"You can't have a circus without the clowns."
"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in."
Illegal signs will get a warning sticker that they have to be removed in two weeks' time, or the government will do it and charge the owners for the cost. And you know how everything the government does is more expensive than what you do yourself, so...
Question here is, who knows who's the owner? We'll have to wait and see if this helps, and when. Two weeks? Count-down starts today.
Martina Does Not Agree
Pinhead Martina thinks Ecorys is wrong, Curaçao harbor is not inefficient at all. There is more to it than CPS/CPA, says Martina—thus confirming that those two are inefficient. No matter, Martina denies, while admitting he doesn't know as there are no microdata, that maritime transport is a factor in high local prices.
Oh no? By the way, we haven't heard much about that court case.
Oil No, Trouble Si
As there is no oil forthcoming from Venezuela, "Curaçao" is searching for a company that will take over the refinery from PdVSA so the refinery (and the harbor) can go back to work.
You know, that will not be easy. Where's the crude oil supposed to come from in the first place?
Because the last Memorandums of Understanding weresuchhits? This one sounds a bit more reliable, though, but still is rather hazy. It's with Dutch TNO [Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research] but how anybody could believe that auto-piloted cars will become reality here within a reasonable time period (say, 25 years) is a mystery to me. Let's fix the road surfaces first, right?
The rest of the proposals is still woozier. I (not really) wonder who's paying.
Those New Cranes
For the container terminal. They will be arriving by the end of 2019, pinhead Martina has been told by CPA/CPS. If then. That's only 16 months behind schedule.
So Are We Worried
Just like Cft [financial supervision]: they have trouble believing that the country budget is under control. You really don't want to know the details.
Oh, Where Did It Go?
According to Green Force, 20 million has been reserved for sewage treatment installations, but they have not been built. Where did all that luvverly money go?
We know where the shit goes: it's still spouted into the sea at Shut. An inheritance of auntie Suzy.
All legal weapons will be registered. What a great idea! Until now, all guns in hands of police etc. were a big unknown.
Minister Girigorie tells us how many illegal guns have been confiscated: 2016 - 111, 2017 - 152, and this year 84, which is expected to grow to 312. Such precision! Let's hope it helps; it's at least claimed the number of atrakos is going down.
Not really. An importer of medicines agrees with health inspector Huurman on generic medicines, and also emphasizes the government should be faster licensing them. Van Leeuwen slyly points out there's more money to be made with brand name medicines, and no doubt he's right.
Hint: Van Leeuwen imports generic brands only.
The shop owners of Willemstad don't like the change in sickness pay. They want to be exempted. Business is hard enough, they say.
Another Hot Air Merchant
A guy Koffijberg announces a group of Dutch investors will be visiting Curaçao in August. It's a great test market here, he says. Maybe, but how much money can you make that way? Koffijberg also claims we need five times as many hotel rooms. In other words, he's building castles in the hot sky. I'm sure he gets along fine with pinhead Martina and PM PM Rhuggenaath.
I understand Koffijberg is a highly paid spoiled bgrat.
Hurrah! Back to the Gambling Tables
Veneto Casino and Holiday Beach Hotel get electricity from Aqualectra utility again. It's not known if they have actually paid, and how much. Knowing Aqualectra, Veneto probably gets a discount—which we get to pay. So maybe Veneto can now pay his personnel; with our money.
Far too many medicines are prescribed by their expensive brand name, while much cheaper generic versions are on the market. Also, doctors write twice as many recipes as in Holland. This alone could save the country 10 to 30 million guilders per year (with an SVB deficit of 10 million/year now). Sounds better than auntie Suzy's plans.
Huurman also says that Curaçao uses too many medications, total 120 million/year, while a healthier life style would often work just as good for obesitas, diabetes, hypertension and kidney trouble. (Not always, though.)
And finally, says Huurman, doctors are much too fast asking for expensive tests. Don't I know it.
But It's OK
Half of the 330 spoiled brats who were hired or promoted during the short-but-still-much-too-long-lived Prick Pisas cabinet will be "placed back"—but they don't have to worry, none of them will suffer any negative consequences.
In that case, what's the use?
Prickie was PM for two entire months. You can't say the guy didn't work hard.
Can't Both Be True
Isla Refinery is supposed to come back on line, gradually, while the crude transports from Venezuelan harbors are replaced by Ship-to-Ship transfers. Oh. And I thought they were shut down because of broken pipes.
Who's Right Here?
When you're ill for two days, your boss has to pay you those days' salary. But when you remain sick longer, SVB social insurance pays for those first two days as well. So the law has been changed, "because" the bosses advise you to remain sick longer, so they won't have to pay. Which supposedly saves SVB 5 million guilders/year (worth it with a 10 million deficit).
That's what minister Gijsbertha says. But the employers are raging mad and say that Gijsbertha should come with some proof. Which, no matter how you look at it, could get interesting. Between you and me, I trust neither party.
Better Hurry Up?
CPS and CPA got a new concession to exploit the harbor facilities about two years ago. One condition was that the giant cranes in use at the container terminal would be renewed. They're 30 years old and don't work. CPA/CPS have until September to do this. Otherwise...
Otherwise nothing, of course.
Isla refinery has been out of order for two weeks now. This time is broken pipes. They'll first check why they got broken, then fix. I can tell them why: those pipes are old.
So much for the story the refinery has been largely renewed a few years ago. As if.
Got a new credit card, with a little paper "to activate just call this number." I called. Got a message that I had to choose one of several numbers for language. That led me to another (much longer) message to choose numbers for several choices. Mine wasn't mentioned ("activate" if you still remember). So I just pressed one at random. That gave me the message "We're closed today, these are our office hours."
All That Brouhaha
Pinhead Martina finally gave in. The Venezuelan fruit and veg sellers may return to their former location, the floating market on de Ruijterkade oops Sha Caprileskade. Some Curaçao sellers get a stand there too, but they may not sell fruits; only tourist junk.
Suzy deserves a new name. She has now definitely proved she's an unworthy successor to our former champ, Quackie Constancia. Hardly back from her visit to China, she has announced a list of "alternative" medicines that may be imported from now on.
Please do not read "generic" instead of "alternative" which in fact means "worthless, unproven."
Health inspector Huurman, where are you now?
Minister Gijsbertha is so proud! He came back from Venezuela with a permission for InselAir to resume flights to Venezuela. InselAir had to stop those flights in March 2017, because they were in financial problems; as Venezuela owed, and still owes, Insel 67 million dollars. Cuckoo! Gijsbertha says negotiations will start "soon" on getting that money. Question: When and especially if, will that be used to pay off Insel's debt to our government? Not that that will do any of us any good.
Airport Tax Not Up—Yet
Don't worry, it will come. Aruba raises the tax with 40% (forty percent!) on July 1, so why we not? Cuckoo! 2018-06-16
Great, Let's Do It
In New Zealand, tourists will be taxed from mid 2019. They'll have to pay US$17 to 24, with price hikes for immigration fees and visas starting this November.
"Rapid growth has impacted on the costs and availability of publicly-provided infrastructure," tourism minister Kelvin Davis said. "Many regions are struggling to cope and urgently need improved infrastructure, from toilet facilities to carparks." Tourism New Zealand says that despite overall support for tourism, 35 percent of citizens think "international visitors put too much pressure" on the country.
There is a similar trend in more places, like Mallorca and Ibiza; in Italy it's Venice, Capri and Lake Garda. In Paris and Japan the number of days per year a property can be given to short-term renters is capped. Part of Tokyo only allows rentals on weekends, with similar limits in other cities.
But PM Rhuggenaath and Pinhead Martina still want more tourists to come here. Hey, let's poll our people here, like NZ did! (Just kidding, I know: No Way.)
In 2016, 441,331 tourists arrived here (if you trust CTB's damn lies Statistics—which I don't). That is almost 3 times our population. In New Zealand, they are worried because the number of tourists over the year equals the population.
To select another word from the list. Pinhead Martina thinks we have too few hotels and another one is quite welcome. It doesn't matter, to him, if more of what little nature we've left is ruined.
There's no other word? In fact there are many. A delegation headed by MAN minister Gijsbertha has flown to Venezuela to try and collect the money the country supposedly owes InselAir. Like, 67 millions of dollars.
Does anybody think they really think this will have success? Do they really think this is not a total waste? What a scam.
Another Hotel! But It's Worse Papagayo resort is planning to build an annex Doggy Beach. Only, they say it's not an annex but completely independent. Whatever it is, it will be taking up part of a conservation terrain. Papagayo claims they have consulted conversationists like Amigu di Tera and Carmabi, who confirm this; after a fashion. They have had one or two talks with the architect, long ago, and have never seen the actual plans until now.
A petition has been opened; please sign! All this while many hotels are in dip sheetalready. Do we really need another one now?
PCN (pension fund Dutch Caribbean) has decided to invest in EZ Air. Two Beechcraft 1900D aircraft will shortly start flying between Bonaire and St. Eustatius. They will also be used for medical flights to Colombia. Total investment 5 million dollars.
And Haïtian Sunrise Airways plans flights Santo Domingo-CUR "in close cooperation with InselAir" for which Sunrise has executed flights in the past. Sunrise also already operates a flight CUR-Haïti.
Auntie Suzy has been visiting a workshop in China, invited by World Health Organisation, the same guys who keep telling everybody how great Cuban health care is. Next, they'll give Venezuela a raving review.
It's all about traditional medicine and how good that would be, especially when integrated in SVB public medical insurance. What the quacks naturopaths wanted all along and even under convicted criminal ex-PM Shorty and ex-minister of infirmity Quackie Constancia never got going.
I wonder what health inspector Huurman thinks about this. You want to know what I think, it's "Phooyeh to You, Auntie!"
That's what you get when you make a lawyer minister of health.
Chinese medicine was doing pretty well, until China Chairman Mass Murderer Mao sent off the doctors to work as coolies, just to teach 'em a little lesson. Cultural Revolution, ya know. Then he had a problem: no more doctors. Great idea (cue little lamp going on): we're gonna propagate Traditional Chinese Medicine, because for that you don't have to know a thing. And more than plenty suckers from the West went along, coz Mao was their Hero! rah rah rah.
Between you and me, I like that word "naturopath"—it smacks of loopiness. How well I remember those crazy Paris fascist students in their 1968 Paris revolution riots, holding up those Little Red Books. (I still have one, wonder how many there are left.)
These Statistics Don't Lie
After a brief downturn, "life crimes"—meaning, somebody tries to kill you and is rewarded with success—have gone up again. So have traffic killings this year; but, contrary to what you'd expect, since 2003 there's been a steady if irregular decline.
Or do you know larger ones? Because it's not peanuts what has been stolen from us all by subsidies given during the Shorty and Whiteman governments: 500,000,000 guilders. That's half a billion. Put it another way, USD275 million or €235 million. 2/3 of the total amount of subsidies was illegit.
One result is that some legit subsidy users do not get any anymore, like CCC music academy. And don't fool yourself, this, and much more, is still going on.
You bet there have been pretty of kickbacks here, a good reason why the administration is such a mess.
Of course! Coconuts!
On a conference several times the idea was expressed that, however important instruction in the mother language may be, it may be more important to have the kids learn at least one other language.
Remember David Hume and Scotland!
Truly, older people here still speak perfect Dutch—and seem to have had much better education all over, as well. Everybody notices.
Or, Back to School! The public ministry is worried: when 2 out of 3 drivers are drunk after a dance party, that's a bit much. We figured 1 out of 5—still Too Much. They got that straight.
But we knew it all the time. I refuse to go out and drive on week-end nights. It's bad enough in daytime on working days.
Good Action, Bad Drivers
The police started controlling traffic (on the road to Bullenbaai if you're interested). 6 cars were confiscated, 1 for driving without insurance and 1 without a license. 35 drivers were forced to call around and find a driver who had not been drinking to take them home.
Total cars stopped: 185. Scary! On Saturday night, 1 in 5 drivers you encounter are drunk.
It may not be that bad, as police don't stop every car in those actions. Also, this took place at the Kokomo restaurant/bar exit, where a party was going on. But it's worse than bad enough.
Whiteman Comes Clean
PS® ex-PM Whiteman owns up in what PAR MP Walroud calls "a dramatic confession" that he is to blame for the problems Werner Wiels is in. It was Whiteman who was desperate to get Chinese not-so-big oil giant GZE to Curaçao, driven by "frustration with Venezuela, Holland and local environment watchers." Also, he needed the empty promises of golden mountains to win elections—and look what that got us into. Thanks, Whiteman.
But Whiteman's mea culpa doesn't discharge any of Werner Wiels's responsibilities.
Chaos, Clutter and Confusion
And also debris and disarray. The only way to describe the government's subsidy policy. Is the word "policy" the right word? "Disorganization" fits better—and it looks like it's willful. Ministers don't keep the documents related to requests (I guess that could be much too dangerous). In some cases subsidies are paid without any application whatsoever. Others don't get any at all.
Keeping in mind that Curaçao law has holes you could drive an aircraft carrier through, all this is in fact contrary to existing regulations. Alas, all part of the big composition.
A guy down here has started a free range chicken farm, and wants to charge almost twice the going price per dozen of eggs. Claim is in Europe battery cages are forbidden, and we are backward as hell and cruel to animals to boot.
So I checked. In Europe a layer is allowed 750cm2 of space. That's 25x30cms, or 10" by 1'. What luxury!
Still, better than a cage; much better. But nothing to brag about.
I had a problem believing it but got it confirmed: health minister auntie Suzy Römer is in China now to follow a course "alternative healthcare"—what's the difference with Quackie Constancia?
You may not be prepared to believe this, but you'd better. Our Great Leaders in their indomitable nitwittedness have declared the 6th of June to the National Freewinds Day. Freewinds, of course, is the ship exploited by Scientology, an organization which has been declared criminal in several countries.
PM Rhuggenaath and pinhead Martina proudly pose with a certificate and the Freewinds captain, thus proving once again their fatuousness. Not that they needed to. Gaaah.
The judge agrees with the Health Inspector that the care in Advent Hospital is subpar, and has forbidden internist Bakir to work there. The hospital also has to pay a 20,000 guilders fine.
Where did I read again, "a hospital is where you go to die?"
One More Mess
ACU, Ambtenaren Credit Union [Spoiled Brats Krediet Unie], with 29,000 members "the biggest in the Kingdom" is an administrative ruin. The Raad van Toezicht [Supervisory Board] complains that they don't get any accounting to see from the Board of Directors. I wonder if there even is any. I mean, there doesn't even seem to be a director.
Another question here is, why do the Spoiled Brats have this club, which not only gives them very cheap loans, but also helps them to discounts in many shops? Non-civil servants can't become members—and they often need it more.
We'll See... We'll See...
PAR minister Jezus-Leito hopes the necessary documents to upgrade Hato Airport back to FAA Category 1 status will be ready in December. Then we'll get an audit next year.
That's the umpteenth time the upgrade has been delayed. Last promise we got was March, 2017. The rest was silence.
For now, personnel has to be augmented by 50% before we can even start.
Suddenly, last week we got 2 times 5 traffic signs on a very modest stretch of road near my place. Before then, we only had the one in the middle, which was satisfactory. In fact, superfluous: it did get knocked down every so often, but that hardly mattered.
So we read how PAR minister Jesus-Leito is working on the roads. At least, she is spending money for work on the roads. But not to fill up holes and do a good job—that would be too straightforward. No, they're painting stripes all over; as if anybody could avoid driving on the wrong side to avoid those same potholes.
Also, they're putting up signs, just like those guys without licenses knew what they meant. And up there is an example. What a waste! 10 signs where 2 would suffice. Hey, does anybody by any chance get a percentage on those signs? Perish the thought!
The Oostpunt lighthouse (rather big name for what is a small steel tower) has been out of order since March; there's no budget to fix it. Tough if you're out on a dark night in a small boat without GPS navigation, like most fishermen use.
There You Are, Once Again
McDonald's is rolling out self-order kiosks to replace people who can't read, add or write but have to be paid the minimum "living" wage regardless. By 2020, they'll be in use in many countries, if not (yet) all over the world.
That's not a result of the law of Unexpected Consequences. It was predicted by practically everybody.
Go Ahead, Whatever
First Dutch Tweede Kamer [parliament] votes for a motion to augment defense of the Dutch Caribbean islands; then, one day later, we get to hear from PAR PM Rhuggenaath that there's no need for that.
Very Old Joke, Pinhead
Pinhead Martina comes out to tell us that there are 4 (four) "strategic partners" negotiating with InselAir. An old story that hasn't grown any better. Remember Avianca? We do, but Avianca hardly remembers InselAir or Martina.
And Martina also hopes that suspension of payment for InselAir will continue after August 1. I can't explain why and doubt he can.
Calimero II Werner Wiels, who as head of the MDPT-Team made many millions go up into thin air (not even visible smoke) complains that everybody is against him... it's a witch hunt! And ex-PM Whiteman joins him; he says Wiels is a good chap, really.
Calimero I of course is our one and only convicted criminal ex-PM Shorty. The Champ!
The majority of (80) people turning up at a meeting on the Return of the Floating Market wants it to come back at its old location. We will wait and see if pinhead Martina cares one bit.
California Has a Problem?
Even though the reservoirs are full again, California still has a water problem. Sacramento wants to restrict household water use to 50 gallons per person/day, which will be further reduced to 35 gallons in 2030.
Are they kidding? The two of us here together use only 25 gallons/day. Agreed, we have no swimming pool, no grass lawn and don't shower for 20 minutes long. That's all it takes; even with a washing machine and a dish washer.
Another problem is, Sacramento estimates their system loses 30% in leaks. "Real Losses" for 'our' Aqualectra amount to 40%; rather high. But for 30% of households, consumption is 3m3/month—not per person. That's 26 gpd/p. Take it as read, those are small households.
Even in Kaapstad there's finally fallen some rain, but over there they want to restrict water use to 12.5 gallons/person/day.
You may take exception to my saying Kaapstad instead of Cape Town. Go ahead, be my guest. But please accept the fact that after Zulu and Bantu, Afrikaans is still the number 3 language in South Africa. (English comes in at 9.)
The Saliña of Rif-Jan Kock (the one that got polluted) is popular with flamingos, who in turn are very popular with tourists. They park their cars along the road and walk up to the flamingos to get as close as possible, annoying me even more than they do the flamingos.
The latest thing is chasing the birds with drones, which has recently resulted in the death of one. Couldn't we stop this nuisance? Forbid tourism or something? If only.
