Published On: Wed, May 31st, 2017

A Deed

Jacob Gelt DekkerA little island in the Caribbean belonged to a businessman. He was also the only person on the little island. The man was so busy governing and administrating his island that he did not even raise his head when I visited him.

“Twenty million and forty-six million and a half makes sixty million and a half, but I am short by six million after counting three times over. So, who has been stealing from me? Who is taking the sand off my beaches?”

“But you are the only person on this island, what is the purpose of counting your possessions, all the time,” I said. "Does not the sea bring sand every day and take it away on other days?”

“You are stupid. I am the only person on this island, except for you as a visitor today, and the purpose of counting is to be rich! I count everything, all day long, the sand on the beach and the stars in the sky. I own them all. I am extremely happy to be so rich.”

“So how can anyone own the stars?”

“Who do they belong to? I do not know. To nobody.

Now, they are simply mine, because I thought of it first. First, I started to manage all the stars by counting them, and putting them in my ledger, properly with name, date of birth or discovery, frequency season and brightness. Then, I had the notary make a Deed, and the Deed determined that they were mine, and in forty-five years nobody has come forward to contest my claim.”

My Deed is registered and filed with the Global Court where all Deeds are registered. Just in case somebody forgets, anyone can go there and check it out.”

“Yes,” I said, “I perfectly understand. You are just like the colonials in history when they came to the Caribbean and made Deeds that declared their ownership of these islands. Once Deeded, these islands were then owned by the Kingdoms of England, France, Portugal, Spain, Denmark or Holland.

The Colonials also claimed that they owned the people who lived there, or, they simply found people elsewhere and Deeded them as their property and shipped them over.

“What happens when an owner forgets to make a Deed and declare his ownership? Or when the Deed gets lost, or when the subject already have been Deeded by someone else?”

“Yes, “ said the businessman, “that happens, and that mostly means war. The strongest party always wins. It gets complicated when the people, who thought that they were Deeded as someone’s property find out that their Deed was invalid or expired, or simply was canceled. Suddenly they are not owned by anybody but themselves.

You see, I had quite a few of those people on my island. The debate with them became very complicated since they believed that I had to take care of them since once there was a Deed, which declared them my property. In the end, they all left, and now I own the sand on the beach and the stars in the sky, and they never dispute me.  I am a truly a rich person, now even, a very rich person!”

I was impressed and was wondering whether there could be any Deeds that declared, that I was owned by someone.

Suddenly, I was in a hurry and moved as quickly as I could to the Global Court where all Deeds are registered and declared by a brand new Deed that I was owned by myself and no other person on this globe.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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