80 aña Staten i demokrasia parlamentario

“Mi ta enfatisá ku un struktura nobo riba su mes no ta garantia pa bon gobernashon. Mas importante ku kualkier struktura di gobernashon ta kalidat i onestidat di e hòmbernan ku ta manehá e struktura”. — Sr. Josuah Cohen Henriquez (Shon Jossy), Presidente di Koloniale Raad na final di e último reunion di e instituto kolonial (31 di mart 1938).

Introdukshon

Riba 5 aprel 1938, 80 aña pasá, e promé Staten a remplasá Koloniale Raad ku a dura un total di 104 aña. Ku esaki nos historia di demokrasia parlamentario a start. E ta un sistema basá riba e pensamentu ku miembronan di parlamento ta representá e pueblo ku a vota pa nan i ku a delegá nan poder temporalmente (en prinsipio pa 4 aña) na e miembronan di parlamento. Demokrasia parlamentario tambe kier men ku e poder ehekutivo (Gobièrnu) ta dependé di e echo ku e por konta ku konfiansa di mayoria di e miembronan di parlamento. Sin e konfiansa aki Gobièrnu no tin un base di poder pa hasi su trabou.

Huramentashon di 14 miembro di Staten

Riba 5 di aprel 1938 un total di 14 miembro a tuma asiento den nos promé Staten. Di e 14 nan aki, solamente 10 a drenta via di voto popular. Nan tabata: Sres. I.H. Capriles; M.F. da Costa Gomez; A.W.J.M. Desertine; J.M.P. Kroon; E.C. Martijn i J. Rustige pa Kòrsou. Sres. J.R. Arends i J.M. De Cuba pa Aruba. Sr. J. De Jongh pa Boneiru. Sr. W.R. Plantz pa Islanan Ariba. Miembronan ku a keda apuntá pa Korona tabata e èks miembronan di e delaster Koloniale Raad: Sres. J.H. Sprockel; C.N. Winkel i S.A. Senior. Tambe a apuntá F. Ph. Bichon van Ysselmonde (hurista i miembro di direktiva enseñansa protestant). En total mester tabatin sinku miembro apuntá, pero na momentu di e promé Staten tabata falta pa apuntá e di sinku miembro.

Promé tarea Staten nobo: simplifiká Kiesreglement

Gobernadó Gielliam J.J. Wouters a hasi apertura di Staten 80 aña pasá i den su diskurso no a laga ningun duda kiko ta bai ta e prioridat di e kolegio aki: “Binnenkort zal de Staten een voorstel bereiken, beoogende een technische herziening van het Kiesreglement en het aanbrengen van wijzigingen o.m. ten doel hebbende het aantal kiesgerechtigden uit te breiden, de formaliteiten voor het bekomen van het bekwaamheidskiesrecht te vereenvoudigen en het lijstenstelsel in te voeren.” Realidat a mustra ku ta mas fásil papia di kambio ku logra kambio. E divishon feros den Staten, di kua nos lo papia despues, a stroba e proseso di kambio.

Dòktor da Costa Gomez ta onra un pilar di nos demokrasia

Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez (Dòktor), miembro di Curaçaosche Rooms Katholieke Partij i sin duda e Miembro di Staten mas popular a skohe pa no pone fiesta pa selebrá nos promé Staten. Djis despues di instalashon riba 5 aprel 1938, Dòktor ta bai graf di Abraham Mendez Chumaceiro pa gradisí e pionero yu di tera aki di a hasi posibel e promé Staten di nos pais. Aki da Costa Gomez a bisa: “Moge het voorbeeld van Chumaceiro voor ons allen een krachtige spoorslag zijn om onze beste krachten evenals hij, aan de belangen van land en volk te wijden.” Chumaceiro mes a muri hopi aña promé ku e por a mira su soño bira realidat.

