to refuse any intervention in the current patterns near the harbor mouth. We also haven't had a chance to look at the vaunted ecological report that's supposed to exist, made up by an unnamed entity.
PAR sees little added value in the enormous number of official tours our parliament and ministers have started to make. Neither do we. Those guys must have money to burn.
It's very rare that we have some good words to say about Aqualectra, so we rejoice that this is one occasion. Next year, in the process of augmenting total capacity from nominally 160MW to 210MW, a combined cycle gas turbine will be bought from General Electric, a USD240M deal. No fair guessing how much will stick to the skimming tool; even then, with business as usual, this sounds like a much more realistic move than other, downright harebrained, schemes.
Aqualectra claims the present capacity is 210 MW but BOO and the Mundo Nobo Aggreko generators, actually meant for emergency back-ups, are under-performing. As the wind generators we look out upon aren't even turning, we take it these don't deliver their stated 30MW either.
Funny that the press release states that GE is a green company avoiding fossil fuels. Hey, isn't gas a fracking fossil fuel? But people who love the word "green" don't tend to think.
How Can That Be?
In more civilized countries, like Aruba, the yearly number of traffic deaths is 6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Here, we're already at 24—now. Mudbelly Cooper doesn't get it; he keeps
wastingspending money on reducing road width and putting in speed bumps and it doesn't seem to help one bit! Just as we suspected.
In our humble opinion, all these things distract the driver, so she's forced to pay less attention where he should. But hey! check this out for a refresher course.
In the USA there are now over fourteen thousand (14,000) wind turbines rusting away, as operating them is so expensive that it's just not worth it without subsidies; paid with tax funds, of course. So much for "free wind energy."
Even the Dutch have given up on their grandiose ideas of building extensive wind parks in the North Sea. They just can't afford it.
It may tiresome to read about this, but it's even more tiresome to write about it.
After the Heineken Regatta, so has been announced proudly, 80kg of aluminum beer cans had been collected. We did a little figuring: with an average weight per can of 14.7g, that represents almost 5500 cans. Respectable, yes. Total value in the scrap market? USD167.20 or ANG301 (but first you have to ship 'em over).
The PS strong-arm-squad may break jaws, but Segundo Demei found the party may break laws they voted for: "who undertakes an attempt to separate part of the kingdom" [een aanslag onderneemt om een deel van het Koninkrijk af te scheiden, article 2:2 of the criminal law] is liable to get thirty years in prison. Demei wants to have the PS party statutes checked.
For Once, He's Right
Aquafund wants to do business with utility Aqualectra, who should buy all its future power needs from Aquafund's HTG (hydrogen turbine generators) and keep its diesel generators on stand-by. But PM Shorty insists on a "thorough investigation of the feasibility and applicability" as "new technologies should have proved themselves elsewhere before."
The last thing Aquafund wants! Wind-mill generated hydrogen: yet another dream blowing in the wind. Maybe you can google up a working project, but we couldn't; the closest we came was this.
Another Aquafund dream is to supply Florida with power from Cuba; in the future, naturally. The far future, I'd guess.
Let's Get This Straight
It's "inevitable" says Shorty's government that car tax [wegenbelasting] goes up in 2013. Figures. But their reasons! Because the proceeds from that tax should be applied to road maintenance, which has not been done in the past, there now is a shortage and the roads cannot be fixed, so the tax should go up. So there.
The idea comes from MAN Mudbelly Cooper; the very same guy who in 2006 was throwing away road maintenance money on X-Mas trees.
Oh, what a tangled web they weave...
Another Knot in the Tangled Web
It turns out (because of a heritage matter that stinks a grito abierto) that
Nelson PierrePierrot is spokesman for the van der Dijs family; who are connected with PM Shorty.
Finally, Caribiana published information on the conflict between sinister Wilsoe and the police. It started in the late 1970s when it caused the last Democrat Party government of PM Boy Rozendal to fall and has kept festering since. The police want more money, which at first sight seems reasonable; but Wilsoe is acting headstrong and doesn't want to give in for a cent. But if no accord is reached before 1 December, Wilsoe can forget the ANG30M, promised in the notorious slotverklaring, for reorganization of the police corps.
Norbert George has been the lonely only DP government rep. since then, until the party kicked him out before the last elections—and lost again.
That Would Be Too Simple; And Besides...
... think of the percentage! Letter-writer Pasman points out DOW public works knows very well that the solution to floods like the one caused by 2010 storm Tomás is quite simple: just clean out the clogged culverts so the water can run out. But MAN Mudbelly Cooper would rather spend many millions on dredging and such. Figures; there's no percentage in having his own department solve the problem.
Heard That One Before
PS sinister Monk has called in a lawyer's help to try and stop Stephen Walroud from approaching Amnesty International. Walroud sits back and waits; but he has retracted his claim that Monk mentioned the gallows as proper treatment for traitors. Read Walroud's letter here.
Others say that it's a shame Walroud hangs out our dirty laundry. You can bet we have had that same complaint... Sure, we should keep it all cosy indoors, never mind the stench.
If you ever wondered, that's exactly why this Circus is in English; warts and all.
Amigoe letter writer Lichtveld points out that Monk never tells us what he has said about "traitors" deserving "capital punishment." We're all getting curious—why not let us hear that tape?
For us, not so much—but what are those Swiss sponge-cheese-brained Chávez admirers going to do when the fat dictator dies, regretted by ever-so-few? Looks like it will happen in much less than a year. Maybe Venezuela will pick up from then. Cuban Crook Castro is definitely crumbling away as well; he's taking his time though. Tough cookie, say what you will. Øbama may not make it for his second term, either. The "good" news is,
USSRKGB Russia Putin is alive and well.
Are You Ready for This?
Aruba politician AVP Herdé accuses the Count of Monte Cristo of intervention in their internal affairs; Wiels criticizes their cooperation with Holland and calls Aruba "the center of neo-colonialism."
Band Behind Bars
The "prestigious" band Prestige was arrested in its totality (performers, roadies, groupies, family members) on their return to Amsterdam from Curaçao, after customs officers found 10 kilos of drugs in their instruments and taped to their bodies. Only a 4-month old baby was let go, even though it may have had drugs taped to its wee body, so cute.
Would be unmentionable here, were it not for the fact that one of the guys is a son of an MFK parliament member. This is a most stupid act for a band of musicians. Even Frank Zappa was stripped and searched on his first visit to Holland. But the Mothers were too smart to get caught - they sent someone over to go buy marihuana in the Vondelpark (right around the corner from Amsterdam's Concertgebouw).
Final upshot: after eleven of the fourteen members had been released, DJ/leader Bradley Balks announced he's disgusted and that he'll liquidate the band.
There's Beeg Trobbel between the police unions and justice sinister Wilsoe, all about an extra allowance of 4 guilders per nightly hour. Nobody's talking, so I can't give more details either.
Nos Mes Por: Holland Helps Hato (How Humiliating)
Holland extends a helping hand to help Hato keep their FAA status as an airport acceptable to US airlines. So much for Cooper and his big fat
bellymouth, always going on about how Holland doesn't keep promises and that we're better off doing it ourselves.
Later, Mudbelly shouts out that Curaçao will pay Holland for its help; no doubt using money Holland has given Curaçao.
He Never Said That, He Says
Sinister Monk denies he ever used the word "gallows" [pali horka] as a proper measure for the "forty traitors". As "a Christian he would never do so," and he double-dares Stephen Walroud to come with a tape proving it.
seelisten, I'd advise. Walroud may come with witnesses if he doesn't have a tape. I never heard Monk say it myself, but then again, I wouldn't; avoid ever listening to the guy.
Good for Isla, Bad for Smoc
Judge Loeb more or less gave the government and the refinery a free hand to continue polluting to their hearts' content; he judges the 1 September case will be thrown out on appeal and so, at least until then, business can proceed as usual.
Wilsoe the Joker
Sinister of justice Wilsoe, who replaces his PS gang boss Whirls during his absence, has "jokingly" announced that he will take measures against the public prosecutor and the rest of the "40 traitors". PAR Cecilia reminds him that he should take measures against his own boss before matters run out of hand.
More or less in sync, PAR ex-PM IJs announces that it will take quite some time before Holland takes action on the Rosenmöller conclusions. We knew it all the time. After all, didn't Donner and Shorty just have a "frank discussion" on a harbor terrace? Too bad nobody told us what they talked about.
Anyway, as it turns out Shorty has until November 18 before the Dutch government has its next meeting on the subject. Is it incidental it just now became public knowledge that in 1986 Holland and the USA considered military intervention in Suriname? Just asking.
It Just Ain't So
Agricultural foundation Soltuna's president van Baren explains that, no matter if the government announces locally grown vegetable prices will be lowered, they just won't be. They have not been raised for 15 years or so anyway. The situation has not improved by the reorganization of the sinistry of health and the demise of department of agriculture LVV. No surprise.
Dutch gossip magazine Story was quoted by Antilliaans Dagblad as giving some info on PM Shorty's bunch of by-sides and illegitimate children (he's a bastard himself in more than one sense) but after I moved heaven and earth to acquire a scan of that rag (or did you expect my spending hard-earned sour-dough on buying it?) turned out those cowards merely quoted an SP Dutch socialist party member. Duh!
Uh & Oh
The Police union has advised all their members to be standby as Beeg Trooble is expected. Sinister of Justice [hah—that's a joke!] Wilsoe does not have any come-back at all to their seemingly legit complaints. Maybe he has, at that; he just doesn't bother to reply.
Hah Hah Hah Hah Haaaaah!
In a letter to the Amigoe editor, Henk Pasman points out that Big Mouth Arsjes was born in... Rotterdam, Holland.
After years of legal procedures, Holland, to everybody's (well, almost everybody's) surprise kicked out Angolan illegal Dutch immigrant Mauro Manuel. Now Arsjes and Wheerls tell 'em he's welcome here. Then, after some years, he'll become Dutch (it's a cinch - for now) and can go live in Holland! Cool, man!
Hey, just a thought. Suppose he sticks on here? Climate's much better. Never thought of that, huh? Not that there's anything against Manuel, who just seems to've had the bad luck of getting caught in the notorious Dutch bureaucratic machinery.
Sick 'em, Fang
Walroud, one of the initraitors of the "K40" gang, threatens that if Monk doesn't retract his words on "hang the traitors!" (yes, we paraphrase), he'll lodge a complaint with Amnesty International.
But, as former PNP MP Liberia-Pieters remarks (you gotta admit, at least she knows the law, the better to get round it?) remarks, the letter Arsjes has sent to Parlatino is totally beside whatever point whatsoever (just as you and I expected)—those guys can only act after the government asks 'em. Another smoke-screen. One thing, I'll grudgingly admit, those guys are good at.
Hey, Stevie, are you a Palestinian by any chance? If not, the best of luck.
Cijntje, Wiels' puppet-in-chief, tried to hand a protesting letter by Wiels (who HH is safely out of the country) to visiting Dutch queen Beatrix. (She never even touched it, let alone peruse the contents.) Couldn't help noticing Cijntje is just as short as Wheerls and maybe then some.
Haven't read it, but could it possibly be a rambling letter? Hey, could it possibly be anything else?
Sure It's Safe(?)
No surprise once again. Many tourist people are cancelling their bookings for a nice Curaçao vacation because it's unsafe for honkies. Apartments are remaining empty. Whoodathunkit? Whatever gave them such foolish ideas? Why, it's as safe here as the Bank of Zimbabwe!
We've always wondered what was the use of all those roundabouts, traffic humps and so on that have been ruining our driving experience for the last years; except for spending money; and maybe a
modestcutback? No statistics...
Now we know at least part of the answer. Sinister of justice PS Wilsoe complains there are already 20 deaths now, compared with last year's total of 15. And X-Mas, days of mirth, jolly and whiskey (not to mention rum and gin), looming up... uh oh.
My personal penny's worth of opinion, you get so distracted by all those distraction, you only watch the road—not what's going on on it, as you should.
I was there as a spectator (after a lifetime of watching from the sidelines I'm not starting out as an agitator.) Anyway, there were over 1000 people there (my estimate is even higher), with many more non-makambas than expected, in contrast with many other demonstrations. A good and impressive showing.
"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time,
and your government when it deserves it."
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Big Plans, but Great?
Project developer van Assendelft van Wijck has big plans: Build an 1100m beach with boulevard on the shore of Willemstad's Punda side with two artificial islands of each 5000m2 containg more beaches and hotels. This is just for starters, later it will become 4.5km with 10 islands containing a total of 2000 hotel rooms and 600 apartments, offering 1500 permanent jobs. Cost? 1.3 mega-guilders.
Interestingly, the plan has already been presented to the government (which one?) in 2008, then finding no takers. Maybe the initiators didn't offer enough. Shorty declares an environmental assessment has been done, but declines to give details on by whom or results. Hmmm. He also states present views on the sea will not be obstructed; doesn't look so on the map, though. And oh yeah, we local yokels will have access to the boulevard beach, permanently. Promises, promises. No doubt we'll all find out what's going on when it's too late. Later more on this (that's our promise).
In the last court action SMOC versus Isla, judge Loeb sent SMOC's van Leeuwen away from his seat next to their lawyer and summoned him to sit in the public space (which was filled with Isla-lawyers anyway). A motion to challenge Loeb and replace him was dismissed as it should have been presented on the spot, not after the session.
PM Shorty has declared VDC security must be reorganized to improve its effectiveness and guarantee "it can never again be used for political purposes". Future leaks must be prevented; I dare say. Shorty also announced PAR did it! PAR leaked the memo! It's all
The government further warns the people to beware of false accusations. Don't worry, we do; WE won't believe any lying scoundrels.
The press was "requested" to limit questions to other subjects. Say, why allow them to ask questions at all? If they don't comply, just have 'em censored.
There's another new action group, named after the forty "traitors" who helped Rosenmöller with information. They plan to demonstrate Monday 2011-10-31 on Wilhelminaplein, between 18:00 and 20:00; supposedly they have a Fakebooc page, but we couldn't find any. According to a circulating email, they call themselves "Ami tambe ta un dje 40" ["I too am one of the 40"].
We also have E Movemmentu/De beweging [Papiamentu/Dutch] and Akshon Curaçao. That's four new protest movements in two months.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Live! in our parliament. Monte Cristo was the old Curaçao loony-bin, now Capriles Kliniek. What follows is pure redu [rumor]; can't tell you if it's a fact, but it certainly is amusing and would confirm what we always felt. Here goes:
Wiels is a paranoid schizophrenic, with two sisters having the same problem (straight out of Tennessee Williams) residing on a more or less permanent base in said clinic. However, Wiels refuses to
gobble his pillstake his prescribed medications—which, if true, would explain a lot.
I am not a psychiatrist, but there certainly are tendencies in Wiels' behavior that bring back memories of other great leaders with that same particular affliction; like Stalin or Chávez (there are plenty, too many, more).
Say, here's an idea!
Old Traditions Never Die
Too bad they don't fade away,either. It's not only BOO (Filipinos) and CDM Dok (Cubans and Colombians) who used temporary workers under conditions that can only be characterized as slavery; other government-owned like UTS (communications), Aqualectra (energy/water) still use them, as well as USA military base FOL.
Turns out, 40-60% (say, half) of wega di number lottery sales are illegal. There are many downright illegal lotteries, but illegal tickets are also sold by those who do have a license. There is no gaming or any other tax on those illegal tickets and many are fraudulent in the first place.
There always has been an extensive illegal lottery circuit in Curaçao, but Don Martina's MAN in the early 1980s de facto legalized all lotteries by licensing everybody in sight and controlling the mess by the Wega di Number board. Didn't work.
Don't hold it until you're blue in the face; leave the tactic to those politicians who may shortly have to resort to it. A majority of Dutch tweede kamer parliament has definitely decided to empower our governor as a kingdom deputy, who must screen Shorty's government. They are fed up with the recalcitrant Curaçao politicians, with the staten showing no interest in looking into the imputations of corruption of Shorty and his goons.
Now let us see where the chips may fall. If any, true!
Sinister Hakim has declared and emphasized several times that CTB has invested €100,000 (and Air Berlin €500,000 for publicity) in weekly flights Düsseldorf-Curaçao. Turns out, it's more like €5 million; but "they figure they'll earn it back."
KLM/Air France denounces this as dishonest competition, as the government does guarantee Air Berlin they won't fly with empty unpaid seats. You can now fly KLM to Dusseldorf for Air Berlin's (lower) price.
Pelikino is a newly developed method to teach children foreign languages; it has just been nominated for a European reward. It's meant to teach Papiamentu-speaking children primarily Dutch, English and Spanish for now, but can be adapted for other languages. Funny thing: it has been developed by two people (Marjanne and Joes Wanders) who, like me, have a heavily Dutch influenced background. Just like in the past, it is from this corner that most interest seems to exist in stimulating the strong language capabilities of our people; while the politicians, for reasons of their own, prefer sticking to the inherent isolation of Papiamentu. However, the pupils seem to love it! 2011-10-25
Passed by the central post office to post a Werbata CD. It is supposed to be open till 17:00 [5 p.m., gringo] but it was all closed and locked up ten minutes before then. Let us do some figuring: Those guys, essentially civil servants (don't know how many work there), steal 10 minutes of salary daily; 50/week, 2500/year, more than 40 hours or one week each. Like boss, like workers.
"Murder" They Say
Action group Basta!, with signatures of 270 inhabitants of 12 barrios has now actually gone to court, accusing Isla of doodslag [homicide] or dood door schuld [manslaughter; the two terms do not have the exact same legal meanings in English and Dutch]. I must have missed something, as their declaration stated that the cat-cracker powder was "highly toxic"; as far as I know this has not been confirmed as yet, nor is it confirmed by the material supplied by Basta!
Remember: it's the dose that makes a poison dangerous; the mere presence of a poison is not per se lethal or even harmful. As we don't know the dose, I tread with caution.
Definitely, There's a Connection
The Cops, or Pigs depending on your point of view, have raided Wega di Number [number game] to gather material on Robbie dos Santos. Who, for now, is still free; just like some, too many, of his henchmen.
Saw a photo of Shorty Schotte shaking hands with his Dutch colleague. As from now, we'll refer to him as "Shorty", remembering the words of Dutch writer Jan de Hartog: "Watch out for small men, because they hate you for every inch you're taller"— which always seemed a good explanation for the statistically improbably large number of dictators who are small (and only too often, nasty.
Sure, I know: Wiels is just about as short. I rest my case.
"Forward Email" Action
Gag on a Joke
One of those bragging-between-countries jokes, now Curaçao-Soviet style:
English doctor: "Our medicine is so advanced that when we implant somebody's testicles in another patient, he can start looking for work in less than six weeks."
German doctor: "That's nothing! We implant a brain and the patient can start looking for work after only four weeks."
Russian doctor: "Voï, voï, we are far ahead. When we transplant part of a heart, both donor and receiver can start looking for work in two weeks."
The Yu'i Kòrsou listens to this and says: "That's all way behind our techniques. We took a guy with no brains, no heart and no balls and made him PM; and now the whole country is looking for work!"
An email is doing the rounds with the request to forward it to the Dutch representative in Curaçao whose email address is email@example.com
Read the complete text, warts and all, in Dutch here. If you feel it expresses your sentiments and opinion, please copy the entire text, click on the email-link above and paste text in your email. Subject line: Protesteer tegen hetgeen gaande is op Curaçao.
I have now uploaded a hastily translated and edited (shortened) English version.The text contains a relatively short description of the problems with the totally rotten and corrupted government we now have and tries to get the Dutch to face their obligations and responsibilities by taking appropriate measures; for which they now lack confidence because there may not be public support here. You are also invited to forward it to friends and relatives.
Some Good News
Curaçao Dock CDM has capitulated and starts paying temporary workers what they rightfully earned.
