Published On: Mon, Apr 8th, 2013

Cedilla or smoke stag

Jacob Gelt DekkerThe Curacao Tourist Board, CTB, is proposing a rebranding of Curacao with a new logo. A colorful stylized capital C with a cedilla was presented to the stakeholders. Supposedly, tourists with the destination Curacao Paradise--- Curadise for insiders--- do not know what a cedilla is and will be attracted to the unknown, unless they are Spanish or Portuguese.
Our new ç --- a C with a short tail--- will be the USP, the Unique Selling Proposition of the island. The question remains, how many more sun seekers will decide for destination ç, instead of another Caribbean island resort?

Will the exit testimony of the next visitor be, “Once I saw that ç, I immediately dropped all my life long treasured Blue Lagoon dreams about Anguilla, Aruba, Bonaire, Jamaica and St. Maarten and responded to the irresistible call of the sirens of ç.”
Recently and with some frequently, Curacao was portrayed in the European press as an island of the West Indish that stands out for its air polluting oil refinery smoke stags. The television viewers are presented with sensational pictures of black billowing poisonous clouds, emitted from tall smoke stags.

Supposedly the poor people of the island suffocate from foul sulphurous exhaust that ruins their lungs and spoils the quality of life. This environmental crime is also extremely offensive to the million suns and fun seeking visitors.

With great journalistic drama, environmentalists from around the world are called to arms. They should unite and demand intervention from the local Curacao government, The Kingdom of The Netherlands and even the United Nations and its Courts.

Unfortunately, according to the television news items, all institutions dodge the bullet. But no matter how cowardly political leaders come across in front of cameras, none has shown the courage to stand up, lead the disenfranchised and fight. Environmental pollution legislation, international protocols, regulations and conventions turned out to be mere paper tigers. Emotions between pro and contra oil industry advocates are running wild, while courts are overloaded with piles of complaints from the sick, ailing and dying.
It does not call for any broad based debate; Curacao’s smoke stags are drawing far more attention in the world than our new idyllic C cedilla. Millions and millions are deeply concerned with the environment, pollution, global warming, CO2- emissions and dirty micro particles in the atmosphere and stratosphere. Curacao’s sulphur emissions from dirty heavy oil refinery are in the eyes of many a crime against humanity and that in itself constitutes a divine calling to arms.

A smoke stag over C cedilla as the island’s logo is repulsive to many locals because of its negative connotation. Could and should a national tourist board with public money promote the island’s tourist industry with such a negative symbol even when it draws large numbers of participants?

Some locals are so intimidated by the notion of negative effects from the refinery pollution image that they strife to forbid all mention of it in public. They forget that battlefields at Normandy and in Vietnam yearly draw millions of visitors. Nazi concentration camps, like Auschwitz, and Pol Pot’s mountain of skulls are equally huge tourist attractions. By far the unchallenged champion of popularity is New York’s World Trade Center collapse site; after all, tourism is not only lusting for honey sweet romanticism on a Bounty island. Countless numbers of visitors are seeking for a cause they can champion.

Marketing the island with a lovely sweat flower power colorful C cedilla may be very cute but putting some true grit into the product could be far more successful.

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