But Why Not?
Fuel stations do not like Aqualectra's plans to install fast-charge units all over the island. They claim selling fuel, in whatever form, to cars is their prerogative. Now they want a study on pros and contras of electric cars. For one thing, they wonder why there is no import duty on those beasts.
They have a point. Because they don't pollute? Don't make me laugh; that power has to be produced somewhere else. Mind the low diesel fuel price, just because diesel was supposed to cause less pollution. We have since found out what a fraud that was. Update: The CEO of Sixt Car Rentals says the needed infrastructure to recharge electrical vehicles "would devour a lot of money". Electric cars are "a thing for the rich"—also one of the fuel station holders' arguments. But we know already that Aqualectra never shrinks from spending our money.
Now It's the Workers
It looks like Holiday Beach Hotel has made a deal with Aqualectra Utility. But now the workers will go on strike: despite several repeated promises, their salaries have not been paid.
Amnd we're the suckers. Once again, the government tries attracting investors with a Tax Holiday. On certain conditions. We've been through that often enough, too often, in the past. I just mention Texas Instruments who set up a factory, worked it to the bone until the Tax Holiday elapsed, and then moved to another island to profit from a new Tax Holiday there.
There You Have It? Not
According to the BBC, students get lower scores in exams when the weather is hot. Does that explain why the results have been going down here, where it's hot?
I'm afraid not; it has always been hot, after all.
Auntie Suzy Not Responsible
Better say, "irresponsible"—auntie Suzy claims that she, as minister of health, can't be held responsible for the fact that Selikor's incinerator for medical offal doesn't work properly. They just pour gasoline over the stuff and hope for the best, while there is no filter to clean the resulting smoke.
Get off that comfy chair, auntie, and at least hold the guy who is responsible, responsible. That's your responsibility.
There We Go Again
Gasoline, diesel fuel, gas, electricity and water all go up in price with (at least) 5%. Venezuelan veggies and fruit, now that they are available again, keep getting more expensive: 30% or more. The Venezuelans claim they have to pay their government 20% "tax" on these exports, imagine.
A Bit Late, Innit?
Now in Holland the Groen Links party [Green Left, watermelon style: red on the inside] is getting worried that the islands must have better defense against invaders. They want the English and French to help. Like they do in Europe, I guess; where it works fine against the influx of no-goods.
Holland also finally discovered that the Venezuelan invasion here started long before that country started collapsing. Now they're getting worried. Hope it's still of some help, this late.
The riots of the May 30, 1969 have been commemorated near the downtown statue of papa Godett. I saw a photo with 7 people holding signs; there may have been more ado, to be sure.
Because the education force is against closing down FEFFIK, the Dust Neck Force is on strike today. (Too bad if you got there already.) The teachers only have a meeting at 14:00, so they have another easy day.
The NOAA predicts a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal hurricane season.
However, meteorologist Joe Bastardi predicts a 65-85% normal season, because of unusually cool tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. But Bastardi warns hurricanes could still form close to the USA coast—which is not a concern of us.
Not everybody has much confidence in Bastardi, though.
This one not on Isla Refinery stocks, but on Sona. The one by Ballast Nedam International. Will building proceed now as planned?
Not So Good, That
Venezuela, in a declaration full of pontifical terms about the brotherhood between Venezuela and us, and references to that great leader Bakoba Cova, promises we'll always get oil delivered: via Petrocaribe.
Petrocaribe was a program installed by Chávez to deliver oil cheap on credit to Caribbean islands, who are now heavily in debt to Venezuela. Many have been cut off meanwhile, as I understand it.
So I'm not relieved.
That's what CHATA hotel association wants to do. They say we have 3500-4000 hotel rooms here, but only 2000 are of decent quality; which is worrisome as more flights are planned next season.
Hint for CHATA: it's not that worrisome because most people prefer not to stay in a hotel these days.
Last of My Worries
What will happen to the Caribbean Dutch islands when Europe turns into a republic? asks a headline.
Nothing, because that won't happen. It would mean that Europe becomes democratic, the last thing those Bruxelles trough hogs want.
Anyway, that only concerns Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. We, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten are independent.
May Feel Good
But it won't help much. An action has started by Green Force in conjunction with a supermarket to reduce plastic use. Not really, though; it just collects plastic packaging materials for recycling.
Works like this: you take your own (no doubt plastic) containers to the supermarket and unpack what you bought, put that in your own containers and leave the original packaging there. Very economical, it's not; takes up a lot of valuable supermarket space. I'd say, put up containers at strategic places where you can dump your plastic when you're done with it. Like in Tel Aviv:
plastic dump cage—Tel Aviv, Israel.
At any rate, 90% of all plastic dumped in the oceans comes from 10 rivers: 8 in Africa and 2 in Asia. The rest for a very large part is trash from fisheries: nets, buoys etcetera. Besides, it's an open question if that collected plastic sent to China or other countries, like Green Force does, is really recycled.
Tourism and Global Warming
Er... climate change. Because it isn't getting any warmer anymore, even the warmists are admitting it. "Climate change" is much safer to use; after all, climates are always changing. Where was I?
O yeah, tourism is expected to grow at 4% yearly over the world (if not here) and presently accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions (which still amounts to a minuscule 0.04% of the atmosphere). So all the doomsayers have a choice now: do we go on stimulating tourism and so risk turning the island into a desert with Willemstad flooded by the sea?
You say it doesn't matter? You may have a point.
PdVSA may "possibly" go bankrupt, we are informed by Dutch minister Blok. You ask me, it's highly probable.
You ask me again, it's almost impossible they will not go bankrupt.
Good for Them, But Not for Us
The judge has decided InselAir may not fire the cockpit crews of their MD-8* aircraft. So let's wait for the Unwise Men to lend InselAir more money to pay those parasites. And the cabin crews, sure.
Take Your Pick
There are several services taking care of delivering small orders from the USA here (instead of relying on the unreliable C***-Post). Playing the nut shell game, here we go:
The cheapest are EZone, PuntoMio (CPost) and AeroPost. Fastest are MyMalls, MyUS and EZone. who also give the best service. Seems logical you'd go for EZone, right?
But it will cost you anyway: for a package worth $88 you may pay from ANG57 to 170, part of which is customs/import duty; which shockingly varies from $12 to 40.
More and more pupils fail their final exams for HAVO and VWO (say, high school). This is a continuing tend; 6% and 3.3% over the last 4 years. Reasons are not indicated, but we are all free to guess.
Other news here is that the government wants to close down educational institution FEFFIK and put the pupils in other schools. Everybody in education thinks it's a bad idea; no doubt they have their reasons. For now, the government still plans closure.
Quoting Trump. The harbor, already doing bad last year, since May 3 when ConocoPhillips seized PdVSA's oil stocks, is now seeing no activity except for the tourist ships and freighters. No tankers, which were the main part.
Sleep on, auntie Suzy. You can't really help it. There has been a Concept Milieuwet [Concept environmental law] since 1998, but when VROM disappeared in 2003, so did the concept.
So there we are, everybody can do pretty much like they want.
Wake Up, Auntie Suzy, Wake Up!
It just goes on and on. Once again, bulldozers have flattened mangrove trees in the Spaanse Water and pushed land into that inland water, to extend the shoreline so more houses will fit. This results in still less opportunity for fish, crab and other organisms to grow and multiply. But as is her won't, we can expect that auntie Suzy will not react to Green Force's supplication to stop this.
Auntie Suzy is perfectly satisfied with spewing hot air on promoting agriculture and fisheries.
Another Hotel in Trouble
The Holiday Beach Hotel has been cut off electricity, as they are "millions" behind in bill payment. But the hotel hasn't closed down, oh no. Guests are welcome to their un-airconditioned rooms, and only emergency lights are burning.
PdVSA reassures us that we don't have to worry, the company will go on delivering fuel to Curaçao. Nor do Isla workers have to worry, the refinery will keep on turning and PdVSA is interested in going on after 2019. Which is what PAR PM Rhuggenaath hears from Holland.
I'm not sure how these can be more than empty promises. I also don't get all that talk about Isla going on with other companies.
In Q4 growth slowed down from 0.3% to -0.5%. After a 0.5% employment growth in 2016, it shrunk by just as much last year. Almost all graphs show the same thing: after a relatively good 2008, the economy made an extreme dip in 2013 (that must be a post-Shorty effect).
Info received from the Chamber of Commerce.
No Such Luck, Crooked Duo
After MP Yaël Plet had filed a complaint against crooked ex-PM Shorty and Mudbelly Cooper, accusing them of an attempt at bribery, it was finally shelved by the public ministry. At which point Shorty and Cooper lodged counter-complaints against Plet for defamation, libel and slander. But uh oh, the public ministry has now shelved those as well, explaining it's a good thing if attempts at bribery are made public.
Somebody decided it would be better not to go to court. That's rare, they just love it. But now that Isla Refinery has begun delivery of products to distributor Curoil again, the latter has decided to stop their new lawsuit.
And PAR PM Rhuggenaath says it's diplomacy what we need in our relations with Venezuela, after the last fake elections. There isn't much else left to do, anyway.
I did so already: Staten recently voted for a motion to disapprove of Holland's take-over of the corrupt political system in St. Eustatius. None of our concern and a totally impotent gesture.
Now, Antilliaans Dagblad opines that the motion was illegitimate in the first place.
More of the Same?
MAN Pinhead Martina has talked about his economy Herstelplan [Recovery Plan] with several Dutch ministers and functionaries. I'm sure we'll get somewhere now (but don't know where that exactly will be).
If So, All Bets Are Off
ConocoPhillips and our Lilliput state may have won for now but wait for this: The U.S. is almost certainly preparing to impose targeted crude sanctions against Venezuela, analysts told CNBC on Monday, in a move likely to constitute a "devastating" blow for the oil-dependent state.
In which case, do we get any oil as stipulated? Or will we get any money?
Answers are "No" and "No." You bet.
The coast guard is in trouble because the government works so slowly. Enough said.
Don't get me wrong: tax will not be lowered. As if. No, 10.3 million less than planned was sucked out of us in 2018-I. What a shame, as the government must make good 48 million this year to compensate for over 117 million deficit over 2017.
Europe Assists? Not So Fast
The EU is prepared to start mapping the influx of Venezuelan refugees to the ABC-islands, we read. But in reality, they don't plan such a thing. The EU will send delegates to Colombia and Brazil to look into the problem; not a word about us here.
Cabin Crew Loses
Court order: the cabin crews for non-existing MD-8* flights may be fired by InselAir, but they must receive compensation.
But Will They? The judge has ordered PdVSA to resume delivering crude to Isla Refinery in 14 days, as far as needed for the local supply of fuel and electricity production. Penalty 1 million dollars/day, max. total 100 million.
The impounding of oil stocks by ConocoPhillips has been lifted as well. At any rate, will PdVSA deliver? Will Venezuela pay that fine? Don't have the illusion that this has been settled. 2018-05-19
At least, that's what justice minister Girigorie claims. We read at the same time that less drug smugglers are caught (in itself meaning less crime has been registered); seemingly because they have found a way to avoid radar detection. Hard figures, he doesn't give.
Which Reminds Me
Auntie Suzy wants to stimulate agriculture, stock raising and fishery. The sector should start growing with 5%/year, which means we should have 2000 people working there ten years from now. Which reminds me.
Auntie Suzy says we import 160 million/year worth on fruit, veggies, eggs and cheese. (For all I know, almost all eggs are produced locally already. And cheese?) She also says, another reason to start producing ourselves, there can be 5 kinds of parasites in one head of lettuce. I suppose that's impossible when they're grown here.
I'm not saying it can't be done, except for certain details; I'm just predicting it won't work. Like the grandiose plans to grow beef.
Apart from all other considerations, it's 19th century thinking that agriculture is the pillar of the economy. We haven't had any since... well, never, and have been doing pretty well, considering.
SMOC and Humanitary Care, together with 24 citizens, are appealing the court case where Isla Refinery was held to be not guilty in exceeding pollution norms.
SO2 now, with no Isla activity, and a year ago compared courtesy SMOC—2018-05-17
Camelia doesn't like the complaint filed against him and will in his turn accuse FAS of a false complaint and libel. We'll see how that works out..
BOPEC, PdVSA & Bonaire
Bonaire's power supply depends on BOPEC's stock, which again is partly delivered by Curoil (so don't ask). But as ConocoPhillips has seized the entire stock, power on Bonaire is in danger of begging stopped as from Monday. Without boring you with details, everybody is trying to find a solution—except PdVSA who are stubborn and refuse to move.
And we thinking since 2015 Bonaire's power was supplied by wind generators? That was just hot air bragging, we now see.
That's What They Say
There'll be a strategic partner for the refinery, Isla declares. "Everything is on schedule."
They could have fooled me.
Last Saturday, on 70 locations in 23 countries there were demonstrations "Empty the Tanks" to protest against dolphins held in captivity. Like here. Only, here there was no such campaign. Who cares?
Wait for the Dust
The government, Isla, Curoil, you name 'em are trying (in court) to move ConocoPhillips to have Isla go on producing so the island won't get in trouble. As far as I can see (not very far in that dust) it sounds like that would be a nice gesture of ConocoPhillips and not something they can be legally forced to do.
PdVSA was not interested in appearing in the court sessions. No skin off their noses (on which very little skin is left anyway).
ConocoPhillips say they're quite ready to listen to Isla etc. and avoid bankrupting the island. Isla says it's quite happy to deliver fuel to Curoil, and can do so too as Isla is not limited to buying crude from Venezuela; but Curoil has stopped payments to Isla. Finally, it's impossible to get statements of how much oil for what value is in stock. What a jumble.
Eventually, by May 21, court will pronounce judgment. You ask me, all this is a big waste of money.
Pinhead Martina is afraid that people who flew in to join the Ponto[o]n Flop will be disappointed and will tend to distrust future festivals. Turns out CTB tourist office has spent 75 thou on promotion (one does wonder about kickbacks here, sorry, CTB drives me paranoid).
Work for X
Only a few months ago, the road leading to Shut/Chute was cleaned up. Now it's a just as filthy mess as ever, again.
Green Town Fight
The Cura&ccedl;ao board members of Green Town have... yeah, how shall I put it? gotten rid of two members living in Holland. Great timing? These wanted to stop the refinery right now which local members consider just not realistic.
But the Dutch members don't give up and are even supported by the people here who originally started the project.
I never tried to hide that I feel the whole idea is not realistic, period.
Curaçao government has gone to court to try and force Isla Refinery to sell products and thus keep their agreements, even though their stocks have been seized. Specifically mentioned client is Aqualectra N.V. A nice mess for lawyers to fight over.
There's a lot wrong with South Africa these days. The country is on a suicidal road, while most blacks think they are getting rid of whities. (The rate is about the same as here, 1 honkie in 10 brothers.) For one thing, SA has adopted something like the infamous Wiels 80-20 law (only, they made it 90-10) which we never accepted here. But let's look at one thing, the water tariffs.
SA and especially the West Cape, which includes Kaapstad/Cape Town, these years has a severe water problem. No rain, just like in California recently. So everything's tried to bring consumption down to 50 liters per person/month, or 1500/average month. (Which happens to be what we here consume in this household, so that's no hardship—it's much warmer here.)
This would cost you, at a max. of 6000 kiloliters (we'd call that 6m3)
RAND157.5 or ANG22.90 (a propososal to raise this with 55.5% was just rejected). We here'd pay ANG45.42. Saka bo som. 2018-05-14
Ex-PM Maria Liberia Peters writes a letter addressed to ConocoPhillips, wherein she blames that company for the problems we find ourselves in now. As if she, together with George Hueck, didn't sell us out to Shell and to PdVSA, and as if she was not a member of the stealing MDPTeam; never lifting a finger but to rake in money money money.
Plenty of Problems
PAR PM Rhuggenaath makes an effort to appease us. Thanks to the tanker "Red Majestic" which has been bought to keep fuel in stock for Curoil, there will be no problems in local distribution. Rhuggenaath also says that Isla salaries will be paid out end of this month. If Isla has enough money to pay other bills is another point.
Rhuggenaath wants the refinery to be up and running (his words) on June 1. I seriously doubt this.
Finally, Rhuggenaath says negotations are going on with British Petroleum BP for a refinery take-over.
Isla refinery, not active at this time because of maintenance, may never start up again. Venezuelan PdVSA has decided to stop delivery of crude to Curaçao and that's the death knell, of course. This because ConocoPhillips has seized all stocks, money and bank accounts of Isla Refinery and Cura&cceduil;ao Oil Terminal, Bullenbaai; total value USD 636 million. Plus a series of tankers who are on their way to Curaçao. Not, contrary to earlier news, installations (which do not belong to PdVSA).
Meanwhile, PdVSA is trying to change the destination of crude (one quarter of the country's total present production) to Citgo USA. Good luck with that.
Paranoia or Real Power Fight?
Auntie Suzy complains that there's a "network" striving to get her unlodged. She wonders where the money comes from to have SONA publish two-page newspaper ads on the HNO affair. Meanwhile, she is still trying to get the audits 2013-2017 but having no results.
But ex-MP Leeflang thinks Auntie Suzy may be partly blamed herself.
For what it's worth, there's a school of thought that insists both disgraced ex-PM M*F*K Shorty and ex-PM PS Arsjes have been getting very fat on the hospital manipulations. There may be a lot of stink bubbling loose shortly. Or some more money may be passed under the table to plug the leak.
That Worked Fine
PdVSA announce that they're planning to pay ConocoPhillips their 2 billion dollars, after the latter seized properties in Curaçao, Bonaire and St. Eustatius. Show your teeth and the bully cringes.
We're seeing that happening all over the world right now.
The cyclists are at it again, holding up traffic to satisfy their selfish desire to be healthy. All over the Road to Westpunt you stumble across them these days. Now, if they got out of the way and pedaled alone, not in pairs (which in fact they're obliged to do by law), we might have a chance to pass them by. But no such luck. Even three abreast with a long tail of held-up cars stretching behind them. I'm amazed not many more are hit.
Guess there's another race, whatever, coming on. Never fails to bring them out in packs to train.
Sparring Lichtveld-Camelia: Camelia KO
Camelia didn't much like what Lichtveld had written about him, to wit, that he was a corrupt thoroughly lawyer who had declared much too high, illegally to boot, sums to diverse ministries. So he went to court.
However, judge Lips thought Lichtveld was quite right and let him go, ordering Camelia to pay court costs.
Now it's FAS's turn?