Robbie's Back in Town
Robbie popped back up all of a sudden in the past week. He spent six hours being interrogated. Hope it was third degree; he must have been in a cold sweat anyhow. Certainly took his time, about 7 weeks, fixing things, but maybe he'd have done better staying away; then, of course, he couldn't have known about the coming leaks. And just possibly he has more, other, urgent business here.
Such Delicate Timing
Sinister El Hakim has invited gold commodity dealers to talk about setting up a Curgold Trading Zone, as 23% of the world's gold is produced in Latin America. A laudable idea, maybe. But even if I were a gold-dealing crook, I'd much prefer to do business in a land with not so many crooks governing it—not in the last place El Hakim.
And the Lies Go on...
There have been 50,000 USA tourists already this year, a record! CTB tourist office proudly announces on the very same day KKN chamber of commerce makes it known that "The contribution of tourism to the development of economic activity has decreased in the second quarter of 2011. This applies to all three indicators of tourism, 'Cruise passengers', 'Hotel capacity' and 'Stay-over nights."
Politicians Agree with Me!
Fancy that! Dutch parliamentaries are "not surprised" by the leaked contents, below, of the security report. I am only surprised that Gumbs and his crew managed to do their work so well.
A spellbinding "Memo on Screening Results" has been leaked to the media. It contains several items of the utmost interest. All that follows is merely "alleged"—sure. It's what we read in the media.
5 (five, not three) ministers were judged unacceptable by Gumbs c.s. Crooks, all! (sorry, Master Bob).
MFK PM Shorty has from the very start obstructed procedures by giving wrong instructions to diverse departments.
He has made secret financial deals with guys close to St. Maarten's Francesco Corallo, casino exploiter of Atlantis World Group (in Italy accused of gambling machine fraud to the tune of "billions of Euros") and even tried to get their chief financial manager Rudolf Baetsen to replace Tromp - aha! That explains it!
As deputy of tourism Shorty has committed punishable offences, like receiving ANG2M/USD1.1M for helping Robbie Dos Santos to acquire a terrain near Knip bay. It was registered to Playa Abou Holding Company, president Rudolf Baetsen.
The memo also mentions the insurance fraud committed by Schotte in 2008 and his many adulterous escapades. In the period 2005-2010 no less than 43 M.O.T. [Meldpunt Ongebruikelijke Transacties for checks on money-laundering] reports on him were filed.
He used an unauthorized credit card for the amount of ANG23.655 (1998). In 2004, his Bad Boyz Toyz company was sentenced to pay back amounts around ANG33,000 and 83,000 in credit card "card "charge-back" fraud.
MAN Mudbelly Cooper also received ANG400K/USD220K from Dos Santos. He is associated with Isla/PdVSA's Nelson Monte, infamous former FOL-advisor.
MFK El Hakim has "large debts" with local banks. As Schotte's close collaborator he has ties with Lebanon's Hizbollah, a notorious terrorist organization.
Constancia, our sinister of bad health, was convicted of fraud in 2005, is in trouble for the financial management of subsidies for her foundation and has faked a diploma so she could follow a study for juridical assistant (which was discovered after she totally failed her exams again and again.)
Rosalia (he of the Stuijvesant renaming) has meanwhile been forced to resign.
Even those sinisterial colleagues of his couldn't swallow him or cover up for him. This "skirt-chaser" is "a strong advocate of communism" who favored special groups and nurses feelings of "aversion and rancour" against the Dutch. His good right, of course—myself, I am disgusted by him, but then, I'm not a sinister of culture. Besides all that, he is accused of manipulating Kas di Kultura funds while director.
Totally unexpectedly, MFK Jamaloodin is not a member of the Gang of Five who, again following expectations, now use the affair trying to accuse VNA national security of leaking national secrets. But as George Hensley Koeiman, Elmer 'Kadè' Wilsoe and Norbert Girigorie are not mentioned either, we're entitled to speculate there are more memos in existence.
So, maybe Godett might have become minister again, yet! If only he hadn't switched sides one day too early.
How like this clumsy bungler.
Bad News for Papiamentu
Well, maybe not so bad, really. Radio Nederland Wereldomroep [Dutch World Radio] has to cut down and one of the things that have to go is their Aworaki [right now] Papiamentu transmissions. One might well wonder how many people listened in anyway.
Ex-Curaçao judge Bob Wit, now at Caribbean Court of Justice and Constitutional Court of St. Maarten, expresses the opinion that political debates should remain "polite and civilized." Ouch, hope he doesn't mean me—wouldn't call this a debate, I guess. Also, I certainly get the impression all this is more "polite and civilized" than many a debate in the Hallowed Halls of Parliament.
They Think They Think
The Dutch government knows the answer, of course, but would like to have it confirmed: Will Curaçao follow the DIY advise on investigating the integrity of our ministers? The way those guys here think, as long as they don't come out and say "No!" Holland can't do a thing. They think.
It's even worse than we thought. The FAA downgrade of Curaçao and St. Maarten airports might even result in USA-airlines not being permitted to take off from here; if they still may land, that won't be of much use. Even if it doesn't, USA tourists may well be reluctant to fly to such inferior airports. I know I avoid some of those—always look 'em up before I leap. Let's spend more on ads to stimulate tourism!
MAN Mudbelly Cooper is professionally optimistic after two weeks of negotiations, but Insel Air director Heerenveen seems to grow more and more realistically pessimistic.
Aqualectra Directors Sue
Three former Aqualectra directors have gone to court protesting their being fired, which merely served to put new directors in: more nepotism.
Don't pity them, though. They continue receiving their salaries plus all emoluments.
Sinister Monk wants the constitution changed and enable prosecuting those who commit "high treason" and so deserve death by not agreeing with the government's course and proceeded to rip the Rosenmöller-report to shreds in a meeting of parliament. His version of democracy, but we
suspectedknew that already.
Old Soviet Trick
The Stalin-communist-terror way of rendering people harmless to the régime is lawful here: have them picked up by the police and they may be held for six weeks in a psychiatric clinic to undergo "treatment". Don't tell our Leaders! but cultural anthropologist Bernadina effectively did so by complaining about it in a letter to Amigoe newspaper.
Curaçao and Venezuela have signed an agreement, chock-full of fine words. Cooperation should be improved in matters of health, culture, sports, technology, tourism, education, environment and nature and energy matters. Hard to disagree, right? That depends.
Wish it were a stroke. Curaçao Isla refinery personnel have gone on strike to ask for a new CAO [collective labor agreement]. Another, considered more serious, complaint is that all the good jobs go to Venezuelans. How like PdVSA, who promised they'd give in. Promises, promises.
PdVSA topman Asdrúbal Chávez (most definitely a relation) paid a visit here. As he talked with Shorty, we wouldn't believe what we heard anyway, but we heard nothing: Chávez didn't even deign to meet the press. But the inhabitants of Marchena and Wishi, under the smoke of Isla, have one consolation: They may make use of the coming-soon Isla hospital (to expire in?)
PAR ex-sinister Leeflang has written a letter to the Amigoe editor in which she lists a number of new managers of government-owned corporations. It is both instructive and entertaining if you're in the mood.
Oswald vd Dijs, managing president Refineria di Kòrsou, managing president Aqualectra
[Oswald has been taking Aqualectra to court, losing all cases. He competes with Aqualectra producing and selling bottled water.
There's an old allegation Schotte drove around freely using a Vanddis credit card, issued by vd Dijs' company]
Cicely vd Dijs, director Korpodeko, director CPA, director Selikor
[Oswald's niece; Schotte's Significant Other but not his legal wife]
Robbie dos Santos, director Wega di Number Kòrsou, managing director CTB
[Robbie, sinister Jamaloodin's brother, is wanted for fraud and money laundering; main financier of Schotte's MFK party]
Amparo dos Santos, director Curoil, managing director CPA, managing director Selikor
[Amparo is Robbie's and Jamaloodin's (half-)brother]
Luigi dos Santos, director Gaming Control Board
Takes after Robbie; another member of the Band of Brothers
PdVSA Wants to Make Sure
PdVSA director Medina writes a letter to Curaçao government asking for future plans with the refinery, reacting to Leito's letter which he received with the Isla protest march of May 7. Weirdly, he expresses his opinion that it's Isla that won all court cases and that they comply with pollution laws. I don't know what that army of l
awyers has been telling him, but his remark that "the SO2 exhaust doesn't exceed norms according to measurements" is another outright lie; not even counting the enormous holes in those measurement data.
Staten (parliament) has reacted officially to Rosenmöller's Do-It-Yourself report: they won't do a thing.
—The "screening" chapter must be finished and hushed up forever. At least one easily understands their feelings. The claim is that a public prosecutor investigation of Shorty, El Hakim and Jamaloodin has found them pure as the driven snow, so they should get parliamentary immunity.
—Tromp must take his leave as central bank director. He has falsely accused [same trio]. I'm afraid it won't be that easy; this is even explicitly impossible by law; let's go to court for even more circus acts!
—A fifth motion (but who's counting?) urges government to continue promoting emancipation and strengthening the economy. [Continue?]
—The government will go to court anyway to sue Rosenmöller. If that monster dares set foot here again, he'll be arrested. Really! As so often, too often, don't ask me to explain such nonsense.
—Godett once more changes color ("where the wind blows, blow my principles") and supports the coalition.
He even offers to become part of them, finding no takers. For now. One problem, there are no minister seats open. Maybe shortly?
—Rosenmöller is a threat to Curaçao democracy [even worse than our government?]; his report is illegal. Gee, they must be serious: two motions saying just about the same thing; one more and, according to Lewis Caroll, then it must be true.
—Two motions didn't make it: one to have the governor appoint three independent persons to investigate the integrity of that [same trio]; another to appoint a mediator between MP and central bank. Fancy the perverted soul who'd propose such things: it might lead to justice and common sense!
The stuff below is a continuing attack on the backlog build-up.Gee, Makes Me Wonder
Boy, have those guys made a mess while I wasn't there to keep an eye on 'em.
A committee of six will study the problems and difficulties with CDM Dok (there's not much else to study over there these days) and install yet another management team that yet again must devise a plan to save CDM. The former plan (by PAR) was (naturally) sabotaged by Hamaloodin, causing Dutch Damen shipbuilders to lose interest.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members. I could do that work by lying in bed and merely switching off the alarm clock.
There's a parallel here with the inglorious downfall of ALM/DCA.
Wiels Follows Suit
He even trumps color—in spades. These puns are called for, Wiels is just asking for it. Now, our champ racist has taken exception to popular Curaçao singer Izaline Callister marrying a white Dutchman. Miscegenation! Disgusting! And come to think of it, dean of lawyers Frielink is a racist too. All whites are racists, after all; and all others, no matter what their color, are golden (the Gospel according to Wiels.)
The very next thing you know, Wiels agrees with Rosenmöller and screeches MFK should have kicked out Jamaloodin and El Hakim long since.
The so-called Rosenmöller committee came out with a brilliant proposal. Just brilliant. No doubt to avoid allegations of intervention in our affairs (which promptly came anyway, notably by big-mouth Arsjes, who even calls it a Dutch "coup"; in matters like this, those guys can be relied upon) they advised our politicians to investigate the screening affair and the Central Bank quarrel themselves by installing a committee of Wise Men (ten of which, as everybody knows, cannot answer the questions of merely one fool). Smartness may be a handicap for politicians, but this is worse than naïve—the death sting in politics. Sure, it's only a Dutch politician and a greenie at that.
The committee does indicate that if our government does not follow up, the governor may instigate an investigation. If he fails to, the dreaded Algemene maatregel van rijksbestuur [general kingdom rule) is called for; which, essentially, means Holland takes over.
The screening affair: All ministers have to be screened, for obvious security reasons. It's generally known at least three did not pass, causing Shorty trying to get rid of screening head Gumbs by firing him. Didn't work as the judges [still] seem honest and threw the case out of court 3 (three) times.
The screening took place in much too big a hurry after last year's elections; doubts have only grown since then.
License Fee Backfires
To make some extra money (always comes in handy) the government thought they'd tax all international bank transfers with an extra 1%. Net result: Many transfers moved to St. Maarten and other foreign places at once, so total receipts for the government are less, not more. No gleeful smirking, please; it's us who'll have to pay the difference...
Not So Surprising, Maybe
The Kustwacht [Coast Guard] has had much less success catching drug smugglers last year than in the past. Dutch parliament is disappointed, but it's not really surprising. Drug criminals are fully aware where bribes do most good; come right down to it, the "War on Drugs" merely subsidizes the criminals by driving up prices—with tax money.
Or Else, What?
MFK sinister of bad health Jacinta has sent Isla refinery a letter that they must comply with court orders within four weeks from now. So government passes the buck, quite in style. "Style?" Not the right word.
Sue First, Talk Later
One day after MFK fraction leader Rozier accompanied Wiels on his mission to sue Tromp, he demanded Tromp's apologies to Shorty as that would enable a public discussion.
Tromp's come-back: he had done nothing wrong and saw no reason to apologize.
Basta! Has Had Enough
Action group Basta! has started a criminal law-suit against Isla refinery for 'intentionally and illegally introducing a substance into the earth, air or surface water' with a possible punishment of 12 or 15 years in prison for PdVSA. The substance meant is the darkly mysterious white powder.
On the other hand, the fact that Isla pollution allegedly made children sick, a more recent point of contention, doesn't impress us. Ever heard of the Mad Gassers of Virginia and Illinois? Plenty more examples around to make me doubt it!
(Some) Lawyers Don't Like Speech
The Dean of Lawyers has held a speech which is not agreeable to some lawyers, specifically those in league with the [descriptive adjective deleted] part of those in power (like, for example, jihab-Henriëtte). Rather than answering to the speech, in a letter they accuse the Dean of malversations we won't bore you with; hey, they're lawyers and know better than to start an action (it all boils down to 1 [one] point anyway). What really explains their ire is, the dean dares support Tromp's case against Shorty and wants to limit parliamentary immunity.
Man Bites Dog: Wiels Sues Tromp
In the ongoing struggle and strife, now it's Wiels who has lodged a complaint with the public prosecutor against central bank director Tromp. It entails five points. (It's not so important what they are, but if you wish to know either check the newspaper archives or wait until we see them in court—may be a long wait, true.)
Not a Rat, But Jumping Ship
Surgeon Van Leeuwen gives up: he wants to leave this lurch next year. Can't pay his personnel this month, nor pay his office rent. Nor, come right down to it, anything. All because the government doesn't pay the bills.
Catcracker Cracked down, Cranked up
I'd missed it, being away and all, but the Isla catcracker has been out of service for two weeks (it does get monotonous, doesn't it) and is re-starting. The rest of the installation will get going within a week.
Hold your breath, you unlucky guys downwind!
PM Shorty complains that the 2011 budget by the former government is just plain bad. A real pity, then, that he hasn't seen fit to come with the supplementary budget he promised "beginning" 2011. But everything that goes wrong budget-wise he now thinks he can blame on PAR; and even if he thinks differently, he will do so.
IMF: No 80-20, and then some
IMF int'l monetary fund does not approve of the 80-20 disaster: flexibility in the labor market should be improved, not limited. PM Shorty assures them that the law will only be applied where there's enough leeway in worker supply; in other words, only when the government wishes to apply it. Another slide downhill into the muddy valley of totalitarianism.
IMF also wants the government to get rid of the present price-fixing method and replace it with one improving competition.
To top it off, IMF pressures Curaçao and St. Maarten to get on with the monetary structure, already, because the present wavering keeps investors away. Growth is too low, unemployment too high, the population is growing older with no adequate pension arrangements, budgets should be more conservative. And do it fast. Ouch!
Is This for Real?
PM Shorty has plans for a Curaçao Symphony Orchestra. Talk about megalomania. Talk about presumptuous. (Talk about wasting good tax money and no kickbacks.) Even Dutch cities with more inhabitants, like Arnhem or Nijmegen, cannot afford this luxury.
Thankfully, Police Orchestra leader Leonora wrote PS a letter explaining the facts of life: "It ain't not so easy." It seems to have gotten through to S.' addled brain as nothing more has been heard about it.
A Disgrace and a Setback
But there is a good point about it. After all, we must remain positive!
Hato airport has lost its status as Category 1 airport. Small wonder, with guys like MAN Mudbelly Cooper and former (?) FOL accomplice Adriaens at the helm after the Alterra disaster. Even though the US IASA has given it 65 days of grace, this will not help and it may then take a year before an upgrade is forthcoming. If they make it.
As one result, local companies like Insel Air will have to stop flying to the USA; US Air must end cooperating with Insel.
The promised good news, at least to us, is this will kill all nonsense talk about space port Hato. It took the promoters of that thing several weeks even to find out about this; real pros...
The former razzias may just have been a dry run. It took letter-to-the-editor writer van Honk pointing out an arrangement of February 24 to make us sit up and take notice: civil servants will be appointed who have all rights to enter all business establishments "unhindered and at all times" and are licensed to "ask for information, inspect business data and to copy what they find at an enterprise."
The slippery slide downhill is already steeper than we thought.
Good Luck with That!
The unions demand omzetbelasting [sales tax] will not go up from 5 to 6%.
We have a promise that, in the future, OB over the subsequent stages from importer to warehouse to dealer will be abolished. Wait and see; we all heard many promises before.
Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin?
While last May 44% of those polled judged the government "good to very good" now it's only 29%. Youth group (26-25 years): 57 to 35%; most socially active group (26-34): 34 to 29%. But all-in-all most people still think they're doing better than the preceding PAR-government.
Sinister Jamaloodin refused to meet Dutch financial Staatssecretaris [not secretary of state] Weekers; this highly important man only wants to talk to ministers. The Dutch remark Curaçao is as large as Zoetermeer, a mere suburb of Den Haag, but also point out that, likewise, the Dutch minister of health Schippers refused to see St. Eustatia deputy of health van Putten.
The reason Weekers wanted to see Jamaloodin? Curaçao charges purchase tax on goods for Bonaire imported via Curaçao, a highly irregular money-grabbing procedure—which may result in lower future harbor fees (and, naturally, no tax either) if Bonaire shipments will be routed elsewhere.
80-20 Will Restore Balance
The infamous 80-20 law, which actually seems to be illegal, has been passed. Wiels shouts that this will restore the balance of the labour market without explaining how. If only it would fix Wiels' unbalancedness.
PAR was clever enough to state that they do not want the 80% limit; they feel 100% may come from Curaçao. They also say that there is plenty of room in present law to guarantee local workers' right, as long as this is observed [rem acu tetigisti]. PAR wonders about the base for the figures "80-20". Raad van State [state council] warns the law is contradicting international laws and the Statuut. Some Dutch parliamentaries worry that the 80-20 law could be used to discriminate against European Dutchpersons.
Even racist Wiels has been unable to make sure that the "80%" called for is black. Sure, it's what he really wants but the whole idea is ridiculously vague, so essentially it's all about being born here or not. Among the prerequisites for other possible candidates we find they have to know enough about Curaçao society. If they follow this site, I guess they know more than Wiels would like.
Sorry to go on about this, but nobody could possibly understand what the law even entails, let alone how to apply it. What a waste of time and effort. Not to mention the court cases that may, or rather will, follow. It's now up to the Governor who, following correct procedures, should declare the whole flop unlawful.
Arsjes was crying out loud that the people should never forget that only PAR has voted against. Right for once, Arsjes. I will remember!
Action group Kòrsou Uní [United Curaçao], which arose because of the Tromp-Schotte controversy, has presented MFK Shorty with a list of proposals to "improve Curaçao's reputation." Order, confidence and peace should be restored.
The story does not indicate if our PM has even read the proposals, let alone if he will do anything with them, except maybe use them as toilet paper.
I See a Pattern There
Aqualectra workers have gone to court for alleged fraud of their STKO union management. There's only ANG30K (USD16.5K) in the union coffers which "should be many times more." The rest may have gone to foreign bank accounts or been used for illegal loans. Like boss, like worker?
Wanna hear a good one? They are represented by that old has-been Errol Bakoba!
