and here they are:
the Clowns
maybe not so funny

Curaçao Island

We have moved to a New Year. Please adjust your bookmark!

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."
—H.L. Mencken

"Although a few may originate a policy,
we are all able to judge it.""
—Pericles of Athens

the 2019 Curaçao political circus
nomen est omen: Japan

Hail to Our Chief

Curassow crax
The Curassow Bird

"You can't be silenced into submission. You have to keep fighting."
—James O'Keefe

"If the truth offends people, it is our job [...] to offend them."
—Satoshi Kanazawa

Bon Deal!
The government insists that the deal with Klesch Group is a great improvement on the old one with PdVSA. For starters, in 1985 or so Curaçao bought the refinery from Shell for ANG1, and Klesch paid $1 (ANG1.8)! Alas, if you figure inflation $1 in 2018 was only, depending, $0.36 or ANG0.65 in 1968.
We're also told that originally PdVSA paid a lease of $10m, and "only after many years the amount was raised to 20 million guilders"—2m guilders more per annum. Hey, I told you before, my sources are the same media you get for your sins.
Oh yeah, that demonstration I characterize as a flop. How could it be otherwise? The mob was clamoring for PM Ruggie to come out, but at the same time there was a parliament meeting requested by the opposition.

Will That Help? No!
Nine influential interest groups together have written the government about everything that's wrong with the new ABB that's supposed to replace the purchase tax. Keep it short and snappy, there's an awful lot wrong with it. One is tempted to say "better ask what's right with it!"
But will that change anything in the law? You and I know better than that.
And the minimum wages will go up regardless of all contrary advice. Also the people on welfare get a bonus—of30 guilders ($16.50).

La commedia è finita!
Or rather, the tragedy is over. PdVSA is definitely out; Isla refinery has not succeeded in arranging a temporary contract extension. RdK will take care of operations themselves. All personnel has been offered a new labor contract. To avoid money problems, PdVSA will deliver crude oil until Klesch Group takes over.
The trade unions don't like this. Tough shit, Bakoba. Maybe now he'll shut up; not before we were ready for it.
Police are taking extra security measures around the announced "pacifistic" demonstrations. Fireworks are strictly forbidden downtown.

From Worse to Worst
The SER [social economic council] doesn't much like the algemene bestedingsbelasting [general spending tax], which is supposed to replace the present omzetbelasting [purchase tax]. The minister insists that the cumulative effect of the purchase tax will be canceled, but the SER predicts local prices will go up still further.
IMF have been asked for their opinion, but that may not be published yet.
And VBC entrepreneurs' club doesn't like the Huntu [together] ideas of PM Ruggie; in fact, they call it "illusory". They will only work, VBC says, if there's enough transparency, exchange of information and discussion and conversations between social partners, as well as adequately, timely, consistently and honestly informing society.
Between you and me, it's not only our government that fails in all those respects.

Leave It to Them
The small bus drivers do not agree with the government's plans to integrate them with the larger ABC bus company. "Why should we give up a well-paying job and independence?" they ask. Even if I, as a free-lancer, can share those feelings, there still are good reasons to get rid of the club. They don't drive when they don't feel like it, which results in unreliable and intermittent service. They stop wherever it tickles their or their passengers' fancy, leading to incredible jams in Breedestraat Otrabanda. Their excuse is, official bus stops are too far apart.
And to mention the well-paying job, they're always the first to complain about higher fuel prices.
I have more sympathy for their argument that they're used to prop up the failing ABC company.

The opposition parties (M*F*K, K*NT... you know the score) will demonstrate in public against the agreement with Klesch Group. There may by all means be good reasons to protest, but I'm pretty sure they have other ones.
But don't worry, they don't plan arson and blood in the streets for once; it will be "pacifistic". Only Ms. Mozes (MP) won't join the fun.
The opposers say the value of the oil terminal is 1000 million dollars (that's 1 billion), the refinery $350m and CRU $68m, while all together have been sold for $ (or ANG, who cares?) 1. Counting inflation, that's even less than Shell asked in 1985.
The idea is to beat on pans for 5 minutes; another take-over from Venezuela. Look how much it helped there!

They Must Have Been Right Before
Now, Central Bank CBCS claims their first figures were a bit pessimistic. GDP will not shrink by 2.2% this year, but "only" by 1.9%; and next year not by 3.5% but merely by 2.3%. Consequences for inflation are not mentioned.
They say tourism is growing faster than expected when they made up the prognosis, that's why. Woe is me.

That's Insane
The oil workers' unions have asked Klesch Group to give PdVSA "at least" a year longer to exploit the refinery. Because they have been doing so well, one is forced to presume.
If one didn't realize that honcho Errol Bakoba is a big Maduro fan.

We Saw It Coming
The economy shrunk had a negative growth of 2.2% this year, which is worse than expected. Except by us.
Next year will be even better, then it will be -3.5%. And inflation will go up! to 2.8%. GDP, on the other hand, will go down by 6.9%, which Central Bank says is unprecedented. Which in turn will lead to even higher inflation: 5%.
Happy New Year's Eve, you all!

Appeal Lost
The appeal by Amigu di Tera and Defensa Ambiental in their Wechi case against Fundashon Kas di Pueblo has been lost. They are now consulting their lawyer to consider if they'll go in cassation.

So Much for the Media
Yesterday it was announced that Klesch group had bought all terrains from the government, to which I took exception. Now, we read that isn't true at all: they will pay lease duties.

Good Return
We read that ANG14,000 has been paid for the arson in the tax office. That proved to be a good investment!
Now I can't help wondering who paid that. There's a lot of money to be made there, let's face it.

There We Go
The government announces that an agreement has been signed with the Klesch Group, where Klesch will buy superstructures and terrains, now leased by Isla refinery and Bullenbaai oil terminal.
This completely contradicts the former assurances that the terrains would remain property of Curaçao.
It is essential that the refinery activities will continue, so say our Great Leaders. So that's why they sold us out! And Klesch is supposed to renovate the installations so they meet environmental standards. Which would be a complete change from their policy of "vulture capitalist".
I said it before: "These guys will accept any deal, no matter how bad."

Tourist Atrakos
Since July there have been 60 incidents where tourists were involved. That's 2.7 per week, but that's not only atrakos but also traffic accidents. The main problems were in Bandabao, western part of the island.
The police and CTB tourism want to reduce the number of incidents next year. And who wouldn't? Question, how?
I honestly fail to understand why Bandabao is suddenly spelled Bándabou these days. OK, even Macao is now Macau, but that accent? Nobody pronounces it with emphasis on the first syllable. Same logic has been applied to Bándariba.

Robbie dos Diablos has been released from custody. Let us all rejoice!
For once, Peppie the clown lawyer did not yell that the judges are a neo-colonialist bunch.

Another Effort
A number of years ago, a start was made on Bonaire with a karkó [queen conch, Lobatus gigas] nursery (1984-1992). Essentially, it flopped, also because the fishermen couldn't be stopped from "harvesting" the delicacy long before they were full-grown.
Now, Carmabi has announced to start anew in Curaçao. Eggs have already been harvested and hatched. The larvae or conches will be transferred to several bays where there is an abundance of sea grass, their main food supply.
Hopefully the fishermen will leave them alone. The only existing karkó farm in Turks and Caicos islands was ruined by hurricane Dorian two years ago and there was no money to rebuild it.

The number of hit-and-run accidents keeps growing. Far too many drivers turn out not to have the proper documents—or any documents at all. This can cost them 2 months in jail or a 5000 guilder fine—if they are caught. Far too little, as the damage they may cause will soon exceed that amount.
Then, the number of atrakos (violent robberies) keeps the same, even though many of the culprits have been arrested recently. But the number is being resupplied by younger and younger offenders. The police are worried by this development, as they well might be.

That's Better
Dutch comnpany Airline Technical Support will open a Caribbean service center on Hato airport. All types of Fokker aircraft (really?), Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 can be maintained there. Later larger aircraft like Boeing 777 and 787 plus Airbus A330 can be handled as well. Licenses are applied for.

Perfect Timing
Entrepreneurs club VBC warns for the consequences of the planned increase of the minimum wage with 2.7%. That's the 7th year in a row this will happen.
The rest of us must be content with frozen salaries and higher taxes until the financial crisis is over; which may well turn out to be, never.

Let Us Celebrate
We have one more political party! It's called KEM for Kòrsou Esun Mihó [Curaçao The Best]. Even though we'll only get elections in 2021, they already present their program. It's just like everybody else's, only they want to split the island up in 7 districts, each with its own sort of mayor. Party leaders are two ex-cons who later became successful businessmen. They refuse any cooperation with PAR, so will fit in nicely with M*F*K and K*NT in that respect as well.

For Once
... K*NT Rojer is right. Because of the Girobank debacle minister Gijs & Bertha should get lost. After all, he's supposed to be responsible.
But first, he has to reply to 250 questions from parliament, for which he gets 2 weeks.

Far From a Joke
I just now searched the web for "banksaldo garantie curacao" and found this absolute gem:


Dive and Die
There is no law regulating diving schools. Still, 14 have been audited by CBT tourism, but there are at least 98 around, as a web search has established.
So, Good Luck!

They're on Their Way
Took some time, you'll say. Right. The new cranes for CPS container terminal, made in Finland, are in transport and will may be operating in February.
That's only 3 years late.

Oops, should be WTO. McWilliams, minister until pinhead Martina makes his triumphant return, wants Curaçao, now a member in association with the Netherlands, to become an independent member. Then we can start exporting more, she says.
Without mentioning what we'll start exporting. Oh wait... Rice, powdered milk, sugar?

Safety First!
Now that it's end of the year, time to give friendly contractors quick well-paid jobs and collect the bribes. We'll get more roundabouts and traffic bumps. To improve safety.
I'd like to see statistics on the number of crashes on roundabouts versus regular crossings, and diminishing numbers of pedestrians hit by cars while crossing the street. But I expect I won't get to see them.

More Flights
December 2019 TUI announced flights AMS-MIA will be stopped, and hence more capacity will become available on the route AMS-CUR.

Must Be Sarcasm
CBS statistics has measured it so now it's official: confidence in economy has gone down. Who'd a thunk it?

A Quote to Remember
The first step toward success in government is avoiding failure[.] ... [It] must do a lot of relatively simple things well. ... [F]ix the potholes, balance the books, keep order on the streets, see to the schools, and keep the city agencies orderly and honest and effective.
Kevin D. Williamson in National Review
This is about Detroit, USA. But it applies here as well.

Won't Lead Nowhere, Wanna Bet?
Nex we'll have a palementaire enquête [parliamentary survey] into what you may call the happenings around the new hospital since 2009. I'm sure there's plenty of dirt to be dug up, but will they? Don't hold your breath or you may end up in the Intensive Care.

Investigating the sewage problems of CMC new hospital, the minister thinks 2 years is much too long for that. Agreed. So she wants to have the results in "only" 5 months, which is nothing shorter than the first schedule proposed.
Probably too much too ask why they didn't look at that all those years ago, before they even started.

Nice Job
Dutch top civil servant Leijtens last year spent €40,000 on trips, wining and dining and hotels. He's director-general for the rebuilding of the windward islands after the hurricanes of a few years ago.
By a "mistake" that amount was not published as it should have been.
Here, of course, these figures are not published at all.

Really Smart, Guys
Isla Refinery personnel went on strike, because they "were afraid" they wouldn't get their salaries, as the Girobank has been closed down. Right in the midst of take-over negotiations. This virtually guarantees Klesch will turn his back. If he doesn't, it means that he's only interested in robbing the refinery's assets; not in continuing production.
The usual run on fuel stations also started immediately, because of rumors that the Isla workers would stop delivery of gasoline and diesel; but Curoil has enough in stock. (By the way, what delivery? They don't have any product to sell there, as far as we know.)
Strike was over next day. Interestingly, the Girobank got into trouble because PdVSA wanted to claim a large part of its assets. Now they tell us.

It's Official
The CMC new hospital's sewage is indeed still dumped in Rifwater's mangrove wood, just like the old shit. Says the minister "there are so many things that should have been thought of in advance, but never were." Amen to that.

One More Problem
Foreign companies are hunting for personnel now still working at Isla refinery. It's feared that, if it reopens after all, personnel will not be adequate to keep it running.

The Fat Lady Sings
The show is over. Girobank will stop existing and will be spread over other banks.
But don't rejoice: Girobank was an SOE and thus, tax-payers will have to cough up the dough. Another 270 million guilders. Some good news is, though, a fusion of Girobank with Postspaarbank, Centrale Hypotheekbank and Algemeen Pensioenfonds has been rejected.
And what will make you feel extra good, this has caused no problems with payments of salaries for the spoiled brats.

Just Rumors?
Burney Fonseca will be moved to the Curaçao prison. He has been offered a 50% discount on his jail term for the Wiels murder, if he starts to sing about Robbie dos Diablos. But his lawyer knows nothing about that. At least, that's what she says.

Girobank has finally been closed down, it's said temporarily. There was a run on it by the customers to try and cash in their money.
Central Bank says 90% of the customers can get a maximum of 10,000 guilders of their money. I cannot tell you if this means they get all their money to a max. of 10K, or if they get money to a max. of 10K, even if they had a much higher balance.
UPDATE: it's the first; "they get all their money to a max. of 10K." Balances over 10K will be frozen. This is the first time this has happened in Curaçao.

Fresh Fruit and Veggies
They're back. Not that we couldn't buy them. But just now, when there are rumors Venezuela president dictator Maduro will reopen the borders, a regular service from Santo Domingo has started. At Kleine Werf sales will soon start of the second load.
The same shipping company is planning to start services Curaçao-Colombia, exporting products like... Dutch cheese. (There we go again?)

It Is, But So What?
The government should have seen the Girobank debacle coming and it's the government's fault that there was such a panic. Says the opposition in parliament.
Well, maybe that's what the opposition is for? Warn that it's coming. They just sat back and enjoyed their fat fees.

Only 23 license holders of 89 (theoretically) mobile truk'i pan snacks meet the location requirements. So the government found a solution: the deadline will be extended.

Forget It
Landhuis Kortijn (which is not a landhuis but rather a city mansion; still a monument) which has been restored in 1987 for 1.2 million guilders [US$660K] is a ruin again. A new restoration will cost 5 million/$2.75m, but nobody has the money.
Meanwhile, private owners get hassled as much as possible to force them to restore their buildings.

Can't Be True
Early 2020, the promised traffic cameras will finally be installed. You may well ask if they'll still work. Also, the Wet Kentekenaansprakelijkheid [License Liability Act] must be introduced, so offenders can actually be fined! Another slight oversight in 10-10-10.

One More...
Personnel of Clarion Hotel & Suites have not been paid for the last 3 months. They have now occupied the restaurant, and police had to attend to having the tourists leave. Management was not to be found.
But tourism is going great!

Par Exemple!
The yearly debauchery of Dutch parliament members making "orientation" trips to the Caribbean has been stopped. It didn't make such a good impression to see their photos in swimming outfits with cocktails in their hands. You think?
Maybe another thing to follow-up here? Just an idea.

Guess Who Pays
The workers of Robbie's Lottery have taken out full-page ads in all newspapers to protest Robbie's "illegal" custody. It's a fair guess Robbie h.h. pays. At any rate, a fat lot of good that will do.

Traffic problems with the new roundabout in Santa Rosa are readily explained. The designer says his original design was made in 2006, and execution was started in 2015—without any adaptation. And without contacting him.


I Agree
The 2020 budget has been accepted in Staten/parliament, but there were criticisms from several (opposition) parties on the fact that 8 million guilders will go to the Wellness Bureau and have been taken away from GGD medical service.
The Wellness Bureau is a hobby of auntie Sushi.
Also, Mozes complained there's no business case for the new hospital, so it's all very moot. Take it easy, ms. Mozes, it's all moot anyway. Only marks on paper.

Beat It
The CMC new hospital parking garage, capacity 500, is always filled to the brim. It's surmised that many people visiting Otrabanda use it to avoid parking charges; result is many parking spaces in the streets are left empty.
So CMC will start charging money as well. Thank you, anti-social bunch of dushi hende.

Forget It
There has been no new money in the CF crime fund, so only current affairs will be finished. Too bad if you were looking for compensation for committed crimes: as long as there are no new funds, the CF is virtually dead.
Except for people who work there, sure.

All Sounds Logical
The main suspect in the tax office arson is also suspected of laundering 11 million guilders, and of stealing water and electricity. He's gone, with 3 others. 2 have been arrested.
Total damage 45 million guilders.
And minister Gijs & Bertha says, 18 months from now we can have a new tax office. This will be decided in 2010-QI. The old "burned-out"—NOT building must be demolished first. What all that will cost, nobody tells. Fill your pockets, oh Great Leaders... we'll pay.

Hunt for Loose C***
(It rhymes.) Police has started arresting Venezuelan trago girls who hang around snacks, prostituting themselves. We're not told how many have been arrested and will be put out of the country.
UPDATE: 20 have been arrested. Not at all impressive.

Hear Him Talk
M*F*K Mudbelly Cooper complains, and I guess that's legit enough for a change, that taxi permits are given away to friends. He means, of course, friends of other people than he.

The Brats Are Worried
They won't get any raises for the next four years and now, their holiday bonus is frozen as well. Hey, that's not what they sacrificed their lives to the serving of the country for!
And they don't like the way the ministers are talking about the brats to the media. They ought to hear me!
Again, I can't help comparing with the AOW welfare pension, which hasn't been raised since at least 2000.

Usinessbay as sualay
I was wondering what strange contraption the cop cars have started carrying around on their roofs. Turns out, they're cameras.
But I read they don't work.

No Worries
Like the Aussies say: education minister Alcalá-Wallé agrees that the education system must be adapted—but not too fast. I educatedly guess that will take care of itself.

So What
The sales tax will be replaced by abb, algehele bestedingsbelastingstelsel [overall spending tax system] — not for the first time I wonder, who thinks of these names? Because of delays, that will be next April. Don't make no difference, mon: we'll have to pay. 12% on import of everything except medicine, medical [?] tools, goods of basic needs (whatever that means); 9% on all local deliveries and 7% on insurances, short-term rentals and hotel stays.
So the tourists, again, get a better deal than we do. And I keep hearing that they are such a help in the economy!

Out of Luck
As long as our main bank MCB does not want to do business with lottery bosses any more, everybody who wants to buy a "number" will have to pay cash.
This is bad news for the Fundashon Wega di Number Kòrsow, as far as I know a government-owned institute, because they sell their tickets to those riferos who as from now can't pay by bank.

Zero Tolerance
There we go again. After a couple of Royal Dutch Marines have recently been caught using and smuggling drugs, the Dutch minister of defense declares there will be a "zero tolerance" policy for drugs from now on. Does that mean no beer or coffee?
I remember that when, in the army, we left the training grounds of La Courtine, France, all our trucks were well stocked with bottles of Ouwe Klare [Dutch gin], which we could buy tax-free. You won't believe how cheap they were.
But pot is a no-no. Got it!

That's the Easy Way Out
PAR MP Rozendaal has written a letter to the minister of Traffic that it's the government's duty to solve the problems of Caracasbaaiweg, where enormous traffic jams are the norm. These have started even before auntie Sushi (then minister) had narrowed the road and put in roundabouts to make it "safer". It's a trend.
Twenty years from now, all those obstructions will be removed, so the contractors can pay more bribes.
Somebody suggested to close off the access roads, so there would be no more traffic. Genius!

What?! Never!
Parliament does not want to accept the 1.8 million shrink in the 2020 budget proposed by the cabinet.
And fighting criminality and raising safety feelings are important. Sure. Now do something about it. Please?

What else is new?
Before I forget, IMF predicts the recession will continue and even deepen in 2020, with a 3.7% inflation.

School Gangs
More and more, gangs are formed at schools, which makes them less safe. No Comment: this is outrageous. "As the twig is bent the tree is inclined."

Just What We Needed
The Klesch Group is unable to run the refinery and will turn those operations over to the Chinese. Back to GO, don't collect.
But hold it, it's only Whiteman who says this, so...

Thanks for Telling Us
IMF says, the Curaçao economy has had a heavy setback because of Venezuela, despite tourism growth. Big reforms are needed.

Who Knows?
The Venezuelan immigrants' lawyers say that Curaçao violates the European Convention on Human Rights by sending them back collectively.
But justice minister Girigorie denies they're doing that. Maybe you can figure it out.

Is So, Why Bother?
UN chief Guterres says the climate crisis (whatever) has now reached a "point of no return", so we're all doomed. Let's celebrate and enjoy our last days: further efforts are uncalled for.

Isla Refinery announces that the cooperation with PdVSA will be continued for a "transition period" until the negotiations with Klesch Group are finished. Or not? There should have been an agreement day before yesterday.
Salaries are guaranteed after January 2020, maintenance by subcontractors will be restarted and PdVSA will guarantee a supply of crude oil, so the refinery can be restarted.
How PdVSA thinks to do that we're not told.

Sushi Special
Our Hero, ex-inspector of health Huurman, put an end to auntie's evil plans to introduce "alternative" Chinese medicine here, no doubt counting on fat profits. Now we are warned out of Europe:
Warning issued against unregulated traditional Chinese medicine
The European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) have issued a joint statement calling the recent proposed addition of a chapter on traditional Chinese medicine to the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases coding tool (ICD-11) a "major problem." Calling for the requirement of rigorous evidence of quality, efficacy, and safety, the statement warns:
EASAC and FEAM add our voices to those who have expressed concern about this ICD-11 reclassification to include diagnostic approaches that are not yet, and may never be, adequately validated according to established scientific and regulatory criteria. There is risk in misleading patients and doctors and in increasing pressures for reimbursement by public health systems at a time of limited resources.
[Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Statement by EAASAC and FEAM. Nov 2019]
To continue in this vein, the 2018 edition of the American Dental Association's booklet Fluoridation Facts is available for free download.

Suggestion: Make Bakoba Pay
The Netherlands country has to pay €18.5 million in import duty, which was somehow forgotten to be charged on rice and milk powder imported from Curaçao, between 1997 and 2003. Exported from here? Milk powder? To Holland? Rice?! Did you ever see a rice paddy? It's completely underwater.
But this was a genius project of Errol Bakoba. You see, as we are associated with the €U, we can import rice from, say, Suriname and then export it again to Europe under cheaper conditions. So, make him pay? I guess Holland won't go that far.

Is He Still Around?
FOØL now FLK Godett has an alternative for the so-called zero line, which has caused the freezing of civil servants' salaries. This will cause economic difficulties, because the spoiled brats will spend less. He talks about the "butchering" of the spoiled ones. Come on, Godett, try and be reasonable for a change. He also wants the SOEs and other government entities to cut their budgets instead, and to try to get the 30 million back from InselAir (forget it, man). And some other proposals that in themselves are not so loony but that should have been introduced, like, 50 years ago?

New One, Good One!
"Climate Sadism". Means, if you make fun of that titless wonder, Greta. Mea culpa.

Better! Much Stronger!
Re. those new words to replace "climate change" (which, if you care to remember, replaced "2020-11-03"), these are still much too weak and don't panic the populace. So now, if we want people to "take action" against climate change, we need "rebranding". People have gotten used to climate is changing and "need to be shocked into the notion that the world as we know it is ending."
So new terms are, once again, proposed: Global Meltdown or Global Melting. Climate Collapse and Climate Chaos are old hat by now, and to top it off we get a new term Scorched Earth.
Scared now?
This was published in AdAge so you know where the wind blows from.

Just Force Ahead with Your Bullying Dozers
Despite all protests, the VVRP ministry announces that the poison has been removed from Rif (oh yeah?) and the planned new road will be built. Too bad about those mangroves. So there.
Plenty of questions remain, but one thing is made clear again: the government does what it wants and we can only look on and protest in vain.

Weird Is the Word
Or maybe not. Purchasing power (since 10-10-10) has gone down sharply in the three "independent" islands; but on the so-called BES-islands which are a Dutch province, it has gone up.
For Curaçao, GDP has gone down by 10%. Ain't independence great?

A Disgrace
Those complaints by doctors that the test results came in much too late? ADC lab says that's their own stupid fault, the doctors just don't know how to handle digital information streams and in fact never sent the forms as they should have.
I have often wondered about that myself; they write page upon page (by hand) of comments which results in thick files that are totally inaccessible. What's the use.
Then again, other labs claim that ADC uses another system to report test results; to wit, SI-units. This leads to confusion, the others say. But ADC responds they report both old and new units and anyway, SI-units are preferable.

42 More; in Fact, Less
Another boat with Venezuelan immigrants has been intercepted; this one contained 42 people. That makes 97 in the past 2 weeks. One may well wonder how many slip through.
A package was hastily thrown overboard when they were discovered, but it sank like a stone. Figures, probably full of guns.
All facilities are now filled to the brim with Venezuelans and the government has started to evict them.

Old Songs Never Bore
Cft financial supervision predicts a 38 million shortage on this year's budget, and asks the government to kindly explain how it expects to cover this. (All together now: "No Way!")
Simultaneously, we get to hear that because of the Tax office fire, less will come in than expected. How much less?
And the spoiled pests did not want to accept their salary freeze, so their unions tried to confiscate the SOEs'dividends. This, however, was stopped by the judge. Crooks!

Not Funny
We may have a new hospital, but its unprocessed raw sewage is still ending up at the old location on Rif. What's the use.
But auntie Sushi says not to worry, "somewhere in" June-July next year they will start looking at the feasibility of installing a special sewage treatment plant for CMC.
If auntie Sushi's past performance is an indication (remember Shute?) this may take many years before it's realized.

Really? Fancy That!
In March next year tender will start for a fast-ferry connection between Aruba and Curaçao. At least, that's the plan.
The approach has been delayed because of Curaçao's bad financial situation. I dare say. Question: will that improve by then?

Not Good At All
Medical staff has written a letter to CMC management, which really is a cry of distress. The test results for several departments come in much too late since the move to the new building.
UPDATE: this was fixed 2 days later.

Smart, Ruggie
PAR PM Ruggie declares that it's unthinkable the refinery will be leased without the leaser paying.
May blow the Klesch deal? I mean, come on.

Adapted Profit Tax
Minister Gijs &Bertha want to adapt tax on profit, or we'll be on a black €U list. That means we'll pay more, am I right?

For Once, True Statistics
There were 1000 less tourists in October, over 3%. Keep it down!

True or Not?
Isla refinery denies the problems with CRU are caused by bad maintenance. To the contrary, they get compliments from the Klesch auditors that the refinery is in a much better shape than they expected; and they invested 237 million in maintenance the last two years.
They say.

The civil servants' salary freeze announced last week will save the government 139.3 million guilders in the first 3 years. It may be more (it's 4 years, really) but how much hasn't been figured out yet.

We've Been Waiting for That
(Ex) board members of government entities like SOEs and government foundations got a fair warning: two of them were ordered to pay 4.4 million guilders, connected with the Buro Ziektekostenvoorziening BZV [Buro Health Insurance Provision] which is in the process of being liquidated. They were "throwing money around freely."
The two guys accepted their function at the same time as lawyer Marious Römer and ex-PM Arsjes, who haven't been convicted (yet?)
BZV is already badly known for its connection with Quackie Constancia's surgeon mask affair.

Haste Makes Waste
PAR PM Ruggie says that this week, an initial refinery agreement will be signed with Klesch. Because they're in so much of a hurry, the LoI Letter of Intent and MoU Memorandum of Understanding will be skipped. Will the refinery be open January 1? Ruggie can't say; maybe he can a week from now.

In a snèk [snack] 5 small gas cylinders have been found, hidden in a small bench for the esteemed customers. There was an ash tray on the side. An instant bomb.

Peak Week
97 Venezuelans have been intercepted while trying to reach the island by boat. Anybody's guess how many were not intercepted.

I Have Several!
I may be taking some days off; it's international Day for People with Restrictions, physical or psychic. Well, I stopped counting them a long time ago—when I ran out of digits. So I need at least a week to get even.

Romain Rubbish
Day before yesterday, our ministry of health announced that it was quite safe to eat that lettuce, even though it made many people in the USA sick (E-Coli contaminated). But yesterday auntie Sushi's club did send out a warning: don't touch the stuff!
In the USA, irradiating of food products is forbidden; in Europe not. But in Europe many GM genetically manipulated foodstuffs are a no-no, while they're accepted in the USA. So don't ask.

We Need More Less Tourists!
Now we're told that those non-thinkers feed the turtles, to get 'em up close for taking selfies with them. Result: first, the turtles get obese (like 60% overweight); second, they're easy to catch by poachers.
But the DEMA dive fair in Florida was the hit of the show. Another lie by CTB? If true, ain't that great?

CRU: More Trouble
After CRU at Isla refinery blew up last week, leaving us all without electricity for 10-14 hours, it acted up again. Just while Isla was rebooting, it fell out and the start-up has to be done all over again.
Isla claims this is not bad maintenance. Whatever gave us that idea?

Start in Style
After the new hospital CMC has been opened, the first day had electricity problems; then, a corridor filled up with rain run-off; the director was forced to take his leave; and now, in the first week 1 microwave oven and 30-40 shower heads have been stolen by personnel, or maybe visitors.
We hear that this is a tradition taken over from SEHOSpital.

This Week
Negotiations between Klesch and the government should be concluded. Or forget it.
The trade unions haven't got that message yet; at least, that's how they act.

Well, That's Something
The USA has granted Isla refinery (in fact, Curoil) permission to sell Venezuelan oil products.
Only here on Curaçao, however.

Good Point
VBC entrepreneurs' club calls attention to the fact that there's more and more government interference in the free market. Like the 65-year age limit for MDs, maximum profit margins and price regulations. This is in disagreement with the economic model market forces and competition proposed in 2016/2017.
VBC forgets to mention who proposed that, though.

The Isla refinery employees demand guarantees from the government, we read. As if the government could give any. So we read in the same issue, those employees cannot make any demands. Mysteriously, that's followed by the word "yet."

Okay, Alrighty
The salary index of civil servants has been frozen from 2020-2023. That sounds better.

Green and Sustainable Tourism
CHATA hotel club has signed an MoU that they will strive for just that (whatever it means; as if they) would know.
By having more tourists come in to annoy turtles?
By ruining more mangroves?
I call Bull Shit.

Quo Vadis, Kedzierski?
CMC director Kedzierski suddenly took his leave, "for personal reasons." Big mystery! But a couple of days later it all came out in the wash anyway: his 23-year old daughter was having an affair with an 11 year older guy, who worked for a consulting bureau. And Kedzierski told the guy to get lost or his bureau could forget any future jobs.
Now Kedzierski, the beeg preek, is lost himself. Seems to me, a 23-year old woman is what Playboy used to call "a consenting adult."

That's Great, Moses!
Dr Moses is telling everybody who wants to listen that she's working on a motion to protecft Isla personnel rights. No details yet.
Make me wonder if we'll even hear from this again.

He noticed!
PAR PM Ruggie (AKA Back Crack) says these weeks in the negotiations with Klesch on the Isla Refinery are "crucial" (and I thinking that word had gone out of fashion long since). Everybody is working hard to accomplish this in time.
As if they haven't known for years 2019 will be finished a month from now, and just sat down and watched sleazy operators consume the money set apart to look for a follow-up.
I'm not accepting bets; these guys may get so desperate they'll accept any deal, no matter how bad.

Selling the Dummy
Amparos dos Diablos (Robbie's brodder) has promised 1 million dollars for anybody who can solve the Wiels murder. He maintains the Public Ministry is still involved in a political game just to get MFK cum suis. Cheese, we've heard that for years; but Shorty and Imalootin are still in jail.
Amparo says the money is from his mother's inheritance and the whole family agrees.
No wonder: the money is quite safe.

Help! I'm Back!
You may have noticed, I've been down & out for a couple of weeks. In fact, since October 27. Foist we thought it was my HDD - after swapping 3 around seemed the wrong diagnosis. So software (still running Windoze 7)? Nope, tried installing Windoze 10 and got exactly the same problem.
Finally, toined out to be a RAM chip. Was renewed and everything seems to be kosher now. Knock on wood...
So now, have to start catching up 3 weeks. Thank you for tuning in, and for your patience.
I MADE IT! Only 34 days to go and we're even!

Unholy Old Idea
Minister Alcala-Wallé wants to recognize regional diplomas. We went through that before, with the result that charlatans with inferior training could come over here and compete with people who did have a good, and expensive, training in Holland or the USA.
That was an idea of ex-P.M. Maria Liberia Peters. Need I say more?

The Court Speaks Out
The government cannot just tell medical specialists and GPs to stop working when they're 65. A transitional arrangement is needed.

Ecorys: No Rectification
Ecorys lay their ears in their necks and just refuse to publish a rectification to their opinion on CPS (or CPA, it's all the same anyway). Farou Metry, one of the better-known money-rakers, had strongly protested. But Ecorys say, no it's an awful mess; just like we said.

We're Used to That
Many companies have no operating license, but operate just the same. Not only new organisations, but also tokos [shops], supermarkets, restaurants and hotels that have been around for years.
The minister of Health, Environment and Nature (that would be auntie Sushi, who else?) says there is too little personnel and they have to attract more "workers".

Now That
Just after we've been told that the trade unions had reached an accord on the refinery take-over, now we hear that they demand all workers will keep their jobs; plus all secondary work conditions must be kept.
Klesch would be out of their minds to accept this.
Those secondary work conditions stem from the Shell days: a Policlinic for personnel and their family members, and support for several organisations and unions, like recreation center Asiento and a credit-savings bank. In fact, some of these have been stopped already.

JetAir Is In
JetAir has received the operations certificate and expect to start flying soon. How soon? Good question—to which they don't reply. They plan flights to Kingston, Port-au-Prince, Santo Domingo and, later, Medellín and Barranquilla. Exactly the routes that made InselAir (remember?) such a big hit.

Just What We Needed... Not
PdVSA have presented themselves as runner-up in the take-over of Isla Refineria. Just when we thought we'd get rid of that bunch.
But don't worry, they have no money left to join the party. Nor oil.

Good Start. In Character.
The electricity supply in CMC new hospital was "briefly interrupted" this morning, causing smell in some operating rooms. Hope the surgeons could still see a thing...
Ballast Nedeam is working on the problem, so maybe it will be solved.

As If We Did Not Expect That
Klesch, negotiating with the government on take-over of Isla refineria, needs more time to think it over. Nobody would be surprised if they need so much more time that it will fall through completely.

Por Fin!
Lottery boss Robbie dos Diablos has been arrested in St. Maarten. He's a suspect in the Wiels murder case, for which ex-minister Imalootin got almost 30 years in jail recently.

That's What They Think
Trade unions have reached an accord with PdVSA and Refineria Isla about getting rid of superfluous personnel. Workers have accorded the proposal.
For now.

They're a Pest
There are so many tourists at Playa Piskadó making a nuisance of themselves, that voices go up all over to ban them from there. There are many sea turtles at that location and the tourists can't leave them alone; even try riding on them. Result, the turtles are moving to other locations.
And instead of abating the nuisance, our Great Leaders want to attract more.

Ennia Protests Central Bank
You don't want to know all the details. But Ennia, the almost bankrupt and as far as I can judge, hollowed out by stealing structure of an insurance company, protests against the Central Bank. They complain that, this way, they don't get any new customers (which they seem to need desperately).

Start in Style
Finally, we have some real rain—which resulted in pictures on social media of a new hospital corridor covered in at least 10 cms of water, with people merrily sloshing through it. Congrats! A real stylish job. Oh, those Turks...

They Fixed It
Thanks, auntie Sushi! The "local consortium": will lend the new hospital 103 million guilders so it can start working they can cash in on a millions of interest. Notwithstanding governor Wout's trying to stop this.

Chutzpah Cubed
Hospital builder Ballast-Nedam wanted to stop opening the new hospital, as they say it isn't ready yet. (Admittedly, they have a point there.) But the judge said it was their own fault for not fulfilling obligations, and that the hospital may open tomorrow, provided it gets the green light from health inspection. (It did.)

Damage Fund
Victims of violence can apply to a newly installed damage fund for compensation. 49 have done so up to now. The only thing I want to nag about, no indication is given where that compensation comes from, and therefore you must suspect it's taxes.
Shouldn't the attackers pay up? Yes, I see the problem: first the police must find them. And there you go.

Good Luck, Kids! You May Need It
Next year, the first stone will be laid for the cold-water airco complex at Zaquitó. From then on it will take 12 to 24 months (a rather wide margin, that) before the first cold-water line will be finished. The one client mentioned is CMC new hospital, which is at least not that crazy far away. But that does not mean the new hospital will not install the old-style aircos! Count your profits.
And more mangroves gone, is a fair guess.

Another Blow to the Economy—to Revamp the Economy
Sales tax on imported gasoline will go up from 6% to 9%. As gasoline is as good as the life-blood of our economy, this will entail a further shrinkage of almost 3%. Oops, negative growth I meant to say.

Mass Firings by Contractors
Contractors working for Isla refinery have started large-scale firing of workers. No doubt because they expect take-over negotiations to go well. 502 out of 961 have been fired already. The story (which may not necessarily be true) is that the contractors dare not complain or they'll get even less work.

Really? No Kidding?
There's a new law under discussion which will take away Aqualectra utility's monopoly position and enable other companies to offer power. But if it will ever pass? Not as long as Aqualectra is as SOE state-owned enterprise, is my bet.
So privatize it ASAP. Already.

That's Easy As Well!
A study is planned, or maybe already done (we're not told how much it costs) into the causes why Antillian students do so badly in Holland. Well, I can tell you right away, and it's free too. First, learn them to be on time; second, teach 'em to understand Dutch.
The students actually complain that they have to be on time in Holland. When I was at school, here, we also had to get there on time.

That's Easy!
Girobank, which has been dying a protracted death for many years now, will probably go down the drain. So who will have to pay up? Why, we the tax payers of course, who else?
But Tromp, the reviled ex-president of the Central Bank CBCS says "not so fast there." He's astounded that the newly appointed CBCS durector Traa would come with this proposal, that goes straight against the IMF's advice.
Many people hate Tromp. I can understand all right politicians do, but as far as I see it, they're just jealous of his former salary.

Not Approved Yet
Four days from now, the patients are supposed to move from Sehos to the new CMC hospital. But the Inspection of Health has not approved the building yet. (Maybe they want money first? That would be the norm these days.)

103 Million More
That is the amount needed for finishing the new hospital, if we may believe auntie Sushi. In other words, 16% of the total building price. O yes, another small detail: 120 million is needed to buy a 6 weeks' supply of medicine.

Wechi: Another Soap Without End
To recapitulate (this has been going on for longer than I care to remember): a number of years ago FKP Fundashon Kas Popular [public housing] bought the Wechi terrain to start building on it. Rumors are one of the FKP bosses made a nice million right then. As I understand it, FKP may not even have the right to build there, but who cares?
Next thing that happened, Son of Godett had the entire terrain "cleaned" which should have earned him his pile of dough in kickbacks. Just in time before he left government.
A couple of years later, a start was made with roads and other infrastructure. Then, some houses were actually built! And there matters stand. Little or no progress has been made on the announced 2500-4000 promised houses. There is not even a building permit for the planned first 62 houses.
So now, Amigu di Tera, represented by lawyer Roelof Bijkerk has gone to court to appeal an earlier case, in which there objections were largely declared justified but were not followed up on: The government is spoiling an important green and water area, in an unfit location and without settling objections of interested parties. (140 protests have been submitted without getting any reaction.) The real (but not funny) joke of course is, no way FKP or the government at this time can possibly finance the tens of millions needed for execution.
Not coincidentally, Rekenkamer accounting is investigating FKP. About time, too.
Snide remark: that same Oostwoud[er] holds up Wechi as an example of good water management. Amigu di Tera begs to differ.