Gold Smuggler Arrested
Remember that was president Maduro's excuse to stop all traffic between Venezuela and the ABC islands: gold was supposedly smuggled via the islands? Well, a notorious gold smuggler has been arrested just now; in Venezuela, by the Colombian border.
Doesn't mean there's no smuggling going on here.
How Can That Be
Saying it again: I'm no legal expert. But how can ConocoPhillips possibly seize the properties (meaning installations) of Isla Refinery, which are owned by Curaçao Island, emphatically not by PdVSA? Same for Curoil.
At any rate, the cooking gas supplies distributed by Curgas may soon expire. Judging from all I know, their stock is very meager indeed. Back to the future: use induction plates!
ConocoPhillips certainly got quicker court results than SMOC/Humanitary Care. EXTRA: All Venezuelan tankers on the loose have been ordered back to their home harbors, to prevent seizure of those and their cargoes. Which means, all Venezuelan oil export has come to an end. And there you are, while Maduro is nowhere.
We Don't Need No Stinking InselAir Avianca is enlarging its flight schedule Bogotá-CUR with 4 flights/week, total 11. So much for pinhead Martina's grandiose plans.
They Get Paid, Anyway
Only 12 of the 21 parliament members have appeared at every meeting this year.
About a week ago, 2 floating dry docks arrived here in an extremely heavy transport that just fit in the Annabaai harbor mouth. Now dredging will commence so there's enough depth for the docks to be actually used on the CDM-Damen location. Will take a month. Say, couldn't they have figured that out before? Maybe they did and just don't care. It's only money.
There You Have It
The forfeiture of PdVSA oil stocks in Curaçao has started already. So 1/3 of what was left of Venezuela's capacity for refining and blending has now gone.
As refinery and terminal are only leased by PdVSA, these remain "ours." Big deal, with no crude to process. Looks great for 2019, when the contract expires anyway.
As Curoil claims there is a stock sufficient to supply the island for two months, the question is only if ConocoPhillips can lay its hands on that. My guess would be, not. Much of it is not even bought from Isla-PdVSA by Curoil.
Isla refinery claims it's negotiating with two partners for a take-over. Just don't panic or you may we will be f*ucked, mind my words.
The St. Eustatius oil terminal is owned by USA NuStar, so there "only" stocks will be confiscated as well.
Huurman at Work
Several trucks were nabbed by the X-Team while dumping trash at an illegal location. Two trucks were confiscated. Ouch, that smarts. It may even help.
More Trash Dumped
Rubén Suriel of Fundashion Akshion Sivil has filed a complaint against former (2012) cabinet informateur, formateur (for the Hodge and Arsjes cabinets) and lawyer Glenn Camelia. According to FAS, Camelia's law office received "lucrative retainer fees" from all PS ministries. He has swindled Curaçao country out of large amounts of money, also by exorbitant invoices.
Suriel is not talking as he doesn't want a trial by media.
Remember how Pueblo Soberano was Wiels's anti-corruption party?
Advent Is in Trouble—Again
The Advent hospital will have to close down, as far as internal medicine is concerned, for two months. This is because dr. Nay Bakir (who was kicked out of SEHOSpital in the past) was only licensed to work with patients under supervision, but continued to do so anyway when his supervisor went on vacation.
Now Advent went to court to fight this and inspector Huurman announces that this will result in having the entire file on Bakir made public. Which, he suggests, is not so good.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
There was a memorial service at the location where Helmin Wiels (PS) has been murdered 5 years ago. Not even 90 people showed up, among whom Elmer Wilsoen, one of the suspects of the murder.
It Couldn't Happen Here
USA ConocoPhillips oil company has seized BOPEC oil terminal's possessions (installations and stocks) on Bonaire, after the company has been awarded over $2 billion in damages, as PdVSA had expropriated ConocoPhillips's properties. Which PdVSA can't possibly pay.
Same thing will happen on St. Eustatius. As for Curaçao, Bullenbaai COT nor Isla Refinery are not the property of PdVSA, so it couldn't happen here?
Update: It's not clear to me if the contents of the storage tanks at COT/Bullenbaai and the crude being processed at Isla are property of PdVSA. In that case, ConocoPhillips may be well entitled to seize all that, plus refined products.
That Is Not Threatening—To Us
After Isla manager Van den Wall-Arnemann was suspended last year, he's "threatened" now to be fired. To us, a relief. The guy was hired in 2014 by then PM Arsjes, in itself sufficient reason to raise your brows. It has now finally been decided that Van den Wall-Arnemann did everything the MDPT (alias Werner Wiels) wanted, and made a total mess.
Go Get It
The public ministry wants to sue ex-PM Shorty for 1 million €s which it claims he and his moll stole from the country. In fact, it may be much more; all in all 400 million guilders went up in air (which he didn't all get, obviously). Another court case? He's still around, remember, until Dutch Hoge Raad [High Council] is through with the appeal.
More USA Flights
As from next winter season, American Airlines will start operating 3 daily flights CUR-MIA v.v. with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, capacity 160 seats.
CPS is raving mad about Ecorys's withering report on its activities. So mad that CPS went to court (in Rotterdam) with a document "steeped in allegations about failures and unprofessional actions by Ecorys." In court May 6.
They're Out to Get Her!
When did we hear this before? Oh yes, out of the same mouth too. Sulvaran's, one of the three stooge lawyers, who was ex-PM Shorty's lawyer. "It's political!" He now uses it in court to try and stop proceedings against Quackie Constancia. The judge didn't go for it and will continue. In court July 5 and 6.
Minister Martina has effectively ended a prime tourist attraction, the Floating Market. Now the Venezuelan sellers must remain on the quay and are not permitted to enter town. Also, they need a ventvergunning [peddling permit] and health certificates. Their location has been changed to a place where there are no passers by, and to enter that place you must show ID. Kaput. Finis. Kabá.
Pinhead Martina would rather have people sell tourist junk souvenirs.
Goodbye to All That
Foundation Sumusica of the Ponto[o]n Festival has been declared bankrupt. Total debt ANG350,000 (over US$190k).
PAR minister Alcalá-Wallé announces a new theater will be built near Renaissance Hotel, Riffort, Otrabanda. She explains theaters these days must be multi-functional to make some money and not depend on subsidies, which she concluded after visiting several theaters in Holland.
She ought to know, she's notorious for her frequent business-class trips over there, where her children live.
The judge judged that Isla Refinery does not forfeit the 75 million guilders penalty to SMOC and Foundation Humanitary Care. What it boils down to, it's all a matter of how you measure. And more to the point, how the judge judges.
Ex-MP Leeflang, who didn't make it at the last elections, says it's a disgrace that auntie Suzy proposes a new committee to look into the can of worms HNO new hospital with SONA etc. are in. This is a matter for parliament, Leeflang says, adding that auntie Suzy, as much as she denies it, carries a lot of blame herself.
Gee, I wonder how much they were planning to pay those committee members. Peanuts, anyway.
Makes Me Curious
The white elephant Sentro pro arte theater, which burned out a while ago, will not be restored. At least not by the government; maybe by Pensioenfonds to which it has been transferred. Will they restore it or put up office blocks instead??
Just a Coincidence
Jamaloodin, former MP for PAR who has a high post at the ministry of justice, has been caught driving a car under the influence of the well-fermented juice. But because he has this high post, the judge gave him only a 500 guilders fine for public intoxication and 100 for irresponsible driving. Hey, I call class justice! He should get extra heavily fined.
The name certainly strikes a familiar note. But it may be a large family, so don't get paranoid right away. On the other hand... 2018-05-02
I Yam Deegustid
The good folks at UTS telecommunications call this "Broadband" "up to 32Mbps".
Won't Happen Here
After Mallorca and Ibiza decided to put the brakes on the flow of tourism, the same thing is happening in Italy. First Venice, then Capri and Lake Garda are doing the same thing. Capri says the island will "explode" with 2 million tourists per year.
The population of Capri (4mi2) was (2002) 12,200; say 15,000 now? 1000 tourists per inhabitant? I'm sure CTB and Rhuggenaath are turning green with jealousy. I, not so much.
Labor Day Today
So we don't have to work.
Finance minister Gijsbertha complains that the island is in a very precarious situation. You don't have to tell us, Gijs. Says CFT [financial supervision] Gradus: "The success of the measures depends to a great extent on the implementation, direction and involvement of both the government as a whole and each minister separately from her/his responsibility." Well, there you have it. No wonder Gijsbertha is worried.
A good start: in January, a deal was made where the government would get together with CFT every month. That hasn't happened once yet though.
A few problem items, as if we didn't know yet: FKP social housing, New Hospital HNO, Old Sehospital, Isla refinery, nebulous debt situation, uncollectable dividends of government companies, InselAir guarantees and the 'very limited improvements' in financial management.
And they can't even blame Shorty & his Gang of Goons for all of that.
It's King's Day, rah! rah! ray! and nothing is happening, count on that. Oh well, maybe a few atrakos and murders, don't let them spoil your fun.
The only thing of interest is that schools will not be getting one day extra free between Sunday and Tuesday. "Pupils get 60 days free per year" and that's that. Read, of course: "Teachers get 60 days free per year."
Time-Out for Something Else
As the politicians are celebrating this week-end, and the media are silent as well, may I call your attention to the fact that the world, during the past two years, has cooled down by 0.56°C. Keep in mind that since the end of the Little Ice Age (in the 1880s) total warming has been, at most, 0.9°C. Which has now all of a sudden been reduced to 0.4°C.
I wasn't overly worried, but now...
Then there's this precious little item: No kidding—humans happier on sunny days, perfect temp is 25C, freezing days similar to terrorist attacks on US mood You have read totally different things in the media. Keep in mind: Good news is no news. Also, all panic stories about how earth will turn into a hell by the end of the century are based on computer modelling and keep turning out to be unreliable.
That "hell" would still be much cooler than our local climate, do you realize that?
Those holes in the roads, primitively and temporarily filled? That is reported not to have be done by a Curaçao contractor. No, obviously they couldn't handle a simple job like that. So a Dutch contractor has been engaged—that buys the asphalt here, where else?
I smell money crossing the Atlantic Ocean forth—and back.
In April last year, MP Yaël Plet filed a complaint for bribery against ex-PM Shorty and MP Charles 'Mudbelly' Cooper. But after lots of raids and investigations, the public ministry found they had not sufficient proof.
Shorty and Mudbelly wanted Plet to stop supporting the Koeiman government, so they could take over.
Roads are still getting worse and worse. We all know and notice. This week, some department started filling up holes with asphalt. This only works for a very short while and results in a bumpy road service. Very noisy, too. But worst, the rule of thumb seems to be, only holes deeper than 10cms/4" and/or larger dan 50cms/1.5ft are filled.
The ministry says there's no money for a structural improvement. That we all get, they need it for other, more important things. Like what? Schools? Sports? Foundation subsidies? It's a mystery; unless you have certain disruptive ideas.
Gone With the Wind
Aruba has decided not to proceed with the Urirama wind park. They say it ruins the landscape. Right.
Besides, they have this vague creepy feeling that the former government made exorbitant promises to and deals with the developers. Same here.
Thanks for Telling Us
VBC entrepreneurs' club tells us that prosperity has gone down during the last years. Let me guess: since 10-10-10? VBC quotes US World and News Report:
Countries that offer the following facilities attract most investors: a business-friendly environment and government; a risk-taking culture; well-trained and skilled staff; well-developed infrastructure that provides connectivity with the rest of the world; well-developed legal system to ensure legal certainty; an attractive fiscal climate; stability; presence and easy access to capital and financing.
Well, there you have it. None of the above, except the legal angle. But our Great Leaders are working on that.
The "old" Sehos(pital) must pay over 20 million guilders to its personnel. That's because Sehos wanted to start its own health insurance fund, which was never realized. But the premium was subtracted from salaries anyway.
Far Ahead of the Game
In the USA, socialist (used? to be communist) failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders want a government job for everybody. It's what we here have been working on, and achieving, for many years now.
The Noose Tightens
Russian and Chinese experts agree that 3 of the 4 Venezuelan oil refineries are beyond salvation and should be shut down. KKCur calls it "mothballed" but I feel that's when you have hope you can use it again in the future.
Only Puerto de la Cruz is "salvageable with significant investments" (sounds only too familiar). That one has a 109,000 bpd capacity, the others total 1,080,000 bpd. So Maduro will have about 10% of his "capacity" left. But don't imagine he'll shut them down: just keep exploiting them until disaster strikes.
Isla refinery has a capacity of 330,000 bpd.
It's the Law
Much outrage was caused because 2 refugee children were picked up at school by the police. But justice minister Girigorie says he has no choice. There are about 500 illegal children in schools right now and if he lets these 2 go, that's a precedent he can't afford.
Update: mother and children will be extradited.
The government, in this case the cabinet of ministers, has to reply to letters from Staten/parliament. Well, they don't. The backlog since last year is 95 letters.
Of course, it's an agreeable surprise that Staten members managed to write so many letters. Who'd have thought they had it in them?
Quackie Comes to Court
Quackie Constancia, while minister of health for Shorty's M*F*K, didn't feel she made enough and set up a fake deal to buy surgical masks (more than we'd ever need in the foreseeable future) against a super bargain price, which were billed but never delivered. This is finally coming to court, May 3.
All in the Family
Felida, organizer of the flopped Ponto[o]n Festival, who refused to speak Dutch to journalists from Holland wanting to interview him, has escaped the clutches of his suckers. He took the plane—to Holland! No doubt business class (he can afford it, for now).
What came to light now, he's related to several of our politicians. See? I was smelling this out already. Those things run in families.
Call Her Irresponsible
Auntie Suzy is angry and sputters that she's not responsible for the mess her predecessing ministers of health left behind in dealing with SONA, the HNO new hospital and all that. How like her. First, her predecessors were members of her former party. Sure, party discipline does not exist, is why political discipline cannot exist.
But we've got news for you, auntie. You are responsible. You took on that mess when you eagerly grabbed your comfy ministerial seat and cozy salary. So clear it up. Not that she will—or can. So we'll pay up instead.
More Flights CUR-AMS-CUR
TUI is expanding its schedule to 9 flights per week, 3 of which non-stop next season; KLM plans as many total flights, 2 with stop-overs on St. Maarten (I always avoid those, life is a vale of tears already).
The idea is: justice minister Girigorie explains that we need the effort of the entire community to combat crime. He's certainly got a point. Problem is, how to achieve this?
It's Monday morning and I'm pretty pessimistic.
Don't Worry: It Will Get Even Worse
The Central Bank warns that "labor productivity per worker is lower than the average in South America and the Caribbean." Which, I may add, is already lower than most other continents. But the Central Bank tells us there are ways to improve this.
No doubt, but will they work?
You may have noticed that I don't think too highly of our esteemed politicians. Let me make clear it's not about them, here, only. It goes for all of them, all over. Well, there are may be exceptions.
For example, did you follow those USA sessions with FakeBooc's Suckerbug last week, where senators or members of congress asked him the most stupid questions, like, "how do you send email with WhatsApp?" And that woman who claimed that if you let a rock "drop from the moon" it would wreak damage down here like 20 nuclear bombs? And that other guy who worried that if too much material was stored on Iwo Jima, the island might capsize?
And that's for now the most powerful country in the world.
No Such Luck, Wiels
It's as good as a confession of guilt: Werner Wiels, he of MDTB, only wants to tell his story in parliament when he gets a free pass for all criminal and civil law prosecution. This is granted to parliamentaries in session, but as he isn't one he won't get it. At least, he shouldn't. You never know if those dummies go for it.
Do You Think?
At the Safety and Security Conference attorney general Bos came out with a, to us here, really original idea: the better the chance criminals get caught, the less inclined they'll be to commit crimes.
Last year the police bought 3 unobtrusive surveillance cars, but they're not in use. (At least, not for surveillance.) There is no personnel to man them.
Our politicians want to turn Hato into a hub between Latin America and North America and Europe. Good luck with that! It used to have that function, which was finalized when KLM stopped using Curaçao as a stop on their lines Europe-Latin America and, thanks to our then politicians, changed to Bonaire instead. Which was a drama in itself: everybody (except the Bonaire politicians) saw that it would only last for a couple of years more, when long-distance aircraft would be introduced. And so it happened.
Let's not even start to discuss the idea of making Aruba and Curaçao hubs simultaneously. The idea is too ludicrous to contemplate.
And then consider that Hato Airport is fond of raising the hidden transit tax for passengers which is included in the ticket. Of course the airlines do notice and try to avoid such airports like the plague they are.
One More Law That Never Was
What have our Great Leaders been doing since 10-10-10, except quarreling and of course raking it in? There has been a new traffic law, titled WVVC 2012, all ready since before 10-10-10, but it hasn't been passed yet. Like so many others—too many others.
Felida, organizer of the Ponto[o]n Festival, has disappeared, leaving not a wreck cent behind.
And now we read that this was his fourth festival that fell flat. Only now? Where were the media? Busy promoting it, no doubt for free tickets.
The story is that MAN pinhead Martina has helped Felida to get this flop off the ground. Quite in style.
Suckers are now starting a court case against Felida, and say that will stop him from trying again, as he's not allowed to do that with a criminal record.
But he can always try and become a politician instead.
Happy Days Are Here Again
As from this week, the work force of bordello Campo Alegre will be back at 135.
Isla doesn't understand why SMOC c.s. (among which Norbert George's Stichting Humanitaire Zorg) only now seized the refinery's shares, as that pollution report stems from 2014. That's simple: the report was finished early 2017 and SMOC started procedures in March last year.
Further, Isla promises that with a new agreement, the refinery will become much cleaner and asks us all for patience. When Isla loses, the problem might be over though; no new refinery.
And finally, Isla is afraid that when they lose, the 75 million will not be invested in society. Now look who's talking. Just think "Wiels's MDTB". Or InselAir. Or Ponto[o]n Festival. Or... what's the use of going on.
Judge will rule on May 2.
Now You're Talking?
Maybe... Auntie Suzy announces that SONA will be moved aside as the building monitor of HNO new hospital and replaced.
Only, it's not clear at all by whom or what. In fact, it's not even clear as yet how much HNO will cost. What is clear is that the original budget of 421 million guilders will be exceeded by 78 or possibly 125 million.
In parliament, M*F*K asked finance minister Gijsbertha how things are going with that bank, which Central Bank has placed under guardianship more than four years ago. If Girobank, which still is in heavy financial waters, has to shrink 80 to 90 people lose their jobs.