Let Us Celebrate
With 10-10-10's first anniversary looming up, secretary-general Jardim of finance sinister MFK Jamaloodin has written him a letter warning that, what with all the free spending, the young country already has liquidity problems which will stop proper functioning of government. This makes it improbable that the Rijkswet law of financial supervision will, as was the intention, be abolished in four years. Decisions must be taken now to have proper measures in place before the end of the year.
Jamaloodin declares that the only way out is to have the private sector (which may include the unions) change their acts. He sounds like he's joking, but then again, is he ever serious?
Jardim also states (in what may be another letter) that the economy has not only stopped growing, but may actually have started shrinking. The Central Bank indicates a negative growth of -0.5%, in contrast with MFK economy minister El Hakim's claims of +0.7%. This inevitably results in more trouble for the country's finances.
PAR asked PM Shorty to protect Jardim against counter-measures. Hey, don't give him any ideas!
MAN Don't Care
Contrary to what he may have expected, Don Martina's leaving MAN has not resulted in followers following him. Still, those who for now are still hanging on do agree that the party has lost face by not standing up against the coalition parties.
Audits Need Auditing
PAR claims all those audits merely serve to find excuses for firing management, which can then be replaced by government party favorites. And if the audit does not lead to the desired results, consultant Terry Hernandez makes short thrift and lo! the management is fired anyway and duly replaced.
PAR specifically asks what the audits (have) cost, how many there have been and where, what companies execute them, how and by whom they are paid for and what the results have been.
Three fired CPA/KTK directors have protested Hernandez' audit at Dutch Nivra Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut van Registeraccountants who will announce their decision in ten to fourteen weeks.
Willemstad - Kaapstad
From a Letor to the Editter
Nothing new here, just our commerciants' old-fashioned solid way of doing business: Mahaai's Centrum supermarket applies new stickers over the factory originals, where the net weight miraculously now includes the packaging.
Martina Leaves MAN
Don Martina actually steps out of what used to be "his" party. First, the coalition of which MAN is now part does not respect the Curaçao people. Then, Martina does not agree with PM Shorty giving away concessions to non-governmental energy producers after during his own PM-ship he de-privatized OGEM, since then first Kodela and now Aqualectra. (Funny, that—all our energy troubles started after de-privatization.) Finally, he feels reliability and integrity of Curaçao have been damaged by this government, referring to the Dos Santos affair without naming it.
Haste Makes Waste
A lot of laws which were "mistakenly" scratched on 10-10-10 have to be reintroduced. Turns out they were not so superfluous after all. Naturally, the new government blames the old one and, just as naturally, vice versa. My feelings? They're both right, or rather, both wrong.
All in the Best of Traditions
so get jealous, already
as if I'd care
Yessirree, it's off again to yet another wildly exotic location, away from this wildly exotic location. This time it's Hongkongialand, these days part of MaoChina—and who asked them what they thought of that? Not that it would have helped 'em, right you are.
Back in a month or so; this time I'll try to keep up with what's happening to give a résumé upon return.
The new chairman of the Raad van Toezicht [council of supervision] of the national lottery is Franklin 'Chebu' Sluis. Guess he replaces Robbie; well, they found the right person. Sluis has been indicted in 2005 for fraud with insurance papers while importing junkmobiles. (He then became director of the Post office, after his his appointment as director of CDM Dock was blocked by PAR.)
CPA Management Protests
Three former members of Curaçao Port Authority management have protested against accountant Hernandez' investigation at the request of the then new government, which resulted in their being fired. Omitting boring technical details, it all sounds like Hernandez wrote a report to enable the government to get rid of those guys and put in new straw men.
Between you and me, I don't see much difference between the old guard and their replacements. But please don't let that go any further.
Et Tu, Bonaire
Now the people of Bonaire want another referendum (it does get tiresome after a while.) Now that they're part of Holland, they're bugged by higher costs of living, "a tsunami" of rules and regulations and have to accept Dutch laws on euthanasia, homo-marriage and abortion.
Just as Expected
While the government has to summon Isla refinery to stop part of its pollution before October 1, the refinery in turn has four weeks to oblige. SMOC expects other delaying measures, such as an appeal. However, this is not applicable to highly urgent measures as getting rid of the highly poisonous H2S. Another planned action by the government, adapting the nuisance act, won't help them much.
Meanwhile, a clean-up campaign of Schottegat harbor has been announced. First rubbish will be taken away, then oil will be separated from the water. Which we read as, all the oil sticking to the shore and bottom will be left there. After 90 years of waiting for it, the entire job will take six weeks. Don't expect too much!
Flights of Fancy
Those Spaceport Dreamers told us, not personally but rather triumphantly, that more and more people were waking up to the fact that the thing might be feasible. We never denied that... Only, will it be realized here? Seems there's strong competition far ahead of their game "... just months away from completion"; means Virgin Atlantic are at the very least a year ahead of Our Heroes, such as they are.
Will be the first to admit all this is wishful thinking on this end. But not more than on the other end; probably less. Wanna bet?
What! Again?! The F*cking' B*stids!
Gasoline price has gone up - again: from 2.372 to 2.3720. Sorry, don't ask me to go into that.
These Guys Took over Our Debt?!
To show you where it's at in €urope: to be sure, Greece is the worst of a bad lot, but Holland isn't sitting pretty. Not what you'd call pretty... And remember, when the €C goes, Holland goes. And when Holland goes... I don't even want to think about it.
source: EU Referendum
Three members of Aqualectra management have been fired by the government after a devastating audit, notwithstanding their 90+ pages reply. We'll see if and how that works out: the government has built up quite a record of not succeeding in getting rid of people. Seems they can't get the simplest things right.
There's Gumbs of VDC national security, who had the audacity of reporting negatively on several ministers. The judge has just bounced back his discharge for the third time.
Next, Gumbs got a new letter where he was forbidden access to his office. He thinks court action number four is indicated. What a waste; but then, what else to expect from this "leadership"?
Then there's Kranshi civil registry director Daal; don't know why they want to get rid of him (who can follow those guys anyway?) but they have been trying to do so for some time now and getting nowhere, fast.
Shorty states Cft [financial supervision] is "meddling" when they do their work and try to control government finance.
Stop That Stench
In the ongoing SMOC court actions against Isla refinery pollution, the judge has finally stopped accepting the fog of arguments presented by the government and the refinery. The refinery in the past six years has "systematically" exceeded the prescribed limits, while the government has been negligent in enforcing them.
Court has now instructed the government to start, within four weeks, forcing Isla to keep within the bounds of their permits, with a penal sum of maximum ANG50M. Still peanuts! Anyway, the government has six weeks to appeal; which they are sure to do, so don't expect those clouds to clear in four weeks.
He Asked for It
When PM Shorty asked the Dutch to stop investigating the quarrel between Central Bank and the government, Dutch koninkrijksrelaties [kingdom relations] minister Donner replied that the situation may not be that urgent anymore but the same conditions still exist and may lead to new trouble. Besides, Donner reminds Shorty, he himself asked for it. Tough. So much for Arsjes protesting "interfering in our internal affairs."
Just Marks on Paper
PAR ex-PM IJs, now teaching at ex-UNA UoC (University of Curaçao) comments on plans to change all government-owned companies' articles of association, in order to enable the government to force those companies to dance to its piping. These plans disregard the law on Corporate Governance, which Curaçao was forced to pass by Holland. Wisely, as it was meant "specifically to avoid nepotism and patronage in government institutions."
One can see IJs's problem as well: no law, no teaching job.
Not Funny: All About Money
There's almost ANT1G lying around in the public treasury chest, earmarked for projects that for reasons unknown are not being realized. Maybe they're postponed until some bodies have figured out how to steal their share? Like, 900M for Aqualectra, 400M for a new hospital, 70M for BOO. Now these would certainly give the economy a much-needed push.
Guess it's related that Cft College financieel toezicht [College financial supervision] has not one good word to say on the 2012 government budget. It's "worried about a lack of direction and push" on the execution of a large number of measures to limit expenditures and increase income. So are we.
This Is Not Insane... It's Sheer Madness
The Free Zone turnover (primarily meant for regional buyers - who are also a good source of inflated tourism statistics) has deflated to 50% of what it used to be only last year. One thing Those in Power want to do about it is, they want to give visa to Jamaicans—who will have to go to Cuba to get 'em. ¡¿Cuba?! Si, Cuba, don't ask me, a mere messenger. May be the press that made a mess of this, but you can't blame me for having strong suspicions.
Small wonder it's going bad... "Free Zone" forsooth.
CTB published yet another batch of statistics. Tourism overall grew with [who cares]%. Too bad they don't say compared with what. Wise guys.
Surprisingly, 19% of Dutch nationality tourists (which includes ex-Antilleans) are staying with friends or family, compared with 35% of foreigners.
Sure, We Agree
Finally, after a nine-months pregnancy, the government presented their program. A lot of empty blah-blah; even PS Wiels has his critical remarks. Then again, when doesn't he, except when it's about himself?
Curaçao must become sovereign, solidary and durable, which must be a balanced development of economy, social and ecological factors; but the people's emancipation also is important. The latter is not a political development; individuals should be able to work on their own future. Four priorities are: higher living status and quality of living, social cohesion and better civil service for the people.
Who could possibly be against these fine-sounding clichés? Too bad Shorty doesn't tell us how all this will be achieved—not that he possibly could. And oh yes, the budget doesn't cover the program.
The voters are not impressed: A poll told us that, now, 33% would vote for a coalition partner and 45% not.
Not [Yet] That Bad
The Palestine water distribution infrastructure is in such an awful state, writes the Jerusalem Post, that a "staggering 33% of the fresh water supply gets lost because of leaks, theft and poor maintenance."
Aqualectra loses "only" 25%—but not to worry, they're working on it, so we may catch up yet. But their 10-10-10 "master plan" of ANG900M investment has been reduced to a 300M "greasy kid's plan".
KTK is an acronym for Curaçao Towing Company. In Dutch it's very close to a four-letter-word [vernacular for female genitals]. Anyway, their disastrous Panamá adventure for which three new tugs were bought in 2010 has now come to an end; but nobody takes the trouble of trying to figure out how much the whole deal has cost (us). CuT.
This Is Bad
Central Bank director Tromp in his presentation of the 2010 report doesn't paint a pretty picture. But at least then there still was a growth of .1%—don't laugh please, it's not funny and gets even less so: this year we go back with 1.25%. This versus an average positive regional growth of 2%. The economy stagnates like a stinking pool and no investors try to fish in it. Tromp emphasizes that the present relative health of the monetary situation is thanks to the debt take-over by Holland, not to any local measures.
Government costs keep going up and tax income down. The longer it takes to implement higher sales tax, the less it will yield if and when. (Negative) difference between exports and imports more than doubled last year. Tromp suggests dollarisation may be a way out. Maybe.
Curaçao private bankers couldn't agree more; there are no large investments at all.
Would You Think So?
The Dutch government sent over a "gee, I wonder" committee to investigate the Central Bank quarrel. But Shorty has written them a letter that it's superfluous, the matter has been resolved. First time we hear about that. Anyway, by now even the Dutch politicians wonder what's the good of that committee. We know what it's good for: "Gee, what are those members paid?" Must be pretty well!
Arsjes (or was that Assjes?) is crying out loud that it's a shame, this is an unwarranted intervention in internal affairs! Yeah yeah. First you kick up clouds of stink and after you've tried to bury it deep, you're surprised someone takes notice. Or maybe Arsjes is jealous of that committee-salary?
In December 2010 gold bars worth USD6M were stolen from Swissport Cargo of Hato airport. Rumors that this was an inside job started going the rounds immediately, as it seems the authorities had tried to keep it a secret.
Since then, nothing has been heard about it: the gold and all news about it mysteriously disappeared in a Big Black Hole. Is why we thought we'd mention it; not your run-of-the-mill robbery as we figured back then.
The gold was on its way from "South America" to "Europe"; pretty vague, all that. The owner's identity is yet another mystery. Please let us know, we're curious. But you're so right, it's absolute peanuts. Back in 1945, countries like Chile, Ecuador and Argentina charged £5M to accept 1 (one) Nazi war criminal. That would be £500m or USD800M now.
Fling 'em Back Where They Belong
Sinister Wilsoe wants Bonaire to take its beloved sons back; there are 22 Curaçao prisoners who were born in Bonaire and used to live in Bonaire when they were convicted for a crime in Bonaire. Why should we pay for their cost and lodging? But Bonaire just doesn't reply to Wilsoe's requests. Now you know how that works out, Wilsoe.
Follow-up: Holland will fly that scum to Amsterdam and from there, eventually, Back Home to Bonaire. And I thought we were wasteful!
Not Fair Enough
SMOC wants a more detailed reply to their questions on the Isla "white powder" incident than the mere forwarding of a spec sheet. So would many of us.
Yessirree, it's in the Wall Street Journal! Robbie dos Santos' USA bank accounts have been blocked to the tune of $50M. He has been accused of selling fraudulent lottery tickets, money laundering and tax evasion. Dos Santos and his wife lastly declared a joint income of total US$67,500 (ANG121,500). They haven't set foot in Curaçao since.
Sinister Jamaloodin, Robbie's half-brother, has departed to the USA with all haste to settle "urgent financial affairs." No doubt. PAR Atacho is asking difficult questions in parliament, also about yet another Jamaloodin urgent visit to the USA in July, when Robbie's troubles started. Since then, detectives have raided Jamaloodin's Speedy Security offices as well. Uh oh. Several of Robbie's efforts to empty his sundry accounts have been blocked. Even opposites Gelt Dekker and PS Wiels are united in their opinions that Jamaloodin must go, at least temporarily.
One dos Santos company is called "Tula Finance Ltd."—and to think people call me a cynic!
The Don Q Tradition
Aqualectra informed us a while ago they plan to build five wind generators with a total capacity of 15 MegaWatts (MW, millions of watts).
That probably is their maximum (nobody's talking; but car engines are rated at max. HP, not when they're idling) so let us take a line through the North Sea Vattenfall wind monsters. Their quoted capacity is 150MW, of which they are expected to deliver about 1/3 per year in practice. North Sea wind averages about 8 m/sec; our Noord-Oost Passaat [Trade Wind] is 10% less than that. Effective capacity of the Aqualectra generators will be, say, 4MW.
At a cost of ANG150M, that's about ANG40M per MW. A comparable gas or diesel generator costs about 10% that and lasts much longer than 4-20 years. Even figuring the price of fossil fuel versus "free" wind, the wind generated power will be 30% more expensive.
Not to mention that in the UK, where the generators are built in the North Sea and, of course, the hook-up to the grid is much more expensive than here, somehow the total cost per MW is only £11M or <ANG33M. Where does the rest of all that money go? No fair guessing!
Tula? Hoo Hee?
The younger generation has no idea who Tula, leader of the 1795 slave rebellion is. They don't learn a thing about him at school. Funny thing is, I was following base school in the heyday of colonialism and the Fraters did teach us about Tula then.
Maybe not such a bad idea to have people forget about slavery, as it only plays into the hands of Wiels c.s., building resentments against whitie crackers.
PAR refused to visit the Tula memorial meeting, more or less declaring this was only propaganda for Wiels; something in that I suppose. Shorty took his leave right after the photographers had their shots; how like him.
Gee, I Wonder
Next week a new committee will be installed to look at the quarrel between the gobierno and the central bank. (If and) when it will start working, we're not told. Former Dutch justice sinister Hirsch Ballin will be a member. And quite recently we heard there was no reason to probe into that gangrenous spot.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members. Nobody's ever talking about that.
Newspaper Antilliaans Dagblad could not get this confirmed by from Holland. But it turned out to be true, all right; except, Hirsch Ballin may not be a member.
Ho and Hum
What else is new? Aqualectra management took the trouble to write a 95 page reaction to the last audit. They didn't like it. Nothing, but for 3 recommendations we won't tire you with, in there is of any value. Unacceptable!
And now back to sleep, dear management, and don't stray too far from the trough.
British Bags Are Back
British supermarket chain Tesco, which stopped giving away free plastic shopping bags a while ago, re-introduced them. Turns out, their biodegradable bags and other replacements are much worse for the environment.
This was published by The Daily Mail, since 2008 a tireless fighter against Evil Plastic with their "Ban the Bag" action.
Who or What's Next? Back in the 1990s, McDonald's who, for some reason, always get the ire of well-meaning do-badders, phased out their foam packing. Now, it's the styrofoam coffee cups. McDonald's (but who would believe them?) figured out foam versus paper cups use 1/3 less energy, produce 1/2 as much solid waste and release 1/3 less so-called 'greenhouse gases.' Not to mention the coffee keeps warm, the cups don't leak and you don't get burned. Will unreason win again?
In South Australia, banning the supermarket bags led to an overall ~50% increase in plastic trash bag sales.
Several Dutch newspapers, total subscribers 800,000 (5% of the population), publish an article by Tom de Jong on ten months of "independence." New for me, next to problems already mentioned long since:
— Shorty was kicked out of high school for exam fraud (his story was, he left school to start making money in commerce)
— he has been sentenced for credit card fraud.
Don't Bet on It
Power utility Aqualectra, after just raising prices with 40%, now announces their fuel prices have gone down. Will this result in lower tariffs for us? Good point! In this case, no bets are accepted.
Meanwhile, news about the last audit is finally reluctantly starting to seep out and, as confidently expected, it's not good; with 53 points of criticism. Director Casperson's salary has gone up with 23% in three years; not as much as the tariffs, true, but in 2009 it was ANG578,220/USD308,121 already (not bad for a utility company with maybe 25,000 household clients.) Accounting is a muddy mess. While Aqualectra conveniently blames Mitsibushi and Marubeni, it's Aqualectra itself that withheld investments in BOO which in turn made BOO underperform. (Not even a signed copy of the debenture loan prospectus to BOO has turned up.)
Pierrot Is Back
After a stay in Colombia, having said goodbye to "his" NPA party first, the guy plans to once again make a powerful pest of himself here by starting a 'democratic movement' LIDER. More interesting is his claim that "within two weeks" a minister will be arrested for money laundering, which will "shake the kingdom on its foundations and will cause great damage to the island." I dare say. Bets as to who-will-it-be are open; there's a plethora of candidates.
On the other hand, as Groucho Marx remarked: "You think so, huh? Then there can't be much to it." But you know, by now one almost wishes Pierrot is right, for once.
Can't let this go... You'd pronounce "Lider" as "Leider" in German - "lyder", that is: "alas". Poor Yorick.
Business as Expected
A CBS inquiry among entrepreneurs shows almost nothing but pessimism during the past six months. This is a remarkable change from the last five years. Maybe, just possibly, it has to do with that fine government of ours.
Gee, I wonder...
... how much they pay those committee members (if I said it once, I said it a hundred times.) Now PAR ex-PM IJs
thinksfeels we need a committee to watch the world economy developments, so we can react fast. Hah! Ah well, let it go. We all know more than we want to about world economy already: it's going downhill in a handbarrow, fast; as the expression goes.
Only in Aruba
It has turned out there is a lucrative and extensive commerce by Venezuelan fishermen transporting extremely cheap diesel fuel and gasoline (12¢/gallon-ƒ0.06/liter) to Aruba. Sure beats catching and cleaning fish. Customs are now sending them back and fire dept. and police are checking private business and residences for dangerously large primitive fuel depots; like one of 23,000 liters or over 6000 gallons.
Would you really believe this is only going on in Aruba? Then check this.
Tout Va Bien, But Maybe Not So
An enormous quarrel has broken out... what do I say? An enormous number of enormous quarrels has broken out in the corridors of Fort Amsterdam.
— Nobody but sinister Jamaloodin's party MFK agrees with his tax renovation plans
— A new roundabout at Janwé has irked everybody but mudbelly Cooper and PM Schotte. PAR Alcalda Wallé in Staten parliament referred to the coalition's explanations as the "Joran van der Sloot-show" - for those freaks who never heard of Natalee Holloway I'll quote Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire: "Lies... All lies." Schotte didn't like her characterization and said it didn't show respect for the PM. Right Schotte, you got it the first time.
