and here they are:
maybe not so funny
refreshing your memory:
the conscience many political clowns lack
selection of acts in Curaçao's political circus, starting with the most recent ones.
Censorship is the younger of two disgraceful sisters.
The other is called Inquisition.
Johann Nepomuk Nestroy
If an amount sounds too high in ANG, they will quote it in US$ so it's almost halved.
A fish starts rotting at the head.
Number of Firearms
The total number of firearms handed in at the public ministry à raison de f100 since July 21 is now
The public ministry is "satisfied" with the number of weapons collected.
Small wonder: that's more than the total they thought there were!
As from August 18th, the public ministry pays 350 to 1000 to snitches.
Now we can rest assured the decent folks
have no defence against gun-slinging crooks.
Hey guys! It's 2015 now!
Let's all hope for the best...
please adjust your bookmarks
Last News Is Bad News
The public prosecutor announces that the 16th January court session in the Babel case against ex-PM Shorty has been postponed. No reasons and no new date are given.
Less Taxes, More Taxes
The new tax proposal has been accepted. MFK Thodé has one good question: we are told that we'll all have to pay less taxes in the coming years, but the government counts on receiving more. Quite a trick.
Good news is, tax returns will be simplified. About time, too.
The Central Bank says reserves grew with 420 million guilders over 2014. But they add that these will probably get gobbled up again in the coming years.
Seems the Taams clinic will not be auctioned off, after all. The judge told that the auction wouldn't mean the clinic could be closed or kicked out. Well, we await further developments; what else.
Another New Record!
Isla refinery, after exceeding the daily CO2-norm obn every single day this year, during the Christmas week-end expelled 300 micrograms/m^3, beaking their last record early this year with a factor 3. In Holland, the norm is 20 micrograms/m^3 per year.
The refinery said they had technical problems. I'll bet.
Hard Times, Good Times?
The economy shrunk with 0.5% this year, but next year it will grow with 0.3%!
They confidently predict, even if one department is more optimistic than the other one; even VBC entrepreneurs' club thinks so. I, on the other hand, don't share that warm feeling. We'll have to see.
Three solar panel distributors are suing Aqualectra utility because the feed-back tariffs for electricity were lowered. Naturally, the shrillest screams came from ex-PM Shorty.
It's a sign of the times, however. Australia has reduced pay for feed-back from 7.6¢ to 5.3¢ per Kw (ANG0.11 to 0.08). So has Japan. And, except those erected here, hardly any wind generators have been sold all over the world in the last two years.
Maybe the world is coming to its senses and even politicians are getting it: there's no free energy lunch. After all, oil and coal are free as well—you "merely" have to dig it up!
The public ministry doesn't keep good track of fines, paid and unpaid. That can be a real problem because if you don't pay, you may have to go to jail (where they don't keep track either). Also compensations people have to be pay are not registered as they should. Funniest is that when sometimes a sum of 5000 guilders is advanced (when the convicted can't pay up at once) they lose track of that.
Searching in Vain for an Explanation
25% more people left Curaçao for Holland than came back here this year. Why could that be?
3117 against 2361.
Weird's the Woid
Knipselkrant Curaçao is supposedly taken out of the air. By an action of that genius lawyer Sulvaran, no less! He advised provider mijndomein.nl that KKCur breaks the law and therefore, said provider has cut off KKCur.
What's so weird is, we read this on the very KKCur site! So something must have gone wrong, somehow. Or right.
Not the "provider" of course, rather the hoster. To nitpick.
Isla refinery, sadly, broke all records this year according to SMOC. They exceeded the SO2-norm every single day.
SO2 when it combines with water in the atmosphere forms sulfuric and sulfurous acid. Real nasty stuff to get into your lungs.
Tourism Has Been Growing!
This time, it seems to be for real. As long as it lasts, there's that.
That's Not Funny
Jailbirds in at
NosBon Futuro prison better keep count of how long they've been there. The prison administration is bound to forget about them, so they keep 'em as guests beyond their time. But hey, you may not be free but board and lodging is.
And all prisoners got an X-mas present!
"Impulse for Economy" My Foot
Cft financial supervision is disappointed because all the government loans they agreed with have not led to any economic impulse. Besides, they say, a total 171 million guilders is supposed to be invested before the year's end, which they describe as "irrealistic" (only 80 million out of those 171 have been invested as yet).
What We All Saw Coming
Despite recent reassurances by minister Balborda that Hato airport would be upgraded by the US-FDA this month, it will not. That's the umpteenth empty promise on this... I've stopped counting.
St. Maarten, which had the same predicament, did what needed to be done and will be upgraded this month.
Balborda Woke Up! But...
Not only has a made a (very modest) start fighting the cancer of illegal building, he also announced they're getting rid of all those ugly illegal billboards. Good!
But are they illegal? Come right down to it, what Balborda is doing is absolutely illegal and authoritarian. Abuse of power.
Those laws seem to be in the process of being reinstated. Por fin! However, they're not as yet.
It's a Start—But Much Too Late
The government has demolished eleven structures illegally under construction on a 3 ha/7.6 acre terrain. About time. But as it has been their non-policy for many decades to let all those illegal builders go ahead, this is of very little help. Five entire illegal neighborhoods are mentioned, but the biggest one has been legalized some years ago. Sort of.
Narrow Escape (For Us)
A Great Escape from prison
NosBon Futuro has been foiled as the info had been leaked some somehow. A large quantity of weapons, anabolic steroids (as popular with body-builders) and other drugs, phone cells, "home"-made weapons and saws have been found. Those last had already been put to good use, as part of the bars in several cells had been partly sawed through.
No doubt the crooks wanted to spend the Holy Holidays with their families.
Most Complants Are No Complaints
The disciplinary Board has decided that there are no disciplinary consequences for the Three Stooges because of their statements against the dean of lawyers and a court judge. But Peppi Sulvaran's allegations that Central Bank director Tromp is guilty of the Helmin Wiels murder was not substantiated by facts, for which he has been reprimanded.
MAN Cooper demands that minister Balborda does something about private privateers illegally occupy Klein Curaçao island. He even advises the government to send a bulldozer over to rip those buildings away. In itself fine.
But ole Mudbelly seems to have forgotten the manipulations with Caracasbaai when he was responsible.
Ex-PM Shorty's MFM party organized what should have been a massive demonstration against the measures taken by present finance minister Jardim. Only 60 to 75 people turned up... Maybe because everybody is conscious of the fact that all those measures had to be taken because Shorty's government spent close to 400 million guilders in 2 years.
How Predictable! But We Are No Holy Cows
Which is a good point after all. We are to blame for all that rubbish, need they tell us? But as usual, "they" (up there) are concerned about the effects on tourism. I don't care a fart about tourism—I'm concerned about me!
And I don't have any rubbish for them mosquito larvae to breed in. So there.
Cuba and Tourism
No matter what you think of president Ø's rapprochement with Cuba, this is bound to have a severe effect on Curaçao tourism. Americans will stay away from here in droves—not that these days they are coming here in droves.
Tourists have started annulling their travels to Curaçao because of the chicungunya epidemic. Travel organizations advise negatively as well. Of course they would, and it's high season too; and don't forget carnaval. The number of infections may well have grown to 75,000 by April (that's 50% of the population) but, on the other hand, may have peaked already. So now you know as much as Those in Charge know.
PIAS doctor Semper wants us all to get it, so we'll be immune from then on. Let him give the example by getting himself infected.
Update: It seems pretty sure that the peak is indeed over. Now let's go on cleaning that mess up! Anyway, already.
The Comedy Is Over; The Clown Is Dead
As good as. I'll admit no Fat Lady has been singing—as yet. But Orco Bank has decided, after announcing the auctioning of Taams clinic buildings, that the inventory will also be sold. Leaves very little chance for 'em to continue, even as an annex of the Hospital; let alone on their own.
But the clinic claims they're just renters and can just continue their work. But do they also rent the inventory?
Health minister Whiteman will stay away from the auctions as he's been reproached that he only wants to bankrupt the clinic.
Just Like I Said
You can fool all your voters some of the time etc... The so-called tax cuts don't work out that way at all, according to Raad van Advies [advisory council].
They're Not That Crazy
MAN "Mudbelly" Cooper has written a letter to education minister Dick alleging that the government wants to stop the Carnival festivities.
While I certainly wouldn't mind to see this happen, I'm even more convinced it won't. Cooper's ballyhooing again.
Great for Tourism
The chikungunya epidemic is causing worries for tourists. Every day several cases arrive in Holland in Holland, who have been infected here.
Some people say the government is pooh-poohing the epidemic so tourists will keep coming. This policy always turns out bad.
But to everybody's joy, Nos Futuro prison has been declared free of chikungunya.
Another Court Case
Three importers of solar panels have started a case against the government because of its new ordination charging owners "tax" for solar panels, plus new tariffs for Aqualectra's pay-back. Their main complaint is that the law only takes Aqualectra's interests into account.
Unesco Anti New Hospital
For very good reasons, now it's Unesco protesting against that new hospital. Style and location just don't fit in the historical center of Willemstad, which (still) is on the World Heritage List. But let's face it, this has gone much too far to be stopped now.
Green Force, who had my albeit grudging support until now, definitely goes too far when they want all solar panel owners to switch off at the same time, just to teach Aqualectra utility a lesson. That's just and only plain blackmail, guys. Whatever your in themselves good reasons. It may well result in other people getting problems because of your actions.
It happened twice in one day that a staten parliament meeting had to be canceled because not enough members were present. Parliament head Franco called it a bergwensa [big shame]. He got that straight.
What Do They Care?
Not a stinking fart. The planned Staten parliament meeting on chikungunya was cancelled because only five of the twenty-one members showed up. Many of the rest had to attend a funeral. One might well wonder what the deceased died of.
According to GGD public health official Gerstenbluth we now have 20,000 patients—1 in 7. It's even worse than AIDS, and you don't have to do a thing to get it. Just lay back and relax.
Just a few days after a terrain was cleaned up in the action against the tiger mosquito, trash has been dumped there again. Animals. Not pigs, though—these are much cleaner than that. Baboons? Also slander and defamation. Humans... after a fashion. "Yahoos" just about sums it up.
A cop had a problem with a dog and shot it. No pit-bull but a dachshund (what the Afrikaners call a worshond—sausage dog). Now, if it were even a Peke!
This guy is allowed to walk around with a gun but we're not?
Right. How Smart.
Cft financial supervision is worried about next year's budget. Aren't we all (except some ministers, it seems). The situation of government-owned CDM Dokmaatschappij, C***-Post and Aqualectra are specifically mentioned. "Efficiency must be improved and personnel costs down." Hear, hear.
There are also strong rumors that UTS telecommunications is in trouble, just like ADC Analytisch Diagnostisch Centrum. To name but a few.
I've Given Up
Tried to keep count of the numbers of armed assaults, but the information is just not forthcoming. Small wonder: justice minister Navarro admits that this year is the all-time champ with until now "almost" [?] 630, compared with 546 in 2013 and 503 in 2012. That gun action sure was a success, considering it stopped in August. Not to mention that drone.
Seems obvious to me, from the scarcity of items, that our Great Leaders don't have so much time to quarrel in this Holy Month. Maybe they're too busy counting their money, their ill-begotten gains; whatever. Good, of course. Peace and all that to people of good will (meaning you and me).
Now He Protests
Parliament member Cordoba noticed that his suitcase was messed up after the arrival scan at Hato airport. Now he discovers this is a common complaint of travelers and wants something to be done.
Yeah, good for tourism as well.
One of the people of College financieel toezicht, who are supposed to supervise "Antillean" government finances, Richard Gibson, has not passed that St. Maarten minister screening himself. So what's he doing supervising? How did he get that function in the first place?
Makes very little difference that Gibson took his leave on December 4, according to director Bakker because of "incompatibility of several functions." I dare say.
Try, Try Again
Again, the government will try to introduce taxi meters. Last time that didn't succeed because of "strong drivers' protests" (but why?!) so now they'll try it combined with new tariffs. Maybe that will cause less protesting? Maybe. And maybe not.
Only Now He Finds Out?
We all knew it all the time. There is no law prohibiting anybody from dumping trash in the mondi [loosely, any not-built-up area] and minister Whiteman just seems to have found out. Indeed, he complains that several companies who do this on a regular base have threatened to go on with this if landfill tariffs are not reduced.
So much for those grandiose plans to get rid of mosquitos. First, fix the law. Is what we pay ministers for.
You Won't Believe This
In October, tourism went up by 10%! (Except from the USA.) Over the first ten months this year, by 1%. Which as far as I can figure means, except for October it went down.
Average hotel room occupation was 69.8%; which is still under 70.
The costs per AIDS/HIV patient are going down from ANG3500/month to 350: we got a deal as developing country on the medications. What didn't change is that more and more people get it every year; it's a popular trend. So yes, many people seem to be underdeveloped—at least in the brain section.
The government wanted to keep people at work until age 65 (used to be 60) and arranged a deal where they get less AOW state pension. But the recipients quickly figured out that, instead of having received 1120 percent of their AOW at age 76, they get 1100 when they stop working at 60.
Don't blame me, that's what we're told. What does that mean, they get 1100% or whatever? Of what?
At any rate, those guys deciding to go for it at 60 have a very good point, with present life expectancy at birth 72.4 years (for males). Females (80.1 years) can afford a few years extra work; for them it pays off. Keep working, girls, while we relax. As long as we keep alive, that is.
It's Our Own Problem
Holland keeps Isla refinery out of the report on biodiversity because not enough is known on the refinery's effect on the green environment. The kingdom has signed international agreements (like the Montreal 1987 protocol and the Rio 1992 biodiversity agreement) and Curaçao is supposed to comply. We have even introduced laws here to accomplish this; but, as so often, nobody keeps to the rules.
All of which doesn't take away much of my deep suspicions that both Montreal (on ozone) and Rio 1992 were cock-and-bull shows. With 20-20 retrospect vision, true.
SMOC reacts "surprised" on this news as there have been tens of studies on that effect.
That's Why; Figures
Four of the proposed new St. Maarten ministers have not passed the screening. No wonder they were so furious when Holland wanted to tighten up those screenings.
In Dutch parliament it's been announced that Holland does have the power to intervene in our internal affairs, to ensure "good governance". Don't start celebrating; they haven't used that power even once since 1954.
Our Own Fault: Something in That
The chikungunya epidemic, officially now counting 1079 cases (but reading between the lines there are many more) is our own fault, GGD public health states: the island is one big filthy mess where mosquitos find plenty of breeding places. Now a three month action is planned to educate the people, and to clean it all up. 120 people will be hired, total cost 2.1 million guilders. Should all be ready by February 27 (when the rainy season is over anyway and the bugs have stopped breeding).
Hah! Good luck with that. If they succeed, it will be back to its
naturalusual state in less time.
Why The Secrecy?
Garbage utility Selikor complains that, while it was the best tenderer, DOW public works awarded a project to somebody else. Which Selikor finds remarkable. They don't mention to whom, which is okay; but why not tell us what the project is? That is just as remarkable.
Fine With Me
The Letter of Intent, or Memory of Understanding (who knows or cares) between Curaçao and PdVSA on the future of Isla refinery has expired. Good.
Help the Police!
That's what minister Navarro wanted: let's all become snitches. But today when two boys on a scooter who were chased by the gendarmes fled into a private garden, the neighborhood came out to chase the Feldwebel out, throwing stones and all. They had to be saved by more fuzz.
A report states that because of the present circumstances, there exists a threat of a "brain drain" in government.
Aqualectra utility have arranged a new concession, which guarantees that they'll again remain the only electricity supplier on the island. Woe is us. Doesn't say for how long.
Caveat: It's not all bad, because that monopoly position had been ended by ex-PM Shorty; no doubt in the hope that one of his energetic energy enterprises could take over part of the market.
Big Brother's Broadcasting Station
As from January, the government will own all shares of Telecuraçao. Then we'll be ready for having lies spread out like in Soviet Russia; or China; or Nazi Deutschland... no need to go on. PIAS is against it, good for them. But will that make any difference? The deal has been concocted.
Obese Is Not Transparent
PM Arsjes denies that ombudsman Martijn can have received complaints from the Rijksministerraad [Netherlands council of ministers] about Fräudlein Wiels. With a straight face he
sayslies those guys are just fine with her. Otherwise he would have told the people and parliament about it right away, he says. Sure.
Assaults This Week
Just counting up what appears in the media. Total five (5) now—with guns.
I didn't start on Sunday, occurred to me too late. Story of my life. Better, or worse, next week.
Have given up on this, the information is just not published. Can't imagine why.
Newspaper Ultimo Notisia publishes that the viaduct splitting Otrabanda in two is crumbling apart. The government should fix that—because it's dangerous for the chollers [cholas] who sleep underneath it.
They're still thinking about the ambtenarenpaleis [civil servants' palace]. Only, they don't even know yet where it's supposed to come; this while building was supposed to start around last July. Patience, lads... the next government may not want it after all.
Community Mail Box
These are now being introduced. At last we know that everybody will get his own box with key, which answers one question. However, judging from the photographs the size of the box is deplorably small, even smaller than the regulation boxes we all had to buy two years ago. Which probably means I'll have to go to the main office much more often than now, as books won't fit in there (I went to great trouble and expense to get an oversized box).
Shut is open again! Until February 1, says minister Whiteman.
Worth the Wait
The new tax proposals are being discussed in parliament, with the remark heard that tax proceeds should flow back to the people, not used to maintain government. Will wonders never cease? Maybe I'll grow a beard until that happens. Then again, better not.
Carry On, Doctor!
Despite my efforts, not only here, to point out to the authorities the advantages of new ways to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito, transferring dengue, chikungunya (and yellow fever) they continue to apply that old palliative: spraying. Admittedly, their pyrethrin insecticides are not dangerous to mammals and birds. But they don't seem to help much: there are 8000 chikungunya patients now and every week 1000 are added. (On October 4 the count was 600.)
Ultimo Notisia claims there are 11,000.
What do you expect from a minister of health whom I've heard described as "the worst GP of Curaçao"—which is sayin' sumpin'? (He's from that PS-party from which nothing good seems to originate.)
Even the supply of paracetamol is running out now...
Out With Her
Ombudsman Martijn has initiated an investigation of Fräudlein Wiels's shenanigans. Indie Staten member Leeflang now announced she will lodge a complaint against against Wiels.
All's Bad That Ends Worse
That new inspector of health, Pereira, we've had to wait for so long seems to be a real goof. When he was managing the Dutch IJsselmeerziekenhuizen in 2008, 7 operating rooms had to be closed when hundreds of patients' lives were threatened by bacterial infections, without anybody doing anything about them. Last year in St. Maarten workers from all sectors of the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) protested against his being hired as General Director.
But he seems to be a chum of minister Whiteman, whom he advised on the Taams clinic; and there you are. Or rather, go.
Pereira says he just had bad luck with that hospital in Holland, he couldn't help it. It's because he's so honest, open and transparent that they all know about it and therefore ara aginst him.
Don't Mean Nuffink
They may mean well, but when NAAM wants to research what's the people's feeling is on Zwarte Piet [Black Pete], Sinterklaas [St. Nicholas} helpmeet, they should do better. They want people to express their thoughts on Fakebooc or by email. Any [honest—yes, they do exist] statistician will tell you this is of null value.
Hope It Helps
At the request of justice minister Navarro there now is a joint safety program with Holland. We'll have to wait how that works out. Nos mes por! There's one with St. Maarten as well, but there, Holland took the initiative.
That Took a While
There's a new inspector of health! That's the first one since Huurman got kicked out in May 2013.
Much Ado About Nothing?
All that fuss about the Carnaval pageant has resulted in the march following the old route after all. The government has decided to mend those buildings that are in danger of collapsing, before then. That's less than three months from now.
See? They can move fast when there's a really important need. But hang on.
No Shit in Shut!
The stool-schleppers will start a court case against the government now that they have no place to deposit dung.
We Can't Wait
The government prognosis for 1915 is that because of the tax cuts, 1500 new jobs will be created. Oh yeah? What tax cuts? Also because of 2014 investment projects, they (once again) expect the economy to grow with a paltry, meager and minuscule 1.5%.
The "job center" has helped 65 out of total 2330 unemployed persons to a job in the first half of this year. Gee, I wonder how many people work at that job center!
About That Bloody Clinic Management of the Taams Clinic accuses the government of trying a "hostile take-over", after their own take-over five years ago. Main player is Earl Esseboom who had no experience at all running a hospital. He fired Karel Bade, who essentially ran the clinic with one human resource and two finance assistants. Bade went to court and won, which cost the clinic over half a million guilders.
Esseboom c.s. claim they found hidden deficits after take-over, but the clinic ran at a profit of almost 1 million/year against the same tariffs valid now. Esseboom is kvetsching about the CAO, which was negotiated by himself, not by the previous owners. Most of the new staff are cronies of his. For more than a year, many extra managers were hired who only cost and didn't earn money.
Some medical/technical people were hired as Taams has been trying to be properly accredited with Holland. This got nothing to do with the CAO.
The cardio-pulminary staff are for Esseboom's own practice.
Taams now claims minister of health Whiteman's department owes them 13 million guilders, but this does not conform to the SVB tariff the clinic operated on before take-over. Question remains, why did Whiteman just let this situation build up?
Same goes for ORCA-Bank funding the 13 million purchase while the Taams brothers sales price was 11 million. It is a real mystery why ORCA would have done this and allow the debts to mount to a total of now 31 million. In fact, it stinks.
[Whoever thought up that name ORCA—killer whale? Nomen est omen.]
Whiteman's offer of 12M looks sound based on the sale 5 years ago. Esseboom's claim of a value of 12M for just the buildings seems nonsensical.
It seems obvious that Esseboom and partner Artie Lukie Lung took the hospital on to have as much money as possible flow into their own pockets. Now that it's caught up with them they make as much smoke and mirrors as possible.
Last news is that Dutch Berenschot concern will take Taams over. I hope (for them) they know what they're doing. Berenschot is registered with KKN chamber of Commerce as USONA—a name that strikes a chord.
This week, minister Balborda announced many street lights would be repaired (about time, too; that's 12%). We now hear that, as usual where DOW public works are involved, there has been no public invitation to tender.
How at first shit-slurpers were refused to unload at the sewage plant, and minister Whiteman told them, yes, they could go there? Well, their refuse is still refused.
The crap-corps has announced there's no way out for them but to dump illegally.
Back in Business
Couldn't get Knipselkrant Curaçao for over a week. Turns out, their address has changed from .com to http://www.kkcuracao.net/. (Was turned back a while later.)
The space trips planned from Curaçao airport will "just go through" is claimed by the Space Gang, notwithstanding the recent Virgin disaster. First test flights will be in April 2015 and commercial flights will start early 2016, it's claimed.
Apart from the fact that they're already one year behind earlier schedules, they must be stubbornly sticking to "business as usual" claims. They also announced that they might operate from California instead.
Oh, Those Chinese
Rumors reached us that "the" Chinese have offered to dismantle that entire refinery and get rid of the junk—all for free. Which sounds like that 3 billion dollars cost is all bull. Surely those Chinese expect to make money there.
A real problem is the tar acid lake next to the asphalt lake. It's worthless poison; nobody knows what to do with it and of course, nobody wants to have it. But before 1850 petrol was worthless (only good to make snake oil from); and Shell didn't know for forty years what to do with the asphalt lake. And Uranium? Wasn't worth anything before 1940.
Breed, You F*ckers!
Like in several other places, people are worried about the aging population problem. The government, at least PIAS Cleopa—leave it to them—comes with a simplistic solution: we need more people! One more committee must be installed to present one more policy document.
Gee, I wonder how much they're gonna pay those committee members.
And other people are still worrying about the population growth. They tend to wear green hats.
The Cheap Chernobyl Choice
Why not just dismantle the refinery, repair the fence where it needs repairs, and leave the terrain sitting there until nature has taken care of itself? It's certainly what they always call "cost effective", so why didn't that committee think of that?
It may go much faster than my estimated 20,000 years. Witness the Exxon Valdez wreck in Prince William Sound and the effects of the Chernobyl reactor. And it will take less than fifty years before genetically manipulated organisms are available, specifically bred to clean up this mess. For oil spills, they're around already. The Valdez effects are almost completely gone after 25 years. Granted, it took a lot of money: 2.1 billion dollars.
Chernobyl is self-cleaning at the rate of 2-5%/year.
A friend explains why not: if one billion dollars are spent, many swine will be jostling to get their snouts in the trough.
Aqualectra Workers Offended
They get blamed by the public that the company is in such a mess; are verbally abused in the streets and even at Aqualectra HQ. They say it's not their fault, which is quite possibly so.
There still are much too many of them for much too comfy salaries.
Nobody seems to have thought about where the cesspool-suckers are supposed to dump their loads now that Shut has been closed. I'd assumed they could have gone to one of the sewage plants, but it's not so. Don't laugh, please.
Later on, minister Balborda announced that the government statements were wrong: they can, in fact, go to those sewage plants. Only "chemicals" (hey, what's not a chemical?) and oil derivatives are not accepted.
Shut shut-off took over two weeks longer than announced. Ah well, we're in Curaçao.
In a way... not really. As promised, taxes have been lowered for next year. On the other hand, many deductions have been abolished. For the higher incomes, it probably means they will pay more. So much for "30% less".
It Takes Thieves to Pay Thieves
The salaries of the people "working" for FDDK sport foundation must go down, we're told: they eat up 60% of the government subsidies. Which reminds me.
C***-Post, in their desperate fight to bring down costs, want to install "community" mail boxes, where you can go and pick up your mail. Plenty of questions popping up right away. Do we all get a key to a padlock? Or is there someone sitting there to give us our mail? One more useless person to pay salary to; don't forget your Ausweis [ID]!—I hope: or who'll guarantee that my neighbors (some of whom hate me, a mutual pleasure) don't pick up my tax assessment and throw it in the trash, grinning all over?
The evaluation will take 3-6 months.
And remember: only two years ago we were all obliged to buy regulatory mailboxes or else... Which prescribed boxes didn't even make the grade.
Three Stooges in Court
Not before a judge, but in a session of the Order of Lawyers. They may be kicked out for life (not gonna happen) or for three months (a virtual cert). They held prohibitively long and boring speeches, boiling down to the race trump card. A grand total of some forty sympathizers, among which 3 MFK and 2 MAN politicians, were demonstrating in front of the building and threatened a number of judges and other lawyers during recess. Very classy all. Verdict December 19.
The Plaza Hotel, located at the Willemstad harbor entrance, and the first really big Curaçao hotel, has gone broke, by debts to SDVB social insurance and the tax person. The Venezuelan owner claims the bankruptcy of DAE airline broke its neck.
Plaza started out in the early 1950s as the Curaçao Intercontinental Hotel. Not so long ago, it was sold for less money than renovation had cost to Dutch van der Valk chain, who have since left.
A USA consortium "may" buy the hotel. They'll have to hurry.
Not a Penny
Holland will not pay a penny for the clean-up of the Isla refinery terrain, estimated at 3 billion dollars. "It's an internal affair of Curaçao" minister Plasterk says. Aren't you glad now we're really independent?
Figure Along with Me
About that Green Town. You know I wouldn't mind at all to see that Isla refinery go (leaving not a rack behind), but can't help wondering if this is a solution. Let's take it step by step.
1. The most polluted top one meter soil on which the refinery sits will have to be dug out and removed, bottom covered with an impermeable layer and covered with a new layer of sand.
This info from old "Lighthouse", precursors of "Green Town"
At a comparable 8-acre site in the USA it cost, 6 years ago, 2.5 million dollars to do this. Extrapolating, a reasonable estimate here, now, would be $1 billion for the entire refinery terrain: $320 or ANG576/m2. You might well wonder if that 1m is enough.
2. What to do then with the poisonous junk dug out? Dumping it in the sea is a strict no-no. Imagine: it would be a hill of 100 meters high with a radius of 250 meters; more or less what Fort Nassau sits on, only twice as high.
3. You still haven't done anything about the poisoned groundwater, which ends up in Schottegat. It may take twenty thousand (20,000) years to be washed out. We might all be dead by then.
So What's Next?
If Central Bank puts a fine point on it, Aqualectra utility will be bankrupt next month. According to that PCW report, at least. They are obliged to start paying off 2 million guilders per month for a CBCS obligation.
The mouth-watering solution that some other party takes Aqualectra over doesn't seem to be viable.
There goes the X-mas illumination...
There's a brand new Toko di Prevenshon [prevention shop] as from today. They haven' t a real shop yet, but they will offer "concrete products and services to help prevent crime, to help citizens to prepare for crime better, and also aimed at helping victims." Fine.
Can I get a gun there, please? We're told there are plenty available.
The aging population is a problem, like almost everywhere else, and something should be done about it. The government is talking it over, but is unable to give any details on concrete plans; what with all those chair-dancing ministers.
Being a pretty old dodderer myself, I shrink from mentioning the most obvious solution.
Now or (Hopefully) Never
By the end of this month that infamous Memory of Understanding between our government and PdVSA on the future of Isla refinery has to be turned into an outline agreement, supposed to serve as a new lease agreement. SMOC is being kept out of negotiations, in spite of requests by Indie Leeflang and PIAS Rosaria. But PM Arsjes promised "they will talk with all of them". (Talk is cheap.)
Indie Staten member Leeflang asks, as she well might, what minister Larmonie has been doing for two weeks, including two free week-ends, in Chile and Colombia. On our costs. Another dedicated traveler!
Larmonie is minister of SOAW. We've had plenty of trouble with those before.
That Explains It?
Remember that letter of present and past PMs to Holland, complaining about intervention in internal affairs (because Holland dared to renounce St. Maarten cabinet formatteur Heyligers)? The public prosecutor of St. Maarten now announces voting fraud has been observed.
First result is, Heyliger may be formatteur but will not become PM.
gladmad that always-meddling Holland takes the trouble to safeguard us from that, Si of No?
And by the way, do you know if that letter has been sent yet?
Aqualectra Utility is unable to pay for their personnel: costs are half of their total expenditures. Small wonder, looks like they're even worse than your regular spoiled brats! Costs average ANG170k/person/year, while the government "only" figures 100k.
Here's an idea: throw half out. Just kidding?
Expensive Hobby—For Us
Every AIDS/HIV patient costs 3000 guilders/month (more than most people earn); total yearly costs some 25 million guilders. There are now 672 patents, 126 more than last year: an increase of almost 20%. "The infections must stop" say the doctors. But how?
There are 36,571 people (M/F) earning less than 3000/month, 58% of the population.
Four Isla Alternatives
The MDTP multidisciplinary team on the future of Isla refinery offers four alternatives for the site:
1—clean-up and dismantle (probably the other way around) and then leave it as-is;
2—clean-up and dismantle but leave the BOO-plant and start a Maritime Center;
3—start a high-tech industrial park there (presumably after clean-up and dismantling);
4—build a "compact and modern" refinery with space left for other unspecified activities.
Looks like "clean-up and dismantling" is essential for all four alternatives. There's the hitch, the bug, the snafu and the snag—not to mention the stumbling block.
2% Less Passengers
Again Hato airport's passenger numbers have shrunk again; by a mere 2%, but as they keep talking about expansion that's not-so-good. Mainly transfer has gone down; no doubt in my mind that this has to do with the high transfer tariffs which were introduced because "the passengers wouldn't notice anyway".
Crooks Will Be Crooks
Ex-FWNK director Mathilda seems to have had her own company handle the foundation's administration, for several 100k guilders. Results were so bad that the new management had to redo it all.
Too bad we don't know the Mathilda company name, or we could warn you to stay away from there.
Yet Another Dictator?!
Minister Palm has suspended one of the high officials at his ministry because of "communication problems". The story is that Palm feels shut out from their actions; others accuse Palm of "micro-management"—meddling. Not that the official seems to be blameless.
The PWC report on the Central Bank remains secret, but excerpts have been presented to Staten parliament. Boils down to, Director Tromp is much too powerful and the board don't do what's expected of them: control his actions
Needless to say, the Bank does not agree (or, the report does not agree with them). The report is described as "scathing for all those involved".
A Real Success
Hey, another assault by a gun-slinging gang! Guess I'm going to keep track from now on; I figure there are several a week. That gun-collecting stunt didn't help one bit, as far as I can judge (and almost everyone predicted). But once again, nobody's telling.
More Hotel Rooms!
Minister Palm, that smarty, announces we'll be adding 1500 hotel rooms the coming 5 years, mainly to accommodate the expected stream of USA-tourists flown in by JetBlue. This year, USA-tourism collapsed by almost 10%.
Say, I wonder how much we pay JetBlue for those flights? Nobody's telling; that's transparency, folks!
Average hotel occupancy now is less than 70%, which I'm told is below profitability; in fact, any occupancy below 77.6% means a loss. In the five years on the CHATA graph, the average of all hotels is below that.
Reading Between the Lines
A new professor at UoC (too bad we can't use Oena anymore) for Onderwijs en onderwijsinnovatie, in het bijzonder met betrekking tot de lokale en Caribische context [Education and educational innovation, particularly with regard to local and Caribbean context]—who invents those titles, for crying out loud?—expresses very little confidence in obligatory education and longer schooling; these are counterproductive in attacking the drop-out problem. Hear, hear (and there as well).
He doesn't mention the "free" education we all pay so dearly for, but does he need to?
Economy development minister Palm (AKA The Traveler) announces that FNWK is at the point of collapsing. He blames the heavy competition of illegal lotteries. No doubt, but we know better already.
And those illegal crooks don't pay sales tax! Tsssk tsssk.
Politur: Private Army
Polis, ma no pa tur? Police, but not for everybody? No, it means tourist police, out to protect the
holy cowstourists. Turns out, they have their own budget, their own quads to race around on, their own building. More quaint yet, they are registered as a company with the chamber of commerce, complete with a director and their own bank account.
They hope for more contributions from the private business community. I dare say.
Burning question: who's boss of that roving horde? Who controls it? Certainly not the government—which itself is out of control. Does anybody even know?