Un lucha largu

Nos demokrasia no a surgi di su mes pero a tuma hopi tempu, lucha i perseveransha di nos antepasadonan pa yega na e tipo di demokrasia ku nos tin awe. Anteriormente mi a skibi kaba riba e tema aki. Ku introdukshon di e Kiesreglement 1937, pa di promé biaha residentenan di e isla di Kòrsou por a bai urna. Pa por a vota bo mester tabata hende hòmber, mayó di 25 aña di edat, tin un salario anual di mínimo f 1,200, no debe belasting i tin 7 aña di enseñansa básiko. Si bo no tabata kumpli ku e rekisito di 7 aña di enseñansa básiko bo por a pasa un tèst na Ulandes pa midi bo kapasidat intelektual. E Kiesreglement tabata sumamente kompliká i kurioso. Por ehèmpel, hende muhé no por a vota, pero hende muhé si por a postulá su mes pa keda elihí. Pero kisas mas kompliká tabata e echo ku e sistema di elekshon no tabata konosé partido polítiko (ounke nan tabata eksistí) pero solamente kandidato. Pa kolmo, un hende na Kòrsou por a vota pa un máksimo di seis hende pareu durante di e elekshon aki. Na Aruba por a vota pa un máksimo di dos kandidato, na Boneiru i Islanan Ariba, pa un solo kandidato). Basá riba e rekisitonan di voto, solamente 5% di e poblashon di Kòrsou, esta 2,030 hende hòmber por a vota di kua 1,665 a bai vota riba 22 desèmber 1937. Na e promé elekshon a partisipá na Kòrsou kandidatonan di 4 partido polítiko: Curaçaosche Rooms Katholieke Partij, Curaçaosche Politieke Unie, Jong Curaçao Stroming en Curaçaosche Scheepvaart Maatschappij. Promé ku Chumaceiro tabata Sr. Généreux de Lima, e promé yu di tera di koló miembro di Koloniale Raad, ku riba 22 novèmber 1869 a pidi pa derechi di voto pa Yunan di Kòrsou.

Un Staten dividí 8-7

Dòktor a kue e palabranan di Gobernadó Wouters pa kambio di nos Kiesreglement tene duru. For di e promé dia e a start e proseso pa trese kambio ya mas hende, prinsipalmente esnan nasé riba e islanan, por a vota. E divishon den Staten, na un banda 8 miembro katóliko i e otro, 7 no-katóliko a demostrá di ta un faktor ku a debilitá kambio. Manera nos a mira, e Kiesreglement 1937 a pone ku masha poko masa yu di tera ku tabata katóliko por a vota, mientrás ku un kantidat grandi nasé na Ulanda i protestant si tabata kalifika sin problema pa vota. E élite protestant ku tabata tolerá e grupo hudiu (ku sigun nan no tabata papia Ulandes na drechi) a djòin forsa ku nan den Staten kontra di e mayoria di katólikonan. Mester bisa tambe ku bou di e katólikonan no ta tur hende tabata di akuerdo ku derechi di voto pa hende muhé. Frater Radulphus su palabranan riba votamentu tabata resoná: “Ku laga tur hende hòmber vota mes, Dios sa. Kòrda hende muhé”. Un petishon di Dòktor pa hasi e tèst intelektual pa por vota tambe na Papiamentu a keda rechasá pa un mayoria den Staten. Apesar ku a bin algun kambio chikí ku a amplia e kandidat ku por a vota, a dura te 1949 pa hende hòmber i muhé por a vota. E bataya pa trese kambio tabata duru pa motibu di e divishon religioso. Durante di e periodo aki e promotor di kambio, Dòktor, a asta keda kompará den reunion di Staten komo Hitler.

Despues di 80 aña: Tempu pa evaluá

Nos demokrasia no ta algu státiko ni perfekto. Lokual pues ta nesesario ta pa konstantemente traha pa perfekshoná e sistema. Un sistema den kua tur hende tin e libertat i abilidat di partisipá den elaborashon i atministrashon di regla/lei ku ta rigi institutonan ku ta goberná nan. Ta un obligashon pa nos keda perfekshoná nos demokrasia pa asina esaki duna kontesta satisfaktorio na nos sirkunstansia i retonan partikular. Demokrasia parlamentario ta respondé na nos nesesidatnan ainda? Portá mester pensa riba un demokrasia konstitushonal? Un kos ta sigur, nos no por simplemente kopia sistema di gobernashon di otro pais, ni maske kon bon e ta traha einan. Nos mester traha riba nos mes modelo. Final di kuenta ta sumamente importante pa nos realisá ku kualkier modelo demokrátiko ta kai o lanta ku e hendenan ku ta praktik’é. Pues nos no por pèrdè for di bista e importansia di invertí den e hende ku mester traha den e struktura.