— That same PM guy Schotte (from now on I'll call him Shorty) hired a Venezuelan helicopter with pilot for a tour, where he made him land on Klein Curaçao island and the now abandoned helicopter landing place by Annabaai harbor; then, he made him fly over the Dutch Royal Navy wharf. Oh, did I mention all without permission from... whomever? The Proper Authorities satisfactorily expresses it. Mudbelly Cooper blames the pilot and wants to punish him by "taking measures", but that's very silly. You fly the PM around and you do what he tells you, especially when you come from Chávez-country. You can just imagine Cooper swelling up like the bloated frog he is if the pilot had refused his Holy Orders. Better punish Shorty, he richly deserves it.
Reminds of more army BS. You have some poor 18-year old kid standing guard, much against his wish and instincts. A general arrives in a car full of shields, banners and flags. The soldier is supposed to ask the general for his ID and he has been told that this will be appreciated.
Who's kidding whom here? But OF COURSE the general gets in without showing ID and next thing you know, the barracks are being held hostage by terrorists. Then, guess who gets the blame? Right, the helicopter pilot.
A list of components of the infamous white powder has now been released by Milieudienst environment dept. Turns out Schotte and Isla refinery were lying through their teeth when claiming the stuff was innocent. It contained 5 carcinogens or 'possible' carcinogens, the irritant vanadium (which was first denied) and the additive DeSOx, a mixture of components. Worse, the powder itself has been polluted by the catalysing process, but there's no telling how and how seriously.
A pity that the press does not give SMOC's or Milieudienst's list and quantitative details of pollutants. Also, 'possibly' carcinogenic is a very vague term and makes one wonder what five pollutants are meant. A lot of stuff is 'possibly' carcinogenic but only in unrealistically enormous doses; remember the Alar apple scare?Better explain this further. Rats and mice, poor critters, are bred especially to be cancer-prone. Then they proceed to feed those puir beasties [Sir Walter Scott] enormous amounts of [whatever]. If one of them develops a tumour, [whatever] is declared "possibly carcinogenic" - and taken off the market. This is a downright perverse law aberration by the much-detested USFDA, always quoted back in your face by the greenies, the warmists, the environmentalists, the [what-have-you]—when it happens to be in sync with theirNext day, Wereldomroep's Caribiana did present the "fact sheet" (download here) which was produced in 2001 - by Isla's supplier Metaloy. Quartz, antimony, nickel, lead and Re2O3 (rare earths) are the "possibly carcinogenic" substances. As a matter of fact, this is "DeSOx" pure and simple. Sorry, can't view these as highly acute dangers. It would be preferable to avoid unnecessary panic and only protest really harmful compounds. Obviously, DeSOx is relatively harmless stuff, in standard use in many refineries. It may have been polluted, but nobody talks about that.
All of which doesn't change the fact that Schotte and his cronies have been lying through their, alas unbroken as yet, teeth.
Never Tell Them You Told Them So
The plastic supermarket bags were, more or less voluntarily, banned here, in which we were a year ahead of Hong Kong. I always had my doubts but will wholeheartedly admit that these eyesores have disappeared from the landscape.
But in Hong Kong, they figured it all out: While the use of supermarket bags has gone down with 20%, use of other plastic bags has gone up. Total result: 25% more plastic arrives at the landfills now.
The Hong Kong ban was heavily pushed by "Friends of the Earth", which is a pretty good translation of Amigu di Tera. "Friends of the Earth" now say the ban has been very successful and want to extend it. Nobody here has cared, or known enough, to take a good look at our figures.
History Repeated, Again
Jardim, director of Financial Management, has written a letter to sinister Jamaloodin to express his worries about the fact that far too many civil servants are being hired. There's a surplus of 168 of those parasites, resulting in a 20M budget deficiency.
And all the time we've been told that the reason for all those referenda was to get rid of all those superfluous civil servants! But we never believed that in the first place, right.
"Think It Through"
This is hard to do for the sort of people that tend to occupy high government positions. If not very long, like in Rosalia's case. Peter Stuijvesant College has to change name, T-shirts, logo and all that before their 70-year commemoration festivities (half September). This will cost tens of thousands and rector Hanssen has no idea where to get the money. Even damage caused by last year's tropical storm Thomas has not been repaired yet.
Rosalia's follow-up sinister, forget his name - not that it matters one bit - doesn't reply to letters. Quite in "style."
Next day the sinister changed his tune and it was announced the government ("we") would pay for all this nonsense.
It's a Thought - But a Muddled One
PAIS leader Rosaria wants to end the dependency on the USD. His razor-like mind at once cuts to the very heart of the problem. When the $ goes down, we have to pay more for our imports from Europe (true enough); and vice versa. So we have to make our guilder dependent on both the USD and the €!
Why didn't the Central Bank think of that back in 1945, or something?
But it's not so simple. This is exactly what Europe has done when "pegging the € to a basket of currencies" and look at their problems now.
The tealeaves-gazing entrails-watching doomsayers have forecast an intense hurricane season for this year before. Thankfully, nothing came of it except for one pretty measly tropical storm Emily, that just passed Haïti with hardly any damage (good for extra vulnerable Haïti.) But now, the soothsayers have announced the rest of the season will be extra intense (we're about halfway), based on the same
They may be right (in which case, dig a deep hole and pull it down after you.) Point is, [y]our guess is as good as theirs. They have a lousy record; and broken, too: it keeps repeating the same boring phrases year after year. In cold reality, Atlantic ocean temperatures have steadily gone down since 1998; not, as they claim, up. Of course, it's Global Warming oops Climate Change oops Bio Diversification. Hard to keep up with what's TC (terminologically correct.)
Oh, almost forgot; the warning actually does not concern us here: it's for more hurricanes hitting the East coast of the USA farther to the North than usual. Here's a pretty good analysis.
The quarrel between PAR Leeflang and sinister El Hakim isn't over yet (may take some time...) Leeflang now made public that the Lebanese company is not represented in Curaçao, but Amigoe newspaper searched Google and found different claims.
Minister El Hakim says he wants larger cranes for CPA's container terminal, so it can handle 15,000 TEU ships. He conveniently forgets those "behemoths" are much too large for Willemstad harbor (and the Panamá and Suez canals); and anyway, they carry cranes of their own. Can't help wondering, what's the payback on them cranes?
These ULCV DWT 157,000 ships have a beam (length) of 1302ft/397m and width of 207ft/63m. (The harbor-entrance is 200m wide.) Comparable VLCC crude carriers, DWT 200,000, can only be accommodated in Curaçao Oil Terminal Bullenbaai deep-water harbor.
The white powder that escaped from the Isla refinery cat cracker is totally harmless, has been shown by an investigation—by Isla refinery. Nobody else seems to have thought of analyzing it themselves.
Action-group Basta! is not satisfied, as not even empty promises about fighting air pollution have been forthcoming from PM Schotte. Now, they will have the white powder analyzed in Holland, saying "it has made people ill, how can it be harmless?" But that, in itself, doesn't mean a thing; always remember the Mad Gasser of Mattoon.
FPI Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma has been accused of money theft and mismanagement. FPI produces teaching materials for
FPI director Severing states that controls are so tight, there is no room for malversations; the 15 workers at FPI are "angry and disappointed" and stand behind their boss. Where have we heard that one before?
Aah... So Desu; Is Dattuh So?
Mackerel is dying of by the thousands by the Rif Holiday Beach breakwater, this right after a problem was resolved where those nice tourists had stolen the fishermen's nets.
Most interesting is that the fishermen, as it turns out, among themselves have made deals that certain families have the "right" to fish for mackerel. Some of them don't even fish—those sell, or lease, what have you, those rights to other fishermen. Talk about illegal. Talk about cartels. Talk about mafia. Reminds you of the taxi drivers and then some. Wonder what would happen if you or I went to fish for mackerel; probably get beaten up and consider ourselves lucky at that.
Surprised? Nobody Is
Isla Refinery workers complain that Venezuelans get paid more than Curazoleños. Figures. And they used to accuse Shell of colonialism (not that they were wrong)!
More Bread for Bread
Bakeries have decided not to wait for government approval for higher prices of several types of bread, with more following soon. A kipashi [regular loaf] went up from ANG2.35 to 2.85, over 21%. Minister Hakim was not available for comment.
Minister Hakim next day did comment; he said this was a cartel and illegal. No doubt he's right. Let us wait and see. Want to bet Hakim wins? I wouldn't advise it.
Once a Lebanese, Always a...?
That would also apply to ex PM PAR de Jongh-Elhage. Or to me, in another sense, as a honkie. So, I Doubt It.
But what PAR Leeflang accuses MFK sinister El Hakim of does strike a minister note. El Hakim wants Lebanese container company CMA CGM as a participant in Curaçao harbors and airport and Leeflang definitely has a point when she resumes CMA CGM's doubtful past: the company has been involved four times between 2009 and 2011 in illegal arms transports. She only had to look it up in Wikipedia. Not always 100% reliable, true; mostly, I don't put things so mildly.
New Airport Plans
After the many downs, not so many ups, of Hato Airport since the Alterra take-over, finally some plans were announced that look reasonable. More here.
The exorbitant space port should start operating 1.3 years from now, but gets only a "area reserved for" mention. Also precious little about the grandiose eco-plans. Hopefully, all that waste will fall by the wayside where it belongs.
Wiels Takes off His Mask - It Ain't Purty
Wiels announces a boycott against FM 107.1 station Radio Direct, because "they are against the present government." He is drafting a list of companies and institutions that sponsor Radio Direct. Wiels does not feel this is an assault on freedom of the press: "in South America this is quite usual" he says, pointing at recent actions by Chávez (Venezuela) and Correa (Ecuador). He's right there, of course; even forgot a lot. But "usual" is not "the norm". It was also "quite usual" in Napoléon
FranceEurope, Hitler GermanyEurope, Lenin/Stalin USSR and satellites and MaoChina. The list is much longer, don't write me letters.
He adds that, if there is a free independent press in Curaçao, now is the time for it to stand up. Well, this is not "press" or even "media", but here I am Wiels (since 2003 already - how time flies): come on and knock my block off. Just try. (Between you and me, I'd love to know his IQ. Not much to know? Guess you're right.)
And my sponsors needn't worry; there aren't any. I might like some, but I don't need them.
The good news: Radio Direct claims they now have a rush from sponsors who want to take out advertising.
Government-owned ISP communications company UTS had a small problem with something they didn't care to specify, but internet and lots of other things just expired last Thursday. They sent everybody an SMS on the UTS cell-phone system telling 'em so. Alas, they didn't tell 'em when it'd come back. Lots of routers have been blown up and they are reconfiguring and, in our case, replacing them.
As If We Didn't Know
SMOC announces SO2-pollution by Isla refinery is way too high (again), resulting in asthma and other respiratory problems and possible eye irritation.
As If They Didn't Know
On several beaches signs now warn the tourists that the nets and canaster [fish traps] they find underwater are the property of local fishermen and it's illegal to destroy them. The fishermen themselves have received leaflets telling them the same thing; presumably, the tourists will also get copies?
Those nature-loving tourists must belong to the breed that destroys mink farms, GM crops, coal mines and boycotts airports. Then they fly over here for a working holiday... Welcome, nitwits!
Old Problem Revisited
Ex education PAR minister Alcalá-Wallé asked present PS minister Jansen about [more than] rumors about how schools have improved pupils' marks so they could make it to the next grade. She is of course quite right to ask; however, no need to be self-righteous about it—this is an endemic problem. When my brother (since passed away) was a teacher in the 1970s, he was obliged by his rector to give higher marks to a pupil who was the son of a prominent politician.
BOO! Blame on You!
Because the frequent malfunctions of BOO power plant caused the Isla refinery cat-cracker to stop operating just as frequently, cracks developed in the cracker (heh heh) which allowed a mysterious white powder to escape. Also sprach Isla refinery. Not a word about what that White Powder was—as if they don't know which necessarily makes us all wonder if it is not, as a matter of fact, carcinogenic indeed.
Not that the [vernacular for copulating] media wonder, that would be asking too much...
Makes You Sick to Your Stomach
The director of Taams Kliniek actually had to start his threatened hunger strike before minister of
illhealth Constancia woke up and arranged for the long-time promised bank arrangement, so the clinic could go on working.
Directors and managers of Aqualectra may not sign a check for over ANG50 [only] without permission of the board. MFK PM Schotte figures yearly "tens of millions" can be saved by Aqualectra; Aqualectra's own management claims it would be "only" a couple of millions.
Rumors 'r' Rife on a coming tariff raise, estimated between 10-30% and 20-45%. Take your pick; you won't like it any way it goes anyway.
There has been a seizure of terrain and buildings by workers of Curaçao Drydock Company CDM, because of their claims for ANG4.5M in salary payments.
Without a Trace
During school holidays and even then on a Saturday, the Peter Stuijvesant statue was silently removed from the premises of P.S. College. Impossible from the media to find out where it's gone; might be they don't care a bit. Some people do, though, and a student has started a Fakebooc action to get the statue back. And with it, the name of the school.
Peg-Leg Pete may have gone without a trace, but Rosalia certainly left his tracks.
News Flash: People from Bonaire have offered to take care of the Stuijvesant statue in the future, as it's part of their past, too, and they think it's wise to remember.
That Settles It
The Dutch government, in its awfully majestic wisdom and fairness, has decided there's no reason to probe into the allegations of corruption flying back and forth between central bank director Tromp and MFK PM Schotte. That means either there's nothing to it, or that it's too dangerous to check out.
MAN Members Protest
MAN members are tired of Wiels' continuous stream of imputations (who isn't?) and want their party to get out of the coalition. But their leaders say it's not so easy; after all, those guys have their fat salaries and other side benefits to feed their fat bellies.
MAN then told the press that they insisted upon all coalition partners to stick to the code of behavior they had agreed on in November 2010. Otherwise... no, they won't stop participating in the cabinet. Duh. I told you so. Interestingly, the coalition partners have not even met for the past two months (they're supposed to every two weeks).
Tourism and Other
CTB announces that in the last couple of months tourism has been going up (12% for January-March and 32% for April) and "expects" that by the end of the year we'll have had as many visitors as last year (which, now that they mention it, was a downer.) However, in sharp contradistinction the hotels say their number of visitors has been going down (5-6%). Go figure.
PS Wiels has been fulminating (we have grown used to that and stifle jawns) against a start-up databank Ctex. Trouble is, Ctex invests 1M and the remaining 20M come from public telecom company UTS.
But now UTS manager de Geus (very Dutch name indeed, made famous by the 1566 Dutch revolution, even if he doesn't look the part) has had more than enough. He started a press meeting by calling Wiels a kobarde (coward), abusador (abuser) and impotente (right, you got it.) He explained that their own databank has to be renewed and that UTS will invest only $5M to get a $30M databank at their disposal. (Much more than what Wiels quoted, but let's face it, what does he know?)
Now We're Getting Somewhere
The musicians, for whom a large part of their yearly income is from carnaval, are not overly delighted with the newly planned arrangements and threaten a boycott. If only that would spell the end of what has mostly become a boring nuisance.
As even the Dutch market is too small for authors to get their books published, small wonder that it's worse, much worse, for those writing in Papiamento. What makes it still worse is what bookstore owners well know: only people who command other languages read books, anyway. Only Dutch and English books find a market and even books in Spanish are rare.
This subject is as good as taboo, which doesn't help much to solve the problem.
In this context, this week I got an invitation to pick up a registered letter at the postkantoor of Otrabanda. No GC (Grammatical Correctness) BS for the steadfast postal workers.
Now No, He Don't
After PM Schotte came back from Venezuela with promises that Chávez, vice-president of PdVSA (some relation of the Monkey-from-the-Andes; you bet) would come over and negotiate on Isla refinery, we had our doubts. It was first postponed for a week as the guy had to go meet his boss in Cuba and now indefinitely.
Watch Where You Eat
Health dept. personnel shut down 15 locations last week because of bad hygienic conditions. They re-opened last week-end, only to be revisited again, at once—and four had to be closed down again. Hygienic conditions were still not satisfactory.
Dept. of health commented that many customers did not seem to care much; when one snack was shut down, they just patiently waited outside until it reopened.
PdVSA, Petrobras and Pernambuco
An article by Oliver L. Campbell in Petroleum World informs us that building cost for Abreu y Lima refinery has shot up from 2 billion to "a staggering" 14.4 billion US dollars—for a 230,000 barrels/day plant. Campbell figures that PdVSA should get out of the deal.
Compare with Isla refinery, capacity over 300,000 barrels/day while estimated upgrading cost is 'merely' 1.5 billion. That's less than 1/10th the price per barrel.
It is no secret that PdVSA is mismanaged, but that they refuse to come up with this much lower amount seems insane.
For once, we heartily agree with PM MFK Schotte who dares PS Wiels to get out of the cabinet, after Wiels publicly accused his government partners of theft and malversations. Schotte even said that he wouldn't mind getting in the back seat as PM and letting Wiels drive for a while; Fat Chance Dept.
Schotte also said that his party has achieved more in 10 months than PAR in 16 years, but omitted supplying details.
Carnaval Commits Suicide?
The next carnaval Gran Marcha will not go through town, but by some obscure outskirts. No deafening, short- and long-term, music will be allowed. There will be a concert in the Rif stadium and the music produced there may be listened to over loudspeakers along the route. What Fun!
But, let's face it, nobody I know goes there anymore anyway.
The committee finally weaseled out, saying "it was only a proposal... it could take until 2014, or 2050..."
Hakim and CDM
In Amigoe newspaper lawyer Roelof Bijkerk discussses the government's attitude regarding 100% state-owned Curaçao Drydock Company CDM, for many years the biggest drydock in the Western hemisphere. Bijkerk ought to know, he represents CDM's temporary work force. The state of maintenance is alarming, but even worse, to lower labor costs laws have been broken for many years on a large scale.
During the last 15 years temporary workers have been "substantially" underpaid with government fully aware of this illegal practice and others like the Cuban slavery scandal. Directie Arbeidszaken [labor affairs] claims that government can be held responsible, but MFK minister Hakim states that he does not care if CDM has to close down.
Over two years ago efforts were made to privatize CDM, leading to a selection of 1 serious participant (Damen Shipyards) out of 50, but minister Hakim just stopped the process. He finally offered the temporary workers slightly over 30% of their due, which they had to accept in 2x24 hours. It looks like Hakim, while asserting the government will keep running CDM, is purposefully aiming for bankruptcy.
Wiels' Public Wheels
PS Wiels wants to build a road for public transport only along a road traject that's been planned over twenty years ago, but that never got anywhere; must be much harder now. Cost all-in well over 100 million guilders (a lot of which no doubt will fall by the roadside, heh heh.) But even if it works out it only means relief for what's, in megalomanic grandeur, called Great Willemstad. Certainly won't help for the choked-up roads to Bandabao and Caracasbaai. But it will take five or six years and where will Wiels be by then?
Reminds me of the guy who figured that if San Francisco got rid of their public transport system and gave all users money for a taxi, the city would save pots of money.
Wiels also claims the population will grow the next few years, because many people will come back from Holland. Just dream on Wiels, it's the one thing you're good at.
The awful majesty of the law has raided all six, and then some, locations of Robbie's Lottery. Accusations are for money laundering, fraud and who knows what else.
What makes this much more interesting is that Robbie himself is finance minister Jamaloodin's half-brother and reputed to be the main financer of MFK party. For his efforts he has been awarded with a job at Wega di Number which is supposed to control... lotteries.
Apples Are No Oranges
No, there's no comparing. In California, one of the highest taxed United States, people complain that car tax and registration is so expensive: $111/year (ANG200). We pay ANG394.
The government has published a pamphlet on what the Good Citizen's "patriotic" duty is. Really! There's a sort of lottery where you can send in invoices that list all info as the Boss requires (I checked all those I have and not a single one made the grade.) Winners will not have to face the fire squad. It all serves to check on the sales tax.