To paraphrase Sammy Davis: "Do the name Tonton Macoutes strike a familiar note?"
First Things First
Wholesome Entertainment for the Masses Dept: PNP minister Balborda wanted to get the carnival parade out of the city center. The legal sound volume is routinely exceeded by so many decibels that houses have just crumbled apart and fallen down along the route. But even his own party is against this.
No comment heard from PS minister Whiteman of health.
The Name of the Game
Big surprise: popular (not so much anymore) Wega di Number [number games] seems to be a total mess. They just signed checks to their heart's content and administration is in ruins. They are expected to go bankrupt any minute, with a 2013 deficit of 1 million guilders. Public ministry will check for criminal offenses. My bet is, they'll find 'em.
Did You Notice?
A Virgin spacecraft crashed early this week. I have my suspicions that they were pushing too hard, but what do I know at this stage? Anyway, absolutely nobody in the international media referred to what the Space Gang would have us believe are their closest competitors, the announced Hato Vomit Comet trips. Look, they don't even have a law yet!
That may be their greatest setback. They figured to circumvent the problem by forcing a self-written law down our throats, but as it turns out such a law has to pass international scrutiny, and there you go. Didn't they know that? Idiot bunglers.
In that crummy Isla refinery a fire started because of a gas leak, resulting in an explosion; three wounded. As long as our luck lasts, we've been getting a break; much worse fires have broken out at Venezuelan refineries in the recent past.
The Three Stooges Start Lawsuit
The guys complain that the publications of Knipselkrant Curaçao "damage reputation and good standing of their office." And I here thinking it was their own actions which did so, and KKCuraçao just reporting on them.
Who's next? I do know Sulvaran hates my inner guts: he has said so repeatedly on a radio program. On the other hand, I just repeat what the media reported before me, so it would be hard to get me that way. But Sulvaran is not the sharpest tool in the shed, so he might go for it.
The case against Sulvaran c.s. will come to court on November 13 at 8:30. For those who have the weird wish to support them, there's a manifestation starting at 08:00. Don't count on me.
Wouldn't Know About That
Ex-PMs (of PAR and PNP) of the former Netherlands Antilles have sent a letter of protest against the Dutch intervention in St. Maarten. They say the Dutch arguments are "legalistic"; they still seem legal to me. But hey, I'm no lawyer.
They don't seem to be in much of a hurry sending it, though.
Ex-minister Monk, both for Wiels's PS and Shorty's MFK, and now together with Amparo dos Santos (Robbie's half-bro) forming a new party, PUK, was arrested by the police. He was too drunk to see let alone drive straight, had no driver's license or car insurance, and hadn't paid his car tax. Then he picked a fight with the cops who threw him in jail for the night.
What a surprise.
Just a Thought
Werner Wiels is one of the directors of that new government company. He may be a technocrat, but it still smacks of bribery somehow. Isn't he one of those guys trying to get Arsjes out of PS party? Maybe now he'll clam up...
Apart from that, it's of precious little use to start a controlling company when there are not even laws to be controlled.
PAR also questions both the new company, with no legislation, and the manner in which board members were appointed.
What a Relief!
Minister Jardim is trying to get a USA pre-screening on Hato airport, so passengers won't have to join the waiting throngs upon arrival in the USA. About time, too.
Back in the "good old days" of ALM, you flew to Aruba first to deboard and pass US immigration before continuing your flight.
But yet another setback for government health insurance. The judge has pronounced that it's illegal not to pay for costs incurred in foreign countries. In fact this amounted to a travel ban, unless, as many have been forced to do, you take out extra insurance when you want to leave for a trip.
CTB tourist board publishes one more set of confusing statistics. In the morning we learn from the media that tourism has been growing, albeit very slowly—and in the afternoon that at least it hasn't gone down. All in all, nothing to get excited about.
Dios Spar Nos
Have you ever witnessed how in England audiences hastily leave the auditorium before the end of the show, because at the end "God Save the Queen" is played, for which they have to stand up respectfully until it's over and done with? As from now, to improve unity in society and "identity development", minister of education and culture Dick orders all 8 (eight} stanzas of our national hymn will be sung (instead of only the first two). That takes a minimum of 6 minutes, folks.
Another occasion to wonder: are we morphing into a commie-fascist totalitarian society? I hope not.
Solzhenitsyn recounts a highly amusing story about a party meeting where some party leader holds a discourse. When he's finished, applause! But nobody dares to stop clapping first (or else...) So the applause just continues and continues. Alas, he doesn't tell how it ends. All off to Siberia?
Why Bore You with Details
spoiled bratscivil servants trade unions have no proposal for new pension arrangements yet. Nan ta bezig kune [they're working on it] but first things first: make some phone calls, read the newspapers and paint their nails. Oh, and I forgot, they're very busy these days, they say. So minister van der Horst is still waiting. He must be used to that by now; just like us.
Soab government accounting has prepared a report on the Curaçaohuis in Holland, where Fräudlein Wiels holds sway. But of course, we don't get to see it... that would be telling! Still, her lawyers' costs alone are said to be over €300,000. Salaries are paid out at a fake currency rate, so she overpays everybody (don't forget herself) by more than 70%.
Now PAR wants her to go, but PIAS says that's her PS party's business. No PIAS, it's the cabinet's business—but you'd rather not rock the boat. Got it.
There's a seminar today on the future of agriculture in Curaçao. On which I am pretty pessimistic. Still, why not? There are ways. At least the initiators don't offer a golden future but a pretty realistic 10% increase. Which is not very much, but it all helps. As long as that money isn't drowned in subsidies...
Total yearly volume of Agriculture, Fishing and Mining is ANG280.9k, not even 10% of the total earned by "Non-financial corporations". And I feel sure fishing and mining (the latter mainly consisting of digging up building materials) are worth much more.
When the Tax Persons, the publicans, control a shop they find the sales volume is 60% higher than on days they don't. This, for some reason, is also the same percentage of the total sales volume that's transferred to foreign bank accounts.
VBC entrepreneurs' club judges the whole system "too complicated"—much in that I fear.
About That Report
Was supposed to get published, albeit in an incomplete and expurgated version, today. But at the request of Central Bank they may have a look at it first. "I kid you not." Finance minister Jardim confirmed it.
What's Better Than One Committee?
Two committees of course! And where's a will, there are ways. PIAS Rosaria asks why we have two committees looking at Isla refinery's future: #1, what if we keep it around; #2, what if we get rid of it.
Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
Not So Free
Kolegio Dodo Palm has no money to transport school benches and all from Holland, where they's just sittin', to Curaçao. Is because Kolegio Erasmo got so much, there's not a Ø left! Is our comment, they are much too polite. So much for "Free Education".
Hint: these others should teach in Papiamento as well. Oh... they do already, for all craptical purposes? It's still favoritism.
Police spokesman Huggins was leisurely driving along when he had to avoid a dog that suddenly (you know how dogs are) crossed the street. He knocked down at least five (admittedly small) trees and, more impressively, two lampposts. One might well wonder by how much he was exceeding the maximum speed.
Which is another thing: Officially, max speed is 60kmh [~40mph]. Most places everybody but
suckerstourists drives at least 80kmh/50mph. But let's face it, nobody knows if this is allowed or not.
Huggins himself is as good as new, thought I'd mention it; not that I worried much. Of course, if he'd been stopped he would have got off scott-free as well.
Another delaying technique in court by Isla refinery has been torpedoed. The appeals judge did not accept their appeal, so they have to come with witnesses to disprove what already has been proven: they're responsible for the crude oil leak polluting Saliña St. Marie.
Isla appealed on August 4, so the trial which was planned on August 18 still has been delayed until at least November 10.
That's Good or Bad, Depending
Taams Kliniek claims SVB and the government have promised them a total of 1.2m guilders to continue operating. But this is denied by SVB c.s. That's good. What's bad is, Taams personnel will probably not get their salaries, as promised before.
Aruba Borrowing Money
Yes, the Aruba government is borrowing 90 million florins—in Curaçao—to pay interest on foreign debts. The thing any financial advisor would strongly disapprove of. What does a government care!
Our Dutch Dictator
Fräudlein Wiels and Curaçao-house director Groot-Phillips have had a blazing row. Last year the budget showed 5 million deficit, and the director worried about the fact that the deficit right now is 1 million, already. The sound level of the quarrel enabled several workers to share the exchange, which ended with the director turning in her lease-car keys and taking the plane to Curaçao.
About That Bzv
The "Special health insurance", supposed to be replaced by another one in a couple of years, is in trouble. Penshonados still pay more than workers, whose costs have just gone up, but added up that's not enough. This year's planned deficit of 17 million guilders will turn out to be more like 48 million guilders. By the end of next year, the swing fund will be empty.
We're still promised a 30% income tax reduction next year. Wait and (don't) see.
Let's Join the €U!
French St. Martin did so, Dutch St. Maarten not. Result: French civil servants, who get their money in €s, immediately cross the border to exchange their money for US$s, which they spend there as well as "everything is much cheaper". So St. Martin wants to close the virtually non-existing border with St. Maarten.
There still are many politicians who insist that joining the €U would be so advantageous for us. It's hard to believe this.
Apart from the big question: how long will the €U still exist?
Rumors Rife, Not Ripe
Robbie dos Santos wants to arrange a settlement with the prosecutor; but the latter keeps mum. So does Robbie's lawyer. Last year, it's claimed, Robbie tried to settle for at least ten million dollars, but we have no idea if he's now ready to offer more.
If his offer is accepted, the Bientu case will not come to court, so we'll miss a lot of interesting insights. That's probably the reason for Robbie's offers as well.
Now that George has been fired, after three years of sitting at home (or rather, as the story goes, in Café De Tropen) for a sumptuous salary, he wants a golden handshake. To top it off.
That SOAW ministry of social affairs has been using up ministers on the scale of Education. We now have number four, who fired the policy director. He had resigned under the former minister, but decided to stay on (at PS's request) when she left. That resignation letter has now been used to fire him.
We Heard That Before
Mudbelly Cooper was so madly excited that he must have quivered all over when declaring that Holland went too far. He said "makambas should be called to order" and "blood will flow"—that last one we have heard regularly since May 1969. One does get tired of it.
Cooper admitted later "he'd used the wrong expressions." He got that straight.
It's a Start
9 of the 77 civil servants who sit at home doing nothing but getting their salaries, have been fired. Since those with a chronic illness get 10% salary less, which will after 3 years become 20% soon, many seem to get cured "miraculously fast".
77? Two weeks ago there were 79; one of the two missing ones is Norbert George, who has now been fired as well.
We Got a Date
The "Babel" case against ex-PM Shorty will come to court next January 16. Finally.
Uh and Also Oh
Staten parliament has accepted 2 motions to change the law, so that the governor will not be able to stop the appointment of ministers. Which also means they will not have to be screened.
The second motion was introduced by nobody else by ex-PM Shorty (who is getting balder and balder and has developed a second chin, well on his way to number 3). Parties voting for are those forming "his" old cabinet: MFK, MAN and PS. PIAS, PNP, PAR and indies Leeflang en Sulvaran (traitors!) were against.
This was triggered by Holland ordering the governor of St. Maarten to stop the appointment of presumed corrupt PM Heyliger.
Indie Sulvaran remarks that, whatever these clowns (my words, not his) vote for, such a law change still has to be approved by the "K"ingdom. So there.
"Repair" Law Needs Fixing
A repair law [reparatiewetgeving] has been proposed for public health insurance. But hardly anybody agrees with, or even on, what it says. Indie-MP Leeflang wonders why old folks have to pay 6.5% of their income, and employees only 4%. But PS worries about the fact that employees will have to pay more now! The employers should pay that, PS feels. There's more, and it's all messy.
Even media info is contradictory here; try and figure what's what.
C***-Post has got problems, and we're the victims. One of the reasons is that they're largely superfluous: who writes letters anymore? But another one is, they pay large concessions to the government. For what? And how large? We're not told.
One "solution" proposed by minister Balborda is that C***-Post will start charging money to deliver mail in "community mailboxes"; so they will charge you extra money while saving on delivery. And they will be allowed more time to deliver mail. Still more time...
Traffic minister Balborda, not the sharpest knife in a pretty dull drawer, tries his brain at reasoning, with predictably deplorable results. He says that all those traffic accidents are caused because of the "excitement, tension and anxiety" in which people live. This, still quoting Balborda's hypothesis, also explains "certain chronic diseases" people are suffering from; it's all because of a lack of happiness. Too bad he doesn't mention which diseases. Diabetes? Sickle-cell? Dengue? Looks like what's really chronic is Balborda's lack of smartness.
Apart from that, one only has to read on below to see what might help cause all that "excitement, tension and anxiety".
After the Dutch government just forbade St. Maarten's governor to inaugurate Heyliger, who's suspected of vote fraud, as MP, naturally the guy is a bit excited. He's now moving heaven and earth (in fact, only Aruba and Curaçao governments) to get this undone. It's colonialism! Imperialism! Meddling interference! You guys are next! (Good... bring it on.)
But now, St. Maarten MP Emmanuel pops up with the message that he's been offered 2 million dollars to get out of National Alliance party and continue as an Indie. "After buying votes, now they're buying seats."
Heyliger is, like our own ex-PM Shorty, a figlioccio of padrino Corallo. And mind, I am not a lawyer and have no idea if what Holland does here is illegal, like PAR Konket claims, or not.
Government wants Curoil to pay 15 million dividend, even though SOAB government accounting have advised against—Curoil as well, but that doesn't count.
The snake in the grass here is that, if Curoil can't pay up, they will be allowed to enforce higher tariffs on us (that's me and probably you). See? It's all so simple, when you have the power.
Curaçao has the highest (average) download internet speed of the Caribbean, followed by the Bahamas, Aruba, and Trinidad & Tobago. (Cuba is last on the list, as you'd expect; Haïti is far ahead of Suriname, as you wouldn't expect. At second thought, maybe you would.) Internet penetration is 94%, just yapping at the heels of Bermuda and 10% ahead of the USA and Japan; Korea (hey, that's South!) and Japan come just a teeny beet closer.
Only Korea and Singapore have higher download speeds.
Wait and See; Mainly, Wait.
Hato airport wants to have arriving passengers outside in half an hour from, I take it, de-boarding. That aspect is kept pretty vague. Maybe, from when you take your place in-line? Next thing to wonder about is, does this go for us Curazoleño suckers or only for
Remember? Built under the reign of Cooper it's falling to pieces already. So they repaired it; supposed to be ready now—in any case, it's re-opened. Volunteer Public Watchman Pasman went to have a look-see and is disgusted. They even used gypsum wallboard screws to cobble the thing together, so it will fall back to shreds before you can say "Mudbelly".
About Russian Oil
Smoc claims that processing Russian oil by Isla refinery is entirely illegal, because Holland boycotts Russia, and we have to keep ourselves to that. We'll have to wait and see if anybody else worries about it.
Upon receipt of a letter by health minister Whiteman CAH airport holding has finally decided to close the shut [chute], where daily 200-350m3 raw sewage are dumped into the sea. Will happen in "2 to 3 weeks". Update: will be closed on November 1.
Now for the other sewage sources. For example, the sewage system near Brievengat just debouches into the sea; wouldn't be surprised if that was much more. And the Klein Hofje plant is still unserviceable. And, apart from that, where will those free-lancers start dumping raw sewage now?
Was looking for that popular expression when I wrote about justice minister Navarro's plea for the public to coöperate with the police. Won't work. Not even in Nazi Germany and Commie USSR, it didn't.
Three days after I wrote this, someone at one of those controls called a cop kachó di gobièrnu [government dog]. He was arrested. See what I mean?
Now Tell Us Something We Didn't Know Yet
Fundashon pa Konsumido [consumers union] Marshall explains that, while they're actually illegal, in fact price agreements are the norm in Curaçao. Apart from the government monopolies we're stuck with, he mentions supermarkets, building, telecom and farmaceutical sectors. We'd noticed, and more. As we've remarked elsewhere, this is a Far West mine town economy.
Beginning this year, the government promised to make traffic safer. Just like reducing crime I guess. We have had more traffic deaths than ever, until today 16. Things go on this way, we'll have 20 by the end of the year, which works out to over 13 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. That's not at all as bad as Thailand (38) or Venezuela (37) but many more than Holland (4).
3 members of parliament have proposed a Traffic Safety Authority using the "Safe System approach (SSA)". More
workjobs for civil servants.
In fact, traffic safety is not so bad at all compared with most countries.
We have all confidence that PM Arsjes is right when he says that Curaçao is prepared for Ebola. Although "waiting for it" may express it better. Just like the USA. Or the WHO, who admit they "botched it" in Africa.
Arsjes says it's true we do not have sufficient equipment and protective gear here, then goes on to say that that's so for the Caribbean and Latin-America (wow! that's good to know) and ends by reassuring us that we do have sufficient equipment available.
He also says it's "important to decide on a travel ban or not", then, typically, makes clear such a decision has not been taken. What a clown. Meanwhile, Colombia, Jamaica, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago have announced (limited) travel bans.
Aqualectra Blunders... Again
A few days ago, they announced they were busy sending the Agrekko generators back to their owner, because they didn't need them any longer. And now they discover that the revisions of the BOO generators result in much less capacity than needed; while a new diesel generator will not be operational before January 1 (reading between the lines, probably later than that).
So they are switching quarters of and on. Just like is done in Nigeria or Zimbabwe.
Good Luck with That!
The government in its great wisdom has decided to start a company for the exploration of the,
no doubtrich, oil and natural gas resources which, as everynobody knows, are present in the sea around us. A bit premature, you say? A waste of money, you say? Who cares! Certainly not the government.
PM Arsjes says this company will be able to monitor activities of future operators "just like the refinery monitors the agreement with Venezuela." Words fail me.
By the way, our Leaders seem to have a regular oil rush gone to their heads and cooking their brains. Just now they were discussing the refinery's future, based on an upgrade price of two billion, not three. Dream on, fools. Meanwhile, IMF says that the Venezuelan economy is "almost in free fall" because of its economic policies, and the question is when it will wake up and become reasonable.
It's called Kompania di Gas i Petroli (KGP). There may be some gas, but oil, my geological friend in-the-know tells me, is a really remote possibility.
That's All, For Now
There's a report on the CBCS Central Bank by PricewaterhouseCoopers. That's all we've been told. An incomplete and expurgated version will shortly be made available, we're promised. The report should have been ready in less than three months, but it took a year and a half.
We have all been wondering for many years why PdVSA didn't do anything with Curaçao Oil Terminal, according to popular legend earned back by Shell in one (1) year. Then we started wondering why PdVSA all of a sudden started using it! Edgar Leito explains it in Amigoe: they use it for their shipments to Cuba and China. To Cuba, to help their brothers in the revolution. To China, I hope they get paid. For us, it doesn't mean a cent... we paid for maintenance all the time.
Mail System Collapses
In Notabene 45 Erich Kästner disgustedly describes how a letter mailed on February 1 1945 (!) was delivered on the 9th. From Berlin to Berlin. We've broken that record: an OB sales tax assessment dated September 30 was delivered yesterday, the 15th of October. And it's not even war!
Need I really say that the assessment's a bureaucratic blunder? ça va sans dire! I confidently look forward to many of more of these this year; for every one I have to compose 2 gravamens and deliver them in person at the Tax Person's office, to get them stamped. Otherwise, they'll lose those too and I have to pay up. What a waste... but it keeps the spoiled brats "busy". Alas, us too.
Only, those security cameras that were supposed to have been installed already by now are nowhere yet. Minister Navarro blames the delay on bureaucracy (hah!) and now says it won't be January, either, but "in the first quarter next year." Like, March? But e ta bezig kune [he's working on it]; for him, it's a matter of the "highest priority"—he says.
Say, About That Isla
Things go on like this, not a chance we can keep it (if we wanted to, even if the government seems to). Thanks to USA shale oil and fracking, crude oil is cheaper than since 2010 and will keep being cheap for a while; quite contrary to very recent expectations. Venezuela, even if they did have 3 billion dollars salted away, which they don't, just couldn't compete. Leaves them out in the darkness, wailing and gnashing their teeth.
That's the Problem
Justice minister Navarro wants the people to coöperate with the police. One can see the advantages. He says people don't trust the police, though, because there are "some rotten apples" in the basket; it's much worse than that. But in any case, it's the natural instinct of the people to look at the cops as their enemies, out to force the will of those in power upon them; and history has proved them right time and again.
"The natural enemies of good men. The men in blue." —Desmond Bagley, The Freedom Trap
95.3 Million Saved
Because a number of civil servants will be leaving their cozy jobs during the next five years by "natural outflow", the government will save 95.3 million guilders. Minister van der Horst shows a wide grin on a photo accompanying this news, as well he might.
But that's not really saved... the government doesn't know how to save and will no doubt spend it somewhere else.
Gas? No, More Hot Air
PS Córdoba tells us all that Holland has smelled the gas under Curaçao, and that's why "they" want to maintain the neo-colonialism. No matter that nobody knows about that gas; possibly the Dutch know more than they tell us. One thing's for sure, Córdoba hasn't got his facts straight. But hey, he's a politician.
He says we've been colonialized by Holland for over 100 years—which seems rather short. The WIC (West Indische Compagnie) took over in 1634, and apart from some short interludes Holland never left until, depends on how you look at it, 1954 or 2010.
He goes on to ask, when recently some human traffickers got a couple of months in jail for every woman they'd abused, how much Holland should get for the 150,000 people living here? First, 10% of those are "European Dutch" and there are a lot of Latinos and others. But more importantly, even conceding his point, by abolition time there were only 7000 slaves here.
Or should Holland maybe recompense all offspring of all slaves they traded?
Better shut up, Córdoba, in that case you won't get a penny!
But Will It Help?
The consumers union FPK wants to take action against Aqualectra utility to try and recover damage caused by voltage fluctuations. Aqualectra hide behind their terms and conditions, which state they accept no responsibility whatever. You're telling me, bud? Wish I could put a clause like that in my contracts.
9000 people under 25 have not finished their education. The minister of education and schools have signed a protocol to change this. More marks on paper? Anyway, that figure doesn't mean a thing, unless you know (another Circus Service as the media won't tell you), not counting those below 14, 14.4% of the population is that age, or 21,600. So at least 42% of the pupils dropped out, pretty extreme. I'd bet that stands for the entire population that went to school since May 1969 (and hope I'd lose).
Interestingly, we couldn't find that figure on the Curaçao CBS web-site. Maybe it's hidden away there somewhere; we just couldn't find it.
Good Questions, No Answers
According to Dutch PvdA minister van Raak, the renovation of Isla refinery will not cost the hitherto estimated 1 billion dollars, but rather 3. Which we can't pay. It seems the USA can and have forbidden the sale to Venezuela; apart from that, he doesn't seem to realize PdVSA couldn't cough up that amount in the first place.
Then also, there's the burning question why Dutch military personnel who are living under the refinery smoke are enabled to move to other quarters, but the Curazoleños may go on inhaling. The Dutch reason that the refinery is a national affair of Curaçao, and they have a point there.
Meanwhile, PdVSA announces they will test processing Russian oil in Isla refinery. Here's an idea: couldn't we by-pass Venezuela and do business with Russia?
For a welcome change. The penshonado premium for health insurance will be lowered from 10% to 6.5%, as of October 1st this year. Too bad for workers, they will have to cough up more (from 12% to 14%).
Knipselkrant Curaçao reports about rumors concerning Fräudlein Wiels, PM Arsjes and the rest of PS. They expect the government to fall shortly, which would make it just as short a reign as that of the preceding MFK-PS-MAN coalition. In that case, so much for the crowing of "it will last for 8 years" by formatteur Camelia.
The cabinet will then be replaced by another provisional Betrian government. As long as it's not Shorty! But Betrian won't like it.
PIAS has proposed a law making ministers liable for the financial consequences of their actions. Too late (should have been around during Shorty's reign, for which PIAS can't be blamed), but get on with it, already.
PIAS says this was recommended in 2013 by Transparency International, who X-rayed the government at the request of that same Shorty!
A few days after the Curaçao imam gave an interview to Curaçao Chronicle, at his own request, a (or rather, the) Bonaire imam came out with the same message: Islam is a religion of pieces oops peace and no muslim would ever cut you up for the glory of Allah. Well, lots of 'em do, while quoting the quran like it's Mao's little red book. (Remember that one?)
And now all military personnel, here as well as in Holland, have been ordered not to wear their uniforms when going to/from home/work. It's too risky. Weird how all those IS muslims get it entirely wrong; must be something in their choice of reading matter.
In my time we were ordered not to get out of that hated uniform when at home. Only fools followed that order, hey!
Are You Better Off?
I mean, better than four years ago, when our Glorious Independence set in. To be honest, to me it doesn't make much difference one way or the other. Let's do what Robinson Crusoe did: make a list.
— we started out with virtually no debt
— the Schotte government made at least 300 million "disappear"
— so we are paying more taxes etcetera than before
— we are still stuck with all those civil servants
— we are getting stuck with a new hospital, a disaster area
— our airport has been downgraded
— the refinery is filthier than ever
— there's more crime
— but even less economy growth
Small wonder there are not many parties thrown.
Oh, Them Chinese...
Not only are they competing our (Portuguese) supermarkets out of business, now they're reported to have bought up our most venereal oops venerable institution, the Campo Alegre—which has a reputation of being the largest bordello in the Caribbean. Started during WWII to save (white, let's face it like men) women from becoming Broken Blossoms, as a mainly Bakhuis family enterprise, Campo couldn't pay up the fines for money laundering and all that. Hey, that's dirty FØOL-Godett laundery! So it has been auctioned off.
You have to admit, as the oldest civilization in the world them Chinese oughta know damn well how to run bordellos.
Check out my new book: How to Run a Bordello for Profit and Fun.
Hey, They Got It Right—After a Fashion
There have never been as few Atlantic hurricanes since 1983, which means less than 4 (and only five named storms). Yes, the prognosis was for a "mild" season. Don't think they meant this mild, though, just "less than average" ( which is 8 hurricanes and 11 storms). But the season is not over yet.
The Three Stooges have definitely lost all their recuse requests. Now maybe they'll shut up? No, they've already announced they won't; though it's hard to think up what they'll do next. One thing seems pretty sure: it won't work.
In any case, judge Scholte has retired from the affair after two failed recuse requests; it's not known yet who'll replace her.
These guys certainly know how to pick their clients; Shorty, dos Santos, and recently Heyliger, accused of voter fraud in St. Maarten elections: but still cabinet formatteur.
For a Change
Good News? Casino operator Prins (PM Arsjes dad-in-law) had an assault happen to him. Shame! Anyway, his robber baron colleagues stole the family's trinkets and used their car as an escape vehicle.
Looks to me like there's a lot of armed robberies going on, still. But exact figures are hard to come by. Wonder why... no, not really.
KKN Chamber of Commerce reports that in 2014 QII economy started improving, to add that the "negative growth" was -1% [positive shrink +1%]. Must have been pretty bad if that's improvement. The USA and NL went up, if ever so slightly.
Investment in tourism went down.
They Still Don't Fit
Central Bank announces that the new guilder coins are equal in weight, thickness and diameter to the old ones. Therefore, there's no reason why automats should refuse those coins. But they do. What a drag. Must be a hex.
Maybe they could have tested a few samples before ordering a lot? Just an idea. Too late, of course.
Two car drivers got into an altercation, when one of them pulled a gun. The other one managed to take a photograph, which he showed to the cops. They recognized one of their colleagues and sent him home with a flea in his ear. He will now take the picture to the public ministry to lodge a complaint.
If it had been a free-lancing crook, he'd really be nowhere.
Accord? Forget It
Government and unions have signed an agreement: there will be 148 civil servants less five years from now (very impressive); rules for personnel allowances will be evaluated and more stringently applied; as from November 1 personnel will enter Bvz health insurance; overtime will be limited; there will be a new loontrederegeling [salary step control, really Dutch that word] and temporary freeze of inflation indexation.
All unions except Abvo, the biggest one, though. So we're nowhere yet.
Curaçao Chronicle interviewed our imam (we have only one mosque—as yet) and swallowed everything he said line, hook and sinker. Like "islam is a religion of peace"—the imam should check this out.
The good man assures us muslims here are not out to behead us (I'd certainly hope so), and that there's nothing in the quran that would cause ISIS to behead people. Funny (wrong word) thing is though, those beheaders do quote that self-same quran as a good reason: "Smite them over their necks" (8:12).
The imam further says jihad is an inner struggle. My heart bleeds for all those poor deluded jihadists fighting their inner struggles in Al Queda, Boko Haram and Isis, killing and rampaging.
The quran also says it's legitimate to lie (Taqiya) to the kufaar [non-believers]. The imam got that right: "War is deceit" said Muhammet - Bukhari (52:269).
As I understand from the article, it's the imam who invited Curaçao Chronicle to come over and have a cozy talk.
The ISIS guideSorry to bore you! But it does sound somehow subtly different from what "our" imam tries to fob us off with. Nice try.
1 - All mushrik (those who worship any other God other than Allah) can neither be granted amnesty nor be ransomed off. Quoting a passage from Surah Al-Anfal [The Spoils of War], it says: "Punish them severely in order to disperse those who are behind them, so that they may learn a lesson."
2 - Kufaars (including Jews and Christians) have to be killed because if they are not killed, they will return and threaten Islam.
3 - Until and unless a prisoner says subhaanahu wa ta'ala [Glorified and Exalted is He}, he can neither be shown generosity and freed without ransom nor be set free after paying a ransom.
4 - Amnesty and ransom are possible only after the killing of a large number. If a captive was imprisoned after that, the Imam has a choice to kill him or (do) otherwise.
5 -The imam or someone acting on his behalf can choose between killing, amnesty, ransom or enslaving the prisoner.
33 Projects Stuck
Four ministers have joined forces to get 33 projects moving from the mud where they have been stuck, "for some reason". But they hasten to ensure us that's not the fault of the civil servants who had the responsibility; it just happened to happen—with all 33 of them. Got it.
George Comes Back
George, who has been accused of sitting back home on a comfy salary as a
spoiled bratcivil servant since 2011, is now moving to get back to his post and go to work. But will it be it a come-back? He wants Knipselkrant Curaçao to remove several articles for "defamation and insult". KKCuraçao (hey, is what they call themselves, get it?) refuses.
We'll be next, maybe. Then again, maybe not. George should have lots of more important things to do.
And by the way, Balborda, did you consider the impact of the Ramsar wetlands convention on Rifwater? Amazingly, I have to admit that the coastal strip is not included in the four protected Curaçao areas; I'll never understand why not.
The public prosecutor announces that the dossier on the Bientu [wind] case against Robbie dos Santos is ready; so presumably it will go to court in the near future. To refresh your memory, ex-minister Imalootin (MFK) is another suspect, and ex-minister of justice Wilsoen (PS) did everything he could, and more, to try and stop it.
Then, hopefully, Babel won't be far behind.
It's over two years ago when they announced, in August 2012, that the Bientu investigation was finished.
Last news, though, is they may arrive at a settlement, reportedly for 1 million guilders. Now that would be a real pity; lots of dirty laundry to hang out!
People have asked me to put in a comment section, but I always steered clear. Perish the thought! Well, time has put me in the right: more and more media and blogs are closing those sections, as it's mostly a stamping ground for trolls. The venom spewed out can make my stomach turn over. Then, the quality of the comments is mostly far below par, anyway. And those who do have something worthwhile to say are smart enough to find out how to connect. It's easy!
And I thank all those who have reached out, helped me and corrected me.
Palm Is Smart—Again
Minister Palm wants a moratorium on new supermarkets and tokos. Lately, lots (and I mean lots) of these small businesses are being opened by Chinese all over the island. But Chamber of Commerce warns him that, first, this would be a measure that will result in foreigners not wanting to invest here; and second, that if a native starts a supermarket and then sells it to a foreigner, there's nothing to be done about it.
Mosquitos and Illness
There are now 600 known cases of chikungunya on the island (no mention is made of dengue). So the government is eradicating mosquitos (by spraying with pyrethrin, harmless for humans) in the neighborhoods where chikungunya has been detected.
Really smart, that. As if we don't have cars or buses—it's pretty easy for a patient to get to another neighborhood and get bitten by a mosquito there, thus spreading the disease. After which they will spray that neighborhood.
One spraying costs "5,000 to 10,000 guilders" which really makes one wonder if it's not time to seriously consider total eradication of the tiger mosquito.
Say, That New Hospital Is Getting Old, Fast
While in Holland [parliament protests against the enormous amounts Curaçao will borrow against very low interest, and questions arise about Cft's [financial supervision] outstepping their responsibilities, down here architect Weeber is not the only one who joins the doubters. He predicts the 450 million guilders will easily grow to 550, while nobody even knows if this includes the interior and equipment.
Us knows us, as the Dutch say. Among the civil servants a joke is circulating: "If we'd work at McDonald's, no hamburgers would be delivered—only paper." Of course there are some decent ones left. I've met several.
Minister Balborda has one for the mosquito problem. He wants to fill in what's left of Rifwater, which adds a lot of hotel (and other crap) building space. And the mangroves? Oh, these can be transplanted. Where to? He doesn't say. How? He says Barbados did it and it worked well. This surprises de Freytas of Carmabi, who is much too polite to come out and say "Balborda is crazy."
Balborda also wants to build a larger and working version of the sewage plant at Klein Hofje. And his dream is to hook up every household to a grey water system for irrigation. Dream on... It's a nice dream to be sure, but let's first have a drinking water system that works decently.
All this not even considering that Rifwater could be a pretty unique tourist trap, and that the very civil engineers who worked on the first filling-in of Rifwater now are teddibly, teddibly soddy. (It still stinks of sewage there, I kid you not.) But way back then in the early 1950s, it was progress, man!.. comporlaga.
And how about the hurricanes? Without the protective border of mangroves along Rifwater Huize Stroomzicht might never have weathered 1877 hurricane Tecla.