In March SMOC and several others seized the shares of Isla Refinery, value 75 million guilders, because in 2014 the refinery exceeded the pollution norm established in court of 80μgrams SO2/m3. Isla says measurements have not been done conform the norms and started another court case. Judge should decide in 2 days (I wonder).
Isla Refinery ran at 31% of capacity in 2018-QI, which is about the same as those in Venezuela (the ones still running).
Free Green Energy
There we go again: in 2015 it was announced that Bonaire would switch over to wind- and solar energy, with in a later stage algae grown to deliver fuel to the, still needed, diesel generators.
And now, we hear that Holland doesn't know what to do about the fact that energy prices there will go up "tens of percents" in May, after 1 month postponement caused by citizens' protests.
You think there could possibly be a connection?
Waiting for Disaster
The railings of the Juliana Bridge, spanning the harbor with a top height of 56.4 m (185 ft.) are rotten. At least on one occasion, the top tube even sticks out, ready to catch and puncture oncoming cars. (Only a few weeks ago, a minivan was almost pushed over by a heavy truck.)
That bridge is a disaster anyway; you can't see over the top and every so often you only see a traffic jam waiting for you after you've crossed it. Scary! You hit the brakes and hope everybody behind you does so in time...
But of course it quite fits in with the rest of our steadily deteriorating roads.
And hey, the railing is prettily painted in the colors of the flag, yellow and blue. Only, on one side they're so dirty you don't notice.
Good Points, Koenze
The trade union leader tells the politicians what everybody else knows: downtown Willemstad is dying. Getting worse and worse—over 40 shops have been closed in the past 2 years. Koenze blames the high rents, the strip malls and the parking meters (which were installed when Randy Neuman built his monstrosity parking garage). Koenze wants the Plaza hotel back in business (good luck with that) and duty free shops.
Almost at the same time, we hear that the first fruit boats are on their way back to Curaçao where they may not go back to their old location. This is still reserved for local souvenir tourist junk sellers. Tourists have been complaining that one of the biggest attractions has gone, but pinhead Martina doesn't have space up there for for than one idea. He prefers tourist junk, so the fruit sellers are out.
Koenze must mean strip mall Sambil. Even if this megastore really was meant for tourists (a big fat lie, but Martina—he again—went for it), that'd suck them out of downtown Willemstad as well.
Please Send Money
Our Professional Political Beggars have requested the €€C to send us them money, as long as they give it away to Colombia and Brazil, who have many more Venezuelan refugees than we; true, they're much bigger than the islands so the impact is relatively larger here.
Brazil has meanwhile closed the border.
Auntie Suzy's announced X-Team has actually fined several offenders who were excavating diabase (on government-owned terrain). Dumping and burning refuse is forbidden as well.
Health inspector Huurman leads the team. This guy really means business; no wonder some people hate his guts.
Rumors keep going around that PAR education minister Alcalá-Wallé came home drunk and hubby refused her admittance (which is a legal ground for divorce). But she denies and says she doesn't drink alcohol "because she can't handle it." That sounds correct, anyway.
As we're at it anyway, another minister gets into quarrels with his wife because he hangs around at sneks too often. That's where the Venezuelan trago girls ply for customers.
The US has again named several Caribbean countries, including Curaçao, as 'Major Money Laundering Jurisdictions' in its new International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, so writes Curaçao Chronice.
Recently, unlicensed banking through Chinese mini-markets has also been identified as a source for laundered funds. And don't forget the casinos.
Then domestic public corruption poses a money laundering threat to Curaçao. Money laundering occurs through real estate purchases and international tax shelters, and through wire transfers and cash transport among Curaçao, the Netherlands, and other Dutch Caribbean islands.
You can find the report here.
The Caracasbaaiweg is an obstruction. Long traffic jams stretch out all over the road, all day long. But a solution has been found in 2011; only, they were too busy with, er, other matters. Are you ready?
The solution is: they'll close off the access roads and hey! presto! no more traffic jams.
At least, not on Caracasbaaiweg.
The 11 pilots and 12 cabin crew who flew InselAir's MD-8* aircraft are still collecting their (fat) salaries. It's only now that court procedure has been started up to get rid of them.
The pilots complain that they will have to leave the island and follow a $30,000 training to learn how to fly a more modern plane. My heart bleeds. Poor babies. They could have seen this coming over a year ago, as we all did, and maybe started to save up a little.
She Could Have Fooled Me
Auntie Suzy got mad at Sona, Berenschot and Ballast-Nedam. They should have followed another course to collect their (what now is almost twice as much:) $100 million guilders, and applied directly to the country. Says auntie "It's not a banana republic here!" Oh, good to know. She's correct, it's not a republic.
Announces three weekly flights from Santo Domingo to Curaçao and Aruba, and two to St. Maarten. Starting June 4. "With the punctuality that characterizes the airline." That I'll have to see.
M*F*K ex-PM Shorty and PS have written a letter complaining about Holland's abuse of power here. You'll never guess: to president Maduro of Venezuela.
We heard about this before (just like every year). But it's not heavy at all; in fact, a lighter season than last year's is predicted.
Just don't count on it. Better batten the hatches anyway.
The thing is, crying wolf every year doesn't serve a purpose. Al contrali. 2018-04-13
Could Be... Could Be...
Now a complaint has been lodged against David Dick (who if I remember right has been a minister of justice once). He may have made the 1 million guilders meant for the sport field in Barber disappear. And we blaming M*F*K.
Then again, it may have been M*F*K* anyway. Time will tell. Maybe.
Of Course Not
Not only the ticket buyers for the Ponto[o]n Festival may well wonder if they get their money back, the sponsors are now starting to get agitated and have hired a lawyer. Because they can't even reach the organizers.
Her salary as head of the immigration service was not enough, she felt, so she started selling come-in permits to mainly Chinese and Venezuelans. Now she's in court for 9 cases.
Who cares about her name? She's just one among many.
They're Right Werner Wiels says Soab (accounting control) has never asked him to talk about the MDTB situation. I wouldn't have bothered either. A slippery liar, who cares what he says?
Pardon my cynicism. Some high-up people have signed a pact that violence must be eradicated. They principally mean against women (by their partners men), children (by their parents) and men (by their friends). That men may undergo violence by their partners as well seems to have been forgotten. Or parents by their children.
At any rate, good luck with that. Only marks on paper. Black marks, to be sure.
Who want to extend their driving license will get a nasty surprise: they won't get it when they never took the exam. Good. Not that I think a license per se is any guarantee that they won't drive through red lights.
Got a letter from ISP UTS telecommunications. They deplore that they have to raise the monthly price (to ANG111, USD61), but console me with the factoid I'll "keep enjoying the best Internet speeds at the best rate on Curaçao." Well, maybe. But that's a 'Standard' package with speeds up to 32Mbps, they say. Wisely, their own speed test was removed from their site, so I went to Speedtest and got the following result: Download 8.84Mbps - Upload 3.56 Mbps
You can only agree, "up to" 32 includes 1/4 of that speed.
Almost 500 drivers were fined last year because they didn't have a license. They will now have to appear in court, where the public prosecutor demands jail time.
Much worse, 4500 couldn't show insurance documents. The public ministry thinks, how original, this is only the top of the iceberg. But no doubt they're right. One result is that at least one insurance company wants higher tariffs. So we have to start paying even more.
What always lacks here is proper controls.
Not to Worry
The infamous official bordello Campo Alegre has a shortage of whores sex workers. Normally, 150 "ladies" are "working" there but these weeks there are only 65 available.
So what, there's plenty more where they came from.
There We Go Again
Ballast Nedam Infra, contractor for the HNO new hospital, via court has seized USD31 million (ANG56m) from SONA, the official builders acting for Curaçao country. They have little confidence SONA will be able to pay for the rest of the building process.
So do we. Will be discussed in Staten/parliament this morning.
Anyway, as ex-MP Leeflang tells us, there is, or rather, there should be a BIG law to regulate lots of things, among which health care. Only, it seems to take to much time (9 years already) and trouble to get it accepted. After all, why spend energy on such a thing? It's much more productive to grab more money.
The Thieves That Keep On Stealing
An amount of 27 million guilders (15m dollars) that was held in reserve for school maintenance in 2010 has disappeared. Nobody (except maybe, probably, ex-PM Shorty c.s.) know what happened to all that money. But we're free to guess.
Minister of education then was one of Wiels's Pueblo Soberano gang. Are you surprised?
Justice minister Gijsbertha has been asked to investigate. Bet you they won't find a trace.
The cops stopped a bus full of tourists. They were made to come out and wait for another one which had the necessary permits.
The tourists must have liked getting this authentic hands-on experience of a corrupt third-world country. They can put the story on FakeBooc (as long as that 's still around).
The cops say there are many illegal tour operators at the mega-piers. So why not check those guys right there?
You think the tourists must have paid extra for that second bus? I shouldn't wonder one bit. Alternative would be, walk back and miss the boat.
Werner Wiels, the guy who spent money as water when directing MDPT, wanted to hold a speech in parliament to defend himself. But for once, they thought ahead of him. The thing is, Wiels thought he'd get immunity from criminal prosecution this way, which made them scratch their head. The meeting has been postponed until parliament gets advice on this.
Wiels may try to stand up and start to talk anyway, but he has no right to do that, not being a parliament member.
He Got It
Dutch parliament is not entirely satisfied with minister Blok getting rid of Maduro's blockade. To wit, they don't like his dealing with criminal crooks. But van Raak, whose Socialist Party in the past sympathized with the socialist regime of Maduro and its predecessor Chavez, says "they're all villains in Venezuela", but in Latin America it is "very difficult to find leaders with a spotless reputation".
That goes for all politicians everywhere, van Raak.
More Tourist Junk
Even if the floating market comes back, it may have to change locations. 450 local entrepreneurs have applied for a stand at the now empty and restored quay. They want to sell souvenirs.
Crooks Deal with Crooks
You may have noticed in passing, reading between the lines, I do not have the utmost respect for politicians. Now Dutch minister Blok, who managed to reopen the border with Venezuela, is accused of dealing with the crooks of a crooked regime. True, of course. So what else is new?
Maybe that Venezuela has appointed an ambassador to Aruba who is high on the USA list of international drug dealers. Oops, sorry, "alleged" drug dealers. Net result will no doubt be further influx of what's called narco-terrorism on the islands. While Holland keeps blaming us for smuggling drugs over there.
That's a Lot
According to Famia Planiá [planned parenthood] there are at least 200 illegal bordellos on the island, with a total of 2500 trago (Venezuelan) girls/women work force. That's about 1 for every 25 men. Thank you, Maduro!
Surface area Hong Kong 2753km2—Gaza 365km2—Curaçao 444km2.
Inhabitants Hong Kong 7.5 million—Gaza 2 million—Curaçao 150 thousand.
Population density Hong Kong 2724 people/km2; Gaza 5479—Curaçao 338.
Unemployment Hong Kong 2.8%, youth 11.1%—Gaza 45% and 68%—Curaçao 14.1% and 18.8%.
Dutch Minister Blok announces the border between the islands and Venezuela is open again. Air and sea traffic is possible. An anti-smuggling accord has been signed, which of course is just a paper trick.
Now we can return those so-called "refugees". Will the fruit and veggie floating market reopen? Will ex-minister (member of Shorty's mob) Imalootin be delivered in our hands?
Good, or Bad?
Dutch officials as from now are again allowed to fly InselAir. The company is deemed safe enough.
Curaçao wants open skies agreements ('Convention on air services') with Colombia, Denmark, Oman, Sweden, South-Africa and Singapore. The Dutch are already working on this with the United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), also for St. Maarten; which island also wants Brazil, Canada, Finland, Iceland and Qatar. An agreement for Qatar and Curaçao was signed in 2015. No flights CUR-AMS will be permitted for these countries' airlines.
A petition has been handed over to Dutch minister Blok, to request "attention for the border crossing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela" and "a humanitarian and just refugee policy" in the kingdom. 1200 people have signed it. But that same minister states that most Venezuelans cannot be seen as political but as economic refugees and should be sent back. And it's still the islands' responsibility.
Meanwhile, efforts are made to reopen the border.
An estimated 15,000 Venezuelans have settled here, which is far more than the numbers we were fed first. That's 10% of the total population.
Fiesta Time's Over
The proudly announced April 6/7 Curaçao Ponto[o]n Festival has been canceled—and at the last moment, too. The organizers blame the shrinking economy: people just can't afford all these extravaganzas anymore (at ANG75/night). Tickets will be refunded.
I Call BS
Why is it that we never ever get a prediction of a lower-than-normal hurricane season? Now it's Global Weather Oscillations (GWO) claiming we'll get another very bad hurricane season, just as bad as last year. Agreed, there were some very, extremely, bad hurricanes but in total it wasn't so bad at all. This will supposedly happen because of the still high ocean temperatures—which in fact are lower now than before the last El Niño. "In some cases they may make different landfalls." What a surprise.
We are having a peak in hurricanes, according to GWO. It's the other way around; we have had very quiet hurricane seasons before 2017 hit. In fact, 2013 was the lowest season in 30 years.
But sure, we'll see.
I Don't Get It
As long as president Maduro keeps the border with Venezuela closed, fruit boats are not welcome here says PAR PM Rhuggenaath. That's telling 'em, Rhuggenaath! I'm sure Maduro is shaking in his socialist fascist boots.
1. How can those boats try and get out to come over here? Our border isn't closed; it's theirs.
2. Rhuggenaath doesn't stop the crude oil carriers coming in, of course not! Much better to punish a few poor farmers and skippers. Also, much less risky.
The Great Escape
13 Venezuelans escaped from their holding cells in Rio Canario police station by making a hole in the roof and climbing out. Last time, a bunch just walked out of the courtyard there.
Too Bad I Didn't Know
The security guards of the plot for confiscated cars walked out of the job and left the gates wide open. They complained they hadn't got their raise; it was somehow "forgotten." Only in Curaçao.
For now the cops have taken over their duties.
The Asians Are Coming!
Holland has given Qatar Airways permission to fly directly to Curaçao from Doha (betcha don't know where that is). Means Schiphol Airport and Big Blue Bully KLM will miss out on Asian travelers. I mean, they'd be crazy to fly all the way up to Holland first.
I guess it would be easier for us to get to the East as well. Or to South Africa, for example. Not that I plan on going there for a while. Quite a while, the way things are going.
If Qatar accepts, that's not clear yet.
3 of Venezuela's 4 oil refineries have to be closed down, for lack of crude oil and personnel. They're also in an even crummier state than "our" Isla refinery. Repairing the facilities would amount to more than 10 billion dollars.
The three refineries combined are half PdVSA's total capacity, but the country's total production these days is only 30% of theoretical capacity. Russia's Rosneft and PetroChina politely declined leasing the refineries; they're just not worth it.
Pay Up Or It Won't Fly
CTB is trying to get flights from Düsseldorf to CUR again, after the Air Berlin debacle. This time Eurowings would be interested.
As long as we pay a guarantee, without ever knowing how much. Because transparency, you know.
Hire Some More
The former Shorty Prick Pisas cabinet has hired 330 spoiled brats civil servants without following the correct procedures; they all "work" illegally. Of 8%, the documents can't even be found.
But they can't be fired just like that, noooo, that would be illegal! So every single one has to be checked; which takes time and personpower (am I not PC?) You ask me, now the government has to hire extra, er, workers to figure all that out.
Now They Tell Us
No doubt it's well meant, but when the consumers' union comes out now to tell us what's the cheapest supermarket to buy foodstuff for Lent, that's just too late. Lent is over by the end of the week. Why bother.
A number of Venezuelans who were kept locked up in prison have started a fire in their cell, which is now ruined. While there are actions going on pleading for help and compassion and keep them here, the result of their own action is they will all be kicked out muy pronto.
The so-called refugees often arrive here armed to the teeth in boats loaded with cocaine. This seems to have been stopped now. At least, that's what we're told.
But there are still lots of women making a living as prostitutes, and lots of gangsters hanging around up to no good.
Pinhead Martina stands corrected by local farmers and his ministry will stop importing several kinds of vegetables from Santo Domingo, which caused local produce to remain unsold.
What nobody cares to mention is, the supermarkets much preferred the cheaper imports. Even with the air freight costs, they are much cheaper than what is grown here.
1.5 3 Million Gone
PSB [postspaarbank/savings bank] has loaned 1.5 million dollars (2.7 million guilders) to InselAir. The company can get one more F50 turboprops in service, total 2 (which contradicts earlier reporting that they had 2 already). Maybe they'll even get an F70 turbofan! or even an F100. Don't count on it, though.
Remember, Insel had a government guarantee. Even with that, looks like only PSB was prepared to lend them money.
Try for More
Sona, being sued by auntie Suzy's ministry because they won't show any acceptable accounting, thinks it good timing to come out now with a demand for yet more money, 7 million guilders.
Smart Driving Instructors
The driving schools complain that nobody knows what the rules are on what types of roundabouts, and they certainly have a point. But when they claim that nobody knows who's got right of way when leaving one, you can only shake your head.
Worst is, the driving test is based on a law that's been superseded long since. So even those (rare) drivers who take the trouble to get a license don't really know how they ought to drive.
MAN MP McWilliam turns up with the point her party member Koeiman made in the past: every house should get a cistern to collect rain, and she asks why this has not been realized.
Well, here's why, McWilliam: A cistern for a house of 10x10 meters should be about 40 cubic meters with a height of 1 meter high 5x8 meters, 40 square meters. Construction costs now are easily above 1000 guilders per square meter, total at least 40,000 guilders. With a mortgage interest of 10% costs are 4000 guilders per year, or 100 guilders per cubic meter. Cost of Aqualectra 1/10th of that.
And who has space in his garden? And how about the mosquitoes?
Pour Hower Tonite!
Remember EarthHour? Tonight is the night to rejoice in electricity from 20.30-21:30. PowerHour
Some of those fossil fuels have been waiting for 100 million years to return to the sky.
Things you can do:
Turn on all the lights you can find — Put on the party lights, the patio light, the pool light, the mozzie zappers, unpack those Christmas decorations. Get out your torches. Switch the movement detector spotlights to continuous operation. (Involve the kids — they love to help).
Eat Argentinian Lamb steak, New Zealand butter, Dutch Cheese, Belgian Chocolate, and Californian Oranges.
Drink German Beer and/or French Champagne. Drink toasts to coal miners, oil rig workers, and power station staff. Break out the ice cream.