Also, there are all sorts of graphs showing rates and percentages of inflation, all referring to the CPI—no word of explanation what that means. You and I of course are so smart, we can figure out it's Consumer Price Index. It offers a scary picture.
Four students of Delft Technical University have won the Design Challenge 2011 prize for design of an Eco Park for Hato airport. It's supposed to save 90% of energy by using cold seawater for cooling and 50% in costs. (Note: this what's called "internationally prestigious award" comes from the very same university, which interesting detail you won't learn from the media.) Pipeline building starts next year, at an ANG25M price tag. Peanuts, of course, compared with the space plans. Let us hope for success and refrain from puns on the intellectual state of Hato-director Adriaens.
... to paraphrase the standard quotation on statistics. CTB is at it again: April is their best month ever! with 25% more visitors. Alas, in the very next paragraph we read that the amount of nights spent has grown a mere 11%.
People Feel Robbed
After all election-time promises of lowered fuel prices, the government now suddenly decided to raise them. Not that anybody didn't see it coming... Car gas by about 20%, cooking gas by almost half. Next, public (minibus) transport prices will shoot up.
Price of bread has not been adapted since 1996 and the bakeries want to raise price per bread to ANG2.53/500grams. Their April letter to the government has not been replied to.
It doesn't help that there has been a wave of criminality which PS minister Wilsoe promises to stop "within one year." How? Yet another promise not to be kept.
The number of burglaries has gone up (2008-2010) from 24,000 to 29,000, over 20%. Wilsoe wants to reduce all crimes with 10-20% this year and even has a plan. He'll have to hurry, because there have already been 10% more armed assaults this year compared with same period last year.
A demonstration on 9 July against criminality attracted only 50 people.
Let Us Wait If We Will See
MFK PM Schotte announced that, shortly, PdVSA director Chávez (definitely a relation) will come to Curaçao for negotiations on investing in Isla refinery. "PdVSA says they want to come to a quick solution and has shown realistic attention for the environmental problems"—Schotte's words, you judge how much they're worth.
Much to my unagreeable surprise, upon my return after a month's absence
the same tired government was still in power
(if not exactly functional)
No Festive Crowd
Hardly any people seem to have taken the trouble to visit Brionplein festivities on the first national day of the flag since independence. Small wonder.
Health minister Constancia insists on a continued collaboration with Amsterdam Slotervaart hospital, even though its director Erdubak has already been convicted thrice for fraud and extortion.
Question: So how come Erdubak is still in function there?
Aruba minister Visser states that Curaçao health care is 'below standards' and feels that Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten ought to join forces and equalize health care on all islands. Wise words—too bad they are apart already. Trouble is, he also thinks Slotervaart is a great partner. Hmmm.
On 7 July, both MFK PM Schotte and Constancia (so don't ask) announced, much to the joy of the medical specialists union, that the deal was probably off.
1 Million Gone
Economy minister Hakim wants to invest USD1M (ANG1.8M) in a movie Tula, the Revolt, planned by two makambas—who need USD5M more. PNP Davelaar finds this incomprehensible and remarks that SEHOS hospital gets only ANG3M to buy new equipment.
A couple of days later this was denied; Hakim "never promised one million."
Berlin, Schloßplatz, 10 May 1933
A copy of the Dutch translation of Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes - Het Negerboek (which title is taken from a list of 3000 North-American slaves freed in 1783) was burned in Amsterdam by an impressive crowd of about thirty. The Nazis did better but it's the same technique.
People in Otrabanda are bugged by bad water quality. It has a yellowish tint and causes diarrhea and gripes. Aqualectra, naturally, denies that anything could possibly be wrong with their product—but have been giving away free bottles of drinking water.
A group of Julianadorp inhabitants has started an action under this name against Isla refinery pollution, after a white powder escaped from the cat cracker and settled down on the neighborhood. Nobody knows what it is but "it may be carcinogenic". Sure.
In the ongoing court fight it turned out that PdVSA still doesn't know what the powder was. Interestingly PdVSA lawyers, who claimed enormous losses because of BOO malfunctions, had no answer to the judge's question if in that case PdVSA was considering moving activities to another location.
Civil Society Watch Online has published a totally devastating article on how our government is purposefully ruining our social structure. "The state of Curaçao has so much influence on market economy and its output that only a small group of politicians and companies has access to wealth. Directors are installed by the government and only these companies can do business with the régime." One result is that businessmen are already leaving the island. Corruption has become the modus operandi and the economy is decaying.
Money Thrown to the Wind
USD82M (~ANG150) will be spent on new wind generators on Playa Canoa and Tera Corá. They will have a total height of 125m (compare with the highest hill on the island, Christoffel, 373m.) It is claimed they will replace generators dating from 1993, which is an outright lie. Nobody is talking about financing of these monstrosities, but we all know who will end up paying for them.
Present 12 generators on Tera Corá with a total capacity of 3MW will be replaced by 5 new ones, total 15MW. Maximum, of course.
Tell Us, Too! Or at Least, Each Other.
MAN Cooper wants to know more about MFK minister Hakim's plans to save DAE airline. So would we all. But we are not, like Cooper, Vice-PM.
Bien étonnés de se trouver ensemble
Churches, schools, bankers, entrepreneur unions and trade unions (together and united!) have approached governor Goedgedrag with a distress call on how the government is leading us to the brink. Must be pretty serious...
Have Fun, Will Travel Too bad that things are so suspenseful these days, so the timing is bad—but I still really feel like getting out. Right across the world I'll be, where it's nice and cool.
Back by the 4th of July - wait with the fireworks!
DAE Down and Out?
Minister Hakim tells everybody who wants to listen and everybody else too, that it's "a matter of hours" before Dutch Antillean Airlines are bankrupt. New owner Leonora has been ordered by court to pay former owner Sandmann ANG1.5M, but nobody can locate him (Hakim claims an 11-person team is looking for him. Seems best chance is an Atlanta bar or beach, possibly both.)
Now it's Wiels who wants minister Jamaloodin to go; he seems to have threatened Tromp in a telephone call. "And everybody knows that Tromp has all his phone calls recorded." [I didn't; but then, I'm not everybody.] Smart, Jamaloodin, but not a surprise. Then again, Wiels wants Tromp to go as well.
Say, here's a thought. Why not get rid of the whole bunch in one fell swoop? Including Wiels, don't forget Wiels.
Accusations Fly Like Feathers and Fur
Central Bank's Tromp versus MFK PM Schotte and his gang. Tromp has lodged complaints for corruption against three ministers: PM Schotte, economic development Hakim and finance Jamaloodin, all MFK. Schotte claims Tromp is blackmailing him, while Tromp feels Schotte is blackmailing him.
Apart from the allegations about Tromp's supposedly non-kosher loan, dating back to 2009, one item on Tromp's agenda is that the government-owned Girobank is forced to use Jamaloodin's money-transport company.
By now, the financial community is in an uproar and ex Maduro-Curiel's Bank director Capriles is asking for an Algemene maatregel van Rijksbestuur [have the Kingdom intervene in local government.]
Tromp's further allegations: Minister Hakim has demanded a lot with apartment building permits for arranging a Blue Bay Resort tax holiday; he also gets 0.01 cent per liter of bunker oil for tourist ships. PM Schotte makes a habit of paying with checks of fuel station exploiter vanDis, owned by Van der Dijs family, a member of which has a high function at Aqualectra utility.
Even the Dutch government, for a welcome change, has noticed something stinks to heaven here. They plan a large investigation in a hurry. We bate our collective breath.
By July 22, the Landsrecherche [country detective corps] stated about Schotte and Tromp "there's nothing to see here, folks, move along." On May 27, Schotte lodged a complaint against Tromp; nobody tells us for what but the redu-rumors say, blackmail. Meanwhile, the private banking world is worried about the leaked info on Tromp's loan and wants to prevent this in the future.
Central Bank director Tromp tells us that he had been considering asking to be released from his function, as "the government systematically makes functioning of the Bank impossible." However, he will not do so after a libel campaign has started because a loan by a private bank to a friend of his allegedly was to his advantage; he now insists upon an inquiry.
Bank letters to the finance minister and PM get no reply. A board for the Bank has still not been appointed. Yearly accounts are not approved; the bank's 2011 budget has not been accorded. The Bank cannot execute a monetary policy without approval of the board. There is no preparation for the new Caribbean CMG guilder, while the Antillean ANG guilders are running out. August 28 IMF evaluation of the financial system is at stake. Laws for control of gambling and money laundering have not been passed, so internationally obligated central bank control is impossible.
"MFK finance minister Jamaloodin was unavailable for comment." Figures.
Just in Time
Only two days before the 10-10-10 independency, checks were written for millions of guilders in behalf of the Crime Fund. Many have not even been cashed, yet. All this looks highly irregular, if not illegal, if not downright criminal.
Wiels' PS had proposed some law, called 80-20, which refers to the obliged percentages of Yu'i Kòrsou and bloody foreigners that get jobs in local companies. No good word from outside PS has been forthcoming about this misguided nonsense. The good news is, it looks like it will never make it now that the Raad van Advies [advisory council] has shared the crowd of no-sayers: it conflicts with the gelijkheidsbeginsel [equality principle] and is discriminating.
Wiels, in character, immediately announced he doesn't care a fart and will proceed regardless.
Fire Dept. Wises up
Future fire engines will be bought in the USA and not in Europe. You are excused for thinking that this is because our guilder is coupled with the US$, while the € just gets more and more expensive, but no. It's because the two last European "FireGate" engines turned out to have "gross defects" - ouch. The deal stunk and the trucks are rotten.
An Expert Disagrees
Central Bank Curaçao/St. Maarten manager Tromp remarks that nobody seems to worry about the growing balance of payments deficiency. He's wrong, we're just as worried, if not personally: we saw it coming. Still, the man has a point. Economy growth is weak; you said it, Tromp; has been growing 1%/year 2005-2011. Wisely, he remarks that change and uncertainty carry opportunities. He's right, that has been the way I made it through life—but can we expect that from those *~^%$# in our government?
The answer is NO of course.
However, MFK Hakim plays it down. All hot air, he says; why, next year a record number of cruise tourists is expected! Yes, but will they actually turn up? How I talk; he must be right, he's the minister of economy.
Let's Give Ourselves a Raise!
Directors of Wega di Number, a state-owned lottery, decided to raise their monthly fee from 300 to 1000 guilders. Seems they're not allowed to; seems the former directors were against it.
PAR Cecilia, together with Amigoe newspaper has approached civil servants union Abvo to report any government intimidation of their members. None have come in, from which she concludes that it's so bad, nobody dares to report 'em.
Well, maybe. On the other hand, maybe none have come in because there are none. Tells us nothing, nada, zero, zilch, naks.
The 2009 Bonaire DiviDivi crash leaves a bad stench wherever you smell. Read more here. In a nutshell, it's one big bloody banana-republic-like mess. By far the worst is that Bonaire rescue services were inadequate with a lack of coordination. Mark that Bonaire Flamingo is the airport that was completely refurbished in 2007 to serve as a station for KLM/Air France intercontinental flights (and panned by Dutch Rijkswaterstaat authority); as it turns out, may God help the passengers when anything happens to one of their 747s there—because Bonaire couldn't possibly.
The investigative committee also is "greatly worried" about Curaçao civil aviation inspection and supervision which has been "seriously inadequate." And according to Hato president Adriaens, the responsible Directie Luchtvaart now is 'many times weaker' than at the time of the crash. The then director and chief inspector were killed in the Haïti earthquake and have never been replaced, because Adriaens thought, as he now admits wrongly, this would be manageable for so short a period.
MAN minister Cooper blamed pilot error and pooh-poohed all other wrongdoings. For once, as an agreeable surprise, the press didn't go for this. Cooper said he does not understand what the qualification "inadequate" [onvoldoende], as used in the report for his department's supervision, means. It means you failed, Cooper. The committee has given him six months to react to the recommendations.
What a BOOre.
Once again, BOO has given up and with it the refinery. This time it's a ¾" (19mm) water tube: it just keeps cracking because of insufficient support. You'd think, after all those years, they'd have managed to fix it.
So we can confidently look forward to yet another refinery reboot shortly, complete with sound, light and stench effects.
That Explains a Lot
Reasons to Worry We have seen a number of worrisome signs here pointing down the road to totalitarianism: The Peter Stuijvesant College name change; the confirmed allegations of a minister's sexual intimidations; razzia's in supermarkets; the flag incident; several race riots instigated by the same team in the past.
Now it's a minister of health who prefers alternative pseudo-science to established medical practice. There is a parallel here with other totalitarian regimes, like the Dritte Reich's pseudo-scientific race theories, resulting in the holocaust and the communist USSR preferring Lysenko's pseudo-genetics to Mendel's theories, causing many millions to die in famines.
Minister of health Constancia doesn't care what they say about her (we knew that already) and her obscure Cuban remedies. Besides, she has been working on a prevention program (hold on to your seat) with a dr Rudolf the Wit, a "natural healer." One of the items on their list is an alimentation institute. Shades of South Africa: just eat garlic and red beets and presto! your HIV will be cured (their woman minister who claimed so sneaked out of her country for a liver transplant.)
I'd rather have prince Chuckle the talking horse; at least that's only empty speeches (as long as Liz is alive.)
TouristsOil on the Beaches
There's oil and tar on them thar beaches, so the tourists have been warned to stay away from them. (But where can we go for a swim? Who cares.) The oil may come out of Annabaai harbor, but somebody was quick to say not so, it's an external polluter. Sure—somebody would say that.
From aerials, it seems obvious the oil comes out of the harbor. Samples have been taken, but the harbor master doesn't want the refinery to analyze them; somehow, he doesn't trust them.
The theory is that the rain somehow makes the oil lodged in the bottom of Schottegat harbor float up. Must be one of them computer models you read so much about?
Budget Delayed - Again
The 2011 supplementary budget discussions have been delayed to June. By then, it's about time to start discussing the new 2012 budget. That is, if anybody took it seriously.
Rosalia got the Venezuela 'Order of José Leonardo Chirino' (leader of a 1795 slave revolution) and speeched that every people has the right to be boss of its past, present and future. Boss of its own past? Not only I wish. Sounds like 1984 Newspeak to me.
"The Happy Little Island"That's Weird—or Not?
(click to see the strip)
musta been 10-10-10
After Rekenkamer audit office had found irregularities, as the expression goes, with the free medical P.P. cards, PS Wiels announced he would have the Prosecutor look into it. Weirdly, Wiels never did so; which is why PAR now says they will.
Cut Down to Size
A citizen who was mad at PM Schotte first cut down the giant flag at the harbor entrance and proceeded to cut it to pieces. He was caught and may be in for a 5000 guilders fine or 2 weeks (other sources say 2 months) in prison. Too bad he had only the flag to take it out on.
I'd go for the fine. Well, not entirely sure. ThatYour Future is a hell-house in shape of 'Things to Come'—but the fine is far above the poverty line.
As he desecrated the Holy Flag they want to soak him for the maximum, four years, for the larger crime of illegal weapon possession: a knife. Yet another instance of growing totalitarianism.
Medicine, Not Miracles Please
Health minister Constancia wants to introduce a Cuban medicine Heberprot-P that's supposed to work miracles at preventing amputations in the last phase of diabetes (from 21% down to 5%). Too bad nobody in the medical world has ever heard about this: it has been registered and used in Algeria, Libya and "several South American countries." Like Bolivia? A real confidence builder.
The medical world's reaction is she'd better use the money for preventive information.
From Not-So-Good to Still Worse
That's the third PS minister that's been thrown out by her party, or elected to get lost hir/hemself, what's the difference? This time it's Girigorie's follow-up, Willems-Martina—she's been there for 3 (three) months and complains about her party's lack of support; well, that's as it may be— she also helped her assistant to a much higher salary than was called for. The reason why she had to go was that she insisted on
wethe government paying for her hubby's expenses on a trip.
Might be Carlos Monk who will step up now; and maybe he's wiser than that.
The only PS minister that has kept going is Wilsoe [justice], but nobody would notice much difference if he went; not that that's anything remarkable for this set of clowns.
The Isla protest march went off on schedule... well, not exactly that but finally the 130 or so marchers (almost all honkies dressed in white) set course for Post 7 refinery entrance. Police turned up to check permits, as another crowd, presumably Isla personnel, had turned up at the finish. Don't know if they carried pitchforks and baseball bats. Tune in later to check if a fierce battle has ensued.
As it turns out, the marchers were stopped by 50 Isla workers dressed in red (Chávez' favorite color). No violence, but for a couple of eggs thrown by the Reds who seemed to be more agressive. A White (lawyer In 't Veld) dexterously caught one and threw it back. Then the Rats' mood rottened, but over 20 police for once managed to appease instead of escalating. Anyway, I was at the start and those Whites definitely were not spoiling for a fight. The farce I definitely regret having missed is Whites and Reds repeatedly singing the national anthem at each other.
Hakim and Schotte Spectacular
Economy minister MFK Hakim held what sounds like a razzia at Esperamos supermarket to check prices there; he himself arrived with a veritable army of civil servants and members of the esteemed press. The supermarket is so disgusted, they may sue him. They are not alone and many shops seem to consider to remain closed next Monday in protest.
Meanwhile, PM Schotte of the same party flew to Havana de Cuba for some tourist fair. He used a private Lear jet.
Out and Down
Isla refinery has come to another complete standstill since BOO stopped working yesterday morning. They must have been producing for at least a full month since the last breakdown.
This time it took only a week-end, though. Back at belching big black billowing clouds of smoke on Monday 9.
Rosalia's Pants on Fire
Not only did he sexually intimidate several women while director of Kas di Kultura, he also lied about it. So he's been wearing hot pants in more than one sense. Is what ombudsperson Martijn reports. Too bad it's too late to do something about it; he's left as a minister.
Makes you wonder what's the problem with all those people working for him who swore for his integrity. Next question: where does this shady character hang out these days? Say, here's an idea; maybe we can export him to Holland.
Ups and Downs
Without raising OB/omzetbelasting [sales tax] proceeds can grow with 10% or ANG30M/year - if only everybody insists on getting a receipt. So a campaign to make this popular is planned.
At the same time, we read that AOW [old age pension] will be raised with 3% by July "to compensate for higher OB."
Isla Protest March
There will be such a thing with at least 100 participants for 2 hours on May 7.
According to the Islawatch site, it will start at 9:00 from parking place Landsontvanger tax office and ending at refinery entrance Post 7. For more info, please call 738 4806.
Gone, But Not Far Enough
Arsjes found greener pastures and will be leaving as Staten president. That's the good news. He will get a well-paid function at some ministry, where they brag they have selected personnel without looking at political connections. (By some freaky coincidence, nevertheless no PAR affiliates have been hired).
Tough! Arsjes for the time being will not take his leave as Staten president. For all we understand, he may be in for the duration.
PS' problem is, if he leaves that lucrative post, next in line are Rosalia and Girigorie who still can claim it, even though both left the party. Oh, what a tangled web politicians weave.
Wèchi: Worse, Worster and Worstest
The first ANG70M estimate for the Wèchi infrastructure turns out to hardly touch it; now, a month later, it's 167M; and growing? No fair guessing! We've been promised €10M (ANG26M), which has to be shared with Téra Còrá public housing bario—worse, on the condition that Fundashon Kas Popular will take part in financing. Ouch.
Some Progress, More Delays
Department for Milieu en Natuurbeheer [environment and nature] is working on an improved licensing system. It's expected to be less vague and so avoid differences in interpretation between Isla refinery and the department. Supposedly, this has nothing to do with the long-running fights in court. It will take six months until implementation—they say.
Yet another Dutch historian, den Heijer, concludes from the MCC [Middelburg (Zeeland) commercial company] archives that the Dutch slave trade has been less barbaric and cruel than generally assumed. He also declares most historians agree with this. But as is to be expected, many who themselves have never experienced those excesses prefer to blame their present conditions on others; who never had to do with slavery, either. More discussions leading nowhere are sure to follow.
joyous 100th birthday celebration of
totalitarian mass murderer
(over ten million victims)
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
patron saint of
Does She Really Want to Know?
