Munisipio Kòrsou: 1828-1833

Nos ta konmemorá e aña aki algun fecha importante di nos historia polítiko: 80 aña demokrasia parlamentario; 70 aña di e promé Konferensia di Mesa Rondó i voto universal; i 190 aña ku e Konseho Munisipal a sinta. Normal, e fechanan aki lo a bin, bai sin mashá atenshon pa nan. Mi ta trata na yena e buraku.

Den dos referèndèm (1993 i 2005) Kòrsou por a skohe pa bira un munisipio Ulandes. Na ámbos okashon e opshon no a haña sufisiente akohida. Lokual hopi no sa ta ku entre 1 mart 1828 pa 15 aprel 1833 nos tabatin un gobièrnu munisipal. Promé ku sigi ta bon pa deskribí e konteksto polítiko den kua a krea un munisipio.

Na 1815 Inglatera a duna Ulanda e islanan Karibense bèk despues di vários aña di okupashon Ingles. Den mesun aña Ulanda a krea tres kolonia: Curaçao en onderhorigheden Bonaire en Aruba; Sint Eustatius en onderhorigheden Sint Maarten en Saba i por último, Suriname. Despues di tempu Den Haag a bin konsiderá e struktura kostoso i kompliká pa goberná. Na 1828 Ulanda ta konstruí un sólo kolonia konsistiendo di e islanan Karibense huntu ku Sürnam. ‘De West’ tabata goberná pa un Gobernadó General na Paramaribo. Den e struktura aki, Curaçao en onderhorigheden tabatin un Raad van Policie, na kabes un Direkteur ku mester a raportá na Paramaribo. Ambisiosamente a disidí di krea un otro nivel di gobernashon, esta un Konseho Munisipal (KM) nombrá ku un (1) Presidente na kabes, dos (2) diputado i kuater (4) konsehal.

E Konseho Munisipal tabata ubiká den Kas Munisipal kaminda awe ta e edifisio di K.N.S.M. den Heerenstraat. E promé presidente tabata Sr. H. Schotborgh i e di dos, Sr. Theodorus Jutting (wak foto). E tareanan di e KM tabata solamente di índole atministrativo i di kuido di iglesianan, kasnan di kuido pa hende pober, leproso o ku enfermedat mental. Den práktika sinembargo e KM tabata mas tantu okupá ku ponementu di preis máksimo pa pan, karni di baka, porko, karné i tortuga.


E lokual a hasi e KM un ilushon pa esnan ku a kere den desentralisashon ta falta di outoridat pa aktua. Tur ‘desishon’ di e KM tabata provisorio te na momentu ku esaki keda aprobá pa Raad van Policie i despues esaki mester a bai te Paramaribo pa ratifikashon. Por konkluí ku siendo un munisipio, outomátikamente ta nifiká ku bo espasio pa tuma desishon ta limitá.

E KM a stòp di eksistí riba 15 aprel 1833. E miembronan a keda elegantemente gradisí pa nan servisio. Tur tarea di e gobièrnu munisipal a pasa pa e Raad van Policie ku despues a traha lugá pa Koloniale Raad.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Foto 1: Curaçao Ports Authority, Foto 2: bookandjournals online

”Van slavenopstand tot emancipatie”, N.C. Römer-Kenepa; De Curaçaosche Courant Maart 1828-November 1833; “Het  voormalig gemeentebestuur op Curaçao”, W.Ch. de la Try Ellis.



Dysfunctional union Curaçao & St. Maarten

Today, (16 February 2018) the Monetary Council of the Eastern Caribbean Monetary Union (ECCU) convenes for the 90th time. The ECCU was born in 1983 to assist members with their financial and economic development agenda and the good of the people. ECCU members are: St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines. While the cemetery is full of defunct monetary unions, the ECCU is only one of a handful of monetary unions that have survived for such a long time. Not by chance, but by choice. And, by painstaking coordination of monetary and macroeconomic policies of 6 different jurisdictions.