Light your backyard with the landcruiser headlights! (Don't flatten the battery, make sure you keep that engine running.)
In the hundred thousand years since homo sapiens came to be, people have fled bondage, wars, small-pox, dysentery, died from minor scratches, starved to death, been ravaged by lions, stricken by cholera, and survived ninety thousand year stretches of abysmal ice age. We lived in the darkness for 99,900 years, cowering in corners, listening to drips, waiting for the sun.
Hat Tip: Joanne Nova
Business as usual. Pinhead Martina's latest effort to fuck things up, and succeeding again: importing vegetables from Santo Domingo to replace those from Venezuela. Only, we have plenty of bell peppers and cucumbers grown here—so our farmers' produce sits there rotting away.
The farmers have protested by way of a letter to the ministry, but (you saw this coming) didn't get an answer.
Pinhead Martina declares, at the announcement of a cooperation between Curoil and Aqualectra, that more and more "green" energy will be used. "The costs of wind- and solar energy are negligible" he says.
No doubt that explains why in the countries using it most consumers pay the highest tariffs.
SBAB [tax advise bureau] has asked all trust and related offices for a list of their clients. In less than a week, please; so they can look into tax liability and review profit, sales and salary tax.
Worse and Worse
China will not lend Venezuela more money. The country owes China 50 billion already. President Maduro's crypto coin got nowhere either, as anybody but he could see coming.
Tried Before, No Result
Pinhead Martina wants to stop the labyrinth of license applications and replace it with 1 window that handles the whole burocrazy. This has been proposed before, somewhere in the 1980s, and got stuck in a dead end.
Because of course, what to do with al those spoiled brats officials who sit there to stamp the forms? From then on, pay them to just sit there in the airco without even stamping forms?
As Long As It Lasts
InselAir has got permission to operate their 2 F50s again. They have been checked after one had to return to St. Maarten with a fuel pump out of order.
We now look forward to the next problem.
Dutch government members are worried about the defense of the Caribbean islands, as well they might. It wouldn't be the first time Venezuela just took over here, and in a situation like that it's finders keepers. But what to do? I hope they know.
Politicians are like bananas; they come in young and green and leave yellow, crooked and rotten.
So car insurance premiums have to go up, because the cops don't control traffic.
Here's a suggestion: Pay the cops more instead, so they do their work better. On second thoughts, no, that won't work so well.
From an amusing news item we learn that thieves have stolen gas vouchers from the police. We're not told how many. It's a miracle they got caught!
More Unwise Men
The so-called wise men who landed us with a continuation of InselAir were such a success, the new committee that's looking into the UTS telecom problems are also called wise men. Only, two have taken their leave because the other members did not want to look at UTS's management during the past years.
Why not? we ask ourselves. Too much mud to stir up?
Just Stop That Farce
An InselAir Fokker F50 had to return to St. Maarten because of a failing fuel pump. Now we have an airline without planes. Great.
But they do have a new director. Con artist Filiatreault has finally been bounced.
But new money, no.
Thank You, Auntie Suzy
Too late... she moved on to other, maybe fatter and greener, pastures. But remember how in 2016 she had this installation built at Shut/Chute to collect sewage from the trucks dumping it there, to pump it to Klein Hofje sewage plant? It cost 1.6 million guilders (almost $1m) and, we only now are informed, never worked.
Because of an installation fault the water can't be separated from the sludge. So the shit is still dumped in sea, resulting in pollution, less fish and dead coral. And no doubt less tourists.
Hope for the Best...
... Expect the worst. The government has announced that, by 2020 (is what I have to guess from the context) half of our energy will be produced by "green" sources: solar and wind. It's a 57 page report. originally dated 2017, stating that in 2014 crude oil prices have gone up. They did not; that was at least 2013—and in 2015 they went down by half, at which level they still are.
This is how the government plans to use 16.9 million €s available from Europe for "sustainable development". Another vague term very much en vogue these days. At least we won't have to pay extra for it.
Highest price was February 2008, $146/b; now it's about $65. Which, figuring inflation, is 1/5 of the 1970 price, before the first "energy crisis"—when gas was so cheap, remember? Who was it I heard calling out "hysteria" from the back of the room?
Granted, prices may go up again, you never know. Doesn't look like that at all, though.
InterAssure would like the police to check better and more on traffic violations. What can you say? Everybody wants that; except the police; and violators of course.
There You are; There We Go
One of the reasons why foodstuff is steadily and fastly going up in price here is because the harbor, in fact still our prime economic pillar, is hopelessly out-of-date. "The" crane has to be renewed (there used to be four, so?), more chassis have to be bought and customs take far too long. As always here.
But Curaçao Port Services has no competitors (sounds familiar?) so why bother.
Good for Them
Local farmers have started a market on the outdoor premises of giant hardware Building Depot. Open every Saturday. Sort of disturbing for pinhead Martina's floating market plans? We'll see; but I'm convinced those farmers pay less there then they'd be charged for a concession in Punda. And besides, they'd have to be there every day in the week.
Two experts in the field of industrial safety from Safety Region Rotterdam Rijnmond, have started a technical audit of Isla Refinery. It consists of three parts: physical analysis with the testing of different installations; data and information study; and finally talks with various department heads. A report by Texas E & D Technologies (after the recent cat cracker fire) concludes that the Isla refinery in recent years has been relatively lucky in preventing major incidents; there are parts at the refinery where the technical requirements are not met. SMOC opines that 'the state of many installations on the Isla site is such that it is irresponsible to keep employees and local residents exposed to the risks of continued unchanged operations.'
Not That Innocent
Remember that White Powder coming down from the refinery? I checked this and it probably is aluminum silicate. "Fibrosis and pneumoconiosis have been documented in workers involved in the mining and processing of Aluminum Silicate, Calcium Silicate, Zirconium Silicate, Fuller's Earth, Kaolin, Montmorillonite, Pyrophyllite, and Zeolite." (All those are very much alike, both in characteristics and in applications.)
So Isla management may poo-poo this but, in fact, watch out.
Think It Through
First in Bonaire and now here, enormous amounts of sargasso seaweed are washing up. Stinks like Satan in hell. Marines and real volunteers are cleaning up.
Now two well-meaners are proposing to set up a plant to use that stuff to produce biofuels. They claim this happens every 3 years which is news to me. It has happened before, maybe three years ago, true. But would you seriously consider to start producing "energy" with a plant that can run once every three years for a couple of weeks—if that often?
I have studied this pretty intensively a few years ago because I got a proposal to start an algae-processing plant here. Then, when crude was maybe 3 times as expensive as now, I could only conclude this was a pipe dream.
If true... Seems there's not even a feasibility study for that much-vaunted Greentown to replace Isla refinery. So what are we talking about? Nobody knows.
Pay Up, Little Shorty, Pay Up!
He's in court again. "Our best customer, welcome back!" This time he has to pay back 1.8 million guilders (US$1m) and his moll 200k. Peanuts, but okay already. In court August 1 and 2, maybe 3.
Aruba Gets Aanwijzing
Meaning, instruction. Probably. We've had several, and it's not the first one for Aruba either. But PM Wever-Croes doesn't worry; after all, it's not her fault. When her predecessor Eman got one in 2014, he went on a hunger strike—for 6 days.
There Are Many More
Our national disaster coordinator (I'm sure he has a full-time job organizing all those coming at us all the time) says we can't absorb over 250 Venezuelan refugees; that's where our humanitarian capacity is saturated. More help (and money, don't forget the money) is needed.
A few days later, we can read that the number of illegals is "between 4000 and 6000."
As From Today—Sure
A ministerial decision wants to end the veritable jungle of advertising signs and billboards. Fine. Too bad we've heard that before. (The law dates from 2015, pretty ugly late in itself.)
Environment ministry, led (after a fashion) by auntie Suzy, is on strike. Not that anybody'd notice. Personnel wants an appointment for a meeting with her, but, I guess knowing her better than we do, they want it black-on-white.
It's as big a rubbish heap there as at all departments, judging from the descriptions. For example, they don't have paper or toner to copy; a real disaster for civil servants, that.
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
As 124 million promised subsidy for SEHOSpital has not been paid, they now have a "negative working capital" of 86 million. "Now" means end 2016, who knows how much it is presently.
Just wait until after the move to new hospital HNO. Building took so long, it will be old before it's finished.
Students who've had a scholarship are mostly not able to pay it back. Total amount outstanding 300 million guilders. Outstanding!
My Personal Opinion
Never Fly All Ways! Now, they announce the Suriname government (such as it is, can't let that go) has granted them a permit to make a stop in Curaçao on their flights Paramaribo-Santo Domingo after all.
Where Did It Go?
Almost 1 million guilders, approved by PAR just before 10-10-10 (Day of Doom) was transferred (by M*F*K) to a sport club in Barber to improve the facilities. At least, MFK claims so; only, all documents have disappeared. Investigations are set in motion.
It's No Use
PAR education minister Alcalá-Wallé opines that it's of no use whatsoever to discuss free education. The mess left behind by her predecessors must be cleared first, then we'll know what we're talking about.
Meanwhile, education may be free but there's no money to pay for the school buses, which doesn't help the pupils much.
To Catch a Criminal
MP Cooper suggests to use the Crooked Church of Scientology, pronounced a criminal organization in many countries, to fight crime here. Turns out, Mudbelly is a member himself—how like him.
For once, Staten didn't want anything of that foolishness.
All of a sudden InselAir announce they won't need 3.5 million dollars to continue on their sorry trip. No, 1.5 million is quite enough, thank you.
Free translation: they won't get 3.5 so they must be satisfied with burning up less.
Just Like We Thought
The new hospital HNO will not be ready for use, as just last week announced, in August next year. May take 2 to 4 months longer.
Let the White Powder Come
The Isla refinery cat cracker is out of order after the fire; should be back in business early May. Then, we'll probably be treated on a new load of the infamous White Powder.
Interestingly, the refinery has no shortage of crude oil and is even allowed to export products to Venezuela. Figures; where else can Maduro buy energy, with no money?
Not 250 people get a chance to build a house; only 100 for now. That's 3.3%.
Floating Market Ahoy!
Venezuela has prolonged the boycott, and minister Martina wants local producers to occupy the now empty stalls to sell their foodstuff. This at a distance of 200 meters from the Central Market—an EEC project we may still be paying for (and that stands mostly empty). Money is now spent to patch up the place.
Says Martina, the place is a strong tourist attraction. Here's an idea: put in foam-plastic mock-ups of the barquettes then, coz that's what those tourist suckers want to see.
From Bad to More Worse
The economy is steady: it's shrinking all the time; over the past 10 years by 10%. It's going much faster now, though: 2017-QIII alone it was 1.5%.
In this connection, I didn't bother searching back beyond 2013, but AOV old age welfare has remained exactly the same since then, while inflation has been 3.2%. When will those politicians wise up and realize old folks are getting more and more voting power? You say: "when will they wise up, period?" Touché.
That Will Help
There's a waiting list of 3000 people looking for a terrain to build a house on. Good news: PAR minister Jesus-Leito (PAR) announces 250 locations have been found that will be made available.
Only solution, not that this is an original thought (many people figured this out on their own), find some place and start building illegally.
Rotten to the Core
Insurance company Nagico has until now refused to pay up for all the hurricane Irma damage claimed by St. Maarten Princess Juliana airport. Total insured sum is USD193,359,223.27, of which Nagico has paid less than 40%. St. Maarten is furious and planning to take "all possible steps."
But in The New Yorker magazine, "Unnamed persons were quoted as saying sufficient efforts were not made to safeguard the terminal building from further damage." So Nagico may have a point.
In other and to me connected news, old-has-beenRosalia with his no-seat MKP party presents the "Santa Maria resolution" to accuse the Dutch government of a coup d'état in St. Eustatius, because they took over from the corrupt government on that island. The resolution "instructs" Staten/parliament head and the Dutch representative in Curaçao to inform the Dutch king, government and parliament of their protest.
You may well ask how the take-over of the administration of part of the Netherlands can possibly be a coup d'état but Rosalia and his followers have such a hatred for everything Dutch, it stops them from thinking clearly.
It's called the Santa Maria resolution because their party HQ may be located in that Curaçao parish. I guess. Sounds better than the nothing resolution.
We'll See; Eventually
The new hospital will be technically ready in August 2018. At least, that's claimed. Then starts the nasty business of moving into it. Patients must have patience.
"A Considerable Amount"
That's how much Condor is paid as a guarantee for their Berlin-Curaçao flights. How considerable we're not told. Of course not! That would be transparent.
But the hotel sector is surprised. There is no money reserved for airlift from Germany as part of the Master Plan. Is that still alive, then?
Now We're Getting Some Action!?
Justice minister Girigorie has installed an Action Center "to fight crime in general and import of guns and other illegal trade items specifically." This should frustrate criminal efforts and thus prevent organized crime to nestle deeper in the community; his words. It will be a new approach to fight crime, with results that should be noticable in society.
Now that would certainly be new. Color me brightly sceptical.
Which Reminds Me
Bonaire's drinking water will be subsidized: everybody will pay the same, no matter how much they use.
Which reminds me of a rumor that seems to be true: Aqualectra's BOO plant produces much more water than is used, but rather than lower the price, they prefer to dump it back in the sea.
Suriname Fly All Ways does not get a permit to fly between CUR and Santo Domingo. Better name might be Fly By Night.
Huurman Is Busy
He wants Sehos and Advent hospitals to start cooperating on internal medicine, and to come with a solid plan two months from now. The doctors are willing, but say it's not so simple.
The evaluation committee for UTS has taken its leave. It's not very clear why; in fact, it's not at all clear. The committee was supposed to evaluate the coming layoffs at UTS.
Gee, I wonder if the members will get paid anyway, and how much.
Yeah, Good Question
A remark in KKC: Why aren't we informed on what guarantee is given to Condor for their flights Berlin-CUR? Answer: That's Transparency, Folks!
Take That, Auntie!
Health inspector Huurman is not at all contented with the plans to start fattening imported Colombian cattle here, and has written so to his boss, auntie Suzy. Anybody can call himself a veterinary here, says Huurman; and the head of the Veterinary Dept. says that all cattle can be imported from Colombia, no restrictions. This while it is well-known that there are Colombia cattle strains carrying MRSA COL 923 bacteria, which are anti-biotic resistant and dangerous for humans.
It's a Start
Selikor starts today with cleaning two locations that are in use as illegal trash dumps. There are many, many more. That's how we get to hear that the announced X-Team is a re-establishment. Oh. So the first one expired, leaving only wrecks behind?
Do As the Romans Do
Rome has an unusually high number of automobiles—about 2.3 million—compared to its population: just more than 800 for every 1,000 inhabitants. (In the USA it's 450/1000.)
One of the reasons the number of vehicles in Rome is so high is government banned cars with odd-numbered or even-numbered license plate on alternating days. To skirt the alternate days regulation, many families buy a used car with a different number plate.
Floating Market Sunk
Because of Maduro's export stop, the famous Floating Market tourist attraction has now definitely closed down. Never to return? Possibly; then again, who knows. At any rate, for what it's worth, one of the departed captains claims 30,000 Venezuelans had been living from that. That must include everybody, farmers to sellers, you name them.
But that's an awful lot! Confirms my opinion that we have been robbed all these years, if 1 of us has been sustaining 5 Venezuelans.
Maybe the captain includes Aruba and Bonaire. Than we "only" sustain 2 or 3 Venezuelans each. And maybe he's just talking foolishness.
Free For All
Free Education will remain free at least until 2019/2020 for everybody, not only for the less wealthy. Reason, it's a total mess; no doubt thanks to all those PS ministers who had their claws on the department ever since we can remember. So says PAR Alcala-Wallé.
The ministry is also in debt to Fundashon Material pa Skol and Stichting Studiefinanciering.
German airline Condor will start weekly flights Frankfurt-CUR in November. No doubt Düsseldorf will be mighty relieved. 2018-03-02
Here's an Idea
Customs proudly showed off their new dogs, meant to stop drugs and weapons export from Curaçao. Say, why not use them to stop those coming in?
CPS port services are madly angry (or is that angrily mad?) with Ecorys for their scathing report and threaten they will sue Ecorys if they don't retract.
Pinhead Martina is getting things fixed so InselAir will receive 3.6 million dollars more in its gaping maws. A loan from the banks with a government guarantee, so goodbye to 6.5 million guilders, folks! Watch them take wing ins Blaue hinein.
A guy in KaKaCur rightly asks if DiviDivi Air shouldn't sue the government here for causing unfair competition.
Mark: that's twice as much than what we were told a few weeks ago.
Why does a farm factory to grow 1000 cows on 1.5 m2 (16 sq.ft.) each need 40 hectare (100 acres)? You could grow process 670 million cows on there. Sure, you'd need room for feed stock etc. but this sounds suspicious.
Oh wait, they plan to grow grass for feed on those 40 hectares. No doubt irrigated. Loonyville!
Don't know how long this link will last, but Curaçao Chronicle runs a long article on the great economic opportunities promised by CHATA (Hotel and Tourist club). If only... we will become a Tax & Duty Free destination; more development of tourism opportunities; becoming a wellness destination (no comment); destination marketing update by CTB (hah!). CTB says tourism went down, but this year looks much better. Sure... Dream on, kids.
Strong Smell of Cow Shit
So that's lurking behind those great plans to start a cow meat factory. We, you and I, are supposed to cough up the money to pay for what Martina calls a "high level feasibility study" in which all aspects of this impossible operation are studied. For that, 5 of the 8 ministers had to show up (show being le mot juste here) and sign an MoU (Memorandum of understanding). We have had plenty of experience with MoUs signed in the recent past; like with Synergy and GZE. Next? We may have to finance the whole deal, you don't have to be overly pessimistic to expect.
Like Antilliaans Dagblad justly remarks, let that Venezuelan guy pay for that himself. What AD forget is, this method of growing cows has been banned by the €U since 2007; and PM Rhuggenaath is clamoring for more Anschluss over there. Do those ministers ever talk with each other?
Auntie Suzy was one of the signing ministers. She says she doesn't know yet what to do with the tons of manure resulting. Dump them at Chute/Shut, whatever?
Can Hardly Believe It
The court has ordered "Dutchy" Schrier, owner of the Seaquarium/Dolfinarium, to stop building quays for boats and to remove the posts already planted. He must also remove the enlargement of his coast stretch, which is much larger than agreed. Another factor in this game is Curaçao Port AuthoritiesCPA, who were playing the same game.