Health minister Constancia (MFK) wants better measurement of air pollution caused by Isla refinery. We have two stations, but both mysteriously seem to go out of order at critical moments.
Tourists are consistently being robbed by taxis, but the
thievesdrivers' club SinistraSinusta doesn't appreciate recent publications in the media about this, like reports of taxis charging $130 for a max. $75 ride. They protest that complaints are "vague" as no actual taxicabs have been pointed out. They also say only officially registered licensees may operate a taxi—not realizing this makes it even worse.
They finally say that since 2005 all taxis have been equipped with a taxi-meter; I've never seen one.
CHATA Hotel association is quite pessimistic about future developments: capacity keep growing much faster than number of visitors. In 2010, the number of visitors was 59,000 below prognosis (which isn't specified—naturally!) This year, there should be a growth of 27% (+ 92,000) to arrive at a total growth prognosis of 236,000 tourists from 2010-2014.
It's not gonna happen, boys! Next time, more caution when you fill out that spreadsheet.
That's What You Get
But those in charge won't get it: the tongue-in-cheeks efforts to protest against the dictatorial decision to rename PSC high school have now led to a reaction, stopping at defacing Stuijvesant's statue. Which is an only to be expected trend when you abolish democracy and replace it with dictatorship.
Clowns in Space
Hato Space Port says there is a "rush" for their €70K Vomit Comet tickets; they've sold more than ten already! Which is enough to cover almost 1% of their "first phase investment" (which Hato airport, say, we, is supposed to cough up.) They also say the noise will not be so bad. Sure, we trust 'em there, why not?
"Schotte the Goon"
This one is old, from August last year; an email purportedly sent by then minister of Justice Magali Jacoba. (I have my doubts about that.) It lists a number of more or less serious crimes PM Schotte allegedly committed. There's no way to check the truth, so I just translate it for what it's worth. Here's the Papiamentu original.Subject: Just so you know.2011-04-16
The list of EVERYTHING by Schotte the goon:
1. He tried to get all beaches for himself (BEACH MANAGEMENT);
2. He poisoned his dogs himself;
3. He pointed a revolver at his own family;
4. He manipulated falsified letters to receive salary from [SIC] his deceased father-in-law, Richard Salas, as a fictional collaborator;
5. Stole inside and went out to get the insurance money from FATUM;
6. Walked out of a Chinese restaurant without paying;
7. Arranged for his own job at Domeinbeheer without qualifications;
8. Killed people in a car accident and drove away;
9. Arranged for his computers to be stolen from his WIFI-mibile [SIC] to get the insurance money and for publicity.
No matter if it's of any use, or worse! The government wants to introduce Papiamentu on high schools this very year, complete with final examinations. Experts say it can't be done, would take at least two years; not to mention the cost. And what can pupils do with their diploma except roll it up and shove it? Even our UNA (or is it UNC now? one loses track) is mostly in Dutch.
But no argument or expertise will stop our dumb democratic dictatorship from pressing on regardless.
Wish I'd Thought of That
Aqualectra is going to court to fight the government's tariff reduction of 5¢/KWH (about 7%). We should have fought Aqualectra years ago. The government has produced a document (yes! they produced something!) analyzing the energy situation. Aqualectra claims there are recommendations in there, that already appear in their own document "vision 20/30". "The government acts as if investing in green energy doesn't cost"—well, that applies to all governments all over the world. It's much more expensive that burning fossil fuels, or nuclear. Aqualectra's worst problem is that the government report advises firing 24% (rather exact, that) of personnel.
But this is not such a surprise, it's a fine old tradition for the company. Years ago it was run by OGEM, a Dutch utility that made a fall remarkably like Enron. The Curaçao branch was peanuts for OGEM and then director Hoekstra told me that the policy was to hire many people too many, thus providing work. (In the 1970s personnel went on strike, which failed because only the staff managed to keep all facilities running.)
A letter to Amigoe newspaper by Felix D. Pinedo even insinuates that overproduction of fresh water is just discharged back into the sea.
Don't Rock the Boat
MAN is getting sick of Wiels, who has always made a habit of fulminating against anyone who doesn't agree with him. They want to do something about it, he has to stop. If he doesn't, "we need to talk it over."
Just fancy the government would fall apart! Ajó to those fat salaries complete with pensions and to all those great opportunities to make some extra money on the side! Can't have that.
Wiels' come-back on his radio show: "It's become a habit that people feel insulted as soon as you analyze their behavior pattern. Who can't stand that, better get out of politics." We certainly hope that he wil follow his own advice and from no on will unbar all holds re. Wiels.
Civil servants for you. Had to go by the Taxman, arrived at 11:55. There only was some guard. When asked what time they closed, he said "12 o'clock."
Many's the time I ran to the supermarket one minute before closing time to grab something I needed. You don't think they were closed, do you? Noooh... they keep open, for one reason because they have to pay taxes!
Not Before We Were Ready for It
Finally, DOW [public works] has started fixing our roads, which have been in a deplorably crummy state since tropical storm Tomás came by. It could take two years before they're all back in a decent condition. Comparatively speaking; before Tomás we had even more potholes than New York can boast.
Smart Meddlesome Thinking
Groen Links [green left], a Dutch political party, feels that abortion should be legalized here. They do have a point, as abortions are quite common here and a prosecutor could start a case against a doctor he doesn't like, just like that. But firstly, this meddling in internal affairs is typical for Holland and one very good reason why the Dutch are not universally liked (the same people are trying to push homosexual marriage down our throat). Second, Groen Links reasons that many women shy away from using contraceptives. Which may be so, but it seems obviously preferable to educate them—I am sure abortions are much more expensive.
Then, we have an enormous HIV/AIDS problem here that costs the community hundreds of thousands each month. Legalizing abortion won't help, but using contraceptives would.
Apart from all that, I personally can't help feeling that abortion as a contraceptive is a most primitive, crude and unnecessary interference and not really far removed from the large-scale infanticide that was with us until quite recently.
CrimeCasinos Don't Pay
That is to say, they don't pay up. They collectively own the country 26.3M guilders (~USD14.5M). There are 13 casinos and only 5 of them obey regulations. There are now plans to close the rest down.
Schotte's government, such as it is, has declared Curaçao will be independent in 2014. As PAR Atacho rightly states, this will not only necessitate a 4th referendum (it does get tiresome); it completely disregards the last one where the people once again have chosen to remain part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. But that's not what our democratic dictator wants.
After FOØL Godett, when he had the power for such glory, had the entire Wèchi terrain "cleaned" (which for us here means, almost completely denuded by bulldozers) for public housing, now Defensa Ambiental and Amigu di Tera have gone to court because the government didn't follow the proper procedures while defining the development plan.
"The government ought to have done solid research to define the plans for an area and not the other way round." If you don't understand what is meant by that, sorry, we can't explain it either. It's what we read in the newspaper.
Another Aqualectra Audit
Aqualectra will be audited once again. This time it's serious, at least so it seems.
Lies or Good [or Bad] News?
MFK PM Schotte, sporting a bullet-proof vest, walks around with a body-guard these days and even brags about it. He claims he's been threatened (well, we feel threatened ourselves by what's going on.) No PM from the past has ever deemed this necessary. For run-of-the-mills dictators it's quite common, though; not that it always helps them.
Police stated they have not received a complaint from Schotte, who claims he has received an SMS threatening him; which should be traceable.
Since the last elections it's been downhill with the economy and investments, contrary to prognosis and a world-wide trend. No Comment.
Tourism seems to be going up, if ever so slightly. Mostly from Holland, like it or not (many people won't.) As hotel occupation last year was just over 71%, that means they're hanging on by their fingernails, even if we can trust that figure.
An action group demands that the name PSC for the high school is reinstated. The way it has been changed is a corruption of democracy, they feel, for some reason. Worse, they claim the PSC-rector had received a letter signed by Rosalia stipulating the new name before the committee had even discussed the proposals (dated March 14, while the committee only met March 17. Really clever, Rosalia; shows what an astute politician you are.)
Can't help wondering why we haven't heard from that committee about this, if true. The members must have been selected with some care.
The action group members wish to remain anonymous because they fear 'political reprisals' and insist that's why no teachers of PSC are members. So that is how far we've come down in less than half a year of "independence".
A letter by Teunis Middelkoop to the Amigoe editor even claims the name-change is a condition of the government accord. A really important priority, depending on your SIF-[single-issue-fanatic] status.
We'd All Like to Know
PAR Jackson asks how many civil servants we have now. As this theoretically was a main reason for all those referenda, at least #2 or #3, the man certainly has a point. Especially since it looks like the number has been
growingexploding since 10-10-10.
We Knew That Already
The Aqualectra personnel union feels the lower tariffs proposed by Schotte are just a way to "destabilize" the utility so competitors get a chance to jump in.
So if tariffs go down, they reason, competition gets easier. Tiens... c'est intéressant, ça.
Not What Was Bargained For
An enterprise associated with Gelt Dekker (though he's not a share-holder), Jellinek clinic for Dutch high-society junkies, got a subsidy of €600K from Holland. But the Dutch were told that the clinic would be for Curaçao junkies and would mainly hire Curaçao personnel. Both not so. Now Dutch PvdA (labor party) wants Holland to ask the subsidy back.
It took three weeks or more for Dutch minister Donner to reply that the clinic had 8 Curaçao personnel—without telling us the total. The clinic answered "in an important degree" to the conditions (whatever that means); and if it turned out not to satisfactory by this summer, all advances would have to be repaid. We'll see. And it wasn't meant for Curaçao junkies at all, let us fend for them.
Inflation versus Tariffs
While the Central Bank has adjusted 2011 inflation to 4.8%, Aqualectra utility tariffs will be lowered with 5 cents; that's, say, 7% (promises, promises were 25%.) In this time and age, yet. No doubt inflation will be still higher if tariffs for gas and fuel are raised and when OB sales tax goes up from 5% to 6% as planned.
The bank's earlier prognosis was a 2011 GPD growth of 1.25%, but CBS [statistics] now expects no more than 0.2%. Let's put that in our pipes and smoke it, as much-needed stronger stuff is forbidden.
Aqualectra protests that the lower tariffs are based on wrong data.
CPA is a Mess
Just about the best thing the island has got going, success guaranteed: the harbor has lost its Lloyd's ISO certificate. Lloyd's largely blames KTK for the mismanagement. Didn't we know it.
Although CPA and government have lost the certificate, they're still showing its emblem on their letterheads and websites. How like them.
On 28 April it was announced both companies would be re-certificated.2011-04-07
Diddling in Space
What the Dutch call "Gelul in de ruimte." April 12, ticket sales will start for Hato space hops (not much more than that) from January 2014. Just call KLM and reserve your window seat for USD90K. Like in the old times, incl. puke-bags.
They refer to it as "the start of commercial space travel in Holland" which is rather presumptuous. Don't over-excite Wiels! And even better, don't hold your breath.
Stop the Stench!
Two days ago Smoc once again went to court to ask the judge to force the government to shut down Isla refinery, as the conditions for its 2005 licensing permit have not been implemented. In the last few weeks, problems have been even worse than usual. And now that you mention it, BOO should be closed as well.
Smoc will also be asking the Kingdom of the Netherlands to intervene when minister of health Constancia does not act, with a possible appeal to the European court for human rights.
A leak at Isla refinery has released unknown quantities of toxic naphta, a carcinogen that stinks to boot. This sort of thing is getting almost routine, just like the fact that minister of health Constancia didn't know about it.
So What Else Is New?
Aqualectra and Curoil don't think the tariff reductions promised by PM Schotte can be realized. You know, just between you and me (don't let it get any further) in these times they just might have a point.
But the managers don't want to protest too much for fear they might be kicked out. That is even more realistic.
So what else is new? (Thankfully ex-) minister Rosalia denies all allegations about his non-integrity and sexual intimidation. Then again, he would, wouldn't he? The ombuds-person needs three more weeks to finish hir/hes inquisition. I have patience. Bide my time.
What Took Them So Long?
There's a ANG450M (~USD250M) difference between what funds are available and what the government says they need in the coming four years. A negative difference, of course. It took 'em six months to figure all that out.
Makes You Think a Bit...
The coalition partners, among which MFK, "urgently request" PM Schotte (MFK himself) not to appoint Rudolf Baetsen as director of the Central Bank. Baetsen is allied with the Atlantis World Group, an international casino operator led by Francesco Corallo, with his father Giuseppe alleged mafiosi. It is claimed Atlantis has helped finance MFK.
The appointment for the St. Maarten branch of Central Bank of Ralph Richardson, an ex-con, is also criticized.
Baetsen has meanwhile removed himself from this ugly scene.
Finally! But What's in It?
PM Schotte (MFK) at a press meeting showed a stack of paper alleged to be the governing program. It took half a year to get this together, but the guy has been kept busy. However, nobody has been allowed to look inside. That's Transparency, Folks!
News Flash: As it turns out, Schotte came up with a budget as well. Not that anybody has seen that!
Interim Staten chairman Thode came up with an original point of view: It's the Parties who vote in the Central Committee, not the members. Before PAR left the meeting in protest, Atacho said this was nonsense; he referred to a possible future situation where there were three coalition partners and four opposition parties (it happened before), when the coalition could never win a vote.
Waste of Energy
Auto fuel prices will shortly be adapted to world market prices; that's promising as it's almost 18 months overdue and crude now is 150% the former price (and going down, again). But then, tax on it will be lowered from 60 to 30 cents/liter, making the future price anybody's guess.
The present tax is 63 cents/liter, that's 31%; this year to be lowered to 25% with 2 more yearly reductions so in 2013 it will be 23%— IF the real price doesn't go up. Anyway, sales tax will go up from 5 to 6%.
Aqualectra utility price will be lowered by 25%. Hear them scream—a sound for sore ears! Present price is not "in proportion" the coalition feels. Whatever gave them that idea? The good news is, now it's almost guaranteed there won't be money for renewal of those &%#%$ wind generators. (Wishful thinking, bo.)
Oh yeah and Isla refinery ran out of cooking gas to deliver to Curgas; so if your "gas-bomb" is empty, you're out of luck.) I do hope you don't run a restaurant.)
Wiels' Weird Waffles
Now PS Wiels is accusing MAN's Don Martina of having started a "Black Dynasty" which still is enriching itself by occupying top positions (something in that.) Cooper doesn't want to comment—he may be wiser than he seems, which is not hard. He just notes that Wiels is contradicting himself by blaming MAN while threatening the party: it should not leave the coalition.
Old Unreliable FOØL Godett had, while deputy, 134 ha (335 acres) of plantation Wèchi "cleaned" - which is the vernacular for bulldozing it, ruining all vegetation. The idea was to build public houses, 3000 of them. There are cases pending in court about alleged ownership and rumors have it that Godett made a hefty sum on the deal. Just gossip, of course - I don't know where malicious tongues pick up those ideas.
Now MAN Macaay, director of public housing FKP, tells us that the terrain is all grown over again (thanks to the record rainy season following tropical storm Tomas) and that nobody has the money to build so many houses anyway. Infrastructure alone could cost ANG70M/USD38.5M and Macaay tentatively mentions a start with 300 houses.
Interestingly, the Wechi terrain is 108 hectare, so why "clean" 25% more? To
makespend more money?
That's One Solution...
... but there's another one. Now a school considers moving to another location, far from that maddening refinery stench. One more than those three that closed before.
Say, wouldn't it be easier to close the refinery? SMOC agrees, but they use the word "temporarily". I say, get rid of the nuisance once and for all.
Not Funny: Violent French Boulevard
A redu [rumour] is going the rounds that our PM was in bed having a quiet restful sleep, or something, with a Girl Friend, when his #1 happened to come home and proceeded to ruin the occasion and the location. It's even on FakeBooc (in Dutch).
Now Wiels wants the governor to investigate. So he agrees that function is functional?! Anyway, he thinks the integrity of the ministerial team should be guaranteed.
Back from switching off to finish laughing, I can only add this is a job it's not fair to saddle the governor with. Hercules and Augias come to mind. Really, I said it before, several times: Wiels just isn't all there.
Cruise ships complain about the cost of water and electricity, which stop them from using Curaçao as a home base. We're not so lucky.
UTS/OneNet recently announced that subscribers with 1Mb/sec ADSL connections could step up to 16Mb, for a lower price. As it turns out, they wait until the old two-year deal has expired before switching over. Hey, 50 guilders is ANG50/month for UTS. Problem is, for us as well. If only they just took the money and switched to the higher speed!
31 suggestions came in for renaming Peter Stuyvesant College PSC. 22 of those want to stick with the old name, but the democratic judging committee says this is "no option"—even while a poll indicated 75% of the students do not want a change. Rosalia, now ex-minister, wanted it changed and so it will be changed.
suggested new logo
© Marten Toonder
The very next day the new name was announced: Kolegio profèsor dòkter Alejandro 'Yandi' Paula. Snappier: KAP; but at least Paula is not a Honky-Hater. Pupils are reportedly "bewildered" and wonder what all the rigmarole of a competition was for. Some people feel Paula should refuse, but that won't help: Rosalia would just use the name of the next on the list (Tirso Sprockel) who's safely dead.
Hopefully this is Rosalia's last act as minister and hopefully he will not make his way back to Kas di Kultura either.
Some media spell Paula's name 'Yandi', which is P[apiamentally] C[orrect]; others 'Jandi' which also is P[ersonally] C[orrect]: it's, as far as I remember, how he himself always spells it. Eventually we'll get it really correct—right or not.
Paula was handed the plow steering the ship of state after the political crash of the first referendum hot-air balloon and managed to ski a slalom that evaded red lights. Howzdat for mixed metaphors?
No Laughing Matter
PS justice minister Wilsoe was asked questions by MFK Rozier about prison affairs. He replied "ha ha ha, that is my reaction." Rozier asked him a second time and got the same answer.
That's our government, folks! As long as it lasts.
Building in Style
Dos Santos, director of Curaçao Port Authority, started building without permit on Caracasbaai government property. MAN minister Cooper has not deigned to answer 17 January questions on this. Dos Santos claims the complete former government gave him word-of-mouth permission and complains procedures are so slow. No doubt. Now, "vandals" have damaged the work in progress, scratching "Dos Santos corruption" in a newly poured concrete floor—in Dutch.
Maybe this has to do with the Venezuelan lawyer who threatened last October to uncover a Caracasbaai fraud; nothing more has been heard about that. Harumph.
Not What You'd Call "News"
More like a repeat performance. Three schools have closed down, sending a thousand pupils home, as the stench from Isla refinery was unbearable. Isla director Gijsbertha blames the schools: they must have closed their windows, so the stench couldn't escape. He can't say how long it will last.
Yet another school joined the club on Wednesday 16 March. One closed again on 21 March.
We knew it all the time, but now the accountants say so: CPA Curaçao Port Authority and KTK Curaçao Towing Company are one big financial mess, where money has been spent like harbor water. CPA director Chonky de Lannoy denies it all and protests the accountant has done more than he was asked to do; he even looked into de Lannoy's performance. Must be pretty bad?
Four days later, it was announced that in the last three months KTK has been transformed into a "solid company" (while the day before the selling of their Panamá dept. became definite.) What to make of all this? Wait and see.
Former directors are accused of spending over ANG1M/year, collecting fat séjours fees; apart from high car leases, ANG277K was spent on the 25-year jubilee and ANG600K on a master plan for Caracasbaai (aha!) that was published in book form.
Kas di Kultura's finances will be checked by an external authority. Wiels says it's "unacceptable" KdK have done so themselves. All foundations a PS minister is responsible for will be checked as well.
Question: why did it take Wiels so long to get this idea (a good one, mind—we got it over a month ago.) Now, after Rosalia left the party, it took him only 2 days. This smells of Revenge.
