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First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

 

There are many diverse forces at play in the world that directly impact the quality of our lives, our pocketbooks, personal freedoms and the environment. This blog is my sincere attempt to make sense of world events as they unfold before our eyes. Feel free to discuss and comment.

Ken tabata Dòktor?

Den kuadro di Dòktor su fecha natal 113 aña pasá, mi ta dediká algun artíkulo na e gran hòmber aki. Komo Presidente di Fundashon mr. dr. M.F. da Costa Gomez mi ta haña importante pa tene su legado na bida i alsa Dòktor komo un figura ku no ta mará na polítika partidista, sino un éroe di nos tur.

Moises Frumencio Bikker a nase na Ser’i Klip den Otrobanda riba 27 òktober 1907. E tabata e di tres yu di Pedro da Costa Gomez (Shon Pedro) i Braulia Bikker. Despues e famia ta keda ampliá ku 5 yu muhé i un yu hòmber. Durante di e promé añanan famia da Costa Gomez/Bikker a biba na bários adrès den Otrobanda, pa despues muda bai Penstraat. Braulia Bikker tabata ama di kas, miéntras ku Shon Pedro tabata negoshante i tambe e tabata atministrá e korant “Boletin Comercial”.

Moises a terminá 8 klasnan di skol básiko i MULO di St. Thomas College. E tabata hunga futbòl, tabata gusta spar tur tipo di piedra di koló i tabata interesá den piedranan presioso. Esaki a pone ku semper a kere ku Moises lo a bira un hoyero. Ku 15 aña di edat e ta bai Ulanda i ta bai biba serka fraternan na Tilburg pa sigui enseñansa. Djis promé ku e bai Ulanda Moises i su rumannan ta keda rekonosé pa Shon Pedro i ta haña e fam da Costa Gomez. Despues di Tilburg e ta bai Nijmegen (1923) kaminda na Canisius College e ta keda formá bou di guia di Hesuitanan. Na Nijmegen e tabata bria komo studiante i tabata gana premionan di e mihó alumno den Ulandes, Latino i Griego. Despues di eksamennan final di Gimnasia e ta sigui su estudionan di lei na e Universidat Katóliko di Nijmegen. E ta optené su diploma di kandidato denter di un aña di tempu i despues na 1929 ta sigui e eksamen doktoral.

Komo hurista e ta traha komo supstituto griffier na Den Haag. Na Nijmegen e la traha kasi tres aña komo abogado i prokurador. Durante di e tempu aki e ta será konosí ku su promé kasa, Elisabeth (Lies) Heiling. For di e matrimonio ta nase dos yu muhé. Na 1962 e ta kasa na Venezuela ku Lucina Matheeuws. E matrimonio aki no ta produsí yu.

Riba 3 di desèmber 1935 Dòktor ta promové na Universidat di Amsterdam ku su tésis “Het wetgevend orgaan van Curaçao: Samenstelling en bevoegdheid bezien in het kader van de Nederlandsche koloniale politiek”. Inmediatamente despues e pareha da Costa Gomez ta subi barku i ta yega Kòrsou riba 31 desèmber 1935.

Apénas despues di tres siman na Kòrsou, Dòktor ta ko-funda Curaçaosche Roomsch Katholieke Partij (CRKP), Nederlands Antilliaanse Ambtenarenbond i R.K. Arbeidersbond di kua e ta bira sekretario. Komienso di febrüari 1936 da Costa Gomez ta kuminsá su karera komo sirbidó públiko den funshon di adjunct-commies na Parkèt i tambe sekretario di Komishon Hurídiko.

Da Costa Gomez na komienso di febrüari 1936 ta envolví su mes den un wèlga riba tereno di refineria i ta skohe p’e banda di e trahadónan. Kòrtiku despues Gobernadó van Slobbe ta manda Dòktorbai traha na Sint Maarten. Despues ku e siguiente aña van Slobbe a baha, Gobernadó Wouters, ta laga da Costa Gomez regresá su isla natal. Dòktor ta keda promové komo adjunct-commies ter Griffie, despues commies, substituut griffier i griffier di Hof. Na 1944 e ta bira hefe interino di Departamentu Soshal i Asuntunan Ekonómiko.

