“Curaçao is changing course,” this newspaper headlined on Saturday, the day after the elections.The consequence of the election of the electorate. It is to be hoped that the new course set by the new coalition government will also benefit the country and the population. It will be a hell of a job, winner Gilmar “Pik” Pisas said immediately after it was clear that his party MFK has been given the mandate to determine the direction. The question is how much space he has to change the sailing route. “The people need help,” he said a few hours after the ballot boxes were closed, with not one eye but with both eyes towards the Netherlands. It shows a sense of reality, because Curaçao is in bad shape in connection with the corona crisis and can certainly not handle it at the moment – entirely on its own. That’s no shame, because that applies to almost all Caribbean islands, including Aruba and Sint Maarten, and many other, larger nations. Still, Pisas says it now, with the winnings in his pocket, louder and clearer than before the ballot box. With his anti-Coho campaign, he, but also the other winners – PNP (from Larmonie-Cecilia), TPK (Calmes) and KEM (Martines) – aroused the impression among the masses that there are alternative possibilities . Unless there is a lot more and drastic cuts and cutbacks in their own country, the last thing Pisas wants to do, every new government is forced to ask for Dutch help. Local financing or financing on the international capital market is not a solution. In The Hague, however, all parties agree that depositing money in a bottomless pit is pointless. Hence the hard condition of reforms. Something that the IMF also states. Reform (= change = adaptation), however, is not popular. And all things considered, the election result is a conservative choice. It is true that new, different parties will soon be in charge, but they radiate little willingness to change. When it comes to “reforms” – especially if they come or are imposed from outside – then rather not. Prefer to leave everything with the old and known. This also applies, for example, to the progressiveness in the field of recognition of same-sex marriage / partnership. It has to do with protectionism and thus preservation of the known and proper versus the unknown and (possibly) threatening from outside. Isolationism vs Globalism. In a way you can understand this; international developments take place at a rapid pace and small, open economies often feel vulnerable to this. Especially in times of crisis. And Curaçao has suffered a lot from this: the silent death of the offshore (international financial services); the looming end of the oil age; the collapse of neighboring Venezuela with dire consequences for refinery, trade and free zone; the Covid-19 pandemic and the blow it dealt with tourism – the only remaining sector. After so much setback, coupled with loss of jobs and income, the tendency quickly develops to crawl into one’s own shell and seek protection from the old and the familiar. That is not unique to Curaçao, but it is alive and well here. Protecting yourself, blocking external influences and especially leaving everything as it is – with regard to the capital and labor market, to name just two tricky themes – can feel safe for the short term, but is a recipe for the longer term. for deterioration and even loss. Education must keep up with the times and international trends, including digitization. The civil service can no longer operate bureaucratic, too unwieldy and expensive and with insufficient output. Business must be given the space to invest and produce in order to earn the money and create the jobs it needs. Closing things off to international movements is therefore not an option. On the contrary, the doors of Curaçao must be wide open. For residents to develop into citizens of the world and for foreigners to contribute to innovation, growth and well-being. With his statement “the people need help”, the MFK leader shows that he is aware of the needs of the little man, but also that his country must receive this help from outside. He may be able to take the sharp edges off a bit here and there, but as previously the now outgoing cabinet Rhuggenaath agreed and also the Wever-Croes cabinet of Aruba and the cabinet Jacobs of Sint Maarten. sooner or later, a newly formed Pisas cabinet will also have to agree to Coho or Coho-like conditions for further liquidity support. Preferably early, so as not to waste any unnecessary time eidskas, after last year’s financial aid of 860 million (including 170 million, with which the Giro bank account holders finally have access to their credit) is now quickly seeing the bottom again. Without that large-scale contribution – the food packages for tens of thousands, medical assistance (including all corona vaccinations) as well as extra efforts in the field of justice, coastguard and defense – many would have been much worse off; in the civil service, in companies and also households.
It is up to Pisas and his team to be formed, including the new States taking office on May 11, to show that they mean business. Prime Minister Pisas, who as an opposition leader in parliament was only recently criticized by the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom (RMR) for not respecting basic democratic rules, will have to convince the new Dutch Rutte (IV) government. If he wants to achieve something on and for Curaçao and he wants to do that on the basis of cooperation, then concessions will have to be made. It could possibly become even more difficult for the new combination in Fòrti, because The Hague has also listened to the views of MFK and PNP and has probably also learned something from the past. The lesson will be: what needs to be done will not come about without compelling help. Not yet another “Growth Agreement”. And even the construction with the stricter Landspakket has not (really) got off the ground yet. The combination of money / conditions – possibly even reversed: first meet conditions, then money (because in fact very few of the agreed conditions have been fulfilled, while some billion have been transferred in the meantime) will continue to exist. As indicated, support for a change of course in the Netherlands will be limited. In addition, what is changed automatically affects Aruba and – almost everyone in political The Hague has had it with – Sint Maarten. The inward-looking attitude quickly leads to doing it yourself; they don’t want help, they don’t really want to cooperate, but they do want money. Everything indicates that that is not going to be him. In the meantime, the island is rapidly entering a second / third wave of corona infections and may inevitably approach a near-complete lockdown. Another setback for tourism / economy and (government) finances, due to strongly lagging tax revenues. Again pressure on the hospital, on the facilities, on the depleted reserves. The winners of the Curaçao Parliament elections 2021 count themselves rich, that is for a while, enjoy the victory, but the reality will hit hard. It is to be hoped that the new political leader will be able to deal with that. Antillians Dagblad
Categories: MFK Curacao Korsou