You Can't Win
That is, SMOC has won but will have to start all over again. Back to 2006, when SMOC won a court-case against a government decision that found (don't laugh, it's sad) Isla refinery did not have to comform to pollution standards because it didn't exceed them. This same decision will now be appealed and then we'll all find out what's the next way government finds to delay action still more.
It's obvious that Schotte, unsurprisingly, was
lyingjust acting the politician when he declared Health was the most important consideration when dealing with Isla problems. It also turns out that the pollution measuring stations' results are not shown on the internet when the refinery is starting up. Must be a coincidence. MFK health minister Constancia doesn't return any calls.
More Discredited Credit Cards
Now it's the ex-clerk of Staten parliament who is accused of credit card abuse. Asjes is all for a searching enquiry in a Staten meeting (maybe he figures it will serve as a lightning arrestor), but cooler minds suggest that the law prescribes other ways to deal with such things.
This is not Atacho. The woman, Lai-Promes, denies and says that many companies decline to deliver stuff on credit as the government pays bills much too late. True enough! And the grand total over 3 years is ANG160K. Didn't work, Arsjes. But it does make you super-suspicious: was it by any chance Arsjes who sent out that e-mail on credit card use by Atacho?
Asjes gave another show of dictatorial tendencies by giving priority to a MAN proposal to discuss the matter in closed chambers, although it had been presented after a PAR proposal to remove the matter from the agenda (as |it was a civil servant matter that should not be dealt with in Staten.) When PAR-members started protesting, Arsjes switched off their microphones.
Carnival is over!
our clowns are back at work—new items galore at once
Don't Rub It in
Rosalia, all of a sudden, has announced he's stepping down as a minister. He refrains from any comment; so will we but it is a hardship.
That's the second PS minister who takes his leave in less than 6 weeks. The Dwarfish Dictator must get
mightylonely. Little does he care, how típiko: the grapevine has it the party kicked out Rosalia and that's that.
Die Partei, die Partei,2011-03-10
die Partei hat immer Recht!
On March 26, there's another "lights out" hour. It was a flop here last year but, again, I will do what I can anyway: leave 'em on—just like Al Gore; if for different reasons.
What we all need is more light! ¡Qué viva Prometheus!
Quiet on the Front
It's Carnival time so our Leaders are leading in jumpin' 'n' leapin'. First things first! Like my dentist said, what we're good at is partying and gassing.
Much Ado about Nothing
This might refer to the next item, but does not. It's about an official warning by Giovanni Atalita, cooperator of MAN minister Cooper, that an inductive amplifier can find a laptop computer (even when it's off) in a closed car. Atalita stepped right into it; it's a well-known hoax. See? Don't believe what the government tells you, even if they mean well.
Nothing Better to Do?
PAR Hollander complained that in the budget (so there seems to be one after all) the word "diskette" occurs, while you can't buy floppies anymore. So the word will be scratched and the post now is "software packages, CDs and cartridges for printers." Wow! That's a relief. A good thing Hollander is on his toes.
Too bad the big flop forgot DVDs; the "workers" will have to pay themselves to make illegal copies of movies on government computers.
"People Are Desperate"
The yearly farce has started again: Many more parents "desperately" want to ensure their kids will get an education in Dutch, rather than Papiamentu, than can be accomodated. Just the bare facts, ma'am? There are 5 schools in Dutch, among which: VJMC (200-300 registrations for ~55 pupils); Johan van Walbeeck, another solid colonial name (285 vs. 42); Albert Schweitzer (300-71). "People are desperate and it's a pity to disappoint them."
Total of kids age 5-9 is 10363, so about 2100 will go to school for the first time this year. At least half of those are "desperate" to get schooling in Dutch. That's Democracy, folks!
Slowly Si—Surely No
The committee that was supposed to take stock and possessions of debts and assets of the Netherlands Antilles, which must be divided among partners after the divorce, doesn't exist yet. Nothing special; for Aruba it took twenty years, and there is vague talk of ours having a chairman soon. At least we don't pay the committee members a salary, yet.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members!
The judge found that Leeflang should have come with more facts to prove her too-general allegations of sexual intimidation by minister while he was director of Kas di Kultura. She has to correct, or to mention specific instances and proof of those; and has started correcting at once.
On the other hand, the Ombudsman is still working on other aspects of the same case. Just don't hold your breath.
The present government complains that under PAR too many associates of that party got government jobs. So, naturally, now they want to hire as many non-PAR members as possible.
A week later, PAR members started complaining that they were discriminated against in their jobs. Reminds me of Zimbabwe and Kenya, can't help it. Who needs all this?
Better call it Hornblowing! A noble soul at the credit card account department (of whom we must hope she covered his tracks well so it will not get into trouble) came out with some piquant details on PAR Atacho's expenditures, in an e-mail going the rounds. If those are correct, caveat lector, in three years the guy spent over 130 thousand guilders, or more than twice the minimum wage 59.20/day. All for the good of the cause, of course. Atacho acted as highly indignant about Arsjes credit-card misuse as we felt.
Most interesting are the posts "restaurant". On 31 May 2010 Atacho went to 6 (six) restaurants, spending a grand total (le mot juste) of 2022 guilders. You may feel this is a record; but 30 June we count 14 (fourteen) restaurant visits where he consumed, no doubt with a little help from his friends, almost 14 thousand guilders. Maybe it was his birth
daymonth? Maybe these bills were accumulated over the month? Then Atacho still has to explain why the same restaurant appears four times. Anyway, it averages at 458.75 daily gluttony's worth. I'm so disgusted, no more details.
A friend suggested Atacho's friends used the same credit card. Could be, it's a regular habit after all. Still doesn't explain why they'd pick the same restaurant, though.
year card # category US$ ANG 2008 3341 cash 226.81 403.72 goods 382.48 680.81 restaurant 5168.82 9200.50 3358 cash 6051.29 10,771.30 goods 7,767.73 13,826.56 restaurant 4,732.49 8,423.83 services 270.00 480.60 24,599.62 43,787.32 2009 3341 other 153.91 273.96 restaurant 5,531.70 9,846.43 services 641.60 1,142.05 3358 cash 9,890.22 17,604.59 other 5,153.56 9,173.34 restaurant 6,223.77 11,078.31 services 64.66 115.09 travel 130.00 231.40 goods 5,408.15 9,626.51 33,197.57 59,091.67 2010 3341 goods 85.51 152.21 restaurant 5,437.26 9,678.32 3358 restaurant 9,843.25 17,520.99 travel 1,275.45 2,270.30 16,641.47 29,621.82 Total 2008-2010 74,438.66 132,500.81
Wiels, Undiscriminating Bigot
It's not just the crackers—now he goes for the Chinese. Their tokos are unhygienic, they use illegal immigrants and don't care about licenses, act like mafiosi and prostitute their children. All this should be looked into. Who's next?
We feel Wiels' head should be looked into.
New Mexico Gets Smart—Will We?
Even though over 400
suckerspeople have paid US$55M in advance for a future space flight, New Mexico is shutting down all state activities in connection with their Space Port. The original budget was US$209M of which 132M has been spent on a runway, hangar and terminal for use by Virgin Galactic; the State will sell them off and all further investments will have to come from private sources.
Good: a bad omen for the ambitious plans of our own Hato airport, already in a death struggle.
Virgin Galactic planned 2.5 hours flights at $200,000 of which 4 minutes in actual space. The New York Times quotes hair stylist Susan Kopet: "I can think of a lot better ways to spend millions of dollars." Amen to that.
Now we know what a Yu'i Kòrsou is, even though the term isn't mentioned? "Someone who is part of a legal family; of which at least one parent has the Dutch nationality and was born in Curaçao; who has been born in the former Netherlands Antilles and was living in Curaçao before 2010-10-10" (which effectively excludes a lot of students.) Such a person is called a "local worker" and a business should have 80% of those in its personnel, with 20% foreigners max.
It's a new law proposed by PS/Wiels. Exceptions may be made, like for nightclubs etc., where dancers may be foreigners. Meant of course is prostitutes in Campo Alegre and such.
It may only be the way it's hashed up in the newspaper, but best part is, if your mother is unmarried you're out of luck (in Holland 2009, 4 out of 10 Antillean diaspora children; probably more here.)
Later Wiels explained in a radio interview that everybody could become Yu'i Korsou, as long as they showed some rèspèk. Do we need a law for that? More money wasted.
Schotte's Promises Stink
Schotte, who says he's so interested in health matters with regard to Isla refinery, has requested the judge not to impose the penal sum for not conforming to environmental standards. After all, or so the government claims, Isla is working on the problem and it's very difficult. This stinks; yet another delaying tactic.
Sue the Bastards
Government plans to sue Alterra for their part in building the terminal of Hato Airport. About time,too.
It's quite possible that former Selikor managers Anthony Godett, Ruben Sluis, Roberto Cuales, Gilbert Winklaar, Edwin Franklin and Mayerdith Bouwland-Luciano who gave Arsjes his job can be forced to pay for the damage, some ANG90K or 15K each. It's up to the judge to decide after he's seen them in court.
Arsjes seems to have paid part back himself. What's bothering him... his conscience? Naaah.
Splitting Hairs? Don't Be So Sure
"Dead Ends", a name of a hair saloon: Curaçao isn't a democracy—it's a representative democracy; if Curaçao was a democracy, then every issue would be settled by a national vote and the legislature wouldn't exist at all. Voters elect representatives to form a legislature to debate and then decide these issues.
Democracy [market place legislation] isn't a thing devoutly to be wished for—but that's a different point altogether. It's bad enough as it is.
Papiamentu in Court
Even though the law is in Dutch, since 1918 Papiamentu has been an official language in court. Which nobody in their right mind could be against: translations can be insisted upon for all relevant documents.
Fair Game: You
Nothing to be surprised about, but it is not unusual for players in the casinos to be robbed. As if the standard odds that guarantee the casino will rob you aren't
goodbad enough, the personnel adds some of their own so they can rob you some more. Some of those have just been convicted in court; how many more get off scot free?
If you like your money, don't gamble - good advice that mostly is of no use whatsoever.
Arsjes announces that during a sweep for listening devices suspicious apparatus has been found. Too bad I can't find out where the sweep took place (presumably, Staten parliament building); much worse, the infernal listening machines have been destroyed immediately. At least, that's what Arsjes claims. His contention is that it's neo-colonial intervention of the Dutch government; or maybe it's PAR! Talk about PARanoia. But destructing "proof" before we got to see it exists tends to make me paranoid.
And later Arsjes said nothing had been found. Not in his head, that's for sure—or, as the Fraters used to say, maybe soup or concrete.
PSC remains PSC
75% of the pupils wants to go on with the name Peter Stuyvesant College, so minister Rosenthal wants to change it anyway; to Public School Curaçao or PSC. Really democratic Rosalia, no surprise there. He already knows this, even though new names can be suggested to a jury until March 14.
Question: Why not a Papiamentu name? Real "Afro-Curaçao"! Cummon mon, be consequent or you'll be even more ridiculous, if possible. (English originated in Europe—just like Dutch, you illiterate barbarian minister of culture.)
The Citizens Won't Pay—We Will!
Not only has Hato Airport terminal been crummily built, in the haste to make cozy deals maintenance has been forgotten to contract for. But the citizens will not have to pay for that, MFK minister Hakim hastens to assure us; no, instead it will come out of higher airport tax!
PM Schotte's Bright Idea
Now that all over the world it is becoming painfully obvious that "alternative" energy sources are an expensive flop, PM Schotte announces that we will get tax credits and other good deals on solar panels and wind generators. While people who have been using them (like me) meanwhile discovered that they are horribly expensive, he estimates that you will earn the cost back in seven years. No doubt he holds a wet finger up in the wind.
Even Schotte ought to know that the Tax Man figures an investment should pay for itself in five years.
Schotte, how typical, doesn't seem to have consulted Aqualectra; it took only a few days for them to react that these plans will result in their going broke and that tariffs must go up, not down.
The Bottom Line
A lot of dust has been blown up by the planned re-structuring of electricity supply. But (now it's official) it is "doubtful" this will lead to lower tariffs.
Gregorio Donata, manager of BOO utility, claims Isla pollution is not so bad, really. After all, in Holland 18,000 persons/year die prematurely because of [SO2] air pollution and here only 18; that would mean only 1.2 per 100,000 inhabitants would die here versus in Holland 112.
It's really hard to following Gregorio's reasoning (may be the newspapers), so I figured it out for myself. Say Holland's population is 16,783,092 versus ours 142,180. 18,000 deaths/year in Holland would then mean 152 deaths here. Which means Gregorio definitely has a point—IF that 18,000 number he quotes for Holland is correct. We found 10,000 to 15,000 deaths; close enough. On the other hand, the number Smoc quotes is based on only 1 (one) report; as far as we know.
Wet Pink Dream
Davion Lagoon in all its glory
1st phase €6M; 2nd phase €150M; final phase €1.1G - peanuts
A couple of German architects have designed a "luxurious gay resort" for Curaçao St. Jorisbaai (that's St. George Bay, the guy who had a reputation for fighting dragons.) It is planned to count 15 different hotels with 4812, almost doubling the island's total present capacity, rooms for 9800 guests (so 88 couples can bring their 'young ones'. Evidently, they don't count on adoption or in vitro fertilizing being such a hit.) Anyway, "planned"? It's obvious from those balloons drifting in the air on their grand presentation drawing (the Trade Wind would blow those over to Venezuela in a jiff) that they haven't thought the details over too well. Also, that beach on the left is quite of the question. Then, most of it is planned in a conservation area and the rest on private property of which the owners (among which Maal who has plans of his own) have not even been approached as yet. Even minister Cooper has not heard from them; maybe they are looking for funds first. General gut reaction of Curaçao people: "Bugger off."
Too bad there aren't any flamingos in St. Jorisbaai (get it?) but it does happen to contain a breeding colony of makwaku (Frigate bird, Fregate magnificens.)
What gets me about this, all over the world are specifically gay resorts, gay hotels, campings, whatever—but when a gay couple is refused in any establishment they invariably run to court, screaming at the top of their voice. Are we mere s
oads welcome in a gay hotel? Not that I'm interested to try and find out, right.
Aqualectra is planning a new system of "smart-meters" to control leaks in their distribution system and also illegal theft (I realize theft is always illegal unless you have been democratically elected.) This may work, in which case more power to them, yuk yuk. What is not so good, a smart meter can also be used to switch off your house. For example, when you use too much power in peak periods; for example, when you switch on your air conditioner when it's extremely hot—just like everybody else.
The Turning of the Thumbscrew
2 liters of Venezuela Coca-Cola now cost ANG3.75. Wait a bit and the Curaçao product will be even cheaper!
Flying in the Face of Facts
Some days ago, KLM airlines proudly announced their seat capacity on the routes to Ecuador, Aruba and the former Netherlands Antilles would be greatly enlarged; Curaçao would get 5000 seats per year more. But Radio Netherlands Worldwide's program Aworaki figured out that in truth, Curaçao will get 43,000 seats less.
KLM says Aworaki figured wrong, but can't say how.
Nothing untoward has been happening in Kas di Kultura; no financial malversations at all. It must be true, because it's an internal report by KdK itself and they ought to know.
After the first court session Rosalia stated to the press that "the end, independence, justifies all means." He needn't have confirmed his feelings, we all knew that.
At the time Rosalia was director an anonymous complaint on integrity failure at KdK has been lodged with Ombudsman Alba Martijn (who isn't talking), which resulted in a preliminary report; which has been delivered at the General Prosecutor's office.
More Doomsday Prophets
The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance has gone to Holland to plead in parliament for more conservation and nature protection. We're all for that; too bad they also complain about the goats: "twenty years from now there will be a desert left." It will be even worse because of the global warming, they add. Sigh.
May well be the goats still are a problem on the other islands, but here it's utterly ridiculous for those with eyes in their heads to make predictions totally contrary to what's going on. Makes one wonder.
It's now ten days ago that PAR dared MFK minister of finance to lodge a criminal complaint against them, or PAR would sue him for libel/slander. Naturally, both just went on threatening. You get used to those mirror-fights among politicians, but who needs them?
Monday 7 February it took 12 hours of deliberation in Staten parliament about two motions; one from the opposition and one from the coalition—both dared minister Jamaloodin to go to court, so it doesn't matter which won. FØL Godett voted for both.
Jamaloodin finally announced he would lodge a complaint.
Interestingly, one ingredient of this salad-mix occurs thrice: a letter which was presented in three versions, all from the same Raad van Toezicht Landsloterij [inspection Landslottery], of the same date and with the same reference number.
Right and Duties of the Yu'i Kòrsou
— Only a Yu'i Kòrsou can have the right of citizenship. A Yu'i Kòrsou can only be a person who has Curaçao parents, irrespective of religion. THEREFORE NO MAKAMBA CAN BE CONSIDERED TO BE A YU'I KÒRSOU.
— Those people who have no citizenship rights can only be considered as guests in Curaçao and must be subject to laws concerning foreigners.
— Only citizens should have the right to decide the leadership and laws of the country. Therefore, only those with citizenship rights should be eligible to serve in a public office.
— Further immigration of non-Yu'i Kòrsou must be halted. All non-Yu'i Kòrsou who have entered Curaçao since 10 October 2010 have to leave the country.
— We demand the replacement of European (Roman-French-Dutch) law by Afro-Curaçao law.
— In order to establish a Curaçao press we demand, that:
(a) Newspaper editors and employees whose work appears in Papiamentu must be Yu'i Kòrsou.
(b) Non-Papiamentu newspapers must be authorized by government before they can appear in Curaçao.
— We demand religious freedom so long as it does not endanger the position of the country or adversely affects the moral standards of the Yu'i Kòrsou. As such the government does not bind itself to one particular faith. The government opposes the materialistic European spirit within and beyond us and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our people can only be achieved on the basis of COMMON GOOD BEFORE PERSONAL GAIN
THE 25 POINT PROGRAM OF
THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMAN WORKERS' PARTY
(München, February 24, 1920)
mainly replacing "German" with "Yu'i Kòrsou"
and "Jew" with "Makamba"
Start Saving Up
PM Schotte wants to ensure a 25% "green" electricity supply in 2015. The rest will have to come from natural gas, which is a good thing in itself. (But no fair asking what investments will be necessary in the utility's machine park and not even where the gas will come from. Chávez-Venezuela after a five-year program has managed to supply less than 1% of households with natural gas.)
How Schotte can imagine that using solar and wind, to name just two possibilities that are farthest developed now, can lead to cheaper energy four years from now is anybody's guess and he just can't know himself. All experience in Spain, the USA, Denmark and England points in the opposite direction: 'alternative' sources can only work with exuberant subsidies (this of course may change in the future.)
Aqualectra personnel, already in a state of excitement, have a point to find this contrary to a recent Schotte statement, where he talked about "regulation" — now all of a sudden it's supposed to be done by market forces.
A quick look at Schotte's proposals.We Have to Stop All This
Information can be checked on
The Azimuth Project - Power density
with conventional fuel generators needed for stand-by
Solar cells deliver 4-9W/m2— say 10; wind generators 2W/m2.
Total top consumption in 2008 was 130Mw; Schotte proposes producing 25% "green power". Curaçao's total area is about 472km2 or 47,200 hectares.
Solar: to produce 25% of top consumption you need an area of 32,500,000w/10m2 or 3,250,000m2=325ha. That's 1.8*1.8km.
Wind: The area needed is about 5 times as large, or 4*4km.
It had escaped my attention that PS culture minister Rosalia wants, quite in what we by lack of a better word must call his style, to "nationalize" our schools. Freedom of education is firmly established in our constitution—but now that I think it over, that of course is one of those cursed makamba laws.
It also seems that foreign specialists are welcome, as long as they are really foreign, i.e., not from Holland. Students will only be allowed to study here or in the Caribbean. And we always thought the old political school had a constricted mentality.