Den e promé elekshon pa Staten, da Costa Gomez ta keda skohé komo miembro di Staten di Kòrsou i ta bira lider di frakshon di CRKP.

For di 1944 a bira opvio e kiebro entre Dòktor i CRKP pa motibu ku iglesia no tabata kontentu ku e (velosidat di e) su ideanan di emansipashon. Na 1948 e ta sali for di e partido aki i ta funda Partido Nashonal di Pueblo.

Da Costa Gomez ta bira miembro di Raad van Advies ekstraordinario di Ulanda na London. Na 1946 Dòktor ta enkabesá un delegashon ku ta bai Ulanda pa hasi un petishon pa outonomia. Di 2 aprel 1947 te 3 desèmber 1948 da Costa Gomez ta traha na Ulanda komo e promé Representante di Antia Ulandes na Den Haag (awe Minister Plenipotensiario). Na 1948, 1952 i 1954 da Costa Gomez tabata presidente di e delegashon di Antia Ulandes di e Konferensha di Mesa Rondó.

Komo mandatario Dòktor tabata e di dos presidente di College van Algemeen Bestuur (CAB). Despues di CAB ta bin Regeringsraad ku pa di promé biaha ta nombra ministernan (ku responsabilidat ministerial). Dr. da Costa Gomez ta bira e promé presidente di ministernan den Regeringsraad (pues Dòktor ta e promé Promé Minister di nos pais) i ta tuma e portafolionan di Asuntunan General, Agrikultura, Peska i Maneho di Awa. Di 1963 -1966 e ta Diputado di teritorio insular di Kòrsou enkargá ku Salubridat Públiko, Asuntunan Soshal, Agrikultura, Krio i Peska.

Mr. dr. da Costa Gomez ta muri riba 22 novèmber 1966 ku apénas 59 aña di edat. Dr. da Costa Gomez tin e siguiente distinshonnan: Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau, Ridder in de Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw (ámbos di Ulanda), Commandeur in de Orde van San Carlos (Colombia) i Orde van Jubille Zehabi (Libanon).

Dòktor su legado ta traha pa libertat, dignidat i balor propio di e pueblo, prinsipalmente e pueblo ku ménos posibilidat. Dòktor ta e polítiko ku mas éksito den nos historia na urnanan: na 1963 ela kue 36,6% di tur voto ku a keda emití, lokual ta un rèkort ku no a keda igualá.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

75 aña Nashonnan Uní


Nashonnan Uní ta kumpli e aña aki 75 aña.

Mi ta kòrda manera ayera ku mi tabata na Suidat di New York pa selebrá 50 aña di èksistensia di United Nations (UN) ku mi koleganan di United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) ku ta un agensia spesialisá di United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ku ta operá den paisnan mas pober na mundu.

UN ta risibí hopi krítika tur dia. Bèrdat e ta un organisashon ku ta inkreíblemente burokrátiko i ta dependé di su miembronan kon aktivo i efektivo e por ta. No papia mes di nan sosten finansiero.

Pero, muchu lihé ta lubidá e éksitonan di UN pa ku desaroyo i seguridat mundial. Medionan di komunikashon ta karga parsialmente falta den esaki. Datonan di UNDP Human Development Index i Our World in Data ta mustra ku mundialmente pobresa èkstremo (poblashon ku mester biba ku USD 2.- pa dia) a baha ku 25%, labor hasí pa mucha a keda redusí ku 40%, hende ta biba un average di 10 aña mas tantu i morto infantil a kai ku mitar. UN tambe tabata klave pa resolvé konflikto i trese seguridat na e.o. Amerika Sentral, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola i mas. Sinembargo ta parse ku nos gusta wak e kosnan robes so.

Ta keda hopi reto, manera reorganisashon di UN i miembresia permanente di Konseho di Seguridat, kambio di klima, pandemianan i un intoleransia kresiente.

Aki na Kòrsou interés den trabounan di UN ta minimal. TIn UN den boka ora ke lucha nos problemanan interno i denunsiá Hulanda. Algu ku na basta okashon mi a deskonsehá.

Nos mester krea mas hende ku un vision global ku ta sobrepasá ideologia lokal popular di “444 km kuadrá”. Nos mester dediká mas atenshon na e idealnan di UN i stimulá mas hende traha pa organisashonnan multilateral manera UN.

