Anti Holland MFK And PNP Resounding Election Victory In Curacao. Wants To Renegotiate COHO. Opposition wins parliamentary elections in Curaçao. Reform treaty with the Netherlands under discussion.
On Curaçao, opposition party MFK has achieved a resounding victory. The party led by Gilmar ‘Pik’ Pisas comes in nine of the 21 seats in parliament. The result is also important for the negotiations with the Netherlands on financial support and structural reforms.
MFK and PNP are set to rule the Caribbean island, an autonomous country within the kingdom, amid rising covid infections and a massive economic crisis. It is important here what the parties want with the so-called Coho, the ‘Caribbean body for reform and development’, with which the Netherlands wants to invest hundreds of millions of euros in the coming years in a more effective government, better education, guaranteed care and protection of the rule of law.
Pisas has made it clear before the election that he wants to renegotiate Coho. The plans for this still have to be approved by the parliaments of all four countries within the kingdom. This does not seem to be a problem in the Netherlands and Aruba. On Curaçao and St. Maarten it is.
The division in Curaçao politics is somewhat comparable to that in the Netherlands between ‘cosmopolitans’ and ‘nationalists’. The Caribbean cosmopolitans are looking for active cooperation with the Netherlands and use of Dutch expertise. The nationalists on the island believe that the Netherlands wants too much influence and has its own, whether or not neo-colonial, agenda.
Gilmar Pisas (49) is considered a man of the people. He was born and raised on the so-called Band’abou, the rural part of the island, which often feels disadvantaged near Willemstad. Before entering politics, he worked as a police officer. “All my life people underestimated me,” he said. “But time and again I achieve my goals.”
The very likely new Curaçao prime minister rose within the MFK, the party that was founded by Gerrit Schotte shortly before the island became autonomous in 2010. As prime minister, Schotte was accused of official corruption and money laundering. After a long trial, he was jailed for three years. He is free again and has stated that he no longer wants to get involved in politics. Pisas says he has stripped the MFK of all previous blemishes.
Disappointed voters speak of ‘back to square one’ and refer to the period 2010-2012, in which the MFK ‘abused’ the young country of Curaçao for its own financial gain and even maintained ties with the international mafia. This has indeed changed in recent years. Pisas says he will pursue a transparent policy in all respects.
The background to this is also the financial supervision that the Netherlands conducts on the three other countries within the kingdom. In the past, this has often led to serious clashes. The issue is currently also an issue in Sint Maarten. The parliament there has even raised the Dutch involvement in pure government with the United Nations, because the Netherlands would violate the right of self-determination.
Sint Maarten has responded enthusiastically to the MFK’s victory in Curaçao. Member of Parliament Claudius Buncamper said: ‘The people of Curaçao have spoken loud and clear. The voters have sent a very clear message to everyone in the kingdom. ‘ So a message ‘against’ the Netherlands.