UTS in Trouble
... and small wonder. Everybody saw it coming except they themselves. Just got the new Telephone Book. Not only is it ugly, much worse: it's incredibly expensive with 4 windows cut out in the front cover to "put your own pictures" behind. There's also space to write your name in, so you won't forget it.
A Florida court agreed that US law has no jurisdiction in foreign countries, so our government (read: we? as long as we don't have to pay) as owners of CDM dokmaatschappij do not have to pay three Cuban slave workers an USD80M compensation.
Would this also mean that within the USA foreign law is not applicable? Bad news for Shari'a and good news for tea partiers... Anyway, those lawyers will be sure to appeal, or they can waive their hefty fees goodbye.
CTB tourist office wants to stimulate stay-over tourism, aiming for 700,000 nights in 2014; a growth of 14% per year. CTB says this is what tourism-growth has been from 2004-2009, without mentioning the less optimistic results over the last two years. But we are used to that.
On their site there are statistics for 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007, showing a growth from 1,814,997 to 2,560,282—41% or only 8% per year.
Too bad 2004, 2005 (the year CTB director Hepple left in disgust), 2008, 2009 and 2010 are not listed. Much too bad.
Keep Your Fingers Double-Crossed
PM Schotte wants to decide this year what will happen with the Isla refinery. Good. A pity he's still basing his ideas on the self-admittedly inferior Ecorys report, which Smoc labeled aself-deceiving con-sell.Oh wait, this is a brand-new report:—
The Ecorys Report On January 31, Ecorys has published a new report on Isla refinery: 'A sustainable future for Curaçao. Strategic options for Isla and the Isla site, Phase I, part I.' The government asked Ecorys to research three options:
1 - upgrade the refinery
2 - close it down and build a new one at Bullenbaai
3 - stop refining oil, clean the area and prepare it for other activities
(The present PdVSA lease runs out in 2019).
Ecorys concludes that there is little difference between 1 and 2 in terms of economic diversity, employment opportunities and environmental damage. Curaçao will remain dependent from Venezuela for crude supply; sales and profits are uncertain.
Ecorys regards option 3 as offering most employment benefits which are partly balanced out by loss of refinery jobs. Greatest setbacks are investments needed for demolishing, clean-up and preparing infrastructure for building. If all this takes too long, potential investors will be turned off.
Phase II is a cost benefit analysis of the three options.
At first sight, option 2 means investing a lot of money and we're still stuck with the same problem: what to do with the present location. Option 2 and option 3 necessarily go together. Which also means, most jobs.
Kas di Kultura: New Boss, Old Ideas
Kdk wants to start research on 2nd-3rd generations of ethnic groups who came to Curaçao in the 20th century. Hindus and Portuguese are requested to come forward (no makambas or Chinese need apply.) One condition is, they need to feel part of "Curaçao culture" - please, they don't need to feel that way and still be part of it. Like the Jews were part of the German culture.
Interesting too that use will made of so-called 'oral history'— while much better than nothing, even less reliable than written history: "A systematic, written account of events".
Goodbye to All That (Money)
There's a Nota Regulering Elektriciteitsvoorziening [regulation electricity supply], part of the government program (so there is one after all, if only after a fashion.) First, if this is adopted Aqualectra not only lose their monopoly but also can waive goodbye to 100M guilders they advanced to 'keep' tariffs low (hah!). The real howler is, the model used in the Nota is based on Holland, where competition is at least possible.
Or maybe Aqualectra can claim that money from the government. Which reminds me, when will the price of gas for cars be raised, as repeatedly
threatenedannounced? This government blamed the former government for not doing this, for populist opportunistic reasons. What's going on here? Of course, it's true that the market price of crude is going down, but since when was that an argument? It only matters when crude goes up!
The three, count-em, trade unions for Aqualectra personnel have now decided to work together. Must be serious! But as a competitor would be able to use Aqualectra's distribution lines for free, they may have a point. Who thinks these things
First, MFK finance minister Jamaloodin accused former coalition party PAR of having used funds from Landsloterij [state lottery] for their election campaign. The amount of ANG308,370/USD170K has since (but only just now) been paid back.
I wondered immediately why PAR was not criminally charged for this; and now PAR is planning a libel/slander action against Jamaloodin if he hasn't lodged a complaint on Monday. This is getting interesting.
Wait and See
PM Schotte has met with Smoc's Peter van Leeuwen and lawyer Sandra in ’t Veld about the future of Isla refinery. Choices are to close it down, upgrade it or move it to Bullenbaai. (That last option needs careful looking into.) Schotte, if the choice is between economy and health, will go for health - at least, so he told van Leeuwen.
Good—If It Works
PS minister Rosaria wants to make all beaches accessible to the local public, also those in use by hotels. Good! we have been complaining about this for years. But will it work? After all, in the past deals must have been made with those hotels that those beaches were theirs to use.
Good Man Out
PS minister Girigorie has announced he's getting out, and he will never on his life join another political party. But his ex-party is telling all those who will listen that he has some mysterious disease (must be PSitis). Girigorie does not say much beyond telling that part of PS disagreed with his proposals on how to set up his new ministry of Bestuur, Planning en Dienstverlening [Management, Planning and Service].
It gets really grotesque when he tells about things that went wrong from the start; my favorite is that for several days, government couldn't send any letters as they couldn't agree on a letterhead design. It took a full day of discussions to choose one.
Education or Anarchy?
Small wonder the Dutch were scared out of their... uh... uh... anyway. The quality of education on the BES-islands (now are part of Holland) is so bad, without a full turn-about they can't comply with Dutch norms. The quality in Curaçao and St. Maarten surely is on the same level, which explains a lot.
The blame doesn't all belong to ex PAR minister Leeflang c.s., though. The "funny" thing is that the ways of education have been influenced strongly by New Age ideas from Holland, where they have been abandoned long since.
"Schools were obliged to work with heterogeneous age groups; education had to be individual; use of methods was not advised [?!] Testing of pupils was also deemed unadvisable."
Much too much has been said and will be said on car tax, but let's add some useless bits more anyway: if they'd only use those guilders to dump 'em into those potholes, they'd be gone!
I know, I know, first the potholes and then the guilders would be gone, get dug up and stolen. What's the difference, you ask? It'd take just that little bit longer and there's our profit!
Passing the Dummy?
February 15 will be the day! Rosalia will meet Leeflang in court, but she isn't worried. My worry is this: Rosalia has rather cleverly managed to make everybody forget all other imputations about his mismanagement of Kas di Kultura and reduced them to this one point of sexual harassment. Even if he wins, that doesn't mean he's clean.
asphalt lake (Google Earth)
As a good friend of mine, showing me a joint, once remarked:
"See how the shit comes sort of oozing out?"
Sounds good: replace Isla refinery with a 'zero emission' town-even if such a thing can a priori not exist. The initiators think to clean up the ground (very doubtful) and build some version of Utopia, Green Town, where everything, yes, every little thing, will be recycled (no cremation), where only non-polluting energy will be allowed (read wind and solar generators, no doubt somewhere else) and where fossil fuel cars are forbidden. There will be a trolley. It's so politically correct, it makes you want to commit suicide by jumping in a CO2-filled pond with a lumpy chunk of coal around your neck. All this will result in 10,000 jobs, accommodate 10,000 families and double government income. Hurray! taxes will be abolished?
Their proposal how to get rid of the horrible asphalt lake is frightening in its simpleminded nitwittedness: just fill it up with concrete. Really! So where then does the asphalt go? And later, let's turn it into a roller-skate rink; not a parking lot, that's an obvious no-no.
(I was warned that they might well take this seriously... I'll take the risk!)
The guys who thought it up are right in one thing though: do not sell the refinery to PdVSA, because twenty years from now we will have to buy it back—for a price.
This dream may turn out not green, but grim.
Next day in another press release it turned out to be not much more than another bad case of that infamous Curaçao chronic disease, megalomania.
We are still waiting for those no-good much-vaunted windmills to be replaced by working models; if they pay so well, why wait for years? Electrical cars turn out to be expensive flops. All these ideas may have seemed viable ten years ago, but not anymore. Worst, all these things depend on heavy government subsidies, so we'll have to keep on paying taxes after all... Ah well, it was just a dream (sheboom, sheboom).
Somebody figured that if San Francisco got rid of their extensive public transportation system and gave everybody money to grab-a-cab, they'd be saving money.
A Panic Ensues at Aqualectra
There is talk of liberating the market from the Aqualectra utility monopoly, today to be discussed by the ministers. It's hard to see how, though. Prices may go down with 7 cents per KW! That will still be 1.4 times of Denmark, now ANG0.45. (Denmark's "free green energy" windmills have resulted in the highest tariffs of Europe.)
Naturally, the Aqualectra workers are in a sweat. That may lead to less cosy jobs and they are threatening with strikes already. A tiny bit premature?
It Happened to Me, and It May Happen to You
It was a popular 1970's hit... The Happening by Diana Ross and The Supremes. I went to a semi-official bureau today for semi-official reasons. Everybody talked Papiamentu at me, OK. But for some semi-official reason, I had to return after 3 hours, when the location was emptied of customers. So [?] then, everybody talked Dutch to me.
Are they indoctrinatedly ashamed of doing that, or what? Don't ask me, I'm just a smart ass.
They Will Be Sorry
Staten parliament does not agree with the reports of Arna rekenkamer. Director Ersilia, who will have to appear in person to defend the report, sort of shrugs his shoulders, remarking that until now the reports just were filed away. He also expresses his curiosity as to what items have been misreported.
You may find it surprising that Wirls was the only one all for the reports. Not so surprising: he had nothing to do at all then with all that.
Reports most objected to were those on free complete sickness insurance to taxi drivers [quite illegal], on [quite illegal] information campaigns for the 2007 elections and [quite illegal] for the last referendum.
Lawyer Agrees, But...?
A lawyer agrees with Wiels that the "100% check" by Schiphol airport immigration is illegal. But, (here it comes) this guy who calls himself a kaaskop [cheesehead, derisive Dutch self-description] has been treated to that same treatment four times. So, it wouldn't be racism.
In a letter to Amigoe newspaper, Smoc's Peter van Leeuwen wonders how come our government is investing 100 million to get BOO Utility back on line (as always, the amount is quoted in US dollars so it doesn't look that high: 180m guilders). After all, BOO really only serves to keep Isla refinery running and Venezuelan leaser PdVSA pays only 20 cents per Kw (while we currently pay 67). Why should we subsidize a Venezuela state company? Smoc asks.
Aqualectra, not Wiki... Like clockwork every once in a while Aqualectra announces they are fighting the leaks, an outrageous >25% loss of water. This is also caused by illegal tapping. Now they finally hit on a smart idea: they will meter at two points to try and find out how much disappears in between. What genius thought this up, after all those years?
Agreed, they have very little impetus; if they run short, the tariffs just go up and that's that.
There's a Parallel
After the first 100 days of independence and a new government, not everybody is shouting with joy. PAR Elhage says their successors just took over the budget as-is and we're still waiting for a government program. The new boys say PAR-FOL-PNP left the country in such a mess, there's nothing they could possibly have accomplished. Reminds you of Bush and Obama, doesn't it?
Lots of Luck with the Lionfish
MFK minister Constancia has announced 150 (depending who's telling the story: some say 20, others 100) special harpoons will be bought to fight the liongfari. Originally from the Pacific, this dangerous and destructive animal has reached the Atlantic; with a little help from aquarium lovers. This happens more and more; a few years ago at least one alligator was found near Muizenberg, Curaçao and in Aruba the boa constrictor has become a regular pest, with posses going out to hunt for it.
"Think of it as evolution in action" — Larry Niven
On the one hand, Wiels is disgusted by the Dutch wanting to stop Curaçao immigration there; so now he wants to lure Curaçao people back?!
He wants to build two new townships in Curaçao with 4-storied apartment buildings for 7500 people. These can become owners by buying a partnership in a co-op for €25/month. Really! that's 60 guilders! you couldn't even rent a garage for that money. No capitalists may buy shares for investment (not to worry, Wiels; they won't be interested in your harebrained scheme.) No benefit-hunters need apply, he adds, "we made that mistake with latinos and people from other islands." I never realized we paid those guys unemployment benefits.
By the way, nothing more has been heard about his own recent experience with Dutch immigration. I confidently predict that we will not hear much more about this loony tune, either.
Strong Traditions Honored
65 managers [commissarissen] of government-owned companies who refused to go out, have now been fired. Against the repeated advice of SOAB government accounting the government went and fired them anyway.
The giving away of lucrative jobs like these to faithful party members has always been seen as a prerogative of the winning party after elections.
It comes as no surprise that, once again, the government acted without consideration for real facts: Telecommunications UTS, for example, also has other share-holders and the government can't just fire directors at will—much as they'd like too.
Up and Wise
Insel Air is all set to start transporting vegetables and fruit from Santo Domingo, cooled and all. It's part of economy minister el Hakim's plan to lower food costs. "A pineapple or melon costs 10 guilders here but only 1 to transport" as we have been shouting from the roofs for years. A welcome change from the narrow-minded "grow your own" dream-time mentality.
Now, if only the supermarkets would pass on the difference...
MFK minister Constancia announces that the possibility of having social insurance pay for alternative medicine will be looked into. Once again she has to show off how she doesn't know the first thing about the subject. How do these persons get to those posts?
To be fair, director Martis of SVB social insurance comes across as just as smart when he declares "in the long run, alternative medicine saves money" - obviously he is not aware that time and time again, alternative quacks seem to be the ones who specialize in insurance fraud.
Biggest laugh is de Wit, initiator of Antillean Society for Natural Medicine. "By drafting rules and limits [?] patients are protected against quackery." Significant that this is superfluous in standard medicine.
Do yourself a favor and visit Quackwatch, or have a refreshing look at acupuncture, homeopathy and anthroposophy, a movement with strong roots in the German Nazi party.
About Time, Too
Once again, PAR is acting up and insisting upon being shown a government accord. That's not the first time, nor are they the only ones. What a nuisance.
About Time, 2
Staten parliament will finally have a meeting on three (3) reports of ARNA. Well, part of the meeting will be about that, to us, rather important subject. A small part.
A Great Help
A Tsunami Detection Station has been installed on the Otrabanda cruise-ship mega-pier. Judging from the description, it will only detect a tsunami when it actually comes by—which is much too late of course. Still, let's hope for the best; after all, the Hato Meteo is involved and they are professionals.
That the mega-pier itself is tsunami-proof, as claimed, is an outright lie. Enormous rocks, up to 280 tons, on the Curaçao North coast have been deposited there in the past at a height of ten meters and much farther from the coast. The mega-pier terminal is about 1m, if that, above sea level.
Let Us Hope for the Best
Mirabile dictu PM Schotte has announced a plan on how to proceed with Isla refinery; should be ready by October 1. Better late than never, you say. Wait, the best is still coming: he actually wants to talk with SMOC, who for years have been fighting the refinery pollution. For now, no talk about a referendum on Isla.
First Cuba, then Chávez, now Curaçao?
PS minister Rosalia plans a radio and tv-station with programs on education, culture, history and science. Just what we needed: a national brain-washing station.
In case you wonder how they think to finance that, think no further: Dutch minister Donner has just announced that €35M-50M, (ANG83M-119M/USD62-89M; pretty vague, that) are still available from the SEI [economic stimulus]. Somehow, the money was not used and the deadline has now been postponed for a year.
No News Is Bad News
A baby dolphin has been born in the Seaquarium Dolphinarium. It's a few weeks old already, but it has only now been announced because "the first weeks are precarious." Translation: If it dies, the news just gets dumped with the dolphin. That's PR, folks!
No Hope, No Change
PAR Willem wonders why it's possible that Hato airport is in such a deplorable state that it has to be practically rebuilt. He also worries that the country will be called upon to pay for it - no need to worry there, it has already been announced that we will pay, by way of exorbitant airport tax. Willems blames Curaçao Airport Partners for having taken over Alterra's shares blindly.
We wonder with Willems, only we remember how in 2003 Alterra suddenly became a partner, discarding years of work by local architects; PAR was an opposition party then, but their later partners PNP and FOL were part of that government. We worry how it came about Alterra's CAP shares were taken over "blindly" by A-port. And finally, we are very worried about what comes next.
Topple Along with Leeflang
Lawyer Römer has now started a libel action against PAR Leeflang, who has no comment but maintains her position. Römer now claims "at least" 26 Kas di Kultura personnel stand behind PS minister Rosalia and Leeflang just wants to topple the government anyway. (Which is her good right—as yet.)
That Will Help
A beloved joke of European tax consultants is that originally VAT was introduced to help combat tax fraud. All together now: "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"
The joke popped up because our government geniuses reputedly have ordered 5000 cash registers to be installed at all sales points so OB purchase tax will be accounted for on-line automatically. As if those merchants are too stupid to buy a calculator and dump the money in an old shoe-box under the counter.
What to Think?
25 of the 35 people working at Kas di Kultura have announced that they stand behind Rosalia in the matter of "alleged" sexual molestation. Interestingly, I'm told they are all female, which if true smells of sex-discrimination. Guys, stand up for your rights! PS member Kleinmoedig "feels" Rosalia is the real victim.
Rosalia doesn't seem to be able to make up his mind. According to PAR Leeflang he has admitted that these are very old rumors, but elsewhere denies knowing anything about it. He now even claims that he has been sexually molested by a female personnel member. He should have lodged a complaint! Rosalia now plans to sue Leeflang for libel: that would be the day.
Wiels, Your Colors Are Showing
In further comments on his unhappy experience with Schiphol customs, Wiels stated that this was an affront to "his people" - meaning, non-
honkiescrackers of course. We now don't have to wonder anymore what Yu'i Kòrsou means, without waiting for when it will be defined, as promised, by 2012: "his people" means "Afro-Curaçaoan"; makambas are excluded. Straight from the asses mouth.
Wiels in Full Deny Mode
As Wiels is leader of Pueblo Soberano, where minister/ex-KdK director Rosalia belongs too, it took him way too long to react to the brouhaha around the latter person. He finally did, and his main weak argument is that he doesn't believe it: if women indeed had been sexually molested, they should have gone to the police; as they didn't it never happened; Q.E.D.
Wiels Promotes Tourism
For no doubt the best of reasons, PS Wiels paid a visit to Holland where upon arrival he was subjected to a 100% customs search. We have only newspaper accounts and Wiels can be pretty muddled at the best of times to start.
He claims all makambas [honkies, crackers] were allowed to pass through unmolested, but he was picked out because he was black. For all I know this can be quite true, even while I personally know several waitmans who have been molested in that manner at that airport. Also, the story fails to mention if all blacks were molested. The real trouble only started, as I understand it, when Wiels started yelling that his father had been a cop like he himself and that he was a member of Staten. Entirely a wrong and tactless approach when dealing with customs and other officials; so they gave him the works (like on Hato airport some years ago a high official was hassled by security when he refused to cooperate - certainly not because he was black.)
Wiels complains this is racial profiling and foam-mouthed screams that we'll teach those makambas arriving here a lesson: from now on they'll all have to undress completely (talk about racial profiling.) As right now 54% of our tourists come from Holland, that will sure lure 'em in!
BOO utility, still a disaster and the best guess is, will always remain one, is part of a complicated financial construction CEC with shareholders RdK refinery, Aqualectra utility and (leaving some out here) Japanese giants Marubeni and Mitsubishi. These two are willing to be bought out, but then do not wish to accept any future claims - can't blame 'em. Our own guys find this unacceptable, as those possibly tens of millions of damages could spell the end of Isla refinery. I say, Go for it!
Besides, what's tens of millions for a refinery that just has been sitting there for the greater part of a year?
For years, we've been watching CPA Curaçao Port Authorities with a jaundiced eye, especially since they started their own tugboat company. It now turns out that it's even worse than we suspected. One of the greatest potential money-makers we have has been so badly handled by the government-owner (leave it to them) that it's at the edge of bankruptcy; if not toppling over already.
Now there's talk the director should be fired. You ask me for my humble opinion, the whole top ought to be tarred and feathered.
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