"Up-to-date"—until 2018
SEHOSpital, SVB social insurance and CBCS are the only government entities whose yearly accounts are complete.
Which means, until 2018.

Now I Get It
The government thinks it'll "save" 59 million guilders a year when the doctors and specialists stop working at age 65. But the doctors and specialists have gone to court. In the first place, it may save money but may als cost lives.

That's Some Doctor
MP Moses of a splinter party I never remember the name of, protests that the planned transfer of patients to the new HNO hospital from SEHOspital is much too dangerous. This should be thoroughly planned, the good doctor says.
The very next day, it was announced how this had, indeed, been thoroughly planned. Two shipping containers were welded together, airco ducts and electricity were installed, and the patients will smoothly be transported with help from the Royal Dutch Marines, never being exposed to outside air.
You think this has been fixed in one day to please Ms. Dr. Moses? I don't.

Those nice people of Damen shipyards, welcomed by our government with Pinhead Martina in front to replace DOK/CDM, now stand accused of having had bribery dealings with several islands to which they sold vessels.
No wonder they were welcome here! Fit right in.

Doctors Sue
GPs and specialists are suing the government, who wants them to stop working at the age of 65. Nice timing! Right now when the government hardly or not at all knows where to get money to pay pensions.

Another Dreamer
Peter Oostwoud, affiliated with Caribbean Curaçao Watermanagement Solutions CWS tells us that we should do more about rainwater catchment. Dams should be repaired; no matter that those were built when the island was practically denuded with a very small population—most of the wet catchment areas are built up nowadays.
Oostwoude figures that during the last 30 years total rainfall here was 244 million m3, "enough to fill 1.5 million swimming pools."
He doesn't say what size, but that would be about 160 m3 each, or say 12x8x2m. Not your average neighborhood small pool.
In 2018, Aqualectra sold 10.7 million m3 of water; works out at 1/22 years of rain.
Our parental home used to be rotten with mosquitoes. A few years ago, the present inhabitant called me on the phone and asked why the cistern has been filled up with sand. Well, there's your answer. Does Oostwoud really want to go back to that time, now that we have many types of mosquito-transferred diseases we didn't even have back then?
But Oostwoud is sponsored by Ocean Water Associated Cooling OWAC (used to be called SWAC) and Omega Engineering, both in turn associated with the Zaquitó project. That's enough for me.
Elsewhere, Oostwoud is called Oostwouder. I wouldn't know which is correct.

Poverty Grows
30% of families makes do with less than the minimum income. Which is 49,000 people; in 2011 it was "only" 25%. However, mark: this is a self-declared needed minimum and thus not entirely reliable.

PM Ruggie wants to modernize the Curaçao economy. For that, he needs money, which he wants to borrow from IMF or World Bank. See?

Clumsy 4sses
The ministry of Bestuur en Planning [governance and planning] have been infected with ransomware. The poor spoiled brats "working" there can't reopen their files, not even the porn sites.
The last usable back-up was made over a year ago. Howzdat for planning?

It's a Habit
Once again, Hato airport decides to raise the airport tax. It's now $39 or ANG 70.2, but will become US$45.

Faster Turn Around
PAR PM Ruggie wants the turn around he longs for to come faster. In other words, he wants to borrow more money. For this, the government needed an in-depth analysis. No idea what that must have cost.

Except for the Illegals
The population shrinks. There are now 158.989 persons living here, 1347 less than last year. Reason: the economy—as if you needed asking.
It's not clear at all if the illegals are counted in or not.

Uh Oh, Once Again
The entire island has had to make do without electricity for over 10 hours today. Original estimate was 4-6 hours. Reason, a transformer at (refinery's) CRU blew up, wreaking havoc on the whole net. Even the wind generators came to a halt.

There Will Be More, Still
Curaç now has 3400 spoiled brats at "work". That's 74 more than last year. But don't worry, more will come with Ruggie's infamous Growth Plan.
Sounds like AOC and her gang in the USA: everybody must have a guaranteed minimum salary! We're far ahead of that backward bunch again. Who's gonna pay for that, though?
Worrisome detail: since 10-10-10, the government is not obliged any longer to publish how many civil servants there are.

Discrimination! Yes?
A 17-year old girl flying over from Holland to, what I read, fuck her brains away here, has not been admitted by immigration. Or maybe later on, she was admitted after all. Now yelling is going on back and forth: "because she was white"! That's not the point, she 's a minor and immigration on Schiphol should have stopped her.
French singer Charles Aznavour many years ago wanted to take a girl along to Paris, but she was removed from the airplane in Amsterdam.

Now They Shoot
A case of road rage culminated in a guy shooting twice at another driver. He only managed to hit the car once. No trace of the shooter.

Of Course Not
It's impossible to get loans for agriculture; at least not from the government. There has been 4 million avaiilable, and not even 100K has been borrowed. The kunukeros must come with a business plan (as if), buy the stuff first and then some before they get their money.
Auntie Sushi has declared that Curaçao must have "sustainable agriculture", whatever that means, five years from now.

Who's to Blame?
The total number of burglaries in 2018 was 109; this year there were 169 already. Same for atrakos: 238 violent attacks last year, now 315 already.
Police blames bad economy and the number of Venezuelan immigrants (always a violent country riddled with crime).

Nice and Vague
PAR PM Ruggie has asked the €U if Curaçao can become a member of the Green Deal. Is this the USA-proposed Green New Deal? No, but it sounds a lot like it. The Green Deal helps to execute sustainable plans, as for energy, climate, water, raw materials (as if we had any), biodiversity, mobility, 'biobased economy' (whatever that means), building and food. Where did I hear all these terms in a row before?
It's not easy but I'll refrain from further comment.

The Optimist
PM PAR Ruggie is full of confidence that the negotiations with Klesch will result in a take-over of the refinery and oil terminal before next year.
He's just about the only one I've heard saying that.
Klesch may be permitted to buy refinery and terminal, but the terrains will remain in hands of the government.

That's Unique
TUI, which has just opened a new office on Hato airport, opines that CTB should work harder to attract more tourism. I thought that was the only thing they were doing. Except spending money of course.

Good & Bad News
Telecuraçao, which is owned by UTS telecommunications, has since the take-over become the property of Liberty Latin America. Who are not interested in exploitation of the TV-station. It's not sure what will happen now: the station may become a public station, or it may go on as a government propaganda outlet, just like now. One more growth item?

Introduce Reforms Fast
That's what Cft financial supervision says must happen. The growth plan, which we are already paying for, must be executed. As if this government (and plenty others from the past I could mention) could accomplish anything fast. Except raising taxes.
The main thing that will grow is the government. Just what we needed—NOT.

Court Crash
The country, in the person of auntie Sushi, says that SEHOSpital is wrong in saying that the patients' interest is in danger. Auntie says the patients' interest are guaranteed by (her) dept. of public health, and besides, SVB has offered to pay SEHOS's costs.
I seem to remember it's not that simple.

Back in the Saddle?
Now that the court has thrown out K*NT party's complaint against pinhead Martina, the latter is getting ready to assume his former position of minister of economic development, which is now temporarily filled by McWilliam. This despite the fact that pinhead definitely has been guilty of a conflict of interest. Little does his party MAN care.
Question now, so who's playing political games?

PIN MP Calmes does not want to give any figures on education dept.'s costs for the new budget. He says the people are not interested. MAN Cleopa told him they were sitting there to fix the budget, for which figures are needed. But Calmes's come-back was: "We're going through the same show every year, while nothing changes."
Truer word was never spoken.

PAR PM Ruggie has written all state organs and asked for their contributions to the government's austerity process.
None of them has reacted.

Arrested in His Prison Cell
A prisoner, in jail for forbidden arms possession, has been arrested there, suspected of smuggling tens of keys of coke via the harbor to Holland. I'm really curious how he managed that, but we're not told.

Thrown Out
The judge has thrown out K*NT-party's complaint against pinhead Martina. He says it's just a political game.

Goes Well and Growing
Unemployment in Curaçao now is 14%; among youth it's 33%. This is for a large part guesswork; many people have black jobs. Also, don't forget Haïtians and Jamaicans come over here to find a job.

Gone, Goodbye
The red pick-up truck used to blow up the tax office belongs to a Haïtian subcontractor who worked for Isla refinery. He's "probably" back in Haïti, they say. I'd guess so, too.

Don't Worry, We'll Pay
Upon appeal by the prosecutor, ex-Central Bank director Tromp has again been judged not guilty of tax evasion. The prosecution wanted to get him coûte que coûte and went after him until the bitter end. Bitter for us, because the country (you and me) now has to pay Tromp his costs, 660,000 guilders ($363K). And of course, the prosecutors have been spending money like water themselves.

Poverty Galore
The new poverty line for Curaçao is ANG2037/month ($1120) for 2018. That goes for a 1-parent family with 2 children. Two grown-ups can get around with ANG 1910 ($1050). I think this rather high, but it's a "subjective" line: they asked people what they themselves felt they needed. Mostly a bad system.

No Style Is the Style
Well, that solves the problem. Auntie Sushi chooses not to recognize the MoU between SEHOSpital and the government, so SEHOS knows where they can put it. And you can go figure where to go when they have to close down.
Is dissa system?

It's a Raid!
Or, Razzia. Minister McWilliam sent a crew to Zanzibar to check the outfit on hygiene and illegal workers. Don't know if they found any, but they turned up during the happy hour. Then, next week-end they came by again to check if it had been fixed. At least, that's the story. All this didn't make the management really happy, and they started intimidating McWilliam. Which in turn made her not so happy.

No Hunger Pangs
SEHOSpital's kitchen will deliver the food for the prisoners for as long as needed.

That's a New One
The oil exploration vessel in Boca Samihí that had to start up its thrusters to avoid stranding on the coast during a sudden storm, and doing so damaged a large part of the coral reef, can't be held responsible for that damage. At least, that's what the owners say: as the vessel never touched the coral reef, it didn't cause the damage.
By this bizarre line of reasoning, you can't be held responsible for killing somebody with a gun; after all, only the bullet touched the victim—you never did.

Just Like I figured
Bonaire island has started a plastic clean-up campaign of the beaches. But, they say, especially on the East coast most of that trash didn't come from Bonaire.
Of course not: that would take a miracle, with wind and sea driving that stuff to the West. Just like it would here.

Those yearly accounts, says PAR MP Obispo, are also obligatory for government foundations.
Like, er, gambling Fundashon Wega di Number [number game] and Gaming Control Board. Both have been remiss, the latter from 2011-2017.
Alas, sounds like BAU: business as usual. What's the use of having a foundation like that if the board cannot be held responsible?

More on Less for SeHOS
SEHOSpital is suing the government for 45million guilders, and if they don't get it pretty soon, patient care cannot be guaranteed.
You think those ministers care? That would be a new one. They will fly to Holland if in trouble, while you bet your life.

Hard to Say
The prison kitchen has been closed by the health inspectors. Hygiene was hard to discover. KKC tells us it's unknown where the prisoners will now get their food from.
This may put Shorty's agitations in a new light, who knows?

Oh, I'm Sooo Surprised!
A detective of Landsrecherche Curaçao has been arrested, suspected of human trafficking.

Doesn't Matter Any More
Paul de Geus, director of just-sold UTS telecommunications, is stepping out. While for 13 years directing the company to the brink of disaster, he was paid a yearly salary of 1.1 million guilders.
UTS was recently taken over by Liberty Latin America, so it hardly matters. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
But I suspect he may find a new well-paying niche at Blue Data Center.

Gone Yesterday, Here Today
Formerly PAR member de Jong-Elhage, who announced leaving the party yesterday, today has become the new leader of DP Partido Democratico. Are they still around? you ask. Yes, if only after a fashion.
In 2012, when leaving parliament, she said that was a definite farewell to politics. But it was only a politician speaking, after all.

As If, Dûh
These days, we can read all the time about how government, RdK Isla and all that gang of crooks, are working with "due diligence" on diverse affairs. As if they even knew what that meant—literally and especially figuratively. I admit I had to look it up myself: it means (snappily compressed) "according to the law".
Well, that would be a new one for sure.

Now We've Heard Everything
President Maduro's Venezuela has been elected as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Yes: the same guys who keep electing Cuba, China etc. and who vote for like one motion every week to put down Israel (none others need apply). Wish I were kidding.
Other members are Afghanistan, Cuba, Iraq, Lybia, Mauritania, South Africa and Sudan.

Remember Greta?
Since she didn't get the Nobel prize for peace, but instead a guy who, for once, really deserved it, precious little has been heard about her.
The last time she appeared was in a pic of her hate-distorted face in which suddenly popped up the equally hate-ridden mug of David Hogg. Remember him? He was protesting guns after, as I understand it, not even having been present himself at some school shooting. Comment was: "Hey, get lost! You're old news as well!"
I do have to wonder, why hasn't 16, almost 17-year old Greta grown any tits yet? My theory is that has to do with her hunger strike at the age of 14. But I'm no doctor.

Mail Boxes
Now people living in Nieuw Nederland (the original name for New York) and Marie Pompun (around there) are also protesting the community mail boxes.
Somebody asks a to-the-point question: who exactly has been making money on those? Touché!

All that trouble with public tenders is supposed to have started with Navarro's security cameras; remember those?
But between you and me, I think it was endemic long before.

That's a Relief
Not really... Architect Ronny Lobo has us know that there's very little actual danger that Plaza Hotel will just collapse. Just bit of concrete rot inside.
He doesn't offer any opinion on how much it will cost to fix that. Wise, Lobo.

SEHOS vs. the Government
SEHOSpital is going to court to sue the government. As usual, if not always, the latter does not keep its promises and obligations, which has resulted in what amounts to a complete bankruptcy of the hospital. Operations have to be delayed until after the person dies; there's no money for medicines and the new deal with CMC completely forgoes the MoU with SEHOS.
Small wonder the're's so much trouble finding a decent Isla follow-up for PdVSA: agreements and contracts are only marks on paper. Black marks.

We Know...
Curaçao's public tenders are a sham and a scam, according to ARC General Audit Chamber. 71% of all discrepancies cannot be checked at all; that's 71% or 175 million guilders. 25% of the rest, 64 million, are against the rules; and 1% has followed the rules. Parliament comments: "Outrageous, unacceptable, treason worth an aanwijzing. Different members of different parties want those directly responsible to be held liable, both ministers and officials."
But will that happen? You and I know the answer: the angry parliament members will figure, "Hodie mihi, cras tibi"; or rather, the other way around. Leave it be, don't make waves which will come back to swallow you.

The refinery workers are, again, threatening to start action (meaning arson, vandalism and road blocking), if RdK wants to collect 100 million dollars from Isla (meaning PdVSA) who haven't paid a cent for over a year or so (who cares about the details? I don't).
Funniest part here is, RdK is not planning at all, they say, to seize PdVSA/Isla's possessions, so the workers' threats are nonsensical. My idea, for what it's worth? Errol Bakoba is agitating once again and those *$$es go for it.
But mind: other media state that RdK did seize 11 million from PdVSA, which is a far cry from 100 million.

The government is not allowed to borrow 200 million guilders for HNO, not here and not in Holland, says Cft financial supervision. Maximum amount is 96.3 million guilders.

Oh Yes? Interesting
Decommissioning a, one, wind generator in Minnesota will cost US$532,000 (=ANG958,000) in today's money. We have 20 of the beasts now; saka bo som: grand total (now) ANG19,152,000. This awesome amount does not even include removing the foundations to a depth of more than 4 feet (125cms.)
And we still looking for ways to pay the refinery demolition, if and when.

They're Reading My Stuff?!
Even before new money, we'll get a new sedula as well. In 2020.

One of the people working for the Griffie is now suspected to have been involved in stealing our court fees. He or she has been sent on an obligatory holiday. While keeping hir salary, wanna bet?

8 Million? Make that 240 Million
The media tell us that, if Curaçao can't borrow the 200 million needed for HNO hospital in Holland but on the local market, that will cost us 4% more or 8 million.
They forget to mention (I'm just guessing, they don't tell me nuffin, mon) that this loan will run some 30 years, which makes it 240 million guilders.

Rotten to the Core
This guy Henk Calmes, one of the top immigration people of Hato airport, is accused of accepting "gigantic amounts" of money to, er, lubricate your problems. It has been first reported in 2013, and again this year: the immigration system can be characterized as one large corrupt swindle. Fits fine into the rest of the government, there's that. "It's continuous," as film people say.
Henky got 6 months in jail—conditional.

Happy Birthday!
Two cops have been arrested, exactly one year after 600 keys of coke had disappeared from the Rio Canario police office, suspected of being involved. They had taken their leave a couple of months after the theft was discovered.
More cops may be involved. Gee, would you think?
Correction: only one was a cop, the other one "a Latin-American man".
Another correction: The cop was arrested for a different reason, "only" for lending his gun to somebody.

Crumbling Ruin
Last week, a bunch of about 100 Dutch investors was over here. We were told that they are much interested in renovating Willemstad, and the Plaza Hotel was mentioned specifically.
And now we hear that the building is in such a bad state that the surroundings will have to be closed off, as pieces of concrete (who knows: entire balconies) are liable to fall off. Good luck with renovating that ruin! As I've said before, just tear it down and start anew.

After 11 Years
Finally, we'll be getting our own wee Caribbean Coin. In 2021. We still make do with the Netherlands Antillean guilder ANG, which you will be able to swap for the new one. The same value of 1 guilder = USD.55.
Why now? Because the present 1 guilder coins are running out.
Maybe we'll get a new sedula as well?

Really? Really!
When you start a court case, you have to pay fees, in advance. It's now discovered these have a habit of quietly disappearing. Partly, I guess.

Doesn't Work
The lotteries will just go on selling their stuff, they have announced; so much for the threats that jobs will be lost. Sounded like crocodile tears anyway.

Still Better
Those community mail boxes? Now that we've had some rain the last couple of weeks, the people forced to use them (much against their wishes) find their mail in there soaking wet and sticking together. Ain't that great!
The C***-Post management promises "they'll look into it."

Goodbye Now
PdVSA is stopping payment for health insurance funds to SVB for Isla-penshonados (and some other maybe less important things). If they can, legally, is another question; but a very moot point—just try and make them pay.
Meanwhile, a tanker has appeared before the cost that allegedly carries Venezuelan oil; but nobody can or wants to say anything about what's the big idea.
Payments for water and electricity for Asiento entertainment center will be stopped as well, which will probably mean it'll close. Same for six residences, but who cares? These guys had it free until now and will start having to pay, just like (most of) the rest of us.

No Bank
As from end this month, the riferos [lotteries] will not be able to use bank services any longer. Robbie dos Diablos weeps and whines that this will cost 120 jobs in Curaçao and 70 in St. Maarten.
And him a lot of money.

Sorry Get Lost, Old Farts
The medical help fund of ex-Isla workers must be killed off. There's no money to continue, in spite of all past promises. What will happen with the oldies, the devil may know; but he's not talkin'.
The fund doesn't even know how many people are in there. "They're working on an inventarisation."

Very Important!
The Sedula [ID] still says we live in the Netherlands Antilles. Of course, it has been Curaçao for more than 9 years now. So everybody must get a new sedula! Cost what it may cost.
I'd say, replace them when they lapse. No, that's too cheap.

Regularly, some know-nothing Dutch politician stands up in parliament there and starts wasting everybody's time by expressing the opinion that Holland must get rid of the former Netherlands Antilles.
They can't if we don't want to, that's the deal. Politicians should know before they open their big traps. Agreed, nothing special about this.

What You Want Is What You Get
In Germany, a country that was supposed to be completely Green in less than a couple of decades, the electricity now costs €0.3085/kW; the equivalent of ANG0.606 (today at least, the € keeps plummeting—all that b*st*rd Tr*mp's fault of course). By a coincidence, I just got my Aqualectra bill this morning, charging me 0.589/kW.
Why? Good question: "One major price driver are the mandatory, exorbitantly high green energy feed-in tariffs that grid operators are forced to pay."
Please excuse the weird grammar, not mine this time.

"It's Our Culture"
"Only makambas complain about extreme sound levels" is another good one. You want to know, this is getting serious. Even civilized places where mainly honkies live are waking up and thinking about taking steps along the proper channels. Too bad these hardly exist as yet.
Try reading this (pretty long read) so I can rest my case for now, if not my ears.
There are several apps around where you can conduct and record your own sound level tests. Then, all you need to subdue the pest is patience, perseverance and not to forget lots of luck.

Catch Klesch Cash
A 20 person Klesch crew is on the island to have a look at the refinery with a restart in mind, to check what's wrong with it: the state of the installations and equipment, analyzes of the operational data, data processing with regard to personnel, the safety situation and the environment.
The job would be much shorter if they checked what's right with it.

Is What He Says
Ex-PM PS™ Whiteman makes it known that the screening law is just fine and it should not be changed at all.

Great. Fine. Excellent. Not So Good.
M*F*K Mudbelly Cooper started asking questions about the sale of Isla refinery and Bullenbaai oil terminal. These were part of our national heritage and should remain ours. Like slavery?
But PM Ruggie reassured him, if not us. No, they would never be sold. The terrains were of national strategic importance.
Does Ruggie perchance (like Cooper) still think of a national oil refinery?

Useless Scanners
Oh, those scanners at Hato airport are worse than useless. They are not being used, and do not work for more than 6 months or so, anyway. Sabotage? is a word that comes to mind. Thus speaks a custom man who has been shot in the head once. He thinks the custom officers must be replaced every 2 or 3 months by fresh faces from Holland; here, anybody knows who they are and they may be attacked at home or in the street.
Also, he says, custom officials can be bribed. You think? And we need more drug-sniffing dogs working in tandem.

Mangrove Gate
You might call it that—at least, I do, now. According to Carmabi director Vermeij the number of bacteria in the water exceeds the Florida norm by a factor 4. (The number mentioned is 500 but the journalists forget to mention in what volume of water; here 2,000,000 has been measured in places. Welcome, Tourists! Enjoy our pristine crystal-clear water.)
But in the mangrove wood, the number of bacteria is many times higher still. And wait for the best part: many of those are antibiotic resistant, which no doubt has to do with the leaked SEHOSpital sewage.
That factor 4 is what the no-good press mosquitoes write. In fact, it would be 4 thousand.

That Explains It?
The bolita scanner on Hato airport has not broken down as the Rotterdam mayor claims; it's just not in use.

Out, Crooks
MCBank has announced the accounts of M*F*K party will be closed. As M*F*K needs a bank to have their yearly accounts checked, this is a problem. Thodé doesn't understand why, even though MCB clearly states this has to do with the cases against ex-PM Shorty, Quackie Constancia and Imalootin.
"They're hunting for us to switch us off," says Thodé, just barely refraining from using the word "witch-hunt".

Listen to a Pro
Engineer Hodgson has taken a look at the Tax Office, which after the arson is supposed to be torn down and rebuilt. He estimates less than 10% of the building has been ruined, and an estimated value of at least 30m guilders will thus be lost. Building a new office will now cost 50 to 60 million, he writes.
But of course, the government has plenty of money to pay for just that! Total loss only 80m, peanuts. Compared.
And besides, think of all the money that can be made in bribes paid by demolishers, architects and contractors. Now there's some real growth!

Got Too Hot
Glenn Camelia has retired from the revision of the screening process, to which he was invited by a relic appointed by ex-PM Shorty, to wit a lady Stella van Rijn who has been Staatssecretaris now for 9 years already. Nobody seems to be able to make her go. The mere fact that she invited corrupt Camelia should be enough to get her fired. A complaint against Camelia has been filed with the court.

Just Like That
The country government has decided to discard the Memorandum of Understanding with SEHOSpital and HNO new hospital. Reason, it will save them money: the rest of SEHOS's debt after transition to CMC medical center.
Agreement? Commitments by a former government? Pshaw.

Perfect Timing
Not even a week ago, the Rotterdam mayor started blaming Curaçao for the fact that his country, the Netherlands, had turned into a narco state. Upon which minister Girigorie protested that we don't use drugs here, we only transport them. To Holland. Hey, takes some chutzpah.
Take that as read; now we hear that the Rotterdam customs, after 3 years of collaborating in an integrity review, has stopped that after the results grew worse and worse for the customs people. Sounds like one corrupt mess, as we always figured.
Any comment, Mister Mayor?

Time to Raise the Budget
Let's all celebrate! CTB exists for 30 years now.

Beats All
There was a short but intense storm last week, which forced an oil exploration vessel parked at Boca Samihí to use its thrusters, or it might have stranded ashore. However, these things completely ruined the local coral reef. Carmabi director Verweij says it's even worse than the damage cause by works on the second megapier. And to top it off, it's in a protected RAMSAR area.

Old Story
The latest budget has a deficit of 21 million guilders. Which is not acceptable for the criteria in Rijkswet financieel toezicht [kingdom law financial supervision].
This hoping that it won't be much more in practice. Remember?

Aha. Oho.
The troubles with that blasted darned Rif mangrove wood are mainly caused because minister Jesus-Leito is busy executing the plans dating from 2007. It seems to have escaped her notice that these have been superseded in 2016. She declares that she's proud that old plan is finally executed. I declare.

Beyond My Feeble Powers
Last year, there were 60,000 people here who had a job; now, there are 57,000. That's rather hard to follow, as unemployment has gone up from 13,4% to 21,2%. Which means there are 6,000 more unemployed.
Can you understand this? I can't. Unless somebody is lying like a politician; got it.

So Stop Your Nagging
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is of the opinion that the de-colonization of the Netherlands Antilles followed the rules of the United Nations. So there.
At least, that's what Secretary of State [staatssecretaris] Knops says.

Come On, Man
Justice minister Girigorie took offence when the Rotterdam mayor told everybody who did and did not want to listen that it was our fault that Holland has become a narco-state. For once, Giri has a point. On the other hand, he loses a lot of plausibility when he goes on to say that we don't use drugs here: we just send 'em on.

Dirty Laundry
A Dutch billionnaire is suspected of having laundered enormous amounts of money with a little help of his Italian mafioso friends. His Ramphastos Investments is managed and managed by United Trust of Gregory Elias. Hey, that's the guy who organizes "our" misnamed North Sea Jazz Festival and who sent the Rolling Stones to Cuba a few years ago (with the Cuban government making the Cubans believe they had arranged it).
Oh well, obviously Gregory can afford it.

One of Those Things
Stop me if you've heard something like this before. There was a society to help and support Venezuelan refugees, led by Ieteke Witteveen. A full-time pro deo job. Then a couple of lawyers took over the board, kicked her out (in fact, forced her to take her leave) and changed the rules contrary to the statutes, so they start collecting a nice salary.
The Venezuelans here are rather worried about this development.

Excellent Point
Once again, FAS [Federashon Akshon Sivil] has stuck its neck out and filed a complaint against Camelia. He belongs in jail; but instead he was asked to advise the integrity committee. No doubt for another fat fee.

Another Small Problem
Pensioned Shell and Isla workers, and also present refinery personnel, have medical care arranged by foundation AKI (Asistensha Kuido Mediko Isla). As by now everybody seems more or less convinced that Isla will stop functioning (at the very least in this form) per next year, a solution has to be found for these guys.
It's really quite simple: give them free use of SVB facilities, and make the rest of us pay more. Hey, presto! See? Creative thinking is all that's needed.

No Kidding?
We now get to hear that it will take 5 more years before Hato airport is upgraded to category 1. Or it may take longer, of course. Wacht 'n beetje.
Last time, only 2 weeks ago, they told us it would take three months; after we'd been promised it would happen in December 2018. This has been going on since September 2011—will be 14 years at least.

The Right Man for the Wrong Place
You'll never guess who's been asked to advise the Commissie Evaluatie Screeningswet [law] on integrity. Ready? Our old friend Camelia! Need I say more?
I hadn't picked up there's a committee like that. Gee, I wonder how much they will pay Camelia for his worthless advice.

Hear Him Talk
That same Rotterdam mayor has criticized the state of drug scanners in the harbor and on the airport. Not in Rotterdam, here. Talk about chutzpah. The good mayor said this is a danger for Holland! Where earlier this week 57% of the population said their country (Holland!) is a "narco state".
The mayor should realize where that stuff comes in. Right, in the largest European harbor: Rotterdam. Shut up and be ashamed, mayor.
His next stop is, of all places, Colombia.

Always Grousin' and Grumblin'
Those old er... people don't like the community mailboxes. They have to ask other people to go over their and pick up their mail. Many of them are unable to even walk over.
Come to think of that, nobody but the people at C***-Post do like them. When will this finally come to court?

He Said It
Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb and a guy Pastors of National Program Rotterdam South (don't ask) have come to Curaçao to inquire into possibilities for a National Program for Curaçao. They have talked with (almost) everybody, they say, and the Dutch government is willing to help. Says Aboutaleb: "If you can't keep it up, you shouldn't start." Hear, hear.
What's the idea? It looks like more Keynesian spending: in Rotterdam, ten years after they started, there's a new market building, a new stadium and a renovated tunnel. At the same time, we read there are 30 Dutch investors willing to contemplate sinking money into Willemstad.

About 70% of the civil servants have opted for the early retirement offered. At least, that's what minister Kroket says. That's 608 people in total, an appreciable percentage. Good; only, we still have to cough up their pensions. At least, they won't be using airco, telephone... you name it.

The Mind Shudders and Shivers
Some genius comes out with the idea to build a megapier at Bandabao. So tourists can arrive there straight and help ruin it some more. The guy dreams of carriages pulled by horses or donkeys to take the tourists to local spots of interest where they'll be sold awa lamunchi [lime-aid] and other local delicacies, plus of course the usual imported tourist junk handicraft.
That would be the end.

Adding Up
A newspaper article full of figures, but I can't find a total. First, Refineria Isla (owned by PdVSA, leaser of the refinery) has not paid the 'take or pay' fee (whatever that means) to SOE Curaçao Refinery Utilities, amount now 75 million guilders.
Then, there's an Aqualectra bill outstanding for 17 million guilders (half a million per month). But that bill is for CUC Curaçao Utilities Company, which is an empty company. So CUC in turn has an Aqualectra debt of almost 8 million. [Somebody please explain that "so".]
Aqualectra tries to collect with CRU and RdK (Refineria di Kòrsow) but can't. To make the matter still more insane, the connection to the water system is on the Isla terrain, so Aqualectra can't even cut them off; only Isla (whatever that stands for at this point) can. Who are responsible for such an idiotic "system"?
To make the mess complete, Refineria Isla (the PdVSA daughter) has promised in 2016 to implement the promised 'plant change", where Isla (whatever it means) will get as much fresh water as it wants at a reducedf price. That entails switching on four Reverse Osmosis units which are already there. Instead, Isla prefers to use Aqualectra water—without paying for it.
And we suckers paying all those nincompoops at the top of RdK, CRU, CUC and Aqualectra their fat salaries all the time. And trying to make sense of an article the writer clearly didn't understand what it was writing about.

How Will That End?
With the bankruptcy of Cook Travel, it turns out that Corendon is part of it. For the time being, their flights will continue.
So that implicates a couple of interesting questions, re. that Rif Mangrove Resort or whatever it's called. Is that the next dream project that's really a nightmare? Time will tell.
Not to mention Kunuku Aqua Resort and Jan Thiel Resort.

Dirty Soap
Once more it's the mangrove wood. The contractor has accepted a lot of precautionary measures for the work, but has not told his workers about any of them. The terrain in contaminated with years of sewage (leaked from Sehospital!) and the clean-up crew doesn't have any protective clothing, not even gloves. They eat their lunches right next to heaps of dredged dirt.
The contractor explains that "it's too warm" to wear protection.
By an ironic coincidence, yesterday was World CleanUp Day when 350 volunteers collected trash on 110 island locations. 300,000 kilos were collected in total.

Old Tiresome Song
We had some rain last night (that's good) with thunder and lightning (no problem); except that as from this morning (maybe earlier than that) our UTS internet has gone all haywire. Falls away, comes back—again and again.

And Make It Snappy, Please
The Court of Justice is working on an Integrity Plan. Just imagine, from then on they will try to be honest.

Most Important
M*F*K uses precious parliament time to inquire why in the proposed law to change the Statuut there is an exclamation mark (to make this clear to the meanest intelligence: "!") after the word Koning [king, by the grace of our lord]. It was patiently explained to them, this is a tradition. A custom, a convention. Snappez vous?
Not that this is a unique example of wasting precious, i.e. expensive, parliament time.

Not Good; Makes You Wonder
Remember those US diplomats in Cuba complaining about what were called "sonic attacks" which left them dizzy and even more incompetent than what's usual? Well, it seems that was a result of Cuba fumigating the very same mosquitoes we have here, causing zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya. The stuff they use over there contains the sarin nerve gas (which was used in the Tokyo underground terrorist attack).
What again are the good folks of GGD using here to combat our striped friends?

Almost Forgot!
Today is the big September Global Climate Strike, let by an autistic teenager who knows everything, although she quit going to school. She even claims she can actually see carbon dioxide gas, which remarkable statement is often seriously quoted in the media. I admit having seen the stuff myself, only it was in the form of dry ice.
But if you missed it, don't feel bad. Next week Friday you'll have another chance to celebrate. Or much better, on Tuesday join the South Africans for Braaidag: Barbecue Day. Fire, smoke, CO2 and meat of animals killed in wrath. Now there's a statement!

Come On, Mon
A lawyer has been murdered. In Holland. Now even here all flags at buildings in use by the judiciary are at half mast. For respect, you know.
Sorry; many people are murdered, alas, and now because it's a lawyer we need to show extra respect? The boss of lawyers says it's a shame when lawyers are murdered. It's a shame when anybody is murdered!
I'm disgusted.

Towing company KTK has sent a tug to Suriname, where it will be put to work towing oil exploration platforms. Fine. Then we read that it's one of two new tugs, delivered to KTK this year by Damen. What? We hearing all the time KTK is as good as or worse than bankrupt, and they're buying new tugs? (They now have 8.)

Still Going Weak
Raad van Advies (advisory council) notes that in the 2020 budget several posts have not been filled out. Or there's just a dash in the column. Another confidence builder.
But KKN chamber of commerce declares Ruggie's Growth Strategy works for them. Only problem is, nobody seems to understand what "the economy" really is. Starting with Ruggie, Gijs & Bertha and the rest of the band.

Now's Your Chance!
40 cops of 2 departments are on strike, and they will continue their action. Hey crooks, grab it while you can. Not that it makes any difference you'd notice.
As usual, the media don't bother to give any indication when the strike started; leaves it to us to guess.

Hard to Find
Discussions are going on about growing marihuana, AKA pitu, AKA Cannabis, for medical purposes. If that goes through, a proper terrain has to be found, conforming to international standards.
One of which is, it may not be polluted.

Messes Galore
Debt collectors are supposed to have an ID to prove they actually are what's in Dutch deurwaarders. However, several of them only have an expired one and it seems to be impossible to extend it. Feels like another law that was "forgotten" to prolong after 10-10-10. In fact, there's not even a law anymore that regulates the bailiff's activities.
This started attracting publicity because students complain that the bailiffs ask for impossibly high monthly payments.

Throw Them All Out
In a letter by the Attorney General to PAR PM Ruggie, the former writes that all ministers share responsibility for the "seeming" conflicts of interest in the raised W.A. [legal liability insurance] premium, what pinhead Martina was kicked out for.
The letter is dated May 27th, one week after the Public ministry announced not to charge Martina, but has only now been (?) leaked. The Attorney general writes that the problem is caused by a deficiency in the screening law, which should be adapted.
When mudbelly and dos Diablos grow wings.

I checked my bank account and they had transferred the usual monthly 20 guilders to Selikor; not 35 as announced. Fine with me.
No doubt it will come, or go, later?
It did.

Links and Memory
When I was writing up the crossed out zebra, I referred to this link. Which interestingly also says a UN committee was visiting the island to look at what I called "all that tomfoolery"—like zebra crossings all over, traffic humps, traffic lights, roundabouts on every corner. To improve safety, you know.
Then it occurred to me that I never heard what the results of that UN committee were. Probably not so good, would you agree?
Also, how much did we pay for that committee? Good question, huh? Answers are harder to get.

Why Not? Who Cares?
Wel, Man Mudbelly Cooper does. He claims minister Alcalá-Wallé never should have passed the screening for her function, as she has several other functions that are not compatible.
Took Cooper a remarkably long time to find out, if he's right; which I have amazingly little trouble believing.

Worse, Much Worse
Seems that not only the cessantia fund will be down and out after Isla refinery closes, there's not even enough money in it to pay the promised sums to fired Isla workers.
Oh, where did it all go? you keep asking. No fair guessing!
There have not even been discussions about firings and a tax holiday with Klesch. Doesn't matter a fart, I guess; who trusts them, in the first place? That holds a promise for a lot of arson and riots. Looting gangs roaming the streets. Just like you see on cable news...

Just What We Need
An illegal Venezuelan costs us 250 guilders/day; sending them back is 9000 guilders per 25 (or 360/ea). We may expect an escalation, which will result in overloads for police, coast guard, public ministry, jail. Oh, and don't forget overtime.

Zebra Crossed Out
Got tipped (thanks!) that the people's action to paint their own zebra was, in fact, not very smart. The traffic is fast and furious there, and speed bumps are in order. Exactly the reason why people took action, I guess.
Question remains, how long before DOW takes action? Plenty speed bumps lying around there!

Good Questions, All
A mr Teo Isidora writes a letter in KKC where he wonders why so much trouble is taken to find out who published the salaries of some heavily overpaid guys. Rather, he's interested in how they got to get so much and how many more there are.
He makes a lot more good points, for which I advise you to read the letter. (Translation upper left corner.)

Too Bad, You Lose
If When Isla refineria will finally be closed down, all workers will receive a one-time payment from the so-called cessantia fund. Which will then be finished, empty, drained. Tough if you lose your job after that—which will happen to lots of people.

Throwaway Money
Curaçao wants to borrow 70 million guilders (more). What for, we're not told; best guess is, for the Growth Strategy? The interest expense will then become 58% and the debt quote 47,3%, while the maximum advised by Cft financial supervision is 45%.
Who cares?

Thought Experiment
Just imagine the Mighty Dutch Kingdom had given in, some moment in the past, and sold us out to Venezuela. Like England did with Hong Kong, is what it now turns out to boil down too. You think we would fight Maduro's gangs of goons these days, sing the Wilhelmus in the streets and wave Antillean and, oh horror, Dutch flags? The Hong Kongers do the equivalent of all that; and much more.
Or would we gather round the Tula monument and pray, led by Bakoba? Maybe not even that. Wouldn't help anyway, true.