The monetary union between Curaçao and St. Maarten (CSMU), formed in 2010 has taken a different path than our Caribbean neighbors. One for the record books. First, the CSMU has since 2010 been using the currency of the dissolved Netherlands Antilles: the Netherlands Antillian Guilder (ANG). What we’ve also done differently than the other existing monetary unions is to not have any mechanism to discuss, let alone coordinate macroeconomic or social policies between the two countries. I questioned the very idea of forming this monetary union a decade ago. This decision was political and it was imposed by the Dutch government so I was outvoted and nearly thrown out of the political party I belonged to for going against the current.

Today St. Maarten and Curaçao, although legally together in this forced marriage, behave like a couple of happy-go-lucky bachelors. Each island has it own economic policy, tax code, budget management, labor policy and so on. As the years pass by, the two countries that used to belong to the Netherlands Antilles drift apart, each choosing its own path which is fine if they were not in a monetary union. No one considers this a priority as the ministers of Finance of these two countries have not convened in many years to talk about the union, let alone the need for coordination. This monetary union, lest there’s miracle, is doomed to vanish into oblivion.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Lying Dutch top diplomat endangers international affairs

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Halbe Zijlstra, recently admitted that a lie he had told in 2016 “was not a smart move”. Mind you that he didn’t lie about winning big in a poker game or catching that elusive Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. He lied about being in a meeting with Mr. Vladimir Putin in 2006 where the Russian President reportedly laid out plans to “create a Great Russia that would include Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic states and possibly Kazakhstan.” Mr. Zijlstra was at the time a Shell employee. After Mr. Zijlstra was forced to set the record straight on his attendance at the meeting, he admitted he wasn’t even in the room, but borrowed the story from a source.

There’re some serious loose ends to his astonishing story. Mr. Zijlstra claimed he had told the story because of its “geopolitical importance” and presented it as his own in order to “protect” the source. It is unclear why he told “his story” during his party’s conference in 2016 whilst he could have gone to one of the many Dutch intelligence and security services to voice his concerns. What was his motive to childishly lie about it during a political gathering? To inflate his résumé or to deflect criticism for being inexperienced for the job? And, really do we think that Mr. Putin – a cunning strategist- would shoot his mouth off in front of foreigners about his grand expansionist plans?

In my opinion Mr. Zijlstra’s integrity has been badly hurt by these lies and cover-ups. Can he be trusted by his colleagues in the EU? In the UN Security Council where The Netherlands took a non-permanent seat earlier this year? And, since he is also responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs on behalf of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten, I wonder how his tarnished reputation is going to play out for us here in the Caribbean. Especially now that we are locked in a dispute with Venezuela.

Perhaps more disconcerting is the reaction of the Dutch Prime Minister, Mr. Marc Rutte. Normally trigger happy to judge others, this time he casually brushed off this incident as a careless boo-boo. Point is however that Mr. Zijlstra is a self-confessed liar and is not worthy of his position as the Dutch Kingdom’s top diplomat.

Willemstad, Curaçao




St. Eustatius barking up the wrong tree

The Dutch Caribbean Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba) have a long history of (threats to) submitting complaints against The Netherlands to the United Nations (UN) regarding internal constitutional matters. The first one was filed in 1948 on behalf of all six islands claiming that The Netherlands was blocking constitutional changes. During the years we have seen delegations from Aruba, Saba and Curaçao knock on the UN doors to denounce ‘Dutch intransigence and disrespect to the constitutional relationship with its overseas territories’. So it should be no surprise that St. Eustatius -now that The Netherlands took over the governing of the island amid rule of law concerns- will also try its luck at the UN.

Ever wondered why the UN has never given any meaningful follow up to these ‘complaints’? As an ex UN Officer in Nicaragua I may shed some light. In 1997 we received a formal complaint from one of the two Nicaraguan autonomous regions, Región Autónoma de la Costa Caribe Sur (RACCS) vowing that its black and native populations were not being fairly treated by the ‘Españoles’ as they called the majority Nicaraguan Spanish speaking mestizos and whites. I was assigned to meet with the RACCS’ delegation. I got the following instructions from my bosses: lend a compassionate ear, state that the UN counterpart is the Central Government and not the autonomous administrations, and tell them that the UN doesn’t meddle in internal constitutional matters. After the meeting I wrote a report for headquarters and as far as UN-Nicaragua was concerned, that was the end of it.