That Will Help
We can't do any better than follow Smoc's example. They obviously got tired as well of figuring out by how much exactly and how often the refinery exceeded pollution norms last month. They say "tig" [umpteen] times. But Balborda has a solution. Are you ready? We now have two measuring stations, and he plans to add a third to combat this nuisance.
Between you and me (don't let it get any further] Balborda doesn't seem the brightest star in our shining sample of ministers, nor the sharpest knife in the drawer. That's not even meant ad hominem; merely wondering how he got to be a minister.
There have been P.O. Boxes here for a long time. But now the post office has put in more, in the hope to reduce costs of delivering mail. Especially far-away places with bad roads cost a lot of money in gas, tires etc.
Objection: do they really think those people, who live at places like that, will rent a box? Apart from the fact that we have no idea how much that will cost.
Police checked buses and mini-buses waiting for customers at a tourist-ship quay. One in four had no drivers or tourist license license or hadn't paid their car tax; even worse, no insurance. Watch it when you pick a driver.
Business As Always
VBC entrepreneurs club doesn't think the government will keep their promise of lower taxes. First they talked about a "relief" of 50 million guilders, but mirabile dictu this has shrunk to 30m already. VBC judges they better start looking for those enormous amounts that have disappeared from the treasury's coffers. Hear, hear!
Indie Leeflang may protest the property tax, but the first assessments are on their way already, and not long after, house owners may look forward to a visit by an assessor, who'll determine the house's worth for the next five years. You can appeal—but first, pay.
So, to sum up: first you get an assessment, second then the assessor determines the worth on which presumably the assessment is based, third you pay, fourth you can protest.
Get It On, Already
Dutch minister of kingdom relations Plasterk is more or less being forced by parliament to start a criminal investigation in St. Maarten corruption; they promise him all support to achieve this. Heyligers won the last elections, while still being involved in a court case on buying votes during the previous elections. SP van Raak comments "there are really big crooks in St. Maarten." His party and VVD recommend the same action for Curaçao.
Rings a bell.
Throw Them Out
Dutch PVV party, mainly known because of the problems leader Wilders has with the Dutch muslim population, today proposes a law to evict criminal Antillians, who are a real problem in Holland (and here as well, we don't need telling). But it's much worse in Holland where one out of every three Antillian males dies from violence.
If PVV's law will be accepted is another question. But they remind us that Curaçao last year evicted at least four Dutchies.
The largest civil servants union Abvo will not accept the packet of austerity measures presented by minister van der Horst. Now they tell us! Anyway, it won't help them much as the other unions have accepted already. Serves 'em right.
But there's still no accord on lower vacation allowance and pensions.
Minister van der Horst claims, the accord will save 190 million guilders (>USD100) a year). 2014-10-01
Turns out, by now they do define culture broader than I figured. They are also teaching kids to cook crioyo, and how to grow food for self-sufficiency.
Rubbish All Over
On the big square in city center, still Wilhelminaplein (eat your heart out, Wiels) after the opening of the official Siman di Kultura [cultural week], piles of rubbish were left behind. Which is usual and to be expected, look at the recent Green Climate Change manifestation in New York. PIAS Rozendal calls it an "international disgrace" (come, come) and says the people's mentality needs changing. Good luck with that.
In sharp contradistinction, the USA ultra-right fascist bastard Tea Party manifestations seem never to leave a speck of waste behind.
For your information, the Siman di Kultura mainly propagates folklore, which is only a very small part of culture. They just don't know any better.
Minister Balborda promises they'll get on with it again in January: more roads will be improved. Why wait so long? This time, they'll use a public tender system, and the ads have already appeared in the media.
We certainly hope the remaining, skipped, part of the road to Westpunt will then finally be upgraded.
MFK (ex-PM Shorty's party) has announced, they will start to prepare for the next elections in 2016. We should live that long. If you want to be a candidate, you can apply. One condition is, you must be prepared to
be brainwashedfollow MFK's internal training. Another, you must have the moral and spiritual principles to lead the country. Just like their leader, I presume—who may be sighing in the calaboose by the time those elections come around.
Fine with Me. Good Idea.
Indie parliament member Leeflang proposes to exempt people who own the places they live in, from property tax. She claims it's contrary to Article 25 of the Universal Human Rights, and also Article 23 sub 2 of the Constitution. I don't know if she's right, but I'm all for it. She says the government isn't able to give everybody proper housing, what with 7000 persons waiting for a house and 6000 waiting for a land lease on which to build, so there.
If her proposal leads to a budget deficit, she suggests a luxury tax on pleasure yachts. Hey, there's an idea!
Not the first time Leeflang protests against the property tax. Last year, she suggested to go after the casinos instead.
Nobody Will Stop Her
Fräudlein Mad Madelyne Wiels exceeded her budget with ANG1,795,000 (say USD 1 million), says indie parliament member Leeflang. PM Arsjes couldn't explain it (dûh). Also, personnel costs, which were 1,380,835 in 2013 more than doubled to 3,203,700 in 2014, while in the 2015 budget the total is 708,969 higher again; so personnel costs tripled in 3 years. No wonder she's shopping for a new office; they must burst out of it there.
Balborda Is in Trouble
PNP minister Balborda is in hot water. Some want to see him go, others not so much. This mainly because he didn't use the public tender system in the Big Road Improvement Plan, but rather chose for a selection by allotment. He earlier pulled similar tricks when ordering new cars for the cops to wreck, and granting subsidies to FDRS.
No More Cash
As from next month, you can't pay cash for you driver's license any more. This is supposedly because of the workers' safety; and true, many thousands of guilders are being paid there daily with every license costing as good as 100 guilders.
On the other hand, this just might serve to help stop corruption, which is much harder when accepting only checks and bank cards. The bureau used to have a very bad name in this connection.
Meanwhile, Back in the Boondocks
While in the USA a bill is introduced to impose sanctions against human-right violators in the Venezuelan government, officially here we remain the best of friends with that corrupt régime, and our great rulers (not leaders) do everything they can to keep that crummy oil refinery working.
There Are 79 of Them
And they cost us 8 million guilders a year. Those are the hard figures on civil servants who are not working. Some are in jail, some have problems with their chiefs and some must sit at home because of a disciplinary measure. I'm sure that's real punishment: they have to pay for their own phone and airconditioning.
And average salary cost is 100,000 guilders per year. It's a safe bet all-in costs (like phone and airco) are much higher.
IMF has told Central Bank they have to stop supplying bonds to government-owned companies. Not only that, Central Bank also seems to lend money to privately owned companies. This while private banks are obliged to maintain cash reserves and a credit ceiling.
Since When Is This "Rape"?
There always was something in the USA called "statutory rape"—in the words of Tennessee Williams, "when you're seduced by a girl younger than sixteen" [Night of the Iguana]. But in Dutch, it's called ontucht met minderjarigen [sexual abuse of minors]. Now, some guard (hey, that's some guard!) at Justitiële Jeugdinrichting, what we used to call tuchthuis [disciplinary home] but all that isn't PC anymore; where was I... no, don't say anything... it'll come back to me... oh yeah, he had sex with some, matter of fact several, of the girls there. They all say they loved it, and why not? So he's been fired and now has to appear in court.
In the media, they all talk about verkrachting [rape]. Pardon me for disagreeing. Excuse me all over the place. I'm with Williams all the way! At least, in this case (mostly, I think he's a bore).
If they should have given this guy that dream job, that's another matter.
One Third Less for Health Insurance
According to independent parliament member Leeflang, in the past year 33 percent less was spent on health costs than in 2011. She contemplates lodging an official complaint against the government.
Chaos and Clutter
827 Curaçao streets don't have a name. One in three houses are not even registered in the Land Registry. The ministry of traffic and transport warns this is fertile ground for fraud; of which we've plenty already.
Once again, Hato airport had less passengers last month, just like in the preceding six months, than the year before. Meanwhile, they keep wishing to extend and expand. But what for?
Total "negative growth" was 6% and arrivals went down 4%.
Venezuela, the country that can't even feed its own people, has offered minister of health Whiteman to train a number of our youngsters to become medical doctors. For free! How noble and generous. Whiteman thinks so, anyway.
But then again, Whiteman only last week talked with the new Chinese consul about, among other things, introducing Chinese traditional medicine and importing Chinese herbs. Looks like his is a chronic case.
A while ago, some military guy, accidentally or not, shot another one who later died. Now he's getting punished, and rightly so. But now they tell us all military men have this book where everything is regulated, and they're supposed to know it all by heart. Brings back not-so-fond memories of my time in the army, where the standard superior's reply to a question was "en verder geen gelul van ik wist het niet, het staat allemaal in je Handboek Soldaat" [and no more bull-shit about I never knew that, it's all in your Soldier's Handbook]. Pshaw.
So, Let Them Burn!
The Koraal Specht prison Nos Futuro [our (collective) future] is not safe in case of fire. Not so good. You lock 'em up, you do have to accept certain responsibilities.
There are also two rival gangs in there, attacking and murdering each other. I should care about that. As Carella's mother used to say, "good riddance to bad rubbish."
Would like to Know
How many assaults have been carried out this month against the average of the months past, before all those guns were given up? "Data insufficient" but we keep reading about them.
Parliament member Jacinta supposedly has been offered ANG60k [USD33k] to give up her seat to ex-finance minister Imalootin. Knipselkrant Curaçao claims there's proof. But Jacinta didn't go for it.
What to Think?
Accountants KPMG state that the development of Oostpunt means the population density there will be greater than that of what's called Groot Willemstad (which includes suburbs). Owner family Maal denies this but won't come across with information. On the other hand, KPMG is not the most solidly reliable source one could wish for.
The judge and wrakingskamer [recusal chamber] have turned down the recusal requests of what's meanwhile become a comical trio, Sulvaran, Peterson and Eustatius. This is the second and last time they've been turned down. They not only wanted a new judge this round, but also a new chamber; which may be impossible to find. Put quite simply: they waited too long.
In consequence, the way is now free to start the case against the trio in which they are accused of sedition and subversion of the judicial authority, which may result in their suspension.
Which is bad news for ex-PM Shorty as Sulvaran is his lawyer, and his Babel court case is still looming on the horizon.
The comic trio is now impotently reduced to writing Letters to Ye Editors. What a laugh. I guess The Three Stooges is what I'm going to call them from now on; if and when there's a repeat performance.
Old Baby, New Name
That baby is really getting old: after almost 18 years of no global warming and when Artic and Arctic ice volumes break all records, it has been decided not to talk about "global warming" anymore—but that's old already, replaced by "climate change". Now it's "climate disruption" which somehow sounds much more violent than what we notice going on around us. Just possibly, that's the whole idea.
Raad van Advies advisory council have their doubts on the new hospital budget; they wonder if the amount quoted will be sufficient. They subtly remind the government that every year until now the costs turned out to be higher than budgeted for. They also wonder, as they well might, if the new hospital really will help in reducing care costs. Back to work, minister Whiteman!
There is one item of interest: Knipselkrant Curaçao is back on-line. Not a word of explanation what was up (or down), though.
Back to Square One
Foreign currency reserves are (almost) back to the level they were before PM Shorty and his Gang of Goons started their free-for-all in 2010. Maybe not really coïncidentally, the difference is about 300 million guilders. Sounds familiar...
A Shot in the Dark
Smoc has sent a letter about Isla refinery sores [grief and pain, or doom and gloom; I guess it's Yiddish] to the United Nations. Knowing that illustrious organization, I'm afraid it's a wasted effort. Remain Positive! But in fact, with ISIS and ISIL and... let's not go on, I can't help feeling they do have more important things on their agenda. Which they don't do nothing about either.
You can read about it here.
More Dok Trouble
A court in Houston, Texas has pronounced judgment that a customer of CDM/Curaçao Dok must pay his $2.6m debt not to DOK but to the Cuban slaves who had been working for Dok. Dok was earlier sentenced to pay them $80m and refused. More court cases are going on to force payment.
This probably is one reason why minister Palm plans to have Dok's assets taken over by a new company, but I'm not the only one who's afraid it won't work.
That Should Help
There's now a taxi-app (originating from Brazil) with which you can find a taxi around where you happen to be. This is totally new for us! Some 50 taxi-drivers are hooked up already, that's about one quarter. Rather surprising, as now you can figure out what a taxi is going to cost you. It's called 99Taxis and downloadable from usual sources.
That FDA Again
Hato airport is making every effort to get upgraded from US-FAA category 2 back to 1. But they say "there's much more to do than we expected"—now they find out? Right after that downgrade, we were promised the upgrade would come after 3 months, in December 2011, which then became March 2013. Now they say "before 2015". Sure.
Local airlines may not open new routes to the USA as long as we have a crummy 2nd-rate airport. It used to be the best in the Caribbean. Nos mes por!
Could Get Interesting
Raad van ministers [ministerial council] has advised against that same Rijkssanctiewet PM Arsjes was such a proponent of. The big question now is, will the Dutch parliament be able to stuff it down our throat anyway, as they want to?
The law would force Curaçao to apply the same sanctions the €U applies.
Thodé claims he's got every right to make recordings during closed meetings, sidestepping the question if he had the right to publish it. He and Shorty now want to prosecute a PIAS member who has taken a photograph during the same meeting, showing a recorder hidden under Thodés stack of papers.
Dutch PM Rutte has announced that Cft financial supervision, contrary to earlier statements, will remain in action.
While PdVSA of Venezuela say they're interested in continuing the relation with Curaçao and Isla refinery, they are moving heaven and earth to try and sell their (slightly larger) Hovensa refinery in the Virgin Islands. Matter of fact, PdVSA are trying to sell off all their foreign assets, to raise some welcome ready cash. Small wonder they'd like to keep on squeezing us out to the last drop.
It Was MFK Thodé—What a Shock!
Thodé was the only MFK member present at that meeting of which an illegal recording was leaked, and the word is he's a suspect. He also, to make sure they'll get him I guess, sent out a press-release detailing what had been discussed. As it was a closed meeting, that's also illegal. It's gonna be quite a MFK chain gang in the calaboose, things go on like this.
Follow-up: Thode">Thodé claims he's got every right to make recordings during closed meetings, sidestepping the question if he had the right to publish it.
Ex-PM Shorty wants to sue PM Arsjes, minister Jardim and Pias leader Rosaria for their statements on the 300 million Shorty and his motley crew blew during their curtailed reign. He wants Cft financial supervision to testify in court. We'd all love to see that, but alas, the best guess is it won't happen.
Imalootin sends out another press release claiming Cft leader Bakker merely said that there were two structural problems (old age and health insurance) causing the debts. Sounds incomplete to me; Imalootin must be leaving some nasty details out.
Soab government accounting has grown more and more expensive, because there unaccountably is so much more to account for. But the government doesn't pay for all those extra spoiled brats, the space they occupy and airco, computers and telephones they use. So Soab now has a cash flow problem.
Those Wind Generators
It's now become a fight between Aureos Free Winds Energy and NuCapital, who got a negotiated contract with utility Aqualectra to expand the wind plant on Tera Cora. This may not only be actually illegal, it's much worse: it enables Aqualectra to fix the tariffs to their own taste.
A guy got ten months in the caboose for stealing some tins of... sardines. They don't say how many, only that there were also cameras hanging around in the shop. But he didn't steal those!
Carmabi is considering going to court because of that cosy inner chambers behind closed doors decision to give Oostpunt the go-ahead. I'll admit to being really curious what's going on there. Willy Maal has always been strongly against corruption.
The public ministry's recusal request against judge Kroese has been declined by the court.
Not So Secret
Staten head Franco has lodged an official complaint with the police now to find and sue the guy who smuggled that recording of a secret meeting out to a radio station. They suspect ex-PM Shorty's MFK is involved. Seems reasonable.
He Does Have a Point
Ex-finance minister Imalootin has a fling at defending himself against mismanagement allegations. One thing strikes home, though: Jardim who was secretary general of the ministry never opened his mouth to report that, as he should have done.
After All, Maybe Not
The restauration of the Curaçaohuis in den Haag, Holland, may not go through after all. Fräudlein Wiels now seems to prefer moving moving to a location closer to the city center, which comes twice as expensive per month than the place they're now in, waiting for that rebuilding. Anything you say, Mad Madelyne! Who would dare trying to stop that b-word.
Somebody Must Just Hate Them
Knipselkrant Curaçao is off-line again. They seem to be bugged by hackers who spend no effort to silence them. As far as I know, it has not been tried with this Circus... yet. But then, they are much more popular.
As far as that's concerned, Aruba's doing just fine. In sharp contrast with Curaçao, tourism went up by about 15%, including hotel stays. Maybe they spend even more than we do on attracting them?
But Do We Want It?
Venezuelan PdVSA oil state company announce that they wish to continue the existing relation with Curaçao and our Isla refinery. But do we wish the same? PdVSA, who got the contract on ridiculously advantageous conditions, have been a very bad renter and brought in a mere pittance. Apart from all that, the country's communist regime is doing so badly that it may shortly be forced to default on its debts; where are they supposed to get the money to share in the necessary upgrade? The country is notorious for cancelling contracts with oil companies and suppliers. It has also been threatening us in the past for our contacts with Holland and the USA. What a fine partner!
But I have a bad feeling about this. Mark my words, we will be sold out—again. Not only tough on Green Town, of course.
All you really need to know is that Errol Bakoba, that has-been, was part of the negotiating delegation.
All for Tourism
Caribbean countries are looking into the possibility to liberate marihuana, to attract more tourists. This while all these years we have been hearing that this was impossible because of international treaties.
Well, I for one am not complaining. I say, go all the way and liberate all drugs, so the incredible profits go down the drain and will not be causing any more crime; not to mention the source of ready cash for terrorism.
The Oostpunt development plan has been accepted by the council of ministers. However, there has been no consultation at all with political leaders. PIAS Rosaria wasn't even in the country. We anticipate intense quarrels when this will be discussed in parliament, especially since many are not so sure about how the EOP development plan, in which Oostpunt has been declared a conservation area, is just bulldozed aside in what looks more like a coffee klatch than like a well-founded decision.
A meeting of Cft financial supervision and Staten-parliament has been secretly recorded by an unknown type, and the recording has been illegally broadcasted on radio station MAS—in a program presented by Imalootin, former MFK minister of finance (under PM Shorty) and himself another suspect in the "Maximus" court case. PIAS is pissed and considers a legal complaint, while Cft does not feel like more meetings with Staten.
We were all wondering about that, but minister Jardim confirms that, no matter what, the 2015 budget is based on spending cuts in civil servants costs. As they surely will not accept this, we can confidently look forward to more trouble (translate: no balanced budget, no lower taxes).
A good thing Aruba's PM Eman stopped his hunger strike in time; he might well have died. According to Cft financial supervision, everything's wrong with that budget. Er klopt geen flikker van as the Dutch say in their coarse, vulgar way.
[there's not a queer right with it]
And by the way you know, how's Imalootin doing?
But Why Did He (Not) Say So?
Prof. Bakker of Cft financial supervision has said that he never used the word "mismanagement" on the island finances. You should hear MFK party crow! But finance minister Jardim emphasizes that yes, during that Shorty government there was mismanagement. As we all know, alas: Shorty c.s. blew almost 300 million guilders ($150m) in the two years they had the chance.
Such Reassurance... Those Guys Just Know!
Now that we've had not a single hurricane this season yet, those know-it-alls have downscaled their for once not-so-dire dire predictions. About time, too. They still predict 3 tot 6 hurricanes rest of this season, though; while only tropical storm number 5 (Edouard) is presently, mildly, raging.
The warmies haven't reacted yet to the fact that
global warmingclimate change seems to have "paused" (read: stopped) for as good as 18 years now. Except, they say, if they knew back then what they know now, they would have predicted just exactly that.
Ain't science great!
Say, Who Is That Judge?
Nobody mentions hes/hir name. But in the case against Rozier, accused of trying to bribe MFK party members, lawyer Peterson (yes, that funny stand-up comedian) suddenly and unannounced introduced a new witness, which the judge tolerated against all custom. Of course the defence had no questions ready. Rozier walked out of the courtroom in disgust.
We Are Not Alone
Raad van Advies ministerial council doesn't trust that balanced budget either. For one, they'd like to have one that's not based on the "very low interest" loans Curaçao gets from Holland, but rather a more realistic one based on practical rates.
Vomit Comet Club
The space-gang announces they have already "sold" 300 tickets and that they are definitely going ahead with flights next year (earlier, they said it would be 2016). Too bad there's no law yet to make flights possible from here. So now they say, they will start either from here—or from the Mojave desert in California.
Kick Him Out
PAR Konket wants to suspend ex-PM Shorty as long as he's a suspect in a criminal case. PIAS is working on a law that stipulates suspects and convicts will be suspended. Shorty's own MFK party thinks it's a disgrace; which it of course is.
As far as I know, when that law is voted in (eventually) we're that far ahead of the USA where Congress and Senate are full of convicts.
Less Hotel Guests
1.7% less than a year ago, to be exact, leaving them with an occupancy rate of 61.1%. Which is way below what's needed to keep a hotel running; let alone at a profit. Even CTB can't disguise this hard fact, experts though they are.
Every civil servant costs
the governmentus 100,000 guilders per year. How many were there around again? Two years from now, there'll be 3552; maybe. That's 355,200,000 million guilders a year. If those presumptions are correct.
There'll be another Curaçao Clean action, where volunteers gather to clean up freely dumped rubbish (they never come around here—nor in Fort Amsterdam). But they complain it's no use, "mopping up with the tap running" like the Dutch say. And they go on to wonder why the government doesn't control it. Good question, but I guess we all know the answer: Who Cares?
One Teeny Problem
Healthcare would like all patients to come to Sehos first aid, but over 80% prefer to go to their GP. Which, so we are told, is less cost effective (amounts are 5 million guilders a year are quoted as income for some specialists, which indeed seems a bit on the high side). So they would prefer all first aid to be moved to the new hospital. Teeny problem is, USONA cannot guarantee (translation: they have no idea) that Ballast-Nedam's design offers enough space for all those patients and specialists. Sans blague!
That new hospital is going to be our death yet.
What to Do But Wait and See?
We have been promised a balanced budget next year, after lower taxes. No doubt those two items are related. So if you're not sure about the first, then how about the other? After all, there's no way of knowing what those government-owned companies are going to achieve. Win a little, lose a lot.
And then, how about the spoiled brats?
Did I Miss Understand?
Either that, which of course is if not inconceivable, at least unacceptable, or that great entertainer Peppi changed his tune. He is now all against challenging that judge; maybe because he finally got through his thick skull that he found himself on the same side as the public ministry. Never!
Solution is, Sulvaran feels (for some reason that may look good to him) that only the citizenry can challenge a judge,
Wait and See
Governor Lucille Wout declares that 2015 will be The Year of Tax Reduction. At least, it "should be", as the present government promised last year. Please kindly excuse my
healthyingrowing skepticism. Health insurance for penshonados "should" (that word again) go down as well. There's more along those lines (crime prevention will have priority), but I won't bore you with it. Masochists can always look it up in the media—such as they are; and use Google translate—such as it is.
We'll have a Centraal Planbureau too, maybe because it worked so well in Communist Russia.
New Coins Won't Fit
What an embarrassment... The new coins that finally arrived (there has been a shortage for years) are not accepted by automatic paying machines—like parking meters. And it's almost impossible to find a parking spot without a meter downtown. So take the bus? It's hardly more expensive than parking alone, but there's only one every hour.
It's no good having Schadenfreude because Randy Neuman now has to cough up the money to rebuild all those money machines.
spoiled bratscivil servants will have a meeting tomorrow to discuss the measures proposed by minister van der Horst. Who still has taken no action, despite threats more than a month ago. Meeting is in their "working" hours, of course; paid by us.
There is an important switch going on in companies occupying the free-market section, because many cannot cope with the anti-counterfeit measures taken in 2011, supported by the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition. Their space is then taken over by others, who now have a chance to grow.
That genius minister Palm wants to turn-around CDM Curaçao Dok by incorporating it into a new company, Curaçao Maritime Center, on the same location with the same assets, only without the debts. Hey Palm Pal, this has at least once been tried before—didn't work. Guess it would be damn hard to explain to you: it's downright dishonest and there are laws against it as well.
Pueblo Soberano is looking for a new leader! They well might: Wiels was killed about two years ago, and it would be preposterous to call PM Arsjes a "Leader". Not what you'd call a "Leader". Once again, pass the popcorn; but pretzels, potato chips, whatever... would do just as well. Crunch crunch. Hey, watch your spittin'!
Entertainment in Sight! Ho on the Larboard Bow!
These are just unsubstantiated rumors, get it? But these still say, and are quoted in newspapers (always with a beady eye out to avoid being sued for slander) that the public ministry wants to challenge (AKA "right of substitution") magistrate Kroeze. This because he released the owner and later the managers of a company that was caught red-handed fencing copper stolen from Aqualectra.
Strikingly, those comics Sulvaran c.s. want to challenge the guy as well. Hmmm. Maybe there's something to it (but don't quote me).
Parliament members have their troubles with him as well, but remember the Trias Politica. Look it up, dummy.
Like the crooners are wont croon, I wonder how this will end.
Update: the public ministry has challenged Kroeze. It's the first time this ever happened since it was made possible.
We're Used to It
It's not the first time we were promised a new health inspector, but now it's three months ago minister Whiteman promised us again, within that period. And you know what? No new health inspector!
But it doesn't really matter, it was only for 6 months anyway.
Wind Is Free; So Is Hot Air
Because of its mononopoly position, utility Aqualectra is not allowed to grant concessions without a public tender. So Aqualectra has gone ahead anyway and granted one to a firm called NuCapital; no public tender.
The new generators will be built at Tera Kòrá, and we finally, interestingly, hear about their practical capacity: while at Playa Canoa it's "over 60%", at Tera Kòrá it's "35-40%". So that 35mmW extra capacity will deliver at most 14mW in practice.
Which doesn't touch on the interesting subject of whether they're worth it in the first place. We now have 12 generators of 1mW each; 6 of those should produce a maximum of 2.4mW, the other 6 max. 3.6mW, grand total 6mW. Saka bo som as they say here.
She Spoke Truth
Maybe for once; I always had my doubts about her. But ex-minister Francisca has written a handing over report in which she says that the "social situation is frightful." One of her main complaints is about the civil servants, in who everybody has lost confidence. And the government cannot solve all problems; the private sector should start moving. Hear, hear.
Toe bad the report is not about her party, PS, as promised.
Something in That
New PG [attorney general] Schram wants the public ministry to shift their attention from prosecuting criminals to preventing crime. Sounds good; but how to accomplish this? Maybe, hopefully, Schram has his ideas. About time somebody came up with something that actually works.
Went to Hato where somebody had to catch a flight. First, as there was a delay which the Hato website didn't seem to be aware of, she tried to call. The guy who picked up said, "yeah, but this is my home phone number. Hato never changed it on their site."
Then, standing there by the curb, I noticed that the cat's eyes supposed to warn you for the bumps were directed along the zebra, not towards the approaching traffic. Handy for those pedestrians who wear miner's lamps, conceded.
Government is still at it: the 80-20 law (Wiels's baby) should be introduced. Too bad the constitution states that "everybody should have an equal chance to work"—that's fine with them, they just choose to translate it as "these individuals may participate in the local labor market to the extent the corresponding allowable ratio (maximum of 20 percent) is not exceeded."
This law will never make it and a good thing too. Sheer racism. If it does, the first judge will throw it out.
Prof. Bakker of Cft [financial supervision] tells private business to use the 10% push of the weconomy and start investing. Choice quotes: "The government cannot kick-start an economy and create jobs, jobs are created by the private sector." "Governments and politicians seem to think they can lead the economy." Øbama, anyone?
Now for the private sector to start moving...
But Bakker didn't stop there. He recommended less red tape (lots of luck there) and said that at least two government-owned companies should be privatised. At least, he got that right. And also that government ought to be streamlined further. What could he mean with "further"?
Aruba? Don't Mention It!
Like I said before, they're supposedly doing so great over there. But now, complaints have been lodged against ten ministers of the first Eman cabinets; including Eman hehe. They made 50 million florins disappear, and it's everybody's guess where they went; but hey, no fair guessing!
But listen, the complaints come from arch-enemy MEP party who seem to've gotten away with a lot themselves. Please pass the popcorn!
Eman is suing right back, promising an even better show.
Taking the Easy Way Out
The Raad van Ministers [ministerial council] did not get the fiat of SBTNO (whatever that's supposed to mean—the devil take all those acronyms) for the new director they proposed at Buskabaai nv. Well, that's easily fixed: they made him the interim director, without giving his name—would be telling... That's transparent democracy, folks!
Buskabaai manages, if only after a fashion, the infamous Asphalt Lake. Check here as well.
The Board of Buskabaai nv doesn't agree with this slippery scheming and is protesting; they had an entirely other candidate. That's democracy, folks! Or am I repeating myself? Well, I'm not the only one.
Isla refinery has once again exceeded WHO standards last month; not once but several times. Especially SO2 was the problem. This is getting monotonous, I know. Not my fault!
That law PM Arsjes proposed in Parliament and which was voted out with a large majority, will be implemented by the Kingdom of Holland anyway, pursuant article 3 of the Statuut. A law is on its way to parliament in Holland.
It's about Curaçao applying the same sanctions as Holland against fraudsters, money launderers and more types of crooks.
They Did Something
Minister Balborda has taken action, for once, against illegal building near Boca Sint Michiel. Loaders under police supervision have ripped out the foundation, which as it turns out was much too flimsy. Balborda will further lodge a complaint with the public ministry. That we all would live to see this happen.
Like they call at pop-concerts: "More! More!"
Balborda maybe hasn't been paid properly? Just an idea.
No More Food
We should have seen it coming. With the many shortages in Venezuela, thanks to the Bolivar Socialist Revolution started by Chávez and triumphantly perfected by Maduro, they have stopped exporting tomatoes, potatoes, butter, sugar,rice and cereals. The only reason we were still getting those until now is that it was a hard-needed inflow of U$D cash (in the form of ANG guilders, which is virtually the same thing, still—thanks to that hated Central Bank).
Curaçao island has three lighthouses to maintain. The one at Westpunt has collapsed;; the one at Oostpunt (East point) is so heavily corroded that it's on the point of collapsing as well, and naturally, doesn't work any longer either. A good thing all ships have GPS navigation these days.
The one on Klein Curaçao (islet to the east) still works. I don't know who's the responsible minister; guess it's Balborda (like for that miradó).
Aruba Is Doing So Well!
You keep hearing this, and I never understood why. Now it turns out, of every florin the government receives, 71 cents are paid in civil servants' salaries. Even here we never got at that dizzying (and bankrupting) level.
Total national debt is 3.5 billion florins - say USD 2 billion. Aruba has about 100,000 inhabitants, give or take. So they all have to cough up somehow, man, woman and babe-in-arms, 3500 florins to pay it off.
Now We Understand
Health minister Whiteman says he's glad Advent hospital is not on the edge of bankruptcy after all; and it is up to Advent to decide whether to join the new hospital (if and when). So far so good; but then he says he does not agree with Advent's statement that competition is good because it tends to hold prices down. "Not in healthcare," he says, there it's "a supply-driven matter:" If you get more doctors, you get more patients. Oh. So doctors make patients ill?
To be quite fair, even towards a minister, this is not what you'd call a market economy; it's the insurance companies, private and social, that run the show. The more they spend, the more they have to spend for themselves.
Waiting for the Crash
There's a mirador [lookout] near Santa Marta somewhere, that's deemed unsafe (since 2010) and should be repaired. Months of warnings to PM Arsjes, directly and via the ombudsperson, have lead nowhere. Tourists are not aware of the danger and it seems just a matter of time until the thing comes crashing down. But no doubt Arsjes (or would that be Balborda?) has more important besognes.
The dangerous rock was finally removed on September 5, thanks to a private citizen's protests.
No More Red Tape
We've been promised that again and again; but Hato airport has been waiting for more than three months for minister Palm, to get a building permit to start working on a new General Aviation Center (GAC). So now, with the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival (don't ask, already) there's no capacity to receive all those money-oozing jet-set suckers.
Building miraculously started 1 day later...
No More Kustwacht
No more coast guard for now. The crews are being threatened, and in spite of several requests are not allowed to take their guns home for their protection. So they've gone on strike.
But don't start those drug trips right away, because from Hato airport helicopters and aircraft will keep patrolling. The Kustwacht will remain available for rescue actions.
The very same afternoon, the strike has ended when a "workgroup" was announced that will have a look at the problems. Gee, I wonder how much they pay that workgroup.
Uh... this is the Dutch coast guard. There go the Marines!
Finance minister Jardim says it, so it must be true. For this year a shrink of 0.6% was expected, which now has turned into a 0.3% growth. Because the building of the new hospital has started. Any more questions?
Now we mention that hospital, Advent says they're far from bankrupt and nothing has been definitely arranged on collaboration.
Unesco says that the Curaçao media development is below par. Sure, is what you can often read here. Journalists are badly trained and badly paid. They're under pressure which makes them liable to self-censure.
Good thingToo bad nobody pays me. They also never tried to train me. You may have noticed.
Won't Help Much
If Taams clinic won't have paid "a substantial part" of their outstanding bills, which they say they can't, Aqualectra will turn off water and electricity. But personnel has received their salaries, don't ask me where from.
But Jan Taams (looks like he knows more) writes in Amigoe that it's all the government's fault because they refused to raise tariffs for treatment.
The judge thought justice minister Navarro did overstep the mark when he announced that, if anything happened to him, ex-PM Shorty was responsible. Navarro will duly rectify. The rest of Shorty's complaints were thrown out.
It's not only private sewage suckers who pollute The Sea Around Us. According to health minister Whiteman (the guy is sure kept busy these days) the government is just as guilty, by discharging the Brievengat barrio raw sewage straight into the sea. Whiteman thinks it's "still" safe to eat fish caught around here, but I'm not so sure. Would depend on exactly where it's been caught, don't you agree?
Not to mention the still inoperative Klein Hofje sewage plant and the "Shute".