CCAA director de Jong is mad with his personnel: they were not allowed to talk about the bad results of the latest ICAO audit, but they did. PAR Minister Juesus-Leito is pissed off as well and measures will follow. "The integrity code for civil servants has been violated."
Of course it should remain secret what's wrong! Just imagine, we might get worried about our safety! And what a surprise; the civil servants have an integrity code. Parliament and ministers? Not so much.

Mosquito Wellness Season
In a month or so, the rainy season will start. Complete with the clouds of mosquitoes spreading quite a list of diseases. So the health ministry will go out and instruct the people how to get rid of them. As it if helped. I have written several times about more efficient ways to get rid of the pests, and there has been follow-up; but not in official circles, so it led nowhere. Figures.
It's almost, but not really, amusing to read right next to this about a "Wellness Fair" the same ministry is organizing.

Own Initiative Forbidden
People in Rooi Santu started to create a zebra crosswalk near a sport park. But they have been stopped and the crosspath has been deleted. DOW public works is the sole authority and they will do it; only there are some delays. Unexplained of course. Besides, you can't put a crosswalk on the road just like that! You must also put in speed bumps and warning signs.
I guess we may now wait for some kid to be knocked down there while DOW make up their what they use for minds.

Fine, Now Spend It
For some reason too complicated for me to try and explain, there has been a tax windfall of 42.1 million. Don't get all excited. That's nothing, and they will find a way to throw it all away for sure. Leave it to them.

Oh, We're Used to That
But it really is embarrassing by now, even shameful. After all reassurances that this time, Curaçao aviation would finally for sure get an upgrade by ICAO, well, we don't. We have a score of 4.6, should be 58. We now have 90 days to try again for a final report. Then, we get 45 days more to react.
Last time, we were promised to hear more on September 12. Well, only 2 days late? That's nothing—at least, comparing.
But don't worry, PAR minister Jesus-Leito and director Hans de Jong of Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority, CCAA assure us that we're perfectly, absolutely, guaranteed safe. Good to know!

The kruitmagazijn [powder magazine] in Brievengat has been broken into. The crooks broke open 6 containers and finally made their way out with "400 or 500" boxes of fireworks, owned by four importers.
Who are raging mad. The police has been notified long since that security was way below needed, with closed circuit cameras hardly functioning.
The magazine was moved to the new location after a fire a few years ago. They first planned to rebuild it, but nothing more was heard about that.

But When?
The idea is to conserve the old SEHOSpital with (newer) poli-clinic and adjoining old Thomas College and to transform it into a "care hotel" plus apartments and catering. Will cost 50-60 million guilders and can only start when the hospital has moved to the new what's now called CMC. Which may well be never. "It will be a bridge between CMC and Otrabanda" we are assured.
Both Sehos, built in 1857, and about that age Thomascollege are architecturally sound. You and I are entitled to ask in what state that new hospital will be 162 years from now.

Makes Won One-der
Selikor is getting serious about illegal trash dumping? At least, they say so. Together with the X-Team they will intensify controls at well-known dumping places, like Dam Pretu.
Too bad this was announced and abandoned before, remember? Auntie Sushi was behind it. Makes one wonder less.

Only Temporary
Hurrah! we have a new committee. This one to prepare the parlementaire enquête on the new hospital HNO. It will last for two months, then it will be replaced by another one. Of which the members, but naturally! will also be paid, don't worry.

Kick Him Out, Muy Pronto
There is (another) problem with the oil workers' trade unions. PFWC president says it has to be solved or the workers may take the law in their own hands. Whatever they think to achieve with that. But these guys are always ready to swarm out on the streets and commit mayhem.
Apart from that, Errol Bakoba is once again a headache an sich. PFWC and Apri want him as a representative, but RdK doesn't think he represents all workers in the refinery staff, unionized in STK and SGTK. Reading between the lines, the last two don't like Bakoba to much. Now get this: PFWC and Apri think Bakoba is a member of PMO (the notorious Project Management Organisation). However, he's not. You may wonder along with me how this imperfect storm will end. Lot of wreckage can be looked forward to.

SEHOS Has No Money
Who didn't see this coming? SEHOSp[ital urgently needs 10 million to pay the bills. There is not even enough medicine in stock there: some 30% under the required norm.
SVB only pays the new bills, but SEHOS has built up a debt of 24.7 million guilders. Now SEHOS wants the government to pay ASAP outstanding debts of 11.7 million. Wish I could get a deal like that.

Not My Problem
ACU Ambtenaren Credit Union (for the spoiled brats, no others need apply) is in trouble. Sign of the times? At any rate, the main problem seems to be the board has too much power and does as it likes. This never was a problem—until now. Dûh.
It has always been a sore point for us decent folks that the spoiled brats, apart from their easy life, got extra discounts everywhere as ACU members. So who cares if ACU goes down the drain?

They Just Can't
Without boring you, and don't forget me, with the boring details, the 2020 budget still is absolutely No Good, says College Financieel Toezicht [Financial Supervision]. But PAR PM Ruggie says it's impossible for a small country like Curaçao to to meet all the conditions of the aanwijzing.
So who wanted to play independent country?

Confidence Builder
Governor Wout announces that the Growth Strategy has already been started. End this year "Curaçao Invest" will have been introduced. It's based on the Invest €urope program. As far as I can judge, the only country in Europe that's doing reasonably well (i.e., growing) is the United Kingdom; probably because of the "disastrous" Brexit. The great Growth Engine of Europe, Germany, is falling apart because the motive power, car industry, is collapsing. Which again has to do with the German green plans.

Ex-Shorty minister Imalootin, who protested court procedures because he (or his lawyers) for some reason judged the publish ministry acted unlawfully, has been sent back to the calaboose with a flea in his ear.

What a Pity
In South Africa, when you have your car damaged because of a pothole (or something) in the road, you may claim that with the government. Comments somebody: "It would be cheaper to fix the potholes." Hear, hear.
Too bad we can't do that. We here lost at least 4 perfectly good tires in the last two years. Not to mention an engine support resulting in a cracked muffler. KadaBOOM. But as far as that goes, the S.A. government is just like ours: half of the complaints are never reacted on.
Just heard that here, you can claim the damage, too. Good luck with that.

Good News? Too Bad We Heard It Umpteen Times Before.
The government has started a new project, Un Kòrsou Prospero. The idea is inherited from pinhead Martina: to go "from red tape to red carpet"; it's especially meant for "big project developers". So naturally, PAR Jesus-Leito blabbed on about eco-tourism and, in connection, the developments in the Rif area. Like, the mangrove wood?
The best is, there's a new Investment Team. Gee, I wonder how much the members are paid.

Not Double But Not Even Half Dutch
Schools complain that the pupils hardly learn any Dutch. And how could they, with most teachers only speaking Papiamentu?

A Worthy Successor
Brand-new MAN minister of economic development McWilliam shows right away she's handpicked for the former job of Pinhead Martina. She wants to start a fast-ferry service between Curaçao and Aruba. Government-owned and operated, sure. Like, er, ALM? DCA? InselAir? As if they'd have the money these days years.
But no problem, Aruba is prepared to pay their share. As if Aruba, at the very brink of a richly deserved aanwijzing themselves, had any money for such foolishness.
Mark, it might be a good idea for private enterprise, but please, not another SOE!

... Continued
Nice to see such stubborn dedication to a lost (? well, that may be going just the tiniest bit too far) cause. Meant are the wind generators, if you didn't get that already.
#10 was morning out-evening on 08-28/29 - whole day out 30 - morning on 31 - day/night out 09-01/2/3/4/5/6.
#2 out 08-28/29/30/31 09-01/02/3/4/-/6. Has been working 1 day out of 9, on August 5.
After the dust has settled, if and when, I'll make up the total bill. Is this a business? If it was my car, I'd long ago have thrown it back through the showroom plate-glass window.
To Be Continued...

Fine. With Us. Or...
After the fire in the tax office, we only have to deliver our income tax statements on December 2. (Was September 16, already delayed because the digital form didn't work.) What this means for the deficits I couldn't say, nor could anybody.
And we may get a new tax office! More money to be made. Now that's growth strategy, folks!

Powerless and Incompetent
Fresh minister McWilliam anounces the will be strict controls at supermarkets, to avoid them raising their prices too much, using the new sales tax as an excuse. She will not tolerate that! What she does tolerate of course is that higher sales tax.
What she neglects as well is to check the ads where her ministry advises how high that tax will be. They're all unclear, vague and worst contradictory.

False Sushi
The Group of 6, G6, suspects that all the activities in the Rif mangrove wood have to do with the not abandoned old plans to build a "Cruise Village" there. This has been asked for by the cruise companies and what they ask, they get. Especially when there's money to be made on infrastructure, a process already started.
Another item devoutly to be wished by Those in Power (I mean auntie Sushi and Friends) is a yacht harbor. We already have several, among which in Caracasbaai; and some decades ago Waaigat was dredged out, for yet another one—that never came. Some bodies made money there! Plenty of it, too.

Strong Point
Newspaper Èxtra points out that, after Punda and other places, security cameras have now also been installed in Saliña entertainment (and shopping) center. Remarks Èxtra "hopefully the government finds time to monitor them."

The rumor is, semi-official, that the fire in the Tax Office was ignited because of a internal fraud investigation, concerning 4 (possibly more? why not?) spoiled brats working there.
Nobody I spoke to has any trouble believing that; which, no matter, is an indication of what we all think about those hard workers.

Isla Partner Found
From the overwhelming number of contacted partners for take-over of the Refinery, one has been selected: Klesch, Germany owned by a USA American. Not everybody is happy at all; quoted is their reputation as a "vulture capitalist".
Take-over is planned in November, one month before the PdVSA agreement expires—and two months from now.

Only 12 Million
12.4 million guilders' worth of car taxes over 2013-2017 are outstanding. Pardon me, 1.2 million have been collected until March this year. What you better worry about, how many of those unpaid for cars do have insurance and valid test? And how many of the drivers have a license, in the first place?
The way I figure, give or take that's 6,000 cars.

Last Time
The sale of UTS telecommunications will result in a negative effect on the country's budget. Just what we needed. That's because UTS has had heavy losses. So much for the question what to do with all that lovely money.
But as UTS is now gone, that's the last time. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Don't worry, there's plenty more bottomless holes around.

They Are Worried?
Workers at the tax office are very worried about the consequences of the fire. They say "the island is paralyzed." Much information citizens need has been lost. This contradicts earlier statements that the damage wasn't so bad.
Well, we are worried. No doubt this will result in interminable hassles.
But they may well be worried, too. A member of BAB accounting bureau was physically attacked while pinning by a private person, who blamed him and the office for the closing down of so many enterprises. Now the tax persons want protection in their free time.
While they do not go free, the main problem after all is the government, by which is meant parliament and ministers. But the entire apparatus, complete with spoiled brats, is undeniably the problem.

Those 228 cases where the public tenders couldn't be checked have cost the country us 175 million guilders.
Not so coincidentally, that was between 2010 and 2015. Thanks, Shorty, Imalootin, Sheik El Hakim... too many to mention!

Jus' Sayin'
I have had a Curaçao welfare pension since 2000. It has never been raised. So, the way I figure, and I do hope I'm wrong, it's now buying me 70% of when it started.
That's austerity, folks!

Come to Think of It
I didn't read of hear anything about that planned demonstration. Probably a fizzling flop. Small wonder; it's a good guess people are too beaten down to try and do something, figuring "What's the use?"
And they are right. I must have remarked this before: who, in the long run, is inevitably going to pay for all that stolen and disappeared money? You+Me=We.

It's a Tradition
Even though the permits for work in the mangrove wood are not in yet, work is going ahead full blast. Of course, it's auntie Sushi who arranged all that. Just try to stop her.

Really? Por Fin?
An audit of the airport and all things connected is going on, and by September 12 we will know if we're still stuck in category 2 or if we'll be upgraded.
About time, too. Mark: IF. And only 9 months after the last promised date.

The first arrest has been made for the arson in the Tax Office. It's a Venezuelan. As if he couldn't find plenty objects in his own country.

Somebody Should Be Fired
CTB announces that hotel occupancy went down in July, compared to last year. From 69.4% to 67.6%. I thought it was in our constitution that this can only go UP.

That's More Like It. Or Not.
Auntie Sushi tells us that the loan application for 200 million for the HNO new hospital has been retracted. It was a requirement of the "local consortium" she explains (I can believe that), but she confirms that none of the signers has been breaking laws. Of course she'd say that, but we'll see. Besides, governor Wout did not agree.
K*NT opines in parliament that HNO is bankrupt before it's even open (to which it's hard to think of a come-back), and that the 25 million given? loaned? whatever by government is another law infringement.

Where's My Warm Winter Woolies?
This morning, observed the first barn swallow having flown over for winter. Wise guy. Better get prepared!

Right They Are
The oil workers' unions want a clear statement on the future of the refinery; in October. That's two months before the PdVSA contract expires. Methinks, about time.

Why Bother?
In 71% of the cases where a public tender is needed, it turns out to be impossible to check if that in fact has been done. Are you surprised? You surprise me.

What Do You Expect?
As soon as an illegal trash heap is trucked away, people come back and start it anew. This is because Selikor charges money for them to dump their trash at the Malpais landfill. Amigoe newspaper suggest to make that free. But of course that won't happen.
Nobody seems to have figured that it's cheaper for Selikor to scratch the fee than to go out, collect the trash and transport it to Malpais

Integrity? Huh?
PAR education minister Alcallá-Wallé does not understand why some people distrust her integrity. Just because she's minister and at the same time board member of the Alcallá-Wallé Foundation (a thing explicitly forbidden to avoid conflicts of interest—remember pinhead Martina?).
Top disclosure: the foundation serves to help students who can't pay their study debt back.

On August 23, the Curaçao government has officially protested against the Aanwijzing. They want the deficit balanced in 5, not 3 years. The reason is downright grotesque in a horribly Keynesian way: if the government has less money to spend, there is less money to invest in the stagnating economy.
Once again, this shows the government's plain belief they are the economy. As long as they keep presuming that, no progress will be made.
Also, the unions have announced they will stop the dialogue with the government, "as the government does not believe in dialogue."

If You're Ill, Go Away
Israel seems a good destination. You don't even have to be a Jew: even Gaza-Hamas leaders go there for hospital treatment. But here? Three items, and we don't even have to touch on the HNO new hospital soap.
First, somebody wants G.P. doctors to retire when they're 65. Who cares they don't want that themselves. Hey, I never retired either—and look at those old fart politicians. Need I say more?
Second, there's a fight going on between medical specialists and the boss of the CMC future (?) medical center. He wants to pay them less which they don't like.
There are more complaints about that guy. A "moderate Muslim" as he calls himself (a notorious writer of unreadable letters-to-you-know-whom) claims that man hates Arabs. I couldn't say.
Third, a woman writes to Amigoe newspaper that her surgery has been postponed for who nobody knows how long, after the date had been fixed for 5 weeks ago.

Shrink Along
The Curaçao economy will shrink again this year, but take heart: in 2020 it will expand with a full 0.1%. At least, that's what the Central Bank says, and they are never wrong. Total shrink since 2017 is 5.8%.
That's even worse than St. Maarten (5.2%), which at least had the excuse of being hit by hurricane Irma in 2017. But that resulted in lots of foreign aid.

Weird Is the Word
Hotel Otrobanda has finally been sold. Weird enough in itself, but what makes it extra weird, not to say bizarre, is that Girobank wanted 11 million guilders but the buyer offered 12 million.

Forget It—Way to Go!
After all those discussions on making the labor market and dismissal law more flexible our PAR PM Ruggie has announced all that has to go on the back burner. Instead, production, and competition position must go up which must result in higher economic growth and hence, more jobs.
The man really is a total nitwit. This will lead to exactly the opposite of what he expects; which is why entrepreneurs have been pushing the ideas.
And this right after parliament accepted the higher taxes oops growth accord.

A letter by the president of the Right Hand Drive Foundation in Amigoe newspaper claims that there are now 10,000 RHD vehicles on the road. The man says it's the second safest car category in traffic (without telling us what the first one is), which in his opinion means that if we all become RHDers traffic will be 100% safe. RHD foundation is against laws now in the making to stop the use of the things.
Well, I don't know, don't you know.

... Continued
It seemed to be a miracle! Yesterday afternoon wind generator #10 was turning, leaving only #2 unserviceable. But this morning it had stopped again. Keep trying, boys!
To Be Continued...

More Blah Blah
For the 4th time there is a Cinex Smart Investment conference. Say, between you and me, did you notice any progress after the other 3? It's organized by Curaçao Investment and Export Agency CINEX and (help!) Bureau Telecommunicatie en Post. Italian guru Gianluco Galletto from Smart Cities New York is a special guest speaker. A Smart City is supposed to be a city where information technology and "the internet of things" are used to manage the place. Yawn.
One purpose is to attract foreign investors and entrepreneurs to help develop the local economy further. Further? Better get rid of the red tape first, as has been promised more often than I care to remember.

Guess Who Gets Blamed
A report (leaked to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf) about drug use in Amsterdam confirms, af if we needed that, what we all knew all the time: the amount of drug uses is scaringly frightening. It's not only XTC, but of course also cocaine. In fact, €75 millions worth per year. And where does that come from? More to the point, how does it get there? Right, a relatively very small amount via Curaçao.
As for us, we're all crooks for delivering those hopeless addicts their stuff.

There We Go
Staten/parliament has accepted the so-called growth accord, which is intended to lower our national debt and will no doubt help to shrink the economy even further. And even less doubt, the planned demonstration will stop nothing.

Will It Help?
The cops are really content: they have arrested 27 atrako muggers last month or so. But we're all afraid that's just a drop out of the bucket.

South African Headline
In Afrikaans, on their own government, not ours. "Regering is vrot van schuld". Translation: Government is rotten with debt.
And we may add for both cases, not only with debt.

Uh Oh
Because of tropical storm/hurricane Dorian the USA has requested Curaçao to let 9 Coast Guard vessels stay in our harbors. I can imagine Venezuela president Maduro keeling over with rage.

The police has offered 2500 guilders for information on two guys who have been recorded getting out of a car at the Tax Office, "did something" and then drove away in a hurry. So there were video cameras operating, after all?
That sum of only $1375 is typical for the tax persons' stinginess. But again, another source says it's 5000 guilders.

Please Explain?
CTB statistics: according to one source, tourism stay-overs in July went up by 5% compared with last year; but another source says, no, it went down with 1.9%.

Nobody Likes This
The government's plans to renew Bandabao beaches has found plenty of protesters. People who live here don't like them at all; it's only a plot to commercialize the scene and thus rob make money from tourists. But the people want the beaches to remain freely accessible.
As it's auntie Sushi's plan, good luck with that.

Not Over Yet
K*NT party is considering filing a second complaint against ministers Gijs & Bertha and auntie Sushi, this time about the 25 million the government is willing to loan to HNO new hospital. Is it a loan, or maybe a subsidy? K*NT aks. And also, why hasn't this been discussed in parliament?

Let's See
Hustisia Sosial Kòrsou will Sunday September 1 hold a manifestation to protest the government "austerity" [for you, but not for me] measures. It will start at 16:00 in front of Fort Amsterdam. Please come dressed in white and bring along signs.
As if the government would care. Slogan Ta Basta Awor [it's been enough] has been used before and look where it got us.
Today is the day Staten will meet on the proposed measures.

Court has declared that, while the Tax Persons routinely act against the law by, for example, not keeping to the terms stipulated for handling bezwaarschriften protests], the tax payer is not allowed to fight this on his own: you may not settle new payments with sums the tax person is supposed to pay back, as the old payments exceeded the taxable amount. That's a no-no.
So who will prosecute the Tax Dept? Their practices are standard malpractice. You never really get used to it.

Good Questions
K*NT Rojer puts the following. It's well known that the (only 40 year old) tax building is unfit for office use, even for tax persons—let alone the public, but that nothing has been done about it. He then asks if a fire insurance has been taken out, with which company and for what value. Next he wonders if there are sprinklers and security cameras in- and outside the building (there are). And finally, he wonders who owns the building and what security service controls it.
Our question of course is, why didn't anybody ask this before?

Come to Think of It
Whatever happened to those close-circuit TV cameras ex-minister Navarro kept promising us, at a cost of ~5million guilders? Were they ever installed? In which case, that didn't make any difference, did it.
I did notice that most (?) red-light camera boxes are still empty.
Those CCTV cameras supposedly came from China, so of course we were reminded of them when we read that in the recent riots anti-Beijing demos, the mob public started sawing their masts through, pulling them over and ruining the cameras. First result, the firm that built and installed them, TickTack Technology Ltd., will stop supplying parts for the government's 50 "smart lampposts" in Hong Kong.

Now That's Austerity
I never thought I'd come with this recommendation: let us follow the shining example of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of "Palestina", who's sacked all of his advisers and ordered a former prime minister and other past cabinet ministers to return tens of thousands of dollars from a pay rise he secretly approved two years ago.
Here, it's the other way around. Still, ole Mahmoud won't go very austere himself, is a fair guess.

Is What We All Figured
A lawyer who makes a good impression wrote a letter to KKC, in which he explains that not only many laws were just forgotten when we went independent; those we do have are just not applied.
Example of the first category is that for illegal signs. The second is still worse; like a building in Pietermaai of which the building license was revoked 2 years ago in court, who also decided they couldn't get a new license once it was demolished. It's still standing. Another auntie Sushi source of income?
And let's not start to mention the illegal manipulations of the Tax Persons.

Nothing New
Raad van Advies advisory council finally figured it all out, long after the rest of us: the government growth strategy will have a "significant negative effect" on the economy and will lead to more inflation. The government has hardly or not talked with the stake-holders.
It's true, they never asked me a thing.

Unbridled Optimism
A new club called Dataplanet predicts unlimited opportunities for Curaçao as a link in the datachain USA-South America. Merely because a cable running from Jacksonville touches the island, a company called Blue Data Center will process all that info. One of the board members is Paul de Geus, who did such a great job in UTS Telecommunications. Their building is earthquake-, hurricane- and tsunami-proof. The building is described as "tier 4" which is supposed to be very good ("one of the top-30 in the world"—whatever that means); they brag about 8 generators where 1 would suffice.
Dead giveaway: it's a government foundation. Blue Data Center is in fact Egaming datacenter Blue Nap Americas, owned by UTS; just what we need. That building is the former CTEX-building, another disaster; cooling will be done by swac. Uh oh.
We have no earthquakes, do, rarely, have hurricanes and as Mahuma lies about 50m above sea-level, why worry about tsunamis?

Some Joke!
Bonaire postal workers have been using envelopes of the tax authorities to send cocaine to Holland. 3 of them were caught. Good scheme! They didn't even have to buy stamps.

Keep Trying... and Good Luck
Since Dutch mother organization Bluerise was declared bankrupt, we have heard precious little about the so-called Ecopark at Hato Airport. To tell you again, I was not surprised. But now, they themselves finally admitted that their plans just were not feasible. For one reason, which is a real killer, because international laws and rules stipulate that there can be no agriculture next to an airport. (Come to think of that, remember the whinery?)
But this setback has not stopped them from going on with even more ambitious plans. Their Sea Water Airconditioning technology ("swac") is planned to be used next near Zakitó where it will be applied to cool hotels and (here it comes) the new hospital HNO. Another disaster pending? As for me, discounting a consortium of companies who say they are willing to invest, it's a very moot point if the money can be found and if it will really turn out to be an efficient technology.
I remember how in the fourth grade of Willibrord College the teacher was explaining how a gasoline engine works. It got me thinking and I asked "so what happens to all those exhaust gases?" To which his reply was "Oh, they just get lost in this enormous atmosphere we have". Infamous last words.
And now, those swac geniuses tell us that this is a completely "sustainable alternative". Because the sea is inexhaustible, understand? Dream on...
Cooling costs will be 10% of what they are now, according to swac/Zakitó District Cooling. I can't help being reminded of the promises of "free energy" by windmills, solar panels and whatever—always and everywhere energy cost for the consumer goes up instead of down, as soon as government subsidies stop; and often before that.
The idea for the project dates from 2011, when the global warming hysteria was reaching a first peak; ironically, just after Climategate had shown it to be a big scam. (Complete disclosure: not everybody agrees on that.)

Here's Another Angle
You have to admit, that's creative. A new Institute has been formed in November 2018: Instituto Nashonal pa Formashon Laboral, with 7 members who get between 3000 and 5000 guilders per month. Each. Leader is ex-PS™ education minister Irene Dick. They were supposed to come with a "concrete plan" in 5 months, but have produced exactly nothing.
There also is a foundation Portanan pa Trabou [doors to work] of which head Philbert-Nieveld was kicked out of the SOAW [social affairs) building by MAN finance minister Koeiman because he had moved 600,000 guilders to the foundation, which was set up mainly to help ex-InselAir workers to a job.
What we need is at least one committee to check on all those committees. I volunteer. Gee, we finally know what these committee members are paid. All in all, that's 4.5m guilders more down the drain sewer, straight into the Deep Swamp to be devoured by the Creatures from the Black Lagoon.
Note how I'm slyly educating you on masterpieces of literature and cinema.

I wanted to skip this: "Dog Bites Man." Just a vulgar brawl between 2 MPs, Moses and Walroud where they were at physical and verbal fisticuffs. But coming right now when I was reminded of another one, I do take notice.

Comes In Handy
No guilty party has been found in the investigation of the theft of 600 kilos of cocaine from the Rio Canario police HQ. So nobody will be punished, either.
Which is rather different than what we were told before.

Say, Auntie Sushi
The "Group of Six" who has been fighting the destruction of the mangroves at Rif is not satisfied at all with auntie's promises. In sharp contrast with earlier plans, an 18m/60ft wide concrete road will be built and auntie spouts vague promises of "compensation". The Group will fight this in court.
Knowing auntie, the promised compensations might exist of other projects on which she could get her cut.

Pinhead Out
It's final: Steven "Pinhead" Martina is out as minister of economic development and will be replaced by MAN Giselle McWilliam. I don't know much about her, except that she was physically attacked once in Staten by Quackie Constancia, but at least she sounds better than the substitute offered earlier, Neysa Schoop-Isenia. Only, McWilliam's profession is nurse and she's studying law; not economy.

Stranger Things Have Happened
The fire in the tax office started with a loud bang. Police and fire dept will look at video camera footage to find out what really happened. Minister Gijs & Bertha says "We do not exclude anything."
First rumor that started circulating right away is, the fire has been started to prevent an investigation into the leak of the SOE salaries. "All digital data have been saved"—that's a relief! Personnel have been given 2 days off, but if you insist on paying your taxes, you can do so at any bank.
The relatively new building, dating from the early 1980s, was in bad condition, we are now told. Wall panels were in danger of falling off, parts of floors were weak, there were not enough escape routes and electricity was overloaded. Methinks all that needs to be looked into as well.

... Continued
News! Nr. 9 has been working for an entire day (and presumably one night) now, and nr. 6 as well. So "only" 2 and 10 are out.
To Be Continued... when there's more news...

Who Cares? We Do!
Central Bank topman Traa held a discourse to warn the government and Holland that they shouldn't take it too fast with the pending reforms, as that would disrupt the fragile economy even further. Trade union central SSK once again stated that the higher sales tax had to be abandoned, and CHATA hotel association agreed. Both also protest the higher garbage collection tariff and real estate tax.
As if PAR PM Ruggie, or Holland, would listen.

That's Funny...
Prices went down with 0.2% last month. Before you go out and celebrate, they were up 2.7% compared to a year ago.

Is Not... Is, Too!
Isla refinery denies they have to pay RdK many millions. Well, somebody must be lying. Maybe both? I shouldn't wonder.

What a Pity
The tax office caught fire last night; nobody knows how and about damage. At any rate, they won't open today so if you want to file your tax declaration, you're out of luck. Worse, same for protests.

So There Are Requirements
713 people applied for the training to become a cop; only 26 finally made it through the selection. Main reason, they can't speak Dutch (only 73 out of 400 who were accepted in the pre-selection could).
Let's face it, all our laws are in Dutch. But stay positive: almost all made it through the sports exam.

It's a Start
608 civil servants have been given the message that they may leave their jobs, if they want to. It's all spoiled brats between 59 and 62; if they go they get a 45 to 60,000 guilder bonus. The way I read it, that's a one-time payment. Of course their pensions will be paid out, are you kidding?
1/4 of government budget goes to salaries.
If all 608 go, that's 15% of the 4084 total so salaries will be 22% instead of 25% of the budget.

It's a Curaçao tradition: if you wait long enough, the problem goes away of its own. Now the trade unions come along with the (obvious) news that the longer you wait with a refinery restart, the harder that gets. January next year is too late. And as we can't sell the Isla product because of USA sanctions against Venezuela, we might as well, maybe better, give up right now.
In which case we're still stuck with the rusting ruins, of course.
If you trust the unions, another factor.

... Continued
Same story: in the morning nr. 9 was turning again; now, 11:00, out with 2, 6, 9 and 10; 1, 3-5, 7-8 in.
To Be Continued...

Who Cares
Even though we have such a thing as compulsory education for ages 4 to 18, there are no sanctions for those who, like Bartleby, "prefer not to." The guys who are supposed to control just drive around in pick-up trucks and, in case, threaten with measures.
You're entitled to ask "and how much does that cost us every year?" And that's only those guys in pick-up trucks; not counting the damage to society.

Just Try It Legally, For Once
The gambling syndicate wants to get Knipselkrant Curaçao off the air. This time, they want to go to court, for a change.
You may well wonder why they don't try suing the BBC, who started it all.

Easy Way Out
The government will loan HNO new hospital 25 million guilders, so installing new stuff can continue. Doe we have to conclude that the 200 million was not necessary?
But the government says it's just a loan and wil be paid back. As if they can count over there in Fort Amsterdam.

Will It Work?
CTB tourist office is starting a "customer service training for taxi drivers" which should come like manna from heaven. Theoretically; I pessimistically think they're beyond training.
And now I hear that the promised taxi meters have not been installed yet. After all those years.

Get This Straight
You get all confused fast when discerning about ISLA, Refineria di Korsou and so on. Isla is a Venezuelan company that leases the refinery for $20m/year. But since the USA has blocked foreign Venezuelan accounts, ISLA hasn't been paying and the debt now is 99m guilders. Looks like ISLA will go bankrupt soon, we are told by RdK management.
So much for the, quite recent, statements that PdVSA wants to continue exploiting ISLA.

Heh Heh Heh
Former health inspector Huurman reacts to the apologies to surgeon Fat Si Oen: he wasn't in function when the trouble started and had nothing to do with it.
Huurman does remark that Oen had "forgotten" (H.'s quotes) to sign up for the surgeons' training, which caused all the trouble.

Over the Edge
Nardy crammm, our nr.1 national resource and publisher of Knipselkrant Curaçao, has been forced to go live in Dutch province Friesland since 2013 because she was threatened by our gambling "industry". Hey, wasn't that the year Helmin Wiels was murdered? Some coincidence.
Despite several instances when the gambling world tried to silence Knipselkrant, they didn't succeed. They now went one step further and a so-called lawyer published crammm's Friesland address complete with a photo of her house. No doubt they hope to subdue her into silence—maybe a permanent silence. I wouldn't put it past them.
But I don't think crammm scares easy.

... Continued
Celebrated too early. Yesterday at 11:00 nr. 9 was Out of Order again, and now, the morning after, still is. 2, 6, 9 and 10 out; 1, 3-5, 7-8 in.
To Be Continued...

It's Come to This
A 21-year old guy without drivers' license, insurance, inspection card or driving experience drove much too fast through a notoriously dangerous bend and hit another car.
Upon being questioned, he said "I'm gonna look for a job and my boss will then pay." And another pearl jumped from this swine's lips: "We are both using the roadway and so we'll have to share damages." These guys really "think" like that.
Just like those internet users who think copyright doesn't exist and they're free to use everything on their own sites. Don't get me started.
Not that it really matters but the other car belonged to Uniek Curaçao, a foundation that's now in trouble as they have to cough up repair money.

Wellness—for Whom?
The Wellness Foundation, which is supposed to help us all lead better and healthier lives, seems to have been set up mainly to help auntie Sushi and some select others to a fatter life. SVB social security has recently paid the foundation 2 million guilders, which K*NT dos Diablos claims is corrupt: a member of Sushi's PIN party allegedly just signed the necessary (for auntie) documents and passed them on.
Note: the foundation hasn't even started up yet. One of the leaders is a Peterson, who seems to be more a financial than a health expert, and also is a board member of SVB.
And SVB foresees financial problems, how about that?

PIN MP Calmes thinks all salaries of head functions at SOEs should be made public. Amd he does not want to stop there; all top functions' salaries in government should be made puiblic. Hey, why not all government salaries? But his Boss Lady auntie Sushi presumably wouldn't like that. At all.

Aren't We All
"The government is looking for funds" is the headline. There is no 2020 money for independence of the Main Polling Station, introduction of Integrity Bureau and College for Protection Personal Data. Nor for a Central Planbureau, which one would think was essential in the grandiose growth strategy government plans; good.
And don't tell anybody, but these are priorities.

... Continued
Yesterday around 15:00 windmill nr. 9 was turning again. And a miracle has happened, it's still at it this morning. Unlike 2, 6 and 10.
To be continued...

Panic! We're All Doomed!
Don't yawn. Please! It's an expert (sorry, forgot the name) who attended a meeting in Suriname and warns us: 12 years from now, the Caribbean won't exist anymore. The islands will be swallowed by the sea, just like that. The guy made the frontpage in Amigoe newspaper.
Why doesn't somebody warn those hotels along the coast? They're enlarging and building new ones all the time. The owners must be crazy. Even Carmabi is asking for trouble as well. Shouldn't they know better?
The good part would be, we don't have to worry any longer about parking in Willemstad, which, with Fort Amsterdam where the government resides will be under water; and there goes Isla refinery.
Dream on, or run to swim for the hills; take your pick.
It's funny how Suriname counts itself part of the Caribbean low-lying islands. That's because there's money in that situation.

Locked Up
Ex-minister of finance Imalootin, one of M*F*K Shorty's henchmen, has been found guilty as hell of the 2013 Helmin Wiels murder and got a 28 years stay in jail. Prosecution asked for 30. No doubt his lawyer Peppie (who's well-known for hardly ever winning a case) will go for an appeal and possibly, like for Shorty, all the way to the European Human Rights, whatever, committee.
The public ministry is not ready yet, either. More suspects are on the list; number 1 is Robbie dos Diablos. Another case against Imalootin may be up for a retrial as well: Passaat, where he was acquitted of forgery (by antedating a document that would save his half-brother Robbie millions in unpaid taxes).

... Continued
Last evening, windmill nr. 9 was turning again. But this morning it had stopped, just like 2, 6 and 10.
To be continued...

So It's Cool
Cool FO∅L Godett (pardon me, it's now FLK for Frente Liberashon Kòrsou) doesn't mind that the passports have doubled in price (from 100 to 200 guilders), just like that. He says that the little fellow won't be hurt, as he can't afford to leave the island anyway; and an airline ticket is even more expensive, so who's complaining? He actually has a good point, but then, who the fart cares about little fellows anyway? Not Godett, but we knew that already
And the government used to get 11.85 guilders per passport, and now it's 88.15; which of course is great.

Oh, So That's It!
The New Hospital hasn't become more expensive, we are explained by Betrian: it's just that is has become 200 million guilders ($110m) more expensive than planned. And believe me, Betrian knows more about it than he wants us to know about it.

... Continued
Windmill nr. 9, when I looked at 16:45, was turning again. I almost cried out "Blow Me Down!" but it had stopped once more by 17:15. Nr. 4 stopped as well but only for a while, and 2, 6 and 10 business as usual by now: out.
To be continued...
To enable you to skip these if you're not interested (many people aren't) just skip all headings "... Continued".

How to Economize
The government is economizing, so the price of a passport will double; from ANG100 to 200. You can follow the logic all right: they economize, so we spend more.

Wait and Don't See?
Isla refinery has good hopes that a new partner will be found before end of the year. That partner should also be prepared to invest in renewing the installations. Letters of Intent have been sent out; we're not told how many. That would be telling.

In He Stays
Now that our decent inspector of health Huurman has been got rid of, all of a sudden surgeon Fat Si Oen has been restored in his SEHOSpital function. This after court judged SEHOS was right when kicking the Bad Doctor out.
Meanwhile, Fat Si Oen has arranged to show the proper documents SEHOS didn't seem to have to see. Reminds me of The Great Impostor.

Green Forest
Those madly turning windmills turning me mad. Well, they don't turn much. Numbers 2, 6 and 10 are still standing still. Number 9 is a story in itself: yesterday is was out until 14:00; stopped again 16:00; then it worked for about 15 minutes and stopped again, to be back on line at 17:00.
But when I looked this morning, it had stopped again. Pardon me for not having checked it all night.

So There
CBS statistics has published a report on greenhouse gases (in which is included CO2, which rather weakens the plot). At any rate, since the refinery shut down the 2018 total compared with 2015 was reduced by 45% (the refinery by 87%). Main polluter now is CRU (refinery power unit). CBS then proceeds to try to make us all feel guilty because we collectively pollute so much; but come right down to it, households (without refinery) produce 7.7 tons/head/year; which is better than Holland at 10.3.
For the sake of argument, I am not disagreeing with CBS considering CO2 a "pollutant".

A Mouthful
RvA advisory council thinks Curaçao has a valid point when it asks for suppler application of financial measures; after all, there are problems with Venezuela etc. But the government really has to come with figures substantiating this.
Which, as we all know, they totally can't.

Of Course They Are
The Curaçao gambling sector, united in CIGA, is angry with the BBC who had the temerity to publish negatively about them. The idea! Where did the BBC get this nonsense from? They're pure as the fresh-fallen snow.

What Else Is New
Central trade union CGTC is against flexibilizing the labor market. Translation: they do not want local yokels to be fired and replaced by competent personnel. On the other hand, they're all for flexibilizing the capital market. Hey, give us more money (so we can keep those no-goods in jobs)!

Only One Million More
One million of subsidy given to Sportveld Barber has just disappeared. Into Thin Air. Up in Smoke (probably crack, too). The money was transferred when there was not even a contract signed. PAR minister AlKLM-Wallé cannot give us the vaguest idea what happened to it, only that PAR David Dick (good name, that—needs no work at all) had nothing to with it. Good to know; reassuring, even.

After Advent, Now a School
The people living in Damacor, who have already been protesting for years against the Taams Kliniek being illegitimately turned into an Advent Hospital, now are agitating against a guy who just opened a school there; without any permits whatsoever: the building may only be used as a residence.
A fat lot anybody, except those people just wishing peace and quiet as guaranteed by the government, cares.

Some of Our Guilders Are Missing
InselAir, the crooks that keep on stealing. The total debt they built up now is 153 million guilders. As far as is known: the curators (still on a fat salary, as is the way of the world) seem to strongly suggest there may be more a'comin'. It's not even clear if the 30 million they got from the Unwise Men is counted.
Other sources say it's 135m; who really cares? It's gone.
For you cultureless ****s: that's a reference to an at the time very successful WWII movie, One of Our Aircraft Is Missing.