Skopje, Macedonia

Pakiko Heineken a sera Amstel: un análisis

Siere di serbeseria Amstel dékada pasá despues di mas ku 50 aña di eksistensia riba nos isla a kousa hopi konsternashon. E serbeseria a hasi algun fayo gerensial-stratégiko ku a debilitá su posishon ku konsekuensia ku su doño prinsipal, Heineken -e di dos serbeseria mas grandi na mundu- a ser’é. Sinembargo tin hende ainda ke bende ku ta ami komo minister di Ekonomia a sera e serbeseria. Un yamada di un korant lokal pa kontestá algun pregunta tokante di e tema aki a ponemi bai bèk na un charla ku mi a duna na mi studiantenan di Universidat di Antia (awe University of Curaçao) na 2010 riba siere di e serbeseria. E artíkulo ta basá riba e charla en kuestion.

Introdukshon

Antilliaanse Brouwerij (Amstel), yu di Amstel Brouwerij na Ulanda a keda establesé na 1958 na Kòrsou i na final di 1959 a produsí su promé bòter di serbes. E kondishon Ulandes pa establesimentu di e fábrika tabata protekshon di merkado (apesar ku na Ulanda Amstel Brouwerij no tabatin protekshon). No tabata inusual ku kompanianan mionario establesé na Oropa tabatá eksihí protekshon komo kondishon pa invertí den paisnan den desaroyo.

Den nòmber di protekshon Amstel tabata paga ménos ku suèldu mínimo

Protekshon pa e serbeseria a keda legalmente akordá un aña promé ku e promé serbes a subi merkado. Ku ayudo di protekshon, kos tabata drei zetá i Amstel tabata hasi ganashi i tabata emití dividendonan kuantioso pa su doñonan. Pa varios aña dividendonan di 18% tabata bai pa doñonan. Remarkabel tabata ku apesar di e periodo di bonansa aki, trahadónan no a probechá manera e doñonan. Es mas, Amstel a pidi i a haña ainda mas protekshon ku ya kaba e tabatin ora Gobièrnu a reglá ku nan por a paga nan trahadónan 75% di e suèldo mínimo. Te leu ku mi sa, nunka antes ni despues, Gobièrnu a pèrmití un doño di trabou legalmente paga su trahadónan bou di suèldo mínimo.

Kiko tabata e idea di maneho di protekshon?

E argumento prinsipal pa protekshon di merkado, popular den vários pais den añanan 50 i 60, tabata pa yuda un empresa ku kaba di start, gatia te ora e kana riba su mes forsa. Prinsipalmente bou di paisnan ku a haña nan independensia den e periodo aki e tabata e maneho preferí pa stimulá industria propio. E paisnan en kuestion tabata eksportá materia prima pa paisnan industrial ku tabata kombertí esaki den produktonan final. Protekshon mester a yuda e paisnan den desaroyo start ku industria ku ta traha produktonan final enbes di solamente eksportá materia prima ku relativamente tabata trese poko plaka den lachi. Mayoria pais den añanan 80 a eliminá protekshon. Esaki tabatin ke ber ku finalisashon di e Ronda di Uruguay (UR) pa redusí barera tarifario i no-tarifario pa ku importashon di merkansia. UR a duna lus despues na e Organisashon Mundial di Komèrsio (WTO).