St. Eustatius needs to understand that the Dutch take-over of the island’s government on 7 February 2018 is an internal and legal action. This island should be reminded that its representatives voluntarily accepted to become a special municipality of The Netherlands on 10 October 2010. I can understand however that the Statian leaders are not happy with the current situation, but they are barking up the wrong tree if they think going to the UN will solve their problems with The Hague. These leaders should clear up this constitutional structure row with The Netherlands. But as I’ve said before, collective well-being is not as dependent on the constitutional structure as it is on the quality of the people who manage the structure. The Statian leaders at this moment are better off addressing the issues of lawlessness, corruption and mismanagement that impoverish the very people they represent.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Cancer Day 2018: a personal story

After my sister and I were told by her doctor that she had advanced cancer and only a few weeks to live, we never again spoke about her disease. Had we done that, the tears wouldn’t have stopped. From that day until she died she laid in bed looking death in the eye knowing that her cancer wasn’t reacting to treatment. What haunts me is her fear to leave her two small boys behind, probably the worst thing a mom could ever face. I wished I had told her how much I admired her bravery. I wished I had thanked her more for all the wonderful things she did. No two people are alike and we grief differently. The grief may come and go like ebb and flow, or it may hit you like a high speed freight train. I now know how important it is to frequently tell our loved ones that they will not be forgotten, especially when facing cancer.

World Cancer Day, an annual event on 4th February, educates us that cancer has affected everyone on this planet, with 8.8 million deaths worldwide in 2015 according to the World Health Organization. This day also drives home the need for information, prevention and cancer management. Scientific research has shown that 90-95% of all cases of cancer are contributed by environmental factors while 5-10% by an inherited gene. We need to invest in awareness programs to provide correct information by debunking false claims that appear everywhere especially on social media. Many types of cancer are preventable. We need to reduce the high risk factors and change our lifestyle: let’s quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake, eat healthy, exercise, reduce excess weight, sun exposure and pollution. Also, we need to reduce the suffering and deaths caused by cancer, by providing effective and affordable programs in early diagnosis, screening, treatment, and care. Private organizations such as Princes Wilhelmina Foundation have been doing a fine job combatting (the burden of) cancer in Curaçao. As Member of Parliament I introduced legislation against second hand smoke but more action and leadership are needed from our officials.

My personal journey gave me the chance to learn how to best support a loved one with cancer. It has made me aware that in almost all cases, cancer is avoidable and treatable if we make the right choices.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Intriga polítiko, divishon religioso: 70 aña 1é Konferensia Mesa Rondó

Mayan nos ta konmemorá 70 aña di e Promé Konferensia di Mesa Rondó (RTC) na Ulanda ku tabatin komo tema: “deliberashon entre teritorionan Ulandes pa yega na un Reino nobo”. Den e artíkulo aki mi no ta trata e kontenido tékniko, sino e konteksto kolorido di e konferensia na kua historia nunka a dediká sufisiente atenshon.

Porta pa outonomia a habri na 1942 ora Reina Wilhelmina a anunsiá ku despues di guera lo start un era nobo den kua e kolonianan lo haña mas di bisa. For di e momentu ei a instalá vários komishon pa delineá e direkshon nobo. Tabatin diferente kontakto entre di Willemstad i Paramaribo, pero Indonesia, preparando pa independensia, no tabatin e nesisidat pa partisipá. Sin duda e protagonista den e proseso pa outonomia tabata e polítiko di Curaçaosche Rooms Katholieke Partij (CRKP), Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez (Dòktor), sostené pa e briante hurista yu di tera, Willem Charles de La Try Ellis. Riba 26 mart 1947 Staten ta nombra Dòktor komo representante Antiano na Ministerie van Overzeesche Gebiedsdelen pa asina aselerá nos outonomia.