Whiteman also states the Malpaís landfill is good for another 10 to 15 years. Well, that's the only location left since Koraal Specht was closed. You'd think we better start planning for what-happens-next. But that's at least three cabinets away, so why worry?
They finally, six weeks after that gang shoot-out, got around to check the security cameras of Hato airport. Several have disappeared but it doesn't really matter, because nobody watches them anyway. That's official; I Kid You Not.
So Do It, Already
PIAS member Marilyn Moses wants the Endlösung to the mosquito problem; actually, she uses the term "a structural solution". So she goes on about diesel pumping stations and sucking cesspools tanks dry (ugh...). She should follow the Circus. And I remember some know-it-all about the same time wrote a letter about it to Amigoe newspaper as well. Here's the latest.
Sorry, I'm the last guy to mean disrespect—but that hated German word was in use long before Hitler was even a dull twinkle in his father's eye.
And I would hate to see no more jejes [dragonflies]—but I still maintain to much prefer that over getting yellow fever, dengue or chikungunya.
Now, Let's All Get Somewhere
The judge has given murderer "Monster" of PS Wiels a life sentence, and his cronies lighter ones. Can we now please get on with what's really important: who contracted and paid those guys? Because they are the real crooks.
Back from Taams to BZV
Remember those guys? They have ordered 300,000 surgical masks (>2 for every inhabitant), which I found on eBay for $1/ea. BZV may have gotten a discount, but that won't help much as they were never delivered. Health minister Whiteman expects more irregularities may be found. Another PM Shorty/Quackie Constancia legacy.
If government should help Taams out, it means SVB insurance rates have to go up, Whiteman adds. An integration with new hospital HNO will not happen before it is finished, which will be three years from now (the first time I heard this; was supposed to be 2016). As Taams can't wait that long, they'll probably go bankrupt. Funny how all of us nitwit know-nothing lay
menpersons thought so from the start.
No irregularities have been found in the Taams clinic accounting, is made known; but minister Whiteman considers there has been a "well-meant mismanagement". The clinic will become part of Sehos Hospital, three years from now HNO.
There is some progress: last week, a junk yard was raided, where a lot of that Aqualectra copper was found back; just now, a "big" workshop where many cars were waiting to be processed into parts. No news yet on those bronze statues.
Sorry, Green Towners
The more I see of your plans and concepts, the more I am reminded of 1950s science fiction movie sets; with Monopoly® style houses. I honestly can't imagine that's the future.
Almost anything would be better than that stinking Isla, I have to agree.
Are You Serious?
That rich source of information, Black Hole Zoo, gives as its considered opinion that the weather stations are in cahoots with CTB and never publish expected temperatures to go over 30°C (86F) because tourists don't want temperatures "like we recently had" of well over 40/104. Matter of fact, they never go up that high, and those forecasts I've seen do say "feels like" 44°C/111F.
That Taams Affair
The Taams clinic has been running for umpteen years. Then, five years after Esseboom took over, it went bankrupt with a 18 million guilders debt. Even if the clinic had some debts at take-over time, Esseboom would have been a fool not to have taken measures. Where did the money go? Rumors are, to his cronies. Don't trust those malicious libels! Next you'll believe Esseboom helped himself to the money, which obviously can only be pure slander.
At least minister of health Whiteman won't budge and bluntly refuses to pay up, even salaries: Taams is a private clinic and it's their problem. Not that
he haswe have money to pay.
An Old Trick
The new housing project at Wechi needs infrastructure; naturally. Public Works estimated it would cost 6 million guilders, but a contractor combination got the job for a mere 3.2m. This has happened before: after the money's gone the contractor goes bankrupt and we're stuck with the bill to finish the job as yet.
The alternative, that Public Works doesn't know what they're talking about, is not very attractive either. But alas, also plausible.
A toko received 1100 guilders from customers on the day when the tax people were controlling; this in sharp contrast with the day before when sales were less than half. There are ways to dodge taxes, even with electronic cash registers. Don't we all know it. They estimate this costs the country 11 million/year. The good part is, the government can't spend that; We the People keep it.
One of the things they want to do is fine customers who don't ask for an invoice. That's rather putting the horse behind the cart.
IMF has told finance minister Jardim that the government-owned companies have too much influence on the local market. I second the motion: for example, we pay much too much for essential utilities. As a result, the Curaçao economy is still shrinking while countries around us are growing with 2 or 3% per year.
Hey! That Conservancy Area? Let's Put a Road through It!
Thus reasons minister Balborda. It's all for the tourists, so goodbye flamingos! This while the flamingos are a tourist attraction; don't ask me. I fully agree that I wouldn't know any solution to relieve the traffic on Caracasbaaiweg, but then, I don't presume to be a minister.
Yet another instance where the EOP development plan is just passed by. Only marks on paper,
We're Scairt to Death!
PM Arsjes threatens he'll step down if (are you ready) staten parliament accepts a vote of non-confidence. Hey, he's supposed to do that; it's the law! I for one can't wait.
Loose talk is, his PS party wants to get rid of him. Don't we all.
That guy Meki Rojer where all the brouhaha is about, is totally unfit for his duty, says the staatssecretaris [secretary of state, Google claims that means; which I doubt). You know who that is? None other than Stella van Rijn, ex-PM Shorty's Moll. So she's still around drawing her fat salary.
The former people associated with Taams Clinic say it's all the new management selling off its assets for cash; the new management says they've been sold a bankrupt mess. The clinic has not closed down—as yet; but salaries have not been paid last week.
The clinic's finances are being investigated; rumors that fraud has been discovered are already circulating. After a meeting this morning, doctor Liqui Lung kicked everybody off the site: union people, staff members and press. Am I glad I'm not a patient.
The personnel has now gone on strike.
Corps Is a Corpse
Justice minister Navarro says that there are so many rotten apples in the decrepit basket called Curaçao Police Corps, more and more turn up who have to be thrown out. By now, we wonder how many will be left. Maybe better we start anew from scratch.
Rumors are cops have even committed crimes like robberies.
We Were Waiting for This
The past week, three stories hit the newspapers of home-owners and neighbors catching burglars in the act and punishing them, in at least one case beating him so hard he had to be taken to the hospital. Cases of gesundes Volksempfinden—more anarchy yet.
Another case is that of family hiring a diver after a killing, to look for a car that was finally found underwater at the rough North coast (very popular for suicides, like Tojinbo, Japan). Reason was, the police as almost always did not take any action on their requests.
Climbing Down to Prevent a Fall
Government Lawyer has advised ministerial council and PM Arsjes to rescind "Meki's" dismissal. It will be decided upon next Tuesday. PS Cijntje says there's no quarrel in the party, just dissidence. Oh.
Why Yes, We Knew It All the Time
Algemene Rekenkamer Curaçao ARC [checking government finances] gives as its considered opinion that government accounting is a mess; in this case financial policy. Sparing you the ugly details—oh well, here's one: "Regularity errors in the financial statements amount to 305 million guilders. The fidelity errors come out at 99 million guilders.". Between you and me, what are they saying? My best guess is, there's over 400m not present and unaccounted for. What the army calls AWOL.
But finance minister Jardim claims ARC's info is outdated and that much has been improved; but ARC's come-back is that it's a pity the minister doesn't say which info is outdated and what exactly has been improved.
To be fair, this is mainly about 2012, the last year Shorty and his Motley Crew were stealing us blind. In 2013, government surplus was 83m guilders, against 154m and 36m deficits in 2011 and 2012, when Shorty was Sultan.
The More The Merrier
Quarrels in the government, is meant. Now PM Arsjes's PS party is mad at him, again, because the Obese Dictator fired a civil servant without any obvious reason. What they resent most, he didn't take the trouble to discuss this with his fellow party members, just barged ahead and did it.
About a week ago they were angry because he tried to force through a law giving the €U more power, that nobody else wanted.
Maybe So, But Will It Last?
"International oil prices are at a historical high average" writes Black Hole, the source so detested by Billy Jonckheer. They say negotiations with China on Isla refinery take-over fell through, but now Colombia is interested. Their source is "a page on Facebook"... hmmm.
A drawbridge for pedestrians in Willemstad has started sagging and may be in danger of collapsing. As far as I remember, that thing can't be more than about ten years old. I'm too lazy to check who was deputy for Public Works back then, but it was either Maria Liberia Pieters or Charles "Mudbelly" Cooper; same difference.
After 27 Years, They Finally Noticed?
Civil servant Menki Rojer has been fired after 27 years because of his "poor performance in the workplace"; but Menki says it's because he dared criticize PM Arsjes, who like his former boss Wiels has always been fulminating against Central Bank director Tromp—until his wife suddenly got a job there.
Whiteman Makes Them Wonder
Advent Hospital resents minister Whiteman's publicly saying they're bankrupt, and has taken out newspaper ads asking him what moved him to think so. Whiteman hasn't replied to their letter about this.
Taams Clinic does not accept any more new patients.
That's sheer genius! Minister Balborda wants to set up a private company to check building permits and all that. Controlling civil servants are hassled and threatened, which has grown worse the past years. Sure. They are also bribed. Surer.
So a private company would take this task over. Hey, dear minister, do you really think privateers cannot be hassled, threatened and bribed? We all know better. But then, we're smart enough not to mess with politics.
The minister also thinks the company would pay for itself out of the fees charged for permits and such. But we already pay civil servants' salaries out of that. Is Balborda going to fire those? Don't make me drool. Anyway, the answer can only be "No".
Where Did The Money Go?
The money-flow of Taams Clinic is being investigated. Seems to be something suspicious about it. Makes one wonder about those subsidies. But Advent Kliniek seems to be on the edge of going bankrupt as well; while ADC (former Landslaboratorium) is also looked at with a yellowish eye.
Wilsoen Tries Being Bright
Doesn't work, of course—you need equipment. PS Wilsoen, ex-sinister of injustice and also ignorance, wants to make CID the heart of the police corps. Spare us! Not that there isn't an awful lot wrong with the police, but between mainly Wilsoen and ex-PM Shorty CID was ruined.
No Permit? Go Ahead, Boys!
It's endemic. First the new hospital, then Hato airport and Jan Thiel... now Fundashon Kas Popular [government housing] is starting to build at Wechi, but they don't even have permits yet. So who cares? Amigu di Tera does.
Small wonder many people don't bother to apply for a permit.
Wechi was "cleaned up" [denuded] a few years ago by order of FOoL Godet, who is rumored to have made a lot of kickback money on the deal. Just libel and slander, sure. Don't believe it!
Correction: As always, I fearlessly admit I was wrong. Amigu di Tera complains there's no beleid [policy]; not a word on permits.
There Must Be Problems
Otherwise, why would PS-member Wilsoen feel it necessary to insist there are none within the party?
Explains Why He's So Popular
Central Bank Director Tromp holds a discourse where he says that reforms are needed in education, the investment climate and the labor market. It's a fair guess he doesn't mean the infamous 80-20 law.
He also states that our economy problems are caused by the government trying to balance their household budget. Our Leaders will just love that.
What's the Problem?
Year after year we get hot-of-the-press reports about pupils getting their school books just in time or much too late. I never heard of such a thing anywhere else. It's actually embarrassing to live in a country like that, with nitwits just fooling around.
Thought I'd Mention It
In Chicago, where murders and assaults are hardly news anymore these sad days, the Police Chief has advised residents to get their own guns so they can defend themselves. Here, you need to have a business to get a permit; while private citizens are asked to give 'em up.
What the Hell, Build It Already...
Illegal building activities near Jan Thiel will get their permit, after all, even though these are taking place on EOP conservation areas. Pecunia non olet for sure; this stinks of money changing hands. Connected governmental computer records are reputed to have disappeared.
This allegedly criminal organization has even been able to buy two "green" awards for themselves; a Green Key Award (no comment forthcoming) and a "Green Globe" certificate by Golden Travel Life (sorry, couldn't find those guys). No doubt you can just buy those—for a price, the idealistic green world is rife with corruption and crazy about dinero.
Taams Clinic predicts that it's a matter of weeks, but rather days, until they are forced to close. Reason is country subsidies are not coming through. They say.
They Won't Like This
Rijksministerraad [kingdom ministerial council] feels statutory change of Central Bank CSBS is called for. Here's the shocker: upshot is, boiled down, that the bank should get more independent from the government
Not a Circus But a Zoo
Mr. Billy Jonckheer, who not so long ago was one of those yelling that, thanks the lord, no tourists were hit at the Hato airport gang shoot-out—"only" local yokels, now takes exception to a site Black Hole Zoo, where "unsubstantiated negative articles" on Curaçao are published.
You can judge for yourself; I don't think it's as bad as Jonckheer says. Not by a long way. Maybe that's just why he tried to get the article retracted, but the site wouldn't budge. Jonckheer asks everybody not to distribute their articles further, and I thank him for the tip.
The government is finally moving its fat posterior and has started to map the illegal building activities. At least it's a start. Next step may help more: illegal builders will not get water and electricity hook-ups. Amazing that this took so long.
Payments of leasehold and taxes are behind to the tune of 80 million guilders (USD44m), which excludes the illegal terrain occupiers.
If you get a bronze statue these days, better take care that it's not real bronze, but some sort of plastic; like the Tula-monument on Rif. Otherwise, it will get stolen and melted down, like all those copper wires.
That Will Help
Staten parliament has accepted a motion that the government (I guess, they mean the cabinet) will do something about crime. They unanimously are against crime. That's good to know; think about it while you're being robbed and turn it into a Positive experience.
According to the public ministry, as from today there are only 175-102=73 guns left on the island. If you believe that, I have two bridges for sale, and also beach property on top of Christoffel mountain.
At least minister Navarro confesses "it's only an estimate. I really have no idea." A weirdly precisely expressed estimate.
All's Swell That Ends Swell
Much against my expectations, as good as bankrupt Ctex has been taken over by Unique Infrastructure Group which again is connected with Apple. The Lemon has been turned into a sweet fruit after all. But I'm biding my time. Pessimist? yeah, sure, I've learned my lesson.
The initiators of action "Curaçao Cleanup" say that there's much more litter than last year, BUT there's a "visible improvement". Oh.
Maybe they dump shushi where you don't see it these days? Hard to accept. But, stay positive!
No Way In
Ex-minister Imalootin has been refused admittance to the USA after flying to Miami. They claim this has nothing to do with any request by the Curaçao authorities, and the USA isn't talking.
The number of atrakos [assaults] on shops and business addresses has been reduced since action Ta basta awor started. But those guys do have to work, so they moved their activities to private homes. Count your blessings.
Public ministry estimates there are 119 guns around per 100K inhabitants; that's a total of 175 guns. And they tell us almost half of those have been given up? Don't make me laugh, it hurts.
The drones are back as from next month, that'll be a big help.
Curaçao may have decided to send bolita mulas on to Holland to have 'em arrested there; they just plumb forgot to tell the Dutch about it. That, at least, is what Holland says.
Nobody thought to ask The Question: so are those mulas free to distribute their wares in Holland?
Update: GGD director Keli says the entire story, originating from Holland, is a hoax. Maybe, but the new cells are being built anyway.
Arsjes Falls Flat
PM Arsjes had been heavily promoting a "sanction law" he submitted himself. I don't care much what it entails, it has to do with the €U with which we are more or less connected, via Holland. The point is, even his own PS party was against it, with MFK and MAN; it was so bad that PAR Jesus-Leito said that Arsjes should resign as PM; the one thing the obese dictator will never do.
Prophetic? Hardly! Arsjes will not resign. Next, we may have a re-run of the opéra bouffe starring Shorty; remember? that's when Arsjes tried to fire Staten parliament of which he was president. He didn't give up without a fight.
Now that our parliament has voted against, the next step is that Holland will enforce the same law anyway, dûh.
It's nothing less than a tradition that whoever wants a house can just occupy a site that's to his liking (as long as it's government property) and start building there. The government won't stop them; and neither will it help them to legal plots before they are old and grey. If you are sucker enough to pay (a lot) for a permit on a plot you own, they can come and hassle you during building activities; if you don't take the trouble, they can't do a thing.
The logical consequences of this are all over. You can find cancer-like illegal growths anywhere on the island, causing enormous problems because utilities have to be added later ad hoc, for a price. It's now so bad, organized crime builds entire roads complete with street lights in conservation areas. If someone is caught, there's a 5000 guilder fine, doubled for repeaters in less than a year. Not even peanuts for those guys. And of course, they don't pay property tax.
Naturally, it doesn't help that there's a lot of corruption.
Say, Who Pays?
It often happens that the bolitas filled with cocaine rupture in the body of the mulas who's swallowed them. They then have to go to hospital and be operated on. Would just like to know, who's paying for those operations? Social security SVB? Get right down to it, we?
These days the mulas are sent on to Europa, bolitas and all. That's good to know; let them over there worry, they use the stuff.
The reason the mulas are sent on is, police HQ is so filthy that nobody's allowed to use the toilets, so they can't be held there until the stuff is, let's say excreted.
The bolita-swallowers will get a new cell-complex before September 1 with, specially delivered by Holland, a "swallowers' toilet". To rake out the bolitas, get it?
That Might Help
Daal of the ministry of Justice says criminality in some barrios is so heavy, we should raze them to the ground and force the inhabitants to go live somewhere else. Which of course won't happen. He also says the bad economy is not a factor; those guys are just to lazy to work. Which confirms the old idea: crime worsens the economy, not the other way round.
Daal wants to introduce wijkregisseurs, quarter directors, an idea from Holland as part of the solution. Those guys will be really popular!
He also proposes to have the military search for weapons in every house. As I predicted, Razzias!
He mentions Stenen Koraal, Muizenberg and Koraal Specht. Better stay away from there.
It's True, Because We Say So
The three parliament members who claimed that Rozier had tried to bribe them, of which the judge asked them to offer proof, now offer their own testimony as such. Their lawyer (Chesterton) says there are more witnesses (later). They also want ex-governor Goedgedrag to testify.
The media, where I get my info from (no back-wings info from me, hey! note my integrity) are only writing about the Wiels murder case, which I find utterly boring. So some politician has probably paid some hoods; does it really matter who they are? I don't care. We all know from where the stinking winds blow.
Maybe as this week goes by, we'll get back to interesting things. Interesting for us hillbillies down here on this rock, that means. Meanwhile, Bore Along with Me.
Still Open, Better Hurry!
Hato airport is "considering" to close the road to Shut [chute] where all sorts of polluting rubbish is, quite illegally, dumped into the sea. But as long as there's no control, it just goes on. Officially, only "grey water" may be dumped there. In practice, it's more like dark brown to black, via purple and quite possibly even nastier hues.
Sorry, can't let this go: "Suspects murder Wiels persist in their innocence"
My, those suspects are really incorrigible; won't even commit the murders they're in court for.
Huh? Believe It or Not!
Ombudsman (it's a person for now) had a 2013 budget of 1.7 million and spent only 1.2.
Wonders Won't Cease
Ex-PM Shorty is going ahead with a court action against justice minister Navarro for insults, libel and slander. Good luck with that, Shorty. That court sure is kept busy these days; all Shorty's gang members seem to feel having been insulted by Navarro.
Say, That Carvajal...
Rumors—strong rumors, albeit quoted by a "usually well-informed source" (George Lichtveld in a letter to Amigoe newspaper editors), are that afore-mentioned Carvajal was planning to give himself up to the USA DEA [drug enforcement agency]. Small wonder narco-president (so sue me) Maduro panicked. The in no way moot point is, what moved Holland to set that bastard (so sue me, already) free?
The Easy Way Out
... and see what goes wrong later. Hey, only about two years more to go, after all (contrary to earlier assurances). Government has decided to lower the SVB social security reserves from 50% to 18%, which looks like just a way to artificially lower the budget 2015 government costs. If this goes through, we may confidently look forward to paying higher premiums. Oh Joy!
Loose, Not Lost
Imalootin has been freed, for now. Like his half-bro Robbie he's still a suspect, though, in the Wiels murder case.
Import duties have shrunk with 6% between 2011 and now, while the economy has shrunk with 0.5%. This is, says minister Jardim, because importers have their containers scanned; which is not done by top personnel, as they refuse the job because the scanners are deemed unsafe. Another budget setback.
Minister Jardim went to Washington last week and talked to IMF and Standard & Poor. We are told IMF thinks things are looking up, but the red tape is still a disaster, just like the inflexible labor market. This while they've been working so hard on eliminating red tape; but only entrepreneurs club VBC agrees on that labor market.
S&P seems to consider our link with Holland our strongest point, but is still considering a degrading. Nos mes por!
Ctex: Conceit Collapsed
Once again, golden promises denied. Our Island was supposed to run far ahead with a data collection center. Well, not so. Ctex personnel haven't had their salaries for two months now; USD 40 million has been invested of which 15 million is lost definitely; they owe 4 million guilders in taxes. Will we never learn?
Ctex had to do with UTS telecommunications, Korpodeko development bank and Girobank Curaçao; all government-owned or related. But we get no official comment but that "the government does not interfere with Ctex." The bank-consortium complains that UTS doesn't lift a finger to help them out of their Cetex predicament.
Ctex claims they'll have found a new buyer "next week".
The Age of Sailing Mail
We are forced to send all snail-mail by air, but C***-Post (International, almost forgot) two days ago delivered a letter here from New York State that had been sent November 1, 2013.
Minister of Health Whiteman states that "Isla is an example for other companies". He means, by paying for the improvement of Kenepa beach. Now, really, Whiteman. And by the way, where does Isla find that money, we'd all like to know?
Wiels Murder in Court
Today is the big day; in fact, toweek is the big week. No doubt productivity in Curaçao is at an all-time low these days (which is sayin' sump'n) as the proceedings will be transmitted live on radio. If anything interesting pops up, I'll let you know (but I'm not listening; I've got maybe not better but certainly more urgent things to do).
One thing I want to say after the first day, if I had a lawyer like defendant Monster (a well-chosen name, physically as well as spiritually) has, I'd rather save my money to buy cigarettes in jail with, later. Sure looks like it's gonna be a long stretch for him.
Monster complains the trial is "unfair"; tough.
Nomen est omen: "Monster"
During ex-PM Shorty's reign, 50M dollars have "disappeared" from Isla refinery. 100M was supposed to have been spent on maintenance, but only 50m of those can be traced back in the accounts. But mind, it's only Arsjes who claims this.
According to newspaper Ultimo Noticia, a real rag, detectives are walking around with photos of the following persons, looking for them in connection with the Wiels murder. Kind of hard to believe, if only as most can just be looked up in the phone book. Anyway, here's the list for what it's worth:—
Carlos Monk - Chester Peterson - Cochico Prins - Amparo dos Santos - David Dick - Elmer Kade Wilsoe - Dear Rozier - Fernando da Costa Gomez - Eric Garcia - Emsley Tromp - Gerrit Schotte - Anthony Eustatius - Ivar Asjes - Jorge Jamaloodin - Rudy Pizzolo - Husang Asari - Gregory W. Elias - Gregory Damoen - Roland Perret Gentil - Robby dos Santos.
Some photos are of such bad quality, I won't bother reproducing any of them. They were published in the July 30 issue.
We're Getting There
Surely, and not even slowly, we're climbing up to the top! We had 18 murder cases this year already, which is very promising; the whole of last year we had merely 21.
Of those, 17.9% have been solved, we're told—so 3.759 murders have been solved? Can't be right!
During the Telecuraçao news report a press release was read out, supposedly coming from the government. However, it really came from MAN's Mudbelly Cooper. Telecuraçao director Maduro had to take his leave (he'd not been there long enough to finish his one month trial).
Now General Manager Oehlers is mad because the government had the temerity to intervene. Hey man, it's their company, not yours! And certainly not MAN's, though admittedly it often seems to. Used to be FOoL, but they really have disappeared from the scene. Not that I regret that.
But it's a very good thing other, non-government run, TV stations have been making an appearance in the last years.
Here's Another Mess
The accounting at UTS telephone utility is "opaque" which suggests irregularities. You don't say! After all, it's another one of those owned by the government.
In and Out
Robbie dos Santos is roaming the streets again, but Imalootin is still in the slammer. Wonder how long Robbie will stay out, though.
Hmmm. No Comment Needed.
KKN Chamber of Commerce just sent around their PDFs on the last quarter of 2013. Not so good, judge for yourself. Especially tourism, supposed to be our future; ouch, that really hurts.
Utilities went up, small wonder with all those price hikes.
2008-2009 PAR/PNP/FOL; 2010-2012 MFK/PS/MAN; 2013-2014 PS/PIAS/PNP
Yesterday I overtook the so-called Paranda bus. That thing is for hire to throw parties in; a few years ago a youngster died during a ride of acute alcohol poisoning. I wouldn't kid you about a thing like that. That bus yesterday was full of kids, maybe 10-12 years old, dancing in the aisle.
And we are fined if we don't wear our safety belts.
Then, there was at least one cruise ship in town. So we all had to creep over the bridge spanning the harbor, behind a sightseeing bus, to give those dummies a chance to photograph downtown Willemstad. One long traffic jam "moving" at a leisure walking pace. And in 2020 we're promised twice as many around.
Weathering the Heavy Weather
The super El Niño that was forecast for this year, bringing "chaos", promising to make 2015 "the hottest year on record by far", thus far has been conspicuous by its absence.
The hurricane season until today has been even tamer than predicted. Of course, that may change. It may; then again... Methinks the sooth- and doom-sayers have to switch to another brand of tea. (Green tea, anyone?)
Yes, That Could Be Put Differently
Knipselkrant Curaçao also received a letter calling for rectification. They'd written that there are ties between the Curaçao government and the drugs mafia, which they are, politely, asked to rectify. Matter of fact, the government is quite right—for once (couldn't possibly let that go, hey!) No ties between the government as such and the drugs mafia; "just" between individuals in the government and the drugs mafia.
Shorty's Lawyers Try Again
One more fling! Those guys certainly are pigheaded. They publish a letter, signed by Lasten, to minister Navarro, and once again try to influence the course of justice. Something Navarro has in fact nothing to do with. Long live the trias politica! But to quote Wodehouse, "I don't think the man knows the ABC of law"; Lasten certainly acts that way.
Not many, if any, facts in that letter you could get your teeth into, only to be expected.
Peterson Crosses the Line
The public ministry has lodged a complaint with the Supervisory Board and the Dean of the Bar Association against lawyer Peterson (the stand-up comedian) for writing an article "Tunnel Vision" in which he tried to influence the course of justice. He publicly discussed aspects of the Wiels murder case which he is obliged not to and reviewed witnesses and their credibility. If need be, the public ministry will lodge a complaint with the court as well.
Say, that Dean is being kept pretty busy by Peterson.
Good Question, Mudbelly
MAN Mudbelly Cooper asks how much we have to pay JetBlue for their twice-weekly flights NY-CUR. He has heard it's between 3 and 5 million dollars a year (that's ANG5.4-9 million), but wonders out loud why minister Palm chooses not to tell us.
Yearly accounts on 2011, 2012 and often 2013 of government owned companies are still not available. Mentioned are Aqualectra utilities, Curoil and Isla Refinery. This is a real problem (you don't say) as they are necessary for the budget 2015 planning.
It's over. Sedreko is stopping as subsidies don't come through, says director Cijntje; Arsjes is angry because they should have gone on to get their subsidies. You know what? Let them figure it out between themselves.
The price of electricity in the USA climbed to the highest level ever in history! They now pay 14.3 cents/kW.
We pay 36 (about ANG0.65/kW), over 2.5 times as much.
Must Have Watching Too Much TV
Because I thought witnesses always were under oath. But MFK Thodé now asks, nay demands, that all witnesses in the Wiels murder case will be under oath. If they refuse, they have to be gegijzeld [held hostage]. Hey, I just picked it up from a newspaper, have no idea what he really means; often hard to say in the first place.
This includes Fräudlein Wiels, almost as notorious a liar as Thodé's boss Shorty, because she has been told the killer's name by an unnamed person. (That would be "hearsay" and not allowable as proof in the first place.)
But here it gets really funny: Thodé wants two witnesses called to the stand who were told the name of the murderer in a spiritualist séance. It's hard to believe, but he's serious. It confirms, if only after a fashion, Shorty's "black magic" remarks.
A pity that there's not a chance the public ministry or the judge will go for that. It would turn the proceedings into an outrageously funny spectacle, which would make the TV-screens all over the world. Exactly what those megalomaniacs yearn for, after all.
More Empty Threats
But the hare-hearted and hare-brained politicians, here and in Holland, fell for it. As a manager of Isla refinery tells it, a PdVSA delegation came by to threaten they'd close the refinery if drug king Carvajal wasn't returned to Venezuela. PdVSA, more and more day by day, is in dire need of every penny earned by that crummy rust-heap.
But the real reason for giving in may well be that Shell Oil (= Holland) is scared of loosing the lucrative Orinoco oil prospects.
I know prince Charlie and princess Irene talk to trees and even claim they talk back. But this guy was actually elected and made it to PM—to our great and everlasting embarrassment. Now he wants a psychic in court to enable murdered Wiels to make a statement.
He also claims the public ministry used "black magic" to arrest Imalootin and dos Santos. Too bad he doesn't explain, I would love to know that trick.
At least we can be pretty sure the judge won't allow this charade.
Shorty deplores the negative developments for his MFK party. He got that one straight.
Minister Balborda promises the development of Oostpunt will not be hindered by bureaucracy. It's hard to believe, but let's accept that and just piously wish this went for all of us, even while wondering why not. But it does go for all of us, claims Balborda; of the 59 permit requests there are only 5 left waiting.
Too bad he doesn't tell us how long they've been waiting.
Like Falling Domino-Stones
Robbie dos Santos (he of the lotteries) and Imalootin's half-bro has just been arrested as a suspect in the Wiels murder case. Who's next?
Public ministry announces that today more house searches will follow.
About That Drug King
The story is that Aruba and Dutch governments panicked when "at least four" Venezuelan men-of-war were approaching the Aruba beaches and decided to free Carvajal. So they gave in to ornery blackmail. Venezuela president Maduro announced, after it was over, that he "had a plan ready that would escalate the tension in Latin America". In that case, where were the US and Dutch marines to protect our, as well as Aruba's, sovereignty?
But Holland denies this: the Venezuelan ships were on their way home from a naval review, it's some coïncidence. Some coïncidence! But the USA State Department says Aruba was threatened militarily. Go figure for yourself, I can't help you there.
Another Hunger Strike
After Aruba PM Eman, this time it's Imalootin. He protests against the "inhuman conditions" under which he sighs in prison. A policeman has told him he agrees, he says, so there. While he's at it, he protests against the inhuman ways Holland has been treating Curazoleños for 395 years. Wait a sec... pop-up the calculator so there'll be no mistake at this end... 2014-395=1619. He must know his history better than I do, but maybe he looked it up as I'm doing even now.
No, he's quite wrong, no surprise there. In 1619, the first 20 African slaves were sold by the British in Virginia; the Dutch only followed suit in 1626 with 11 black slaves in "the West Indies"—which might mean Suriname or even Brazil, anyway.
And note in passing that only blacks are yu'i Kursow in Jamaloodin's limited thinking. His own boss Shorty is full-white, though.
Lawyer Peterson (yes, the comical one) has lodged a complaint for insulting, libeling and slandering ex-PM Shorty against justice minister Navarro. Oh no, he's just threatening to do so. If Navarro pays Shorty ANG35k (why so little? that's peanuts) and reads out a rectification, that's fine. Navarro has publicly said that Shorty is a suspect in the Wiels murder case, that his life has been threatened by Shorty and that Shorty has connections with organized crime. He must have had his reasons. It's a safe bet Navarro will not pay up.
Update: I won the bet, so far.
"Very Poor Administration"
Soab government accounting has been trying to make some sense of BZV's Bijzondere Ziektekostenverzekering [special sickness cost insurance] accounting, but they can't make head nor tail out of it. Ex sinister of ill health Quackie Constancie was "responsible". Summing it up, a lot of money lost for us. But look at it in a positive manner, some of us have made a lot of money!
The Kingdom has decided to free Venezuela consul Carvajal in Aruba, a notorious drug dealer and FARC-collaborator; he was immediately zipped away to Caracas. This will better our relations with the USA for sure! Naturally, MAN and MFK are overjoyed; they think the fascist and corrupt regimes down South and up North are the cat's pajamas, and can't wait for when we'll join them.
Our PM Arsjes is said to have done his uttermost to free Carvajal as well, and convinced Dutch foreign affairs minister Timmerman to disregard his own staff's advice.
Rock, Meet the Hard Place
Minister van der Horst explains that there's no other way left but to escalate: the negotations with the civil servants' trade unions are not making much progress, and the law stipulates that the budget figures for 2015 must be ready by August 15. So there.
Venezuela Huffs And Puffs
Venezuela doesn't like the fact that their Aruba consul has been arrested. Tough. After first canceling all flights (to climb down a few hours later), they announced the output of Isla refinery would be reduced. Very doubtful, as they need the money badly. Also, sea traffic in their territorial waters to the Dutch islands will be stopped. Pray tell me, how do they think they'll get the cocaine for Europe over here then? If you can believe the Dutch Navy coast guard, the sea is just alive with "cigarette" speed boats.
Not Everybody Agrees
The Maal family will finally, after a twenty years fight, get the go-ahead for the development of Oostpunt (residences, seven resorts, yachting harbors). Naturally, the tree-huggers are fulminating and one can feel along with them.
It's rather obvious, though, that since the government started raising property taxes exponentially, the Maal family has little choices left in the first place.
Too Many Drugstores, Too Few Inspectors
A botika is supposed to make plenty of money, which explains why there are so many. Too many, actually, and three of them are in serious trouble. More importantly, minister of Health Whiteman announced that we'll get a new inspector of health after all, "shortly". But he'll remain only until February 15th—at most 7 months.
Not So Good, Whiteman
In October 2013, there was a leak at Isla refinery where vanadium escaped. Minister of Health Whiteman promised to investigate; only, he never did. He doesn't even know if the eight victims have seen a doctor. Understandably, Smoc is pretty pissed, but according to Whiteman vanadium is not really harmful in low doses; and he's probably right.
Not Only Our Ministers Are Sloppy
The union of medical specialists VMSC claims that the report Dutch minister of Health Schippers quotes on Sehos Hospital doesn't even exist.
Venezuela stopped InselAir's flights to Venezuela, but today, they're flying again.
Bating the Breath
We are still waiting for the dirty PS laundry Francisca threatened to hang out in public. Promises, promises.
It's War! So Pop That Corn, Already!
Justice minister Navarro has declared war on ex-PM Shorty, and vice versa. May the best man win. All this promises much better wholesome clean entertainment for the masses than those dreary days in parliament. Bring on the acts!
For starters, Shorty's MFK has asked for a public parliament meeting—which may well backfire, as Navarro has announced he will use the occasion "to unmask a number of those present".
In Aruba, one of Venezuela ex-president Chávez's goons has been arrested for drug dealing, on request by the USA. He's connected with Colombia's FARC; of course! Now Venezuela is bellowing for the Kingdom to free him. Otherwise, relations will deteriorate, they threaten. It's hard to see how relations could get much worse, let's face it.
Carvajal was Venezuelan consul in Aruba.
Hey, here's an idea! Maybe they'll stop the oil to Isla refinerey. Alas, not a chance.
He Might Well Wish So
Ex-PM Shorty is clamoring for new elections now, and adds that "everybody's is ready for that". Sure, it looks like his last chance to grab power.
Always remain positive! Well, tourism doesn't. Went down by 3% first half this year; which is 1% better than it looked like one month ago; in tourist bureau CTB's always optimistic vision.
The number of cruise passengers went down with 7%, so you can see how we really need that new mega-pier.
Palm Is a Pest
Minister Palm (he of the many trips) wants to take the money set apart for refurbishing CDM [Dock] and invest it in some schooling project. Exclaims Caldera, CDM manager: where do we even get 200 students a year for that project?
By and by, I think but not hope that Palm will become our next PM. He's shortsighted and foolhardy enough for the job, and just loves travel! A necessary prerequisite.
Hacked to Pieces?
Knipselkrant Curaçao, one of the most critical websites/news sources around, has been down for some days now. They complained before that they had to beat off 3000 hacking efforts per day, which sounds pretty outrageous. One of those seems to have succeeded.
You'd expect other media to mention this, but no.
Update: They've got server problems. Could mean lots of things.
New Update: They're back on-line, and I congratulated them. And you all.
MFK ex-minister of finance Imalootin has been arrested early this morning. Justice minister Navarro announces several MFK party members are suspects in the Wiels murder case. Monkee has been arrested before, but is free again. For now. "More arrests may follow." Ex-PM Shorty has said himself that he's another suspect in the murder case.
Imalootin, AKA Yamaloodin, is Robbie dos Santos's half-brother. Dos Santos is the main suspect as "intellectual perpetrator". Friday July 25 the judge agreed to keep him in the slammer for 8 more days.
Well, It's a Start
Albeit a very modest one. Since Monday, four (4) guns have been handed in at the public ministry's office. Wow! that's a relief!
Back to the Belly-Ache
Looks like the budget fight with Holland is not over for Aruba; after PM Eman ended his hunger strike because the conflict would be resolved last Monday (it's Thursday now), Holland has now warned the governor that he's liable to be prosecuted if he signs the budget.
Isla refinery director states that, if the judge says so, of course Isla will have to pay up. You bet; you'd better. But he goes much farther; he wants to clean up and is even prepared to work together with Smoc and Amigu di Tera environment groups. That we'd live to see that! But wait a bit...
Can't Blame the Shoot-Out
Passenger traffic via Hato airport went down with 6% first half 2013. A continuing trend. The greatest loss is in transfer passengers—where minister Palm thought to raise the tariffs and make some money.
The government is going to escalate the conflict with the civil servants. We were ready for it! The spoiled brats, not so much. After six more weeks of haggling, they said that 80% of the problems had been agreed upon. Question being "what 80%"? The six weeks are merely claimed; really, it's well over two months.
The government will now just apply the law without bothering to ask the brats' opinions.
They will also move a department to the WTC building. Take that. But van der Horst says he wants to keep on negotiating; heaven knows why.
Hey, maybe van der Horst reads the Circus?
The judge has decided that Monumentenzorg and Sea Shore Properties did prove that the oil pollution at Jan Kock/St. Marie was caused by a spill from Curaçao Oil Terminal. If Isla thinks differently, Isla will have to prove it (so we're not there yet).
A Note on Fluor
Just passing it on. Not much more has been heard about the struggle and strife between naturopaths, ex-PM Shorty's MFK and "quackie" Constancia on one side and minister of health Whiteman on the other, concerning the fluoridation of our water supply. Here's a good article that will help you decide who's right.
Have Gun, Make Money
The public ministry will pay one hundred guilders for every gun delivered at their office, and you will not be prosecuted. No doubt this will result in reasonably decent people giving up on their guns which they bought for their own protection. The crooks won't be so foolish.
Starting September, sentences for illegal gun owners will be heavier. Hint: there's no room in prison anyway, not to worry.
There's a hotline 0800 TA BASTA where you can snitch on gun owners for a reward (but you can also keep anonymous).
Meanwhile, frisking in the streets and roadblocks have started, already resulting in complaints of maltreatment by police. Navarro dismisses this as "underworld PR". Knowing our cops though, those complaints might be justified.
University Fears Seizure
The UoC (a much better name than Dr. Moises da Costa Gomez) is in bad straights and cannot pay its debts. Next, they'll have to close down.
UoC has a 15 million guilders debt to APNA (civil servants pension fund), SVB (social insurance) and the Tax Person.
That's a setback for MFK. Their complaint that Rozier tried to bribe Pisa, Koeiers and Felida several times for 500,000 guilders each was not accepted by the judge, when Rozier denied it. "In that case, you'll have to offer proof" he said and knocked his hammer down.
In a Nut's Hell
As long as €urope insists on keeping cocaine a forbidden drug, a place like ours with its excellent connections to that continent will be used as a foothold by drug dealing gangs. We have two daily flights to Europe and many more to South America. There is nothing we, or our government, can do about it.
The FOL operations, and those of the Konkilijke Marine [royal Dutch navy], the intensive 100% (except when you're white) control of passengers arriving in Amsterdam, all serve as a way to keep the price of the drug up. In fact, they're nothing but artificial subsidies paid by the tax-payers. Not so long ago, the pharmaceutical price of an ounce of cocaine was $1 per ounce. The rest is profit: the street price in Holland in 2010 was USD59/gram; a profit margin of 1770%. Well worth shootin' 'n' killin' for.
In all fairness: just try and fight that.
Those crooks looting and stealing in car thefts and assaults, that's a different thing.
It's a long time since we heard about the ambtenarenpaleis [civil servants' palace] where minister van der Horst wanted to put them all together (with us all wondering where he planned to get the money). Now he wants to put a lot of 'em in the World Trade Center. Really! We have such a thing in our usual grandly megalomaniac style. Anyway, the spoiled brats don't want any of it, they say the fire dept. has condemned it.
Come to think of it, it's been very silent about those plans to cut those guys' luxurious benefits. Did van der Horst give up?
Cop Chief Bounced
Contrary to the judge's rehabilitation, cop chief Wernet has been declared totally unfit for his job by a committee and has been removed from his job. He "lacks conscientiousness, reliability and professionalism". Naturally the question pops up, how did the guy get the post in the first place? Hint: quite possibly he was the best of a very bad lot. And what's with that judge, anyway?
Marechaussee Takes Over
Hato airport will be guarded by Dutch Koninklijke Marechaussee [royal MPs] instead of the airport security which, lets face it, was never trained for that sort of gang fighting. So much for Nos mes por! [we can do it].
Other measures announced by minister Navarro remain rather vague, for him probably as much as for us. "More cops in the streets." Hah! Next thing I for one expect is a curfew. Now that would be just great for business!
That came even sooner than I expected. Navarro states military power will be applied to conduct razzias in the barrios; and if that doesn't help we're promised a curfew. At least, we're assured that the police may not enter the premises without a search warrant. Not slowly, but surely we're sliding downhill to a police state with a dictator; and you want to know something "funny"? It won't help one bit against crime; to the contrary. Look at Venezuela and Suriname.
As Amigoe reader Hans Roos remarks, "many uniforms in the street in Venezuela, but hardly any resolving investigations."
There hasn't been one single negative comment on all this in the media. What a sorry lot.
A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Good thing is, Navarro asked for military support before and never got it.
Aqualectra announced they're building 35mW capacity worth of generators. Ha! more raptor and bat mincers AKA wind generators? No! For some reason, they will go for diesel. Amazing, as they keep telling us how well those *&%$#@ wind farms are doing. 55 million dollars it will cost, that's 100 million guilders. They must have found money somewhere recently.
That Didn't Take Long
Aruba PM Eman went off his hunger strike as he was promised that a solution will be found next Monday. I've done longer without food and don't have his reserves.
Ta Basta Awor
That's enough, already! is what justice minister Navarro says about the gang shoot-out at Hato airport. You know, Navarro, it has been enough for quite a while now and it's (not only your) incompetence that caused it. Police union NABP gives him the same thing to swallow, but they're as much to blame. So, Navarro promises new measures without saying which. But they will invade privacy and everybody who commits a crime will be prosecuted. About time too.
And PM Arsjes says how lucky we are that "only" locals have been hit by stray shots. But we knew already that our Great Leaders care more for tourists than for our own people; thanks for confirming it.
Good for Tourism!
The people know what they want
and deserve to get it good and hard.
Two rival gangs yesterday started shooting at each other at Hato airport's arrival terminal. Two people were killed and seven, not all gang members, were wounded. I'm quite sure minister Navarro's security cameras would have prevented this, don't you agree?
Naturally, everybody worries about the tourists. Like I never tire of remarking, and how about us? Shut up and vote.
Building activities at Hato Airport have been stopped: they didn't have a proper building permit. (Just like the new hospital?) They thought they had one but never checked. Tsk tsk. Minister Balborda calls it "shameful" and says it makes him doubt Hato's FAA upgrading will ever come.
Hato got their permit almost a week later.
"Bishop" Jenning—famous British con-manShe'd Like That
[After having been caught impersonating the Bishop of the Falkland Islands:]
Prison library study convinced him that politics was undoubtedly the next best career for a man of his accomplishments.
"The great thing is to make plenty of promises. Once you can charm the audience, get them in the right frame of mind
and you can promise them old-age pensions at 21, and the stupid so-and-so's will believe you."
Frank Ross - The Con Men, London 1962
Fräudlein Wiels has asked for access to the complaint against her. Not a chance, hey!
But there won't be an investigation of the anonymous complaint.
Ex-minister Monk, first PS, now MFK, has been
grilledinterrogated for one and a half hours (Monk says), as a suspect in the Wiels murder case, by Recherche Samenwerkings Team [Collaborative Investigation Team], described by Monk as "the Hague Gestapo". No comment from the public ministry (yet). News Flash: Public ministry confirmed Monk is a suspect, but won't say what for. They have interrogated more suspects but won't tell us how many.
Other suspects mentioned (by Monk) are PS Elmer Wilsoe (also ex sinister of Injustice), PM Arsjes and his dad-in-law Cocochi Prins. Plus, we saw it coming, Central Bank director Tromp. That's slander, defamation, vilification and libel, Monk!
Monk (often called "Monkee" on this site, no offence) has been minister of education and of justice, both functions as one name in a long list of PS ministers who were kicked out by Party Boss Wiels when they didn't deliver. He was the guy who told us that, were he living in Colombia, he'd join FARC. Many people stopped buying his Lover (pronounce Lovver) products in protest.
Don't Believe It
Aruba PM Eman brays that he's ready to "die for Aruba". In his place, I'd go for a new budget. We hear his "health is deteriorating." Only to be expected.
That Explains It
It's because of "free" education that tuition fees at Curaçao university have gone up with 1000 guilders/year. Sure. Got it.
Students' registration fee went up from 345 to 545 guilders.
They only bothered to inform everybody three months after the decisions were taken. Students are protesting. Too bad once again our press leaves us to guess about how much that 1000 guilders raise is percentage-wise.
Amigoe informs us that it went up from 2500 to 3500. That's no joke, mon.
The Fruit of the Palm is a Nut
No offence, but... 450,000 cruise tourists visited Curaçao in 2012. A year later, this had grown to 600,000. Cruise tourism being what it is, you just have to give the Shorty government credit for that; surely those cruises are planned a year ahead.
That's a growth of 150,000/year, 33.3%. Now minister Palm wants us to believe that by 2020 the number will be 1 million: a continued growth of 100,000 per year. He might as well try to sell us a continued growth of 33.3%/year, resulting in at least 4 million tourists in 2005. I mean, why not? He doesn't present any evidence, either.
Fire the Works
The murder of Wiels hasn't been given much attention here. But what's leaking out, if true, sure looks interesting. OM/public ministry claims they have the names of the killers, the sponsors (plural) and the middleman (singular). Better hoar up some popcorn before August 4, when the case comes to court. Could get spectacular, with politicians bowled down like ninepins. Not impossibly...
Center of the Earth!
Minister Palm (economic dev.) dreams about Curaçao becoming that. They can't help it: "Curaçao will be known in the rest of the world as an important hub for the growth of international commerce." Oh my. One thing to be accomplished on the road is a new system of price-fixing, always such a great success. Next, we won't even be able to buy toilet paper—just like in Venezuela.
Palm's proposal is hard to understand, but the main item we see quoted is "the maximum price will be kept secret in negotiations"; no doubt for the sake of transparency.
Should Do Him Good
Aruba PM Henny Eman has started a hunger strike, in protest against the governor refusing to sign the budget. As he's the spitting image of Ollie Hardy, a little slimming diet can't hurt him. Nor can a little budget discipline hurt the Arubianos.
Sounds Like a Sell-Out
In 2016 we'll have a second mega-pier for tourist ships. 8000 suckers can visit Curaçao on one day then. Attached we'll get a "Cruise Village" that, no doubt, will vacuum away still more shoppers from Punda and Otrabanda city centers. Especially as we're supposed to go over there and enjoy it ourselves; and don't forget Sambil.
Total investment is USD40m, that's ANG73m. We are not told if we or some cruise line is going to pay for that; hey, that would be telling!
There was talk that a cruise line would pay, on condition that they may develop Caracasbaai. Just what we needed. But an icy silence on that ensued; which may well mean it's just off the record. For now. (Which only means we are not allowed to learn about it.)
Waste of Money
Justice minister Navarro plans to sign a MoU (Memory of Understanding) with a Chinese Company to put security cameras all over town, and then some. I'm sure it will help almost as much as that drone. They must be getting desperate, and so are we.
Of course, we are not told what this will cost. Because of transparency. Worse is that they go on and on about how good this company is, it has installed cameras in some Chinese city and they all work! Just imagine.
Alas, they have forgotten to check if crime went down after the cameras were installed. Which you'd think would be what's these days is called "crucial".
Falling Apart Together
Next to the social deterioration and the inevitable rising cost of insurances, security measures and all, now Aqualectra announces that, because of the enormous thefts of copper lines, power supply can not be guaranteed any longer. That's just great; entire neighborhoods may go dark, and even more copper will get stolen.
How Like Her
In Holland, a complaint has been lodged against Fräudlein Wiels, who's accused of recording all telephone conversations and emails to and from Curaçaohuis. It seems reasonable to assume the anonymous complaint originates there as well.
Earlier, one staff member's car was replaced with another model containing a hidden GPS, so he could be traced.
There are persistent rumors that paranoid schizophrenia runs in the Wiels family. I agree, it's too much to ask for psychiatric screening of political candidates. We wouldn't have a single Clown left in our parliament of loonies (and the security screening doesn't work out so well, either).
Green Force means well but, like most green well-meaners, tends to get a bit dictatorial. The government should forbid incandescent light bulbs, as they waste energy, Green Force says. A few years ago, all greenies were actively pushing to exchange them for FL-bulbs, which are more efficient. But now, we may not use those any more; they (finally) found out they contain mercury. We should all buy LED lights (which at this time still are very expensive).
Funny thing is, where they have forbidden classic light bulbs, energy consumption has not gone down one tiny bit. Go figure.
"It's Not Holland Here"
That's acting inspector of health Alcalá's come-back to Dutch criticism on the state of health facilities. "It's up to Curaçao to decide what health care should be given to 150,000 people." What arrogance. Our Great Leaders seem to have decided that adequate care is too much of a good thing.
Alcalá can't say when we finally get a real inspector of health after the disgraceful firing of Huurman—in May 2013.
Hard to Believe
But it's true: ex-PM Shorty can read! He even seems to follow the circus (one of the happy few). At any rate, he accuses PM Arsjes that he's thrown the businessmen in the deep end by advising them to buy a gun and defend themselves, as the government won't do it. Is what I wrote here, and he picked it up some days later.
Or maybe one of his goons read it out to him. It's a thought.
Lang verwacht en niet gezwegen, nooit gedacht en toch gekregen
This time, I take pity on you gringos. It's a paraphrase of a Dutch way of saying "long expected keeping silent, never imagined yet received"—there are mansions here and in South Africa with that name Nooitgedagt. No doubt in Indonesia and Suriname as well. Anyway, what I was going to say... where was I... hang on... it will come back... oh yeah, 258 workers at DCA, "The Flying Bottomless Pit" will get their money from the bankruptcy estate. Partly, hey! grow up, kid. 176 more payments are expected the next few weeks. The lawyers think more applications will be submitted, and they may have a point there.
What Else Is Old
Cft financial supervision thinks the 2011 financial report "does not give a true reflection of wealth and income, it does not meet the requirements of financial regularity and, with regards to the establishment, it does not meet the legal requirements." To be sure. That was Shorty and his Goons.
I am not sure about that word "establishment", not my what must be a translation.
O Megalo, O Megalo, O Megalomanie
UTS made a loss of 29 million guilders last year; without the daughters in Suriname and St. Kitts they would have turned a 4.7 million profit.
Expressed according to Hairy Slaw it looks somewhat better, USD16m loss against ANG4.7 million profit. But not better enough.
[The quote is from Daan van der Vat Sr. For sure a smart chappie like you can translate it.]
But only some. Holland has requested the Curaçao government to check Isla's exhaust for pollution. But Smoc wonders already if the results of such an investigation will be made public. It's only a "request" anyway.
Yawn or Exciting?
Ex-minister Francisca announces she'll hang out the dirty wash concerning her own PS-party, who effectively kicked her out. No matter what she'll produce, how typical that they keep their mouths shut as long as their fat behinds are on the plush minister's seat and they collect their just as fat salaries.
Still, just might get interesting. I'm sure there's lot of dirty laundry there. Matter of fact, It Stinks.
Just Ugly Rumors. Huh!
They tell us that the recently recovered Wiels gun was in use at MFK minister Imalootin's insecurity disservice "Speedy Security". Then again, it could be another one, owned by Cocochi Prins—PM Arsjes's Daddy-in-Law, who a few days before the murder was threatening Wiels with death. Or yet another one, there are plenty around (but nobody's what you'd call secure).
Could get interesting, that 4th of August in court.
It's so long ago, many people weren't even born yet, when St. Elisabeth Hospital was one of the best in the region. Now it's called Sehos and no longer run by nuns but by the government; and (just like education) it has gone steadily downhill. Dutch minister of health Schippers does not want patients from Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius referred to Sehos any longer as it's substandard.
Worse, she expects the new hospital will not improve this.
According to other sources (hey, you know those newspapers) she's prepared to send patients to HNO in the future, provided... (fill in the rest yourself).
Sehos protests and says that in the last few years, they've much improved, and that the report is six years old. Maybe Sehos didn't improve enough? starting from pretty bad.
Nos mes por [we can do it] hits again: Holland has offered support but this was rejected.
Only now noticed, C***-Post calls itself "international". Wow, that's progress. Except for maybe Russia, India and China I thought all mail services handle international post. How about New York, ye ask? Good point; most of them new yorkies think there's nothing outside.
There are strong and justified suspicions that the documents Wiels shows to confirm the bad state of the Curaçaohuis have been written by herself and presented under another name. She's done such a clumsy job, elephant-size spoors (very appropriate, that; I'm proud of it) are all over. Like a sentence "When I took office as Minister Plenipotentiary..." I rest my case, already.
Hato Airport, which is planning a larger capacity terminal, had 7000 passengers less last year than in 2012. That's only 1%, true; still, not what you'd call growth. Especially transit passenger traffic shrunk.
Almost half of all passenger were on InselAir flights; 20% KLM CUR-AMS; 10% AA CUR-MIA.
Safe and Secure
The weapon that was used to kill Helmin Wiels has been found in Waaigat, a water east of the harbor. Daily newspaper Extra claims it was in use by a security company, but does not tell if it was stolen from there or not.
The case will (finally) come to court on August 4.
Please Address Points of More Acute Importance
PIAS Rosaria starts worrying about e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine. He thinks they're a danger to health and wants this researched; and also if they stop people from smoking cancer sticks. Really, Rosaria, this has been researched very well already; just Google it up.
But of course it's much better to assign this task to a committee that will report back in a year's time or so. Gee, I wonder how much they are going to pay those committee members.
Buy a Gun
PM Arsjes has advised all businesses to take care of their own: put an armed Rent-a-Cop in your doorway, the government will be happy to give out permits fast. Which is confessing up that minister Navarro's policy to fight crime is a complete flop; something everybody knew long since.
A J. Martina writes to the Antilliaans Dagblad editors that it has been shown in Holland and the USA that more surveillance cameras don't help a bit. People may feel safer, but that actually makes them more vulnerable.
And by the way you know, can I get a permit as well? Even a pepper spray is illegal!
Between you and me and anybody else who reads this, if Pueblo Soberano offered me a job as minister I'd refuse. Just look at all their ministers of education—enough to fill a classroom! Now it's Francisca who was kicked out by her own party. The opposition (MFK quackie Constancia) was angry because she didn't get a chance to defend herself, but I agree, even if Constancia's got a point. Couldn't stand listening to more from that woman.
Look Who's Here!
Photo Copyright ©
That's at the celebration of Dia di Bandera/Vlaggetjesdag on Brionplein. The spitting image of You-Know-Who. I thought he was taboo!
First, put it in your pipe of course. There is no danger whatsoever of the Curaçaohuis collapsing: it was just another lie by PM Arsjes and Fräudlein Wiels to keep the money flowing. This according to the inspection report by Marrel Advies, which includes Wiels's residence Villa Bon Air (no relation). At any rate, before the report was in she had already decided to move her bulging behind; her gargantuan gluteus meaty maximus. No wonder she gets along so well with Arsjes! Or does she? But all that's ad hominem, sure. Permit me, please.
The Pot Blaming the Kettle
Ex-PM Shorty has started a war of allegations against his Nemesis, Central Bank director Tromp. He's supposed to have bribed politicians, but Shorty doesn't mention which. Journalists asking about that interesting aspect don't get any reply either.
Knipselkrant Curaçao claims that the case against Shorty (code name "Babel") is almost ready for court. Not before I was ready for it.
Entrepreneursclub VBC asks minister Jardim to postpone the introduction of electronic cash registers in shops until after August 1. This because "the government has come to understand that the cash register system needs adaptations and revisions". I dare say. The present landsbesluit [decision] will be replaced by a new one, plus two ministerial regulations will be introduced.
From memory, this would be the third or fourth time for a postponement, but who's counting?
Getting the right figures on what Fräudlein Wiels has wreaked as "our" minister in Holland will take a long time, announces PM Arsjes. That's because in 2012 it was decided to stop accounting controls.
What a coïncidence! That was the same year Wiels took over!
But even before then, Shorty's verfluchtes cabinet had decided not to look at the accounting from 2006-2010. It would just give them a headache.
PIAS justice minister Navarro announces that, after the Wiels murder cases (labeled Magnus and Maximus) have been solved (whatever that means), he will take his leave. He claims getting death threats on a daily base.
If you think his splitting is a good thing, think again. He's been a minister for about two years now and it does not look like these cases will be solved in the next two years.
The Sad Hospital Saga
They are now tearing down Colon Shopping Center. But as indie Leeflang remarks, hey! There are still people renting there and running their shops. What about them?
Wait! It Gets Better
If you have an illegal house, not only do you not have to pay any taxes—if the government starts trying to make you pay, they'll be legalizing the situation. At the very least, 10% of all houses are illegal which means we decent folks have to pay a total of at the very least 5 million guilders a year extra.
InselAir will, again, be buying Fokkers from KLM. This time Fokker F70s, which KLM will replace with the Brazilian Embraer 190. The aircraft were built in 1995 so they've almost reached the venerable old age of 20 years.
Arsjes Wants a Voice in Parliament
MFK (Shorty's party) has asked several questions about the Fräudlein Wiels affair. Now PM Arsjes is mad because he's not invited to the parliament meeting where these will be discussed. You know Arsjes, it's a bit late for that.
End of a Fairy Tale
There's a stubborn superstition that our neighbor Aruba is doing so much better than we do! Well, it ain't necessarily so: I can't remember when a Curaçao governor just refused to sign the budget, but over there, it's happened. "Certain arrangements with the Dutch government have been ignored."
Apart from that, the planned deficit is much higher than what even governments find acceptable (3% of the GNP).
Knipselkrant Curaçao [newspaper of press cuttings] claims they have to beat off 3000 hacking attempts per day, especially for their page on the Curaçao power struggle (in Dutch). If true, some party is blowing a lot of money and effort on what to them must be a worthy purpose.
How Dumb Can You Get?
That genius, minister of development Palm, states that we pay CTB tourist office 90 million a year. W.O.W.! "Projected" earnings are 1 billion a year. That's not earnings, that's just cash-flow, from which all costs have to be subtracted first—like 9% for CTB alone. I'm sure even Palm is smart enough to know that... or is he?
Be that as it may, he now suggests we make the tourists pay more taxes, "but in such a way that they won't notice" (Hato airport does that already). Noooo: they'll only notice the island is awfully expensive and stay away in droves.
Even more stoopit, he should have followed Hairy Slaw: we pay CTB less than $50 million and "earn" a cool 1 billion guilders!
Freeport Jewelers have been robbed six times already and will close two shops next January. If the wave of atrakos isn't stopped, they are considering closing down completely.
A Lawyer's View
Navarro appeals to the court's decision to re-establish top cop Werner. Maybe he has good reasons, but when he says that he, as a professional lawyer, knows from experience that when you don't agree with a judgment you have to appeal any way. Sure, brings in more money. Except, in this case it'd be our tax money spent freely.
Bakeries Die Like Rats
The government forces them to sell cheap bread on which they can't make any profit. This month alone, two bakeries have gone bankrupt.
Hotel prices all over the tropical world, including around here, last year went down by say 15%. What could possibly be the reason? Everything else went up!
Make Some $$s, Lose Some $$s
Curoil has sold 19% less Jet Fuel last year. They blame the diminished freight flights, that avoid Curaçao because of the high landing fees. CAP/Hato airport denies they are (much) more expensive than the competition. Sure.
Wait and See, What Else?
Business community reps and government came together to talk about what has to be done to drag the island out of the economic pits. A program of 11 points was decided upon, to be realized before October 15; then, we'll have another conference.
You know, I don't have much confidence, if any, that this will be of real help. Sorry!
Sorry again, I really don't feel it's worth summing up all those plans here. That's what the media are for.
Sure; That Will Help
There's been a really spectacular Great Robbery at Boolchand's Digital World. A gang of nine overpowered the night watchman and from that point were free to take what they wanted; and they did.
Now owner Boolchand says the media should stop publishing those atrakos, as it just gives people ideas. Just what the authorities would like... He does have a point when he asks what happened to the Chinese who, two years ago, discussed their security with justice minister Navarro. The answer seems pretty obvious: "nothing much".
Nobody told me, but as Shorty is asking questions in parliament, I get the impression he's back. What a pity!
What questions? you ask. Oh, same old Central Bank twaddle. As if he's never been away.
But now I read the questions were in a letter. Wait and see.
Oh, he definitely came back as he has been interviewed by the public ministry this week. And just in case you take an interest, they had their baby along after all.
Safety at Home
It has been investigated by Central Bureau Statistics; not so much the safety per se, more like how people experience it compared with 2008. A sorry story indeed. Crimes investigated are consumer and identity fraud, scams, domestic and sexual violence and corruption.
53% had about "very strong" fear and anxiety problems, versus 48% in 2008. 27.5% [!] were victims last year versus 26.3%. 68% (was 48%) went to the cops; 40% was satisfied with their reaction; no real difference there either, in spite of the strong crime fighting rhetoric we are force-fed all the time.
On the islands who opted to stay in Holland (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) only some 25% felt unsafe and 20% were victims.
Take Your Pick: Preposterous. Goofy. Wacky. Ludicrous. Plain Silly.
The pre-kleuterschool [pre-Kindergarten] pupils in Emmastad have graduated. I kid you not. They even got a certificate.
No mention is made of drop-outs.
Stop Them Before It's Too Late
The new hospital, for which ground works started half a year ago, does not yet have a building permit.
Botch & Bungle
If your house was built illegally, you're free from paying property tax. Your house is not registered, so there! Which applies to entire neighborhoods.
Down the Sewer Drain
PAR's Jesus-Leito wonders, as she well might, whatever happened to the 27 million guilders set apart last year to repair sewage processing plant at Klein Hofje. But that's not the only source of poop pollution. Apart from everything else, cesspool emptying trucks customarily, and legally, empty their loads at "Shute" [Chute] near Hato airport.
Our main single tourist attraction, the Emma pontoon bridge AKA "The Swinging Lady" was restored (after a fashion) in 2006. By 2012, the bridge had started rotting away. Compare with a century of service. Restoration restarted last January, but now has come to a Full Stop. Turned out, not only had the top layer of wood rotted—the thing was rotten through and through.
Just like the CPA "advisors" and the local contractor; whose name we don't get to hear anywhere.
They Should Go to the Circus!
Antilliaans Dagblad finally figured out what we've been saying here since 2003: CTB is bamboozling us with their tourism statistics. While they always brag about how many more tourists have visited us, they conveniently "forget" how many didn't come. For example, last year tourism was down by 15 (fifteen) %. Not a peep from CTB of course.
Looks like a new law: the more money CTB gets, the fewer tourism pays. CTB these days falls under minister Palm's responsibilities.
Dream On, PIAS
PIAS Rosaria asks finance minister Jardim, how about those tax breaks etcetera that you promised for next year, after "measures" were supposed to have had effect? "Fiscal incentives" have been promised but precious few, not to say none, have been coming along. We were also promised a new taxation system, supposed to be operative in the first half of 2014.
Hey, that's ending next week!
All troubles with department of education were caused by minister Dick cutting back on salaries and schools, so she'd free funds for... "free education". Wish it were a joke!
Minister of social affairs Francisca plumb refused to discuss internal affairs within her department in Staten parliament. That didn't mean a thing, she said: the aim was to serve the people of Curaçao. She kept going on about her performance, with which she mainly meant her presence at congresses and lectures. Couldn't answer most questions, but promised she'd reply by letter. Eventually.
Her own PS party wants her to resign, but she says she'll stay on as long as she has "the support of parliament". Guess that won't take long now. Hey, what's a minister's salary again? Every day is a windfall! not to mention the pension.
St. Eustatius is ready to introduce education in English, with instruction in Dutch as a foreign language. Keep in mind that St. Eustatius, like Saba and Bonaire, is part of the country of the Netherlands ("Holland"). But while Bonaire speaks Papiamentu and Dutch (like Aruba and Curaçao), St. Eustatius and Saba speak English; like St. Maarten—which is autonomous within the kingdom. Are you dizzy yet?
Point is, there's a difference with the situation here. There are plenty of instruction books in English, but for Papiamentu we have to design and print them. Which comes even more expensive than the Dutch books in use now.
Palm's Plans Are No Plans
Minister Palm has finally presented his plans for economic development. Even though it took him over a year (normally a minister is supposed to offer his policy after 100 days) PAR's Konket is not impressed. The plan devised by Palm's predecessor Martina was that the government would invest a total of 332 million in the economy, resulting in 2% growth, but as it turns out it was only 102 million—resulting in stagnation.
The Staten [parliament] opposition now insists on an investigation of all the fuss with the Curaçao House in Holland. This is the responsibility of Helmin Wiels's sister "Fräudlein", but PM Arsjes, also Pueblo Soberano member, keeps postponing acting upon his promise; even while PIAS boss Rosaria is pushing.
The Yoyo's Up
Now, it has been decided (again) that education will be free and the amount parents will get for books has gone up from 600 to 900 guilders.
They Told Them So, Too
Indie Leeflang explains how "free" education, Wiels's main inheritance and dios spar nos for more, has bankrupted the ministry of education. The input of Finance and Education advisors Melfor and Sofia was neglected (and mine as well, what else is new?) and now we are left picking up the pieces.
Police Chief's Rehabilitation
Chief Wernet, who was suspended after Florentina, a suspect in the Wiels murder case, committed suicide in jail, has been completely rehabilitated by the judge. Seems justice minister Navarro, who "reconstructed in detail" a conversation with him, really talked to Wernet's successor. By that time, Wernet had been suspended already. Oops.
But Navarro is appealing.
Container harbor run by CPA/CPS dropped 10% of volume in handling containers for the local market. Figures, because the economy is down and keeps down. Much worse is that their handling of international transshipment went down by almost one quarter. This while Aruba is building completely new facilities.
Do We Need This?
Minister Palm says "yes", but he's not exactly famous for bright decisions: a second megapier yet will be built next to the present one; after years of concerned efforts to get one in Punda-across-the-harbor or miles (and cramped roads) away at Caracasbaai. Royal Caribbean has one (1) mega tourist ship that needs a larger pier. But there's a lot of gold in them thar piers, that is to say, for the planners and builders (and maybe the politicians, almost forgot!)
Can't help quoting Carl Hiaasen on Walt Disney's cruiseship Goofy.
All Play, With Pay
There are still
spoiled bratscivil servants aplenty who sit at home, or lie on the beach, whatever, without going to work; and who receive pay anyway. Talk about soft jobs! Even softer than the regular s.b.s who do go to what they call "work".
Wonder why nobody tells us how many there are.
Nobody knows how many civilians are on welfare, either. It's well over 5000—officially.
The Postal Progress
Our "C***-Post" now delivers mail twice a week. I guess that needs No Comment.
Punda Passed Out
What used to be the commercial center of Willemstad is dead. Only tourists come there any more, and only in daytime. Nobody lives there, since this guy Neuman got to build a parking garage and (one fell swoop) got licensed to put parking meters all over town. Where can you park your car? Answer: nowhere. While many parking spots are empty.
Then there's this super shop center Sambil (supposed to open next year, after the umpteenth delay), set up by a Venezuelan super-concern. With an incredible amount of movie theaters, they expect to attract 7 or 8000 visitors a day, about what the last night of the Tumba-Festival gets. But one thing seems sure, it will get even worse for Punda.
Education must be free (any year now)! Cutbacks in education (not today, yet)! Meanwhile, 1.9 million has been budgeted so every child can get a laptop and watch porn on the internet.
Eat Your Veggies... If You Can Get Them
They never learn. The locally produced vegetables enjoy market protection; we don't enjoy it so much. Our Great Leaders sure love to play monopoly (it was recently released in Papiamento). Problem is, this is controlled by LVV agriculture dept, who are notoriously slow (if not worse than the other depts). So if the local producers don't have any, it can take weeks before the supermarkets get licensed to import. Also, products like yellow and red bell peppers may not be imported, even though locally only green ones are produced. It's a problem for the supermarkets and the restaurants.
Makes you think a bit about those guys being trained to get into agriculture. And how about those grandiose plans to import fruits and veggies by air? Oh yeah, that was another government, got it. And the idea was to bring prices down, who cares anyway.
Try, Try Again
The comic trio of Peppie, Kokki and NoName again requested a recusal for the judge in their case. The first one was refused. Well, why not go for it again with as little reason as the first time? It earns them time, which they probably think is an advantage.
Rekenkamer [accounting/calculating] is critical about the 2011 financial statements. Sure, no surprise: that would have been under PM Shorty and his gang, among which Imalootin. Mistakes and oversights add up to ANG142 million, and the ministers do not control adequately the costs of their departments—as we knew long since.
They Got Money!
After Tiara Air, now InselAir has been paid; about three quarters of the USD75m Venezuela's Cadivi owed them. Who'd have thought it.
Really, it's calling for all restraint I've got to refrain from obvious puns here. What happened was, a Dutch journalist (who says he speaks Papiamento) asked minister Dick some questions; in Dutch. She refused to answer him, as he should speak Papiamento. The guy explained that his Dutch audience wouldn't understand a word, but she didn't budge.
Which not only is pretty rude and dictatorial, but she also seems to forget that we still have three official languages: in alphabetical order Dutch, English and Papiamento. (If he'd spoken English or Spanish, there wouldn't have been any problem.)
A Dutch newspaper commented that, as the questions concerned the cutbacks in education, she'd be hard put to answer them—which may have helped.
Blow Me Down
Tiara Air has received USD367,000 from Venezuela and has been promised 1.9 million more last Friday. Don't know if they got that. All in all, they have 19 million coming. Tiara is now feeling pretty optimistic about the company's future.
No news about InselAir (yet).
By 2017, Hato Airport should be the top airport around here. (The old inferiority complex in play: why must we always be the top? Let that go.) Next year, a new arrival hall will be built; that is to say, the old terminal will be rebuilt to serve for that. And hey, they will put in airco, and in the departure hall as well! Capacity will grow from 1.8m passengers a year to 2.5m.
There'll be a Hyatt Hotel in the "Airport City", which will also have a 20-25 hectare (~60 acres) Curaçao Winery. Weird, that. Not a word on the vaunted Green Airco, and neither on the Vomit Comet plans. Good. And no mention of the FAA problems, though.
By the way, how about that Space Gang Law? Just askin'.
The more-or-less, pretty much less, story is Shorty and moll are on a goodwill trip for their "Reforma" business. Sounds vague, right? Their lawyers say that, as their arrest was illegal, they have a perfect right to do so. Still vaguer. They may or may not come back. Good guess is, those lawyers don't know; probably Shorty c.s. don't know themselves. Yet. A clue may be, they did not take their cute 3-mos baby along.
Burning question: does he still get paid as a Staten cabinet member? It ain't peanuts, you know. Answer: most probably "yes".
Shorty's "mother country" (whatever that means) is Colombia.
PS Staten member Cijntje protests against the way how minister Balborda invites tenders for his 30 million worth of repaired roads. Basically, there are two contractors: one large m*ther and one small combination. Balborda has them draw lots as to who gets what; only then they come with their offer. It's actually downright illegal.
Cijntje threatens to retract his support of the coalition. Please do, Cijntje. Can't wait.
All Those Measures Really Sort Effect, Or Not?
The number of atrakos [assaults] keeps growing; on a weekly base, too. This year we're already 15%
ahead ofbehind 2012. In 80% a gun is used; 17.5% are solved. Nothing seems to work. Hey, remember that drone? Like an avenging angel it was supposed to magically stop crime. It did not—told ya so, time and time again.
Flown the Coop? Jumped Ship?
Precious little is to be learned about ex-PM Shorty and
gangfamily's surprise leaving for Bogotá, Colombia two days ago. Is this permanent? Don't make me drool.
But he may just taking a powder. Hey, Colombia!
Education minister Dick lets it be known that all cutbacks in her department are definitely off the table. However, she has no idea how much this means in money. Maybe she should ask her colleague van der Horst.
And Aqualectra utility announces that, after all, yeah, we may install solar panels.
Ex-PM Shorty and his partner were spotted yesterday checking in on an Avianca flight to Colombia. They've got a perfect right to do so. Hopefully they don't come back, saves us a lot of money.
The public school teachers have been forbidden to speak in public about their problems. This is officially dictated by the ministry of education.
But next day, that same minister conceded that she's willing to "reconsider or even revoke" the austerity measures. Which may lead to another quarrel in the coalition.
And finally, it's all retracted. Couldn't they figure that one out right away? But not to worry, says Dick, it is of no influence on the introduction of "free" education. Eventually. Later, much later.
Gee, I Wonder
Did InselAir get those dollars from Venezuela this past week? As we haven't heard a peep, it's a pretty safe bet they did not. What the heck, it's only 80 million (or maybe more by now).
And How About Us?
It's not the first time: CTB tourist office, police, you name 'em, are getting together to discuss how they can make the island safe for tourists.
Here's a hint: make it safe for everybody, then the tourists will be safe as well. Capisce?
I use the mafia language, maybe they understand that.
Both Wright, Both Rong
Education minister Dick and planning minister van der Horst send the protesting teachers from pillar to post, each saying the other one is responsible for the cutbacks.
They're both responsible, of course. But one belongs to PS party, the other one to PIAS—and there you have it.
Rozier Wants to See
Dean Rozier, whose case for alleged bribery of three parliament members finally made it to the courtroom, wants to have access to the investigation file. The guy hardly knows what exactly he stands accused of.
Rozier, supposedly trying to bribe three Staten members for ANG500k each before getting out of the game himself and being branded a "traitor", now's sorry he ever got in politics. Sure. But what moved him to associate with Shorty? Many of us a long way back saw that disaster coming.
Wishful thinking, sure. But it sure looks like it. First, labor minister Francisca's department is protesting against her firing a top man there; now, she's having a quarrel with her own party PS.
Du merkst aber auch alles
PIAS's Rosina declares that our democracy is in danger, what with Shorty's past and his present Reforma. Not that there's much democracy left already, with PM Arsjes in conjunction with Fräudlein Wiels. PIAS says it's also the parliament members' fault. And I would add, "and that of PIAS".
Trouble for PIAS is, it's rumored they've largely lost their voters' support because they do nothing to stop PS. Well, they richly deserved that.
After the Students, the Teachers
Now the teachers' union SITEK has gone on strike. The crowd went over to Fort Amsterdam to present their grievances, but complained they weren't properly received. They're vexed because the cutbacks will result in a deterioration of education, the last thing we need (and also in worse working conditions and payment for them, which in their unselfishness they don't mention).
Knipselkrant Curaçao is inciting citizens to come out and lodge a complaint against Shorty promising 100 guilders a month extra for old age AOW receivers, if he got elected in 2012. That's an outright bribe contra the voting laws; however, as it was only a promise it may be hard to catch him on that. But they seem to have completely forgotten the Food Bribes which were given away freely.
Holland "has not the faintest idea" what happened with the 1.7 billion guilders that were invested since 2000 in subsidies here. They will not know before 2015 (if by then). However, you may be excused for having your suspicions as to their final landfall.
Now for the funny part: all those guilders were meant to stimulate independence. So much for the allegations of "neo-colonialism"!
Worse and Worse
We already commented on how society is falling apart because of the wave of violence and assaults. Now the entertainment world is starting to complain—many people just don't dare to go out any more. There are taxi-drivers who will not take you to the airport at night, as the risk of being robbed has become too large.
Lud luv me, Gelt Dekker has praised Shorty and called me a "Luddite" because I lodged that complaint. In his view (such as it is) I'm one of those reactionaries who want to keep the status quo and never need change. Well, judge for yourself, I figure you may think different.
For your information, Luddite was this cat in England who went around inciting gangs, smashing up and setting fire to factories in the 1800s, protesting against the Industrial Revolution. I feel I really don't deserve to be lumped in with those.
If you want my opinion, these days all of the following do fall in that category: Greenpeace — organic agriculture — alternative medicine — anti vaccination — anti genetic manipulation — anti fracking — anti nuclear power — should I go on?
That's Weird; More, It Stinks
In court again, after the judge destroyed a building permit on the seashore of Willemstad. The building permit was then revoked by the ministry, and the very next day a new one was issued. A new court case was started by local residents, but by now the building has almost been finished.
"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
Jewel project developers are shedding crocodile tears and pointing out how much they did to smarten up Pietermaai neighborhood, that's gratitude for you! But remember Frank Zappa: "We're Only in It for the Money."
Success Story Starts
The new hospital has its first building setback. Because they moved the location so they wouldn't have to buy out some terrain owners, they have to cut out much more rocks than they bargained, for a total of USD3m. Here's where Hairy Slaw pops up once again. It's still ANG5.4m, which is
merely4.5% of the total price estimate. (Not to mention how long it will take).
Aqualectra utilities installations are now guarded, since the alleged "sabotage" actions. Can't resist adding, knowing Aqualectra it might just as well be their own f-u for not dealing with personnel problems in the first place.
Not What I'd Call "Free"
Free education gets another upper-cut. In what's described as "draconic measures" education minister Dick tries to save on education. Teachers don't like it, and once again: so much for "free" education, Wiels's biggest legacy (always excepting struggle 'n strife).
An afternoon of negotiations between minister Dick and the school boards was a flop: the measures will be implemented. Next thing you know, students of sbo-schools (special education) went on strike.
Today it's 70 years ago that the Allied forces stormed the beaches in Normandy to end the dictatorial fascist regime of Nazi Germany. Many people don't even know any more what it's all about. Please read it up. We here may have had a narrow escape just now and the danger hasn't gone by any way you figure.
Curaçao made a lot of money during that war as all Allied fuel in the European war theater was refined here. We're still left with the asphalt lake, but the money has been spent long since by successive governments going on the spree.
Two Hospital Stories
First, Holland will lend Curaçao all funds to build the new hospital against minimal interest; even lower than nominal. You just can't help wondering how much influence the designer and builder have had on that decision. It's now supposed to be ready in three years. The way I figure, that's 2017, not 2016; but then, I've had a pretty solid education that was paid for.
The second story is about a woman who dies after not getting adequate attention for 8 hours in the first aid clinic. People who used to work there say "I wouldn't want to go to that hospital now."
Free Education Stumbles—Again
Teachers are planning action against the government cutbacks. Well, that's one way to make education free as Wiels wanted: stop paying for it and let 'em fend for themselves. It's then free to the taxpayer at least.
Aqualectra utility blames yesterday's outage on sabotage by disgruntled employees. A good reason to fire them—or not?
Just Plain Wrong
MFK Thodé wants to get rid of the independence of the Openbaar Ministerie [public ministry]. He says Curaçao is the only country where this is so, which is definitely
a lienot true. In the trias politica of all democracies, legislative, executive and judiciary powers are separated to guarantee power can't be grabbed by one of them. More of our Great Leaders do not seem to get this, but I'm sure Thodé knows damn well better.
There We Go... Again
CTB wants to take measures against bandits assaulting tourists. A lot they care what happens to us. Oh, shut up and vote.
No More Solar Panels
Aqualectra utility has stopped licensing consumers to use solar panels. Up to now, they bought electricity from solar users for ANG0.42/kW, but they say their own costs are ANG0.36/kW. It's not clear if they want to stop all solar panels (which seems very difficult to defend), or just want to stop buying the generated electricity (which is very easy to defend).
The importers of solar panels are considering legal action, as "Aqualectra has signed agreements with them and has to comply."
FAS Akshon Sivil has lodged yet another complaint; this time against Lawyer de Vries, who was the consigliere of the Shorty government in their many wheelings and dealings. Included are the sale of BOO power plant to RdK, the many problems at DOK/CDM and the management change at Aqualectra. All together good for many millions of dollars. Example: the book value of BOO was ANG180m, while it was sold for $20m (~ANG36m). De Vries denies, what else is new.
Isla refinery is allowed to expel 80µ/m3/hr of SO2, while the WHO norm is 20. But even that is not enough for them, and in the past month they exceeded the norm on a daily base.
That's 80 micrograms of sulfur dioxide, a pollutant suspected of causing acid rain. The EPA standards in the USA differ from those of WHO; there the tolerated yearly average is 30 µg/hour.
The Dutch company Econcern [get it? how infantile] has gone bankrupt, to all expectations taking the Bonaire Ecopower green energy rubbish with them. Hundreds of millions of Euros down the drain, and nothing to show in return but fattened wallets of fat cats. Not only was the green energy a flop, extra efforts were made to steal from the company's coffers.
So much for those ambitions to "generate 100% renewable energy".
Memorandum of Misunderstanding
Our government has signed a memorandum of understanding with PdVSA on the future of the Isla refinery. Contents are top secret (we'll see about that). Anyway, it doesn't mean a thing legally. What it does mean is, for one, it comes two years too late; for two, PdVSA will not invest a nickel in upgrading. As if they had any—or we.
So we'll wait a bit longer and see what will not happen.
That's Telling Them
Today is Ascension Day, and the broiled spats always get an extra day free on the following Friday. But minister van der Horst mulishly laid his ears back and plain refused. Told 'em that was the fifth time when he was a minister and all those free days cost the country 5 million guilders a year.
What Are We Waiting For?
Quoting from The Rational Optimist:
"Last month the Brazilian government gave an Oxford-based company called Oxitec a licence to release into the wild genetically engineered male A aegypti mosquitoes. They carry two extra genes that render their offspring incapable of breeding. Release enough of them in an area and the species all but dies out locally. The beauty of this scheme is that the rarer the species gets, the better the chance that the genetically engineered males you release will mate with any available females, so the technique becomes more effective, not less, as local extinction approaches."
This Aedes egyptae mosquito carries yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya. It was as good as eradicated here in the 1950s, but as no proper follow-up was given it made a strong come-back. Spraying is of little help as it restarts breeding after every rain-shower, especially with all the trash dumps all over the island.
Check out my earlier postings on this, here and here.
May the Less Worst Win
PM Arsjes has now agreed there will be a full investigation of the Curaçao House affair. Maybe he's serious? In that case, you see what pressure can do!
Hope for the Best
Usona, charged with the development and building of that new hospital, states that everything is just fine and we're rolling ahead on schedule. We citizens and potential patients can only wait and see.
Shorty Set Free
As of yesterday. He was given a big hand by an immense crowd—of thirty people (probably the same) but didn't look very hungry. Anyway, he and his partner are still suspects.
The car of Radio Direkt reporter Balentien has burned out; Balentien suspects arson because of his reporting on the Shorty case. Wouldn't be the first time goons took action; in fact, this is the second time since April last year Balentien's car has been burned. And earlier this year, the car of Balentien's colleague was burned, too. Balentien has lodged a complaint.
Let's hope they leave my car alone.
That's a Big Help
Reorganization of the
spoiled brats crowdthe civil servants corps goes ahead full steam, we're told. The 3,555 of 'em now will be reduced (by 2016) to 3,552; in other words, 3 (three) less.
Maybe a Relation?
Bala [bullet] newspaper refuses to publish a rectification demanded by Isla refinery. According to Bala, Isla's new director has hired a consultant for the sumptuous sum of ANG75k/month/$495k/year. They also rent a building where the same guy used to work for 15k/month. Oh, and almost forgot to mention, as it's surely a coïncidence: the guy's name is Werner Wiels.
Torturing for Tourists
Cruise tourists are complaining about the cruelty to animals displayed in Willemstad. Guys hang around with iguanas in the hope of catching some $s or €s, but it seems they treat them very badly. Will make us even more popular!
They Say They'll Pay
Venezuela has promised they will pay what they own InselAir. Not for the first time. They say, next week.
He Must Be Getting Hungry
Shorty, or so the rumor goes, is refusing all food in jail because he's afraid of being poisoned. He does drink water, though. Hey, any volunteers to bring him this bottle of water I happen to have here?
The public prosecutor states he knows nothing about this story.
Not So Free
Catholic schools complain that the ANG600 subsidy given by the government to buy books is much too low; pupils easily have to spend 1000. So much for that vaunted "free" education, PS Wiels's main heritage.
They Woke Up
Party PIAS finally asks for an investigation of the functioning of "Curaçao-house in Holland, "led" bij Fräudlein Marvelyne Wiels. This can get interesting, as PM Arsjes rather obviously has reasons of his own to protect that woman.
The Italian police has done a house search in Italy. We're not being told where and when, but it's connected with Shorty's mafioso padrino Corallo (so sue me), so it's probably at Corallo's home and his business Bplus. Also witnesses have been heard in Italy and St. Maarten, and several in Curaçao.
A friend told me Shorty's lawyer can be heard daily over the radio, fulminating against Yrs Truly. It's much too late for that and anyway, I have nothing to do with all this anymore. Although I do confess to having a strong attack of Schadenfreude.
Minister Navarro, who's next on the list to be murdered if you can believe newspaper Vigilante (few people do) has even less to do with the operations of the Justice department which is completely independent of his ministry.
Corallo denies ever having given a cent to Shorty and his party, and even then, he's allowed to. As regards the party, that's plain wrong.
New Hospital = New Setback
The Vereniging Medisch Specialisten [union medical specialists] states that the new hospital means a deterioration in care and more, not less fragmentation of services. This mainly because the hospital was designed first and only then the future users were consulted. The union says the best thing to do is start all over again. Ouch.
Shorty Still Locked Up; Cicely Free
The judge decided yesterday to hold Shorty until Monday 26; his partner has been released because a (Dutch) detective had told her, wrongly, that she wouldn't get more than one day longer.
The MFK protest demonstration against Shorty's arrest was not what you'd call impressive; about thirty people turned up, most of whom his family and workers at his business.
Really makes you laugh, when you walk into the drivers license office and see all those posters there, every single one emphasizing that the people working there are incorruptible. And now, it's the second time in 15 months that some of these people are being investigated because you can buy a license from them. Free market! But I guess it's more expensive than a regular one, which comes quite high in itself at around ANG100 (USD55).
So in reality, those people getting fined at traffic stops for not having a license are really only a small part of the problem.
Poor Shorty; Never Rains But Pours
Now some unknown chappie had lodged yet another complaint against Shorty, this one for organizing an illegal lottery to fill the coffers of his party MFK (good for six months in the slammer).
Amateur (Press) Hour
First, the Obese One had journalist Cooper (no relation to Mudbelly) kicked out of a press meeting because he didn't like his nasty questions. As in where did Arsjes think he'd get the money from for some pie-in-the-sky plan like a "positive Task Force *Nation Building*". After Cooper was admitted to the meeting the following week, we thought it was all over. But no, this week he was refused again at the press-hour by Arsjes and justice minister Navarro.
Mind that this dictatorial authoritarian act thus has the Stamp of Approval of PIAS—who were elected by voters hoping for something else, for a change. Poor deluded cattle.
A criminal investigation has started at dept. of public works into alleged crimes connected with the traffic pillows our road system was poisoned with (for a price). They are now largely removed, but the road signs warning for them are still there.
At the time those cushions started to appear, MAN "Mudbelly" Cooper was the responsible minister in PM Shorty's MFK-MAN-PS cabinet.
The catholic schools are meeting with ministry of education to protest that their pupils will get less counseling. Reason is cutback in government financing, to "balance public finance". We were all told by Wiels's Pueblo Soberano that education would be free (but not all of us believed it).
They See Reason
Instead of seizing all salaries of 80,000 people who hadn't paid their 82 guilders SVB premium, as the tax person proposed, only that amount will be held in from their July salaries.
"Everybody Is Against Us"
Remember those three lawyers with their recusal request against the judge? Well, it's been refused. The guys really walk around yelling "everybody is against us"; to which Wodehouse had the snappy come-back "Shows their sense."
They Wised Up
Finally! Utilitity Aqualectra announces that they want to switch over to burying their cables underground. Millions and millions have been wasted because they were too stubborn to see the problem—not only wasted by them (which we have to cough up anyway), but even more damage must has been done to the economy because of outages.
It's a Fair Cop
Ex-PM Shorty has been arrested this morning, upon leaving CBA television studio for an interview. That has taken quite some time. No reason for his arrest has been given; but we can guess.
in crimeCecily van der Dijs has been arrested as well; both are suspected of fraud and money laundering. Both can be held for a maximum of 2+8 days before they are indicted.
Needless to say that MFK party says they're convinced of Shorty's innocence and they will continue to support him.
The Curaçao debt will grow this year with about 1/3, to 2.3 billion guilders. Good going, as on 10-10-10 this was 1.666 million. Ah yes, prosperity! The only thing growing in the economy seems to be our debt.
Ex MFK minister Imalootin' has apologized to PM Arsjes, because last year he called him a "homo". Hey, what's this? What happened to Gay Pride?
It Comes Natural
The government doesn't think it necessary to take measures for getting rid of 20 million guilders per year worth of civil servants; they expect they will disappear "naturally" by looking for other jobs (where? what jobs?), getting dead or being pensioned. Raad van Advies advisory council thinks different, though.
One Step Too Far
Because only 80,000 out of 95,000 citizens paid the obligatory SVB illness insurance premium of ANG82/year, a Tax Man wanted to seize all their salaries as from today. But PM Arsjes figured it would no doubt make him even less popular and stopped it.
No, Don't Think So
Our minister of education thinks all schools should use the same books to teach English with. Please not? Sounds a tad too much like what absolute regimes would want.
Let's Have It
Dutch VVD party wants a parliamentary debate on Cft financial supervision. We were wondering about them, here, as well. But it may be too late, the subscription for a public loan to finance that blasted new hospital has as good as started already.
Pas, Trankilidat i Prosperidat
"Peace, tranquility and prosperousness" is what PM Arsjes claims he has given us. Well, he certainly fooled me: lawyers are fighting justice while civil servants are on strike—there's crime and murder in the streets—the economy is closer to shrinking than ever. At any rate, ex-PM Shorty's attempt to get rid of the consensus laws fell flat in Staten/parliament.
Kick Them All Out
Now the spoiled brats of the Tax office have gone on strike completely. They will not give in. Like I've always said, they have the power around here. It's like a mafia, only regulated by law.
Fräudlein Wiels Strikes Again
Now it's a guy who has been working at Antillenhuis for 33 years as cash controller. He's been put on a dead end; for some reason. He isn't talking and, like you guessed already, neither is miz Wiels.
Hato Airport (CAH) wants to have a sewage installation of their own. They have big plans there! But this is not bad; the contents of many septic tanks and cesspools are just dumped into the sea at the chute close to the end of the runway. So end it, already; right?
The natives insist on calling it the shute; it's at 12°11'17.02"N and 68°56'5.70"W.
Di tutti sempre.
["A usurper always distrusts the whole world." - Vittorio Alfieri, Polinice, III. 2.]
Ex-PM MFK Shorty now wonders out loud if the judicial apparatus has been bribed in the Babel affair against him (for fraud, money laundering and some other minor crimes he committed as a member of parliament). He says "Do you think public prosecutors, judges and attorney generals can't be bribed?" and goes on to speculate that, after Wiels, he may be murdered next. Don't make my mouth water, but as Jeeves says "the contingency is a remote one."
My fears differ from his; I keep looking over my shoulder these days. Wish that public ministry would hurry up a bit. No kidding.
MAN and MFK now insist on a parliament statement on the consensus wetgeving [consensus laws], signed as a condition for our independence to simplify it not so much. They concern a consensus between Curaçao and the Kingdom of the Netherlands on certain problems.
Now Shorty and Cooper want to get rid of them. Sure: that would mean that, when they're back in power (the Lord forbid) they could go back to robbing and plundering without any possible intervention by law. It's a relief that they most probably will get nowhere with this in parliament. They must be desperate to start even discussing it.
ça Va Sans Dire
We will have to pay up for the 230 million loss Aqualectra has accumulated since 2010. Hey, wasn't that the year if our Glorious Independence? Just a coïncidence. Part of that is about 147 million outstanding bills Aqualectra doesn't seem to be able to collect.
ça ne va pas you say. Mais oui, ca va! Who else would pay up? Not Holland, once is quite enough.
Now They've Done It
The spoiled brats working at the tax "service" dept. have decided to go on strike good and proper. No more slow-down actions; just plain refusal to work until the government gives in.
Don't worry folks, if because of that you can't get your declaration rubber stamped as delivered, you'll have to pay a fine later for not having been in time. Imposed by that same tax service; but naturally!
Proof of Popularity
The Knipselkrant Curaçao blog on the Machtsstrijd [struggle for power] that's broken out turns out to be immensely popular. Not with all people, though. Seems hackers are trying to fob visitors off with pages in Chinese or whatever, so the blog must have hit pay dirt. If that happens to you, please send them an email.
Dictator vs Deliberator
PM Arsjes announced that the government will force the spoiled brats to climb down, by measures of law. That'll teach them! But he forgot to tell minister van der Horst, who's still negotiating, about it. He had to read about it in the newspapers. That'll help!
He Says, So He Says...
Aubrey Wiels (yes, His Brodder) claims Wiels has never mentioned present PM Arsjes as his successor, and that Arsjes should come with proof if he claims differently. Upon which Arsjes shows a video-fragment; but it isn't all that clear.
Aubrey wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea, either: he insists not only on "independence" but also on "decolonization"; whatever that means. Maybe he knows himself.
It's piquant that the Tim Magno [tim=team] is rumored to be financed by PM Shorty's club: mafia money.
Shorty and Sulvaran Accuse Public Ministry
The reason why ex-PM Shorty has been charged was because of an anonymous leak of his (and his partners) MOT-transactions [Meldpunt Ongebruikelijke Transacties - Reporting Point Unusual Transactions]. But the public prosecutor should have charged the anonymous tipster instead, says Sulvaran. He's not only a member of the comical trio, but also Shorty's lawyer. And didn't Shorty's own government conclude that there was nothing wrong with those MOT transactions? Q.E.D.!
If You Read Dutch, Don't Miss This
Of course, there always Google Translate, and others that are maybe even funnier! Knipselkrant Curaçao has published a rather long story on what's going on between Shorty, Arsjes, Wiels and their army of goons. We have been and still are being screwed for sure. And it may grow even worse.
Write What I Want, or Else...
Journalist Cooper has been forbidden by PM Arsjes to visit his press meetings for two weeks. Cooper is protesting.
How About CDM?
Indie PM Leeflang wants to know when the 300 CDM-workers will finally get their money. And by the way you know, she asks how's the situation with those Cuban slaves whose 80m dollar debt has meanwhile grown to 120m?
Not Over and Done With
Justice lets it be known that the Babel investigation against ex-PM Shorty is still going full swing. Seems it's not only me that was getting worried, as Shorty's mouth is getting bigger and bigger as time goes by.
Shorty is accused of money laundering, forgery and fraud.
As the school-bus drivers got sick and tired of waiting for the government to pay them, they went on strike: as from yesterday no school children will be transported to and from their schools. The timing is right, because today "happens" to be Efo-toets day (final tests for basic schools—highly important for teaching pundits).
The bus drivers say there's money enough to pay them, there are just not enough spoiled brats to have the payments processed. They're probably too busy with (illegal) protest meetings during working hours.
5% Less Tourists
The number of tourists visiting Curaçao in 14QI dropped from 113,503 to 108,067. But not to worry, they stayed for more nights: 420 more nights or 1% more.
But last month the number of tourists went down with 12%. We get no information on how many nights they stayed. And we only hear how much they spent in that quarter, not what they spent a year ago. Hmmm.
Right on Time
One  day before the supervisory board was expected to handle the case against that Comical Lawyer Trio, they filed a recusal request against the judge: they want another one. (There is a judge because the session is public instead of private, at their own request.) Their reason? "Everybody is against us and partisan." Would make me think a bit, but not everybody is the same.
Not Very Impressive
In memory of PS Wiels a heavily pushed memorial service was held in Pietermaai cathedral (100 visitors) followed by a procession to Mari Pompun, where his murder took place one year ago; 50 participants—last year there were 5000. Makes one wonder how many voters that party would get at new elections.
Making even clearer how the party has fallen apart, there was another ceremony (200 people among whom PM Arsjes and the rest of the PS gang, including Fräudelein Wiels). They named some road after Wiels.
No, it was not named "Road to Perdition" before.
Definitely Not Funny
The new hospital does not meet the EOP requirements and should be banned. Is what PS Cijntje says, and he makes several good points. But he definitely goes too far when he goes on to state that the EOP should be adapted "because project developers can't comply". But that's good, leave it in!
That's Just Great
Minister Balborda tells us that renewal of the Punda sewage system will shortly start. Hey Balborda, then the out-of-order sewage plants will spew even more filth out into the sea? We're all really looking forward to that.
Says Balborda, the sewage plants are twenty years old and should be renovated (but first the sewers must be fixed, hey, naturally). Really? After only twenty years? Normal sewage plants, built without corruption interfering, have a life expectancy of "many decades".
The three lawyers (among who Peppie & Kokkie) who will have a hearing on May 7, want this to be public and not behind closed doors, as they "don't trust the impartiality of their colleagues in the disciplinary board." I say, let 'em have it—right between the eyebrows.
MFK Thodé wanted to show how slow the government works when providing subsidies to subsidies and foundations. He collected a number of them and handed those in on April 29th at 16:30 (4:30 pm for you, gringo), well knowing that the next two days, April 30 and May 1, were days off and that the deadline for such requests was May 1. But Staten parliament head Franco exposed his machinations.
Economy during the last twenty years has averagely grown with 0.1%; unemployment now is 13% but for youth 37%.
Just Blowing [Our] Money
Indie MP Leeflang asks about a super-glossy and expensive magazine that the Wiels Woman is having published. Who needs it? And even then, the very first issue has a cover-photograph of singer Kris Berry—without her permission. But, mirabile dictu, in this case for once Wiels seems to have apologized.
Come to Think of It
Say, that crime-fighting drone is really making a difference, huh? Or am I wrong?
An Extra Impulse for Tourism
Curaçao's coastal waters (where not only tourists swim, but we as well) are heavily polluted by sewage, especially after rain showers. During peaks lasting from three to five days, pollution can exceed 35-50 times the Florida norm. Small wonder, as the sewage treatment plants (built around 1985 for a price twice what you'd pay in England) have not been working for years; sewage is just collected there and then passed on into the sea.) Welcome to our tropical paradise!
But face it, many tourists aren't so choosy. I've seen a Dutch grandmother rinse out her grandchild's poop diaper in the water (at Daaibooi beach—highly popular with the Dutch because it's free).
(Still) Working on It
Minister Whiteman is still working on a replacement for inspector of health Huurman who left the island almost a year ago, on May 3. But we don't need to worry, Whiteman says; everything is just fine. That's good to know.
A new candidate is almost chosen, and can go to work in "less than three months."
Pueblo Soberano: One Happy Family
Too bad if you're not a member! Antilliaans Dagblad relates the sad story of a contractor who signed an agreement with Marvel Woman Wiels ('His' Sis) to renovate the Curaçao House and her residence. She forced him to hire two guys who, as it turns out now, she first wanted to handle the work, but who weren't licensed to do so. They were her niece's hubby and his cousin. Well, make a long story short, thanks to her manipulations the contractor is as good as bankrupt and is now suing for his money.
The total job, originally stated to cost €600,000 (over USD 800K or almost ANG1.5M) turns out to cost €1.5 million (over USD 2M or almost ANG3.7M).
Of course Wiels denies that she paid her former press attaché 300,000 guilders to get rid of her (without saying how much she did get paid). She's right there, it's even 15K more than that. Meanwhile, that Curaçao House has been turned into a Family Plot: her daughter Gilanne and (ex-minister of Injustice and Illiteracy) Wilsoen's son Andrew got jobs there as well.
But don't worry for Wiels; with her iron grip on PM Arsjes it will all be hushed up once again.
Oh yeah, Wiels gets a marvelous ANG6000/month rent compensation as long as her official residence is being renovated. Since she got her job in July 2013 she's been living in her own Rhoon, Holland, house. Goes without saying that Wiels denies it all; but Antilliaans Dagblad remarks they have not received any request to rectify.
Wiels, who meanwhile has gotten the nickname "Fraudelyne", now threatens to sue that contractor. After all,
she haswe have plenty of money to pay for that.
After newspaper Ultimo Noticia published an article naming two Big Business Bonzos complete with photographs, members of Grupo Sopi as the instigators of the murder on Wiels, they now retracted this and say they're sorry. They were also calling the murder of Wiels "the murder of cabinet Arsjes" and they may have a better point there.