Bottom in Sight
The Central Bank is taking measures to stop money flowing out. The necessary import coverage is 3 months; while in the past years there was a 5 month reserve, it is now only 3.7. So CBCS is offering investors local investment alternatives to stop the outflow out.
Nasty crack: and meanwhile, PM Ruggie et al. try to fool foreign investors into lining up to send us their money.

It's a Habit
K*NT Amparo dos Diablos wants head of parliament Millerson to investigate a trip MP Rennox Calmes joined to visit a traffic show in Holland. But he never got there, but preferred to fly on to England for some business of his own.
But Millerson says he can't investigate this. One can see his problem; there'd be no end to that sort of case.

That Explains It!
It's all the fault of the salary slips those guys received. They're wrong, so naturally it seems like they get paid so much. In reality, they get much less. At least, that's what they claim now.
In fact, they may have a point: I'd indeed be surprised if the government and tax office got something right for once.

A View from the Porch
Further to this one: Yesterday afternoon a miracle had happened. Of the 10 windmills spoiling our view, nr. 9 was back at milling! But when we were eating dinner, it had stopped again... So still have nr. 6 and 10; and, as far as I know nr. 2 and 3 gave up yesterday. So over half of total capacity of this "park" had expired. Fits the picture.
(1-3 and 9-10 are new, larger capacity; 4-7 old, smaller capacity.)
They call these horrors "parks" because a real park is green, capisce?

Parking? No Problem!
The government is negotiating with whoever manages the downtown parking spaces (which is by no means as clear as you'd expect) to find out how much they are going to pay in the future for using those parking lots. Much, much too much, is left unsaid here. For whom is this meant, is one burning question. One answer is obvious: not for us.
One thing is looked into first: how much is the Parking Authority in debt to the government for license fees? Remember, they never paid a cent.

One More
Justice minister Girigorie is so busy with all those Venezuelan refugees, he has to appoint a senior official to take that out of his hands. Shortly.
They're now looking for one.

Count Your Profits!
The infamous, obnoxious wind generators ruining our view over the sea seem to have problems. Counting from the sea left to right, nr. 6 has been U/S for some 6 weeks now (I stopped noting dates as nobody seemed to take any interest, but am sure—at least hope so—that somebody does), then worked for 1 or maybe 2 days, then stopped again. That's almost 9% of its entire year's production; must surely hurt somewhere.
Nr 9 and 10, after giving up for a few days last week, came back on-line and now have stopped working again. Count your profits! Ain't free energy great?
And the hot windless season is starting next month.
Free energy is just as free as free education; maybe even less so. At least we got rid of that unholy idea.

It's Illegal! So What?
Arthur Donker, a guy we've had ample occasion to quote before, in his last irregular column delves into the gedoogbeleid [toleration policy] that's so popular here. We've referred to it many times, but he conveniently lists most of 'em:
The truk'i pan: theoretically mobile snack-cars, that however have to close for business at sunset and drive home. A joke: like flower stalls in Holland, they do have wheels but in fact rest on concrete blocks. These days, they're augmented with lit terraces, tables with seats and not to forget prostitutes. They are now starting to count 'em, because nobody knows how many there are.
(Donker forgets the health inspection who occasionally shut some down; they can't know how many there are either.)
Then there's the illegal gambling, so-called bijechi [lottery tickets]; that used to be illegal until under MAN (Don Martina, Pinhead's senior) they were legalized under the motto: we're impotent to stop them anyway. Now we have gambling addicts. (Here, Donker forgets to mention the casinos.)
Donker also refers to Campo Alegre, the biggest bordello in the Caribbean, set up in WWII by the catholic diocese, Shell Oil and the government to protect our "decent women". (At least, that one was legally arranged.)
Last but not least, Donker talks about all the illegal buildings and mentions, almost in passing, "Little Haïti" in Sabana Baka, not a shanty-town but modern houses where only Haïtians live, without any building permits or even terrain rights.
What a joke: minister after minister climbs the pulpit to preach about "zero tolerance". Meanwhile, anarchy is the law here by now. Why don't they all go home and enjoy their fat pensions? Of course not: plenty more to be made while they're sitting there.

Website Insite Crime claims that 32 Venezuelan refugees, who recently drowned in a mishap on their way to Curaçao, didn't drown at all but are held hostage near Punta de Aguide. Allegedly, this year 80 missing migrants have been missing at sea in 3 accidents.
According to Insite Crime, the smuggling of trafficking in humans is combined with drug smuggling. Every boat is said to carry 8000 keys of drugs; which coïncides with what was found in a secret compartment after last week a barquette was rescued by the coast guard. The mentioned boat with 32 people (plus 3 crew) missing, upon arrival is supposed to have missed 500 kilos. But who was counting? Did it in fact arrive at all?
All allegations of course and very hard to check. Part of the story is, the 32 migrants "only" paid $400 for the trip, while the normal tariff is said to be $650-700.
Bottom line: you're free to believe this or not. Sounds at least partly concedable to me.
Other arguments by Insite Crime are: the one body found in Curaçao arrived only days after the mishap and still was in good condition; according to family members, all people aboard wore life vests.

Haw Haw Haw
PAR PM Ruggie states that "the government is open for ideas and suggestions from all groups of society." That's an original for sure; many people have been telling them for years what the government did wrong, but it just continued; blinders and all.
Here's one suggestion: Get Lost.

Oh, Ain't That Just Great
Without even trying to explain the total mess we're in now, there's a real chance that SEHOSpital will be closed because it can't pay its bills. The management, or whoever, estimates it will take four months before Curaçao Medical Care (new hospital) will open. You are entitled to doubt that very much—may take much longer.
So we seem to run a real chance to have no hospital for at least several months. Death, where is thy sting?

It's a Thought, for Sure
No matter what you think about Israel and Palestine Gaza protests, it looks like Israel has an idea we can put to good use. The Bedouin settlers (side remark: nothing to do with Gaza anyway) will be forced to pay up for the costs run by Israel when demolishing the Bedouins' illegal settlements.
Hey, how about we do that with all those illegal builders instead of rewarding them?

Another Guru to Teach Us Suckers
Curaçao Investment & Export Agency Cinex organizes the 4th edition of the Cinex Smart Investment Summit, August 28/29 in Santa Barbara Resort. These happenings reoccur every so often under different banners, and a lot of good they do! A big name for this one is Jeff Hofman, ever heard of him? Me neither. But he surely never heard of me, so we're even.

Wising Up?
That would be a miracle for sure. The trade unions, united in SSK, are prepared to cooperate with the government; which expresses the same idea. "The Curaçao government is open to suggestions and is prepared to continue the road in dialogue with the social partners." Nice words, huh? Meanwhile, the trade unions maintain that they were against the government's plans from the very start. Uh uh.
Also, they worry there will be more people fired and replaced by competent foreigners. They also want to know what's going on with the grandiose Portanan pa trabao plans, a safety net for the unemployed, announced in June by MAN minister Koeiman. Nothing much, is a fair guess.

"We Need More Time"
Central trade union SSK does not agree with the Dutch where Curaçao has to balance the deficit in three years. That's much too little time, they say. And you have to admit, they certainly have a point.
After all, it took us 9 years to build that up and now we have to compensate for it in 1/3 the time?

Wait for the Next One
On St. Maarten, the Hollywood Planet St. Maarten Beach Resort has received a building permit. "The hotel will be built where the former Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort was destructed by Hurricane Irma."
They never learn, do they?

We Know Who'll Pay
Auntie Sushi has filed a complained against KKC for defamation and slander. She didn't like KKC publishing what we, knowing editor Nardy crammm and auntie by now, reasonably guess is probably the truth about auntie Sushi's manipulations around HNO and, most recently, her efforts to illegally push through the 200 million extra loan.
Of course, auntie being a minister, We the People Voting Cattle will have to pay the court costs.

One Down
Geopetroleum, a Curaçao company, has been rejected by Isla Refinery as a candidate to take over exploitation. Reason given is, "confidential information of a third party." Don't get angry if we translate this, admittedly freely, as "they didn't pay enough."
And RdK director de Lannoy is somewhat sceptical about PdVSA's promises that the refinery will be rebooted "shortly". So are we all.

Better Never Than Late
That's what we all feel in this case. After we have been pestered by parking meters for about ten years, finally there's a law that will allow and regulate them. Or at least, there may be one soon.

Rekenkamer accounting complains that official instances don't give sufficient cooperation when they are being reviewed. Some of that we've been informed about already.
What makes it rather interesting is that Rekenkamer is now working on the New Hospital, police training and subsidies. At least the first two of which have to do with auntie Sushi and her hubby.

Yeah, Yeah, You're Telling Us?
The BBC has produced 4 or so programs about gambling organizations in Curaçao. It's a big shame, and an even bigger problem, they tell us. Please tell us what to do about it, instead!
We've known all the time UTS telecommunications was involved, and that Helmin Wiels probably was murdered because he wanted to stop it. We also know that it would have been even worse if we hadn't managed to get ex-PM M*F*K Shorty convicted and jailed.
And we also know that it can hardly have stopped with our later governments.

Super-Salary Thieves
Those guys will probably file a complaint against the tax office that leaked the amounts they received. Clever, guys: now everybody is certain to pick up on it.

Saved by the Bank
SVB Social Insurance Bank will start paying the medicines and other supplies bills for SEHOSpital directly, so the crisis has been averted. For now.

If Only
PAR PM Ruggie warns that if we don't keep to the Aanwijzing, the Kingdom will change over to an Algemene maatregel van bestuur [General Administrative Order] or, what amounts to the same, we will be placed under guardianship. This would mean Curaçao government could not take any more decisions of its own, which Ruggie seems to think is a bad thing.
We beg to differ. In fact, makes my mouth water.

What Else Did We Expect?
The work going on at the Rif mangrove wood is not according to the three-year-old plans. Why not? Hint: the first stage was agreed upon by auntie Sushi, and the second stage by present VVRP PAR minister Jesés-Leito, who is under full control.

Oh Great
Just what we needed: Aqualectra announces a planned 15 MWp solar "farm"; that character stands for p=peak. Good thing too is that storing all those watts is skipped, because it's too expensive. The thing is meant for relief in peak situations.

To Be Continued
K*NT (in the person of Monkee) has filed 8 more charges in connection with HNO new Hospital. 4 ministers have been complained about already: PAR PM Ruggie, MAN minister Gijs & Bertha, PIN minister auntie Sushi and PAR minister Jesús-Leito, who signed the loan request without being authorized. This time it's 5 more ministers, 2 HNO top people (Garmers and Martina) and a big name in a consortium of local banks (Rigaud).
Next on the list is MAN minister Kroket.

After All...
We have had such good relations with the Chinese in the recent past, that it's quite logical that our Great Leaders now are in meetings with Chinese Leaders to discuss future economic and financial cooperation.
Also, that will really help in our problems with Venezuela.

Still Better News
Algemene Rekenkamer [accounting] tells us that yearly 5-10% is overpaid to spoiled brats. Last year, this resulted in overpayment of 45 million guilders. In 2016, they already concluded that only 25% of all reviewed cases complied with the rules.
Next questions: who was this paid to? can we get it back?
MAN minister Kroket says "Yes".

Auntie Sushi: It's Slander
Auntie wants a parlementaire enquête [parliamentary inquiry] into her HNO-messings, knowing perfectly well this will take 2 or 3 years. By which time she may reside in, for example, Grand Cayman; either that or the next government can just shove the results aside. Auntie says "diverse media" are slandering her. So question now is, which ones aren't?

Tax Service Did a Good Thing?!
Just fancy: it (probably) was the Income Tax Dept. that leaked the salaries of the SOE's managers. MAN finance minister Gijs & amp; Bertha has requested the top to look into this and report back to him. PAR PM Ruggie admits that these salaries have gotten out of hand the last few years (since 10-10-10? just a suggestion) and the matter must be reviewed.
But his party doesn't dare take a position on those salaries.
Meanwhile, those 4 ministers have announced they as well will react and maybe file their own complaints.

No Medicines in SEHOSpital
Sorry if you're sick: after SEHOS stopped operations for lack of funds, now management has decided there's no money left to buy medicines after this month. Solution: if they decide anybody really needs an operation or medicines, they will send that patient to a foreign country.
Now that will save money! See how simple it all is?

Quote: Just Change the Country Name
"Anyone who thinks reptiles have a problem with warm temperatures has never visited Australia. And I'm not just talking about our politicians" — Eric Worrall.
Make that Curaçao. Or lots of other places, not necessarily warm ones. Because it can get pretty damn cold in Australia.

More of the Same
Let us hope that these are the final throes of auntie Sushi's governance. She has now proposed a new deal for development of our beaches, where they will be exploited by private parties. Of course we the plebs will get a voice in this. If it will be listened to is another matter.
Suffice it to say that all we the people are against this: we want the beaches to remain open and public. But listen, try and be reasonable: how can auntie that way possibly make some more money which she surely needs before her retirement; hopefully ASAP?

We're Well Aware of That
Auntie Sushi defends herself against those allegations by pointing out that PS™, when they were in power, also signed Landsbesluiten [laws or decrees] without authorization; just like she did with the New Hospital. No doubt she's right there.
And this woman is supposed to be a lawyer.

Auntie Sushi Hits Again
The "Group of 6" heroes who protested against the nuisance permit for ruining the mangrove woods on Rif near the Marriott Hotel, has been sent away by auntie Sushi with a flea in all 12 ears. She sent her own people to check the wreckage out and concludes it's all completely shipshape and following the rules.

Yeah, Right
One of the reasons Holland, or rather, the Mighty Kingdom, finally decided to come along with the Aanwijzing, no matter what bends the Curaçao government threw itself into, was that Holland confidently expected that the deficit would be much larger than the 98 million indicated by our Great but no-so-smart Leaders. In fact, almost 3 times as large.
Holland figured that the total deficit over 2017, 18 and 19 would be 267.5 million.

Not Only SOEs
Two high civil servants have been suspended because they refused to cooperate with government accounting in a review of spoiled brats' salaries. Minister Kroket says there's no question of fraud or breach of duty; it's just only merely that there's something the matter with at least 10% of the 144 million guilders paid yearly in salaries.
It's endemic.
You think these two still get their salaries? So do I.

Honor Due
You may have noticed, I don't like K*NT nor Amparo dos Diablos. But he and his party did publish the outrageous salaries paid by our government SOE's. No doubt for reasons of their own. So what? They're all there for reasons of their own.
It's always mentioned that he never visits the Staten/Parliament meetings. He probably figures "what's the use?" and I have to admit admit it's a good point. But I still don't like him.
Neither do the 4 directors he exposed: they want to sue him for invasion of privacy or some such reason. They also mention that they have to pay taxes over those salaries, poor babies. My heart bleeds.

Horror Story
One of my esteemed spies kindly sent me this. I had kept it in stock for the proper occasion, which is now, as good as any other time; maybe even better. What with auntie Sushi pressing to get still more people on the island, and our other Great Leaders trying to get more and more tourists, until the island inevitably will overload and sink.
This is the 800-people town of Hallstatt, Austria. The place is so unbearably cute, it hurts your teeth just to look at it. Like Willemstad, it's own of those Heritage places and tourists come flocking in droves: a 1 million a year. Lately, mostly Chinese, and this while a replica has been built in China! No, they want to look at the real stuff, descending from their buses to snap selfies.
The Major (yes, there is such a person) of Hallstatt thinks all this is just great (just like our politicians: money flows in in buckets) but the people he's supposed to represent, not so much. In fact, the spoilsports hate it.
Is this what we want?

Good one!
Beats my own auntie: Suzy Römer is now popularly called "Sushi"—for "trash".
This is not the Japanese word, mind.
The whole mess started gathering momentum when auntie Sushi let go of her post as minister of transport for that of health, after with her strongly developed nose she'd sniffed out that here was some real money to be made. Our national resource Nardy crammm spells it all out in KKC and even calls it a "failed coup". Thanks, Nardy! And like you remark, what consequences will this further have for that New Hospital?

Of Course We Agree
After the ruckus by auntie Suzy c.s. trying to force governor Wout to sign an illegal request for a 200 million loan, more and more voices are clamoring that the government shouldn't be in the business of building hospitals, and I feel there's much to be said for that. Remember, the nuns over a century ago started Saint Elisabeth Hospital; just went ahead and built it without asking anyone; and it worked quite well until recent years—after the government took over.
Now Garmer, head of HNO Vastgoed [real estate] has the chutzpah to declare that we will be moving from the stone age into the 21st century. The Stone Age? Can he be serious? As the Papiamentu expression is, where's his rèspèt?

Aw, He's Just Jealous
Dutch MP van Raak has put the following questions to the Undersecretary of Kingdom Relations, Raymond Knops:
"1 Is it true that salaries at the top of government companies in Curaçao are much higher than the income of the Prime Minister?
2 Why are the incomes of the top of these governmental corporations, who mainly perform public duties and are paid with public money, not public?
3 Does the financial supervisor Cft meanwhile have insight into the finances of the government companies on Curaçao and Sint Maarten?
4 Are you aware of the top incomes of the government companies on Curaçao and Sint Maarten?
5 Do you share my view that people who hold a public position should never earn more than the Prime Minister?"
Our own finance minister Gijs & Bertha will file a complaint with the Public Prosecutor for the leaking of confidential information (they're all over the social media: good). And Ruggie's Cabinet prepares regulations to "standardize" salaries within the government. Van Raak must have touched the sore spot.
Knipselkrant Curaçao gives some details: Paul de Geus (UTS en CETX/Dataplanet) ANG1,144,274/US$793,507 (2016); Philip Martis (SVB social security) ANG1,125,666/US$619,116 (2015); Yamil Lasten (Curoil) ANG827,704/US$455,270 (2019); Franklin Sluis (Telecommunications and Post) ANG747,306/US$411,018 (2015).
Puts all the brouhaha about Central Bank director Tromp's "exorbitant" salary in rather a different light. At least Tromp did something useful: he stopped the politicians from messing around with our guilder.

Aruba Traffic
Prognosis is, in a couple of years there will be so many cars on the Arubian roads that one will have to spend 2 hours to get to work, and 2 more to go home. This on an island of 32 by 10 kms (20 by 6 miles). Aruba has 83,000 cars and 110,000 people (they say; I guess there are more people) and 2,000 cars join the club per year.
With the wind and the sun, cycling is not a real option.
I only mention this because our Great Leaders are still pushing for twice as many inhabitants so these can pay more taxes. It's practically impossible to enlarge the roads, which they don't seem to consider. To the contrary, they do everything possible to slow traffic down. For safety, you know.

Not Over and Done
SMOC president van Leeuwen is disappointed about the appeals court decision, but still maintains that it's obvious that Isla refinery has been polluting way over the norm. The past year, when Isla was hardly working at all, the measured SO2 amount was a mere 25 micrograms; a far cry from the 140 when Isla is at normal capacity. Isla maintains that all that stuff comes from other sources; obviously not so.

Shouldn't Wonder
Based on an auntie Suzy video of less than a minute, published by Sheldry Osepa, he claims that she is liable to get 3 years in prison for trying to force governor Wout to sign for the 200 million loan. He's probably right but beware: Osepa is one of Shorty's chums.

More Bad News
The chance that those 200 million guilders needed for the new hospital can be borrowed in Holland is what Jeeves would call "a remote contingency". Fact is, since the aanwijzing Curaçao is not allowed to borrow any more money. So there.
I said it before and I'll say it again: that new hospital will never be finished.
Yes, I do hope I'll have to eat those words.

Action Next Monday?
The trade unions' protest actions may start next Monday, even though the austerity measures have been postponed. In two months they couldn't get it done. Really, how difficult can this be? Change 6% to 9% in the law?
Better keep off the streets. Knowing these mugs' style, there may be drunken riots, vandalism and arson.

Unpaid Building Permits
About 2 million guilders' worth of building permits have never been paid for. People apply and just start building without picking them up. That's the best case; it's well-known that it often comes in much handier not to apply and just start building. In that case the government inspector often can't do a thing.
Be that as it may be, the plan now is to start collecting.
There are many complaints that the permits are much too expensive to start with.

Selikor has installed a new oven (cost 2m guilders) to burn drugs, dead animals and medical waste. It replaces the old one of 15 years age. The oven can burn 1000 kilos an hour and can even produce electricity. Theoretically, because it never did and is not expected to start doing so now.

That's Something, At Least
The austerity measures, meant to make us all pay more for the government's expensive hobbies, have been postponed until September 1. Reason: the law couldn't be fixed in time. Obvious solution: hire more spoiled brats.

Cft Helps Out
Cft financial supervision will help the new hospital borrow those 200 million in Holland, against an interest between 1 and 2%. Which is a lot lower than the 5% a local consortium would get.
Good for governor Wout, who saved us a lot of money. It was bad enough already.

But of Course
The coast guard has come to the obvious conclusion that the smuggling of Venezuelans to Curaçao (and I dare say the other islands) is just a façade for a drug smuggling/trafficking network.
In an alas separate news item, USA president Trump is considering a blockade for Venezuela.

About that 200 million loan for the New Hospital which governor Wout refused to sign for. Auntie Suzy now tells us that Curaçao government never bothered to ask if the Kingdom agreed. They just went ahead and borrowed the money locally—against a much higher interest rate than they would have gotten from Holland.
So their fine friends down here could make some extra money.

Good to Know?
Quackie Constancia contradicts auntie Suzy's remarks that all the money blown during the building of the new hospital is caused by political decisions. No, says Quackie, it's all completely kosher (in fact, she uses the word "healthy") and auntie's remarks on "populism" are beside the point.
If Quackie says so, it must be true. Or is it? Say, come to think of it, has she gone to jail already; or at least paid back?

Too Much Sugar?
The prisoners' complaint is, the supermarket that delivers stuff for their use gets rid that way of articles that don't sell in their regular shop. Also, the articles they offer contain too much sugar.
Which would be the very first time I hear a yu di Kòrsow complain about too much sugar.
The supermarket isn't mentioned by name.

What's the Use
Court of appeals has decided Isla refinery does not have to pay the 75 million fine, even though the court agrees with SMOC that Isla did exceed the standard over 2014.
Even worse, now SMOC has to cough up the total costs for the bottom procedure as well, all in all 10,000 guilders.

Ask Auntie: She Know It All—Better
Auntie Suzy says governor Wout could very well have signed that document about a 200 million loan retroactively. Lawyers, almost needless to say, don't agree: it would take away all responsibility from the governor. Funny, I seem to remember auntie used to be a lawyer herself.
There still is a possibility that Raad van State will agree with the loan, after which the governor can sign. But this is by no means sure. Also, Curaçao has started approaching the matter from another angle, which may, or may not, work.

No Problem
Since 1979, when DROV was installed and later superceded by ROP [spatial development and planning] building permits have been signed by the directors of those instances. But since March PAR minister Jesus-Leito signs them herself. "No problem, mon" she says. Except it's not conform the law. Who cares.

We Protest!
The government is protesting officially against the dreaded Aanwijzing. Not that it will help them one bit. More waste... both money and energy... the poor nincompoops just can't help themselves.

Good. Fine. Excellent?
Kingdom government wants Curaçao to economize, from now until 2020, with ANG750,000/day [$412,500]; total of 170 million in 5 months. This starts now: costs must go down and taxes up.
Another condition is, payments to pension fund APC and social security SVB must be paid.

Prepare for Actions Riots
The trade unions are getting ready for actions when the government will have introduced austerity measures. Experience learns us that all they are able to achieve is uncontrolled riots. My advise is, get some stock of food (may come in handy if a hurricane hits, anyway), and keep off the streets.

Auntie Discovers New Word
Auntie Suzy says it's because of "populist decisions" that the costs for the new hospital are so outrageous. One was the move from the former Amstel brewery terrain to Otrabanda. She may call it populist, but it never was; rather, rumors are it was just a trick to help some top-people to some more money.
Auntie also says it's quite normal that the governor only signs landsbesluiten afterwards; so there's nothing wrong with auntie and her gang trying to push 200 million extra through.

In 2019 the number of Antilleans moving to Holland has risen with 15%; the number coming back was 17% less. So much for minister Konket who pooh-poohed this trend.

Take Care: New Trick
Seems people are going around knocking on doors, saying they are from Civil Registry and they've come to check IDs. But Civil Registry warns they are not from there and it may be a trick to check out your home before coming by later on to cause some real mischief.

Air Traffic Control: Another Mess
For "a number of years" there has been a chronic shortage of personnel at Area Traffic Control, partly because workers were pensioned. Personnel now makes too many hours which results in exhausted people at work. Their union now asks for ten Tower/Approach workers to flow through, but management prefers looking for foreigners.
Sure helps to explain why that upgrade doesn't come through.

Now It's Horses
The Equine Therapy Foundation is in serious trouble. To explain, equine therapy makes people with psychological problems work with horses; who, after all understand us so much better than a human ever could. Shades of the Dolfinarium?
You want to read up about equine therapy, check this. My take is, very doubtful. Buy a puppy or kitten instead, comes much cheaper.

That's Handy!
CBS Statistics has analyzed the structure of HNO new hospital, and come to the conlusion that the management consists of 3 entities, which are all manned by the same persons. Explains a lot, that does. CBS doesn't mention who, but no doubt those names will pop up shortly. Tar and feather seems to be called for.
They are Stichting [foundation] HNO Holding, HNO Transitie en Explotatie NV and HNO Vastgoed en Beheer [real estate and management].

Venice: No Comment
"After years of concern about 'overtourism'—with local councils essentially treating tourists as environmental and cultural hazards—it is no surprise that tourists are now being criminalized."
But here? Yesterday I got caught, neither was I by any means the only one, behind a blasted tourist bus leisurely driving 40 kms/hr [25m.p.h.] from Willemstad to Westpunt, and presumably back. That way, they can extend the tour to some 2 hours, maybe longer counting stops for refreshments. I wouldn't know, I never take a trip like that—except once to Mount Fuji. That one took a day and the driver really stepped on it.

Out & In
608 spoiled brats have been asked to take their leave voluntarily. This has happened before in the past, with the result most of them were back in "function" after a couple of months.

Stupid & Short-Sighted
Ex-PM Shorty as a jailbird is taking every necessary precaution to avoid getting time off for good behavior. Now, the prisoners have started complaining that the food they can buy in jail is "worse than in the supermarket." How would they know?

If So, That's Serious
Photographs are being shown on social media of what's reputed to be 'Chicu' Capriles, director of Maduro-Curiel's Bank, signing K*NT's and M*F*K protest action against the government austerity measures AKA Growth Strategy.

Cft: Sounds Fine, But...
Cft financial supervision thinks there are good points to be found in the Growth Strategy; to wit, relaxation of dismissal policy (so long, 80-20) and the hiring of specialized foreign workers; also easier investment by reducing red tape.
But Cft also warns for the borrowing behavior of not only Curaçao, but also Aruba and St. Maarten.

That Will Help
The unemployed can from now on register, so we'll know exactly how many there are.

Welcome Tourists! Measles and All
A case of measles was diagnosed in a tourist staying here. Nobody was infected; we still have vaccinations.

Illegal Parakeet Immigrant
The Coast Guard has prevented a parakeet, who illegally tried to enter the country, to do so. The bird was accompanied by 4 men who also have been arrested.

Please Stop Wasting Money
Which is impossible for InselAir, of course. That's the only think they were good in. Now, they are whining that if interCaribbean had paid up, damages would have been 99 million less. So they are going to court again.
Where the judge long ago already decided that InselAir had no claim on interCaribbean.
The secret behind this is that curators will be paid out of whatever's left of InselAir's capital.

We Need More Tourists!
That's what PM Ruggie keeps crowing. So what's going on with former Hotel Howard Johnson, now since the auction Brion City Center & Hotel? According to the manager, import licenses for various stuff were applied for 3.5 months ago, and have still not come through. Normal time is 3 months. So the stuff is still waiting in storage where it will be shipped from; if and when.
Way to go, Ruggie.

No Massive Leaving Curaçao
Is what minister Konket says, so it must be right. He says this year only 1500 people have left for greener pastures, viz. Holland. In 2018 there were 1900 (of which 7% left for Bonaire (which has not become independent. Tiens...).
But figures from CBS statistics bureau tell a rather different story: in 2018, 5475 people left which is 3% of the total; in 2017 5070 took the hint; so in those two years we lost 6% of the population already (discounting how many come in, I wouldn't know).
Even if Konket is not lying through his straightened teeth, the leavers make up 1.6% which already is exorbitant.

But They're Not Telling
The police seems to know who stole all that coke from their own headquarters. But they're not telling. Surprise: it's an insider! And by the way you know, it has now grown from 500 to 600 keys.
One consequence of the theft is that coke is incredibly cheap here now (hey! tourist! are you listening?), because those 600 keys cannot be exported, for some reason—guess it won't fit in— so they have to be dumped locally.

VBC entrepreneurs' club says the "growth strategy" is out of balance and will thus lead to economic shrink oops negative growth to use the PC expression, unemployment and poverty. What we need is structural economic growth.
The trade unions predict great social trouble and riots if those unholy plans go through, and I'm afraid they don't exaggerate.

Must Be a Different Island
American Airlines, JetBlue and Avianca have reduced the number of seats from 33,477 (Sept-Oct 2018) to 20,380 (2019); and Wingo and Caribbean Airlines bring the total of lost seats to 8,425.
Despite that, CTB optimistically figures tourism will grow during that period. They even break it down for us, but I'll spare you that. We knew they were great optimists, already.
Once again CTB falls into the old trap that more rooms mean more tourists coming. They must be great friends with PM Ruggie.

K*NT party, which as hardly needs reading between the lines agrees with the governor, has started court actions contra Prime Minister Eugene "Ruggie" Rhuggenaath, Kenneth Gijsbertha "Gijs & Bertha" of Finance, Suzanne Camelia-Römer "auntie Suzie" of Public Health and Zita Jezus-Leito of Traffic, Transport and Spatial Planning.
Their government wanted to give 136 million guilders to HNO plus loan them 200 million, all (total $185m) to enable them finishing the new hospital. As if we had plenty of money.

Great Governor
It only took her and, no doubt, staff, 4 days to conclude that the HNO-deal was a corrupt fraudulent affair and to react accordingly: "NO!"
Shows you again what a bunch of numskulls Ruggie, Gijs & Bertha and the rest of that gang are. Some private privateers would have been robbing us silently of many millions of guilders, and those guys never even noticed. Or maybe they did—but that would be slander. Alas, I can't prove it, but permit me to have my doubts.

No Books for Schools
The new year will start without any books for pupils, nor will be there much else available. Might as well stay home, kids. Reason: apart from the fact that many pupils don't bother to return their books. And why should they, as nobody else seems to care much either.
Ain't Free Education great?

There They Go Again
PM Ruggie, who no doubt later will join the club of Unwise Men—he's all ready for it already—, now that he's got his hands on some money, wants to build 1700 houses (fine so far) and (are you ready?) 2000 hotel rooms. That will lead to 1500 jobs, he says.
No matter that past year at last 4 hotels (Otrobanda, Plaza, Kura Hulanda, Westpunt) have gone bankrupt and finding no takers, and that more and more tourists prefer private B&B-like deals.

Roll In the Barrels
So if wasn't an empty gesture, after all. On July 2016 a tanker containing 280,000 barrels will arrive; not even enough to keep the refinery going full-capacity for 1 day. Then, in August, a Russian tanker will deliver more than a million barrels; that's more than 3 days' worth of capacity!
Very impressive it's not.

Hear Him
Venezuela oil minister Quevedo (he's slippery) has addressed Isla personnel with soothing words. The refinery will be restarted - PdVSA wants to continue exploitation next year - nobody will be fired - salaries are guaranteed until end of the year. Nothing to worry about, get it?
Unless you consider Venezuela's own problems and can't help wondering: do they need us for refining or for laundering money?

Making Noise
Ex-PM Shorty has started an action from jail where he currently resides, calling for "unity". He wants no trouble with Venezuela and hopes PdVSA will continue exploitation of the refinery next year. Also, he wants lower fuel prices; hey, who wouldn't?
Like auntie Suzy, he wants a total population of 250,000 (who will p[ay more taxes you can steal from, see?) and to attract those (in 10 years, no less more, he wants to build "smart homes"—whatever that means. About smart roads, not a word.

Red Herring?
Isla refinery is booting up: a large boiler has been started so the steam can be used to heat up diverse units. If that's good for anything really happening, we'll have to wait and see.

The Peeled Eye
Rotterdam Harbor is interested in participating in ours. Why now? you ask, at this point in time? Good question. I hope they know the answer themselves. At any rate, before the usual hysteria of "neo-colonialism!" screams breaks out, they're not allowed to buy more than 10 or 20% so that seems pretty safe.
Maybe Rotterdam knows something CPA doesn't and has an eye peeled, which wouldn't surprise me at all.

Now We Get Mad
One result of the austerity measures is that the price for a crate of beer will become almost twice the price in Holland. Let's all walk up to Fort Amsterdam and start knocking some sense in those bumbleheads!
Just kidding of course, I don't mean it. No arrests for inciting to riots for me, thank you very much. Besides, I don't care much for beer in the first place. Bottom line, can you knock sense in there? I doubt it very much.

So What
Isla refinery announces there are "several" (not naming how many) parties who have submitted a non-bonding proposal for continuing activities. Just what InselAir kept coming up with. We'll be informed when one of those will be asked for exclusive meetings. I guess that's all we can expect. (Deadline closed July 20.)

Good, Governor!
Governor Wout has refused to sign a landsbesluit [law] to loan yet another 200m guilders ($110m) for the New Hospital. Such a loan would be illegal; little our government cares. And then voices keep going up to get rid of the governor; it's old-fashioned colonialism!
A hard fact of course is that now it will take still longer for that beast to be finished. But that's hardly Wout's fault.

Boca Samí wants development
General touch-up, beter roadways, a hotel, you name it. In total, make the place more attractive to visitors. They have a point of course; but, for all that, they turn to M*F*K Quackie Constancia. Hey guys, don't let her near the money! This is some good advice.

Our Future
Atrako artists are getting younger and younger. 74% of them are at the most 25, often starting their new career at 13. They're quite often boys who wish for a phone.

Dead Line
July 15 was the last day candidates could inscribe to take over Isla refinery. RdK director de Lanoy was expecting 5 takers. Final negotiations would be finished in November.

At Least, Somebody Wised Up
China Huayang Economics and Trade Group has been rejected as a candidate for continuing refinery activities. Huang wanted to appoint former director of Guandong Zhenrong (remember?)
Wonder what nitwit started negotiating with this outfit.

Good News!
The government of CuraÇao must reduce its government spending from the Netherlands, ensure that the tax authorities still collect the money that should have been there, and last but not least: take a number of structural measures; which we will have to pay for.

Came a Cropper
Took a Tumble. Last Sunday afternoon from the stairs in my Humble Home. Boy, am I a wreck... Spent the week visiting doctors, polis and drugstores. Getting up and about again, thank you. Explains why I haven't been posting. Thank you for your visits!

Worse and Worse
It's getting so bad, it's almost funny. But I can't laugh. The amount that has disappeared in the island's bookkeeping, in the sense it can't be traced, is over 2.9 billion guilders ($1.6b), according to Cft financial supervision. Quite a trick to have accomplished in less than ten years. Those guys in the Fort are good! Real pros.
Don't try this with your income tax declaration.
When Shorty was kicked out, there still was a surplus of over 40 million. This disappeared, to coin a phrase, like snow before the sun, leaving a deficit of 116 million in 2017. If that's a reliable figure.

Aruba Airlines Struggles
Once again, they have stopped flying between the ABC-islands. It's just one thing after another with them.

They're Back!
Not so fast. PS™ wants to get back where the money flows: in the government; but will they succeed? They have a new board that's supposed tyo give the party a new life. Several actions will be undertaken shortly to help Curaçao ahead.

Forget It and Go to Work—Please
The Curaçao government does not accept the aanwijzing by kingdom's RMR ministerial council and will protest with Raad van State; in court, no less. Our Wise Leaders feel that with the signing of a Growth Accord all conditions for that hated 'instruction' have been taken away. They just can't stop wasting time and money.
The Growth Accord that has been signed will run until July 2022. It involves improving social security and labor market plus budget control measures; all to be introduced this year. The New Medical Center must be made budget-neutral before it opens and in September a plan must be ready to professionalize the government apparatus. Next year health care, education and tax system must be addressed. SVB Social Security Bank will be forced to use more efficiently and social funds will be reviewed.
Methinks, work enough to do without spending energy on useless protests. RvS and Cft ffinancial supervision both agree that the problems have been caused by Curaçao itself, while PM Ruggie c.s. try to largely blame the Venezuela disaster. We all know better.
KKN chamber of commerce is disappointed that private enterprise and social partners haven't been consulted for the Growth Accord. All proposals are government-oriented. Very good point!

It's a Start
The police are very contented: the past two weeks they have arrested a total of 15 atrako-perpetrators. That's not very much, you'll think, and I agree. But says a spokesman (no, he's not a person but male), this will probably lead to more arrests. Not before we were ready for it.

Let us all celebrate...

Por Fin!
The Kingdom has finally decided to apply the feared aanwijzing/instruction to our government. I am afraid this will not mean the proposed higher OB/sales tax will be stopped, but hopefully all that Keynesian foolishness will die a graceful death.
Wait and see, though. The first thing we hear is, the announced "growth strategy" will be continued. Ouch.

New One
"Climate Despair" joins the ever-growing list. It's making people give up on life and pine away. Then, watching pornographic videos online generates as much CO2 per year as is emitted by countries like Belgium, Bangladesh and Nigeria. But that's "only" 1/3rd of the total of streaming videos.

Shorty Should Be Jealous
Ex-PM Shorty, languishing in the slammer, certainly got a worse deal than this guy Epstein, who's all over the front pages now for allegedly turning very young girls into prostitutes. Didn't use to be there a few years ago, but now that a 15-year old photo of Trump and him popped up, the media seem to have discovered him. (Suspicions are it's gonna turn out much worse for Slick Willy and others, but that's not my home turf.)
At any rate, some time ago Epstein was awarded with a year in jail for solicitation of prostitution, while a dozen of (underage) victims and witnesses went unheard. But that year in jail was a real joke; he was allowed to stay at home 12 hours for 6 days of the week, and conduct his business from there.
I guess Shorty would go for that.

Doing Them Several Better
Yesterday a still stronger term popped up: Climate Destruction! Well, how about Massacre, Slaughter, Assassination, Ruin, Sacking, Shattering. Or go even farther: Vandalism: Smashing, Wrecking, Trashing, Ravaging.
There, did your homework for you. And to think it started in the late 1970s with Global Cooling, which in about ten years miraculously changed to Global Warming.

Go Figure, Auntie
SEHOSpital claims that it should receive tens of millions of guilders from the government, which haven't been paid out during the past years.
So much for auntie Suzy's contentions.

Complaint to Aruba
The K*NT complaint against the Central Bank direction has been transferred to Aruba, in order to guarantee an impartial investigation.

Oxymoron; or, Contradiction in Terms
CCorendon hotel management has been talking with several people from Otrabanda; you'll never guess about what.
"Sustainable Tourism."