Protekshon di merkado na Kòrsou

Protekshon di merkado a keda introdusí sin ku nos tabatin materia prima propio. Banda di protekshon no tabatin ningun strategia pa fábrikanan ku a haña protekshon bira mas efisiente i ménos dependiente di protekshon. Protekshon a bira un derechi atkerí ku a dura te 2010. Poko hende ta para ketu ku esun ku semper ta paga pa protekshon ta e kumpradó.

Tabatin tres tipo di protekshon. 1. Rekargo ekonómiko: un belasting èkstra riba un produkto protehá. Habon tabata protehá i mester a tene habon importá mas barata pafó poniendo 90% belasting. Pues habon X di Merka ku pagando derechi di importashon (invoerrechten) ta Naf 1 ta bira Naf 1.90 despues di belasting. 2. Tabata pone límite na e kantidat di un produkto protehá ku por a importá oumentando burokrasia i korupshon (manera e kaso di importashon di outo segunda mano). 3. Monopolio, e forma di mas severo di protehá. Esaki ta enserá ku solamente un fábrika por a traha sierto produkto (manera habon, zeta dushi).

Algun fábrika tabatin tur forma di protekshon pareu. Den kurso di añanan kasi 80 produkto a haña protekshon entre otro chukulati, pindakas, limonada, saku di plèstik, te, suku, fèrf, produktonan di heru i stal.

Desishon pa kita protekshon di merkado

Maneho di protekshon no tabata trese ningun industria nobo Kòrsou. Kontrali, hopi negoshi ku protekshon a sera manera esun di te, chukulati,
pindakas i un negoshi di heru ku unilateralmente a purba di kita protekshon (na un manera ilegal) pa liberá su mes for di e maneho.

Otro argumento pa eliminá protekshon tabata e echo ku nos tabata kibrando nos palabrashonnan ku WTO -dor di mantené e protekshon indebido aki- ku te awe, si paisnan miembro ke, por kobra nos hopi Naf mión na daño di pèrhuisio.

E argumento prinsipal tabata ku ta e konsumidó tabata paga pa tene e fábrikanan protehé, inkluso Amstel, na bida. Preisnan tabata haltísimo pa motibu di protekshon. Nos a mira e ehèmpel di habon. E 95% di rekargo (economische heffing) tabata keda pagá pa e kumpradó i e plaka tabata bai den kaha di Gobièrnu. E doñonan di fábrika protehá tabata gana dor ku e pueblo mester a kumpra e produkto lokal pasombra esun mas barata di afó, mester a paga asina tantu belasting ku e tabata bira mas karu ku esun lokal. Esaki a pone ku siendo un pais turístiko e produkto Kòrsou tabata mas karu ku nos kompetidornan sin protekshon, manera pais Aruba i St. Maarten.

Na aña 2000 a disidí di kita e maneho di protekshon basá riba un nota ku mi a skibi, e tempu ei komo ámtenar. A duna 5 aña pa kada fábrika (inkluso Amstel) ahustá i kuminsá produsí mas efisientemente.

Amstel ta pidi protekshon i supsidio di Naf 5 mión pa aña

Ku protekshon finalisando na 2005, Amstel a hasi trámite pa pidi protekshon nobo. Ni Amstel ni Heineken aparentemente a logra pa pone e serbeseria drei mas kompetitivo i a skohe pa pidi Gobièrnu pa anualmente e risibí un supsidio di Naf 5 mión. E konstrukshon di e petishon aki tabata pa eksonerá Amstel for di paga aksèins anual ku ta suma Naf 5 mion, mientras mester a kobra aksèins riba tur otro serbes ku no ta Amstel.

Ami ku e tempu ei (2005) tabata Minister di Ekonomia a ninga Amstel su petishon redondamente. Mi no tabata kere ku nos mester supsidiá un empresa privá. No lubidá ku Heineken ta e di dos serbeseria mas grandi na mundu i ku su ganashinan ta mas ku Naf. 3 mil mión. Pues gerensha i sindikato tabata ke pa nos supsidiá un kompania ku su ganashi ta mitar di nos Produkto Interno Bruto. Sinku Naf mión ku nos mes aki ta yen di mester pa enseñansa, bibienda i pa drecha kalidat di bida den nos barionan. Doñonan di Amstel ku a logra kombensé sindikato pone preshon i asta a menasami, a insistí ku si Gobièrnu no duna Naf 5mión nan lo sera. Mi a para riba mi punto apesar di preshon. Tirando un bista bèk awe, no tin ningun duda ku mi lo tuma e mesun desishon.

