Published On: Fri, Dec 29th, 2017

Antiquated laws and red tape are keeping the economy from growing

WillemstadCuraçao is a beautiful island. It has so much to offer. Compared to other islands in the Caribbean, Curaçao is much safer, more diverse and is rich in history. Still, the island doesn’t excel at anything except at turning everything into a problem. Yes, my opinion is a bit negative because of the frustration that can be felt on the island in recent years. That is all I can say, I am frustrated.

Yesterday, the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten announced that Curaçao recorded a real economic contraction of 1.4% in 2017, following a decline of 1.0% in 2016. We clearly remember that in the beginning of the year 2016, the same Central Bank announced that the economy will grow. This growth will also continue in 2017. Where is this growth? Maybe in the pockets of the politicians? I don’t know and I’m not trying to accuse anybody. I will leave that to the Public Prosecution (if they can do their job).

When you hear politicians talk about the economy, you ask yourself if they really know what they are talking about. Apparently not, because how can one or two projects improve the economy? Or how can the renovation of one hotel improve the economy? Or the survival of one airline? Those are just components of a bigger problem.

The issues here on the island are, I think, the antiquated laws and red tape. Let me give an example. The negotiations between the local airline InselAir and Synergy. Why did it fail? An article about this issue indicated the following:

“One of the biggest stumbling blocks was local legislation, which stipulates that the majority of the shares must remain in local hands and the company must be managed locally.”


Which company in their right mind would accept that if they want to do business in Curaçao, the majority of their shares must remain in local hands? Also why the company should be managed locally? We live in a globalized world, connected digitally. A company does not have to be managed locally. Of course, any self-respecting international company would not accept this.

My question is why do we still have these laws? Who are they benefitting? Definitely not Curaçao because the investors are not coming here by the bunch. Maybe we should ask the financial sector on the island why we still have these laws.

Also, the red tape is a major problem. Every politician talks about it. They all use it as a campaign issue but it’s still there. Investors are suffering from it and they decide to go somewhere else. I heard a local investor talking about this on the radio a few weeks ago. It took his company 10 years to get a simple permit to expand his business. This expansion would mean more jobs and more economic activity, especially in a certain area on the island. But it still took 10 years before they were able to get this permit. He is a local investor and that is why he kept on fighting but imagine a foreign investor. I don’t even want to think about what they have to go through. How long they have to wait for a business permit or a residence permit.

“From red tape to red carpet”. I’ve been hearing about it for so long that I don’t believe it anymore. But I still love this island and I will continue fighting. The hope is not gone yet.

A concerned business owner

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