Pabien na UN, na tur ku a i ta traha pa UN. I laga nos no lubidá tur esnan ku a sakrifiká nan bida trahando pa desaroyo i seguridat global.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Asina’ki ta bira presidente di Merka

Merka ta vota pa su presidente pa di 59 biaha den historia. E sistema elektoral Merikano ta kompliká. Mi ta trata na hasi esaki komprendibel.

Merka no ta vota dirèkt pa su kandidatonan presidensial

Kontrali na hopi otro pais, inkluso Kòrsou, Merka no ta vota dirèkt pa su presidente. Tampoko esun ku bira presidente nesesariamente mester haña mas voto. Na 2016, kandidato Hillary Clinton a haña 2.8 mion mas voto ku kandidato Donald Trump. Esun ku a bira presidente ta Trump.

E voto di e votadó pa e kandidato presidensial ta bai pa 538 hende

Voto di e miones di votadónan na Merka ta bai pa 538 hende ku ta forma un Electoral College. Kada un di e 50 estadonan ta manda un kantidat di hende pa e Electoral College. Mas hende ta biba den un estado, mas hende e ta haña den e Electorate College. Nos por mira riba e gráfiko ku California (CA) tin 55 miembro den e Elektoral College pasombra e tin un poblashon di 40 mion hende. Montana (MT) tin solamente 3 miembro pasombra su poblashon ta 1 mion.

Despues di elekshon presidensial riba 3 novèmber 2020, e 538 hendenan aki ta vota riba 14 desèmber 2020. E kandidato presidensial ku haña 270 vote òf mas di e 538, ta bira presidente na yanüari 2021.

Dikon e votadó no ta vota direktamente pa su presidente?

E sistema di votashon presidensial ta ankrá den konstitushon Merikano. E sistema ta traha pa tene kuenta ku estadonan chikí na poblashon. California tin 40 biaha mas poblashon ku Montana pero, California no tin 40 biaha mas poder ku Montana. Un (1) mion hende ta duna Montana 3 representante. Si e sistema tabata a base popular, California lo mester a haña ku su poblashon di 40 mion, un kantidat di (40*3=) 120 representante. Den e sistema Merikano, California tin 55. E sistema aki ta protehá e chikí. Tambe e tatanan fundadó di Merka a pensa ku no por a konfia den e ‘denkcapaciteit’ di e masa pa vota pa un presidente na tinu. P’esei a krea un ‘tussenstation’ ku yama Electorate College.

Kon ta gana elekshon?

Ku eksepshon di 2*, tur estado konosé e sistema ‘winner takes it all’. Pues si un kandidato gana California ku un (1) voto èkstra òf miles di voto èkstra, e ta haña tur 55 delegado di California pa e Elektoral College. Riba 14 desèmber próksimo e delegadonan ku ta representá nan respektivo kandidato presidensial ku a gana den e estadonan, ta vota. Sa pasá ku un òf mas delegado ta bula waya. E kandidato presidensial ku haña 270 voto òf mas, ta bira presidente na yanüari. 

Tin mas elekshon banda di esun presidensial.

Riba 3 novèmber tin mas ku elekshon presidensial. Tambe lo vota pa algun Gobernadó, i parliamentario (Senador i Representante pa Kàmara di Representante) i referèndum. Kuriosamente e elekshonnan aki si ta a base direkto i no via di un Electoral College.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

E artíkulo ta basá riba mi kontribushon na e programa di TV Direct “Elekshon Merka 2020” den kua mi ta un panelista.


*Nevada i Maine


Karta pa UN: kòrtina di huma

Siman pasá a bolbe manda un karta ku tin ke ber ku trabou di e Komishon di Dekolonisashon di Nashonnan Uní (e Komishon) pa aparentemente yama Hulanda ‘tot orde’ i denunsiá nos kuadro konstitushonal aktual ante e 193 paisnan ku ta miembro di Nashonnan Uní (UN).

E plan di akshon di e Komishon ta pa laga pueblonan riba e lista ku ta deseá, bira independiente (A/46/634/Rev.1). Esaki ta relevante prinsipalmente den kasonan ku e outoridat kolonial no ke koperá ku e deseonan di libertat di e pueblonan ku ke, manera ta e kaso di e kolonia Western Sahara kontra Maroko ku no ke pa tene ni un referèndum transparente riba independensia.

Tambe nos ta mira ku teritorionan ku antes tabata riba e promé lista original di e Komishon di Dekoloninashon (1961), manera Cook Islands, Gibraltar i Irian Jaya a skohe pa forma parti di un otro pais.

Nos nunka tabata riba e lista ariba menshoná, debí ku nos mes a pidi na 1955 pa no ta inkluí. Loke tambe ta improbabel ta ku un teritorio ku nunka tabata riba e lista di 1961 a subi esaki despues. Dikon? Pasombra paisnan manera China, Russia, Nicaragua (ku porsierto tambe ta miembro di e Komishon) tin miedu ku pueblonan den nan pais ku ke nan independensia, tambe lo ke subi e lista.

Ki balor agregá e karta tin? Pa sali for di Reino ni Hulanda ni UN por impedí esei. Tampoko mester ta riba e lista pa bira independiente. E paisnan ku a bira independiente mas resien, South Sudan (2011) i Kosovo (2008) nunka tabata riba e lista.

Pa kambia nos status, mester kombensé un mayoria di pueblo aki, no UN. Mi èksperensia ku kasonan similar den UN a siñami ku ora un keho drenta UN aktua kontra di un miembro, semper ta wak promé si esun ku ta bisa di ta víktima a agotá tur e proseduranan interno promé ku bai UN.

Pakiko e karta? Mi ta sospechá un kòrtina di huma pa no diskutí e kambionan grandi ku mester implementá den nos pais.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Fayo garafal ku benta UTS

Lòs for di un kantidat di pregunta relevante tokante di benta di UTS, manera kalidat di servisio despues di benta, unda e plaka a bai presis, mi tin un remarke ku te ainda – na mi konosementu- no a keda hasí. Kon por ta posibel ku e mesun hende ku Fòrti a nombra na kabes di e komishon di privatisashon di UTS tabata tambe presidente di Fair Trade Authority Curaçao (FTAC)?

Dikon e pregunta aki? FTAC ta responsabel pa vigilá pa no tin formamentu di monopolio i kompetensia inhustu den nos pais. Den nos kaso, e mesun Presidente di FTAC a sinta na mesa di un negosashon di benta di UTS ku ta tin tur ingrediente di bai afektá kompetensia den nos telekomunikashon.

Pues for di un komienso tabata vislumbrá ku benta di UTS na Liberty Latin America por kondusí na monopolio indeseabel den nos pais. Pa e sólo echo aki tabata robes di a apuntá e Presidente di FTAC komo Presidente di komishon di privatisashon di UTS. Mester a evitá asta e ‘schijn’ di konflikto di interes i inkompatibilidat di e dos funshonnan aki.

Pakolmo a resultá ku e benta a resultá den práktikanan monopolístiko ku resultado ku kalidat di servisio a bai kompletamente atras.

Konsistentemente mi a protestá kontra di monopolio i areglonan ku ta stroba kompetensia sano. P’esei mi a kita protekshon di merkado i tabata kontentu ku mi a defendé i aprobá den Staten e lei ku a krea FTAC den e periodo 2012-2016.

Bèk na e konflikto di interes ku benta di UTS i FTAC. Nos mester realisá ku ta e tipo di prosedernan ariba menshoná ta mina nos demokrasia, institutonan demokrátiko i outonomia. di nos pais.

Mi ta spera ku Kontrolaria General i Staten i gruponan na fabor di transparensia rápidamente lo wak e asuntu aki promé ku ta CHE òf Den Haag mester hasié òf hala nos atenshon atrobe.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Happy animal day isn’t enough: we must protect animals by law

With my favorite dog, Candra, a Shih Tzu, who passed away almost two years ago.

Animal Day. The thing is that saying “Happy Animal Day” is not enough. Not enough because according to the (lack of) law here, anyone can call himself a veterinary and set up shop to “treat” and operate on animals. You don’t have to be a wizard to understand that this situation has led to the unnecessary death and suffering of many a animal.

Animals need laws to protect their welfare because we are not doing a good job here doing this. Many pet animals don’t get enough food, drinking water or shelter. Let’s remember that pet animals are dependent of us for care and food.

People still have very dangerous animals that do not belong in homes such as crocodiles, piranhas, snakes and other exotic animals. These animals are more than often kept in horrendous circumstances.

The fact of the matter is that there is a draft legislation since 2015 to protect our animals. I worked on this as member of Parliament. Sad is that this legislation -despite many promises- has not been introduced officially in Parliaments since 2016. Hopefully this Animal Day, will finally lead to accepting this important legislation. The animals are counting on us.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Nos union monetario: un sikatris di 10-10-10

Riba preshon di Hulanda ku no tabata konfia Philipsburg ku su mes Banko Sentral, a forma un union monetario entre Kòrsou i Sint Maarten sin fundeshi ekonómiko. Na 2006 mi tabata e úniko mandatario ku a protestá pa hala atenshon na e desishon e asuntu aki ta deskabeyá.

Un union monetario ku tin un banko sentral kompartí (CBCS), semper ta rekerí mekanísmonan pa harmonisá/kordiná sierto maneho makroekonómiko, finansiero i presupuestario. Wak union monetario di EU i esun di Ost Karibe. Ku otro palabra, ora bo ta kompartí un moneda den un union monetario, mester sòru pa kordinashon di maneho ku ta i por influensiá e union i konfiansa den e moneda kompartí. Serka nos, desafiando lógika, no tin kordinashon. Kada dia e dos paisnan aki ta drif mas foi otro. Pakolmo, un biaha pa aña ta tende ku Sint Maarten ke bula afó.

Na yüli 2015, riba mi pregunta, e titular di Finansa ku aktualmente ta direktor finansiero di CBCS a bisa: “[..] e union monetario no ta un prioridat”. Bo no mester ta un èksperto monetario pa realisá ku lokual nos tin ta un bòm di tempu. Sigur ku e preshon di e krísis aktual i miedu pa devaluashon di florin di Antia Hulandes.

Pa kompletá e obra, 10 aña despues di desmantelashon di Antia i 12 aña despues ku a primintí ku “mas pronto posibel despues di desmantelashon lo introdusí un moneda nobo, Caribbean guilder (CMG) pa e union” ainda nos ta usa moneda di un pais ku no ta èksistí mas. Algu nunka bisto. Ningun di e tres presidentenan di CBCS for di 10-10-10 por a splika dikon ainda no ta usa CMG.

E union monetario ta resultado di malmaneho i preferensia pa kosmétika di un fecha “leuk” (10-10-10) i no pa un desmantelashon na drechi. Kòrda p.e. riba lista di negativo di lei i kuerpo di ámtenar “eiland-land”. Esaki tabata un motibu pakiko mi a tuma retiro komo mandatario na 2009.

E siñansa ta ku kambio di struktura estatal no ta solushoná problema. Kapasidat di e hendenan den e struktura ta hasi esei. Sr. “Jossy” Henriquez a atvertí nos esaki den su último diskurso komo Presidente di Koloniale Raad (1938). Tòg ta sigi kere ku kambio di struktura estatal e biaha aki si lo trese plaka i solushon.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

No referendum without a referendum law

The reason why I’ve been writing about a referendum law for the past two years is that we don’t have one.

Groups have been popping up demanding for far-reaching constitutional changes in our country; from having The Netherlands gobble us up as municipality, integrating into the EU as ultra-peripheral region (UPG) or becoming independent. Whilst I don’t take away anyone’s right to fight for constitutional change, it is scary that that this can take place without properly consulting the people via a referendum.

Curaçao currently doesn’t have a legally defined referendum process. In fact, according to our Constitution, changing the Constitution is possible once 2/3 of Parliament agrees. There is no mention of referendum in our Constitution.

Yes, we’ve had two consultative, non-binding referendums before. Both were conducted without a referendum law, including the 2009 referendum on whether to accept the proposed agreement to change constitutional status and dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles which was approved by 51.99% of voters. The fact that no (legal) qualifying majority was ever defined for such an important constitutional change, led to much debate and division on the island.

First, the Constitution should be amended and state that any change of constitutional status must be decided by referendum. 

In a referendum law we need to determine how a referendum may be initiated. Options are: (1) the legislative referendum whereby Parliament refers a measure to the voters for their approval; (2) the popular referendum, a measure that appears on the ballot as a result of a voter petition (conditioned upon a minimum of valid signatures), or (3) both the legislative and the popular referendum.

We need to define the types of referendums. 1. the mandatory referendum i.e. if a proposal passes, the Government or appropriate authority is compelled to implement it: 2. the optional referendum whereby the consequences of the vote may or may not be legally binding or 3. both the mandatory and optional referendum.

This law should also specify per type of referendum: (1) when a referendum is valid, i.e. establish the minimum amount of valid votes; (2) what margins should be upheld for a proposal to pass (simple majority, 2/3 or 3/4 of the votes) and (3) who can cast his/her ballot.

This is by no means a complete blueprint. It’s the beginning of a meaningful conversation.

We need a clear referendum process anchored in our constitution. One that’s transparent, not open to multiple interpretations and certainly not prone to manipulation. We’ve been warned, again.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Emoties staan welslagen van steunpakket in de weg

In verschillende door mij gepubliceerde artikelen* en tijdens een onlangs door de Partido Nashonal di Pueblo georganiseerde debat, heb ik gezegd dat er geen beter alternatief is dan het aanbod van Nederland en dat de Caribische Hervormingsautoriteit (CHE) om die reden niet zomaar moet worden afgewezen. Waar ik nog steeds problemen mee heb, is dat CHE lijkt op een oplossing, gezien door de bril van het Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken (BZK).

Natuurlijk is het waar dat onze financiële huishouding niet in orde is en dat wij jarenlang broodnodige hervormingen, vooral op economisch gebied, vooruitschuiven. De kiezers stemmen daarmee in, want als een partij veranderingen doorvoert, wordt deze bij de volgende verkiezing afgestraft, terwijl diegenen die schreeuwen “no ta bin medida” (er zullen geen maatregelen komen) het vertrouwen winnen van het electoraat.

Maar om terug te komen bij CHE. Wat ik mis is een “ownership” gevoel van het pakket bij ons. Het is tot nu toe eerder een Nederlands pakket.

Wat het meest jammer is, is dat dit pakket weinig zegt over wat er moet gebeuren als CHE over 6 jaar vertrekt. Van duurzaamheid is er weinig in het voorstel te vinden.

In het verlengde hiervan is er ook geen duidelijke ontwikkeling doelstelling in het pakket opgenomen. Als we immers meer weerbaar willen zijn in de toekomst, minder afhankelijk zijn van Den Haag en beter in staat zijn om onze autonome zaken te regelen, schiet dit pakket tekort.

In het eerdergenoemde debat heb ik me afgevraagd waarom ik deze houding van Den Haag opmerkelijk vind en niet terug herken van Nederlandse hulp aan ontwikkelingslanden. Ik ben immers jarenlang werkzaam op het gebied van ontwikkelingssamenwerking voor o.a. de Verenigde Naties. De reden is dat dit Nederlandse pakket komt uit de pen van het BZK dat in principe geen kennis heeft van ontwikkelingssamenwerking, zoals dat wel het geval is bij het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (BuZa). Nederlandse ontwikkelingsprojecten in het buitenland hebben een totaal andere invalshoek; ze zijn ontwikkelingsgericht en duurzaam. Deze belangrijke link ontbreekt in het voorstel.

Ik zou Nederland aansporen teneinde het ontwikkelingsaspect in het voorstel op te nemen en de grondslagen daarvoor vast te leggen. Het is noodzakelijk dat BuZa zich ook buigt over het Nederlandse voorstel. Een van de meest belangrijke grondslagen die thans ontbreekt is het opbouwen van institutionele capaciteit bij onze ministeries en belangrijke organen. Het moet ergens in Den Haag duidelijk worden dat het voorstel welke thans op tafel ligt en min of meer via remote-control zal gaan functioneren, geen resultaten zal boeken. Het is deze eigen capaciteit die ons weerbaar zal maken, niet CHE. Ten tweede moeten wij ons in dit project kunnen herkennen. De lijst van projecten die hebben gefaald omdat er geen “ownership” bestond bij diegenen die de hulp ontvangen, is lang. 

Aan beide kanten van de oceaan is tot nu toe emotioneel omgegaan met dit pakket die het welslagen van het project ten behoeve van het welzijn van onze bevolking in de weg zal staan. Dit moeten we zeker niet willen.

Willemstad, Curaçao

*https://alexdavidrosaria.blog/2020/07/09/kiko-ami-lo-a-hasi/

Power shifts in the world are already affecting us

Recently I participated in the JCI Willemstad panel discussion Peace is Possible. My intervention was based on power shifts in the world that make peace difficult to attain.

Undeniably power is shifting from the US and Europe to Asia. Horizontal power shifts like these are not new however. We’ve seen power shift from Persia to Alexander the Great, from Greece to Rome and Europe to the US. What’s different this time is that power isn’t moving from one center to another center (or a bipolar US-USSR system). Rather, power is being redistributed among many players. Gone are the days of one superpower as we see alternative power centers building up in China, India and Brazil, among others. 

Totally new is that as the above-mentioned horizontal shifts are taking place, power that traditionally belonged to nation states is moving to a virtual global space. Think of this space as a digital environment in which individuals, groups and organizations interact, shop, create, innovate and design virtually instead of doing this in a physical environment. Internet, satellite communication, data, private information, shoppers, traders, financiers, speculators and designers all now live in a virtual space. 

Before this shift it went without saying that these activities were subjected to local regulations, rules of law, public prosecutors and courts. Yet, in this virtual space this is not the case. People here can act almost without constraint. The problem arrises when justice and courts realize that enforcing claims against those committing infractions come from places where laws differ widely from one to another.  Suddenly we realize that activities worth USD trillions are beyond the reach of Central Banks and Financial Intelligence Units. Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), consumer rights, privacy laws, tax laws among others becomes a major cause of concern for citizens, IPR owners and local governments as they realize that a great deal of power that used be encased by nation-states is now gone. 

This virtual space is also populated by the things national governments have spent great amount of time to regulate or eliminate like hate speech, intolerance, fake news, hacking, stalking, international criminality, terrorism and interference in elections, just to name a few. This trend is being accelerated by the social media platform. It has proven difficult to ensure accountability since users of social media usually consent to terms and conditions of the social media companies which give them a legitimate right to collect, share and use such data.

The migration of power will have consequences for everyone, also Curaçao. We must realize that peace and security is not about having the strongest army, the best police force or finest court system. We’ve seen that even if you are the most powerful nation on earth, nevertheless, those bad people who inhabit that global space can attack your city on a sunny September day.

One of the challenges of our time is to bring rule of law to the virtual global space. In my master’s thesis I argued for a United Nations code of conduct for multinational corporations (see the Swiss journal World Competition June 1991) because unregulated international trade gave multinationals -many with budgets larger than medium-size countries- a free pass to commit many abuses in Third World Countries of which the Nestlé’s Baby Killer Case, was perhaps the most abhorrent. Today the risks associated with globalization go beyond mere codes of conduct.

As a small island we are particularly vulnerable. Our actions are neither confined to itself, nor is it sufficient for us to control our own territory. We may already have or plan to legislate local laws against hate speech, fake news or election meddling, but we’re without defense if those perpetrating these actions operate beyond our shores, in global spaces.

In spite of obvious limited financial and administrative resources we need to actively participate in and pursue treaty-based organizations to ensure that the rule of law governs the relations between States of all sizes. We must realize that we can’t continue to not comply with the World Trade Organization and not ascending to Kyoto Protocol (both are examples of treaty-based platforms).

The most important thing we can do is to find out what we can do with others. Our capacity to network with others will determine how successful we are. We’ll have to do deal with people with whom we do not not always share their values, but with whom, we share common interests. We are now interlocked in a way which has never been the case before. In the past we’d call the Minister of Justice about security issues. Now we’d want to talk to the Minister of Health because of pandemic disease, the Minister of Telecommunication because of a threat of cyber warfare, and the Minister of Governance because of election meddling.

This brings me to the last point. Our government is constructed based on vertical hierarchy and specialization of tasks. This is the wrong type of structure to have. We need to network externally with others, but perhaps more importantly we need to network horizontally within our own government.


Willemstad, Curaçao

#virtualspace, #curacao, #multinationals, #peaceispossible, #jci