Bataya religioso pa forma parti di delegashon di Antia
Na ougùstùs 1947 a anunsiá ku e RTC lo tuma lugá na sèptèmber 1947. Mes ora pelea a start tokante afiliashon religioso di e delegashon Antiano. Un sentimentu fuerte tabata ku apesar ku e gran mayoria di pueblo tabata katóliko no mester nombra hopi katóliko pasombra nan ta ‘ménos desaroyá i sivilisá’. Beurs, un korant no-katóliko i pro Partido Demokrat (DP) a defendé e ponensia aki. E korant katóliko i pro CRKP, Amigoe, no tabata di akuerdo, pero mester a rekonosé derota: Katólikonan a haña solamente un (1) representante, mientras ku e otro shete (7) miembronan tabata di sea partidonan no-katóliko òf di e gruponan Ulandes i Hudiu.

Partido Demokrat (DP) ta pone kuchú riba mesa
Manera e fecha di e RTC a bira konosí, DP a start ku ponementu di pia pa su rival Dòktor loke a trese duda den partipashon di DP. Efraim Jonkheer, lider no-katóliko di DP i ganadó di elekshon pa Staten na 1945, a mira kon Dòktor -intelektualmente superior i ku konosementu vasto di ‘politiek Den Haag’- tabata haña tur mérito pa e kambionan na kaminda. Pakolmo e relashon entre Dòktor i su partido a deteriorá di tal manera ku e tabata sinti su mes mas na kas ku Komité di Pueblo (KdP). Jonckheer mester tabata sa ku si Dòktor lanta su mes partido, e lo a bira un menasa grandi. DP a hunga su papel di ‘rebelde’ i a trese algun punto sino fono i a eksihí ku si “Ulanda no rekonosé nos outonomia, ta bandoná e RTC.” Despues ku Staten a bai di akuerdo ku e kondishonnan di DP, e partido a deklará: “Otro triumfo di DP”. KdP a dal bèk den su foyeto ku DP ta bai e RTC “pasombra ta KdP a pone pia abou”.

Deseo di Ulanda pa e skohe kandidatonan di Antia Ulandes
Despues di vários intento, Staten riba 2 desèmber 1947 a bai akuerdo ku e siguiente delegashon. Kòrsou: Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez (CRKP), Efraim Jonkheer i Stephanus Werenfridus van der Meer (DP) i Alex Curiel (sin partido). Aruba: Jan Hendrik Albert Eman i Juan Enrique Yrausquin (di Arubaanse Volkspartij, AVP). Boneiru: Lodewijk Daniël Gerharts (sin partido). Islanan Ariba: William Rufus Plantz (sin partido). Gobièrnu Ulandes for di un komienso a solisitá Staten pa proponé 16 kandidato for di kua Ulanda lo a skohe e 8 integrantenan Antiano, pero e petishon a keda rechasá. Dor di tur rèkmentu di kakiña polítiko e RTC a skùif pa yanüari 1948.

Un mayoria di delegashon Antiano ta yega RTC lat
5 miembro di e delegashon Antiano a disidí di tuma un ruta largu i kostoso pa yega Ulanda. Ku avion nan bula bai New York riba 14 yanüari, keda 4 dia pa despues via barku bai Southhampton, Inglatera i via tera yega London. Na London no por a haña buelo pa Ulanda. Dòktor i Curiel ku ya tabata na Ulanda, a logra posponé e RTC ku algun dia. Finalmente a charter un avion pa Schiphol riba 23 di yanüari. E delegashon a risibí hopi krítika pa e aventura aki. Na apertura di e RTC riba 27 yanüari tur miembro tabata presente, inkluso Indonesia komo opservadó.

Fiesta te mardugá i luho
Apesar ku tabatin algun limosin na disposition di e delegashon Antiano, miembro Alex Curiel, segun algun korant, a okupá hinter un ‘suite’ den hotel i a bai Ulanda ku 2 Buick nobo for di Kòrsou pa su uso personal. Un mayoria na Kòrsou a desaprobá e akshonnan di Curiel. Tambe a sali den notisia ku algun miembro tabata bishitá famia na lugá di traha i ku un miembro a bai keda serka amigunan den un otro suidat apesar di tabatin hotel reservá. Pa koroná obra, a raportá fiestamentu di e delegashon, inkluso unu ku a kaba tempran mainta, “Curaçao fuifde tot half vijf”.