Just What We Needed
Apart from all the stories we read about filthy restaurants, snacks and supermarkets, now it's Brazil frozen chicken that "may" contain salmonella. In Europe, it's a few percent; in Brazil it's as high as 20%. I have little doubt here it's somewhere in between.
But health inspector Lee says there's little chance of that, and goes on to declare that those Brazilian products are not tested: "We just don't have the manpower." More work for auntie Suzy not to do.
Take heart, Mayo Clinic states: "Typically, people with salmonella infection have no symptoms." But if you get them, o brother. Still, hardly ever fatal.

Blow Me Down
An illegal building on the beach in East Willemstad has to be demolished. For once. Now all the other ones.

No Operations
Not only in the harbor and the refinery, now it's in the hospital: no surgeries (except emergencies). Reason, once again the money ran out. Auntie Suzy can't understand it, she has taken care that everything has been paid.
Obviously, it hasn't. Or maybe, she hasn't.

It's Our Culture
The carnaval foundation JAG deplores press messages that there haven't been any accountant's statements, nor yearly financial statements over 2018/9. They deny this strongly. Hmmm.
This would fit in very well with the well-known cry "It's our culture!"

Tough, Ruggie!
The trade unions united in Soladiridat Sindikal have confirmed their strong position against the "austerity" measures to be taken by the government. Once again, the workers will become the victim of the government's continuing and even augmented spending spree. Even without those, 1000 unemployed people join the ever-growing throng.

Maria's Inheritance
Even longer ago than this series of rantings was started, ex PNP PM Maria Liberia-Pieters got an arrangement put through that "regional educations" had to be equated with those in Holland, the USA, you name 'em. Great idea huh? So we're stuck with, for example, inferiorly trained MDs. Good luck!
Now, PAR education minister Alcala-Wallé quotes an evaluation that of the 181 universities in 15 regional countries only 20% meets the set quality standards. Another question is, will our students be accepted elsewhere?
Can't help wondering how our 5? 10? "universities" are doing.

Forget It, Mudbelly
(M*F*K? I forget, the guy has changed parties) Mudbelly Cooper thought the Bullenbaai oil terminal was worth $1.1 billion, and got all excvited and hot under the collar when Isla management denied this. But they came back pretty snappily: value, depending on who's talking, is between $235 and 604 billion; rather a wide margin. At any rate, max, half of what Cooper claims based on a 2015 report.
Cooper's claim leads to his wishful thinking that Curaçao can take over refinery operations. A pipe-dream; for starters, even to buy crude an amount of $500 million is needed, which just is not available.
Meanwhile, the trade unions are acting up again; naturally, they're worried about the refinery's future—and theirs.

Leftovers Consumed
40% of what remains of the sale of UTS telecommunications will be dumped in a new bottomless pit: the present Curaçao Development Institute (CDI) will become Invest Curaçao late this year. Gijs & Bertha say "A total of 40 percent of the income is used for investments in improving the functioning of the government apparatus of Curaçao, for public investments in priority economic sectors and for improving the financial management of the government of Curaçao.
The old, old story: all money will go to the government. Tough for the kunukeros? Well, there won't be much left anyway after all UTS debts and running costs have been paid. If you can understand this newspaper sentence, you're much smarter than I am: "the historical cost of 74 million guilders is written down to the lower intrinsic value of 139.7 million." [Sorry, Google translation.]
That's 40% of 95 million: 38 million.

No Tax-Free Punda
The introduction of tax-free shopping (for tourists, not for us, hey) has failed. Which, with the coming tax raise, means that no more people will come over to do their shopping here, and the so-called kooptoerisme [buying tourism] will have ended.

Generic Planes
JetAir is ready to fly, waiting for their lasts tests and permits. Their second Fokker F70 aircraft has arrived.
Fokker stopped production early 1997, after the company had gone bankrupt the year before. So the "new" planes are over 20 years old already.

I see...
Next year, the catholic and protestant schools are well-supplied with teachers, maybe for a change. They are looking for 5 more, which they hope to get from elsewhere, like Suriname. One of the teachers they need is for Papiamentu.
From Suriname?

We Saw That Coming
Dutch Eindhoven and Leiden universities do not accept students from Curaçao just like that anymore. Even though they have the same vwo-diploma, those universities, and maybe others as well, there's an admission exam to check if they're really equivalent.
Small wonder by now. Even smaller wonder that minister Alcalla-Wallé calls this "discrimination".

Base Point
A scheme has been proposed to get rid of too many spoiled brats. Without boring you with details, those who are ready for pension (and in fact would have been before the minimum age was raised from 60 to 65 years) will get a chance to go home.
Base point is "the civil servants will not lose on the deal."
Which means, we'll just go on paying them. So what's the use?

Interparlementair Koninkrijksoverleg [Interparliamentary Kingdom Conference] is held regularly in Holland, with our Great Leaders participating. For this they get a business class ticket, hotel (you bet first class *****) and daily séjours.
Many of them don't even bother to join the meetings.

Nice Try
Shorty's lawyer wants the ex-PM to serve the rest of his captivity at home, because "jail is unfit for him"—rather, I feel it's the other way 'round.
Sure, what could possibly go wrong?.

The meeting in which our government was supposed to get under control by the Kingdom has been delayed for a week. &%$#@! One more week in which those nitwits here can spend money freely. For example, by hiring more spoiled brats to combat unemployment.
Oh yeah, and inflation grew by 3% in May.

Less People, Still Less Work
Between December 2018 and April 2019 the number of unemployed has grown from 9,424 to 15,464; that's 64%. This while the population has shrunk. The total percentages are 13.4 en 21.2.
A fat lot of good all those tourists do.

Tourist Record
We have just been told that in 2019-QI Curaçao attracted a record number of tourists. Alas, now we read that most came from Holland, who (big surprise!) spend less than all other nationalities.
Brazilians spend $250/day, US-Americans 236— and Dutch 132.
We also read that a record amount of money came in, 343 million guilders; of which only 20%, 69m, is actually expected to stick around.

Is What I Said
Entrepreneurs' club VBC totally agrees with my arguments that the higher taxes will not result in higher government income. Economy will worsen, VBC says, and points to 2013 when the same thing was tried. Trade unions are against as well, but who listens to us? Our Great Leaders always know better.
Coincidentally? South Africa has just raised its taxes as the government and its officials keep stealing more and more. The people are now among the top highest 10 tax payers in the world, and the country gets poorer by the minute. Coincidentally.

Take Your Time...
The screening of pinhead Martina still hasn't been finished. This is because K*NT-party has forced the public ministry to investigate him (on a conflict of interests); a decision will be taken July 15.

Robbie Loses
And so do the other lotteries. After having thought it through, PSB has decided after all not to accept them as clients: they're too high risk.

No Food Fit for Pigs
The story that jailbird Shorty was on a hunger strike is incorrect, prison director tells. He only refuses to eat certain foods. No doubt they don't satisfy his expensive tastes, which he has had plenty occasion to grow during his sting as PM.
A different thing is another con, Garcia, director of Girobank, who really doesn't seem to eat; just drinks water. He's 79 and got 5 years for fraud.
Problem for both hogs is, they have been eating out of luxury troughs far too long.

Look at That
Tax receipts in the USA—before and after Trump's 2018 tax cuts:
—2017: $3.316 trillion
—2018: $3.330 trillion
—2019: $3.511 trillion (CBO projection, May 2019)
The 2018 number is $14 billion higher than the 2017 number; the 2019 revenues are $200 billion higher. But our Great Leaders know better: they think higher taxes result in more money for them to spend waste.
This was not caused by population growth, which was only 0.75%/year; tax receipts growth in 2019 was almost 10 times higher than would have been caused by that factor.

Sheer Stupidity
We have 25,000 car accidents per year. That's 1 of every 3 cars (some may be involved in more than one, of course). Many drivers use their cell-phone while driving, and many don't care about using their safety belts. Police say that almost none of those dying or becoming a permanent invalid because of a crash were wearing their belts.
A few weeks ago I encountered a Citroen 2CV with roof open and two 10-15 year old girls standing on the back seat with the top of their bodies sticking out. Insanely criminal fatuousness.

He Is Tiresome
Jailbird ex-PM M*F*K Shorty has started a hunger strike, because there's a new prison rule that prisoners are only allowed 3 hours of airing a day. I wonder if he will keep this up longer than last time (which was forced upon him and Imalootin).

Inflation in Iran is over 37%, according to government statistics. Here it's (still) much lower. But unemployment is 14%—here, 14.1 in 2017. For youth: Iran 28%, here 18%.
Also compare Gaza and Hong Kong.

Beyond Weird
Venezuelan minister and director of PdVSA Quevedo has written a letter to Isla refinery workers that PdVSA wants to continue Curaçao operation after the present agreement expires in December.
As if Quevedo doesn't know that the refinery is owned by the Curaçao government.

A Voice of Reason
Education expert Kibbelaar gives her opinion on Papiamentu. As everybody knows there are problems because children, parents and teachers are not proficient in Dutch. This has become much worse the last 50 years, since May 30 1969. Before then, the fraters and soeurs started out by fully immersing the first grade pupils in Dutch; real education started when they were proficient. After that date, teaching more and more went to Papiamentu.
To change to another language (like English or Spanish) would call for an enormous investement. The same goes for writing books in Papiamentu. The best thing to do, says Kibbelaar, seems to be to reverse to the old system and restart teaching in Dutch.
Chamber of commerce KKN is sure to agree.

Is What He Says
Minister Gijs Bertha says that Cft financial supervision is wrong; the measures the government has taken have "restricted" a further deterioration of the financial situation. Nobody could possibly deny or confirm this.
A draft agreement will be on its way to Holland for discussion with RMR ministerial council.

Auction: No Sale
This is the second time Hotel Otrobanda has been auctioned off, and also the second time the buyer lacks the money to pay up; 12m guilders to pay for the 13m mortgage. Meanwhile, its casino (which somehow was still running) has been closed.
Buyer Attaf, as I understand it, is the father of Curaçao's latest beauty queen, whose election is now being investigated after rumors of foul play. One of the jury members says he has been offered a bribe.
The hotel has a 9 million tax debt as well. To repeat, don't try this at home. Also, present owner Eustatia has eloped with all the money in the hotel-casino's safe, leaving personnel without this month's salary. Same thing happened before at the Howard Johnson's.
UPDATE: Personnel was paid off on July 5, but can't go back to work: hotel closed.

Water Price
Next month, water will become cheaper. And me just reading that in Israel, desalinated water from the Mediterranean will be pumped to the Lake of Galilee at a cost of $0.50 or ANG0.90 per m3. To give you a quote, "The main cost of water is the energy for transportation." Distance Ashdod-Galilee is 80kms as the crow flies.
Last Aqualectra utility bill they charged me more than 8 guilders per m3, but a household using between 9 and 12 m3/month will now pay 13.2194/m3. Need I remind you that our island is only 61kms long, with water plant in the middle?
No comment needed; won't help anyway.

Lock Them Up!
Two more RdK people have been arrested: technical manager Cijntje and project coordinator Kinburn. They, too, were fired already. They're suspected (huh!) of asking for bribes.

More Money
After the country has borrowed 422 million guilders for the new hospital, what with one thing and another 200 more are needed, for which a new deal has been made with a consortium of banks led by Vidanova. Ouch. Total costs 622 million guilders, over $340.
If it ends there. That hospital reminds me of the California high-speed rail.

There are at least ten species of reef sharks around Curaçao, we're informed. Not included are those on the island, mainly in Fort Amsterdam (AKA Ali Baba's Grotto). But also in the refinery, and elsewhere.

Impressive, Not
The oil workers' trade unions have had a conversation with Fiona, a company which is reported to be a candidate for a refinery take-over. The unions are contented, good conversation.
Trouble is, nobody seems to know who or what Fiona is. There is something called Fiona oil, but that's "aromatic plant oil" from Ireland.
Update: May be Fiona Margaret Macaulay, Former Chief Executive Officer and still board member of Echo Energy PLC of London.

Can't Help It
I'm really disgusted by the tireless efforts of the Greenies (in Dutch Groentjes, a sort of menthol candy I never saw outside Holland and its colonies) to give the sceptics like me a bad name. It's a sin not to go completely for their doubtful utterings. First they started calling us "climate deniers" to move us into the corner of Holocaust-denying neo-Nazis; and when that didn't work, they recently tried to find words to make climate change (which nobody denies: it keeps a'changin') sound worse. But now, the word "climate apartheid" pops up. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Is this supposed to be the voice of Reason? What does that have to do with the price of fish?

Just Great
Yet another tug has departed for Trinidad. The KTK Curaçao Tow Barakuda is joining the Mero there. KTK has still not gone bankrupt to almost everyone's surprise.

Oh, I See
Aqualectra has opened a new "fossil fuel" unit for 39 Megawatts, about 1/3 of the island's total use. This is a good thing, I read, because this gives space to go on developing alternative, green or so-called "sustainable" energy.
Maybe you can follow the logic here.

No, this is not about politicians: it's about people who let themselves inject with "enormous volumes" of ass-fillers so they stick out more. That stuff has been forbidden in the USA and Europe, but they get it clandestinely here, in hotel rooms, living rooms and, as I remember, in our national pride Campo Alegre.

That Worked
The court case between RdK and Refineria Isla has been retracted; parties have reached a compromise.

About Time
In fact, about 30 years too late, if not more. PM Ruggie announces that the government will have to cut in its own flesh and economize. Lower personnel costs (hear hear!); less external consultants (like Camelia); relocating ministries to shared locations; and look at the subsidies (many are suspected to get double subsidies from separate government instances).
You may be forgiven to suspect that Holland tightened the screw-thumbs on the 3-dwarf delegation.
That's not really ad hominem: it has been shown throughout history that dwarfs are dangerous in high functions and tend to turn into dictators.
"Watch out for small men, because they hate you for every inch you're taller."
Jan de Hartog, The Captain


The US Democrat Party wants to get all felons in jail, now or before, to get voting rights. That's how they can win elections, they figure, and they're probably right:
Remember how the jailbirds here were for M*F*K's Shorty? Now at least he's among friends.

Health Care
The entire (health) care system has to be revised. The move to the new hospital will cost 60m guilders per year more (count your profits!), which would result in 20% higher SVB social security bank premium. Which the government is not prepared to agree with.
So the Taskforce marktordening financiering zorgsector [market organization financing healthcare sector] (WHO thinks up those names?) has decided that the 60m ($33m) has to be cut back in 4 areas: use of medicines, treatments by specialist, medical treatments in foreign countries and medical tests.
As a patient I can heartily agree. I have been heavily overmedicated and cut back myself on several treatments; have wasted an awful lot of time in specialists' waiting rooms for 3-monthly appointments which might just as well be half-yearly; and have had duplicated medical tests for different specialists.
Point is, everybody knew about this and only now when the bell tolls they finally start doing something about it.
Gee, I wonder how much those Taskforce members are paid.

Refinery RdK has gone to court to force Isla refinery to cooperate with the finding of a new partner.
This situation reminds me of our political situation: too complicated to explain to somebody who didn't grow up in it. But RdK Refineria di Korsow is owned by the country of Curaçao (autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Isla Refinery exploits it for PdVSA of Venezuela. Got that now?
The formerly fired manager of RdK, van Kwartel, and RdK consultant Isadora have been arrested yesterday.

A meeting with a party interested in continuing refinery activities couldn't be held because Isla-director Flores suddenly had to go to Venezuela.
We're told that there are now 3 or maybe even 4 interested parties, which is much less than 50. Or even 10.

Maybe in Colombia
Foundation Kohehe wants part of the money for which UTS was sold to be invested in "familial agriculture" whatever that means. I'm afraid it stands for "subsistence". An expert from Colombia says it worked very well there for 50% of the families. (He doesn't mention how it worked out for the other half.)
Also, Colombia has a quite different climate and soil than Curaçao. Besides, I'm quite sure that what remained of the UTS-money has long since gone already.

Curaçao youth parliament member Brownbill wants to lower voting age to 16 years' age.
Even FOØL Godett is against.

Won't Work
But we'll still have to pay. "Experts" have decided that the higher sales tax (9%, now 6) planned for August 1 will not be sufficient to give the government enough money. As if they'd ever have enough. So, the "experts" want to pull up the algemene bestedingsbelasting to 15%.
Of course, only if the government has any power left by then. Or maybe if it hasn't.

Better Bring Your Gun
The chance you'll get murdered in Curaçao is 20 times that of being killed in Holland. Welcome, dear tourist! You'd rather go to Holland? Too bad you're not welcome over there anymore.
Traffic here is pretty unsafe as well, already 10 deaths this year, beating our own record again.

To Be Sure
If, or rather, when, Isla refinery has to close down this year, the effect on the economy will be a shrink of 2.9%. Earlier estimates were (without closing) a growth of 0.4%. Which was overly optimistic in the first place, don't you think?
Which reminds me, our Great Leaders have about 10 days left to come up with a solution to their financial problems. Or rather, our problems.

Our Great Leaders want the screening law to be adapted, read relaxed, and you know why? Because it has caused problems for Pinhead Martina. Really shameless.

New parking meters are being installed. But you still can't use your plastic to pay. Nooo, you must use cash!
And DMO downtown management complains so many parking spots are reserved for the spoiled brats, decent people can't find a place when they want to go shopping. Naturally!

Good Grief!
Instead of the needed 3 months stock of foreign exchange, Curaçao has only 2 left. Which means from then on all imports will stop. Get that? All imports. Better buy some tin cans of food—may also come in handy should a hurricane strike.
Which in turn means the government will have to stop spending to prevent that, Cft financial supervision says.

You Can't Win
Robbie dos Diablos of Robbie's Lottery that was kicked out by virtually all commercial banks, has been offered a solution: he may use the PSB (postal savings bank); which is a fully state-owned enterprise (SOE). Nice work!
This is all to save 300 jobs. And of course Robbie himself.

So That's Parlatino
That's the club where our government reps keep making little cute trips for to visit their meetings. Latin American Parliament (as if we were Latin). Now Curaçao and Aruba complain that they've been promised seats on the board, but instead the same guy has been sitting there for several years.
It's a Cuban, need I say more?

No, No, No
Ten trade unions, together in Solidaridat have announced they will not accept new "austerity measures". The government when installed announced these would not come, and later repeated that promise. Solidaridat wants the government to stick to the original program.
Solidaridat only came out with the announcement after the RMR ministerial council had decided to delay the aanwijzing.
The total of measures is supposed to bring in 100m guilders.

Really? Really Really?
S&P Global Platts publishes that PdVSA may restart Isla refinery in July. The problem for PdVSA is, they don't have crude to send over and they may not sell the products anyway because of USA sanctions. But if Isla refinery goes bankrupt, PdVSA will have to pay $60 million.
So the solution would be to buy crude elsewhere and process it here. Crazy, right?
PdVSA also says wanting to renew the agreement after it expires end this year.
Both Isla management and trade unions are skeptical.

New hospital HNO is negotiating with builder Ballast International about when the darn thing will finally be ready. And now it's called CMC for Curaçao Medical Center.
As long as it will finally open.

We'll See How That Works Out
The government plans to introduce the algemene bestedingsbelastingtarief, their typical lingo [general spending tax rate] by August 1. Expected is over 40 million more for them to throw away.
Don't laugh, Laffer.
Then there's a lot of the usual blah-blah how this is done, so that we won't feel we're throttled an choked even further and that in future it may even be lowered.

Rotten Roads, Crappy Cop-Outs
The road markings are awful, as everybody must have noticed. Even the minister did. Worse, after a road has been renewed it can take years before it gets any road markings at all. Reason (I'll give you 3 guesses—how did you know?): no money.
Where did it all go? That's not hard to guess either.

It's Called "Competition"
EZ Air director Linkels complains that it's not fair for Winair to start transporting passengers between the ABC-islands. WinAir recently announced extending their flight schedule. While Linkels agrees WinAir has the right to do so, he complains that because WinAir is smart enough to wet-lease, the company doesn't have to invest in materiel and personnel training. Besides, their aircraft takes in 4 times as many passengers as DiviDivi's planes and twice of EZ Air's.
Well, Linkels, here's some advice, and free too: nobody stops you from wet-leasing aircraft!
Then, last we heard was DiviDivi and Winair were cooperating on the CUR-SXM route.

He Got It
PM™ ex-MP Wilsoen for once got it: we won't get an aanwijzing but are placed under Dutch guardianship. He resents it. I guess many of us won't agree with him. Just what the doctor ordered.

Sure—But How?
Ex Central Bank director Tromp writes an article in which he indicates that the measures taken to lighten the deficit will not help: what's needed is fixing the economy.
Of ourse, he's right. Too bad he doesn't tell us what doen need to be done.
You wouldn't believe the commentaries on his article. Talk about hate speech. I guess for a large part it's jealousy because of his high salary.

In fact, there are 4084 civil servants spoiled brats "at work" in Curaçao. That's 38 less than in 2017; which means PM Ruggie indeed didn't even fire all those wastrels hired by Prick Pisas.
It's expected the number will grow because of the hiring stop. We'll have to wait and see how that works out. There have been hiring stops in the past.

Now They Found Out
The PMs of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten have discoivered that it's better for the islands to cooperate more in the future.
All together now: "We told you so but you wouldn't listen!" Several times, in fact; but like in no-Brexit they kept forcing independence down our throats.

Just Don't Come
Hotel prices during the coming Jazz Festival with-the-stoopit-name have not only doubled, but tripled.

Wasn't that Einstein's definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again while hoping for different results.
That has been going on for years along the Helmin Wiels Boulevard: plant expensive imported palms, which then die off, repeat ad infinitum. They're at it again.
Better they fix the potholes on the stretch farther South. That's in really deplorable shape.

Big Deal
The budget deficit has gone down by 8 million peanuts guilders in 2019-I. Really?
Auntie Suzy has already declared she wants a "stronger civil service" because "than you can govern better." Don't get me started on that woman. But agreed, none of them has the faintest idea—except maybe the only one worth his salt in recent years.
But the recent appointment of what seems to be a Dutchman, Traa, as director of Central Bank CBCS may mean this won't go on like this.

Dumb Dutch Dummies
PM Ruggie and his no-good gang will not get an aanwijzing-instruction from RMR kingdom ministerial council. Instead, "work is underway on a mutual arrangement that will contain concrete agreements on the necessary structural reforms by Curaçao, including in the areas of the economy, government finances and government apparatus." More blabber is promised to take place three weeks from now.
"Concrete measures" huh? Don't make me weep.
At the same time, Cft financial supervision announces that the situation is even worse than they thought (which is saying sump'n): deficit over 2018 is still higher, and 2019 will also turn out worse than expected.

Imalootin in Court
M*F*K Imalootin, accused of theft and fraud (twice) and complicity in the murder of Helmin Wiels. His lawyers say he's not guilty of the murder; the PG asks for 30 years of prison.
Imalootin declares the country's finances under his leadership were better than ever before or after. Talk about audacity.
Verdict August 16.

Good Cheer
PM Ruggie, ministers Gijs & Bertha and Auntie Suzy have, after all, departed to Holland, "full of good cheer" to try and stop the aanwijzing-instruction.
Let's hope they won't succeed.

Dutch customs have confiscated iguana meat and eggs from a traveler. These prehistoric monsters seem to be protected! The damage they do is outrageous.

Tough, Shorty
The GoFundMe campaign to scrape together 1.8m guilders for Shorty to pay his debt to the Public Ministry has gone off-line. Total amount gathered 400 guilders.
Which supposedly means Shorty will have to spend 3 more years in jail. Which gives him time to think about how popular he really is.

Oh No
An M*F*K motion was accepted with all parliament votes "for" to start getting rid of the Consensus Rijkswet Financieel Toezicht [Consensus Kingdom Financial Supervision Act] when RMR rijksministerraad [kingdom ministerial council] comes Friday, as expected, with an aanwijzing-instruction to our government.
They'd like that, just go on as-is.
I certainly do not pretend to be a legal expert, but it seems to me that "consensus" must mean all parties have to agree to changes. But Mudbelly Cooper (not a jurist either, that's damn sure) says that if one party does not agree, the consensus is finished. PM Ruggie says that RMR should guarantee "fundamental rights, human rights, soundness of governance and legal certainty." Right Ruggie, you got it; exactly what we would lose if your plans go through.
No matter what, the aanwijzing is expected to go much farther than what Cft financial supervision asked for.

Politicians who should be investigated by the public ministry for crimes (fraud, theft, you name it):
Pinhead Steven Martina — Sheikh El Hakim — Werner Wiels — Ruthmilda Larmonie — Fräudlein Marvelyne Wiels — Ben Whiteman — René Rosalia — Glenn Camelia — Rene Lourents — Emsley Tromp — Ersilia de Lannooy — Mudbelly Cooper — Tilly Pikerie. Mark: these have not been selected by me (and I have my doubts if some belong there as well.
Others who are, will be, or have been in jail:
FOØL Godett — M*F*K Shorty — Quackie Constancia — Thodé — FOØL Nelson Monte — Garcia.
This triggered by the present court-case against M*F*K Imalootin, accused of theft and fraud (twice) and complicity in the murder of Helmin Wiels. His lawyers say he's not guilty of the murder; the PG asks for 30 years of prison time.
This does not pretend to be complete; far from it.

Staten Wised Up
After all, parliament voted for a motion that PM Ruggie will go to Holland to plead for not getting an aanwijzing-instruction. A fat lot of good that will do, I expect.
PM Ruggie says he wants to go on with investing—Kinsey-like, I guess. "Spending money like a fool will make the economy grow" is the idea. Especially not so if you spend it on spoiled brats.
Did I, and/or my sex-befuddled brain, write "Kinsey"? Meant "Keynes" of course.

Ruggie's Bla Blah
CBCS central bank has requested help of IMF because the Curaçao budget deficit is 30%. But PM Ruggie still wants the Rijksministerraad [kingdom ministerial council] to refrain from giving our government an aanwijzing [instruction]. He says we can't just cut, cut and cut again. Sorry Ruggie, you did not. You just took care, to use your own words, that the people become poorer by inflating taxes.
And then he has the gall to say "We have to do what is necessary. We, the government, the parliament and the civil service." As if they do anything but go on wasting money.
And to finish us all off, there's a bill pending in our parliament now to change the Statuut so a kingdom instruction can't be given anymore without input by the parliaments of the kingdom members.

Get Him
There's a chance that the Common Court of Justice will force the public ministry to start prosecuting Pinhead Martina. Pinhead owned shares in Guardian insurance company when he, as minister, was responsible for raising tariffs for compulsory liability insurance. A complaint against Pinhead was filed by K*NT party.

Caribbean Airlines
The Trinidad & Tobago company plans to open a line between Curaçao and Piarco Int'l Airport, with seamless connections to several other countries. Caribbean Airlines is waiting for T&T permits to execute two flights/week. They company presently has flights to some twenty countries.

IMF Doubts It
IMF doubts that the measures called for by CFT financial supervision will work. They'd entail to balance the present 2017-2019 deficit in 3 years, which would need turning a 2019 deficit of 1.9% into a 2020 surplus of 3.4%.
As long as the government will not cut into the super-high personnel costs, which it stubbornly won't, I'm afraid IMF is right.

Oho! Aha!
Even before the safety net for mass firings has been installed, it was already at work. For ex-InselAir personnel.
Would this include the pilots?

Way Not to Go
PM Ruggie has canceled a visit to Holland's PM Rutte, where he was supposed to ask for co-operation in realizing the Growth Strategy Plan, AKA Pie-in-the-Sky. Reason: After all, the Kingdom has threatened or announced that, after all, there will come an aanwijzing. Not before we were ready for it.

Forward to the Past
The advisory board is not satisfied with the second draft environmental law. They wonder why some types of plastics are prohibited, and others not. Bags, cups, straws, polystyrene cups and polystyrene trays, intended for one time use, are prohibited, but cutlery, plates, garbage bags, drinking bottles and polystyrene plates not.
This is insane. Back to unlined messy garbage pails? Or leaking, soggy and bursting brown paper bags; even if they exist in 10 gallon or larger sizes? Glass soda bottles?
These giant heavy bottles did have their uses: I once bludgeoned a rat to death with one. An empty one, shows how heavy they were.

Instant Hit
Shady Shyster Glenn Camelia has taken his leave as president of the Raad voor de Rechtshandhaving [Law Enforcement Council]. That was fast!

Safety Net
The government is installing a "safety net" for mass dismissals. All ministries will cooperate (= give up money—as if they had any) but for starters, 1.2-1.4 million is budgeted for.
The idea is to send 90% (NINETY!) of the people fired to other jobs. What with 13.2% unemployed already.
Could this be part of that infamous "growth strategy" plan? One more reason why it will never succeed. Could it be part of the coming Isla refinery debacle? You think?
Here's my idea: why not mass-fire most of the spoiled brats? Then, the ministries may have some money to spare. See how simple it is when you think it through?

There's the Rub... and There... and There...
PM Ruggie claims that the refinery is alive and well and will surely be taken over by [somebody] before the end of the year. 10 potential partners have shown enough interest to come over and have a look. He says. Which is a lot less than 50, but just as many times more than 2.
In virtually one breath, Ruggie says that dismissals are inevitable.
Only, Refineria Isla Curaçao bv, owned by PdVSA, now refuses to provide Refineria di Kòrsou (RdK) and interested operators selected by RdK with operational data. Which makes evaluation by potential suckers take-over partners rather hard. Interim Director de Lannoy can't understand why Curazoleños, who largely make up the staff of Refineria Isla, would obstruct negotations. Just think of Errol Bakoba, man, and you may get a clue.
Also, remember that just now the judge found that firing two highly placed Isla people (a technical manager and a project coordinator) was justified, as they were involved in an "alleged attempt to provoke bribery." It's endemic.

Good News, Bad News
The number of atrakos on tourists has gone down "drastically" the police informs us. Alas, at the time the number of violent robberies on citizens has gone up. Count your blessings.

Like Haïti?
The Clintons have requested Aruba PM Evelyn Wever-Croes to give a presentation on how the island works on strengthening economic opportunities through innovation.
I hope for Aruba they steer clear of that couple. Look wat happened in Haïti: "... the Clintons kind of took over things after the earthquake and did a pretty poor job of it."
Only 10% of $6 billion total international assistance arrived in Haïti. So what happened to the rest? Good question, obvious answer.

Case Dismissed?
K*NT doesn't care: pinhead Martina must go to jail, even though the public ministry has dismissed the case. Dos Diablos will know try to accomplish it via a legal trick called "article 15"—so don't ask.

Not Relevant?!
PM Ruggie says that, if the government gets the dreaded aanwijzing [instruction] from the Kingdom, that's not relevant, because this government is already working on the problem.
To wit, the "growth strategy" plan. BS, Ruggie. We want to see results.

Tourists, Beware
The USA Consulate has advised tourists not to visit Mambo Beach after 11 pm (23 o'clock), nor major events there. Too many atrakos.
Car rental companies already forbid you to park there.
Nice going, Dolphinarium Dutchy!

FCW Legal started a court case against George Lichtveld, well-known political commentator, because he had stated in public that FCW Legal is a shady law firm. But the appeal court finds that Lichtveld is quite right, FCW Legal is sleazy, and seedy to boot.
FCW managing partner Glenn Camelia is not only a former formateur but also a former member of Staten/Parliament, former director of the Social Economic Council and current member of the Law Enforcement Council. His partner Wilfred Flocker is a member of the Raad van Advies Advisory Board for which he has been screened on integrity. What a joke.
Lawyer Roelof Bijkerk links the work of Camelia as formateur of various PS™ governments to many retainer contracts with five ministries, which he subsequently managed to win. When, at the end of the hearing, Bijkerk also establishes a relationship between the so-called screening of Marvelyne ("Fräudlein") Wiels and possible criminal offenses that Camelia might have committed during that screening, this gets too much for Camelia who asks the court to let him refute that. Which the court refuses.
Camelia is also involved in the New Hospital, what a surprise.
I mostly refer from linking to the original article because these links tend to die in your hands, but in this case, here it is. There's a translate button top left of the page.

That's So Smart, It Hurts
It is now impossible to pay cash for services at Kranshi civil registry: you have to use plastic. Nice for all those who don't even have a bank account.
No doubt this also has to do with the fact that so many civil servants are corrupt. Just now, 4 guys (I really don't know their sex, sorry) working for the Tax Person have been suspended because they forwarded residual amount to people who had already died.

The country of the Netherlands, popularly called Holland, and its Central Bank has no confidence in the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, less popularly called CBCS.
Who can understand such a thing? Maybe (just possibly) it's partly caused by St. Maarten getting threats that the island will be excluded from international payment traffic if it doesn't clean up its laundering acht.

No Way
RdK interim director de Lannoy gives as his considered opinion that the refinery and Curaçao island together can't afford to run the refinery themselves. There's just not enough money. A take-over of the refinery would need half a billion dollars, with 12.5 million dollars needed each and every day to process 250,000 bpd.

You Think?
Refineria Isla Curaçao (=PdVSA) says that, contrary to RdK's claims, the refinery is in better condition now than when Shell left.
They could have fooled me.

That Took Long; Much Too Long
Clift Christiaan has finally been fired as adviser of Refineria di Kòrsou. He followed up Werner Wiels and was responsible for attracting and even signing MoU with China's GZE; who turned out to be totally incapable, financially and technically, to take over the refinery.
Still in business as adviser is Errol Bakoba. He must be rusted in place.

They Did It
K*NT's complaint against MAN and minister Gijsbertha has been forwarded to the public ministry.
The complaint also concerns CBCS director Matroos-Lasten and former ministerial candidate Neysa Schoop-Isenia.

Another Problem
It's illegal to offer illegal immigrants a room to stay. Maybe worse, it's unhygienic! Reason, they often sleep with 3 or more in 1 bed; although not necessarily at the same time. Or so we are informed.

Up in Air Again
Aruba Airlines's flight ban has been withdrawn. Everybody is keeping mum about the reason(s).

Good for Business?
"Leakage in tourism is as high as 80% in the Caribbean (of every dollar earned in tourism—80 cents leaves the country)." Naturally, we're never informed by CTB or our Great Leaders about that.
Just have a look at Sustainable Tourism and share the horrors with me.

Good Neighbors
Nine members of the Venezuelan consulate have written a letter to warn their compatriots that a former military man, who entered illegally but was helped out by his aunt the consul, is moving around to try and get illegal immigrants back to their country. They would be crazy to listen.
He is allowed to enter the prison to talk (like a Dutch Venezuelan uncle) to the illegals held there, which prison management says is permitted because he gives them mental assistance.
Those same workers say they have not been paid their salaries for 5 months, but ms. consul says they should turn to the American consul, because that's all the USA's fault.

Ooh... They Would Not Like That
Was reading about Italy and its anti-€uropean election victory, and knocked my toe on this item: "As a Eurozone country, Italy is formally required to abide by EU Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) rules, including limiting any budget deficit to less than three per cent of GDP."
Small wonder why Ruggie and Koeiman et al keep talking about how joining the €U would be so great, but never take actual steps in that direction. Not as long as they come up with these deficits.
So there is a silver lining.

There We Go Again
K*NT dos Diablos wants to file a complaint, this time against MAN minister Koeiman, because of alleged malversations when renting the Tauber building. Not only are workers complaining about mold and resulting health problems, the rent is also suspiciously high.

To Clear Up
The "renter and exploiter Refineria Isla Curaçao" which is supposed to deliver the refinery in its original state is, of course, PDVSA.
When alligators get wings... PdVSA has started out by declaring that there is no deterioration at all, no sir.
And the court has, once again, delayed the judgment on Isla pollution for a month.

MAN party has not (yet) nominated Pinhead as minister. Why not, I couldn't say. One suspects there's more rottenness below the surface than they admit.

Not Surprising
There's a fight going on between Kas di Kultura and papa Godett Foundation. They couldn't agree on the choice of speakers during the fifty years 30 May 1969 commemoration (today).
It must be a co-incidence that today also is Ascension Day.

Prepare for Fireworks
Tomorrow it will be 50 years since the revolution or riots, pick your choice, of 30 May 1969. The ominous date when our island's political and economic deterioration got into the rapids.

Reason Unknown
Aruba Airlines have been forbidden to touch down on or even fly over Curaçao and Bonaire.

Right On
KKN chamber of commerce has a good idea. It's not brilliant, but only because it's much too obvious: get rid of Papiamentu in secondary education.
Hear them howl.

Who'll Pay?
Refineria di Kòrsou (RdK) will increase the pressure on renter and exploiter Refineria Isla Curaçao. Reason, there are worries (!) that maintenance has not been comme il faut and they want assurance that the refinery will be delivered in its original condition when the rental agreement expires.
As if Isla refinery has the means to do that. They can hardly pay running costs now and are 26 million in the red already, an amount growing by 3.6 million per month. Dollars, not guilders.

Citgo Back?
Seems Citgo is still interested in re-starting the old Aruba Lago-refinery. Wanna bet if this goes through that Aruba suddenly doesn't care anymore about clean environment?
If it goes through, there's that.

Go Ahead...
... but don't blame us for being sceptical. Minister Girigorie wants a more aggressive approach to criminality. He has a plan but doesn't give any real details. "More blue in the streets... change mentality... blah blah..."
We also hear (but not at the same time) that almost all those rather new police cars are out of order. If my mind doesn't fool me, they were bought new in 2017.

Let's Do It, Too!
Aruba plans (you'll never guess) a committee to see what they can do about the disappearing trick of their refinery. Hey, another way to have some people make money!
If only Ruggie and friends would admit there is such a chance here as well.

Nobody Cares
Almost nobody, true, went to vote on the islands for the €U parliament. Wise guys; I didn't either. Now reps. of the islands want an €U window to promote interests. So they can have a seat in there and make pots o' money. No doubt, such a window will cost pots o' money as well, but so what, the €U will gladly pay.

Fell Flat
Remember fascist Rosalia? He now started a signature action to petition the government to keep Isla alive. As if they could.
He got 75 signatures.

Uh Oh!
Ruggie has approached the banks to have compassion with Isla workers and give them some leeway when they can't pay their loans back.
He must know more than he's admitting.
And why should the banks make an exception for them? Times are hard all over.
The bishop wants us to pray for the Isla-workers. That surely will help, too.

Good Luck with That
Almost 75% of traffic accidents has to do with alcohol or drugs, and the number of deaths corresponds. Now they're working on a "strategy for alcohol checks"—once again reinventing the wheel here.
I touched on this several times before: we are among the unsafest countries in the world with 18-20 traffic deaths a year, and growing. Notwithstanding the present government's bragging they would turn this around. The only thing they've accomplished till now is, it takes me at least twice as long to drive down certain roadways; but I'm sure some people have made a nice extra income there.
And finally, I have the distinct impression cocaine use is even more of a hazard. Better find a "strategy" to check that!

Japanese tourist grafitti
View from highest building
in Shinjuku, Tokyo
It's earthquake-proof!

Now It's Japan
The Japanese, like so many more on ever-growing list, are sick of tourists. They have started keeping their temples closed to them; the tourists scratch their names all over (a well known type of vandalism), even on bamboo stems in famous centuries-old groves (which makes the plants rot and die)... why go on? Now the plan is to ask them for a very modest exit fee, to abate the damage.
I must say, we've been there twice but before mass-tourism took off. But even then I found some inscriptions—not in Japanese script, though.
When will we here start to come to our senses? Yesterday I had to drive over the Juliana Bridge spanning the harbor. There were 4 tourist busses, like a convoy, driving along at walking pace, forcing everybody stuck behind them to that non-speed. To enable the throng to take pictures, of course. You say that's better than one every 5 minutes? Agreed, but you think they planned it that way? I wonder.

Not the Way, Shorty
He's playing up difficult again. Not the way to get dismissal for good behavior, old man! This time he's complaining about not getting enough fresh air, which is fine with me. It's probably, drawing a line through earlier complaints, not even true.
His lawyer says the impact on Shorty of years in prison is obvious. I thought that was the idea, right?

Birds of a Feather
Fluck Together

Yesterday evening I thought that one up but when writing about this, completely forget. Too good to let go, I hope you'll agree.

Ex-refinery director Van Kwartel denies that he ever had any intentions of corruptive acts, nor have there been any acts of corruption. He would, wouldn't he. He also says that "Melder" [whistleblower] was the corrupt one.
Don't blame me for guessing they were both corrupt.

3 students at UoC (the one with the long name) have devised an alternative walkway through the mangrove wood on Rif. It would leave most of the vegetation intact and, still better maybe, cost 5 million less.
But now the University Dean is peed off because he hasn't been asked for his opinion. There may be mistakes in there, he says. Sure, dean. If probably less than in the official plan.
And now, the students have been suspended, since PAR minister "I'm the Boss" Jesus-Leito complained with the dean. Imagine!

Tiens... According to Knipselkrant Curaçao, ms. Neysa Schoop-Isenia, still married, is the lover (or maybe one of the lovers) of Pinhead Martina. Amazing! Takes all kinds. Pinhead denies he took part in the decision to raise insurance tariffs so he can't be blamed.
So if Neysa had taken over as minister of economic development, she probably would have danced to Pinhead's tune.
But the Attorney General does not agree. Any semblance of conflicts of interest should be avoided, which Pinhead did not.
Knipselkrant Curaçao quotes DolfijnFM who deny they used the "lover" caption; but Knipselkrant Curaçao lets it stand; though not as quote.
Neyna meanwhile has officially filed her complaint against Central Bank.

I Hate to Admit It
But K*NT Amparo dos Diablos (who started complaining against Pinhead Martina in the first place, and now plans to proceed against the Public Ministry for the alleged mishandling of the matter) is right when he wants the Kingdom to stop fooling around and to come with an aanwijzing right now. Kick those bumblers out and replace them with businessmen who know where it's at, he says; and I can only agree.
Dos Diablos just bought the inventory of TV-station CBA lock, stock and barrel; it's unknown what he plans to do with that as yet. Seems to be a pretty run-down and deprecated lot.

Amsterdam Joins the No More Tourists Club
The City of Amsterdam, Holland, is sick of the tourists and want them to spread out over the rest of the country—where they're not wanted either. It's a definite trend.
Well, old Amsterdam started luring them in with pot and prostitution, so the Amsterdammers have no cause to complain. On the other hand, they've had as little choice in the matter as we here.

Out He Goes
Joining a by now long list of predecessors, Isla refinery director van Kwartel has definitely been fired. To quote Curaçao Chronicle, "The investigators' final report - Ivy Corporate Defense & Investigations - dated January 23, 2019, found that there was a parallel process in addition to the bidding process in which irregularities occurred. This report also notes that Mr. van Kwartel was involved in the irregularities. It has also been established for the Supervisory Board that Mr. van Kwartel has provided the Supervisory Board with incomplete and incorrect information in this regard."
Can only be the Motiva/Aramco affair. So, for now, we lost this opportunity to continue the refinery because van Kwartel smelled money. Alt least, that "mystery" is solved.

Run to Court
Neysa Schoop-Isenia, who was a candidate follow-up for Pinhead Martina, has filed a complaint against Central Bank and its president Matroos-Lasten, for trying to influence the screening process.

This Stinks
Pinhead Martina has been found guilty of a conflict of interest. Nevertheless the court has dismissed the case on condition that Martina will not repeat his act in a year. His MAN party is crowing that he will get his minister job back, but first he has to pass a new screening—which doesn't seem to mean much, as mistakes were made in his first screening.
Pinhead owned shares in an insurance company and, as minister of economical development, approved of tariff raises; a decision which was reversed later.
(Not only) K*NT party is furious and wants to force the Public Ministry to proceed to prosecution. If that will succeed? In any case, this looks like the Public Ministry got mixed up in politics, a strict no-no.
Martina has the chutzpah to tell Amigoe newspaper that in Aruba and St. Maarten judges have to be essayed before they can proceed to a minister's prosecution; he thinks that's a good thing. Sure Pinhead; for you and your fellow-crooks it would be great.

No Oil, No Money
Isla Refinery announces that they haven't had any crude to refine for a year now. Thanks to some measures they can go on paying the workers after June, but it's not known how long that will last.
Meanwhile, Aruba claims it's a good thing the old Lago refinery is going, it means less pollution—and they will be totally dependent on tourism.

Oh Jeez
FOØL Godett says that his party will, Phoenix-like, arise from its ashes. Under a new name.
Yes, I agree with Godett: there's money in them thar politics.

I'm The Boss
Minister Jesus-Leito will proceed with her plans to 'develop' the Rif mangrove wood, never mind all protests from almost all sides. Quite her style. So several clubs have gone to court to try and force her to listen, for once.

Don't Get It
Now we hear that the new HNO hospital will be cooled by the seawater technique and will thus save a million guilders a year; which would be very welcome. They've lost more than enough already.
Only, two weeks ago we read that this company was declared bankrupt. So what's up?

Luddite Taxis
Recently our minister announced that Uber and other reasonably-priced taxis would not be tolerated here. Now the taxi drivers are starting another action, this time against 'illegal' taxis—they are much cheaper and it hurts.
Once again reminds me of those announced taxi meters. No idea if that has been introduced.

Super Bright
Justice minister Girigorie wants all confiscated stuff kept on one location. That would make it much easier to steal it; everybody (not only the cops) would then know where they have to go.
Remember that the place where confiscated cars are kept is regularly attacked, and only last week 'caught' fire.

Solar Loses
The court case against Aqualectra, who lowered the buy-back tariff for users of solar panels, has been decided in favor of Aqualectra. The judge found it reasonable for owners to earn a solar panel back in 7 to 10 years.
A pity the Tax Person wants them to write the panels off in 5 years, then.

Woe Is Us
Tourism has gone up with 17% this year; in April it was up 24%. This seems to be a reason for great joy.

Don't Count on It
After Trump's USA-tax cuts in 2018, state tax revenues there grew with 5.7%. They're now up 29% in California, 18% in New York and 17% in Connecticut.
Maybe an idea for Gijs & Bertha? Make him think a bit... Raising taxes might not bring in more money, but less.
Aw, forget it.

That's Telling 'Em!
The people living in Scheveningenstraat can go pound sand. PAR Minister Jesus-Leito says the works will be executed as designed, because the budget has been fixed, and that's that. Too bad for the 31 people there who don't like it.
That's democracy, folks! But several members of her party don't agree. So what! A few years from now, some guys will make some more money to change the situation.

The remaining mangrove wood on the Rif coast will be cleaned up and turned into a park. Work starts next month. Too bad the sewage system is still broken and gushing out filth in the lagoon. That certainly won't be fixed next month, so what's the use? Except somebody makes some money, true.
Shortly after that news came out, it was discovered "somebody" had cut down a 10m wide strip of wood to fill up a 1.5m wide trench. But former auntie Suzy's ministry has no idea who that can have been. PM Ruggie at the "living lab" occasion proudly showed visitors around at the Klein Hofje sewage plant (where that same slush should end up to be processed). Too bad that one's broken down as well.

Still Scarier!
As most people by know don't take the climate change seriously enough, The Guardian, that cradle of political correctness, has devised some new even stronger terms to scare the crap out of us all:
climate change must become emergency, crisis, breakdown
global warming — heating
biodiversity — wildlife
fish stock — populations
climate sceptic — denier, science denier
That last one is a real doozy. Nobody denies climate changes (all the time); but that "science" is suspect. And of course it only serves to put the doubters in the same guilty-as-sin category as the Holocaust deniers.

Cleopa's Wiener
K*NT party is circulating rumors that MAN's Cleopa, Weiner-like, is sending around photos of his wiener to young men. The same photo, of which Cleopa denies it represents him, was already making the rounds in 2016. K*NT's Monkee says he also has videos and more stuff, which enrages MAN's Koeiman.
What a bunch of big prix> small minds.

PM Ruggie, on yet/jet another business-class trip on our costs, is now enthusiastic for turning our island into a "living lab". In which will be looked into the exploration of the possibilities for making the energy supply more sustainable in relation to mobility.
Well, if you know what that means, congrats. As I don't, I'm pretty sure Ruggie is chasing one more castle in the sky.

For once I agree with auntie Suzy. A terrain in ground lease to Marriott Hotel turns out to be absolutely riddled with electricity, water and (broken) sewage lines. That should never have been passed, she says, and she's right.

Ooooh... New Party
This one is called KEM, for Partido Kòrsow Esun Mihó (Curaçao the best one). As it was started by a guy Martines who has been in jail for a long time, convicted for drug dealing, it will fit right in with the rest of all those crooks—who he calls "pigs".

Out He Goes
SEHOSpital has won the court case surgeon Fa Si Oen started, asking for almost 1 million compensation and being able to go back to work. But the direction of public health found Fa Si Oen did not have the proper licenses needed. So there.
Question is, how come that guy got there in the first place?

Back in Business
Had some software trouble early this week; all fixed again. Back-up saved my skin.

Holland Wises Up
The Netherlands are stopping tourism promotion. The influx of tourists is awful, with 29 million expected in 2030 (population 17 million). "They are ruining the the very attractions they are coming to see." So Holland is joining an ever-growing list.
But here, our Wise Leaders are still desperately pushing for more tourists and spending good tax money on CTB promotions and pipe-dream Master Plans.
Here, in 2016 we already had 3 times our population in tourists.

Buggy Tours Reopens
Buggy Tours, where you can rent those monsters, has been forced to close because of an enormous tax debt. But that has now been arranged, somehow (makes one wonder out loud). Reason, the owner is a yu'i Korsow, so it doesn't matter either that his papers are no good and his personnel doesn't even get a salary slip.
Now if he had been a "European Dutchman" that would have been different.

Oh Good! Another Committee!
Since 21 undocumented illegal Venezuelans have escaped from the barracks where they were held, two guards have been fired. And now a committee has been installed to figure out what went wrong.
Gee, I wonder how much those committee members get paid.

Storm Surges
NOAA hurricane watcher has an explicit warning for storm surges. Alas, their maps are of course only for the continental USA and its Caribbean islands. But the mere fact that it's been 142 years since hurricane Tecla has resulted in everybody forgetting what a disaster that has been. Right now, a storm surge like that would have a much larger impact.
Virtually all hotels on the South coast, from Jan Thiel to Piscadera, would be wiped out. Plus Pietermaai. The trouble with hurricanes always is, they don't come by (thank heaven) often enough so people remember. But one will inevitably come.

Don't Hold Your Breath
FAA will be auditing Hato Airport come September, and it is hoped that will result in an upgrade to status category 1. After 8 years. Last time, we were told that would happen in December 2018.

It's a Trend?
The captain of a Venezuelan tanker has refused to take his cargo of gasoline to Cuba. It's very vague what happened to him, but reading between the lines, it seems obvious that every Venezuelan ship carries one or more KGB-like kommissars (to improve morale, no doubt) who interfered.
You can only hope for the best as regards the captain, but Maduro has lost control over several tankers recently. In fact, he has only 3 left in service.

Fine With Me
KKN chamber of commerce, once again, wants to change the dismissal law. This has been tried before, but of course the unions were all against it. Hey, let's face it: if a worker is no good, or there just is no work, what can you do? Go bankrupt?
Also, KKN wants to give everybody with a residence permit a working permit. This figures to me, as well.
But then, I have always avoided hiring personnel.

Tourism Statistics
We keep getting those raving monthly figures from CTB how tourism keeps growing. But their latest annual report is on 2017. And when we look somewhere else, it turns out that since 2015 the number of international arrivals has gone steadily down and in 2017 was back below the 2010 level, from 468 to 339 thousand.

Asking for Trouble
Design drawings for the new hospital have been found lying around in Otrabanda. Wait for the worst: these include the design of the burglary protection and the design of the access security of the planned penal institution.

Traffic Bumped
This is not the first time it looks like all those measures to increase traffic safety just serve to help some contractors to work and, of course, in the process, some spoiled brats to bribes. I mean traffic bumps, roundabouts and that sort of thing. They have the definite tendency to increase fuel use as well.
Now, in Scheveningenstraat, the workers are at it again. The street is being reduced to half its former breadth, and parking spots are laid out—some of them right in front of gates of residents. There are 2 schools in that street and one result is that buses and cars when they stop to load/unload, hold up all other straffic. Even worse because parents have to exit their cars to get their children out of school.

Uh Oh
An Airbus of Aruba Airlines had an engine explode just after take-off from Hato Airport. While this has been known to happen on the A380, it's very rare on the A319 and 320. With the checkered past of the airline, methinks a thorough investigation is called for.
According to other sources, the engine just stopped working.

Again there is talk about a fast ferry between Aruba and Curaçao. Aruba says it has the money, but must wait for Cura&ccedl;ao. That money amount is incredibly low: only 200,000 florins. For that, they think they can run a daily service transporting 800 passengers and 300 cars? And a passenger would pay half of what a flight ticket costs—which is outrageous.
On Hato, I count 3 arrivals from Aruba today and as many departures. Aircraft in use with WinAir and Aruba Airlines. The biggest aircraft carries 72 passengers, so that would be good for max. 216 passengers/day. Only, most of the planes are much smaller. Say, 150 seats total each way?
Especially since the WinAir flights are to/from other destinations.

Still No Money for Shorty
Well, in the past 2 week he got GoFundMe deposits of $200, not nearly what he'd need to pay in the confiscation case, 1.8 million guilders. This is not even definitive yet, several witnesses must be heard before the judge can reach a verdict.
Several complaints have been made to GoFundMe that the whole campaign is against their rules; but GoFundMe has not reacted yet.

Good. Fine. Excellent.
Quackie Constancia and her ex-husband must pay over 365K guilders back to BZV [health insurance provisions] because of fraud with surgical masks. They must also pay process over 10K guilders costs.
In 2013 another crook in the same gambit, Benschop, was also fined 365K guilders, but for some reason he was never forced to pay up.
Quackie denies all charges, what else is new.
Back in 2014, I read 300,000 masks were ordered, but now they mention "only" 40,000.

Pinhead Back?
After all the hoopla around Pinhead Martina's successor, he is now ready to get back in the saddle. At least, that's what his MAN party claims. He will have to be re-screened. There are (how many?) more candidates, who will all be screened as well. After all, those screeners have to earn their money, right?
Ms. Schoop-Isenia has canceled her candidacy because she wants to dedicate all her attention to fighting the Central Bank's Zus de Lannooy's allegations.

Who Cares...
While Amigu di Tera has a different solution that doesn't damage the Rif mangrove-wood, VVRP planning dept. says the road through the wood will be realized. After all, they have the power and that's all that matters.

We're All Sick of that New Hospital
Last news is, instead of last month it will be opened half November. Not so fast there: it will then take "6 or 7 months" before patients can be admitted.
Or just maybe longer.

"Comprehensive Multi-Year Plan"—remember?
In 2009, the USA libertarian Cato Institute took out full-page ads to criticize Obama's "stimulus" plan. The ad was signed by more than 240 economists, including several Nobel Prize winners, with 130 more eventually endorsing the ad. It said:
"Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's 'lost decade' in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth."
Ruggie's "growth strategy" plan should be out next month. Say, what happened to the Master Plan?

Another Bright Idea
On the other hand, Gijs & Bertha wants the country to buy the refinery and run it ourselves. Oh my god! Nos mes por!

The government wants to build another new road which nobody needs, through a mangrove wood. Which means 19,000 cubic meters [670,000 cu.ft.] of (polluted) mud would have to be removed, and 1200 square meters [13,000 sq.ft.] of mangroves cut down. This would cost 1.5-2.5 million guilders. Rather a wide range of estimates, but no matter: it will turn out to be much more anyway.
See what I mean?
And another hurricane wave barrier weakened.
But it's a fine old tradition: much money can be made on road building. Meanwhile, we're stuck with the potholes.

Just Hopeless
But will we get one? CFT financial supervision is "dissatisfied with the development of public finances" we read (in Curaçao Chronicle), and they rub our great leaders' noses in some excremental facts:
The amended budget shows a deficit of 46.6 million, after much work by the minister of finance; however, CFT predicts it will be 65 million. Next year,77.8 million; in 2021 112.2 and 147 in 2022. If the mandatory deficit compensation is included, the 2020 deficit will be 186.9 million.
CFT confirms what I've been saying all the time: the government did hardly anything to cut spending.
You know what? Let's have a committee of our own to look at the problem.

The techno company from Delft, Holland, that was the driving force behind the planned EcoPark using deep-sea water for cooling has been declared bankrupt. This is no surprise at all, despite the fact we were told only last year 50 million would be invested in it.
Look at its history: first they bragged about great plans in Hawai'i, where the idea was much more feasible. Then they started selling their idea to CTEC, which turned out to be nothing but a get-rich-quick crook scheme; and finally they made a deal with Maurice Adriaens, ex FOØL member, when he was director of Hato Airport. Then Saba, where it would be even more costly. Wrong all the time. Not to mention that the idea, while theoretically viable, would be much too expensive to work out.

Stop Me If You Heard This One Before
Completion of the new hospital has been delayed, again; even though that's denied; wanna bet? No doubt it will become more expensive as well, again.
I read a lot of the electrical installation has been rejected (by whom?)—parts like outlets and switching material were proudly Made in Turkey. Small wonder Erdogan and Maduro get along so well.

Forget It
The planners of Green Town have a great idea: we should all come together and cough up 120 million Euro (only) to buy Isla refinery and build their dream. Well, not exactly like that: they want 2 million seed money now, after which European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend 80 million, and we only have to cough up a further 40 million. They now have a business plan and everything.
If you want my opinion, that's much too little money. Dreamers.

Over and Done With
Ms. Schoop-Isenia, about whose candidacy for minister of economic development a lot of bochincha resulted, because a memo about her was leaked, has retracted her candidacy.
She was supposed to become the successor of Pinhead Martina.

That's a Lot
During the last few years, it is now claimed, 26,000 Venezuelans have moved to Curaçao; 16,000 to Aruba. Questions: how many years? How are they counted? At any rate, that would be almost 6% of the population.

Something In That
MCBank explains: the 1% fee is to get people to use other forms of deposits, so long waiting lines will be avoided. It happens people turn up with 100 thou guilders, which takes a long time to count. It's true enough; I've seen it happen—while waiting... If you're over 60, you don't have to pay the fee either.
Too bad they didn't explain that at once.

They Just Can't
The rent for the Taber building, in use by SOAW (ministry of social welfare) has been declared "exorbitantly high" by the ministry of finance. But to its "great surprise" both the council of ministers and SOAW have agreed to pay; worse, the rent will go up even more next year.
Well, I can't say I'm surprised. Just normal business I'd say; for the government, that is.
This is the very building workers complain about that it's somehow polluted and they all get sick.

Don't Count On It
Now that those sanctions have been canceled, Isla refinery "may be able" to pay salaries until the present agreement with PdVSA has come to an end.

Get Rich Quick
If you're a bank, that is. Apart from the fact that they make money like maniacs, paying no interest on checking accounts and hardly any on saving accounts, now you have to give them 1% on every cash deposit. Shameful.

About Time
As yet unconfirmed, but rumor has it that the police will start fining motorcycles without mufflers; of which we have more than plenty.

End of Era
Now it's Curaçao that has no problem with Venezuela's border blockade. The last 5 barquettes have taken off, which means the famous Floating Market has now come to an end. It may come back, eventually, of course. Still better than tin iguanas and other tourist junk, as Pinhead Martina proposed.
But there is no problem buying fruit and veggies from other countries than Venezuela.

We Need More Quacks
Medical doctors who have been banned in Holland are free to come over here and continue malpractices, among which rape.

That's Bad; and Good
Nowadays, it's media news when there's a tanker moored at Isla refinery.
The good news is, Curaçao has been safeguarded by the USA from the sanctions against Venezuela.

Freewinds Quarantined
Last Monday, the Scientologists' Freewinds cruise ship was quarantined in St. Lucia, with all 300 passengers.
A female crew member had contracted measles.

Almost half of KTK towing company personnel will lose their jobs if some business doesn't turn up in Bullenbaai oil terminal and Isla refinery. That's 40 to 50 out of 111.
That Trinidad & Tobago has hired 1 tug helps, but not much.
KTK of course is an SOE, state-owned enterprise.

Prepare for Thy Doom
First it was "Global Warming"—then "Climate Change"—"Extreme Weather"—"Environmental Change"—"Global Change"—"Diversity Loss""—"Climate Sensitivity" and "CO2 Sensitivity".
But turns out, the general public is not scared by that anymore, so we need still stronger terms. Well-paid (hey, subsidies galore: "We need more research") advertising gurus have now come up with "Climate Crisis"—"Environmental Destruction"—"Weather Destabilization" and "Environmental Collapse". They measured brain activity of 120 volunteers while listening to all these words and the last four performed much better.
They didn't test "Climate Crime", also very popular these days. Probably because they, as they said, wished to avoid overstating the problem. Really.
Brain activity, using the words loosely. Do zombies have brains, let alone activity? A very moot point.

Way to Go!
Finally, ministers Gijs & Bertha finally have given snappy replies to the 80 questions on the budget. The debt end this year will be 2473,7 million guilders. More controllers, accountants and twice as many bailiffs have been hired to turn the thumb screws on us a bit more.
This year's deficit of 126 million guilders should be covered by those publicans. 900 million on unrecovered taxes is supposed to be floating around. But all those publicans surely cost money, as well; so government expenses are going up: that's austerity!? And how about that personnel stop? Promises, promises.

Convicted Con-Man Tries New Con-Trick
Ex-PM Shorty, who has to pay the government 1.8 million guilders he was given by his mafioso padrino Corello, or he'll have to face 3 more years in jail (RAH! RAH! RAH!) obviously has spent all that money (and than some) on er... nose candy? Whatever. Wimmins may enter into it; or quite possibly the other way round.
He hasn't got it and now his mother has started a crowd-funding action to try and scrape it together.
Only, she tries to collect 2 million €uros, which is more than twice as much.
One does wonder if any suckers will pay up. Especially since they ask for your credit card number and security code. Which many a Nigerian has asked me for as well.
Not giving you the link, are you kidding?
I checked: he asks for "only" €1 million; in the first week he has had 1 donor for €100. And that lottery turned out bad as well.

Even If
Stichting Humanitaire Zorg [human care foundation], SMOC and 25 citizens are sueing Isla refinery for 75 million guilders; will be in appeal courts next week. Reason, Isla exhausts more than allowed SO2 (the details on how much are left out).
It would be, let's say, highly surprising if Isla could pay up—even if, for a change, the court will convict the refinery.

Looks Bad
Now PM Rhuggenaath expects "1 or 2" interested parties may come to Curaçao to have a look at the Isla refinery. That's a giant step down from his earlier bragging about 9, or even 50, or 60, interested companies.

Weak... Very Weak
M*F*K's lawyer says the Gaming Board, that prohibits political parties from holding lotteries, is illegal itself. I haven't seen hir/hes argument (probably not worth mentioning, may be why).

How Will That Go?
The USA is considering a naval blockade of Venezuela. If so, that means a real problem for our own not-so-Great Leaders: does the use of our harbors by US Navy ships constitute participating in a military action or not? Because they've already spoken out that it would be intolerable.
For now, we find ourselves together here with Cuba, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Ain't that great!

Forget It
The action program Desaroyo di Hubentud [youth development] that started in December 2014 has been knocked on its arse since half 2018. There is no budget available.
The idea was to have all ministries, stakeholders and NGOs cooperate. I could have told them that it wouldn't work, but didn't tell 'em so. The director thinks there's still hope. Lubida, mano. This is Curaçao here.

Two Snacks Closed, New Website to Attract Tourists
Two snacks on Piscadera Beach, a popular tourist center, have been closed. They were inexpressibly dirty, judging from the photos we see.
But CTB tourist bureau has opened a new website in 6 languages to attract more tourists, to enable them to have an "unforgettable experience"—let's hope for the best.

Bad Luck
The judge has decided that political parties (read M*F*K*) may not hold lotteries to get funds.
Question now is, can Shorty pay his lawyers? I'd have made him pay in advance.

Peter Stuyvesant

For Once, Ahead of the Game
Remember how our Peter Stuyvesant statue mysteriously disappeared (and has never been found back)? Well, that was a copy of the one in New York. And now, New York in the throes of its Political Correctness suffocation wants to get rid of the original as well. Because ole PegLeg was an anti-semite, or something. But first, they want to erase Columbus (who may have been a Jew) from the collective memory. Because of the Indians, you know. You just can't win.
Here, we never even had a statue of Columbus—not even of Alfonso. But with Pete, New York is far behind us.

... I don't believe it. Why should anybody? The government, after first stating that 50 companies are showing an interest in taking over Isla refinery, now say they have "written to" more than 60. Oh, that is how those showed an interest? They actually received a letter!
And 9 of those have signed a non-disclosure agreement. Wow! Impressive.

Leaving Us in the Lurch
For the time being (how long?) the Mighty Kingdom of the Netherlands will not interfere in our internal affairs. Damn. It is figured that our poor government can't help it; Venezuela, you know.
But we all know it was a mess long before the Venezuela problem started.
Now, it is considered to relax the budget standards. There we go, sliding deeper into the mud.

No Isla Audit
The request for an Isla refinery audit has been rejected. The whistleblower had "no specific interest of his own" which makes his complaint not admissible.
Whistleblower Angelica, former head of CRU/BOO was worried about the corruption in Isla management during the time Werner Wiels was part of it.

No Clean Hands
It was "Zus" de Lannooy who wrote the memo on Schoop-Isenia. "Sis" has a, let's say, checkered past herself. Still, MAN party members keep defending Schoop-Isenia and want to make her minister of economic development. Like I said already, she'd fit right in.

Over And Closed
Hotel Casino Otrobanda will have to close. The place has enormous debts which it can't possibly pay back, mainly because half of their gambling machines is out of order. And they may not be fixed, mainly because the hotel's casino license expired August 31 2017, but the casino went on regardless.
How in hell has that been allowed? An intense stench...
There goes another one, just what the government needed. And one more proof these things are not hotels, they're simply casinos. The place will be auctioned off; good luck with that!

No Uber
Minister Jesus-Leito denies the rumors that the Uber taxi system will be introduced here. This would have a devastating effect on the earnings of cab drivers, she says.
Poor babies. My heart bleeds for them. Which reminds me, do they have taxi meters by now? (I never take taxis when I can avoid it; which is always. So I wouldn't know.)

No Kidding!
Public ministry has admonished 44 car dealers and real estate brokers to register with the Financial Intelligence Unit, which checks on irregular cash payments.
They'd be crazy to have done so before; cars and buildings are the most obvious methods to launder money. But now they may have to.

Got It
M*F*K party is restarting a debate on the screening law. They say it's meant only to prevent convicted ex-PM Shorty from becoming minister again. (I could mention some more.) At any rate, what's wrong with that?

It's Started Already
50% of enterprises had a lower sales volume in 2018 than in 2017. Not that 2017 was so great, either.
And the government thinking they can squeeze more out of us this year.

No More Fruit
The Floating Market may shortly be closed again as the Venezuelans working there don't have a work permit. Strangely, somehow Maduro is blamed for that. So don't ask.
No more weed either? Don't be silly.
But not to worry, 29 local entrepreneurs are ready to take over. Only, they will not all sell fruit and veggies, but candy, kos dushi and no doubt tourist junk. Pinhead's dream becomes true after all.
And also, it turns out that the renovation is not finished yet. Had to be stopped because the money ran out.

Really? No Kidding?
The preliminary investigation into the disappearance of 500 kilos of drugs from a police station seems to indicate that there is "internal corruption" in the corps.
We'd all figured that without an investigation.

Same All Over
180 million dollars, meant for renovating the old Aruba Lago refinery, have "disappeared". Poof. That's 325 florins.
Citgo is now firing personnel and ending sub-contractor deals.

The replacement (for Pinhead) minister of economic development, Schoop-Isenia, has gone to court because the Central Bank director has advised extremely negatively to the screening commission. This based on the time she worked for Girobank (her boss there is now in court and may have to pay 10 million dollars back). Schoop-Isenia now works for Aqualectra utility.
Her reason is that the Central Bank has nothing to do with the screening and should have clammed up.
Methinks Gijs & Bertha will have to look for another candidate. Too bad, this one would fit in nicely.

Déjà Vue
Isla refinery can work on, and pay on, for 2 more months and then it's finis. Worse, they already owe BOO utility $28 million (that's over ANG50 million), a debt growing by $3.6 million/month. So Isla begs for government support. InselAir, anybody? ALM? UTS? And who's next?
Here's an idea: let's make all those workers outright spoiled brats and get it over with. We'll have to pay up anyway. But there are limits to what we can pay.

Just visited the portal of Belastingdienst Curaçao where my eyes immediately stumbled over the text "Als iedereen zijn belasting betaalt, hoeft iedereen minder te betalen" [if everybody pays tax, everybody has to pay less].
Except, of course, those who don't pay at all. Not to mention that the government never has enough.
Best joke is, you have to hand in [upload] your form 60 days after it's been issued. But it isn't issued: you have to download it. I think I'll download it 10 years from now.

Nice Haul
A bunch of Masked Men walked into a car workshop and walked out with 50,000 guilders ($27.5K) in cash.
First question is, how did that much money end up in a drawer of the manager's desk? One smells tax evasion... money laundering... whatever.
But the judge has ordered the detectives, who were on strike since April 1 because they didn't like to be used in other departments, back to work. The government wanted (understandably) a general strike stop, but the judge thinks this goes too far.

Wh... Wh... What?
Raad van State, which is supposed to be a pretty wise bunch of politicians in Holland (the name says it all: state's council), expresses the opinion that Cft financial supervision looks too much at the figures "below the line"—whatever that means. Cft should have more understanding for the special circumstances the islands labor under.
Like, being governed by a bunch of no-good nincompoops?

That's Telling Them
25 "concerned citizens" have written a letter to Rijksministerraad [kingdom ministerial council] to send the country of Curaçao an aanwijzing, for crying out loud.
It's the group 30 Kara Nobo [new faces], which seems to mean that they can't count either.

Refugee Rights
The status of Venezuelans in Curaçao might well be the worst in the region, we're told. (Then again, it might not.) The poor bastards who arrive here illegally are forced, because they can't get international protection, to become illegal. Can you follow the logic here? I sure can't.
While I am certainly moved by the circs in Venezuela, I can't say my heart bleeds. A lot of nonsense here. "They must get the right to work..." but where, already? To name just one example.
Bottom line, it's better here than in their own country. For now.

10%? That's Only Half
Remember? MAN and their 10%?

Pick Your Vic
A guys who has been attacking and robbing tourists appealed his conviction and got 2 years jail extra: 14 total. Because he picked on tourists, you know.
He would have gotten much lighter off when he'd gone for us.

Auntie Says No
Auntie Suzy says that Sehos is not authorized to define its own tariffs. This makes us all curious at what will happen next. Because of course Sehos can't go on working in the red and, so, tariffs will just have to go up.
If Sehos has done everything possible to lower costs is another question. Talks next Monday.

Consider Curgas
Question nobody's asked yet, at least not in public: what will happen with the supply of cooking gas for Curgas? It all comes from Isla refinery. You bet it will become more expensive when and if it has to be imported.
We here were already considering buying an induction cooker anyway.

But We Don't
MAN wants finance minister Gijs & Bertha to stay. We don't. Supposedly, the budget deficit has been reduced to 47 million instead of 100 million. That's only for this year, though. And it's still a deficit.
Now it's Raad van Toezicht [Supervisory Board] and Cft's [financial supervision] turn again.
This is entirely based on the idea that higher tax tariffs will, in fact, result in higher tax returns which is not so sure at all. Not a word about real austerity.

Superfluous Rabbit Punch
Because of anti-Venezuela sanctions Isla refinery is in serious problems. Not allowed to use USA-software, nor buy spare parts from there. Isla describes it as a rabbit punch.
But as they're getting ready to refine the last 400,000 barrels of crude in Curaçao Oil Terminal, which they say gives them 4 weeks of work, what does it matter. (4 weeks for a 335,000 bpd refinery? They work as hard there as the Spoiled Brats.)

Tourism, Atrakos and Burglaries
This is really completely getting out of hand. People don't even dare go to the police anymore because they fear revenge by the criminals. Besides, what's the use anyway?
Meanwhile, everybody keeps being optimistic about tourism taking over where Isla left off. As for me, I'm pessimistic. If it takes over, I don't like it; and on the other hand, I seriously doubt if tourists enjoy being robbed and knocked on their heads.

Why Should They?
PAR Obispo asks auntie Suzy why ADC Diagnostic Center still hasn't submitted its 2017 report. Neither is ADC alone; it looks like the rule rather than the exception for many government instances.
Like they say, don't try this as home with the Tax Person.

It's a Gang!
Nine [9] spoiled brats are in court because they gave away sold drivers' licenses. This is alleged to have happened between 2011 and 2014. But did it really stop then? Just a question. Also, we are not told how many fake licenses they doled out.
At any rate, so even if a driver carries a valid license at a police check, that's no guarantee at all. And once you have a license it's easy to renew it.
One of the safest traffic countries in the world!

Military Power
Coast Guard of Aruba and Curaçao will be expanded with milicians. On land (Bonaire) training has been going on by police and Marechaussee [M.P.] how to curb riots.

Nice Job
Spoiled brats have gone on strike a couple of times the last months to protest against the so-called austerity measures, but their salaries will not be cut. Turns out, nobody knows which were on strike and who kept working. Of course not! That would have to be checked by other spoiled brats.
Total days they missed is 6 in 2 months/39 days, 6.5%.

MAN will only hand in 10% of their Staten salaries if all parliament members do so. Haha. They know damn well the others won't (probably checked first it with them!); very safe to say that.

Illegal Is the Norm
MAN Cleopa feels that all illegal buildings, started since auntie Suzy announced strict measures, should be demolished.
This because some people started building on a terrain they had bought from "somebody" but in fact it's government property.

Ordered an item from eBay. Price, incl. shipping to Miami, $16.98 (ANG30.90). Had it sent to PuntoMio; came in two parcels. So I had to send over two copies of the same invoice. Then, first they charged me for one package, ANG31.57 ($17.36) and I had to contact them to get the second parcel out of their clutches. For that one, they finally charged ANG39.49 ($21.72).
So I paid ANG71.06, $39.08, for an item that cost originally $16.98. More than double.
And hold on for the final blow: one package had been opened by customs and an essential part was missing.

Don't Get Sick
But the news is enough to make you sick: SEHOSpital tariffs will go up with 85%. One day will set you back ANG2600 ($1430), if you're a private patient.
What will be the consequences for insurance tariffs remains to be seen.

Just the Facts, Ma'am
And some figures: an ad just popping up on my monitor.
Curaçao - Miami — Round Trip $156.03 = $0.081/km
Curaçao - New York — Round Trip $330.63 = 0.103/km
Curaçao - St. Maarten — Round Trip $374.23 = 0.411/km

Sounds Familiar
A German group compared workers' salaries in Germany and South Africa, and concluded that SA spent more on salaries than any other country. Not because the salaries were so high, but because "in een geval is vasgestel dat twee werkers in Duitsland, teen minder betaling, die werk doen wat deur vyf werkers in Suid-Afrika verrig word." Translated: in one case, it has been established that two workers in Germany, at less payment, do the work done by five workers in South Africa.
Which reminds me.

Be Prepared
Predictions are that the hurricane season will be less intense than average. While those are welcome words, I see no reason why those eggheads should get it right this time, for once.
So I'll be taking measures.

Three Months
Curaçao government has approached several companies to take over and renovate Isla refinery. They expect to evaluate bidders in May and June and accept offers in July.
After all those years that doesn't seem quite realistic.
Even less realistic sounds the claim there are 50 interested parties, mainly from the USA and the UK.

Language, Language
264 students will go to Holland, and 150 will remain in the region. That is to say, 79% of those will go to the USA and Canada.
You can only hope that those 264 will not be bugged too much by their Papiamentu education.

Oh, Where Did It Go?
100,000 guilders which were supposed to be transferred to FDDK [sports development] have just disappeared. Those things go a long way to explain why we're in financial trouble.

LIAT pilots have agreed to a salary cut to keep the airline operational. Refreshing; we remember how InselAir personnel just hung on and on, until the bitter end.

Still Bad
The government announces that sales tax for some categories will go up with 1% and alcohol taxes will also be reduced: they'll only double. Which will, it is said, cause 0.4% extra inflation and extra 0.9% GDP shrink.
Government spending will remain the same. So much for "austerity".

Citgo Aruba: Down and Out
Looks like the end of the line for the former Lago refinery. Even while Citgo has recently borrowed 1.2 billion dollars, it sees no future in renovating.

Definitely Not Good
After the Russians, now the Chinese have sent part of their army (the largest in the world, they can afford it) to Venezuela to assist Maduro in his power struggle against the people. Colombia has warned Russia that it will not tolerate its military deployment. If you think that helps, try and think of something else. Like, will the USA and its Western allies stand by peacefully and see all that oil go to the East?
Many years ago, after reading a book on Nuclear Winter, forget the title, I figured out what would happen if an Hiroshima-type bomb was delivered to Isla refinery. That would eradicate a circle with a diameter of about 20kms; in other words, practically everything between Barber and Oostpunt would be gone. There were 1000s of A-bombs around in the 1990s, most of much higher power than those used in WWII. I'd be very much surprised if there weren't some waiting for us, on both sides.
And if WWIII should break out in Venezuela instead of, as it looked like until a year ago, in the Mid-East, we're just sitting ducks. Think of all those German U-boats in WWII hanging around here, hunting tankers.
Now come on with the jokes: it would get rid of our government and our spoiled brats, tourist hotels plus Isla refinery in one fell swoop. Being all fried, we can stop worrying about global warming. Hurricane Irma which devastated St. Maarten would be nothing, compared. Great! It would also wipe out Hato airport, telecommunications, water and electricity systems, hospitals, fire brigades, warehouses, supermarkets and all our harbors (including megapiers).
It may never happen. After all, the world had a narrow escape with Cuba already in 1962. But Khrushchev always struck me as being a more reasonable fellow than Putin seems to be.
At any rate, I wonder if our government's attitude of keeping out of the conflict is so smart. Look what happened to Holland, trying the same thing, in WWII: it was just overrun.

Curaçao government has asked Rijksministerraad to wait before interfering in what they feel is our business.
They also claim the situation is "exceptional"—for almost everywhere but this island, they're right.