Both Schrier and CPA have long since outgrown their breeches and it's about time, in fact, much too late, that somebody put a stop to some of their activities.
That Dutch is a real pirate in the fine old Dutch tradition. He wrote a letter to KKC stating that the court's verdict only confirms a compromise he offered Lions Dive Hotel a long time ago. That's what he says, at least.
HNO: The Gift That Keeps Taking
Auntie Suzy warns that there are several "possibly hidden" risks with the new hospital. She doesn't mean health risks, but financial risks. Sona, supposed to handle the building procedure and its management, hasn't told all. Good question is, does SONA even know? Does SONA even want to know? Persistent rumors are that persons like ex-PMs Shorty and Arsjes have received enormous bribes. SONA surely doesn't want us to know!
Auntie has assigned the audit to Rekenkamer. How I hope they'll turn up some real dirt.
No News Is Bad News
The container harbor is just awful, a new Ecorys report lets us know. "Facilities are obsolete and new investments are needed." That's pretty old in itself. Ships are handled on a first-come-first-serve basis, so planning is as good as impossible and many have to be unloaded in night hours, causing extra overtime charges.
In Jamaica, 30 containers are moved per hour; in Aruba up to 22, and in St. Maarten 17 to 18. Here it's 12 to 14.
And then there are still people who dream of turning our South Coast into one giant container terminal so we'll become the Singapore or Hong Kong of the Caribbean.No Way.
MAN ministers Koeiman [Cow Man] announce and pinhead Martina ("e mahoso fastioso") a wonderful new project. A farm will be started where 1000 cows will be fattened in a couple of months. They are forced to fatten fast because they get no more than 1.5 meters to move around in. (I take it that's "square meters" but no journalist seems to have asked. Sigh.) Would be 75 by 200 centimeters, about there (30"x80"): the inhumane and in Europe since 2007 forbidden practice of crate calves.
Meanwhile, Dierenbescherming (SPCA) is constantly asking us to take care of our poor best friends, the dogs. Must have slipped by them.
Also, auntie Suzy has not been asked what she and her department think to do about the many tons of manure that we'll have to get rid of. Not to mention the brand-new law on animal welfare. As usual, only marks on paper; just think of the Dolfinarium.
I've said it before and I'll repeat: at any rate, it's cheaper to import meat than to import feed, as planned.
But not to worry, it will never go through.
Don't Tell Us
Once again, a white powder has covered the neighborhoods downwind of Isla. It's so-called cat cracker powder, released when that thing is started up—a regular occurence—but Isla assures us it's not harmful. "Only after prolonged contact it can cause irritation to skin, eyes and respiratory system." Sounds good.
But why not tell us what it is? Makes you feel kinda paranoid.
Now They're in a Hurry
Council of Ministers has given the RdK Isla Refinery one month to come with an action plan for the integration of the MDPT in RdK, and the future of Isla refinery. The future of the refinery must be guaranteed, whether in its present location or a new one, but there must also be worked on a "fallback position" and a decision on the Bullenbaai LNG terminal.
Won't work. All that can never be decided in one month, after all those years of fooling around. Hurry makes worry and haste makes waste.
Wind Power Is the Future!
I give this to you straight as I found it:
The lifespan of a wind turbine offshore is supposed to be 25 years. Back in 2012 land-based wind farms in the UK were found to show signs of wearing out in just 12 years.
Not one of the turbines installed here by Aqualectra has lasted that long.
For onshore wind, the monthly 'load factor' of turbines — a measure of how much electricity they generate as a percentage of how much they could produce if on at full power all the time — dropped from a high of 24 per cent in the first year after construction, to just 11 per cent after 15 years.
For offshore wind — examined only in Denmark where it has been used for longer — it declined even more dramatically from over 40 per cent at the start, to just 15 per cent after ten years.
There is a five year guarantee on the rotor blades.
It's a moot point if Aqualectra uses on-shore or off-shore turbines. They're so close by the sea that the same factors (rain, corrosion) must have an influence.
Also please note that the power Aqualectra quotes is maximum power, which is hardly ever reached. But we knew that already.
Until last year, whenever [OPEC] crude oil prices went up, USA shale and fracking producers jumped in and forced them down again. But that has changed: their techniques have evolved and they are now able to produce for $20/barrel.
Take that, Russia and OPEC.
And by the way you know, BP predicts that by 2040, Paris or no Paris Climate Convention, total fossil fuel consumption (gas, oil and yes, especially coal) will have grown by 50%. Sorry! that's 20%.
The Seú feast is in danger! This corrupted and bastardized version of what used to be a harvest festival (only, there's not so much harvested anymore, if at all) needs 250,000 guilders subsidy and will get 75,000 less this year. Now it can't go through?
Betcha it will anyway, and nobody will see the difference.
4000 people join the party every year, cost about 60/person.
PS Córdoba, MAN and M*F*K Shorty are not happy with Huurman as inspector of health. He has too much power, they think.
Rather he than they, I'm thinking.
PAR PM Rhuggenaath is in Bruxelles to palaver with those champs of democracy, the Big €U Bosses. He wants more coperation between the €U and us. Just now when the Dutch parliament has decided that a referendum, where the people voted en masse against admitting the Ukraine as a member, is null and void.
That's Independence, Folks!
Auntie Suzy complains it's impossible to get any financial statements from SONA, the authority overseeing the building of the new hospital HNO. She's afraid costs will exceed the budget with 100 to 125 million guilders (over $50m).
We all saw it coming. How is this even possible? Can't she sic John Law on them?
Another New Try
Curaçao's new PG [Attorney General] Bos wants to reduce the number of guns hanging around. Reading between the lines, he's not very optimistic about his chances to succeed. Which I completely agree with.
Worse and Worse
While Venezuelan president Maduro is bragging that crude oil production is going up again, this doesn't seem very credible. Now, even the workers at PdVSA are leaving their jobs en masse. Reason, much too low pay and work conditions get more and more dangerous. Workers can buy so little food that they are much too weak and hungry for heavy work.
I've long since given up trying to figure how long that can possibly last. After all, the USSR/Soviet Union kept going for more than half a century before it collapsed.
Viagra Powered Machismo
This is only the illegal stuff: up to now, 7,000 pills have been confiscated (last year the total was 20,000). Go figure: 150,000 people, about half male, say half of those between 14 and 70, of which then over 4 would have used 1 pill/week. Not counting the legal supplies and what isn't caught.
Haste Makes Waste
Auntie Suzy announces they're going to use drones to check on people dumping trash, dead dogs etc. by the roadside. She also asks us to take photos of such activities and send them over. (It isn't mentioned where we're supposed to send them to.) This will help her ministry to catch those guys.
Too bad she admits that it won't work, because it's still impossible to fine people based on their license plates. Another thing forgotten to arrange on 10-10-10. I can imagine her impatience, but why not wait until that's been arranged before buying new toys drones?
Just What We Need
Auntie Suzy now plans to start several agricultural projects a herb growing business, which of course is fine (as long as it's not throw-away money to pay some "experts"). But then she goes on to say she wants to promote the use of herbs from Curaçao. She wants to set up a special project for the cultivation of local herbs and the sharing of "time-honored knowledge" of the application of specific herbs from Curaçao.
Which of course stinks of quackery. Dinah Veeris, anyone? Now, if auntie only took a look at the next item!
A letter in KKC from a woman describes how terrible the old people's homes are. She claims that doctors say there's not a single one that meets the standards. But this topic is not discussed at a higher level. Hey auntie Suzy, can you take a hint?
No Refinery Referendum
We all saw it coming, but if you believe Aruba PM Wever-Croes, the former government which made such a big deal about Citgo reopening the refinery had been warned that sanctions against Venezuela were to be expected. They proceeded regardless. (In all fairness, what else could they do?) Now Citgo has fired 300 temporary workers, still holding on to 300 regular employees.
Wever-Croes wants a "national discussion" on what to do in 2020 when the Citgo-lease expires. She prefers of a new economic pillar on the spot where the refinery is currently located.
Citgo Aruba may get an exception to the sanctions. Then again, it may snow here tomorrow.
Change for Change's Sake T
As proof you have paid your car tax, you apply a sticker top mid of your windscreen. So far so good. Those stickers always were horizontal, fine too. But this year's sticker comes in a vertical format. First, removing last year's leaves a gummy residue which extends on two sides of the new sticker and is not at all easy to get off. Then, the new sicker is much more obnoxious in interfering with your vision as it extends lower into your view.
Whoever thinks those things out? Right, "thinks" is hardly the proper word.
It's not going so great with Papiamento. Not only on social media mostly younger people make a mess out of it (nothing special there), newspapers are almost just as bad.
Here's an idea, as always, free: let the people decide what to do with their own language instead of telling them what it should be like. Will save money, too.
Smart & Original Raad van Advies [advise council] does not think it such a great idea for Hato airport to raise tariffs. They might first have a look at ways to lower costs.
Miracle: Martina Found Money
Minister Martina says the second phase of the Mari Pompun beach improvement project is proceeeding just as planned. He doesn't understand where the rumor came from that there was no money.
Fly, Fly Away
SXM Winair will start flying between Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, the so-called Air Antilles Express operated by CN-Express. It's not that fast, though, and also pretty cramped for size. After all, only quite small planes can land on Saba. Two weekly flights.
Main reason, Dutch government reps are still not allowed to fly InselAir. For safety reasons.
Rabbit Punch for Titan/GZE
Their offer for building the planned LNG terminal at Bullenbaai by Tital/GZE is "irrealistic" judges New York's Poten & Partners. It was the lowest but it seems obvious the consortium planned to make money on upgrading the Isla refinery—which is far back of us below the horizon.
It was ex-PM Shorty's M*F*K who came out with this information. Funnily, it now looks like Royal Dutch/Shell has a very real chance to come back to the island; their offer was third lowest but technically number one. I don't expect Shorty would like Shell's come-back.
Good for Him
PAR PM Rhuggenaath is convinced that we can convert "a couple of challenges" into a turning point. These challenges are the economic development, but also the financial situation. Like he was convinced that tourism would go through the roof this year.
One More Try
Auntie Suzy announced it when she was minister in another department (she's a lawyer and knows nothing about both departments), and now it's planned again: get rid of all those illegal billboards (and smaller) that pester us on the road.
Wonder if it will succeed this time; the law exists since 2015. PAR Jesus-Leito wanted to start in September 2017 (after 10 of PAR election billboards had been stolen or damaged in April).
The End Is Nigh
PdVSA is losing workers "by the thousands"; 10,000 in one week last January alone. Reasons: low wages and dangerous conditions because of bad maintenance.
Just go on threatening us, Maduro.
2 years ago, PdVSA had 143,000 workers. The exodus of that January week is 7% of that.
CTB: No Deal?
Remember how minister Martina expected CTB to cough up four million? Seems like they didn't, prefer to stick to it like glue, as predicted. So that's one reason he wants to borrow more money now for his Herstelplan.
Aqualectra plans to cover all warehouses in the Free zone with solar panels, including their own building close by; total 10-15,000 square meters. Minister Martina doesn't tell us what the price is, nor the capacity. Aqualectra will deliver the power straight into its grid and later plans to store it. How, they don't (and can't) explain.
Hopefully nobody sets fire to that free zone as happened not so long ago.
How Like Him
Three boarding schools complain that the ministry of social affairs [and then some] has reduced their subsidies from 7.9 million guilders to less than half: 3.6m, without any warning—just like that. Nice, Koeiman.
MAN Pinhead economic development minister Martina introduced his herstelplan [recovery plan]. It's funny enough to make tears come to your eyes. He calls it a "catch-up scenario" where you might well wonder who will do the catching (we have our pet suspicions there). The government we will do the throwing—of... hey, that's funny; he never mentionshow much. But let's try to figure it out: the government is now "entitled" to borrow 40% debt ratio (whatever that means), amounting to 60 million guilders/year, for investments. Martina wants to screw us for that up to 55% during 5 years. Am I right? That's 82.5m/year, total 412.5m.
In return, he predicts a measly economy growth over this year of 1.1%. Which is 0.8% better than predicted last December. Not really though, it was then predicted that tourism would help grow the economy by exactly that much.
Why don't we kick that fool out? Ruin his expensive suit with tar and feathers.
We Only Find Out Now That's Transparency, Folks! Last month a Chinese delegation from oil state company CNPC has visited the island to "assist us" with running Isla refinery until 2019, when the contract with PdVSA expires. But we weren't told about it, nor was the press: it was reported by KKC who got it from Argus media.
That CNPC isn't doing so well itself; last year it lost $800 milliard of its 1 trillion market value—that's 80% of its value, am I right? The Chinese claim they're entitled to 300,000 bpd of Venezuelan crude because of debts; which is more than Venezuela produces.
At any rate, what Venezuela produces is often of such inferior quality that it can't be processed; or cargoes of crude, or complete tankers, are confiscated.
Don't Push That Management
Now that its last MD-8X has been out of service for some weeks, after not having flown at all for over a year, InselAir is finally taking steps to get rid of the superfluous flight crews. This involves a court procedure.
All I can say is, those 11 guys and dolls (flight deck) and 12 (cabin crew) have had a jolly well-paid vacation all that time; thanks to the Unwise Men and our 33 million guilders.
Tough, So What
Dutch parliament has since 2010 been discussing a constitution modification, in which Fries [Frisian] was supposed to get it's own place as a language. Papiamento and English were not even considered. But it's all off, anyway. Nobody just seems to care (enough).
You Get Used to It
Isla refinery's cat cracker has exploded. No further news yet. Update: there's no real damage to the cracker, production will be resumed soon.
Venezuela president Maduro brags that crude production was back up to 250,000 bpd on January 1. Rather confusing, with OPEC claiming it was 1.8m bpd and other sources saying it's more like 1.6m bpd. I knew I was crazy, but now the whole world seems... that's no news, either.
The public ministry plans to sue ex-PM Shorty and his gangster moll for 1.8 million guilders (that's $1m). Good, but not enough by far.
Delaying tactics start at once, as his lawyer hasn't had time to prepare. First session March 15.
KLM stops selling tickets on which passengers, after arrival on one island, can fly on with Insel to another destinations.
Reason, Insel is never on time. Insel management say they "don't understand it." Well, we all do understand it very well.
No Wonder They Don't Like Him
President Trump wants to end the cozy work conditions for USA spoiled brats federal workers. They won't get automatic raises every year any longer, retirement benefits will be changed and it would be made easier to fire bad employees and reward good ones.
Just what we need here. Sigh.
In 2010, there were 8.4 federal workers per 1000 people in the USA; here, we have almost 1 per 3— counting children, unemployed people and babes in arms.
The preposterous great ten million guilders plan to turn the rocks of Mari Pompun into a Copacabana-like place of splendor has been put on hold: there's no money for the four million second phase.
Now pinhead Martina wants CTB tourist board to come up with that money. All together now: Hahahahaha!
Ex-PM Arsjes was the first one to come up with that grandiose scheme, after he, as tourism deputy, had visited (no doubt paid by us) Brazil.
We then got less than 100 tourists from Brazil per year; nice going, Arsjes.
That tightly blockaded border between ABC-islands and Venezuela is as porous as a sieve, to coin a term. First, we do not have to fear for a beer shortage during Carnaval. Plenty of Polar and Zulia from Venezuela, where I look. Then the illegal gasoline. And now, a guy traveling from Venezuela via Aruba to Holland has been caught with 50 kilos of gold worth $2.1 million in his suitcase.
But the authorities assure us there's no smuggling going on, no sir.
50 kilos! That's at least 30 kilos overweight. Guess he didn't worry much about paying for that.
End Expiration Fiddling Staten have accepted a motion with 15 measures to guarantee product expiry dates are kept to. Seems there are (unnamed) enterprises that use stamps to change the expiration date. Criminal prosecution is possible in cases of violation.
For once, Amparo dos Santos was present and he protested, as it put the supermarket owners in a bad light (you ask me, well deserved). He followed up with derogatory remarks about Huurman as a member of the X-Team. When he was silenced by the parliament president he left the meeting.
Aruba in Trouble
2018-02-22 didn't need a hurricane, let alone 2, or a Shorty to go practically bankrupt. They manage very well on their own:situation is much worse than everybody, including CAFT financial supervision, thought. They seem to have tried to fight regression with Keynes-inspired large-scale investing public spending, a system discredited since Roosevelt tried it in the USA long before I was born.
Now Aruba is borrowing to balance the budget, which can only make it worse.
Zinica Crypto Fund is approved to list on DCSX (Curaçao-based Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange). It will provide exposure to the daily price fluctuations of bitcoin, as measured by the Bitcoin Real Time Index (BRTI).
Not that those bitcoin prices are worth looking at right now.
How do you pronounce Zinica? "Cynical"?
Isla Must Pay
It took a while, but after Isla refinery had already been forced to pay for the reports and court costs after the damage their 2012 oil spill had caused to Rif/St. Marie, now they must pay damages to Monumentenzorg (owner of the salt ponds) and Sea Shore Properties. No amount is mentioned, only whispered: half a million guilders.
Now maybe Monumentenzorg can do something about the deterioration of those salt ponds. I photographed them over 40 years ago and they were in much better condition then. But nobdoy was interested in them and left them alone. Since then, flamingos started visiting the saliña and hordes of tourists walk over the dams to get as close as possible.
No, I don't mean the stinkin' kind. Though it should be declared illegal, but would it help? I'm afraidy not.
A Chinese toko at Santa Cruz has been caught selling illegal gas. I mean, for cars. That's what you get when you import gasoline (in Venezuela) at a (much) higher price than what you sell it for to the consumers—who don't really go for it anyway. They'd rather have food. Even toilet paper would come in handy. Where was I? Oh yeah, so those hermetically sealed borders of Venezuela somehow, mysteriously, get passed by to get us the gas. It happened in Aruba as well; probably still does. Aruba is much closer to that disaster area.
It's a Plan
Auntie Suzy says she's sick of the filthy mess we force each other to live in (please speak for yourself, "lady"), and she wants to do something about it. Better, much better, yet: she wants inspector of health Huurman to supervise the "X-Team".
Now she's talking.
Of course, all sorts of dummies start agitating against Isla refinery, and why she still tolerates that nose-sore. But in fact, if you read the news it does fall under his responsibility. Yes, reading takes an effort and training.
Good title, that. SMOC quotes an audit by ED Technologies Texas. I haven't read it, but SMOC claims that Isla is far from up-to-date (which we all know), and that it's described as a ticking time-bomb (how's that for a cliché?) It's only a question of time before something goes completely wrong.