E rason ku Amstel a sera

E maneho di protekshon di mas ku 50 aña a krea un situashon di monopolio i seguransa pa Amstel ku e doñonan a kere lo a dura pa semper. Presisamente esaki a resultá den su kaida.

Amstel basá riba e pensamentu di monopolio i e merkado lokal pa su so a hasi algun desishon stratégiko robes ku a bin kosté karu. Na di promé lugá a invertí den mashinnan ku kapasidat grandi. Esaki a resulta funesto pasombra dor di kompetensia (apesar di protekshon) e ‘aandeel’ den merkado di serbes lokal a baha ku konsekuensia ku e mashinnan tabata traha bou di nan kapasidat ku konsekuensia atrobe ku e proseso di traha serbes a bira mas inefisiente, resultando den ‘kostprijs’ mas haltu.

Adishonalmente mester bisa ku pa un o otro rason Amstel no tabata kerí riba tur e islanan di Antia Hulandes, prinsipalmente Aruba i St Maarten, e merkadonan di mas grandi despues di Kòrsou.

E di tres problema ta ku Amstel no a bai ku tempu pa loke ta trata e deseonan di e bebedó di serbes lokal. Pa un rason of otro (pero konfirmá pa gerensia di Amstel) e bebedó lokal di serbes su smak a kambia pa un serbes mas zoet. Amstel a resultá di ta muchu marga i hopi bebedó (apesar di protekshon) a kambia pa Polar ku tabata mas zoet. Esaki a pone ku Amstel a pèrdè parti di merkado lokal. (Tuma nota ku e kliente no a switch pa Polar pa motibu di preis mas barata. Polar i Amstel tabata bende por detal pa e mesun preis).

Ounke ku mi no ke sinta riba stul di gerensia, ta parsemi ku mester a tene kuenta ku e sabor di e serbes. Mester tabata mas alèrt pa ku e kompetensia fuerte i mester tabata mas inovativo. Finalmente mester a eksihí di e doño mayoritario, Heineken, pa e asumí su responsabilidat na lugá di skonde tras Gobièrnu. Ami ta kombensí ku e doño, manera ta kustumber den mundu gerensial, a tuma un desishon netamente gerensial ku tabata pas den e plannan global di Heineken pa stòp produkshon na Kòrsou. Meskos a pasa ku Texas Instruments, Royal Shell, ABN-AMRO na Kòrsou i hopi planta i fábrika rònt mundu.

Lès di pasado i bista pa futuro

E protekshon di merkado ku nos a kopia di afó no a kuadra den nos konteksto i no a kondusí na e resultadonan deseá. No tabatin un maneho industrial real pa kompañá protekshon di merkado. Hasimentu di negoshi (ku eksepshon di agrikultura) ku protekshon ta un historia di pasado den un mundu kompetitivo, di kada biaha mas tratado komersial i mas pais ku ta bira miembro di WTO.

Mi ta lamentá ku na momentu di siere di Amstel hende a pèrdè trabou. Pero manera nos a mira, a bin hopi kompetensia dor ku a start importashon di serbes di otro pais. Hopi hende a haña trabou den distribushon di serbes importá. Tambe awe tin serbeserianan lokal ku a lanta ku tambe ta duna trabou. E kuponan di trabou nobo aki lo no por a bin si protekshon a keda.

Sinembargo mantenshon di e fabrika kostando pueblo Naf 5 miyon no ta hustifiká den mi buki. Unda a tende ku pueblo mester supsidiá un multinashonal kapitalista. Loke ta kurioso ta ku sindikalismo a para na banda di e multinashonal/kapital i a eksihí pa hinka man den saku di pueblo pa un supsidio anual di Naf 5 mión pa un empresa milyadario.