Grupo Sopi is a group of financiers, consultants, ceo's of government-owned companies overheid-nv's, mediapeople, participants of several political parties and leaders of divers associations, who regularly come together for a soup-slurping orgy. How cozy.
Wiels Paid Up
Marvel Woman Wiels, our sorry excuse for a rep in den Haag, has decided to pay her fired press attaché seven months of salary for sitting at home (it's a habit for those in government service) plus a sumptuous compensation, total estimated at least 300,000 guilders (€120k or USD185k). PM Arsjes signed a paper back in November enabling her to do this; another instance of her blackmailing him?
In That Case, Batten The Hatches!
For a change, this year a mild hurricane season is predicted. They're always predicting worse than ever and it rarely comes true. Taking a line through that, better watch it and fix your roof.
They'd Like That
PIAS party states that Cft financial supervision should be disbanded (I thought they already were) and replaced by a begrotingskamer [budget chamber]. This last contraption would not have anything to do with Rijksministerraad [kingdom cabinet] but only with the Curaçao government.
Wait Some More
The MOU which was supposed to be signed in March between PdVSA and our government on their future Isla refinery cooperation, hasn't been signed yet, and nobody knows when it will be. Least of all PdVSA and our government
PM Arsjes says it was in March, but it was in February. They keep bad track of dates, our Glorious Leaders.
When the first items started to appear on renovating the Curaçaohuis in the Hague, Holland, I had my doubts but decided to shut up about them. You gotta know, this is the hang-out of Marvel Woman Wiels. Then, we were told her official residence had to be fixed as well. Oh. Next item, the Curaçaohuis was in danger of collapse; next to no maintenance had been done in the last twenty years. (I've been in that building and it looked fairly solid to me.) And now, we hear the contractor who has been working for Curaçaohuis the last four years (so what did he do there?) has been replaced with another one.
You can't blame me for suspecting the new contractor having bribed Wiels, but I won't say he did!—that would be libel, defamation and slander. But he could pay it, the largely superfluous work is budgeted for €600,000 (over USD 800K or almost ANG1.5M).
It's Only Money... Hey, That's our Money!
The launch of efforts to sell the Rif Resort Hotel has just started. It was planned for January but it was delayed for two months, we hear. Two months? Hey, that's three months! Damn liars.
It's already clear that the proceeds will not reach to pay all the debts back. Even not counting Marriott's refusal to pay the interest on their debts.
Shorty: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
CPA port authority management protests against a deal made when ex-PM Shorty Was King with CPS port services, giving them a monopoly in container harbor services—for twenty years with an option for twenty more. I for one don't doubt it was for a price.
Minister Palm says it's impossible to turn this around, and not desirable either because of "continuity". Ya bet. So we're continuously stuck with it.
A Dutch parliament majority, led by VVD party calls it unthinkable that the Curaçao government has been allowed by Cft financial supervision to start borrowing money again. Six of the government-owned companies are in serious trouble and yearly financial statements have not been handed in, let alone approved.
VVD also does not agree with Curaçao's (and St. Maarten's) wish to cancel unilaterally the "consensus" state laws between the kingdom partners. Glad somebody agrees; but will it help?
One hang-upo seems to be that when Curaçao wants to borrow, Holland is obliged to lend. No Comment, but my fingers itch.
Girobank in Trouble
After an aggressive growth period Girobank has so many problems that CSBS Central Bank has fired the management and replaced them with another team. For all practical purposes, CSBS already took over in December last year but refrains from any comment.
Among other things, the problems of several airlines have contributed to Girobank's situation.
Minister Whiteman means well, but he has been suckered into buying the sales talk of another well-meaning man to start planting trees in the so-called Waterboxx. In the first placed, that's primarily meant for really dry climates; in ours with a relatively high if irregular rainfall, much cheaper methods can be used, as described by frater Arnoldo who in the late 1960s wrote, in government commission, a manual on reforestation of the Netherlands Antilles.
Even then, a much simpler and cheaper similar system, Irripan, is available in Israel.
10 Waterboxxes cost &Euro;199 while the price of 10 Irripans is $49.90. So one Waterboxx for ANG48.88 comes 5.5 times as expensive as one Irripan for ANG8.88.
Vomit Comet Delayed
The space gang's plans have, now it's official, been delayed until somewhere in the year 2016. Still, the government wants to push through the laws making all that possible before next June. Why the hurry? Better have a good look at that concept first, as it has been drafted by those guys themselves.
We've been screaming it from our, admittedly pretty low, roof all the time: tourists do not come here for nightlife, beaches and hotel quality—these things hardly exist. But CTB tourist board keeps advertising as if these were our main attractions. Now Robertico Croes (University of Central Florida) has written a report in which he agrees with us. But will it help?
Hart May Well Ask
Notwithstanding all optimistic government press releases, the New Hospital still is a mess. After Sehos management was commanded to stop their own rebuilding plans (renewal in stages) and an agreement was signed instead with infamously corrupt Ballast-Nedam builders. We were promised the new hospital would be ready and working in 2016. Since then, a ground-breaking ceremony has taken place and inhabitants of Otrabanda have been complaining about the intense clouds of dust raised by bulldozers. But, as Joseph Hart tells us, that's about it: hardly any real work has been done, the terrain where the hospital is supposed to be built has not even been paid for, and neither have the owners of the Colon supermarket been paid yet.
Let's Have Them
Indie Leeflang wants to see the year accounts 2011-2012 of Isla Refinery. Hey, yeah, good idea.
Some of the inhuman measures the government wants to take to spend less on the
spoiled bratscivil servants:
Retirement age will go up from 60 to 65
Pension will be based not on final, but on average salary
No more indexing of higher cost of living
End of "VUT" regulation, where civil servants can retire early
Freezing of salary indexing for two years and halving of vacation allowance
Not to mention many compensating measures to meet the civil servants' complaints
WOW! That's Just Great!
Economy minister Jardim has signed a fiscal treaty with the Republic of Seychelles to prevent double taxation. Just what we were desperately needing. I'm sure a lot of people heave a sigh of relief.
Ex-PM Shorty is campaigning for something called "Reforma". Nobody knows who's paying. What it entails mainly is no screening for ministers, including the PM, and no "seat robbing" [zetelroof]. Both bad things: the first part because that's what brought the country to the edge of bankruptcy and anarchy; the second part because it's exactly that what saved us (for now). In other words, if the people are dumb enough to give Shorty and his movement enough votes, he will become the Dictator he'd love to be. Or rather, which his puppet-manipulating backers would like him to become.
Protests against Shorty's new way to the top are gathering momentum. Good.
When even a minister (Whiteman) states that the
spoiled bratscivil servants are behaving in an anti-social way, you know it's really bad. Sure, we knew already, but the ministers really depend on the civil servants to get their job done, so they tend to watch their step.
Whiteman's statement concerns the refusal of the unions to join BVZ illness insurance. This keeps the tariff for old-agers at 10% instead of the more affordable 6.5%.
There You Have It
Societal disruption because of criminality is really setting in now. No more mini-buses will service Seru Fortuna [or Seru Papaya] since one driver has been assaulted and robbed. Only after 20:00 (that 8 PM, gringo), so for practical purposes it almost amounts to a curfew.
It's not often we can agree with Gijsbertha, director of Isla refinery, but he's quite right when he says the government should never enter into negotiations with PdVSA to separate COT Curaçao Oil Terminal from the Refinery. Which the dummies reputedly are considering.
There Goes the EOP
Randy Neuman and VBC entrepreneurs club insist the EOP [island development plan] should be adapted; but minister Balborda has already stated this was unnecessary. In all fairness, it has always been the intention that EOP should be evaluated every five years, and it never happened (business as usual). In that light I wouldn't see any problems with it—if only it wasn't Neuman, the champion landscape raper, who was pressing for it.
VBC says EOP is a brake on economic development. If so, I still say 1st things 1st: let's get rid of the government et al.
Youth Agrarian Brigade
Can't help it, : when they start talking about "brigades", especially "youth brigades", the thought associations with the Nazi and communist parties are unavoidable. Worse, this concerns de Jeugd Agrarische Brigade which I've always considered a chimera. Now, the Raad van Advies [advisory council] for once agrees with me. There's just no room for the planned 700 workers; no females need apply; and it will take 150
spoiled bratspeople to work in the JAB, who probably can't even be found on Curaçao.
Minister Palm claims that economy will grow 0.5-1.5% this year. It had better hurry up then, the first quarter has gone by. This has to come mainly out of tourism and investments. We'll have to wait, but it's not very impressive: below par.
PM Arsjes tells everybody who wants to listen that Wiels's brother movement for a new party is an April 1 joke. We'll have to wait and see who's the real April Fool here.
Looking for Losers and Suckers
Minister Palm plans to start selling shares in government-owned companies on the Dutch Caribbean Security Exchange. Hey mon, you wanna buy shares in a company guaranteed to lose money?
Now the doctors are asking SVB social insurance to come with reasons for dropping all those patients from their lists. Understandably, they get an amount per patient. But it looked pretty clear to me; seems muddier than I thought.
That Towing Company Again
Manager Brute of KTK Curaçao Towing Company has been fired instantly because he also was commercial director for a company where he ordered things for KTK. Cozy set-up! It just keeps going on with CPA Port Authority. Murdered PS Wiels was already working on this and only now the guy's fired?
But Power Management & Control Systems nv denies Brute is in their employment. But "for some reason" he's still registered as their commercial director with KKN chamber of commerce.
Minister Balborda announces that, contrary to the optimistic statements of Modern Street Railways, which has made a deal to build such a 19th century thing on Aruba, they won't put in such modernization here. Sounds wise (except maybe from the point of view of Balborda's wallet).
The hotels had 3% less guests in February than last year, 76.3%. Hmmm. That's carnival time, too.
We have a new party! It's a brother of murdered politician Wiels (definitely a relation to their mutual sister) who started it. It's called '1' TIM MAGNO ['1' Great Team—moree or less and has 500 members; no doubt coming from the PS party. Good.
Just a Coïncidence
Marvel Woman Wiels's work visit to Curaçao just happened to be necessary at Carnival time (when nobody here works, let alone the government). Ah. I'm glad PM Arsjes cleared that up; this might have started libelous rumors otherwise.
I Dare Say
Now Curaçao wants a Central Bank of its own. No doubt.
So Much for That
Venezuelan president Maduro's proposal to pay airlines their due has fallen flat. He wants to pay 11.30 Bolivares per dollar owed them by Cadivi, which none of the airlines has accepted as most of those debts were made at a time when the dollar was worth almost twice as much. Nobody thought he meant it, anyway.
Air Canada and Avianca, among others, have stopped or reduced flights to Venezuela. All in all, Venezuela-owed foreign airlines 3.7 billion dollars by March 20.
40 to over 50% of all salaries paid goes, as tax or social insurance premium, to the government. VBS entrepreneurs club asks what we get back for all that. I guess they know the answer: precious little.
Not really—we cannot (and why should we?) Finally, justice minister Navarro has conceded that and he is asking Holland to help out in the fight against criminality.
Minister Francisca keeps getting problems because not everybody, ahem, seems to agree with her. Last September, the Tayer Soshal management filed a complaint against her for libel, slander and insult. Now it's the top of Labor and her collegues of Social Development, Labor and Welfare she who are discontented. Francisca had fired them all! but the judge told them to return to their jobs.
Next dilemma: while minister van der Horst wants all those civil servants sitting at home to return to their jobs, but Labor minister Francisca refuses them to appear there!
Never Rains But Pours
After DAE, InselAir and Tiara got in trouble, now it's Air Berlin, who have regular flights Europe-Curaçao. Even though they're guaranteed to get a lot of money, to promote the holy tourism cow.
But Venezuela's president Maduro now has announced that airlines will get paid against the exchange rate at the time the ticket was sold. Where he'll get the money, he doesn't tell. InselAir reacts that they've had promises since 2010. Only, Air Berlin denies and claims it's all rubbish by an "investor rights group".
Let Us All Celebrate! Lights ON
Tonight is the yearly hysterical global warming er... whatever (can't keep up with the ever-changing words for it) Lights Out Hour (20:30). So, naturally, you know me by now, I'll switch 'em on. Anyway, I never noticed Curaçao made much ado about this what's after all nothing but an empty symbolic gesture.
Cft financial supervision states in their 2013 report that, with all austerity measures, the
spoiled bratscivil servants have been spared most of all and everything. We knew it all the time.
But What Can They Do?
MFK party is indignant because the US International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) 2013 report mentions the names of ex-PM Shorty and Robbie dos Santos, but omits central bank director Tromp. They can protest all they want, won't help a whit.
Tiara Air: Looks Hopeless
Personnel claims so. Many have not been paid for two months already. Both their aircraft out of service and the leaser has repossessed the engines. There's more, but no need to go on. Also no use to go on supporting them.
Ex-minister Wilsoen (PS) threatens in parliament that Free Education must become law or his party will pull the plug out of the government. Don't make my mouth water! Anyway, I thought it was law already; only, there's no money to make it come true.
Holland Gets in the Act
Dutch parliament requests the cabinet to start pressuring Venezuela to pay its debts to InselAir and Tiara. Lots of luck with that; where there is no money, no money will be paid.
Building will soon start on the Wechi terrain, starting with 200 houses of the 4000 planned by FKP public building. So they have started removing all vegetation rücksichtslos, it's a habit. That has already been done a couple of years ago, and FOØL Godett is rumored to have made a lot of money there. But that's libel; people are just jealous. True, it's hard to understand why all trees were bulldozed down then, when now it has to be done all over again.
Then again, according to CBS statistics there have been built 10,000 new houses during the last ten years, of which half are not in use and 2,500 are used vacation houses. Good info is hard to get (the media say there are 10,00 standing empty, which doesn't compute) but I guess all those are private.
Fast Recovery Expected
Cft financial supervision predict a fast economic recovery this year (of which the first quarter has already gone by). They're about the only ones.
Hey, I thought those Cft guys had stopped!
Selikor's Sheer Stupidity
They're appealing the judge's verdict in the Kokomo Beach trial. I warned against that, but would they listen (or, get right down to it, even read it)? Oh well, they've got plenty of money... plenty. Of our money.
March in Step
Minister Palm tells Korpodeko development fund that they should march in
goosestep with the government for best results. I can't find any details. Maybe he means re. InselAir?
CBS statistics has gauged entrepreneurs' confidence and it's pretty low. Imagine. Only 52% of companies have made any profit (10% less than the year before). VBC entrepreneurs club calls government policies "unfriendly": bureaucracy should be reduced, efficiency increased and costs economized. Especially immigration and licensing are a horror.
Dying Like Flies
Now it's Aruban Tiara Air going broke after DAE, with InselAir in trouble as well. They have asked for surseance van betaling [say, chapter 11 bankruptcy], lost their Air Operator's Certificate and stopped flying since March 20.
However, two days later Tiara announced they got permits to continue flying for another month.
So What's the Problem?
The police claims that they know where all those illegal weapons come from. Oh. Why haven't they stopped them coming in, then?
A Good Laugh
Calmes, head of ABVO cicil servants' union, claims that it's getting less and less attractive to work for the government; it's just "idealists" who choose to do so. He has the feeling that private jobs are more pleasing with no headaches, better working conditions and less pressure.
No Comment needed—even though minister van der Horst has some.
As minister Balborda wants to improve 300 kms of roads in 3-5 years, so whaddayathink? Prices have gone up. There's only one large contractor in the business (CWB/Curaçao Wegenbouw Maatschappij), and they keep it all for themselves. Worse, while the going price per meter was 1100 guilders in 2012, this became 2100 now. PS member Cijntje asks if this is a megaproject or megafraud.
And those 400kms, now shrunk to 300, are much too little anyway even to keep up.
Tourism earned us 35.2m dollars last year. Oh how great! But according to the CIA, in 2008 our GDP was 2.838m which means tourism paid a measly 1.2% of that. CIA figure yet another way which gives a GDP of 5.08 billion, resulting in not even 7 pro mille. No doubt GDP is more now, if only because of inflation, so percentages are even smaller.
Curaçao Oil Terminal, after years of disuse functioning again has already caused at least in pollution disaster. Now hikers discovered a large dump with waste oil, old oil booms (labeled Refineria Isla), used sandblasting grit, construction materials... you name it, outside their own terrain; plus a 500m3pond containing asphalt-like tar.
Problem is they can't even be fined as that law is one of those forgotten in the hurry to get autonomous on the magic date 10-10-10.
Not That Big
Minister van der Horst doesn't understand why local media report the planned building for civil servants will contain all 4000 of them; at the most 1500, he says. It's planned to cost 119m guilders and be 19,900m2 large. That's 80k guilders and over 13m2 per civil servant. But the plans, supposed to be ready in January, have been delayed. And we still don't know where this ambtenarenpaleis is supposed to be built.
It's (Not Quite Yet) On
A PIAS party proposal to make those in power legally responsible for their acts is moving along the tortuous path. I can't wait.
Justice minister Navarro feels that car thefts should be reduced by 10%. Sure, Navarro, anything you say. Why not 50% or, say, here's an idea: 100%?
We've already had 9 killings this year. If this is a set trend, 2014 will count over 47 murders. Not bad for less than 150 thou inhabitants! Goes on like this, we're almost ready to join Venezuela, among the worst in the world, where it's 39/100,000/year (31,000 for us).
Navarro thinks incoming fire arms must be stopped; he wants to confiscate 80 this year (against 60 in 2013.) Suggestion: as licensing firearms for the citizenry is a no-no, why not give us all free ironing irons so we can defend ourselves?
No, pepper spray and tasers are forbidden as well, sorry, you're on your own.
Criminality keeps climbing, maybe in an effort to catch up with Venezuela. More and more gangs, younger and younger, more violence and weapons. Less discrimination though (hey, let's remain positive!) as more an more women join the gang. Maybe that explains a new weapon in use is a hot iron—not a shooting iron, an ironing iron.
Ex-DAE consultant Ramiz warns on his Fakebooc page that you shouldn't start a business in Curaçao unless you enjoy good relations with the many mafiosi in power. He may have a point, but what that has to do with slavery as he suggests is beyond me.
First we had the Post, tout court. Then a deal was made with the Canadian post (Canadian? Yes, Canadian—so don't ask, already) where several millions evaporated; from that point the "system" was called Nieuwe Post NA. But now, naturally it has become C-Post.
One thing hasn't changed. When you order from eBay, you have to complain in three weeks if you haven't got the stuff, or you've lost. But nothing arrives here in less than three weeks! A lot of extra work for everybody; except, of course, for the postal workers, there's that.
The botikas/pharmacies have been allowed to ask patients for 1 guilder per prescription, to reduce the amount of medications. This has worked fine, so health minister Whiteman wants to stop it. But the botikas protest: first, they sold less and now they forfeit that 1 guilder into the bargain! Tough, kids.
Not all botikas even take the trouble to charge that measly amount. Just saying.
Minister van der Horst announces that the stop on new civil servants remains in force, and wants to take action against 72 soiled brats who don't come to work and cost the country 6.4m guilders/year.
Might be cheaper to leave them at home, so they don't use airco and have to pay their own phone.
So the average civil servant seems to make almost 90,000 guilders/year (USD50,000). The average income (which includes the spoiled brats) is less than 1/3 of that, $14,000/year.
When now bankrupt airline DAE requested ANG5m ($2.75m) help from the government, the Department of Economic Development presented a report that their bankruptcy would have a negative impact on this year's economy of $108m, and advised to help DAE. But the government declined.
Now, the same dept. has advised negatively in the case of InselAir; but there, the government has granted them a "buffer fund" of $70m. You go figure, I see rhyme nor reason in this.
PIAS Rosaria denies that he has "tried to help" (financially} MFK member Quackie Constancia so she would join the coalition. He wants to see proof; just like we.
Hotels Go Well!
The Plaza hotel's electricity was cut off by Aqualectra utility yesterday for a couple of hours: they hadn't paid the bill. Now they have an "arrangement". The hotel had an occupation of 52% at that point (not any more now!), far below the break-even point, but that's much better than their usual rate of 25 to 35%. Hey, and it's top-season. All hotels are having problems; small wonder the government is planning to build new ones. After all, there's money to be made in building hotels.
Still Not Financed
Minister Jardim comes out to tell us that, now that the government can borrow money again, they will try to get the money for the new hospital on the local capital market. That after we were told Holland was financing it on terms that were so good the local market started protesting they never got a chance to make some money. Hey, you might well ask, what's going on here? Not that you'd expect an answer. That's transparency, folks!
Years ago we had a tourism deputy Chong who illegally made a nice pile by importing Washingtonia palms from Cuba for decorating our roads. Many died, some kept going. Now it's been dry so long that those are starting losing their branches/leaves and damaging cars.
So Much for Him
Justice minister Navarro's dept has been so busy with the Wiels murder, they had no time, despite all promises, to do something about reducing crime. Now parliament voted for a motion (17 to 0 votes) telling him to get to it. I'm sure that will help.
Another Flying Bottomless Pit
No doubt they've all been searching for a solution to keep the follow-up of ALM-DCA in the air, and now they found it: a "buffer fund" of $80m to enable InselAir to fly on. Those behind it state that in the long run, with all the oil supplies, Venezuela is sure to pay up. Not everybody shares that confidence.
At the same day, Tiara Air announced they stop flying to all destinations, except (are you ready?) Puento Fijo and Maracaïbo—both in Venezuela.
Nobody in Charge
After there were over 13,000 MOT meldingen [reports of unusual transactions] in 1953, the director of MOT was pensioned off last January and that's that for now. Which also means that the affairs around Robbie dos Santos and ex-PM Shorty sort of seem to be in a vacuum.
And by the way, what's the story on Peppie and Kokkie? We're getting curious.
Let's Wait Some More
Another guy who's suspected of bribery is Dean Rozier. But the Public Ministry announces that they have had no reply from the Canadian authorities to a request to get Rozier's Blackberry messages, and they just asked them again. Rozier "allegedly" offered three MFK party members ANG500k to withdraw their support to PM Shorty.
The boob offered bribes by messaging? No Comment.
No Vomit Comet This Year
As there are no laws to regulate the "space flights" from Curaçao, the announced first flight this year will have to be postponed. Also, the rocket ship has not passed the US certificate tests. And the FAA Hato airport degradation will last until well into 2015 anyway.
It's quite telling that it will take until 2017 before the relatively measly, for an ambitious project like this, loan by Hato airport (CAH) of $350,000, will be paid back by the Space Gang.
Don't ask me why (nor anybody else) but it now takes 12 weeks, 3 months, to renew your passport. Yhey will start catching up and reduce this to 4 or 5 weeks. How? Working overtime! See what van der Horst can do with that!
Don't Rejoice Too Soon
That goes for us and for the
spoiled bratscivil servants. Even though Cft have stopped their activities, that doesn't mean the salary cuts won't go through. But minister van der Horst is still negotiating. "How long, oh Lord, how long?"
Quackie Constancia is getting out of politics. Good for
herour health. But is it chronic?
She says her health is bad, that's why. Small wonder, she's all "alternative".
Political parties have to maintain a financial administration and have to follow rules, but nobody can force them to as they are no legal entities. Whoever thinks these things out? PIAS wants to change this.
So Much for PIAS
The director of Isla refinery will be Van den Wall-Arnemann. Oh. I thought PIAS found him unacceptable and just one more appointment of a political (meaning, Arsjes's).
Smart Thinking, NOT
The Rif Resort Hotel did so well, they went bankrupt so the government decided to buy it. But don't worry, after the bad last year this year will be one of recovery. That's what they say, at least. So still more hotels will be built.
Keep Those Fingers Crossed
Today the Cft [financial supervision] will come to an end. Our smart leaders are on their own. Doesn't look to well, as even when it worked they did pretty much as they liked.
The good thing of course is, the committee will be disbanded. Gee, I wonder how much they paid those committee members?
Great Idea! Bit Late, Though.
SVB social insurance pays every doctor an amount per registered patient. It finally occurred to them it might be smart to scratch the names not in the civil registry. Which saves them 1.8m guilders ($1m) a year.
Dick Drayer, in his altercation with Marvel Woman Wiels, uses the Papiamentu expression "kos pendeu" (I'd put it differently but that's how it reached me) which you'd translate as "balls" or "nuts". But as it definitely refers to the scrotum, not so tactful and surely Wiels will use this as an excuse for flying into a tantrum.
Funny? Pas le mot juste
The Danes, with all their wind generators delivering "free" energy are now paying Danish Krone 1.05 per kW and are definitely unhappy. As who wouldn't be. So the government is putting a stop to that foolishness.
Hey, but we're paying more than 3 times that! "Are you happeeeee?" "Noooooooo."
Journalist Dick Drayer, who has been rather critical of Marvel Woman Wiels, got into a fight with her bodyguards. According to Wiels, he told her "Ik maak je af, trut" [I'll kill you, bitch]. That's how Google translates this, but the word bitch is much too strong. Drayer denies anyway. He was then beaten by her
gorillasbodyguards, which Wiels in turn denies. ça va sans dire that the Dutch are pissed by this behavior of what after all is a member of their cabinet. I hope Drayer doesn't mind my reproducing his photograph of Wiels; it's all over the place anyway.A few days later Wiels filed a complaint of her own against Drayer, claiming that he had threatened her. But Drayer announces he's got it all on tape and will publish on Wednesday (after carnaval). You could listen to it here, but it has since disappeared. (Persbureau Curaçao page, mostly in Dutch). 2014-03-04
Compare with that old paragon of civilization, ex-PM Myrna Godett, who also loved a good quarrel.
I Can Believe That
Development bank Korpodeko wants an internal audit, rather than have the government do it. To be sure.
Cft Does Not Agree
Cft tells minister of finance Jardim that his loans for the new hospital are in conflict with Rijkswet [kingdom law] and wants to discuss further financing with him. Uh oh. "Pre-financing" last quarter of 2013 has reduced Curaçao's liquidity position by some 100m guilders ($55m).
Ain't That Great
Today, February 28, I received the 2014 declaration forms for sales tax. I should have declared the tax over January on the 15th at last, and did so because you're fined incredible, outrageous, scurrilous ["grossly or obscenely abusive"] amounts if not. We have to comply to the letter, while they do as they like.
Say It Ain't So, Please
PAR was rumored to join the coalition, who then get two seats more in parliament, giving them a 13-8 majority. But PAR declares they're just rumors, there has been no discussion on this at all. Phew.
(As long as it isn't MFK, there's that.)
That's Just What He Says
Mafioso Corallo says that he has sold his interests in Paradise Plaza Curaçao casinos. Too bad nobody else seems to be able to confirm that; wouldn't be the first time he lied. He also wants to buy off a €485 million fine with 10% of that amount. I wouldn't mind such a deal myself.
The fine is because he had neglected to register his gambling machines with the Tax Persons.
Sorry, but when the news breaks out all over the media that "Green Town" has offered the government 1 guilder for Isla refinery, I can't share the excitement. It's a totally empty gesture and I bet that it remains so (for 1 guilder).
Much Ado about FDRS
Parliament decided that although minister Jardim was not entirely correct in his handling of the FDRS affair, and though a vote of no-confidence was not accepted, he himself figured they had a point and will re-evaluate the foundation and check if it is, after all, a government institution or a private affair.
But ex-PM Shorty feels that's entirely unsatisfactory and wants a new debate in which Soab government accounting should be asked questions about their investigation.
Crooks Flock Together
Right after the Wiels Lottery Dossier, Knipselkrant Curaçao has published the Assendelft van Wijck Dossier again, in Dutch). Hey, that's the as good as bankrupt guy who wanted to build those islands in front of the Willemstad Punda coast, thus making a nice fat extra buck. Of course, PM Shorty and Goons were all for it. But it misfired anyway. Cheese, I stopped counting even the guy's convictions, let alone the charges.
Screw the Thumbs!
While the penshonados will shortly have to pay only 6.5% of their net income for their health insurance instead of 10, employers will have to pay 1% more for their employees: 13%. Also, premium-free income, now ANG100,000, will be raised to 150,000. But the
civil servantsspoiled brats still have a separate deal, which is not incorporated in SVB [social insurance].
Now or Never
That guy Chávez won't be here to sign that MoU tomorrow. He has to go to "another country" (hey, why so cute? An unmentionable?) Not that it makes any difference, it wouldn't be worth the effort anyway. Only marks on paper. Just a reason for Schadenfreude because once more, PM Arsjes is standing there with his silken BVDs down to his knees.
Chávez will now come "after March 10". That's very clear, isn't it?
Energy poverty is defined by the number of households that must pay more than 10% of their net income on energy. In Germany, thanks to the wind generators and solar panels that were supposed to deliver "free" energy (so the nuclear reactors could be dismantled after the so-called disaster at Fukushima), now 17% of households are in that condition.
Other European countries where the problem exists are Denmark, the UK and Spain; the biggest proponents of "alternative energy". Just a coïncidence, of course.
CBS puts the Curaçao poverty index at a monthly income of ANG2195 (2008, 2 adults/2 children). Meaning their energy poverty index is 30kW/month: for which they can run one new super-efficient refrigerator (wich, BTW, doesn't exist)—that's all, folks!
Easy Way Out
Because van Kwartel has disgustedly decided not to become a board member of Isla refinery, there's only the candidate left who's generally indicated as a political friend of PM Arsjes. So he will get the job. No doubt a relief for PIAS Rosaria, as it lets him off free, and he doesn't have to fear another fiasco.
It may not finish there anyway; now there are rumors that van Kwartel will become head of Aqualectra utility after present director Jonis has been kicked out. It's fiercely denied, of course.
HOT: Wiels Lottery Dossier
Knipselkrant Curaçao published it. Makes for interesting reading (sorry, in Dutch); looks definitely like UTS telephone company is involved in questionable practices. The way I read it (but there's a lot of links in there) the board of Wega di Number [lotteries] is not responsible for compliance monitoring, but does have a signaling task. Which it neglected.
That's Too Much
Of a salary of 50,000 guilders per year, 20,000 (40%) goes to the government in the form of taxes, premiums etc. Over 100,000, it's 51,000; over 50%.
Will It Work?
Minister Jardim wants to replace the present Cft [financial supervision, those troublemakers] with a Curaçao organ, called Begrotingskamer [budget chamber]. This chamber will advise on budget matters, and (here comes the rub) their advice can (only) be put aside with a 2/3rd majority in parliament.
The chamber will have five members who choose their own chairperson. They must be selected "without interference or consultation". Hah!
Pay Up? We'll See.
In a 2010 court case, the judge pronounced that Isla refinery has to pay a 75 million guilders ($41m) fine if their SO2 pollution exceeds the norm of 80?gram/m3. The recent fire caused an exorbitant excess of 109.6, and Isla must now pay up. However, minister of health Whiteman and UO MNB [environmental management] hold themselves aloof and incommunicado, so we may expect yet another wasteful court action by SHZC [humanitarian care foundation) and Smoc, who maintain that this is a Dutch responsibility.
SO2 or sulfur dioxide readily combines with water in the atmosphere, forming among others H2SO3, sulfurous acid.
Ten years ago Willemstad was listed by Unesco on the World Heritage List. Lots of old buildings were restored, but this has come to an end and some are even beginning to fall apart again. With the probable result the island will be removed from the list. Good for tourism! Let's slaughter the holy cow that lays the golden eggs!
Having a Try
Local banks, who have been complaining that there's no money to be made these days down here, have come out with a proposal to finance the new hospital ad 120m guilders ($66m). Has to be looked at by Staten (parliament) first.
A Great Loss
Not so much DAE airline as the debts they left behind. 89 million guilders ($49m) in total. Almost 27 million to Korpodeko and 35 million to Girobank. Then there's 8m in taxes and 7m for SVB social security. Creditors' claims (still coming in) are now over 43m. The executors' message is snappy: Forget It All.
Still not nearly as bad as ALM which went down with a 350m debt.
Hey, That's Nothing!
Between 2010 and 2013 Aqualectra utility has lost 224m guilders ($132). Here's what they want to do about it: save money by using more solar and wind energy, lower electricity distribution loss to 10% and water leaks to 18%. We've heard al that before. Lots of times. But director Jonis says "he's not worried." That's good to know.
"More solar and wind energy" just like in Spain.
First, it was announced that InselAir would stop all flights to Venezuela. A smart move, even if it's much too late. But now, Insel denies: they stubbornly will continue regardless.
Don't Understand It
All of a sudden, a Memory of Understanding has been announced between Venezuelan PdVSA and Isla refinery. After 2019, PdVSA will participate in the refinery as a joint venture (they are now mere renters for a bagatelle. Many questions remain, mainly, where to find the money to keep that rust heap going? The MoU will be signed the 26th.
Question: who else but the Obese One's Gang would want to continue business with a country whose leaders have now started a civil war?
As for now, the quarrel about new Isla board members has been (partly) resolved because one of the candidates withdrew in disgust. Leaves us with the other—who is now almost guaranteed to be a less decent guy.
Lots of Questions
In a parliament meeting where a report of Rekenkamer on the Central Bank was discussed, ex-PM Shorty asked 96 questions. But Indie Leeflang had a good one: why nag about the situation in 2012, while the Bank right now is in a much more critical position?
Minister Balborda says the EOP is a "splendid instrument" for the development of Curaçao. Hmmm. Yet another potential coalition split?
Good! Fire Him!
Indie MP Leeflang feels finance minister Jardim should be fired because of his misbehavior in the FDRS affair. She even claims there are ground for legal prosecution (so why not start them, Leeflang?)
According to Soab government accounting the subsidy has not been applied for in time by FDRS and should have been refused.
Interestingly, the "secret documents" which have been circulating about FDRS are claimed to have been tampered with. Who would do such a terrible thing? Maybe some friend of ex-PM Shorty who used the "edited" versions in parliament. Anyway, Soab denies that they leaked them.
That Goes a Bit Far
Police have chased an armed motorcycle driver all over the island, and finally arrested the wrong guy (free again). The armed man was hanging around in front of health minister Whiteman's house. Say, was he sent by the anti-fluoride club? Or maybe by some of those surgeons? I mean to say, Whiteman isn't that ugly.
