Published On: Tue, Dec 11th, 2012

Kafka in Curacao

Last weekend I had time to think a lot about the work of Franz Kafka.  This Hungarian writer lived at the beginning of the 20th century and wrote on the horrors of a bureaucratic society.  His work is epical and classic.  He captured the essence of the emerging bureaucratic society.  His work was mentioned once in a class on the emergence of the bureaucratic society, when I was studying in Europe, during the mid 1980s.  It was not emphasized but it caught my attention.  So I bought a special edition of is collected work and read it.  After that I forgot all about Kafka.  Till this weekend.

I knew I had to attend business with the Social Security Bank (SVB) and the Tax Inspector in Curacao.  Suddenly I read an article via the social media. It was a mother telling her story and that of her adult daughter who is chronically ill.  Her daughter's health was deteriorating because the bureaucrats could not come up with a solution for her specific case. So she was not getting medication.

My case is about fees I supposedly had to pay in 2004 to the SVB, related to personal I supposedly had employed. This was eight years ago! There were a lot of other issues but over the years I resolved them one by one. I never employed personnel.  And I have proofed that every time. But now there is a collector at my door threatening to confiscate some property.  So here I go again writing letters.  I was standing in line to submit my letter. When it is my turn, the lady informed me that I needed to stand in another line.  But I had asked if this was the right line! I kept smiling and went to the other window.  When I was finished I asked a copy of my letter because the SVB wants a copy.  It was not possible. But I had my IPad and took a picture.

While I was there I asked if I could get a form called "verzamelloonstaat".  Because, although I have no personnel I still need to submit this form for the past four years. No they were not available. But I could get them from the internet. When I got back at the office, I went on the internet and found out that the link on the website is broken. I do not know how I am going to get these forms, so I can leave this issue behind me. By the way I closed this company two years ago because I could not stand the bureaucracy any longer.

It is enough for one day.  Tomorrow I will try to call and see what I can do.  In the mean my accountant does not answer my calls anymore.  I do not know what to think of this. On top of things my wife steps in and she is not her usual self.  She tries to explain to me that she has to prove to the Tax Inspector that we received permition to delay our submission of our income taxes for the year 2011 till 31 December 2012, because the Tax Inspector has no record on this. Gladly we found that piece of paper.  We made a scan and emailed it to the Tax Inspectors office to prove that we have received this permition.

This is just a small part of the story how I am a prisoner of the bureaucracy on Curacao.  I can go on for awhile. I hope that Curacao 3.0 will set me free. The fact that today reminds me of Kafka means that our organizations and society is at the level of the beginning of the 20th century, 2.0.  We are a hundred years behind!

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