Published On: Mon, Oct 21st, 2013

GS, Sonuvabitch

Gerrit Schotte"Gerrit Schotte, the opportunistic sonuvabitch, is trying to tweak the electoral system to his advantage with his Reforma agenda," according to his opponents. The once popular politician and former Prime Minister of Curacao has but a few friends left under the establishment and they will trash him , no matter what, at every twist and turn, even when he comes with something that makes a lot of sense.

About a year ago, Gerrit lost his grip on power. A few of his MFK-party members-of-parliament were opportunistic and joined the opposition without relinquishing their seats . So Gerrit's coalition lost its majority in parliament. And that opportunistic behavior is exactly what Gerrit likes to change.

In Curacao members of parliament are not elected but appointed by their party. The electorate votes for a particular political party, and can only recommend a certain person of a party ballot, but the appointment is up to the party. One would assume that the appointed MP has a certain loyalty toward his party, but obviously such was not the case last year, with Gerrit's boys.

Thus, opportunistic dissident MP's make a joke of system. The end result was total loss of confidence of the electorate and chaos in parliament. Curacao endured three more governments over the last year, another round of elections, and within three years, its second parliament.

Gerrit's Reforma is proposing a district voting system, so the multitude of small parties can be eliminated. GS also wants party loyal seats in parliament; dissident will simply have to check out and the party will appoint a successor,or a new election can be held in a particular district.

The pros-and-cons of a popular vote with relative representation, versus a district system, fills many libraries and is the subject of entire academic studies. Neither system is fool proof Last week, the world watched in horror, how a district system with extreme party loyalty in the United States of America, gridlocked, and brought the world economy to the brink of collapse.

The more relevant question for the micro nation of Curacao is, what does this little island entity need a parliament for? The present system of parliamentary democracy was inherited from the colonial Dutch period,as a copy-paste, without much thought or consideration of its efficacy and applicability. The task of a government of ministers, controlled by a Parliament, is to enhance welfare and well being of the society in a lawful way and fashion, but the system does not produce much if any enhancement, only deterioration and regression.

Unfortunately, the ideals of parliamentary democracy are poorly served in the present setting, that needs urgent adaptations. Also, elections are usually no more than carnivalesque street parties, with votes for sale to the highest bidder. In the meantime, within the executive, strategically placed civil servants look out for the interests of groups and influential families, monopolies and cartels. De facto, ministers and MP's are not much more than window dressing.

H.Wiels, the assassinated leader of the largest party, the PS, did not hesitate to make it clear that he was ready to rule without parliament, if necessary. He saw the shortcomings and the endless waste. Obviously, many have serious doubts about the functionality of parliament and political governments. Note: Wiels was also a strong advocate of professional managers as ministers, in stead of the present system of politically appointed amateurs.

Government has become a highly demanding, complex and complicated job and can no longer be done by amateurs, as a hobby on the side. So, why not leave the jobs of government to the most qualified? There are many examples in the world, where highly professional ministers are recruited for the difficult jobs. Such commissioners or ministers report to an equally professional, constitutionally appointed Board, much like Curacao's "Raad van Advies."

The only job that then remains for the parliament is to decide on he budget, and that does not require a session more than 3-4 months per year.

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