More Fun and Games
The judge has ordered Wega di Number [number games] to accept board members Römer and Ider back in function, with payment of their salaries since September last year. The country (owner of WdN) should present arguments why the two have been fired.
Tough? Yes, and Quite Right
For once. Finance minister Jardim refuses absolutely to give any help to InselAir. First, two other ministers torpedoed plans to help out DAE; now the same guys (Palm and Balborda) made a U-Turn and want to help out Insel with a much larger amount.
It's rumored the government had no problems with sending DAE down the garbage disposal unit, but Insel, hey, that's another matter.
Political Parties Flap
This time, in the quarrel about the new Isla refinery board member, PAIS says they will not retreat like they did in the Marvel Woman affair (which cost them a lot of goodwill. But PM Arsjes, how like him, won't move an inch. He says "Either you work with us [PS], or with MAN, or with MFK." (There are more options, of course.) Arsjes also claims he's "not afraid of new elections"—they merely cost the earth, what should he worry?
I thought politicians' function was to work out these disputes and find a compromise (which is why I despise them, true); but even that, they are unable to. Still, I guess for once I agree with Arsjes: let's have those new elections, already! Dream on, kid...
Cft Well Might Worry
What about? Well, about the dividends government corps are supposed to pay, needed to balance the budget. But it looks like they're nowhere near paying up. Cft would like to see hard figures, and so would we all.
Cft financial supervision warns that the groundbreaking ceremony for the new hospital was a bit premature. After all, even financing it isn't anywhere near round. Right.
More Coalition Problems
PS minister Francisca is causing trouble in her own party; she did not vote for PM Arsjes's nomination of some political friend as board member of Isla refinery. MP Cordoba, also PS, Helmin Wiels's anti-corruption party, is alleged to want to give 13 members a job, but Francisca finds this unacceptable, which caused a party quarrel. What we hear is, she threatened to quit as a minister if she was further nagged by Cordoba.
More about Marvel Woman
Dutch parliament is not satisfied with the meager replies from PM Arjes, Wiels and Dutch MP Rutte on Wiels's cv-fraud etc. They want a deeper investigation, especially since Wiels as a member of the Kingdom's Raad van Ministers [ministers' council] has access to sensitive, also international, files.
One More Thing to Believe Before Breakfast
PM Arsjes announces that, since ex-PM Shorty left his room in Fort Amsterdam, the file on Oil and Gas in and around Curaçao has disappeared. This while Arsjes had announced parliament might have a look at it! Has he ever seen it at all? Does there exist only one copy? Wouldn't the guys that wrote the report have a copy of their own? Good questions, I feel, but nobody seems to ask 'em (but me, true).
Maybe the PG found the report, with Shorty's diplomatic passport and hopefully even more good things. This was reported in the media last week; but the public ministry (as always) does not comment.
Short & Snappy
Small wonder: school education is a disaster with marks for math and Papiamentu going down all the time. Only Dutch went up to 4.94 (on a 1-10 scale).
Bad News All Over, from the South
Things seem to be - finally - coming to a head in Venezuela, the country that was such a shining example to PS Wiels RIP, ex-PM Shorty and their fellows. Don't worry, I don't plan to start a blow-by-blow account on what's going on there, but it's a mess that can only grow worse.
First PdVSA, the renters of "our" Isla refinery. In spite of plans to get production back up last year, actual production dropped to the level of . These are the guys that
weOur Leaders are negotiating with to keep that rust-heap going after 2019? Forget it. One is quite entitled to wonder how long PdVSA can even go on paying their ridiculous rent.
What still frightens me most about PdVSA-Isla is what a US journalist working in Venezuela told me several years ago, that it's "the best refinery they've got going".
Then, Venezuela just announced in spite of Promises! Promises! not to, a new 22% devaluation. "... the Government simply said it had no foreign currency to pay the US$ 8.4 billion debt between CADIVI and the private sector from imports made in 2013" (The Devil's Excrement which is very news indeed for InselAir and Tiara airlines, after already breaking DAE's back.
After a year of toilet paper shortage, now their newspapers complain there's no paper for them. Well, that would amount to the same thing.
Here the results of the last traffic controls: 75 cars were checked and 64 got a ticket. 26 for driving without safety belt. Worse, 1 had no horn and 2 no working brakes, 13 no drivers license, 9 no insurance and 10 no valid car test; total about 1 in 3.
Hato and Insel
After Insel started complaining that the tariffs for CAP's Hato airport were much too high, CAP comes back with a statement that it's very simple, Insel has to pay like everybody else. Matter of fact, CAP claims they pay lower tariffs than everybody else in the first place.
No Change at All
After Mariselle Maduro got a negative advise by SBTNO (supervision of government services) to become president commissary of RdK Isla refinery, she was appointed anyway. Now the exact same thing is going on with Jose van den Wall-Arnemann as new director. Only PAIS is against.
To which PM Arsjes (SP) reacts that this is "unethical": Rosaria should keep his mouth shut and do as he'e told, I guess. But Rosaria in turn states that this coalition "can't go on governing just like that".
Then, PAIS candidate van Kwartel for the same function, also a MAN favorite, is a good PdVSA guy and indie Sulvaran wonders if he's right for the function, at this time.
Slaves Don't Stop Suing
The Cuban CDM workers, who have been rewarded over USD80million (plus interest now over 120) in compensation for their slave-like conditions started suing the country of Curaçao, as CDM can't possibly pay and the country is the legal owner. The country's request to the US court of justice to stop this has now been rejected.
The yearly carnaval hysteria has broken out, and one of the big items is the Tumba-Festival where singers compete for the song that will be used in the Gran Marcha great parade. But honkie de Windt stepped out of the competition when he learned that Glenn Camelia was in the jury, accusing Camelia of racism: only yu'i Kursow need apply—if they're black.
Camelia is one of the fervent FKO alloys in their Kampf against what they call [white] racism in court.
At recent traffic stops it became clear that about 10% of cars have not been insured; same for drivers not wearing safety belts (which, up to a point, is their own stupidity and I don't care too much); any number is using cell phones while driving; many have no valid test certificate. Add reckless overtaking and customary driving through red traffic lights and we don't need any more reasons for low traffic safety. We don't even need all those potholes! but we do have them.
We already wondered what had happened to the rest of tourism. Well, it becomes known that hotel occupation keeps going down and last year was at an average of 67.3%; which necessarily means that most of the off-season year they work at a loss.
About thirty years ago, then PM Martina (MAN) had to give in and declared illegal lotteries legal. There was no fighting it. Naturally, it didn't stop there. Now, it's worse than ever: illegal lotteries now sell 3 times as much than legal lotteries. Moral: don't give in to illegality.
We Pay More... Much More
In Israel there's a perpetual water shortage. Without adding the problems of "Palestinians" stealing and polluting the meager supplies, it's already bad enough. So, just like we here some 70 years ago, Israel turned to desalination of sea water. Jump to now and here: while we here pay ANG7.50/m3 at the very least, in Israel you'd pay USD.60 or ~ANG1.10, about 15%. Cheap enough even for irrigation.
And in Israel everybody is complaining about prices and corruption, so we're Super! Aren't you proud?
Remember, until the recent discovery of the Leviathan gas fields, Israel had to import all fuel; just like we. Then, far over 50% of all household waste water is recycled; a total flop here.
Just Stop Me
An Italian judge has forbidden the Italian media to mention that ex-PM Shorty's mafioso padrino Corallo has anything to do with the mafia. Well, they never forbade me. Corallo is a mafioso padrino! Corallo is a mafioso padrino!
Which more or less reminds me. Nobody has started suing the pants or even the shirt off Norbert George since his PDF on the machinations of Central Bank director Tromp became public. This could mean one of two things: 1/ George is right or, 2/ they don't bother. Take your pick.
According to Antilliaans Dagblad, they have not been able to turn up a copy of this verdict; they suspect it's a hoax instigated by Baeten, who ex-PM Shorty had in line to replace Tromp.
Banks Don't Like It
A few days ago, the government decided to borrow all the money for the new hospital from Holland. In all fairness, with the Cft guidelines they couldn't do much else. But the banks now complain that they are only allowed to finance high-risk local projects—and at a 2% lower interest to boot.
But PAIS Rosaria claims that the total bill would be 70m guilders higher of local banks were financing.
The antifluoropaths have lodged an official complaint with health minister Whiteman. A lot of words there, you can find them here. It was signed by main instigator of the anti-fluoride campaign de Wit, officially as far as I know a physio-therapist. But he also does homeopathy, acupuncture... you get the idea.
Whiteman never reacted on a letter requesting a meeting last August.
To give a more complete (his own) list of de Wit's quite amazing professional capacities: Manual Techniques following Dr. Bourdiol (hoohee?), Homeopathy, Phytotherapy, Foot Reflexology, Touch for Health, Electro-acupuncture, Color Therapy, Beauty Treatments with Acupuncture, Acupuncture Anesthesia and Meridian Therapy. Don't ask me what it all means; I merely understand that they're all guaranteed to cure everything.
"Free Education" Still in Trouble
Like all those things that sound good as long as you don't think it through, there are still problems with that "free education" as pushed by PS Wiels. The RKCS catholic schools complain that the deficient government organization have caused a lot of pressure. The more so when other important aspects were hardly tackled by all those successive ministers (all PS): no end terms, new exam programs or course curriculi, connection with higher education, shortage of teachers and school maintenance. There also has been no adaptation, as long promised, to the subsidy system; and all their letters have been left unanswered. Only too typical.
Back in the Saddle
For now... still feeling weak, but catching up—thank you
"Some" Rotten Apples
Justice minister Navarro admits there are "some rotten apples" in the police corps. Don't make us laugh... It's rotten to the core, bushel and all, and we've all known it for years.
Too Bad if You're a Heir
The testament register has been dysfunctional for over a year now. Sometimes it's open, but mostly it's closed. You need to go there to get a certificate of inheritance; also if you're living in St. Maarten or Aruba. I'm sure this'll make 'em love us even more out there.
One way out the notaries take is to write to Holland, where testaments are also registered. It goes by snail-mail, "but you'll have a reply within a week." Nos mes por!
In Holland, lawyer Spong wants Suriname president Bouterse to witness against Ballast-Nedam in two fraud and corruption cases. Yes, that same Ballast-Nedam. Wonder who's next, but I'm sure we all have our favorites.
The contingency that Bouterse will appear before a Dutch court is a really remote one. He would be instantly arrested on setting foot at Schiphol airport for large-scale drug-dealing crimes. You may think it amazing that the Surinamese re-elected him; but hey, look at "our" Shorty!
More Citizens Join the Battle
They're getting unruly... good. Now it's citizen Nardy Cramm who has lodged a complaint with the supervisory board against comic lawyer duo Sulvaran & Chesterton for incitement to "hate, violence, racism and discrimination". Right on, Cramm. She also accuses their organization KFO of terrorism, guilt of punishable offences and actions, and manipulation of the people. She may know more than we do, but it sounds in line.
Hato Airport Too Expensive
Since Curaçao Airport Partners CAP took over Hato airport, they have been raising tariffs, with government approval of course. By now, it's twice as expensive to land on Hato than on the nearest comparable airport, Aruba's Reina Beatrix. This is an obvious brake on tourism and other economic developments. Airlines looking for stop-overs naturally prefer cheaper locations.
And InselAir is complaining to have been spending half as much on Hato airport fees since CAP took over.
New Record: Refinery Fire!
There was a fire on the Isla refinery premises, resulting in a peak in SO2 emissions that went quite off the scale; around 1700ppm against the "normal" high of say 500.
Turns out, some thieves tried to steal copper conduits and burn the isolation off, which caused a dump to go up in flames. But on that same dump, there was also an amount of drums containing FeS which joined the fun. Sloppy, yes. Surprise, no.
The comical lawyer's duo has achieved a success, they found 35 lawyers willing to join a new club, separate from the present one. It will be established next March.
Problem here remains that they are quite free to do so, it will just not be official.
This may sound weird, and like government interference and all, but it's not, really. Every business has to be registered with the Chamber of Commerce, a government institution. They're free to join the entrepreneurs club VBC as well, sure. Every MD has to get licensed by the government. So why not the lawyers?
That this is no guarantee that a business won't rob you or that an MD is a quack, is sadly true enough. (Or that a lawyer won't be a shyster, there's that, sure.)
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who shall guard the guardians? as the old Latin expression goes. The guardians, i.c. the cops,, complain they don't dare go out in the streets any more: much too dangerous! So where does that leave us citizens, who they're supposed to guard?
I say, kick 'em all out.
Dontcha Know It
The research into the life expectancy of Isla refinery moves only slowly, PM Arsjes got to tell. There is no clear deadline when it should have been finished. No surprise! But does it matter? It's much too late anyway, so the longer it takes and so, the more money that committee working on it gets, the better. Or not?
There's The Rub
One of the problems in justice-minister Navarro's laborious negotiations with the police corps is, as it turns out, that some guy Daal became obstinate after it was discovered that he got paid in scale 16 and was corrected down. Since then, he's been acting contrary and obstructively.
There's the Problem
Many protests went up when old PG Piar, who is pensioned off, will be replaced by Dutchman Schramm. Should be one of us! No more Dutchies! But, says Piar, nobody from here even took the trouble to apply for the job—and there you go.
More Than He Thought
Justice minister Navarro states that there's more corruption in the police corps than he originally thought. I'm more suspicious than he is... For example, at the occasion of a large jewelry robbery in Willemstad center no cops at all happened to be around. So corps chief Werner remains suspended pending investigations.
On the other hand, Shorty's father (but is he?) sends out emails that it's all a smoke-screen to attract attention away from the suicide of Pretu, a suspect of the murder on PS Wiels, in his prison cell.
Lawyers Who Don't Know Nor Respect the Law
Comic duo Sulvaran & Chesterton now wish to start a lawyers' club of their own. Alas, justice minister Navarro announces that all lawyers, immediately upon taking their oaths, automatically become members of the present order. At least, that is the law that's now in the pen and on its way to approval. Tough.
At the same time, "their" (in conjunction with a guy Eustatia) Fundashon Kòrsou Fuerte i Outónomo [KFO - free and independent Curaçao foundation], states in public that who is not for them, is against them and that if necessary, they will take to the streets and achieve what they want by violence. There are laws against that sort of thing, you know; even here.
Apart from the fact that I'd like to see a mob taking to the streets to satisfy the whims of some lawyers. Would be a unicum for sure.
After having lost their case Selikor considered an appeal. But what for? If they keep to their own instructions, as they claim they do, they'll never have to pay up. Hmmmm.
Too bad that beach exploiter didn't go for a private arrangement; now he's left with his damages only.
A list popped up with the salaries of FRDS board members. Seems they spent half of their 1m guilders subsidy on that. Nice!
One name on the list, besides independent MP Sulvaran, is PAR ex-MP Cecilia. Then we have Jardim, minister of finance.
Media write that Shorty's house search was on request by the Italian public prosecutor in their quest after mafioso padrino Corallo. Possibly; our PP doesn't comment.
Corallo was arrested in August last year because of an alleged €150million fraud with the Italian Banco Populare.
But Baetsen, who was set up to take over the Central Bank from Tromp, denies it all as "sheer nonsense".
InselAir announces a renewal and expansion of their fleet. Their oldest aircraft, 2006 MD83 PJ-MDA will be replaced. In fact, this aircraft is 27.5 years old and not even their oldest, which is the PJ-MDB counting 31.5 years. Their average fleet age is 24.9 years, which can only be called "geriatric"; they don't have a single aircraft less that 23 years old.
InselAir will soon have 7 MD-8* aircraft (of which the last were built in 1999), 3 Fokker F50s and 6 Fokker F70s (last building date 1997) and 3 Embraer_EMB_110_Bandeirante (last one built: 1990). It looks like their newest aircraft might be sixteen years old.
I am definitely not impressed.
PS wants to get rid of the EOP [island development plan], dating from 1995. They say it's old-fashioned and based on the 1926 Euclidean Zoning system, while "the world" was already adopting Form Based Zoning. As an example, they refer to the Miami 21 system.
Please, spare us.
Doesn't really matter, nobody gives a fart about the EOP anyway unless it comes in handy.
One More Try
Lawyers Sulvaran and Chesterton (by now AKA comic duo "Peppi and Chessie") have protested that the house search at ex-PM Shorty's locations was illegal. I'll spare you the trumped-up reason; the judge bounced it out of court anyway. Matter of fact, he didn't even admit it in there.
S&C complain that Shorty's reputation as a human being and as a politician have been damaged by the search. It's a start.
Ex police-commissary Oldenboom (who must be very sad to witness in his old age how the excellent police corps he set up got ruined to the core) reminds us that years ago, a first stone was ceremonially laid for a new prison. Nothing more was ever heard.
Now Oldenboom wonders whenever our new hospital will be actually functioning. Because, he writes, it doesn't stop with a building.
Emmabrug: the Re-Wrecking Crew
Our harbor-spanning pontoon bridge so-called Swinging Lady, one of the main tourist attractions, was extensively renovated in 2006. As far as I know, for the first time since it was built in 1888. Leave it to our DOW public works to make a mess out of it; now, the wooden roadway has to be renewed already as it was rotting away. Here comes the funny part: they're doing an even worse job than last time!
Tough Shot, Shirty
Mafioso padrino Corallo has been arrested in Italy, and Korant Veridiko claims in a house search there documents have been found that incriminate our ex-PM Shorty. Even further, I can't help adding.
But, But... That's Incitement!
Lawyers Sulvaran and Chesterton (no relation, what are you thinking!) have called the people: they should start a revolution against the corruption in our society. And the media are the worst!
Suprisingly, PIAS Rosaria agrees with them; but unsurprisingly, not because of those media but rather because there's a member of parliament who's been accused of crimes. Hey, you think he could mean Sulvaran's and Chesterton's client, ex-PM Shorty?
Do as You Like
Faithful commentator Henk Pasman lists all things that, in the hurry to make it on 10-10-10, were "forgotten" to maintain. Quite eye-popping, and far from complete; here goes:
— Permits needed for public parties, demonstrations etc.
— Abolish gatherings at police orders
— No public prostitution
— No public money collections w/o permit
— No public trash disposal
— No crude oil disposal on public roads or in waters around the island
— No ad signs on or along public roads or visible on buildings
— No car wrecks on roads
— No leaving food remnants along the road
— No feces disposal except where indicated
— Public bathing and swimming decently attired
— No firing (air) guns in town
— A chained dog must be protected against sun and rain
— Public political propaganda permitted only 60 days before voting
Hang on, I'll be back (if not soon enough)
no flowers please, that's wishful thinking
All Kicked Out
Except for one person, the complete board of directors of Curoil NV has been fired by the government. This is because Curoil now is the subject of a civil survey.
That several board members had more than one job, which could lead to conflicts of interest... hey, this is Curaçao, you know?
The media tell us that the diplomatic passport ex-PM Shorty had declared as "lost" has been found back in his own safe during the recent house searches. He must have mislaid it. But the Public Ministry denies nor confirms.
The best part is, Shorty in his declarations blames the confusion around the change of government for the loss. It was never delivered back at his home, he stated.
The civil servants have not got their loontrede [salary increment] this month. They're in turmoil! Their union is complaining.
In fact, that loontrede should be paid out after a positive evaluation; which hasn't taken place since 10-10-10 (must have been too busy), so the increases have been paid "automatically". Until now.
Cruise tourism has grown 34% in 2013. Can't tell you about other forms of tourism, because they haven't told us.
Selikor has been fined 5000 guilders/day they go on breeding flies for us, with a penalty of 250k.
Norbert George came out (couldn't stay hidden) and admitted he was the author of the "anonymous" document. Only, he never meant it to be anonymous, he said; so that explains why he didn't sign it. Got it. And, he said, that's why he
forgot to deleteleft on his name in the hidden PDF-file header. Got it.
George was given a
spoiled bratscivil servants job 18 months ago (yes, by Shorty) but instead of going to work he sits at home (composing anonymous PDF documents contra Shorty's opponents). He's the stepson of governor Wout.
Nobody has started to sue George—yet. As for me, I feel cold-shouldered because Tromp c.s. never rewarded me for lodging a complaint against Shorty. Freeloaders! Leaving me out in the cold without even a frozen salary.
Much Ado About Nothing
Former member Leito reproached Indie parliamentary Leeflang for not joining the parliament meeting on FDRS; she'd rather wait for the Soab accountants' report. Then, the meeting closed with the minister concluding they'd wait for the Soab report.
It was Leeflang who last December lodged a complaint against FDRS.
Not So Fast
Next month Cft [financial supervision] will consider the present financial government situation. They are rather positive, but still worried about the new hospital. They want to know more before about its financing before they're prepared to relinquish controls.
Drat! Lost My Bet
Big surprise: parliament members agree with freezing their salaries and halving their vacation money, no problem!
But PNP Davelaar would like the minister to check how many civil servants are sitting at home without doing any work. A well-known problem, just like all empty government buildings. Indie Leeflang points out that the ministries themselves are spending 2.2 million more than 2 years ago, which she calls hypocritical. MFK Thodé feels Rekenkamer, Ombudsman, Raad van Advies and justice apparatus should also be frozen.
Hey, let's appoint a committee to look into all this! Gee, I wonder how much they pay those committee members.
A document appeared all over in the week-end, accusing mainly CSBS director Tromp of all sorts of malversations and corruptions. It's so heavy, experts claim it's full of "slander and libel"; to say the least, it just teems with unproven allegations. According to the PDF (in Dutch), any and everybody up there is a crook... except the crooks of MFK, ex-PM Shorty's party.
But the anonymous documenter was a bit clumsy; as Adobe registers the computer a document was produced on in more-or-less hidden files, it was easy to discover that it came from ex-DP parliament member Norbert George; who now may find himself in trouble. Another backfiring shot?
Knock Me Down
Ex PS sinister of injustice Wilsoen feels there ought to be a disciplinary Board for judges and lawyers, "just like there is for medical specialist". We could use one for ministers like him, as well. No doubt he's playing along with clown Peppie.
Pueblo Soberano is totally excited about the new PG [Attorney General] for Curaçao and St. Maarten, Guus Schramm. They exclaim "This guy has done wrong things." "Why should such a smeared person get the job?"
Too bad they don't give any info about what's allegedly wrong with Schramm. Talk about smearing.
Unity and Respet!
Lawyer Peppie Sulvaran is now talking about starting his very own club for lawyers. He, and others like Wilsoen, say the approach of the dean of lawyers is undemocratic and disregards the rules.
One reason the dean wants Sulvaran out is, not long ago he told a judge to sodemieter op [bugger off] and now he tells the dean to hoepel op [hop it]. He claims it's all racism, an oft-heard and uncontestable allegation.
Only an unfair guess that no crackers can become members of Sulvaran's new club.
No, They Won't; Wanna Bet?
Minister van der Horst, after having frozen the salaries of cabinet ministers and now negotiating with the
spoiled bratscivil servants who don't want any, also proposes to freeze the salaries of parliament members. Lots of luck with that!
He Was Right
Architect Weeber was right. Now the government announces that the new hospital will cost over 17m guilders more than first announced, or 5.6%. The final agreement with contractor Ballast-Nedam was only signed three (3) weeks ago.
The now increased price already was 50m or 15% more than what was originally budgeted. The way the costs are presented to and by the media seems as opaque as they could make it.
Hurry, Hurry, Hurry
Several laws, existing before 10-10-10, were discontinued when we went independent; they were lost in the hurry to achieve this feat on that magical date. Now it's about traffic: it's actually impossible to give tickets to motorists caught on camera ignoring red traffic lights or maximum speed. Matter of fact, there is no legal maximum speed in many built-up areas.
Even more idiotic, the maximum speed still is what it was in 1940: 60 kms/hr (37.5 mph); in built-up areas it should be 40 kms/hr and in center Willemstad 20 (not that you could drive faster there). Goes without saying that only law-abiding tourists who read in their instructions about the maximum speed keep to 60 kms/hr—much to the chagrin and annoyance of regular road users.
One More Committee
A multidisciplinary committee will start looking into possible scenarios for the future of Isla refinery, among which a remaining life assessment-study. Sounds good, even essential. The more surprising that our Wise Leaders have already decided to go on with the ramshackle installations. The work of the committee will last a long time, even when according the last Ecorys report it's already too late now.
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members get paid.
Architect Carlos Weeber predicts several things about the new hospital: first, that building it will cost much more than the estimated 245 million guilders; second, that it will not be ready before 2020 instead of the promised 2016. I shouldn't wonder.
Not to worry, though, by then all politicians who have their hands in the till will have been replaced by a new batch.
Both Gone, Different Directions
Lawyer Everett Wilsoen (no, not he—may be some relation?) has left the Bar Association in protest against the, as he says, unanilateral action against Sulvaran; other sources say, it was unanimous. Whatever; but dean Fiévez claims it's all kosher.
Elsewhere, Edmond Sambo has left Pueblo Soberano because since the murder of Wiels the party has fallen apart in several small groups which is bad for the the party (but might be good for the rest of us).
Shortly, we may have to pay one guilder per kW of electricity consumed; that's $0.55. It may not be a world record, but comparing prices with the rest of the world, the highest listed there is Denmark, $).45, followed by Germany with $0.35 (2011). In both countries, "free" electricity from green sources is blamed for the high costs; like uh, wind generators and solar panels.
Just Like That
Three swimming schools were all set and ready today to receive the regular bus loads of pupils from several schools, but they never came. Reason? The buses had not been paid. Sedreko (who even wants to know what that stands for) sport foundation had not transferred the money to the bus company. No doubt they have
betterother uses for it.
I don't know where Sedreko get their money from, but I suspect it's the government. All in all, 500 kids won't get their swimming lessons, just like last year. How can they ever escape from the island?
Shooting Back at Sulvaran
The Dean of the Bar Association has lodged a complaint with the Supervisory Board for Lawyers against Sulvaran for his attacks against the court of justice, the public ministry and central bank director Tromp.
Which could cause Sulvaran to be suspended (but better keep breathing, it may take some time).
For every medication, since somewhere last year the botika pharmacies make you pay 1 guilder if it's covered by SVB medical insurance. For this, they have to print a half-letter size bill (1 per medication), which, when tax time comes, you have to copy and include with your income statement.
What a waste. That's government, folks!
Sleep On, Little Island, Sleep On
In New Zealand, Australia and several other countries it's standard to find a push-button on your toilet tank instead of the customary flush handle. One half serves for a small flush, the other one for a full flush, saving a hell of a lot of water=money.
These things, easily retrofitted, can be ordered from Amazon. Don't know if they'll ship them to Curaçao. Point is, rather, I've never seen these things here in the hardware stores!
Reminds me of those Mosquito Dunks that I had to import myself because nobody carries them here.
No Flies on Him
First, Selikor denied the fly plague had anything to do with their landfill. Then, when Komoko beach exploiter threatened to sue, they offered him an out-of-court settlement. But he's going to court anyway. Good, because we here, and many more, are still bothered by the pests too.
Only for as long as they keep it up, of course. The invasive lionfish have been reduced to considerably smaller numbers, Bonaire almost 3 times less, Curaçao over 4. Funny thing is, Curaçao started much later fighting them. So did the coral devils make a come-back around Bonaire?
I may have been wrong about this, but am not so sure. Tells us very little about the number of fish still around and active.
Tromp, Sulvaran, Wiels
After lawyer "Peppie" Sulvaran launched his traditional New Year's attack on the court of justice and the public ministry, accusing them of corruption, he proceeded to spew allegations at Central Bank director Tromp. It's all old hat and never made it to court, but a new one is that Tromp would be involved in the murder of PS Wiels. The public prosecutor comments "why doesn't he lodge a complaint?" (Well knowing that lodging a false complaint is prosecutable.)
I'm sure it's nothing but a coïncidence that Sulvaran is the lawyer of ex-PM Shorty (now accused of several crimes) and of Robbie dos Santos, financer of Shorty's party, who was helped way beyond the call of duty by Wiels's strawman, minister of justice Wilsoen.
Two More Tries
Traffic minister Balborda announces two new airlines (one of them AVA) are planning to start up; it will take some time before they start flying (and maybe even less before they'll stop again; they all seem to come and go). As for now, InselAir announced a 10% raise of their base tariffs.
The bankruptcy of Kura Hulanda hotel has left "millions" of debts behind. It seems the hotel will be reopened this week-end, after take-over by some group. I wish them luck and hope they checked the accounting.
Those Dutch militaries, as the Department of Defense now states, have been helping out because there were reasons to suppose that the suspects of Wiels's murder might be killed. So they came out with barbed wire and ammo and guns for the VKC Volunteer Corps.
PM Arsjes adds that a fear of disruption by fireworks was another factor, plus a chance of bust-out attenmpts. So take your pick.
"Thanks, But No Thanks"
Smoc, the tireless fighters against Isla Refinery pollution, have returned a prize they got from Radio Hoyer, now that the same prize has been given to the refinery. It's easy to see their point.
Oh, Those Unions...
If the Aqualectra utility workers' unions get what they want, the tariffs for electricity will have to go up appreciably, from say .75 to 1 guilder/kW, or Aqualectra will go bankrupt.
An alternative would be to kick out the superfluous lot; now that would really help. There's a lot of spoiled brats there, as well!
But we heard 'em before. ALM, CAL, DAE... the list just keeps growing longer. Now it's InselAir's Heerenveen who announces he's not impressed with Hato airport's CAP sending him a letter threatening to stop services to his company if they don't pay up. "I've yet to see they'll do that," he says. But Hato may well be in a tough spot themselves.
Like DAE and Tiara, InselAir should have money coming in from Venezuelan Cadivi; in their case USD70m.
On the 7th, CAP and InselAir reached some sort of compromise and Heerenveen's fighting words were confirmed; for now. It was also confirmed that CAP/Hato's most important clients are American Airlines, ArkeFly, InselAir, and KLM. Anyway, InselAir finally wised up and did what they should have done long since: less flights to Venezuela.
Only 5.5 Million
Rekenkamer Curaçao [auditing] figures 5.5 million guilders (73%) worth of traffic penalties can't be collected. We won't bore you with the reasons—they all boil down to laxity and slacking. Public Ministry has now given up on all outstanding penalties before 2009; so, if you just didn't pay, you were wise.
Indie MP Leeflang wants the less priviliged to get their drinkwater free. Ombudsman Martijn says it's not so, as Leeflang claims, that anybody has a right to water but she wants to give water free to low-income households and to care units for children and older people, anyway. Which can only mean we will have to pay more, what with Aqualectra utility struggling to keep producing already.
It's claimed that in Belgium every family member gets 15m3 free. They don't say in how much time, but that's half my yearly consumption.
Problem here is, if you give water away free, there'll be no brake on consumption. Not to mention they may start selling water to the neighbors! Why not give 'em a limited amount per day, then shut off?
Will It Work?
For three months, Holland will help the public ministry with a Raven drone, hopefully to reduce assaults. I don't really see how; with a range of 10kms it will barely reach Willemstad center, and precious few other locations (supposing it will be stationed on Hato airport.) The Dutch military will handle the thing. After three months it will be evaluated.
Venezuela, of course, is already clamoring that it will be used for espionage. But it can hardly get out of our territorial waters!
The number of drones is now 3; if they can be launched from Marine base Parera or even Suffisant barracks, it could be a game changer. Let's hope so. Still, the island is 60kms long.
Not PS Fault?
PS MP Raveneau says the rotten situation in the ministry of education is not her party's fault. No, the ministry of education was a rotten mess, with reshuffling of ministers all the time, so there. And Wiels was warning for it, anyway.
She conveniently forgets that all those ministers, like the present number 6, were members of her party as well, and no doubt had Wiels's approval.
More Money Wasted
Minister Balborda has hired two local contractors to remove 400 speed bumps, which will cost 40,000 guilders. Some have been gotten rid of by the population already, saving us money. Of course, the bloody things have cost about a million in the first place.
You know, I don't trust that quote of 40k much. I've seen those guys at work; they come with 3 or 4 people, a truck and a small crane plus hydraulic drills and take a couple of hours for each bump. I'm sure that costs more than 100 guilders.
Full of Flies
Selikor's Malpaís landfill has problems with "heavy equipment" which means the garbage isn't covered up. Which of course, results in enormous amounts of flies in all sizes pestering the people, which includes restaurants, downwind; so much so that Kokomo Beach will lodge a complaint against Selikor. As Selikor made an almost 2 million guilders profit last year, methinks they can afford buying another bulldozer or whatever.
Even we here, over 7.5kms away from the landfill, the last few weeks have been bothered by lots of flies.
Maybe He Was Bragging... Maybe
We mentioned before that sheikh of stagnation el Hakim just happened to be in Buenos Aires when terrorists killed 87 Jews and wounded over 100. He was actually bragging about being a member of Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah.
Now, the former Israel ambassador to Argentina claims that Israeli security forces have liquidated 84 of the perpetrators of that bombing. But el Hakim is still around. So either he was bragging, or they missed out. I'd believe anything about that guy.
Nobody is talking much, but last night Dutch militaries have assisted the police corps by building a barricade on the access roads to Barber where a suspect of the Wiels murder is detained. (Another one, "Pretu" [black] was found strung up in his cell last September.) We merely hear this is not because of terrorism; but the story going round is that the police were afraid of one or more bustout attempts; to wit, for the suspects of the murder on Wiel. But Arsjes denies this—for what that's worth.
That would be the first Dutch military operation since the heady days of May 1969. They were invited by governor Wout and PM Arsjes.
If the people come to believe that
the government is no longer constrained by the laws
then they will conclude that neither are they.
Michael Cannon, director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute
PM Arsjes held a discourse of which we need only one memorable quote: "Criminality is a great problem and I call on the citizens of Curaçao to help us reduce criminality." You may not believe this, but I had already put that quote (above) on the page before I read this. The bozo who came to power by lying, twisting and machinations dares admonish us that way. He wants us all, fascist regime style, to become police informers—but that may well backfire in his own face. Wishful thinking, yeah.
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