Published On: Sat, May 10th, 2014

Foreign direct investment and barefooterism

AqualectraOnly now after barefooting already on the island as a so called foreign direct investor, I find out that there are quite some websites offering information in regard to foreign direct investment in Curacao. I became especially interested in the one which notes: ©2006 all rights reserved Curacao Private Economic Development Partnership sponsored by Aqualectra and Marubeni Curacao Utilities Operating Company. But as a serious investor why should I contact an anonymous Geo Strategy Partner under info©investcuracao.com? A bit of research brings the company's address in far away Atlanta, Georgia to light and it seems to be quite an interesting basis for a sponsorship.

After all, I had the intention to tell them if they know that their sponsor Aqualectra had suffered a gigantic telephone crash and wasn't reachable during the first three months of this year for barefooters. We have no money to repair it, I was smilingly told by someone with whom I caught up at their headquarter's back entrance. Being heavily secured by armed guards it has all together the appearance of a military camp. Just precaution one of the guards explains, because when Aqualectra is shutting off water and electricity people can go very angry. And after all there are many Jews and Arab people living on the island, he said. I didn't ask any further what he meant by that. Anyway, I wasn't allowed in and I'm very unsure if one can reach Aqualectra by today via phone perhaps they still suffer from an aftermath of this enormous crash.

This could be the reason that on a very ordinary Monday people are lining up outside Aqulectra's so-called Service Center in St. Rosa as in a bread line during the war. From morning to afternoon consistent the very same picture. One single lady is available for all barefooters who are holding out for hours to get their bills paid. A second one is attending from time to time, seemingly new, because the first thing, after sitting down at her cashier box she creams her hands, takes too long and consequently rubs her hands for at least fifteen minutes trying to get rid of all the creamy excess. But not an easy thing to do so she gets up again and goes to the back for some time. Meanwhile the lucky ones are already inside in the air cooled waiting area and the unlucky ones remaining outside in the heat. All are surprisingly calm. Nobody dares to complain while two armed guards are watching the scene.

The website I referred to earlier boosts such wonderful sentences as “… one of the hottest location for low cost operation. Already the Curacao Government is training their workforce for the benefits of additional economic growth!”

Perhaps I should explain that a true barefooter is an islander which doesn't know what is happening around him because of not having any interest at all and keeps himself in a kind of individualistic way protected by barefootness so to say someone with a birth defect causing the stubborn denial of any favoritism. Therefore, not knowing anyone higher up nor lower down, although to know the cleaning woman could already help a lot. Behind the bulletproof glass she frequently carries diverse envelopes containing bills and money to the cashier bringing the breadline to a halt for quite a while.

I had to participate in this breadline ritual because I recently got some strange bills addressed to people whom I had never heard of. All of them having in common a considerable debt on their Aqualectra accounts and all sent to my home. Somewhat strange, I thought as it isn't possible for me to build up any debt at all. If I forget to pay my bill I'm always reminded within a few days either to pay or electricity will be disconnected. Such are the rules for barefooters. Meanwhile, I appreciate the efforts of the government to train the workforce, as Geo Strategy Partner claims. The day I attended the breadline must have been one of these training days were almost all employees were gone and only a handful remained behind to train the barefooters!

"Why would I worry about those bills if I don't know these people," the Aqualectra service lady asks. And besides this, how could I be so sure that they never lived at my address? It reminded me as I had asked if I could use their toilet and was told I should go to the Chinese! Since then whenever I have to attend one of Aqualectra's breadlines I carry a plastic bucket with a lid for multiple purpose just in case... Still, I will contact Geo Strategy Partner in Atlanta, Georgia, perhaps they themselves can do some direct foreign investment and sponsor a toilet at Aqualectra's Service Center in St. Rosa of free use for all barefooters so I can leave my bucket at home the next time!

By Marry Simpson

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