Great! No, Even Greater!
The detested billboards which are now limited to 12m2 may become larger, up to 30m2 [129 to 323 sq.ft.] As long as they pay, sure.
You might wonder how the tourists feel about this (how we feel doesn't matter, we know that); but on second thought, the brand of tourists we get won't care less.

Danki Dio
Cft financial supervision "advised the Kingdom Council of Ministers to give an instruction to Curaçao to balance the expenses and income in its multi-year budget."
So all the crappy and probably useless measures by our government have been judged not sufficient. Most of us will agree. Maybe this will help. Wait for the yelping to start: Nos mes por! Neo-Colonialism!
First advise seems to be, the government must economize. Hear, hear.

Hope So for Our Neighbors?
Koninkrijksrelaties [kingdom relations] is now definitely threatening Aruba with interfering. National debt is now, after 7 years of Eman government, 91% of national income. Holland threatened this before but Eman went on hunger strike in protest. He probably figured he could afford to burn some fat collected during those years. At any rate, Holland collapsed and gave Aruba a Cft financial supervision, just like us here—and we've seen how much that helped.

Rational Rationing
In Venezuela, electricity has gone on a rationing system. Water not so much, that's merely impossible to get. "Critics insist it is the result of more than a decade of corruption and incompetent management of the power system, which the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez nationalized in 2007."
Aqualectra here was nationalised in the early 1980s. We're not that bad off; but then again, you could hardly call this a socialist country (small thanks to Don Martina and his gang).

What's the Use
It was Lights Out Earth Hour again last Saturday, and I skipped my yearly rant, figuring nobody here participated anyway. Well, almost nobody. But then there were praising comments in Amigoe newspaper and elsewhere how beautifully moving a moment it was.
Give me a break. You might as well light a votive candle—in fact, better, because then at least you're not in the dark.
"The people that walk in darkness" strike a familiar note?

Which Burns the Question
Since 10-10-10, the Glorious Day of Independence, less than 9 years ago, we have had 72 ministers.
And the question is: do all those has-beens get a pension? No wonder we're in trouble, then.

Lots More Houses
We're told that since 2001 the number of houses on the island has grown from 50,000 to 75,000. We're not told if that includes illegal buildings.

That's Off
It's definitive now: new arrangements guarantee people's free access to all beaches. Wonder what the hotels' reaction will be. And the tourists'.
Also wonder how long it will remain definitive.

God Help Us
PM Rhuggenaath wants more time to work on the budget deficit. As if that will help: the more time they have, the more the deficit grows.
He also wants to borrow 60 million to help stimulate "growth". He says the government can then work on the deficit between 2021 and 2025.
Mark, that will not be his government.

Don't Count on It
CHATA hotel association says they'll have 1500 new jobs by the end of the year, tourism is growing and going so well. 300 must have a speed training right now.
We'll gladly help them count. 12:15-12:20 Internet gone again.

40% in Highest Scale
So 40% of the spoiled brats can't possibly earn more. But that doesn't stop them from wanting more.
PM Rugghenaat promised to fire the 300 extra brats given a job by Prick Pisas; not a single one has been fired.

Super, That Market
A video is making the rounds (haven't seen it myself) where a Centrum Mahaai supermarket customer peels off price labels to reveal an older one—showing, of course, an expired date. Economic affairs is investigating.
This just keeps going on. Sue that market!

Moscow Hypocrisy
A Russian lady claims that Holland has given the USA permission to use Curaçao not only for humanitarian purposes re. Venezuela, but also as a springboard for military intervention. "We hope that the Curaçao authorities will not allow the island's territory to be used as a springboard for another Western adventure capable of destabilizing the situation in the region."
Talk about chutzpah and Western adventures! Russia just sent over 100 military "advisers" and an Antonov An-124 (biggest plane in the world) full of supplies.

That Was Quick!
The ink of the signatures on the UTS sale has hardly dried, and now I already have no internet. For over two hours; then it came back, fell away, and came back again. How can you work like that?
11:40: out again. 11:49 - back again.

But Elsewhere...
The Caribbean economy has been growing by 1.8% last year, says Caribbean Development Bank CDB, at the same time projecting 2% growth this year. Even Suriname is growing, need I say more?
I wonder if our negative growth, or (remain positive!) shrink is accounted for in that figure.

Oh, where is Ong-a-Kwie now that we really need him? Alas, he died in 2002. But at the age of 70, he swam ashore at Princess Beach Hotel to have himself arrested for illegal entry. Which it wasn't, as the Burgerlijk Wetboek [civil law] states in article 5-26 that all people have free access to all beaches.
Only, the government doesn't care. They want tourists and tourists don't want blacks on their blindingly white beaches (90% of the population is black). So not a thing is done to guarantee that free access, even when it's part of the agreement between the government and the hotel.
Now it's Marriott that put up a fence. Last year it was Baoase. And before then, Caracasbaai. It just goes on and on.

Good Riddance
UTS Telecommunications has finally been sold for ANG339 million. Of which 95 million remains after all costs have been paid. Which will be used to grow the economy. Read: to disappear in the budget deficit.

M*F*K Mudbelly Cooper starts agitating that there's a group that wants to import 250,000 barrels of Nigerian crude, pay Isla Refinery to process them, and sell the refined products on the international market. Only, nobody wants to talk with the group, Cooper says.
But the government says they are well aware of this group and it has in fact received a "teaser" (whatever that means), like other interested parties, from Isla Refinery; only, the group has not reacted. Besides, the group should contact Isla Refinery, not the government if it wants to do business.
Note: the capacity of Isla is 335,000 barrels per day, so Cooper's group wouldn't even keep Isla one day longer in business.

A Mere Thought
Doesn't the Brexit shambles remind you of our three referenda? Or is it just me?

I Don't Believe in Yesterday
Yesterday, a landsbesluit law should have been signed that would enable the sale of UTS telecommunications to Liberty Latin America, we were told all over.
Today, we read nothing.

Go Figure
Number of tourists in February was 18% higher than last year; but amount spent only 10% higher.
And cruise tourism went down.

There You Are, Here We Go
According to Dick Drayer, who's gradually developing himself as another national resource, the government spends one quarter of the entire budget on salaries.
Frankly, I have no idea if that's much or not. It all depends. But I do have a suspicion more could be spent on, er, road maintenance, to name but one example.
Another item that makes you think is, they're paid best of all trades except the financial sector. So now, when we will have to start paying more taxes, they want more money. Spoiled brats.
The other National Resource I mean is Marguérite Nahar, who alas has been quiet recently.

Not Important
U.S. President Trump next Friday meet with five Caribbean leaders who have sided with the United States and most Western countries in backing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó. Those are from the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Haïti, Jamaica and Saint Lucia.
Mark who are missing: Aruba and Curaçao. In spite of the refineries. Or because of? And Haïti will be there. Haïti! I mean to say.

It is unknown, we read, why the 500kg of drugs that were made to disappear from the police office in Rio Canario last year were kept in total, instead of destroying them and just holding on to a sample, as should be the regular procedure.
Well, it may be unknown but it is perfectly understandable. What you destroy, you can't steal.
Besides, the amount has now magically shrunk from 600 to 500 keys. I guess that sounds better; if not much better.

PM Rhuggenaath wants a "comprehensive multi-year plan" to achieve his taunted "growth strategy" pipe dream. This plan should be ready three months from now, and be supported by a national consensus. Forget it.
Too late anyway, Ruggie. Much too late. Apart from the fact that we all know the USSR and satellite communists were always into that and never achieved a thing.

4 Months to Go
Or maybe even 2, then it's all gone: Isla Refinery cannot pay workers after that date, as Curoil distribution has stopped buying products.
Not that there are any.
Possibly by the end of May. Ominous date: that's in time for the 50 years' repeat 'celebration' of the revolting May 1969 revolution. Wait for the riots. Barricade your home. Look for a safe place to park your car. Buy a fire extinguisher. Maybe even fly to Venezuela for a safe week-end.

On Strike—Again
The civil servants spoiled brats are again planning a strike to force the government to pay them more money. But what with? Little do they care; take it out of us tax payers! Sure.
But trade union center Central General di Trahadornan di Corsow CGTC has told minister Gijs & Bertha that "the people are angry" and do not want higher taxes. Sure.

Yes, it may well be a fable. Extra newspaper claims there is 4.2 billion guilders' worth of unpaid taxes hanging around. That's only 5,683,355 times more than the deficit over the next three years (if that is correct, agreed). So why should we have to start paying higher taxes?
That's 776 million profit tax, 617 million income tax, 556 million sales tax en 440 million payroll tax. Add 700 million AOV/AWW (old age welfare) premiums and 378 million health insurance premium.
Question here of course burns: who says so? Another question is, how much of that is owed by, just an example, InselAir?
That's $2.3 billion.

One More Optimist
JetAir will shortly start flying; their first Fokker F-70 plane has already arrived and another one will get here next month. That's it: the first one will be used for flying and the second one will be on standby. Seems an expensive way to run an airline.
Flights are planned to Trinidad, Jamaica, Haïti and Medellín—not Miami. Small wonder, that F-70 must have been built before early 1997 so the US FAA will certainly have a beady eye open.
JetAir has no operating license, as yet.

Bye, Beer!
A bottle of beer, for which a bar now charges 7 guilders, will cost 10-12 after Gijs & Bertha's "austerity measures" are introduced. Says one bar owner, "do they really think that we will sell as many bottles for that higher price, and figure a correspondingly higher amount of tax coming in?" Touché!
Also, the tourists won't like their room prices going up that much; they'll become just too expensive for what they have to offer. Less tourists! makes my mouth water... nothing is all bad.

This Will End Badly
There's no way this government will finish its 4 planned years, mark (not only) my words. At least, Shorty will then still be safely locked up during the inevitably coming new elections. But we have plenty others eagerly jostling to replace him.
The same days, part of the spoiled brats at Kranshi [civil registration] went on strike because they want more dough.

Good to Know
I was still wondering about auntie Suzy's plans to make more money by importing Chinese quack medicine, and what just fired health inspector Huurman thought about that. Now I hear that SVB Social Insurance Bank at the time immediately figured out that there was not and would not be enough money to pay for all that, so we're saved by the bell.
Here's an idea: next time, let's appoint a real M.D. as minister of health. Dream on...

Tromp Comments
Former Central Bank director Tromp, who was fired and subsequently won 2 court cases on his taxes, has commented on the austerity measures. In a nutshell, he agrees with me (and I guess, most of us).
He also reminds us that, at the 10-10-10 independence, he was for a take-over by the Kingdom of all Curaçao's debts, with a complete stop on future borrowing. But that didn't happen; with the result that we are again deeply in debt. And why do you think? That's our fine upright upstanding politicians, who figured "if we can't borrow, we can't steal."
Says Tromp: "This approach is a recipe for an outright disaster."

Finance ministers Gijs & Bertha still call it that: the government will shrink the 2019 budget by 120 million guilders. Only, it won't. It will just try and collect that much more in tax; so you and I will have to economize instead.

Huurman Raus
The health inspector's contract is now definitely canceled. Which leaves us to wonder about the follow-up.
And yes, he does not agree with auntie Suzy on alternative medicine. Even more reason to be sorry to see him go.

Unions United
10 trade unions forming Solidaridat are discussing the austerity measures and their consequences. Which they don't like.
But the spoiled brats keep asking the government when (not if) they will get more money.

Now What, Auntie?
Auntie Suzy wants to limit the use of medical specialists. She also feels some of them earn too much (look who's talkin'). But the specialists absolutely refuse to comply.

Small Wonder
Ministers Gijs & Bertha want to stop spoiled brats to spend money without authorization. And what a surprise, it's the fault of the ministers anyway who fail to correct aforementioned brats when such facts are pointed out to them. The least they should do in case of such a transgression is give a reprimand, the heaviest is firing.
There's an idea!
And we wonder why finances are such a mess? No, we don't.

Emergency Measures
Isla Refinery and Curoil distributor are looking at emergency measures in case the workers' salaries can't be paid, which may (hah!) result in agitation.
This rather contradicts Isla's earlier statements that they had plenty of money... plenty. We now also hear that there's a backlog of 50 million in payment of their bills, and that refinery maintenance is in fact non-existent, in spite of contrary claims of Isla management.
Cleared Up: It's PdVSA who's supposed to pay those salaries, and it's PdVSA who owes our government 50 million.

More, Worse and Less
One of the things that would be looked at to fight the budget deficiency is the way foundations are subsidized. This has been reported on already by Mollen Consult BV; in 2014. Nothing has been done with it since then; in fact, things have only grown worse.
So we will have to pay up. Time to refer to the Laffer effect once again, something our Great Leaders in their ignorance never seem to have heard of. There is a limit to how much tax people will and can pay; beyond that, it just stops.
Which reminds me. Weren't we promised lower taxes 3 years ago?

A manual for the use of drones was found in prison last year, but no details were given. Now one of convict Shorty's army of lawyers comes out and tells us it was among his stuff. Shorty, she says, is always working for and thinking about a better Curaçao and that's why he's interested in drones. Amazing! And we all thinking he's only interested in power, money and sex.
And the Dutch military who have searched Shorty's cell the night before carnaval have abused their power by leaking this to the media. Poor Shorty!

Road to Nowhere
Sounds like the title of a good old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby flick. The mangroves on Rif must be (partly) rotted out for a new tourist road from the mega-pier. Nobody needs it; but of course it brings in money—not mentioning where and to whom, that would be infamous slander, libel and mudslinging. Meanwhile, they're talking about austerity measures?
Not to mention the mangroves have a great function. Don't forget, 1877 hurricane Tecla ruined all of Pietermaai but did hardly any damage in Otrabanda where the waves were stopped by the mangroves. The only building that was destroyed there was right on the shore. Where the Renaissance Hotel is situated these days. Other candidates are Holiday Beach, Hilton... what's the use of going on.

Everybody agrees
Except, of course, the government: the austerity measures will be a disaster. After CHATA now it's entrepreneurs' club VBC and also Downtown Management Organization who express that feeling.

Journalists are enraged because they had to wait for half an hour at an announced press conference, without any minister turning up. Hey guys, you're on Curaçao here!

Goodbye to Tourism?
CHATA hotel club warns that the austerity measures will not be popular with tourists, and that they will start avoiding the island. Just when we really need them, they add.

Just What We Needed
But the Venezuelans keep coming, and it's figured each costs 350 guilders/day [$190]. Its not very much, but much more than I cost. And multiply by 10,000. Holland is prepared to support with €130,000; how generous.

It Ain't Funny
GZE China (remember?) still has to pay Isla refinery an amount of ANG201,775 back, for a jaunt where they invited 29 persons to China.
In more-or-less related news, Werner Wiels, who is already under suspicion of fraud, had a "secret" credit card while a member of the MDPTeam, of which account 27,000 guilders can not be tracked down.

No Kidding...
A motion introduced in Staten to have members hand in 10% of their sumptuous salaries was voted down. Another motion, to enable them to do this voluntarily, was accepted.
What a show... just like our free-spending clowns. MAN proposed the first motion, safely well convinced it would never be accepted. I'm even sure they asked around first. And of course none of them will do so "voluntarily".

The total of budgets deficits from now to 2022 will be 739 million guilders "if nothing is done."
Does anybody realistically expect that this can be compensated for by further squeezing out an already impoverished people? With already high taxes? Which by the way were promised to be lowered next year or so?
Government says that the tariff for garbage collection hasn't been raised for decades. Exactly the point: they should have done this gradually, but they didn't do a thing.
That sugar tax: that will help! 2 million guilders extra.

New Job for Tilly
Ms. Tilly Pikerie, who has spent the last 7 years at home with continued salary, because of "alleged" fraud and not-so-alleged convictions for forgery and scams, has now been hired to head the Rif development project which will cost 15 million guilders. We can be forgiven to expect she'll grab part of that.
This of course has to be seen in the context of government growth to save money.

That's a Big Laugh
Staten parliament has cut costs by 10% in the 2019 budget, to help save money. Also, members are free to turn in part of their salary.

LHD versus RHD
It's announced that right-hand-drive cars were involved in 2000 accidents last year, that's 9%. Doesn't mean a thing as long as we don't know what's the percentage of RHD versus LHD cars. In fact, it's less than 1 in 4.
Must tell you, I have spent time (in England) on left-driven roads in LHD cars and I didn't like it much. But if I bought a RHD car here, I'd mount a camera in the top-left front window with a dashboard monitor and that would solve the problem.
Funny enough, InterAssure has the best drivers and New India the worst. So if you're insured with New India, cancel and go to InterAssure—so they'll get the worst drivers in future!

Not an Option
Knock me over with a toothpick! minister Gijs & Bertha says, referring to the austerity measures, that "doing nothing is not an option"—but that's exactly what he and the rest of the government have been doing for the past two years (and before).
I stand corrected: they did something... spend money like crazy.
And [trade] Union Solidarity says "The situation is getting worse and worse, but the government seems to be doing nothing to reverse this."
"We don't feel that there are actions taking [sic] to solve our economical problems. We don't see anything that this government is doing that could give us hope for a better future." The union will not accept more measures that would hurt the workers.
I hope that includes these announced measures.

"Safest Traffic in the World"
Remember? That was the present government's idea when they started out. But like everything they undertake, it's a giant flop. Every car or motorcycle driver has a chance of 1 in 4 per year to be involved in an accident. In 2017 there were 8,000 accidents which grew to 13,000 in 2018.

Not Only the Government
We are being robbed all over. Wandering through a botika yesterday I found an item by Johnson & Johnson, Neo to go— very handy, a sort of Neosporin spray to treat wounds and cuts with. Price ANG22.29, which I found expensive. So I started checking: in the USA at Amazon, Walmart and Walgreens it's less than $5; or ANG9.10. "Only" 2.5 times as expensive here.
Must be the freight (the thing weighs less than 10 grams, I guess). Or Venezuela!

Here's the Bad News
Sales tax will go up from 6%-7% to 9%; if the system will be adapted as announced earlier we're not told. Selikor garbage collection from 20 to 35 guilders/month. There is not much room to cut government finances, we're told. You could have fooled us all there.
And before I forget, the deficit is not 40 million but 53, some small error was made there: instead of 127 it's 173 million this year (a difference of 46 million the way I figure; but then, I use a calculator); next year 159 million and 188 in 2021. If not more, of course.
And oh yeah, it's all because of Venezuela's problems. Not our government's fault at all! Except, we all saw it coming.
And what price those government growth plans?
A good thing is, as for now that wage step will not come as long as there's no money. Judge has ordered the government to talk to the unions today.

Stop Me If You Heard This One Before
The new HNO hospital will not be finished in April, but 6-8 weeks later; which is announced will be November. (Got to buy a new diary, the one I have is worthless: says that's June instead.) At any rate, that's just a target date which may still change.

There You Go
Isla refinery has requested the subcontractors to reduce costs to 50%. Means to me, they might as well shut down because repairs and maintenance will become almost non-existent. Hopefully I'm wrong.
Bad news for the harbor, too.

You and Me Should Have Such a Job
By the end of this month the spoiled brats will get paid their loontrede [Google translation, wage step]: they will get more money. Figures, of course, the country is drowning in money—not.
But if they haven't worked for 6 consecutive months (for several reasons), they don't get any; just like those who already earn their maximum.

Parliament head Atacho suggests it might be a good idea to have Staten meet once every week. So they don't already? Methinks they get paid enough.

Here's the Evil Plan.
This is what the government plans to do about the deficit; we will hear more next Monday. Let's take them one by one.
Cft's deadline has been postponed for a week.
We again get to hear that "foreign trips will be limited"—as if. Every government I remember came with that cliché at some point. Also, less consultants will be used.
More spoiled brats will be gotten rid off (hah!), and overtime will be reduced.
Taxes on alcohol, tobacco will become higher, and the sugar tax will also be introduced. Good luck with that.
Trash collection will become more expensive, guaranteeing that the illegal dumps will grow even faster.
Purchase tax will be limited to ABB algemene bestedingsbelasting [general spending tax] collected at the border, and at the final point of sale. This will replace the present chain of sales tax repeated at every level; but you don't believe it will turn out cheaper for the consumer, do you?
Leges and permits will become more expensive (drivers' license? passport? sedula? fees for tax appeal court? there's a good one).
Finally, people who illegally occupy government terrains will have to pay "gebruiksbelasting" [usage tax]. That should bring in some money; so why hasn't it been done decades ago?
And the old Bestuurskantoor [island government office] which has been sitting empty since 10-10-10 will be sold to civil servants pension fund APC and used to house several instances who are now paying rent elsewhere. That, however, will not pay until a year from now.

We Saw It Coming
The solution to the necessary government budget cuts is, you guessed it, higher taxes; which means higher import duties and sales tax. Not one single word about actual cuts, except that in that case government services would be reduced in quality and level. (That would be hard to achieve.) Also, no intervention by the Kingdom.
Cft financial supervision, Holland PM Rutte, our PM Rhuggenaath, ministers Gijs & Bertha.... why go on listing them? That whole government is just criminally inept and maybe even insane.

Bate Your Breath
Cft financial supervision has sent minister Gijs & Bertha a letter, but we don't know what's in there—yet. As the March 6th date, dreaded by everybody in Fort Amsterdam, has gone by and Holland/the Mighty Kingdom has not taken over, we are getting really curious.
And oh yeah, the deficit turns out to have grown by 12 million since December 20.

But How?
interCaribbean, in what hopefully is the last spasm, has been declared not to owe InselAir $500,000; even worse, InselAir has must pay the process costs of ANG9764. It's not much, but even that Insel may not have, being bankrupt and all.
So much for that action of confiscating the fuel of an interCaribbean plane at SXM. Sheer blackmailing piracy.

Positive Growth
PM Rhuggenaath does not agree with Cft financial supervision, who keep wanting the government to scrimp and shrimp at the rate of 127 million guilders. No, following obsolete Keynesian economic theories he's convinced government must grow and spend more money, that will do the economy good! And, he says, he's glad Dutch PM Rutte (another royal #$$) agrees with him.
When and where did these guys go to school, fer chrisakes?

That Was Fun!
So-called (I have my doubts) social media have been showing a video of cops kicking and beating some guy—who may have asked for it. "The cops don't go out on the street to beat up people" the police comments. But they did, still.
21 people have been arrested for drug, drunkenness and not having an ID.
Also, the number of pregnancies and abortions is confidently expected to go up for the next 9 months, as always. Less girls of 14-16 age get pregnant these days; the trend is to 17. I guess that may be called an improvement.

Fumblers and Bumblers
The Maal family is not so delighted with the plans to open an underwater park around their Oostpunt property. While they have nothing against the park an sich, they will protest this in court as it is a violation of their property rights. They did so before and that law was canceled.
Problem is, the government used the wrong map. Again. Also, the government plans to give away Maal property to Carmabi which of course they could not.

Please, Tell me He's Joking
PS™ ex-PM Whiteman wants the negotiations with GZE on the take-over of Isla refinery reopened.

Que Vadis?
The vessel Seven Seas has left Curaçao harbor 21 hours ago, but it's not at all clear where to. Course 286°—which will not get it anywhere in Venezuela. Another drama down the drain.

One More Time
The pressure by tourists on nature is a great problem, especially but not only in Bonaire. On land as well as in the sea. It has been going that way for years but nobody cares. Let's get more tourists!
And in Curaçao's Bandariba, to the East, illegal trash dumping and burning, and diabase excavations are still going on without any action being taken to stop it. People living around there are at their wits' end, especially as they are threatened if they complain.

The sewage system of the SEHOspital doesn't work as it should, with the result that lots of the sewage arrives in the mangrove-wood across the street instead of at the Klein Hofje sewage plant; which doesn't properly function anyway.
Which of course reminds us all: is the Shut/Chute situation nearer a solution? And, will the new hospital have a better sewage system?
Seems the pump station is out of order as well.

Bad All Over
Only 53% of the Curaçao labor force has a paid job. Bonaire is doing best of all former Antillean islands: 70%. Not great either (remember: Bonaire is part of the Netherlands now, not autonomous and independent like we).
Of course, drug dealers, thieves, muggers and other black workers are not included in that 53%.
Raad van Advies announces that the yearly accounts are unreliable. We're told: "Good financial statements may not contain more than 18 million guilders of errors or uncertainties. But the Curaçao financial statements for 2017 amount to no less than 1.425 billion guilders in error and 5.786 billion in uncertainties."
Am I right? Does this mean a total of over 7 billion guilders' worth of mistakes in 2017 alone? And we here getting all excited because Shorty made 300 million disappear in 2 years (with a little help from his friends).
We await March 6 with bated breath. With this in mind, the official hole in the budget is peanuts: only 127 million.
But the hotels did better in January then last year. "Based on 11-14 properties." So they don't even know, or tell, how many.

No Kidding
Ex-PM, now convict, Shorty wants damage compensation from Curaçao because he should never have been convicted, he says; even though court, court of appeals and high court in den Haag have definitely and irrevocably done so.
The man really strikes me as having gone insane.

Getting Serious
Though Isla refinery denies there is no money to pay employees' salaries, managers do have received instructions not to renew contracts and not to sign new ones. This means that sub-contractors will be forced to close down now or in the near future.
Looks bad? Not all over. Company training has stopped—but so has sponsorship of carnival parades.
If there is no new supply of crude oil, the refinery will have to shut down before next year comes around.

Nice Job
3 Coast Guard members that have been fired in 2013 still received their salaries until 2018. The judge now confirmed that their firing wasn't necessary because their appointments as civil servants had been canceled already.
They had been, or not, been fired because of a disciplinary investigation.
Question now is, will they have to pay their salary back; and will they do so?

The Rotterdam Count company is not afraid of the fraud and corruption associated with Isla refinery, reason why Aramco subsidiary Motiva got out while the going was good. Don't be surprised, Count was involved in that bribery affair.
Count's Bollebakker also claims there's still another interested party.
A letter in Knipselkrant Curaçao claims that Count, like GZE (remember? only too well), is just a sales company and has no expertise whatsoever in processing oil. Another letter claims that Shell had reserved 2 billion guilders for dismantling the refinery, but the Curaçao government (read, Maria Liberia and George Hueck) preferred to keep the refinery running.

You're Telling Me
VBC entrepreneurs' club notes that, while Curaçao spends more on education than many other countries, among which the USA and Holland, and even top-20 scoring countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, has what you may call deplorable results to show for it. VBC thinks the solution is another system and another language (English). But I'm not so sure.
As long as the teachers let themselves be manipulated into useless strikes, I'd first have an intense look at them. After all, without thinking tempo dulu [good old times] were so great, education seemed to work much better in the time when I was a victim.

May Be Something in That
Menki Rojer of K*NT (so you're warned where this comes from) accuses Raad van Advies of having changed opinion on their interpretation of the Integrity Law, now that their lover-boy Pinhead Martina has been forced to take his (temporary?) leave.
Point taken. I was wondering about that myself.

More Money Down the Drain
The trade unions want the government to give fired InselAir personnel money. There even seems to be a law covering this in case of "mass dismissal".
They do have a right to "cessantia", but that can take months. In any case, that would be only if the premium has been paid, am I right? Which we can be pretty sure InselAir didn't do.

As If
The government wanted to adopt a law to give everybody (at least the spoiled brats, of course) an extra half day off next Tuesday, last day of the carnaval hysteria. But they started planning too late so it will be work "as usual".
As if.

Sunrise Airlines will temporarily cancel flights between Haïti and Curaçao. They say they make heavy losses and are waiting for a smaller airplane before resuming.
Interestingly, the company has 6 aircraft and 50 personnel. A sharp contrast with just bankrupt Insel which had 1 plane (sometimes) flying and 130 personnel.

Screening Not Constitutional
Now they found out: Raad van Advies [advisory council] which in 2012 said the screening law for cabinet ministers was okay, just declared that it's not and has to be adapted.
Question is, what caused them to change their minds?

Not Funny: Ridiculous
As there are sanctions forbidding USA companies to deal with Venezuelan companies, and thus with PdVSA running Isla refinery, it is becoming more and more difficult to sell Isla's products.
But (did you know?) Curaçao is the biggest customer but is buying less and less as well. Reason: Isla's products are too expensive.
Good thing, then, Isla hasn't been online for a year or so.

That Would Be Telling
An inquest is going on about the drugs stolen from a police building last year. But for the time being, we the public will not be informed about the results, delivered on January 31. But what with strikes and Venezuela problems, the cabinet has been much too preoccupied to focus on the report.
Translation: we'll have to figure out how to get around what's in that report first.

That's Better
To compensate for the wanton destruction of a coral reef during the building of the second mega-pier, the government will install a marine park at Oostpunt. This has a length of 20kms., including Caracasbaai and stretching around Oostpunt itself.

That May Work
Kudos for Maduro-Curiels Bank which has canceled the accounts of Robbie dos Santos and his Administratiekantoor Dollar nv (AKD); and in one fell swoop those of Jamaroma Lotteries nv (Smart Play) of Sint Maarten, and also The Money Game nv and Caribbean Investment Group, of Sint Maarten as well, en TMF Management Services ltd and L&G Universal ltd of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
Roibbie has gone to court to fight the bank's decision.
It may help to fight this lottery cancer, one of the things that suck money out of our people. Next step: the casinos. Dream on...

Hurray for the New Committee!
Isla refinery has installed a new committee to search for a partner to take-over after PdVSA expires. Good luck to those 5 members who'll lead the PMO Project Management Organization. You will get to know their names once they've been fired (but probably not prosecuted) for fraud and bribes.
You and I both wonder how much those committee members get paid. We will only hear, later on, how much they've stolen; if we're lucky.

Doom Looms
Isla refinery is sending operators who just finished their theoretical training home by March 15. The writing is on the wall.

Prepare for Change
The liquidity position of Curaçao which, sparing you cumbersome technical explanations, should be around 1.00 to 1.05, was 0.7 around January 1st. Not good.
Looks like the threatened take-over by Rijksministerraad just about 1 week from now is unavoidable, I'm thinking.

My Take Is Different
A rumor reached me that Robbie's Lottery is at the point of going bankrupt. I have problems believing that. But the trend of the APP was that this would cost 200 jobs, and that we all as Bon Yu'i Kòrsow should do our utmost to save Robbie dos Santos and his outfit.
I don't agree at all. Let him go to a place that's even hotter than ours. Suckers.

Can't Be
The press tells us that the Puerto Rican ship Midnight Stone has arrived in Willemstad with a cargo of aid for Venezuela. We can also read is has arrived in Kralendijk.
The Panamá registered Seven Seas is still in Curaçao.
According to vesseltracker.com, Midnight Stone matter of fact is in Willemstad.

Por Fin
InselAir will be declared bankrupt tomorrow. Unless a miracle happens. Since the company is nothing but an empty shell with no aircraft and no operating license, it's beyond everybody's imagination that it will find a buyer.
The 33 million loaned donated by the Unwise Men Pinhead Martina and Uncool Ice because the company was "too big too fail" (what they also said about US banks in 2008, remember?) are gone and lost forever.

Inflation? or Optimism?
Clearing up a bookcase found an Amigoe article of September 25, 2004. It says "990 million needed to fix Isla"—that's the heading. In fact, the article says "between 500 and 900 million guilders" and "maximum 900 million." So don't ask.
This has now grown to "at least $3.5 billion." That's 4 (or 7) times that much. I couldn't find inflation figures for that range of years on the CBS statistics site, but figuring an average inflation rate of at the most 4% year, with a starting figure of 500 million it would be 936 million now; starting at 900 gives us 1.685 billion; and at 990, 1855.
That's guilders, though. In $ that would be 515 million, 927 million and 1.02 billion. Less than 1/7th, 1/4 or 1/3. Either we have been fooled; or the Big Brains have been fooling themselves; or quite possibly both.

At the Brazil-Venezuela border, 2 people have been killed and more shot by Maduro's goons trying to stop aid from coming in.
Also, the entire internet has been cut off "to prevent people from watching the [Branson] concert" at the Colombia-Venezuela border.
The ship Seven Seas has been prevented by Curaçao authorities from loading a cargo of aid meant for Venezuela. Shipments will only be permitted when Venezuelan authorities agree.

Well Well Well
Turns out, Imalootin is also prosecuted because he fixed the so-called inkeerregeling, where you didn't have to pay a large part of your taxes if you confessed up. That was to save Robbie dos Santos from paying up.

Back to Work
Court has ended the strike by the spoiled brats. They must now get back to "work". This means that Bonaire will get food again; it didn't get through here. (We had no problem.)
At 16:00 the judge said they must get back to work within 2 hours, when almost all government offices are closed anyway.
But it does mean Carnival will go through.

He Got That Straight
Aruba minister Croes has been convicted of corruption; got 4 years in jail. He will appeal, but his excuse doesn't sound so good, even if it sounds true: "What I've done, does every politician of Aruba."
And in St. Maarten, long-time politician Heyliger has (finally) been arrested. He was a member of the Shorty-mafioso Corallo club.

It's Official
A report on social-economic development of all Dutch Caribbean islands says that "since 2010 there has been no economic growth, declining purchasing power, rising unemployment, and government finances have been deteriorating." You don't say.
That year sure brings back memories.

Fair Funhouse
And yesterday it was announced that the border with Venezuela was open again?! "Venezuelan authorities have reopened the country's maritime border with the Dutch Antilles islands after closing it on Tuesday, a regional military commander told Reuters."
You ask "What authorities? What military commander?" Very good questions.
Reminds me of those mirror mazes you find at fairgrounds.
Oh, hang on, it's closed again; by yet another general.

Rumors, Rumors
An airplane has arrived from Miami, Florida with stuff collected by the Venezuelan community there, meant for aid to the people in Venezuela. But as there is no traffic from here to Venezuela possible, the load of cargo is being collected and stored here. Meanwhile, rumors are that a Palestine-like flotilla is on its way to deliver them, but it sounds like no more than that: rumors.
This is not the official US-aid promised by president Trump, though.

Pinhead Martina has resigned as minister in connection with a criminal investigation by th public ministry. Martina allegedly did not get "enough distance" from his shares in the Guardian group when he became a minister.
But no need to worry, Martina's resignation is only "temporary". You are quite entitled to wonder what more Martina has done that's not entirely, er, correct. I confess I have often done so; you may have noticed.
Problem here is, the complaint was filed by K*NT's Monkee.

Why Wait?
Cft financial supervision has given the government, to nitwit minister Gijsbertha, until March 6 to come up with a way to cover the 127 million guilders hole in the budget. If not, the Rijksministerraad [the Mighty Kingdom] will take over.
You want to know? I hope it does. Chances are, it will. There's no way Gijs & Bertha can comply. If anything, by then the deficit will be still larger.

Don't Scare the Tourists
Cruise ship tourists walked into a mob of demonstrating spoiled brats and got scared. Now cruise ships warn the passengers about "turbulence" ("fasten your seat belts"?) Next step, they may stay away from the island.
I must say, when the same thing happened to me in Italy and Poland, for all I remember elsewhere as well, I found it entertaining.

Nobody seems to know if the border with Venezuela is really closed or not. Hey, here's an idea: let's send over a warship and find out.
Last news is, they will open again next Sunday. But who says so?

Go To Work
The government is preparing an action in court to force the spoiled brats to go to work. They plan to continue their strike for the third day now.

Just Great
10 teachers announce that they have no desire to be represented by Sitek teachers' union. Go figure.

Make Up Your Mind
Such as it is. Reuters lets us know that Maduro's blockade has been canceled (in less than 24 hours).

Still No Crude
In spite of earlier announcements, Isla refinery still has no oil to process. The refinery is now trying to get the oil in tanker Icaro, which has been seized by debtors, transported ashore and held there, so the ship can go to Venezuela and pick up a new load.
Which for the time being looks like a pipe dream.

Fine with Advent
What's with auntie Suzy and her gang of no-goods? A guy working in Advent hospital has built himself quite a history. In 2003 he had problems in Holland for his over the limits sexual behavior, reason for him to come down here. Either Sehospital didn't care or didn't know, since he got a job there. But again he was forced out because two of his colleagues complained about the same thing. No reason for Advent not to take him in (no surprise there).
Inspectors of health Alcalá and Pereira knew about him, but didn't care. Then Huurman told his minister-boss auntie Suzy, who in turn did nothing. She already knew all about it anyway because of ombudswoman Martijn's report.
Finally, dr. Nagy Bakir must now appear in court.

They Don't Care
A thousand spoiled brats civil servants have gone on strike. They don't accept minister Konket's proposal to wait with the payment of indexation and the 3 percent lump sum arrangement, for the screening requested by the Financial Supervision Board (Cft) and the subsequent supplementary budget.
Why should they care if the country goes bankrupt?
Isla refinery workers are on strike (again) as well: they are afraid that Maduro will get angry and stop all future oil delivery. As if.
Of course, the hand of Errol Bakoba may have helped. Also, there are rumors that Venezuelan lawyer and Maduro henchman Escarrá is on the island to incite union bosses—and pay them.
Those rumors seem to be confirmed.

Problem Solved
Venezuela has closed the maritime borders with the ABNC-islands to prevent any aid coming in. President Maduro denies there are shortages. Well, that solves the problem with the trade unions who do not want Curaçao to be used as a hub.
Doesn't solve the problem for the Venezuelans, though.
Not so strange: Maduro does accept aid from Russia.

Welcome, Tourists
7 tourists who were relaxing at Snake Bay, AKA Playa Wachi, were robbed by armed men who suddenly appeared, threatened them with what may have been a toy pistol, and ran off with all their purses and bags. They used a car with license 3773-H. This may have been stolen of course, in which case it's surely abandoned now; if not they're candidates for the Darwin awards.

After a monument was unveiled to the memory of USS Erie, which was sunk near Willemstad during WWII, it was vandalized within 24 hours by some royal #$$-hole(s) who red-paint sprayed the text "FUCK TRUMP" over it and a plaque.
Whatever Trump has to do with WWII or the Erie is anybody's guess. He was only born on June 14, 1946; almost a year after the war ended. But what do those fools know.
At any rate, the damage was repaired even quicker.

They Want No Hub
They do not want humanitarian aid to Venezuela to be distributed via Curaçao as hub, as I confidently predicted (it wasn't hard). Of course Bakoba stands there screaming and spitting fire. But why do those dummies listen to that guy?
The usual no-good even worse political parties KDNT, PS™ & Movemientu Progresivo Atrasá are yelling the same tune. Just like MAN, a government partner.
Meanwhile, Venezuela declares it will never attack a neighbor. That is news for sure; even if true this time.
All in all, I have very little doubt that this hub function will go through, as it should. Then, an upheaval is planned in Venezuela tomorrow, the anniversary of the 1958 revolution that ended the last military dictatorship there.

For Them, Too Late—For Us, Not Yet?
In South Africa, voices are going up to privatize ESKOM, the national energy utility. After years of mismanagement, the company doesn't even earn enough to pay costs and interest. It has had 10 managers in the past 10 years. Moody's is expected to degrade the country's status to rommelstatus [junk status].
Mchunu, confident of SA president Ramaphosa, claims that it's the fault of Eskoms "swart bestuurders" [black managers]. (Mchubnu is black himself, like Ramaphosa.)
Here, at least Aqualectra is doing better than a couple of years ago. Good time to privatize!
I have no inkling what race Aqualectra's managers are, and less do I care.