Nos no mester pretendé ku ta asina-asina industrianan grandi ta bin establesé na Kòrsou. Pakiko por ehèmpel un fábrika di traha tapeit di Persia lo bin Kòrsou si e por traha nan mas efisientemente na Iran òf Bangladesh? Nos no mester kere den milagernan di industrianan grandi. Loke nos mester hasi ta konsentrá riba lokual nos ta bon den dje, invertí den enseñansa, inovashon, subi produktividat, sera tratadonan komersial (inkl. partnership stratégiko ku empresanan estranhero), fleksibilisá nos merkado laboral i atmishon di estranhero ku konosementu.

Tin oportunidat pa serbeseria na Kòrsou. No den e sentido di produkshon masal. I sigur no ku protekshon. Nos ta papia aki di mikro-serbeseria. Un mikro-serbeseria mará kisas na un o mas restourant, bar. Aktualmente mi ta trahando na Kyrgyzstan unda tin varios mikro-serbeseria eksitoso. Un ku mi a haña interesante ta Save the Ales ku ta un mikro serbeseria ku varios tipo i sabor di serbes trahá den nan propio establesimentu. Lokual ta yama atenshon ta ku e serbeseria aki ta manehá i operá kompletamente pa hende muhé. Save the Ales a bira un atrakshon turístiko. Nos tin espasio pa mikro serbeseria na Kòrsou.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Our moral obligation as the Venezuelan refugee crisis wears on

Outside the United Nations (UN) building in N’Djaména (Chad) where I used to work, they lined up every day early in the morning. Refugees with their hands in the air seeking someone to lift them up. Refugees crying for help, because most of them are innocent people who are tired of war, persecution and other calamities. In my office, a UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) poster showing two messages: “Refugee, go back home” and  “He would if he could” (see photo), served as a daily reminder that there is no pleasure in fleeing one’s home.

No one disagrees that the arrival of scores of people fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela to come to Curaçao presents real challenges for our island. But the lack of compassion and humanity shown so far by the Government of Curaçao (GoC) is frankly disconcerting. It’s true that Curaçao is struggling with its own problems, but which country isn’t? It may also be true that we lack a comprehensive asylum policy. But are we therefore absolved from doing our best to accommodate these people and offering them a helping hand?

What’s happening in Venezuela is the largest displacement of people in Latin American history according to the UN. The number of people that need to be attended to is growing exponentially and beyond our capacity to absorb. I’m however not arguing for open-ended commitments to receive people from our southern neighbor. I’m advocating first of all for a humane and compassionate approach by the GoC. It seems that cabinet members are so consumed by legal technical reasons as to why Curaçao is not bound by international conventions to help refugees that they hardly noticed how they’ve failed the humanitarian standards by which they were expected to govern.

I hope the GoC unequivocally states that it’s willing to cooperate and ready to accept international aid to face this crisis. Aid that must come from the Kingdom of The Netherlands and the UN. One of the challenges that the UN must overcome however is that the international donor’s response for monies and other resources for the Venezuelan crisis has been so far been nothing like the resources committed to servicing the refugee crisis in Syria and Myanmar. This has to change.

What also has to change is our misconception about refugees. These are people, not numbers. Refugees are for the most part innocent victims who have experienced many extremely stressful events that cause them to flee. Yet, our (political) discourse about refugees rarely takes into account the trauma that these people are going through and how difficult it must be to leave home.

That the once proud citizens of the richest nation in Latin America, are starving and fleeing Venezuela must teach us that no one is immune from crises. We in Curaçao could also become victims of natural or man-made disasters forcing us to flee. If that were the case, would we want to be left to our own devices?

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Why I write in English

People choose to write in another language for different reasons. When Irishman Samuel Beckett was asked why he wrote in French and not in English he answered: “More and more my own language appears to me like a veil that must be torn apart in order to get at the things behind it.”

While I will not compare myself with this literary master my reason for writing mainly in English (and not in my native Papiamentu nor in Dutch) stems from a deep-rooted need to communicate with the world. I guess this is why as a globalist I pride myself to consider the whole wide world as my playground.