Reminds me, I use the Casio "Terrorist Watch" (not the official name but well deserved), produced since 1980 or so, costs about $8, runs less than 1 second/month slow or fast. And it doesn't tick. Has a stopwatch and an alarm, gives you the time and date; you want the moon periods of Titan? Go somewhere else and get lost.
This thing is like the Douglas DC-3 or the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Or the Citroen 2CV.
Three Down and Counting
After the Plaza Hotel flop, where they tried to sell the worn-out moth-eaten building, riddled with concrete cancer—and didn't, the Howard Johnson's was closed for lack of a casino license (and being a deathly fire trap), now the Kura Hulanda sale to Colombia, said to be a sure thing by pinhead Martina (just like InselAir/Synergy-Avianca) has fallen through.
But this year tourism is sure to grow!
Venezuela is delivering crude to Isla refinery again. Now we hear that the last batch came in 7 months ago. In the meantime, we have been getting 1.73 million barrels of crude from West Texas Intermediate en DSW and again 1.44 from Russia.
MEO [ministry economic development] predicts tourism will grow this year. We're all wild with enthousiastic expectations. It will contribute 0.8% growth to GDP—which only last December was predicted to grow by a measly 0.3%. We are not impressed.
But hold it, that's based on a CTB prediction: 3% more nights will be spent by tourists, and we'll have 9% more cruisers. In that case, don't count on it.
At any rate, a far cry from Rhuggenaath's predictions.
But they didn't go so far this time to predict down to one pro mille.
The USA Trump administration is considering sanctions for Venezuela; to wit, stopping buying crude. Now I have in fact no idea where the Isla refinery products are sold. If the main customer is the USA, we're in bad trouble here. If it's China or other countries that don't mind Maduro so much, we're sitting pretty.
For the Aruba refinery, it would be really bad news as Citgo, said to start operating the refinery again, would certainly export to the USA. On the other hand, who still really believes Citgo will come to Aruba?
Celebrate for Statia
Dutch parliament has decided to (temporarily) end democracy on St. Eustatius. What they really end is the dictatorship running the population. The island is a mess, intimidation of people is a normal occurrence. Now the Dutch realize it's their own fault; they should have checked much better.
The Statia government thinks it unfair, what else is new.
Question remaining to be answered: when will they wake up in Holland and see that it's the same for all the islands (except maybe Saba)? Agreed, it's not that bad here. Yet.
Burn, Asphalt, Burn
The refinery's steam boiler problem is further explained. In 2016 new boilers were installed, but they are not fit for burning asphalt as fuel. As that is used anyway, they have to be cleaned and repaired more often.
The old boilers used by Shell also burned asphalt, but could handle it.
So what clumsy fool bought those new boilers, and probably got a nice fat cut?
Great! A Committee! Staten parliament have decided that, because Isla refinery is so important for the island, to install a "temporary committee for continuation and modernization refinery". It's really not so temporary, it will last as long as this parliament—or maybe longer, until 2021 (one might well wonder if they thought of that: what happens when we'll have premature new elections?)
The committee will have 9 members (out of 21 MPs).
Gee, I wonder how much they'll pay themselves. On top of their sumptuous salary.
Also please note, this is the end of the Green Town dream.
What the Hell Is CRU?
Isla refinery may close down next Thursday, because there may not be enough steam delivered by CRU. One of their 4 boilers has to be overhauled, and 2 are U/S anyway. As president Eisenhower when still a general said, SNAFU: "Situation Normal, All Fucked Up." But there is enough money for salaries, so enjoy the fresh air. If and when.
Production of gasoline may grind to a halt, but they always tell us the stuff comes from other places. Maybe it's true.
I use U/S to take revenge on CRU. It means UnServicable. See? I can be polite.
Bitcoin Bubble Burst & Blown: Crypto Crisis
Don't mind me when I say "I told you so." Mostly, I can (only just) resist this awful impulse, but this time let me have my nasty fun.
Still, something like that will come along and actually work; and pretty soon too.
Old Old Song
Doesn't improve on hearing it again. Dutch minister for Medical Care and Sports Bruins says, "if there's no dentist on Saba, you can always go to St. Maarten." (Saba is his responsibility, like Bonaire and St. Eustatius.)
Most Dutch have no idea about the geographical situation here. They always used to ask "why not build a bridge between Willemstad and Paramaribo?"
But this guy is a minister. What a Royal Cl*$$ *$$.
For people in Holland who read this and don't have an inkling, Willemstad-Paramaribo are 1676km apart (would be an absolute world record bridge—with filling stations, fast-food joints and motels on it, just about Amsterdam-Roma); Saba-St. Maarten is 50km. There are 3 daily flights, return ticket price over $100.
Finance minister Gijsbertha has discovered that after years of measures to stimulate the economy, it hasn't been stimulated so you'd notice. So now he wants the government to save 1 billion guilders and use that to stimulate same economy. It certainly is an original idea, a government saving money.
As he didn't even manage to present a balanced budget, it looks not so easy to achieve.
First, he wants a good plan. And we thinking we had several of those already; like the much-lauded Master Plan. Didn't work out so well, true. Once we have that great Central Plan (can't help thinking of the infamous 5 and 10 year Soviet Union plans), we must borrow more money. From Holland, where else? Genius!
Next idea is absolutely brilliant, too. Why did nobody think of that before? The unoccupied buildings owned by the government must be used instead of just sitting there empty; that will save on office rentals. If they can't be used, they must be sold, money going into the 1 billion fund. After everybody has taken their cut.
Then those government companies. He would not sell them: no, they must find a strategic partner to sink more money into them and put the money released that way into the fund. How it will be released, he doesn't explain.
And finally, the local business must work along and invest. Where they are supposed to find the money, he doesn't explain either. Hey Gijsbertha, did you notice what's happening in the USA since taxes were lowered? Just a hint.
This took more words than I care to write in most cases. Thank you for your patience.
Price index in December 2017 was 1.6% higher than in February. Too bad if you only have a welfare pension, which has remained the same for years now.
Let's be reasonable here, how else do we find the money to pay InselAir? Wiels's MDTB? To name but a few.
About That Surgeon?
Inspector of health Huurman now wants him to be reestablished in his job. It was all caused by communication problems.
Oho! There We Go! The consortium that's prepared to lend InselAir what now amounts to 3.6 million guilders wants a government guarantee. Say goodbye to all that lovely money, folks. Not that you can blame the consortium, hey!
All in all, it's 300 million to the Tax Person and SVB social insurance, 33 more from the Unwise Men, giving us a grand total (and it's really Grand) of almost 340 million guilders, USD 185m. But who's counting? Plus the rest of debts InselAir is sure to have. Like in Suriname, Aruba and who knows what more. They probably don't know themselves, nor do they seem to care.
InselAir now says they'll be up and running with 3 F-50s a months from now. Reminds me of earlier prognostications. Like, 48 hours. (They still dream of expanding further, though, ouch.)
Free Education Is Over
One more PS Sainted Wiels heritage gone: free education is over and done with; the government can't afford it any longer, even after planned reforms. Only lower incomes may still get it.
Also, the lawyer offices used by almost all ministries on a retainer basis lose that steady income, amounting to ANG 20-25K per year month. They will only by hired for specific cases. Now they think of that.
About That Un/Employment
The real meaning of those figures just now hit me: almost 25% of all jobs are in the government.
So three of us sustain one parasite.
Maybe That'll Work?
As most people don't seem to be very worried about global warming, climate change, diversity or whatever names they thought up for a phenomenon that may or not be important, some genius came up with something that's meant to scare the living crap out of us: Atmosphere Cancer! In the USA, only 2% of people are really worried; which worries those who make a living out of Green Research.
Swimming Pool annex Hotel Remember? Turns out, those guys who devised this plan just plum forgot to ask the sport federation (running the swimming pool) how they thought about it.
Fruit and Veggies
Minister Martina has made a deal with Santo Domingo to replace the Venezuelan import with Dominican produce. Problem is logistics; it takes 10 times as long to get the stuff over here. Plus it's more expensive. Martina hopes to get Aruba and Bonaire in the deal as well, which would reduce costs.
More Unemployment, More Spoiled Brats
Don't tell ex-PM Shorty because he'll start bragging "I told you so" but the last 4 years unemployment grew every year. That started 2 years after he was kicked out following his failed coup d'état. Unemployment in 2017 was 14.1% (I don't know if drug dealers and atrako criminals are counted as jobless).
But don't worry, in 2014 20% of the population "worked" for the government and now it's 22.9%.
Specialists and Surgeons
Makes me think of Dungeons and Dragons... Anyhow, health inspector Huurman had some criticism on some surgeon, and the Vereniging van Medische Specialisten [union of medical specialists] didn't like that, so they wrote a long unreadable letter defending the surgeon. Turns out, it was only the board who wrote the letter—of which said surgeon seems to be a member.
Seventeen specialists (about one quarter of the total membership) didn't like that in turn and wrote a letter of their own, protesting that this is not the first time the board publishes a standpoint they don't agree with. So Huurman is in the right?
The Tourist Board says we make a lot of money with carnaval (about now erupting in all its noisy glory) and we should push it along. That's okay lads, but I'm pretty sure more money is spent than we get back.
The public ministry is now suing ex-PM Shorty for €1.8 million (about $2 million these days) and his gangster moll for €100 thousand, money that both are alleged to have obtained unlawfully. First court session February 21.
They have stolen much more, obviously, but you have to prove it. There's the rub.
Grumbling & Growling
Some people stuck in St. Maarten were forced to return to their hotels for a second time, because InselAir couldn't take them. They didn't like it.
Isn't it time the government just forced this farce to end? Won't happen, I know...
Other news is, PAWA Dominican airline is forced to stop activities for 90 days because it's in desperate financial straits. Now there's an idea, all ready to follow up on.
KLM, even though the SXM-CUR flight had 30 empty seats, didn't take in any passengers because they figure InselAir can't be paying them anyway. Smart.
That's Fine With Me
Because the government is looking forward to making less money from the Isla refinery, harbor money and all that, they are looking into how to economize on several departments.
If only they'd thought of that 50 years ago. Wouldn't have helped against Shorty and Prick Pisas, true.
A Good Start
17 illegal immigrants have escaped from the detention center at police office Rio Canario. We're not told how many there were in total, but a fair guess is, 17. I mean, why hang around and wait for your deportation?
The illegals can't be sent back in three days as used to be done because Madman Maduro closed the borders. Except, he sent a Hercules transport to pick up the bodies of 4 drowned escapees from Venezuela.
PM Rhuggenaath has asked for help from Holland.
To get out, the detainees smashed an iron grillwork with a heavy metal drainage cover from the courtyard. They don't know how that thing got inside, but I do: they took it in there and nobody noticed a thing.
I Can't See It
The Gold Investment Company applied 3 years ago to the government with a plan to integrate the Benny Leíto public wimming pool with a hotel. The pool could continue to be used for swimming lessons etc., while also in use for hotel guests.
Gold never got an answer; I can understand why. Lots of potential headaches there.
Besides, I read a tip that Gold is allegedly involved in a bribery scandal, together with old reliable ex-MAN Cooper. Extra reason to tread with care.
There are not hardly enough male school teachers around (and more keep leaving), the drop-out problem is very worrisome, the 1991 compulsory education law needs revising; the main problems with our educational is-dissa-system.
And we wondering (not really) why crime is a problem.
Our Culture? Phooey!
A regular fight has broken out when people living in the Brakkeput Mei-Mei neighborhood started collecting signatures on a petition to protest the insanely loud music they are treated on from the landhuis annex restaurant/stage every week-end, for nights long. "It's Our Culture!" the some Yu'i Korsows yell. As if even 20 years ago it was possible to produce 120db of volume in every snek that invested a couple of hundred guilders.
A counter-action has started where people who think it's just fine to disturb the sleep of their fellow citizens collect signatures; they hope to collect 15,000, 10% of the total population.
This is endemic over the entire island. Milieudienst [environment] officers don't even work at night, so there's nothing to be done when a party breaks out around the corner.
Interestingly, some MAN member tried a number of years ago to limit the Yu'i Korsow title to those of African descent. As if it was even practically possible. It was not accepted; still, such people roam MAN.
Being exposed to 90db for 30 minutes means irreparable hearing damage; for 110db it's 30 seconds. 2018-01-28
When you check today's flights to/from Hato Airport, you'll see there's only 2 InselAir flights listed: ARR SXM-CUR 15:05 and ARR BON-CUR 17:00, expected 21:05 (presumably, these depart first). 7 other flights are listed as "Cancelled".
You Don't Say
Some American remarking "Imagine how bad it would be if we had only one telephone company... one oil company [etc.]"
We don't have to do such imagining, that's how bad it is here.
Kinda surprising? Not really. The graph above shows how the more "alternative", "no fossil fuel", "renewable" electricity is produced, the more expensive it gets.
On the top are Denmark and Germany—sharing our Aqualectra tariff.
Hungary, Poland and the USA mostly use King Coal; France nuclear.
Source: Judith Sloan in The Australian.
Day of Disaster
Those crummy geriatric second-hand fly-a-wrecks in use by InselAir? Oh, one is flying again but will soon need engine work so don't count on getting to your destination as planned.
And on Bonaire Flamingo Airport, an Aruba Airlines was delayed for six hours because the ground handler didn't have stairs for the plane, and their competitor refused to lend them one. There are three ground handlers there, of which two cooperate, and those hate the third one's guts. Which resulted in passengers stuck in the aircraft for hours. (I hope the airco was working.)
Meanwhile, DiviDivi's first brand-new Twin Otter has arrived and will soon be operational. That's the way to go, folks.
(Almost) Sounds Like a Joke
InselAir Aruba, in the process of being declared bankrupt, has a claim of 37.9 million florin [same value as ANG] on InselAir International, which IAI has declared they're willing to pay.
Which of course means, InselAir Curaçao must pay up. Sit back and have another popcorn while the plot thickens.
Wonder if the Unwise Men knew about this. Guess not, why bother with details when spending our money?
In further news, all InselAir flights will stop this afternoon, and what happens tomorrow is anybody's guess. There is no money to buy spare parts for the two F50s, and the rumor is Insel's Air Operator Certificate (AOC) will be canceled.
Who'd Have Thought It?
The short-lived cabinet led by Prick Pisas, straw man for ex-PM Shady Shorty, has taken 334 decisions. 180 of those have been looked at and almost half of them do not comply with regulations. Of these: 49 percent are cases for promotion, 25 percent for appointments and 15 percent for bonuses. The word is nepotism.
Face Up to It: Times Are Changing
The hotel "industry" complains that their business is being eroded by all those apartments and rooms let to tourists by private owners. Look kids, when I go away I always try to get a place like that: it's much cheaper and more pleasant as well, with not a whole bunch of intrusive personnel pressing you all the time for tips, trying to do things I can handle myself, thank you.
Now the hotels want the government to "regulate" their competition. Good luck with that. And you know what? It will not help them one bit.
First, InselAir is once again in problems with the schedule, because one F50 is U/S. Which stands for "unserviceable" or, kaput.
Then, the curator of InselAir Aruba comes with the note that Venezuela does not owe Insel $49 million; the country merely has an obligation to exchange "a certain amount" from Bolívares to USDollars according to the official rate; which is a joke. Besides, InselAir did not even get the deal right, so it's "worthless", says the curator.
If the same applies to the 70 million dollars InselAir Curaçao is supposed to get nobody knows yet. Certainly not the Unwise Men who gave InselAir more than 33 million to waste.
Now That'd Hurt
If Maduro is really serious with the air-sea traffic stop, and tankers would stop coming in to the refinery and oil terminal, government company Curaçao Port Authorities and daughters CPO en KDT towing would miss out on a turnover of over ANG31 million/year.
If the refinery grinds to a halt, we need to buy fuel etc. elsewhere, for which a storage tanker is already on its way. For once, somebody thought ahead.
But really, as Isla refinery and COT are one of the few sources of petrodollars Venezuela has left, I don't see this happening before the Isla-PdVSA contract expires. With the proviso that you never know with such a nutcase.
The barquettes are good for half a million harbor fees/teas, which is peanuts but much more than you'd expect.
No New Tokos
A moratorium on new tokos and mini-supermarkets, dating from December 20 last year, will be prolonged until February 2019. That will stop a lot more Chinese coming in, you bet.
There's a Task Force for crypto currency, initiated by CIFA Curaçao (International Financial Services Association) and two government ministries. The development of these fictitious value coins (but so is gold's value for a large part fictitious) is seen as very important for the future of the island as an international financial center.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin has been rapidly losing a fictitious half of its fictitious value. Still, it's obvious there is some future here; but how long it will take before it's become more than a hot air bubble is another question. Also, who needs so many of those coins? Maybe the criminal world does.
Fat Lot of Good
Venezuela has been requested to please open the borders again? But Maduro (who's reported to govern by decree published on Twitter) doesn't care to react.
We do still get oil for the refinery, though. Hey, wot you teenk? But we can't drink oil.
Why Don't We?
After the hurricane disaster in Puerto Rico another disaster followed close on its heels: many, if not most, Puerto Ricans still don't have electricity. Puerto Rico is now considering privatizing the utility company. Why don't we? 2018-01-23
PAR PM Rhuggenaath informs us he's not ashamed: he has talked with Holland about ways to modernize the refinery. Of course he has. But, he adds, he has not talked with Shell nor about Shell.
The man is right, he has no shame; when you say "Holland" you say "Royal Dutch"; be it Airlines or Shell.
Not that I mind, don't get me wrong.
Now, because of the sanctions the €U has imposed on Venezuela, Maduro takes his revenge out on us—who else? The blockade will continue until we perish. Or Maduro does, it certainly is an attractive idea.
Hope he doesn't read this, he'll even get angrier.
Stop Dreaming. Wake Up.
Now we get law experts explaining that a take-over of InsultAir by Avianca/Synergy is not hindered by any Curaçao laws obstructing such a deal. So who cares? Avianca doesn't want nor needs InsultAir.Got it? Verstehst du? Vat je? Comprenez vous? Capisce? B'a komprendé? 2018-01-22
That Looks More Serious
The Venezuelan barquette captains, going back and forth between Venezuela and here to deliver fruits, vegetables and fish, are at their wits' end. Maduro the Mule tells them that the next meeting on his blockade will be on March 25, by which time they'll be as good as bankrupt.
Will Maduro still be around by then? Good question!
Supermarkets are now forced to buy the stuff elsewhere, and complain that's so expensive. For them it may be expensive! For us, it's business as usual.