Despues di vários seshon tras di porta será, riba 16 di febrüari a tene e promé reunion públiko di e RTC. Van der Meer papiando tambe na nòmber di Eman, Yrausquin i Jonckheer tabata di opinion ku no a sigi e mandato di Staten loke a pone ku nan a bandoná sala. Da Costa Gomez i Gerharts públikamente a kritiká e desishon di e 4 miembronan. Riba 27 di febrüari Jonckheer, van der Meer i Yrausquin ta bandoná e RTC i Ulanda.

DP ta denunsiá Reino i lanta deseonan di Venezuela pa aneksá ABC
Despues di a bandoná e RTC, DP a organisá protesta kontra Ulanda i a manda telegram pa pidi Nashonnan Uní i Organisashon Panamérikano (ku despues a bira Organisashon di Estadonan Amérikano) kondená Ulanda. Esakinan no a hisa e petishon for di tera. Mayoria di pueblo a desaprobá e akshon di DP. Pa e delegashon Antiano ku ainda tabata na mesa, esaki tabata un traishon. Venezuela a tuma bon nota di loke DP a hasi i a probechá pa durante un enkuentro di e Organisashon Panamérikano di 30 mart-2 mei 1948 argumentá ku e islanan ABC ta pertenesé na Venezuela i ku ta ora pa nan bira Venezolano.

Alegria pa Dòktor i Kòrsou, desapunto pa Jonckheer i Kòrsou
E RTC ta tèrminá eksitosamente riba 18 di mart 1948. A logra inkluí tur punto Antiano demostrando ku Dòktor tabatin rason pa bisa ku ta na mesa bo ta prevalesé i no ora bo bandoná esaki. Despues ku e tres miembronan a bandoná e delegashon Antiano, Dòktor a haña mas espasio pa elaborá riba su vishon pa un Reino nobo. E a introdusí su proposishonnan hopi avansá pa un konstitushon nobo ku e a yama Statüt. E aktitut di DP a pone Dòktor su popularidat krese enormemente. Poko despues di e RTC e a lanta Partido Nashonal di Pueblo ku un aña despues ta gana elekshon.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Lista di fuente

Nationaal Archief Curaçao
Beurs, 4 augustus 1947
Beurs, 2 december 1947
Amigoe, 18 december 1947
Dr. Kasteel, A. “De Staatkundige Ontwikkeling der Nederlandse Antillen (1956)”
Elsevier Weekblad, “Negen Mannen en een Vraagteken”, maart 1948
De Surinamer, 2 maart 1948

Fotonan: Di man robes ariba den direkshon di oloshi: da Costa Gomes, Jonckheer, Gerharts, Eman i Yrausquin

Aruba’s move towards Venezuela commendable

Earlier I questioned the unilaterally imposed blockade by Venezuela when it closed its borders with the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao (ABC). I believed then and still contend that it was a flagrant violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Blockades are not new, but the reason given for doing it, doesn’t cut the mustard.

Today I read in a local newspaper that the Aruban Plenipotentiary Minister in The Netherlands in an informal conversation with the Venezuelan Ambassador in The Hague, showed his deep concern for the blockade and its consequences. I believe this to be an excellent move by the Aruban Government. The island has shown it will not sit and wait for Venezuela to make a move that may never come.

There are two major problems with the recent border closure by Venezuela. It ignored the required route indicated by the WTO to achieve this. And, the measures were not in accordance with Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which allows the usual rules be broken to blockade another party for national security reasons. The Venezuelan President clearly stated that the blockade was “in retaliation of smuggling of [..] gold and copper.” I seriously doubt that, even if it turns out to be true, smuggling by the ABC islands (population of 300,000) could threaten the national security of Venezuela. Incidentally, Article XXI of the GATT has in the WTO’s 24-year history never been used to impose trade sanctions. Both Venezuela and the ABC islands are parties to the GATT.

If it were up to me, I’d take the Aruban step even further. I’d have a statement by the Kingdom of The Netherlands in support of the ABC islands sent to the WTO to formally inform the members of the actions taken by Venezuela. A farther-reaching measure would be to file a formal complaint with the WTO against the blockade. The WTO allows for further actions, but I still believe in a diplomatic solution. Even if it’s forced by the WTO.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Maduro’s Venezuela on the brink blames 3 small islands