Help for Neighbors
Curaçao government has accepted becoming a hub for help to Venezuela from the USA, on condition president Maduro agrees and the USA-FOL Hato base is not used.
I guess Bakoba will spit fire.

It Was Worse
2018 inflation was not 2.4% but 3.1%; negative growth 1.7%. Every sector went down, except tourism and financial services.

Let's Hope So
Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) is not prepared to extend InselAir's Air Operator Certificate (AOC); at least, that's what the media say. In that case, all bets are off and InselAir is dead.
Too bad about those 30 million and, much worse and more, never paid taxes and premiums.

Joining the Club
We'll get another Curaçao airline! Isn't it exciting? This one is called United Caribbean Airlines, but its trade name will be Jet Caribbean. The company has 2 Fokker F-70 aircraft. As that model went out of production with the closing of the Fokker factory in 1997, that means they are 22 years old. More geriatric planes; remember InselAir.
The company plans to fly not between the ABC-islands but to Haïti, Santo Domingo and "probably" Colombia, starting in April.
Good luck.

Fer Chrissakes
The trade unions do not want humanitarian care for Venezuela from Holland and the USA to be arranged via Curaçao. They are afraid that this will result in military actions from the island.
Look at this from the logistic point of view: Hato airport has the longest runway in the region, stemming from when the first DC-8s and 707s started to fly. It can therefore handle the largest aircraft around, like the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and the Antonov An-225 Mriya, and thus is an obvious choice for an aid hub. Which function it fulfills quite often when hurricanes strike in the area.
But strike out "trade unions" and replace with "Bakoba" and you understand right away.

That I Want to See
Police are threatening a strike during Carnaval. Oh wow! That could be fun. I'm not planning to join the spectacle anyway, but it would surely result in rivers of blood (even with such cops as we have). Not to mention damage done to hearing. Guess it's an empty blackmailing threat, though.

New Dead Line
InselAir's aviation permit expires tomorrow at 23:59 (I take it that's 23:59:59.9 in fact). But as they're not flying, that's a very moot point. The Air Operator Certificate has to be renewed every 6 months. Naturally, the alleged sucker candidate to take over wants a guarantee that there is such a valid certificate. The judge has now given InselAir time until February 26 to renew the certificate.
Meanwhile, personnel still haven't had their money; figures: with no flights, there's none coming in.

Fleas in Their Ears
And I hope they bite. The judge has declared the complaints of prisoners, no doubt led on by ex-PM Shorty, complete bullshit. It may have happened once there were problems with the toilets, it's conceded; but shit happens. That the food is allegedly no good is based on 1 occasion where breakfast came later than usual.
There were never any complaints before Shorty joined the chaingang. Rot on, Shorty, rot on.

New Record
Youth unemployment has never been so low as last year: 29.6%. That's not very low, you say and I concur. But wait until you read why: it's because so many people are emigrating getting out while they can that the population shrinks positively. Total unemployment went down from 14.1% to 13.4%.

No Integrity
Raad van Advies [advisory council] has returned the concept law 'Bureau Integrity' to the minister in 12 days, but nobody says s[h]e understands why. This was one of the main items on the government program (fighting corruption). Please control yourself; don't snicker. Nobody in government is commenting either.
The Bureau was supposed to open this past January.

Ho Hum
The teachers' strike is over. We read about it in the media, but almost nobody noticed it was going on.

Move Your Ass or It's the Axe
Minister Gijs & Bertha have to hurry with updating the 2019 budget with, er, more realistic measures to balance the deficit, or Cft financial supervision will advise Rijksministerraad [kingdom ministerial council] to intervene.
I can hear the usuals screaming already "neo-colonialism!" You won't be surprised to hear me sighing "wish they would" and "much too late." I am totally convinced that Gijs & Bertha won't come up with a feasible solution. Are you kidding?
Cft says the problem is budget discipline. Whatever gave them that idea? One gropes in vain for an answer. Seriously, the last (and first) time this happened was under Shorty.

Oh Those Pious Christians
A surgeon working for Advent Hospital has been accused of raping "a number" of female patients. Turns out, he had the same problem in Holland in 2003, was kicked out and started working for SEOS, where (or so goes the story) he was kicked out for the same reason. But Advent didn't seem to mind.

Come On, Now
InselAir says there's another sucker, prepared to take over where interCaribbean left off. It's some "natural person" (means, private) in Trinidad and some outfit in Florida. If that goes through, I'll eat my hat. In public.
The judge says it's hopeful.
Saw a photo of 4 InselAir guys leaving court, with Unwise Man IJs looking rather worried. He ought to.
Update: Next day they tell us "the deal is as good as done." Hrmph. I say, where's my hat?

Bakoba Back?
Now Isla refinery interim manager de Lannoy has sent the unions a letter in which, contrary to what PM Rhuggenaath said, he tells them that Christiaans is out of the PMO (Project Management Organization). PMO will consist of 3 members, de Lannoy, trade union boss Gevers and a third person still to be selected.
No betting is needed: that would be Errol Bakoba.

Didn't We Know It
The Central Bank has calculated that the economy will shrink this year with 1.7% instead of the earlier announced growth of 0.4%. I told you so. Not that you need to have occult qualities to predict that. One look at Gijs, Bertha and pinhead Martina is enough.
Add the predicted 2.4% inflation (if not more) and sigh. If only it's not much worse...
The year 2018 closed with a deficit of almost 40 million instead of the expected surplus of over 40 million. Gijsbertha announces that, in order to comply with Cft financial supervision's demands, an extra 132 million will have to be coughed up. By us of course, in the form of more taxes. At least Gijsbertha realizes this will wreck what's left of the economy.

Illness Import
The Venezuelan refugees carry all sorts of infectious diseases, and Curaçao has asked for financial support to protect the population against infections. Named is polio, but there are more. Just like in the South-West USA.
There it's also mumps, measles, diphtheria, and even typhus. Until now, no smallpox.

Unions Don't Like It
Solaridat Sindikal in which several trade unions cooperate is strictly against the government's announced Groeistrategie [growth strategy] plans. They say it's just a way to arrive at a dismissal law (ontslagwet) where workers can be fired without further ado. More to the point, it will mainly stimulate growth of the government. Less to the point, like other trade unions said already, it will flexibilize the labor market, so bloody foreigners can get jobs here.
Also no word on the refinery yes or no.

But Why?
A 9 January email doing the rounds, seemingly signed by Aramco manager Hasselmeyer and addressed to former Isla refinery manager Van Kwartel (fired), makes the impression that Motiva/Aramco were very interested in a take-over of the refinery. This was also the impression of a Curaçao delegation that visited Houston 3 weeks later.
So why Motiva/Aramco suddenly lost interest is more and more of a mystery.
Meanwhile, the trade unions' ultimatum that Christiaan should be fired and replaced by Bakoba ended yesterday at noon with a compromis: Christiaan has got another function and Bakoba remains OWT.

Between 1997 and 2000 Curaçao exported rice and powdered milk to the EU, but the documents were no good. Now Holland would have to pay a 37.5 million guilders' fine; but the judge advised it would not be necessary.
You wonder, where did that rice and milk come from? Can't help you there; only that they're not from here. It stinks, that's for sure.

The Strikes Go On
Education minister Alcala-Wallé hopes the teachers' strike will be finished this week-end. InselAir personnel refuse to wear their uniforms until their total salary over January has been paid. If that doesn't happen today, actions will follow.
If that means a strike, work on their one and only aircraft will stop as well which will results in no flights (and no cash-flow).

For once, Rhuggenaath shows his teeth: he does not accept the condition put by Isla refinery workers' trade unions, to wit that Christiaan must be replaced by Bakoba.
More interesting details on Bakoba: he is on PdVSA's payroll and was a member of Wiels's gang MDPT that stole 20 million and almost saddled us with Chinese GZE.

Give Me 14 Days More, Only 14 Days More
The country, in this case finance ministers Gijs & Bertha, are given 2 more weeks to clean up the budget. 52 million guilders deficit of the past years has to be balanced out this year. The government wanted to spread this out over 3 years, but this was no-noed by Cft financial supervision.
The title is a reference to the 1940s hit "Give me 5 minutes more, only 5 minutes more" [to seduce you, of course].

Another Ex-Con in Parliament
Shorty's M*F*K replacement will be Juniël Carolina. The good thing is Shorty wanted another (probably even worse) guy, but this one is bad enough. He's been convicted for burning somebody's face with a cigarette, I read. He was higher on the election list than the other one. You must always think... think... Shorty.

Not Zero, Not One, But Two!
According to Reuters, Curaçao is negotiating with two candidates for a take-over of Isla refinery since the deal with Motiva/Aramco fell through.
Naturally, we're not told who they are. That would be telling! It must be a secret (or they may fall on their faces once again).

NO! to Bakoba
The government has refused to accept the oil workers' union's demand to fire Christiaan and take on Errol Bakoba in the negotiating team for the future of the refinery. One problem with Christiaan seems to be he's associated with Green Town. But there are plenty more problems with Bakoba. The unions have announced the strikes will go on. This is really getting out of hand, with roads blocked by fires and all.
A rumor I can't get confirmed is that Bakoba once tried to get Maduro to snaffle Curaçao, on condition Bakoba would be made governor. I wouldn't put it past him—don't trust him as far as I can throw a VLCC.
Not much else going on these days, what with the Tumba festival going on.

Isla refinery workers, even though the management assures them and suppliers there's enough money to pay them the rest of the year, are understandably worried. They want negotiator Christiaan who has been negotiating away for two years with no result, to be fired (good) and replaced by Errol Bakoba—a well-known Maduro-fan (bad).
PM Rhuggenaath kept assuring them, to quote Suid-Afrikaanse Boerwar president Paul Kruger "Alles sal reg kom" [all will turn out well], but, hey. We know how thatcame out.
I freely admit it strikes me as funny that Motiva/Aramco shrink back from having to deal with corruption. I mean, come on.
So here's my prediction for what it's worth. It looks like Guaidó will be replacing Maduro shortly. In that case, he'll need money. And while PdVSA now says they can't go on with Isla because they lack the billions needed, it still is and has been for years the best, if by now not the only, refinery they have. So what can Venezuela do but get Isla back to work?

Chaos and Rumors
Meanwhile, Isla personnel is said to have gone on strike, and yesterday evening a rumor was sent to many cell-phones that the gas was running out, which naturally resulted in a panicky rush on the fuel stations. But Curoil assures us they have a 3 month stock.
One wonders where this started. I guess, in jail.

KTK towing company has been able to get an agreement to work for 6 months with 1 tug in Trinidad. Better than nothing, but not much better. They are on the brink of bankruptcy since the tanker flow to Curaçao has stopped.

Shorty Agitates
The prisoners of one block in prison, there for sexual offenses and white-collar crimes, have gone to court to protest the teddibly bad circumstances in which they are forced to live. It's inhuman treatment! But the country says they're using old reports as proof and shows recent photographs where it's obvious those complaints have been taken care of.
As this is the block where Shorty resides, with a much smaller prisoner density than elsewhere in the jail, it looks pretty obvious who's behind this. Especially when we see the term "human rights violation" pop up. Not so good when you try to get time off for good behavior!

What Else?
InselAir's workers have not received their complete salary over January. No money. Good news about this may be, staff has not received anything at all, we're told. Depends on what you call "staff", I guess.
Oh yeah, and an old story is back: their only F50 plane is kaput so no flights.

It's a Trend
InselAir claims again that they have found another sucker who wants to take over that disaster area now that interCaribbean may be confidently expected to be out. If that's true, which is highly doubtable, those guys don't read newspapers?
Then, Motiva/Aramco have dropped out of negotiations to take-over Isla Refinery. Maybe all those management bribes also have to do with it, would you think? But no worries, Isla management say they are already working with a new partner.

Bribes and Fraud
Ex-director Roderick van Kwartel, the technical manager and the project coordinator of government nv Refineria di Kòrsou (RdK) together with a consultant have spent $750k, possibly more up to $4.25 million, in attracting a new operator. It's too big a mess to go into details here, but it looks there's only one man in the negotiations with clean hands. In a final report by Ivy Advocaten [lawyers] in Amsterdam, the guy called Melder [Informer] claims that van Kwartel c.s. tried to get Melder to bribe them. The four guilty parties deny this, they say it was just to test him. (Well, that certainly backfired, even if true.)
Names dropped are Count, AOT, and IHS Markit. Whoever they may be.
Those other four guys working for Isla have been kicked out already. Meanwhile, we've lost Motiva/Aramco as partner, supposedly because they didn't want to get involved in this mayhem.

CHATA hotel association says there will be 1500 new jobs in tourism this year, because so many rooms will be added. But there will not be enough schooled locals to fill them, so there will have to be import.
How many rooms may be lost because of hotels getting closed down we're not told.

VPCO protestant schools doe not agree with the teachers' strike action organised by their trade union Sitek. VPCO deplores the disruption of society caused by Sitek and also mentions thatthe present situation is hardly caused by this government.
Regardless, Sitek announced they will keep on striking. Impotently, as that has not given the schools real problems.

Stupid Waste
This is not about the government, but about Google. They're just as bad (but at least they get somethings right, I grudgingly admit). Just got this ad on my screen:


But I'm there already, dummies! That's just one of the things CTB spends our tax on.
More or less the same happens when I just bought whatever; I get a Niagara or even Victoria of ads trying to convince me to buy exactly that. But I just did so, dummies!

Get Him
The judge has decided that the case against Imalootin can proceed (with a couple of other ones). But this case concerns 'Maximus', the murder of Helmin Wiels.
Yeah, I know Imalootin is supposed to be innocent until convicted (3 times, like Shorty). But I guess I'm psychic.

Venus in Trouble
Fall-out of the Venus affair, now in court: there was a nightclub (sorry, now closed) La Tasca in Otrabanda where Venezuelan women, so-called tragos, were forced to dance with and seduce men to buying expensive drinks for them. A well-known racket. Owner, his wife and a sister have been accused of human trafficking and smuggling. At the same time, in raids on 4 addresses, a total of 38 Venezuelans have been arrested. It's not clear if these were male or female, I guess both.
It always amazes me how ready and willing many women are to trap their "sisters" into schemes like that. Hrumph.

Sure Looks Like It
All those strikes have been orchestrated, writes Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) Curaçao to the press. (Not to be confused with VBC Entrepreneurs' club.) The unions had better train their members with all kinds of courses instead of organizing these petty protests which belong in the past.
Oh yeah, the police were on strike too. That's finished.

More of the Same?
While Maduro and Guaidó are fighting it out in Venezuela, with a mysterious Russian plane flying in and out, presumably to transport Maduro's hoarded gold, Guaidó has announced his plans. Big surprise: more socialism.
PdVSA will remain a national company, but production will be brought back to pre-Chávez levels. This must take lots of time and money, but Guaidó doesn't mention that. At least it means no more free oil for Cuba.
Guaidó's plans are partially drafted by Leopoldo López, the leader of his Popular Will party, one of Venezuela's largest opposition parties and a member party of the Socialist International. Its party manifesto states that government-provided food, shelter, and education are basic human rights. So there you go again: another big socialist state. Even Helmin Wiels didn't dare go that far.
Also, there's a National Assembly's amnesty law, which allows soldiers to defect to Guaidó and not face prosecution for any human rights abuses they may have committed under Maduro's orders. Great, no? A trick to get army criminals for followers so he'll have power.

Nice Going
Last year's inflation was 2.8%. Combined with a positive shrink (howzdat?) of 1.9% it's easy to understand why there were hardly any fireworks and X-mas trees around last December.
This year, inflation is expected to be 2.4%. We'll have to see.

It's Our Culture
Now Kas di Kultura [cultural house] is on strike as well. They should have talked with auntie Suzy first; but maybe Shorty forbid that. At any rate, they say their subsidy has been reduced to 3.5 million/year, which is 2.3 million less than last year. No wonder they're aghast. But education minister Alcalla-Wallé says they did not follow the rules, that's why they get less.
Hey, would this mean we'll be spared Carnival and Tumba Festival? Dream on...

Could Be
The strikes that have been going recently (there were more than I wrote on) are allegedly organized by Shorty's flunkies; at his instigation from jail of course. Some people predict more strikes in the near future. Meanwhile, the government (in this case auntie Suzy) claims all those strikes were unnecessary if the strikers or their reps. would only have contacted the government. This I doubt as well.

Truer Word Was Never Spoken
The future of Isla refinery is not clear, we read. You don't need the arguments. Management is optimistic, but the unions, not so much.

Lies, Damn Lies &c.
CTB offers statistics on December. Another top! Let's all have a beer. Number of stay-over tourists amounted to 47,000, of which 18K came from Holland, 10K from the USA and 1.7K from Germany. Total 19.7K. So where did the rest, 27.3K come from? An appreciable number.

Some Sucker
InselAir has found a "new party" who sank more money in that trap, so personnel will get their salaries this month. Ain't that great? Who's that sucker who's said to consider financing the obligations from the debt agreement and further reorganization at Insel? I'd like to meet hir/hem.
Court has decided that interCaribbean's aircraft of which the fuel was seized on St. Maarten, must be released as soon as iC had paid the $500,000 guarantee. Which, you wanna bet? they'll never do. Who wants to do business with these InselAir guys?
I figured it out; say that the aircraft seized (at least its fuel) is an MD-80 (probably it's smaller) with a fuel capacity of 5840 gallons which today costs $1.708/gallon, total if filled to the gills less than $10,000. What can you call this but petty bullying by Inselair?

That Strike
It's the teachers who are on strike. Toilets are dirty and there's not always paper. But minister Alcala-Wallé says she doesn't understand it: the cleaners have been paid, so? So the toilets are still dirty. The Selikor workers got what they wanted.

Stop Me If You Heard This One Before
High court has bounced convict Shorty's case back: he's out of Staten/parliament and will not be paid his salary. So he will proceed to try and get his "rights" on the international market. How, I can't get.
I wonder which M*F*K member will replace him.

There we go again. The accord between Holland and Curaçao is protested against as neo-colonization! A protest is organized by Movementu Kousa Promé, notorious for the membership if not ownership of Rosalia.
Why bother anyway, the thing will flop like a fish ashore.

Let's Have a Strike Together
Since yesterday, Selikor and Damen Shipyard (CDM/DOK) workers went on strike. It was no success as far as Selikor is concerned, so they continue today, while the teachers go on strike as well. Damen went back to work.
A school went on strike as well, in this case the pupils. They protest that their school has not been cleaned since Friday. The cleaning company says they are not paid by the government.

Could It Be?
Now workers and guards of Nos Futuro prison want to have the management changed. Their complaints are there the security head does not consult his personnel, and payments for overtime are too late.
Suggestions that ex-PM convict Shorty is responsible I doubt very much.

RdK/Isla interim-director de Lannoy says that the fact there's no Big Black Smoke coming out of the funnels doesn't mean that the refinery is not rebooting. In fact, it is, following the scheme. He says. Cleaned up their act? They've had time enough for that.
On the other hand, he also says that it's becoming harder and harder for Venezuela to sell crude, thanks to the USA measures. So they're booting up just to process contents of one lousy tanker?

Pray You Don't Get Sick
While inspector of health Huurman is still sidetracked, his boss auntie Suzy has appointed Sirving Keli, health sector director, as acting inspector of health. He fits in much better, agreed: he knows of illegal practices and hasn't moved a muscle to stop them (civil servants are prohibited to run commercial activities, which is a Big Laugh indeed).
Huurman is known to be against the Mad Bull Project, which was signed by among others auntie Suzy and Pinhead Martina. Now, is that perchance why he had to go?

They Never Learn
When (if?) UTS telecommunications will be sold, ATM Telecuraçao television will be kept out of the deal, and remain a government-owned company. Figures: not only is this a welcome propaganda outlet for the government, it's also a source of jobs for political friends. But it comes expensive; for us.
How this conforms to earlier news that UTS would be bought lock, stock and barrel is not clear.

Being director of Isla Refinery seems to entail the occupational risk of getting fired. Now it's van Kwartel and two of his close cooperators. This after he replaced Wiels not so long ago. We get to hear very little details here; except that it was "following a corruption probe."


Off With His Head!
Or even worse better: give him a necklace. (That's a car tire drenched with gasoline put around your neck and set afire. A favorite South-African pass-time to get Whitie.) So is the thoroughly corrupt South-African government reacting to the minister van finansies, who dares warn that if Afrikaans is phased out as instruction language, people will be sorry 30 years from now. Is it only me or do more people see a parallel here?
It doesn't matter to me: Tito Mboweni is black himself. But his country has been shooting itself down for 30 years already.

Blow Me Down
PM Rhuggenaath announces that the government developed a new communication plan in which interaction, transparency, credibility and expectations are central. Holland is all for it and even co-signed an accord.
Would be nice, huh? But pardon me for having my doubts... one more government plan. They would have to get rid of most spoiled brats, for starters.
The thing is called Bon bini for business or strategie voor Curaçao [welcome to business and growth strategy].

Sorry, But
IMF says that the Curaçao and St. Maarten economies will grow this year. They omit to tell us by how much. You say it couldn't go much down? I'm not so sure.
They also say that here, the financial position has been improved last year by government measures. Like this one?

Good Riddance
M*F*K Mudbelly Cooper, as from now, plans to stay away from parliament meetings. Of course, he'll keep on receiving his salary. I still think it's great: will save time and means less obstruction; and the money is lost anyway, even if he comes to the meetings.

Good News—For Us
The government may not enter into new financial obligations until end next month. After that date, new commitments must be approved by auditors. This to try to get the budget balanced.
One of the things they did was stop the subsidy for ABC bus company. Now I have to admit they were ridiculously cheap compared with what you pay in most other countries I've been in, but this may mean bankruptcy.

So Get Rid of It
There's only one potential buyer left for UTS telecommunications, and they want it lock, stock and barrel. Great, fine, excellent. Doesn't matter what they offer.
Director de Geus says that personnel with a contract need not worry, they'll keep their jobs.
Gijs and Bertha say that the money will not be used to fill budget holes; no, instead it will be used to finance new projects that will pay money. They're both incurable optimists.

The USA, Canada and 7 American nations, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Paraguay have recognised Guaió as interim president of Venezuela. But our PM Rhuggenaath still shrinks from doing so. (And he's so small already! Mentally I mean, not physically—that would be ad hominem. Even if he is).
Naturally, Russia and China, Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, Syria and probably Iran and North Korea are still behind Maduro as well. Aren't you proud to be in such great company, Ruggie?

Congrats! Smoke Is Back
Driving by Isla refinery yesterday, I noticed that the smoke was back, oozing out of the funnels. Took some time! About twice as long as announced.

We will get 16 more traffic control cameras. Seems there are 33 already. A fat lot of use they are. What this will cost is not mentioned (nor asked by the media).

Talking Pinhead
Econ. dev. minister Martina says that Red Tape is no obstacle for foreigners to invest in Curaçao. That explains why [not only] his colleagues are always going on about reducing red tape, to attract more investors. But of course, less red tape means less spoiled brats civil servants which means less faithful voters.
Granted, there are plenty more reasons why you wouldn't care to invest here. Eliminating red tape is just one small step in the right direction.

Good Luck!
Holland PM Rutte is here and can be seen all over, shaking hands and bumbing fists with our PM Rhuggenaath. He's here to improve trade; Holland supposedly sees Curaçao as a bridge to South America and Dutch traders would love to use that.
Sorry boys, this is not the Golden Century; times have changed and nobody needs us for that.
Also, Holland says it will help our government with the execution of the "growth initiative"—the growth it talks about solely concerns the government. Great. Just what we needed.
Some people see this as a way for Holland to get a closer grip on our independent government. In that case, Holland has my blessings.

More Huurman
Health inspector Huurman is now accused not to have done anything about illegal acts among Curaçao psychologist; like fraud and unlicensed psychologists. But Huurman says he has not had time. As this was last December, that sounds reasonable.

Maybe This Works
Foundation Clean Air Everywhere has started a court case against Curaçao government because, finally, the government is responsible to hold the refinery to its environmental obligations as stipulated in, among others, Hinderwet [nuisance law].

Forget It
InselAir has seized the Jet-A1 fuel in an interCaribbean plane on St. Maarten. That will help! to convince interCaribbean to stay away from InselAir.

Count Our Blessings
At least we here got PM Shorty in jail, but in Aruba and St. Maarten the corruption is really much worse. Now, the public ministry has finally got ex-minister (of social affairs, youth and labor) Croes in court. The only thing is, the public ministry has to admit it can't prove that Croes has been paid for all exemptions granted. He is accused of official bribery, abuse of power, embezzlement and the laundering of a large sum of money. The requisitory contains 171 pages.
Now Croes and other suspects in what's called the Ibis affair are angry because the investigators came by at 6 in the morning when the kids were still at home. And life has been sooo hard since; the accusations have had much influence on the 23 suspects' lives.
Croes's lawyer is Marije Vaders, who by a coïncidence (?) also worked for Shorty.

The dog shelter seems to be off. I've seen a lot of well-meant but asinine projects, and this was one of them. Weirdly, building started before the building permit has been granted.

Fair Trail

Get Lost, Bore
Ex-PM, convict Shorty is at it again. He wants the court to hear some Italian lawyer who's supposed to be a witness that our public ministry has been lying about correspondence with that of Milano, Italia. I can't see the point, he's been convicted and it can't be reversed.
Shorty also claims that he can't be deposed as MP because he's in jail. But that's not the point: he was also convicted to keep out of active politics for 5 years. Methinks acting in parliament is not "passive", as his lawyers claim. Shorty also complains that his MP-salary is not paid. Well, yeah.
I looked this up for Holland and "passive suffrage means the right to be electable, which generally comes to people who can actively vote." Shorty is forbidden to take a part in "active politics" which thus means he has no right to vote; so he's not electable either.
So much for his lawyers.

He also did not want to appear in court in his orange prison uniform, but no such luck. And oh yeah, he keeps nagging about special rights to receive people and do business in jail. I never denied the guy has chutzpah.
There were 'about 74' demonstrators in support of Shorty carrying signs "Fair Trail". My spell-checker thinks that's okay, but I doubt it.

Can Go On for Years
Negotiations to choose a new operator "are still in status quo pending the finalization of the internal investigation at Refineria di Korsou," the company said in an email to Reuters.
Aramco-owned Motiva was expected to be indicated about now as PdVSA's successor to run the refinery.

Once again, meat and fish has been found in 18 of 20 visited supermarkets, infected with these dangerous bacteria.

1000 Cows
The guy who wants to start growing 1000 cows on Curaçao has not given up! He says he has a terrain (but where is kept a secret; why?), and work is being done on a landsbesluit [say, law] and the necessary permits. Only, it won't be cows, and sheep and goats are also out of the picture—it will be 1000 bulls.
No doubt the bullshit will be discharged in the sea, who cares?

One More Soapera
Health inspector Huurman's suspension has been extended one more month. For now, that is. That would be the second time.

When Green Force's Brouwer was following and photographing an illegal trash dump-truck he was tipped off about, he was attacked and a rock was thrown at his windscreen, breaking it. Brouwer has taken photographs and filed a complaint; but he says he has done that nine times already in the past few years and action was taken "maybe once".
In another story, the cops were arresting a guy when they had to arrest 2 more because they started to interfere. A gun was found in their car.

Invest: In Government
Finance minister Gijs Bertha and PM Spineless want to smear out the budget deficiencies over 3 years, so they can waste even more money in the meantime in "investing" in "financial management and in socio-economic developments. These investments will manifest themselves in more effective tax collection, management of personnel costs and subsidy costs."
You think so?

Tears of Laughter
Pinhead Martina once again begins to blab that there are other companies interested in a take-over of InselAir. Naturally, he doesn't name any.

Drama in Three Acts
First, we read that InselAir has come across with the necessary bank guarantee, so the suspension of payment will be canceled later in the day, when details have been arranged.
Then, the devil dwelled in those details: there is no bank guarantee from interCaribbean. So the judge has not approved InselAir's creditors' agreement, but at InselAir's request has postponed declaring the company bankrupt. The company has 8 days to protest the court's judgment.
Now, interCaribbean is supposed to have to pay a penalty of $500,000; but InselAir also holds them responsible for $11,050,000. Optimists.
Curtain? If only. Another wasted week to follow.

Fine With Me
Cft financial supervision for Curaçao and St. Maarten may be extended for 3 more years. Both countries have, in the period 2015-2017, not done enough to balance their budgets.

Long Way to Go
Traffic Techie Pasman reminds us that one of the items in the governmental agreement was to make Curaçao one of the ten countries with the safest traffic in the world.
Better make haste: we're halfway in the present period and no results whatsoever.

But How?
Budget deficit last year was 39.1 million. Optimist Gijs Bertha (minister of finance) had counted on a surplus of 42.4, for undiscernible reasons—except that he desperately needed that to compensate for the 2017 deficit of 11.8 million.
All in all, the deficit now stands at 155.9 million guilders (~ $86 million). Nice work, Gijs & Bertha.
Worse, Cft financial supervision warned him it would be unacceptable to start cutting the budgets of Raad van Advies (RvA), Algemene Rekenkamer Curaçao (ARC), Ombudsman and Sociaal Economische Raad (SER). Not so coïncidentally, all organs who are separate of the government to function as independent controls.
Go figure, Gijs & Bertha.

Won't Work
Police warns that the last 4 weeks there's an enormous increase in atrakos [robberies]. So they advise to install an alarm system and to turn your house into a cage. Doesn't seem to occur to them they should go out and catch that rabble.
Since some weeks ago 5 men armed with bats knocked out our neighbors' window, tied them down and stole everything that they fancied, I expanded our alarm system with panic buttons all over the house and extra-loud exterior sirens. These guys arrived in a pick-up truck of which license number is reportedly known to the cops. So...?

No Bonus?! Strike!
That will help... As KTK tugs is as good as (or worse than) bankrupt, workers will not get a year-end bonus. (And I thinking that was last month.) So they went on strike, thus taking care the company will go bankrupt even sooner.

Not News
We all knew it all the time: Curaçao students in Holland do much worse than their counterparts. After this was reported last week, first came the denials. But now minister Alcalá-Wallé confirms it. And it's all over. She mentions culture shock as a reason plus poor language proficiency. Gee, would you think?

No Kidding?
InterCaribbean took a mortgage on one of their aircraft and are now able to pay for the take-over of InselAir. But the deal is still not done. What agony.

Watch Out
Traffic last year has been just unsafe as 2015 and 2016, with 18 deaths. Which works out at 120 per 1 million inhabitants. Holland has 32; Lithuania, the worst in Europe, 100.
Police say alcohol, speeding and not wearing belts are the main causes.
I have to ask, what then is the use of all those road "improvements" which just slow up traffic? They don't seem to have any effect on safety at all!

Who Knows?
Motiva, the "preferred bidder" for exploitation of Isla Refinery, will itself supply the crude oil to be processed. Says PM Rhuggenaath, who still declines to call the company by name; it has been leaked by Antilliaans Dagblad. Meanwhile, the meager contents of one Venezuelan tanker are being readied for processing by Isla later this week. They don't seem to be in much of a hurry there.
Motiva is a daughter of Saudi Refining, in turn owned by Aramco.

Tweet: "War advisory | Armed forces from different countries of the Americas communicate with their contacts and peers in the FAN (B*) [Venezuelan armed forces] about the certain disposition of their governments to recognize shortly @jguaido as president in charge of the Bolivarian Republic of VENEZUELA. Will they react?" [Google translation from Spanish.]
Trump's national security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro to get out while suggesting the U.S. is ready to recognize National Assembly leader Juan Guaido as the country's president. A far cry from Obama's last-minute act of sending 1.7 billion dollars to Iran, which promotes terrorism—also in Venezuela. The 'different countries' are Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Perú. Paraguay preceded them by cutting off diplomatic relations. But our brave PM Rhuggenaath dares not do such a thing. Wimp. No ruggegraat [spine].

Say, Those Neighbors...
According to a video shown by World Israel News, Venezuela is heavily infiltrated by Hezbollah, who use the country for terror training activities. Cuba, who else? and Colombian ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) from Colombia have joined the fun. Also involved in drug trafficking and organized crime. These types are sent out to other countries with a Venezuelan passport.
Only consolation is, with the incredible inflation (1 million percent!) this can't go on much longer; especially since Iran has now entered an inflation that's growing even faster than Venezuela's. And there the people have really started to protest instead of trying to leave.

Not So Much
Inter Caribbean had ordered 500,000 liters of diesel fuel, but less than 60,000 have been delivered. All that hoopla...

Won't Be There
M*F*K invites us all to Wilhelminaplein next Friday, where the committee "Justice for Gerrit Schotte" will make clear why his conviction was unjustified.
Typically, a time is not mentioned. Fools.

Hato Chaos
The airport immigration was completely clogged up when some 800 passengers from Amsterdam, the USA and Canada arrived at about the same time and had to wait for hours to get processed.

Quackie Constancia, we now learn, is getting divorced from her partner in crime. After a session in court yesterday she filed a complaint that her husband threatened to kill her. Maybe they got in a fight over how to share the swag?

All Mixed Up
Now Curoil announced (again) they will sue Inter Caribbean. Curoil denies the allegations against the company and wants them rectified. What allegations? "Curoil consciously works against Inter Caribbean, does not comply with the rules and some of the employees use the public company's money for their personal affairs. According to spox Lasten, those statements damage Curoil's good reputation."
And about that high sulfur content, Inter Caribbean claims the diesel fuel was tested and approved by the same lab that works for Curoil.

More Entertainment
Now auntie Suzy and Curoil say, the diesel fuel imported by Inter Caribbean contains too much sulfur. (Next they will say it's imported from hell; they forgot to mention the brimstone.) If Inter Caribbean doesn't like it, let them go to court, says auntie.
I guess they will. In fact, Curoil earlier said they would.

Pop That Corn!
Curoil is going to court to fight the competition. The latest excuse they found is, the diesel fuel not imported by Curoil is held in leaking containers, tank cars etc. That's pollution! Auntie Suzy says so herself. Some excuse.
Of course, everybody immediately throws a beady mean-glittering eye at Isla refinery.

What a Bore
InselAir, while waiting for their final bankruptcy (or not) has one (1) aircraft left—and still pays out half a million guilders in salaries for 130 workers per month. They admit there's "a serious cash-flow problem" and at the same time say they're doing very well. Twelve days to go.

Santos! Competition!
Even though free import of oil products has long since been enabled by the government, government-owned Curoil doesn't like it that Inter Caribbean Trading & Shipping has imported 500,000 liters of diesel fuel for sale to people who run generators. Curoil especially doesn't like it that said diesel is cheaper than what they offer for sale.
So, first Curoil started claiming that the competition was of inferior quality, and then got auntie Suzy to order the importer to remove the diesel fuel from the island in two weeks.
Isn't government great? Keep tuned.

Now What
Isla refinery, which is supposed to have at least some crude oil to process, still hasn't rebooted. Isla blames CRU utility, who in turn claim they have everything at work.
So? At least one of the two is lying.

Governor Wout tells us that for the first time in many years (that would be around the 2nd referendum?) more people are leaving the island than coming in. She says, "it's the economy stupid."
I don't know if she's figuring in illegal "undocumented" to be PC, Haïtians and Venezuelans.

Budget Breaks Down
Cft financial supervision has sent minister Gijsbertha back to do his homework. The new budget may have been improved, but not by much: cost reductions are not sufficient and tax income estimates are too high.
Good start, Gijs and Bertha. Keep it up!

Spare Me
The New Year's speeches have been held. "Together we'll make this a good year" blah blah blah. If you want to read them, go to the media. No Comment.

Piracy from Paradise
Let us call ourselves lucky that we are farther away from Venezuela than Trinidad is (15kms). Out there, fast Venezuelan pirate boats approach fishermen, drive them away with guns and then steal their nets, complete with fish—then they speed back to Maduro's socialist paradise. It happens every week. Another tactic is to take prisoners and ask ransom, mostly between $5,000-10,000 but up to 33,000TT; say USD750-5,000/ANG1,300-60,000.
Of course, those same fast boats are also used to smuggle drugs in.
Maybe our fishery here isn't worse the trouble. The drug smuggling certainly is.

Packaging History
Made me laugh... In the mid 1970s, there was a lot of concern over the use of paper causing trees, or rather forests, to be cut down and ground down to pulp. So McDonald's decided to switch over to the foam-plastic clam shell to package their hamburgers in. This move at the time was acclaimed by practically everybody.
Fact is, paper production was and still is much more polluting than plastic manufacture and has a much larger ecological footprint. But arguments don't matter to the Greenies.
At any rate, then the fake ozone hole scare set in, and the acid rain hysteria, so plastic became a no-no and MccDonald's switched back to soggy paper/cardboard containers. While plastic is such great stuff! And by the way, it takes up much less landfill-space than plastic. Doesn't matter: Google up "plastic straws" and you'll find thousands upon tens of thousands, I am not exaggerating, of the same admittedly horrible photo of a baby turtle that had the bad luck to get entangled in a plastic straw. So by the end of the year, on Curaçao all "single use" plastic will be banned.
I'm stopping this ranting rave right here, because I seriously doubt plastic can be stopped. Hey, look around you and check: Isn't a ballpoint or magic marker "single use"? Pill containers? CD and other packaging sleeves? Trash bin liners? It just can't be done, am I right?
Remember acid rain? People pointed at a dead tree and knowingly said "acid rain". Conveniently forgetting that first, trees die you know; and second, a lot of that acid, if you want to point accusing fingers, came from the paper processing industry. What makes all this extra laughable is that forests are growing and expanding all over the world—probably thanks to CO2.
I was reminded of the McDonald story by Henry Petroski's The Evolution of Useful Things.

Double Dumb
Norman Serphos, spokesmanperson of the public ministry, will be fired. There was an accident where a motorcycling idiot was killed, just asking for it by racing on the Julianabridge where two cycles got entangled. He negatively commented on that on Fakebooc and the community worked itself up to a fake rage; then he said his account had been hacked. Not so. That was his mistake, because it's a fair guess many people would agree with him. At least, I haven't read it myself—but I think that cyclist deserved what he got.

Arrest the Bastards
In New Orleans, that Pool of Sin, murder rate has gone down and is still going down. Reason? Not gun buy-backs or other half-measures that don't seem to have any effect at all here, nor elsewhere. The cops just arrest known violent repeat offenders, no matter how long the process takes.
Another thing that works is HiRes security cameras. Wish we had those here. Oh wait...
I've read of cases (not here) where people received money for an old wasted gun, which they used to purchase a nice new one. Talk about "backfire".

Forget It
All that tourist junk, as we all know, isn't even made in Curaçao. It's imported from Taiwanaland or some such godforsaken place (like they always are, everywhere). Now the Central Market, where hardly any veggies, meat or fish are sold anymore but mostly tin iguanas and kunuku-houses, wants to end that and start using drop-outs, so-called risk-youth, to produce that junk. Ultra bright! Use junkies to produce junk so they can buy junk.
Of course, there must be some countries where those cheap souvenirs are produced. Wonder which those are—and if they import souvenirs from each other.

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