Many a time while visiting or talking to foreign (key)players from all corners of the world, I’m convinced that there’s a void of scholarly and serious accounts in English about our country. Yes, the internet has plenty of information for (would-be) tourists, but aren’t we more than sand on the seashore? I started my blog precisely to fill this void. In my very first article I said that my goal was making sense of world events, especially those that directly impact our lives, pocketbooks, personal freedoms and the environment. Statistics provided by my blogging system indicate that my articles are read by thousands of readers from 97 countries so far.

And since I’m on the subject, I encourage more people to write in English. Especially certain press releases from Government should be translated to English. When I was State Secretary of Finance I often sent press statements in English to the Caribbean News Network which were often picked up by media outlets in Barbados, Jamaica and others. If we don’t we’ll remain stranded in information isolation.

So the group in my native Curaçao that goes around murmuring with a sense of indignation that I should write in Dutch is either missing the point or suffers from megalomania. By the way, the fourth largest group of visitors to my site are from the Netherlands. Actually all this is very simple. If it irritates you to read my articles in English, realize that you don’t have to. There are many non-English blogs out there.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

 

#MeToo Curaçao

As we reflect on Women’s Day this year, men and women can be grateful of the many strides we’ve made on women’s rights. Long gone are the days that Friar (Frater) Radulphus on behalf of the Church declared that women were too stupid to vote. Women no longer have to quit their jobs after they get married, they’re not excluded from entering professions like law and medicine and they can own properties in their own names. Yet, we remain a deeply male-dominated society where physical and mental abuse against women are daily occurrences in the workplace, at home and during social contacts. We cannot be complacent.

It is unmistakably obvious that these abuses stem from a deeply rooted disrespect for women. Society has condoned this behavior against women from the moment they are born trapping them in a pattern that’s difficult to break. Men and women are to be blamed for the lasting nature of this problem. Somehow mothers, fathers, family members, church, government and social leaders are quick to downplay abuse against women as “cultural”. We used the same lame excuse against universal voting rights 70 years ago and today we use it against LGBTQ rights. To think “that’s the way men are and we’ve to deal with it” may sweep the problem under the rug, but will not solve anything.

Parents, but especially women (because they spend more time educating our children) should stop raising boys according to the “boys will be boys” mantra which somehow entitles them to disrespect girls. Women should also be empowered by the #MeToo movement and denounce abuse. This movement started in the U.S. to denounce sexual misconduct by men with power over their victims but has since spread to many countries. In a large Kenyan hospital, women workers fed up with being harassed by their male colleagues when they breastfeed, started the first #MeToo in Africa. Sexual harassment crosses socioeconomic racial and cultural barriers.

Sexual misconduct by men with power over their victims in Curaçao is real and has been whispered for a long time. Some contend that we are too small for the potential social upheaval we’ve seen unfold elsewhere. Some women are afraid of being ostracized by society if they come forward. Fact is however that women everywhere -also from small countries like ours- have rights and ought not to be mistreated. I’m all for using the #MeToo movement as an empowerment tool. The implementation here will necessarily have to reflect our particular circumstances. Sexual misconduct, violence and injustice against women in Curaçao will -as history has taught us- not be solved in the short term or without disruption.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Evaluá nos relashon ku Parlatino

Algun dia despues ku e miembronan di Staten a sinta riba 2 novèmber 2012, urgentemente lidernan di frakshon a keda yamá pa un reunion. Na e momento ei e gobièrnu nobo no a sinta, no tabata konosí ken ta koalishon i kende oposishon. E promé punto tabata pa proponé un kandidato pa Presidente di Staten ku despues di algun siman lo a baha pa traha lugá pa Marcolino Franco. Ora mi a kera ku e otro punto(nan) lo ta ‘aanwijzing’ o futuro di refeneria mi a keda babuká di tende ku tabata trata di un invitashon di Parlatino pa un biahe. Mi tabata e úniko lider di frakshon ku a vota kontra. Mi no a mira e relevansia ni urgensia.

