Published On: Wed, May 28th, 2014

LUDDITES

Jacob Gelt DekkerWho were arrested? The former prime minister of the autonomous island of Curacao, or was it a private individual and his wife?

What were they arrested for? Money laundering, stemming from a political fundraising campaign donation on behalf of a political party that has fallen out of grace with present rulers, or was it a pure private matter?

What did the Public Prosecutor do? Was its arrest a persecution of a political opponent of the present government, or was it prosecution from violations of the law?

The Court of Public Opinion and populist media take little or no notion of Curacao’s Courts of Law, they demonize whomever they wish, often irrespective of prevailing facts. Since freedom of the press is guaranteed, any concoction of conspiracies, crimes and allegations can be ventilated and circulated; politicians are free game.

Daily scrutiny of political and administrative deeds by politicians and their entourage is the task of the Parliament. Unfortunately only a few members of Parliament seem to understand their function fully, and in effect, the checks-and-balances system of Curacao, hardly functions.

So, political interest groups regularly turn to the Prosecutors Office and file charges, often supported by rumored, leaked, and illegally obtained documentation, and in this case, of bank transfers. Political opponents of the street-smart, flamboyant first Prime Minister of Curacao were adamant, emphatic and nearly desperate in their claims, and after nearly two years, the Public Prosecutor complied and followed suit. The details of the case will be made public until they reach the Courts.

The damage is done, and is far beyond any repair, both to the nation of Curacao, as well as to the private person of the former Prime Minister. Once charges are formulated by the P--- if ever---a judge will have to rule, hopefully impartially, but it makes little difference anymore.

About 15 years ago, when I introduced computers in daily office management in Curacao, an angry worker came to me with a brand new laptop and, without uttering a word, smashed the computer to pieces on the pavement. Later, I often found computers we donated to schools, stolen, smashed and sabotaged. This is only one example of how much the local establishment is against any form of change and renewal. A local controlling closed elite, often by directing their political proxies, locked up the island’s economy and society with rules, regulations and legislature, not to enable growth and renewal, but to save what is, and was, and what should never change. Curacao is now an island, lacking far behind in Internet use, equal rights for the gay community, in medical care by blocking the opening up of the closed ranks of the medial elite, education, or incentives for investments of the business community. Curacao has become an island of luddites.

A loud voiced, flamboyant and not very sophisticated street-smart kid, as the former Prime Minister, constantly demanding change and reform, does not fit the luddite attitude and behavior of the established patronage. We can only hope and pray that the Public Prosecutor is not going to be a proxy of Curacao’s luddites.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker - Columnist for Curacao Chronicle

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