Look, somebody is fooling us here: either the captains or the supermarkets, and probably both. We, the public, heavily overpay for those worthless Bolívares with our as-good-as-dollars guilders.
Gosh, Would You Think?
Mulishly, president Maduro refuses to sign the agreement stopping the blockade (I know it's not one, not really, but it's as close as he can hope to get). Everything has been discussed and all parties agree, but he just won't sign. Maybe he can't write? It's a thought.
The follow-up meeting between all parties has been canceled because of Maduro's stubborn refusal.
Somebody speculates that he's angry because we're confiscating tankers loaded with crude oil. That certainly is a thought.
About Time; But Will It Work?
The MDPT multi-disciplinary project team (who thinks those names up?) for Isla refinery must be completely revised. It's primary task, developing a schedule for refinery modernisation and restructuring of Schottegat should have resulted in a scenario—that doesn't even exist.
Even now, finances are a mess and obligatory monthly statements to the government are not delivered. The new team must also put "integrity" in its program. As if that will help.
Looking at some of the members, they wouldn't recognize integrity if it was presented naked on a tray with parsley.
Curaçao police is assuming the Venezuelan boat that was lost at sea a week ago with at least 6 people drowned, was used for human trafficking; not for people smuggling. Two Venezuelans have been arrested; they're also being suspected of membership of a drug and gun smuggling ring.
The Den Haag High Court has not yet received the Shorty dossier, after the cassation request which Shorty's lawyer said he'd file right after the appeals court returned the verdict. That was July 21, 2017. It takes 500 days for the High Court to give a verdict.
It's not clear as yet what caused the delay. As far as I can figure it's Shorty's lawyer who should have sent the dossier. In that case it's just another delaying tactic, which may backfire as the term to do this may expire on January 21.
Trying to get the pertinent info. Not from the media, that's for sure. Update: Turns out, the dossier was in Holland all the time but got held up at Buitenlandse Zaken [foreign affairs] and just now popped up. Still in time but with not more than 2 days to spare. Nice timing, Shorty. So we're stuck with that howler ape for over 16 more months.
Van den Tweel supermarket denies that expired products are re-packed and re-labeled, and that the inspection is aware of that. So boss Van den Tweel wonders why this was given any publicity at all.
We Could Do Worse
M*F*K Ex-PM Shorty came out from under his flat stone, where he resides (instead of going to the parliament meetings he gets paid for) crying out it's a big shame that the Rhuggenaath government is secretly negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell. He has shown the documents allegedly proving this in a press conference. It's a shame, Shorty cries, they've been lying to us! Because Curaçao started dealing with Shell while still negotiating with GZE.
And the reason is, there's much money to be made. Really?
Shorty calls this "korta orea" [adultery]. Well, he sure is an expert there. 2018-01-17
They Just Can't Resist
Again, supermarkets have been caught with Label Fraud: when a product in fact has expired, they repack it and put on a new label.
This is exactly what Dutch chain Albert Heijn was afraid of when they forced their local brand here to change its name to Van den Tweel. But Van den Tweel is not the only culprit.
Van den Tweel
Went by the supermarkets yesterday to check Maduro's blockade effect. Obviously, we won't need to die of scurvy for lack of vitamin C. Loaded with veggies and fruit to the gills. (Nor for lack of Venezuelan Coca-Cola or Presidente beer.)
It was announced today that Willemstad's Floating Market is getting up and running again as well.
In Holland, they have a thing called Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid [scientific council for government policy] which may come as a big surprise for everybody. At any rate, these mighty brains are warning that Venezuela might well try and annex the ABC-islands. My, they're smart!
Venezuela has been trying to do just that for centuries, and we well remember how the then Dutch minister of defense immediately sent over a navy squadron over here when Argentina started trying to take over the Falklands.
Besides, the USA wouldn't like it one bit either.
If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them
To stop illegal gold smuggling from Venezuela, the proposal is to open a stock market for goods and raw materials, among which gold: the Curaçao-Multi Commodities Centre (C-MCC). This is supposed to legalize the influx of gold from Venezuela to be sold elsewhere. Maybe, but I'm not so sure. But as long as Maduro goes for it...
We read estimates that half a billion dollars worth of gold yearly is sold from Curaçao, which is "largely smuggled from Venezuela." This is not so easy to follow. That gold is reportedly sold from the Free Trading Zone, and how can that be smuggling?
Girobank in Trouble
They have been in trouble for 3 or 4 years, so now they have finally decided to close half of their 4 offices and fire half of their 80-90 personnel.
They were hoping that the GZE deal might save them, but no such luck.
Venezuela demands that Curaçao accepts its immigrants as political refugees, but justice minister Girigorie remarks that this is more like "human trafficking" and besides, those poor refugees have a habit of carrying drugs and guns; so no. Got it?
In fact, that "human trafficking" point is rather weak and contradicts the rest of his statement.
GZE Is a Bore
Now GZE, after all their hemming and hawing, twisting and turning, want an amicable settlement. For once, PAR PM Rhuggenaath shows some backbone and tells them that it's out of the question to annul unilaterally the MoU, HoA and Addendum (who cares what those things even are, except lawyers), because of agreements between China and the Kingdom. So there.
Still, the government is (wisely) seeking juridical advice.
Strikes a Familiar Note
A postal worker in Louisiana has burned "tubs and tubs" of mail, rather than delivering it. Here, I guess they do it on the Post Office's premises. Who knows what hidden evil goes on back there in those dark caverns of that Rio Canario building? Or possibly they just dump all that mail at Malpais landfill.
I mean, it has to go somewhere! Certainly not to my mailbox.
Which reminds me, many eBay dealers refuse to ship to the Netherlands Antilles. Can't blame 'em: it never arrives. Small wonder, as the country doesn't even exist since 10-10-10, a fact that eBay stubbornly refuses to correct. Only consolation is (not really): that list of countries grows longer and longer.
Correct your vocabulary. It's now "Climate Crisis"—global warming is out, climate change is out. After all, both didn't seem to be correct; only politically. Besides, "crisis" sounds much more scary, don't you see?
They also tell us, this comes a bit late but it gets so tiresome and even boring, that last year's hurricane season wasn't really exceptional. Hard to judge on that when it hit so hard, close by home. That certainly was exceptional, and that's the only good thing about it.
One thing I can't repeat often enough: PC or Politically Correct was a term invented and, shall I say popularized? by Chinese mass murderer Mao. If you didn't share his views, you asked for it.
It's a long time since I dared get some food from one of those what are officially called "movable kanteens". I was right. These "bread trucks" are old panel vans from which snacks and drinks are sold, but it would be a miracle to see one drive or even be towed away from its location.
Last week, 12 were visited for a check-up and only one passed the fire dept.'s requirements; two were closed altogether: personnel of one had not had a medical check and no work permit; the other one was alive with dead cockroaches and there, medical papers had expired. Both will have to apply for a new license.
Curoil has bought an African (Togo) tanker to serve as extra storage capacity for Bullenbaai Oil Terminal, instead of building more tanks; maybe later. The extra capacity is meant to guarantee fuel for Curaçao and Bonaire use, including air and maritime traffic, during three months. That will make Curoil less dependent from Isla refinery and PdVSA.
Present stock is good for almost three months, already.
In an atmosphere of the utmost cordiality (as they used to write when reporting on talks between Chamberlain and Hitler—check out where those led to: WWII), Curaçao, Aruba, The Netherlands and Venezuela have been discussing the border situation. Good results were obtained, is claimed.
Air and sea traffic will remain closed, so I don't know what they're talking about. Maybe they do. Maybe.
3 More Days, 1 More Dead Body
President Maduro has extended the air/sea traffic block for 3 more days. Hey Maduro, why not for a year... or ad infinitum? Then we may be impressed. Or not, right.
Another corpse has been found on the North coast. In Coro, where that boat came from, no Carnival this year. At least it's not starting tomorrow.
We see photographs of completely empty shops in Dutch newspapers, worse than Moskou 1970; but that looks like Fake News. My guess is, they were "made in Venezuela" not here.
Does Not Fly Always Fly All Ways airline, operating from Suriname, announces no flights between Paramaribo and Curaçao January 17-31. Their one and only MD-8* is to be serviced. Anybody will get their money back.
Hey, why didn't they figure that a bit sooner?
Not Water Tight
Four drowned bodies have been found on Curaçao's North coast; 2 people have been picked up alive ashore, soaked to the gills. The story is a boat containing 34 passengers has left from Coro and may have broken up. There is talk of another boat that left at the same time.
Three of the four have been deported last year and made this a second try. Going price for the trip is $100.
Now everybody's wondering how it's possible that, with Maduro's supposed tight control of maritime traffic, these two boats could just sail out of Venezuela harbors.
One consequence of that lockdown is, refugees from Venezuela caught here can't be deported back to their own country.
An Aframax tanker has been seized when trying to leave Bullenbaai's Oil Terminal, fully loaded with a 600,000 to 700,000 tons cargo. The Curaçao government considers the incident as a private commercial matter. It has to do with PdVSA's continuing bad payment of debts. But Maduro won't like it.
Here Comes the Marines!
In fact, the Dutch Navy. Holland is quite convinced that they can handle any aggression by "the second-hand Venezuelan navy ship." Even though NATO will not help out below the Tropic of Cancer, we can take it as given that the USA won't like an attack either, with their FOL bases on Curaçao and Aruba. Come right down to it, that might give president Trump a fine excuse to invade Venezuela and put the country out of its misery.
Boy, What Fun
Had a semi-crash this morning and am still restoring the damage. Yesterday's clone was a disaster as well. All-in-all not so bad, but a lot of work. See you guys tomorrow.
About Those Tents
They were supposed to cost 22,500 guilders to put up 1 (one) refugee—that's $12,375. I look at eBay and you can but a very nice 10-person family tent there for less than $1200, free shipping.
Looks like the UN is buying these tents second-hand from the Clinton Foundation, left over from Haïti. In fact, I have the definite paranoid impression that a lot of those relief actions primarily relieve the action takers.
Don't send me letters: I'm fully aware that you have to give them shower stalls, toilets and feeding places. Sure. It's still outrageous.
Cft financial supervision says the structural solutions to compensate for the 107 million 2017 setback are insufficient, and the government had better do something about it quick or Den Haag will send a much-feared aanwijzing ["instruction" covers it nicely].
Venezuela president (for now) Maduro is cutting off all air and sea connections for 3 more days. As if we can't get that stuff elsewhere. The thing that mainly hurts him is, copper production is subsidized in Venezuela and naturally, this is smuggled to Aruba from where it finds a ready market. The same thing happened last year with gasoline, which was smuggled to Aruba and sold in the streets—mind you, gasoline that even then already had to be imported for a higher price than was charged on the interior market. The triumphs of socialism: inflation rate is now 30,000% and may go up to 200,000% before the end of the year.
Maduro's brilliant idea to start a crypto-Bolivar coin has been declared null and void by the Venezuelan congress. So they still do have some power? Maduro must be raving angry and will take it out on us.
I Do Apologize
Not, not against our Great Leaders and others who may feel insulted by my ravings. They got it coming. I apologize for having compared our AOW old age welfare with a Ponzi scheme. It is a pyramid scheme, but that crook Ponzi deserves better. He never came by your door and forced you to cough up "In the Name of the King!", ultimately backed by men with guns.
What Maduro keeps forgetting is that it's the independence (at least, from Venezuela) of the ABC islands that's of utmost importance in the history of his country. Without what of course was downright smuggling weapons from Curaçao to Venezuela, the Great Bolivarian Revolution they're so proud of wouldn't have happened. Pedro Luis Brión, one of their great heroes, was born and spent long exiled years here. As an admiral, he sailed with his fleet into St. Jorisbaai, quite a feat in itself, proving the strategic importance of the island.
But of course, that's exactly why Chávez and Maduro (and others before them) want to annex the islands. They don't want it to happen to them. 2018-01-09
The concept law for alcohol control in traffic is ready; in fact, has been for years. Shortly, the cops will be able to take breathalyzer tests. If tests will be taken for cocaine I don't know; in my view just as serious a problem.
Right now, if you're in an accident they will take a blood test.
Curaçao has requested help from the kingdom in dealing with the Venezuelan refugees who are becoming a real problem. As much are coming in as are sent back; many carry drugs or guns upon arrival and are detained. But all barracks are full and the prison has no more capacity either.
Isla refinery has a new director, Roderick van Kwartel, to replace van den Wall-Arneman (accused of fraud). At least, at first sight he looks like he may have the capacities needed, but there are signs that his appointment has not taken place following the usual channels. He is needed, so says the government, to ensure continuity in the process to renew to refinery. Does this mean, goodbye Green Town, forget it? As transparent as the Asphalt Lake.
What is continuous is that Isla keeps using asphalt from that same lake for fuel, never mind promises the refinery would switch to cleaner fuel before last year's end.
Van Kwartel was the refinery's control manager for Hygiene, Safety and Environmental, which doesn't sound so good, considering the results.
Put Them Out with the Trash
GZE who were supposed to invest many billions in Curaçao Isla refinery turn out not to have any back-up by the Chinese government at all. In fact, China is sick of 'em and just keeps them alive because the government would lose face if state enterprise GZE went bankrupt.
In the 1980s the smarter governments were privatizing a lot of of state owned enterprises, having discovered that it resulted in (what a surprise) much more efficiency and savings. Utilities actually could make a profit!
But here, in the same period, more or less starting off with socialist MAN PM Don Martina and continued by successive governments, the country started taking over privately owned companies. Look at the list and weep:
ALM from KLM—Aqualectra and CURGAS from OGEM—Isla refinery from Shell Oil—Curoil, ditto. There are more, what a bore. Most recent example of course is the InselAir disaster.
Venezuelan president Maduro has cut all air and sea connections between "his" country and the ABC islands. He says smugglers divert all Venezuelan gold, diamonds, minerals and foodstuffs via that route. Like, crude oil? Like, drugs which his family makes a fortune on?
PM Rhuggenaath has protested strongly. A fat lot of good that will do. Anyway, it's only for 72 hours. That will help Venezuela very much in turn.
You Don't Say
InselAir personnel has little or no confidence in manager Filiatreault, who promised almost a year ago that the company would be back on its feet in two days. Whoever thought of hiring that guy for 40,000 guilders/month must have been a loon in the first place. Hint: it was Inselair's board that did.
Personnel is thinking about a protest strike. That would be what you'd call a Final Solution.
Filiatreault alone has consumed 1.5% of the 33 million the Unwise Men lent gave to InselAir.
So Disssolve It, Already
Our prime natural resource, Marguérite Nahar, gives good reasons to dissolve the MOU between Curaçao and GZE Oil. First, the Mighty Kingdom has signed the 2016 Paris climate treaty, so we here should follow its conditions. Which entail decreasing fossil fuel use—bullshit of course, look at India, China (and the USA, who however stepped out of the treaty)—but still, Curaçao will be tresspassing those rules as long as the Kingdom keeps in. As the signers are €uropeans, that will be as good as forever.
The former government has also violated company laws by making Isla refinery admit GZE in Isla installations and by allowing GZE to cooperate with PdVSA; both outside the government's competence. And finally, the government should have consulted Dutch BZK ministry of foreign affairs.
What it all boils down to is one nasty boil, rotten to the core: the entire MOU agreement is in fact illegal. A nice chunk of food for lawyers, that it is.
Curaçause Burgerluchtvaart Authoriteit [civil air administration] announce they hope the US will upgrade Hato Airport to status 1. They have 1 more year until the next audit by ICAO [International CAO) after which upgrade "may" follow. This has been going on since 2012 (after two years of Shorty's rule, but you can hardly blame him for this debacle). Last time the upgrade was promised was March 2016.
No airline operating from Hato is allowed landing rights in the USA. One of the prime reasons excuses to pay many millions to keep InselAir operating was to get tourists in. Hahaha. Now they've been reduced to maintaining traffic between the former Netherlands Antilles, for which we have other, better and cheaper ways available.
Have Your Flu Shot!
That's what we get to hear every year. My advise is, don't. In England, the jab they all got was for the wrong strain, so they'll get the flu anyway. Or maybe they're sucker enough to get a new shot—that maybe does work.
Ex-MP Leeflang advises to accept a law that future binding agreements (such as the disastrous GZE/China deal) cannot be signed without parliamentary approval.
Not that I have much confidence in what passes for our parliament will help much, but better than nothing.
Let's Have Another Committee!
The customs dept. has to be tackled, who could possibly disagree? So we'll have another committee to look into how.
Gee, this time they tell us what it's gonna cost: 60,000 guilders, split over the 2017/18 budgets. (Too bad both are in the red already.)
What the committee members will be paid remains a secret.
Auntie Suzy Twists the Facts
She says that costs of medical treatment abroad in 2016 went up with 6.5 million (was 26.1); and just after that she says that the total costs (including transport and living, which is what counts) went up from 455 to 495.
BZV [basic health insurance] costs went up from 33.1 to 41.3. All in all, says auntie, that's "only" 10% of the total SVB budget. Possibly, but these costs have gone up by 25%.
Auntie can't be held responsible for 2016 (and a good thing too) so why blur the facts? Politicians' habit, I guess.
The UN At Work
The number of refugees from Venezuela has gone up since June 2016. There are now 200 registered cases and we'll need to spend 4.5 million to put them in a tent camp. Where, we're not told.
The impression is that the UNHRC [human rights commission] actually advises Venezuelans to flee to Curaçao. That would be well in their line.
That's 22,500 guilders to put 1 [one] refugee in a tent? Outrageous! If you started a camping and applied for a loan to a bank you'd be sent away with your ears black with fleas.
The government has 4 months to look for an expert who will have 8 months to find a new "strategic" partner for the Isla refinery. Then, they'll have 12 months to arrange everything before January 210.
PAR PM Rhuggenaath wants a much more transparent progress. But mind Hairy Slaw 3.
GZE still maintains that they're perfectly able to renew and run Isla refinery, but at any rate the government say they're out of the game. GZE may look for arbitration in the conflict which is sure to cost us, no matter what the results.
Could Be Worse
In 2011, 11% of the Curaçao was unemployed. After two years of Shorty, that was 13%. Subsequent governments didn't do much better, with 13.2% last year.
But that's still better than the USA, where 2011 saw a black unemployment rate of 16.7%. That was after Obama had taken over: in 2007 it was 8.9%. Now it's 7.1%. Is that the Trump effect? Don't ask me.