Promé ku sigui ta bon pa tira un bista atras. For di den komienso di añanan 80, Antia Ulandes a hasi tur esfuerso pa bira miembro di Parlatino ku a forma na 1964. Den un reunion di Parlatino ku a tuma lugá na Bogotá den febrüari 1981, Miembro di Staten Roy van Putten ku a bai ‘lobby’ kuriosamente a bisa: “E úniko relashon ku Antia tin ku Ulanda ta e idioma Ulandes. Pero nos no ta papi’é boluntariamente, sino fòrsá”. Van Putten a kontinuá: “E Antiano di orígen Arubano, Boneriano i Yu di Kòrsou tin kontakto estrecho ku Latino Amérika pa motibu di historia, kultura i deporte. No tin ningun Antiano riba e tres (3) islanan ku no ta papia Spañó, adorá e mesun santunan, baila i kanta e mesun müzik”.

Ni e diskurso aki ni otro esfuersonan ku a sigi no a yuda. Parlatino na 1988 ta manda informá Antia Ulandes ku a rechasá e petishon pa miembresia permanente. Esaki a konsiderá ku un pais no-independiente no por a bira miembro. Apesar di e desapunto, Antia Ulandes no a entregá i despues di hopi kombensementu, Parlatino a akseptá nos komo miembro permanente na 1990.

Nos pais tin pues un historia largu ku Parlatino. E pregunta ta keda ki relevansia e relashon aki tin pa bida di e suidadano aki na Kòrsou? Ta masha normal ku despues di x tempu ta evaluá miembresia na organisashonnan regional. Algun aña pasá Gobièrnu (kier) a evaluá nos miembresia ku Association of Caribbean States. Pakiko no ta evaluá nos miembresia na Parlatino? Esaki sigur en bista di e miles di florin ku nos ta paga anualmente pa miembresia i e biahenan kostoso pa tur tipo di reunion. Staten ku semper tin boka yen di kontrolá Gobièrnu no mester tin miedu pa laga kontrolá su mes. Esaki sigur en bista di hopi reklamo den pueblo, no awe, pero hopi aña kaba pa loke ta Parlatino.

Den kuater aña nunka ami a biaha pa reunionnan di Parlatino. Mi no a mira e relevansia. Di otro banda mi no por a kombensé un mayoria pa sikiera evaluá nos partisipashon na Parlatino. Parlatino a para bira un derechi atkerí di e Miembro di Parlamento pa biaha. Mester bin un kambio.

Willemstad, Curaçao

The disappearing act of Plan B refinery Curaçao

The Multidisciplinary Project Team (MDPT) was installed by Decree on 29th November 2013 to be in charge of modernizing the oil refinery in Curaçao. This Decree also created a sub-committee to lead Plan B, the redevelopment of the area currently occupied by the refinery in case the refinery is shut down (terugval scenario t.b.v. een mogelijke sluiting van de rafinaderij en de socio-economische herontwikkeling van het gebied). In 2015 and 2016 the sub-committee presented its findings in Parliament. Noteworthy is that the head of this sub-committee was also the vice-Chairman of the MDPT.

The current administration has recently decided to dissolve the MDPT and put Refineria di Korsou (RdK), the owner of the refinery, in charge of looking for a new operator for the refinery. And just like that the redevelopment initiatives seem to have dissolved into thin air. There is simply no mention of it anymore. In any case it’s inconceivable that the RdK whose existence depends on finding a new operator should be trusted with looking for alternatives for the refinery.

Does this mean that the government is putting all its eggs in the modernization basket? Are we that certain that we will find an operator before the current lease with the Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA runs out? Or are we willing to extend the current lease with Venezuela until a new operator is found. And finally, shouldn’t the decision by now oil rich Guyana to freeze plans to invest in its own multibillion-dollar refinery be a writing on the wall for us?

For the sake of our future national development agenda, I sincerely hope that politicians and key players are not ignoring national interest for short-sighted gains. And, transparency goes a long way in these uncertain times.

Willemstad, Curaçao