Cycles, vicious or virtuous
Vicious cycle: A single mom who finished up in a certain country applied for a residence and a work permit at Immigration Services. To support herself and her child in the meantime, she did odd jobs and worked ‘ off-the books’. She and her baby boy kept a low profile. After about a year, she still had still not heard of the Immigration Services and became more and more entrenched in the shadow economy. Occasionally, she even had the good fortune to run a few transports as a mule and make real good money. Immigration Services went by the book, threw all possible rules and regulations at her and the applicant never received legal papers, not even after years. Her child grew up with kids in similar circumstances and their illegal circumstances became normalcy. The boy formed his little club of friends, and as he grew up, the little club became a gang, and baby-boy an infamous gang leader. He did really well, took care of his mom, but unfortunately one day, in a squabble with other gangs over a rip deal, he was shot and died. Mom, once she got over her sorrow, took over what was left of baby boy’s gang and she became an infamous and ruthless gang leader.
Virtuous cycle: A single mom who finished up in a certain country applied for a residence and work permit at Immigration Services. After a brief while, Immigration Services involved her in a training and evaluation course. Once first, it was difficult but she succeeded and passed, where upon she received a temporary residence and work permit. After a few years of proper conduct, she even got her permanent status. The mom was able to support herself with a job as cashier in the supermarket, and managed to make a career out of super market retailing. With the help of her local church, she found a good school for her baby boy. Baby boy grew up, made it through High School and it was with great pride for mom that her son became the first one in her family to attend College. The boy became a great success and a role model for many children who were once an immigrant.
The institution of Immigration Services had the choice to either exclude an applicant from the community and the economy, or to include her. Their decision was the very root of the cycle that followed as a consequence, a vicious or a virtuous one. Rules, laws, regulations, the Institutions and policies that form and execute them, shape the society and the economy.
“ Tighten your seatbelts,” said a Minister of Justice, when he proclaimed a new crime fighting program of tough law enforcement. He was a fool, and after a few years, found out that his new approach had not even made a slight dent in crime statistics.
Vicious or virtuous cycles are not started, or stopped by law enforcement, jails and tough cops, as we are all aware. Marginalizing people, disenfranchising them by excluding them from society and economy creates a shadow economy and consequently a world of crime.
The only way to fight crime is to start caring for the people, the human beings who are entrusted to us, no matter whether they are deemed “ legal” or “ illegal” by silly regulations. It is up to our society, to you, to start a virtuous, or a vicious cycle.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker, opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle.