Published On: Thu, Oct 17th, 2013

More experts

Curacao RefineryThe agreement that the government has reached with the trade unions to appoint a representative on the committee, which is considering the future of the Isla refinery, does not extend far enough. There are still two experts missing. First, an expert representing the 22,000 unemployed and 15,000 young professionals in foreign countries who want to return to their island. Yet another person should be added to the committee. Someone who, like Dionysius, a sword on a horse hair, hanging above the conversation about the future of the refinery.

Errol Cova was appointed by the unions to represent the APRI and PWFC members, but he does not represent the unemployed or the job seekers. You need a separate expert for that. Someone must represent this extraordinary group, a group which is tenfold bigger than the 1000 or 2000 employees who currently have a job at the oil refinery.

I also want to add a caveat. Curaçao will again negotiate from a weak position. As a small country we have to negotiate from a strong position. Curaçao has to lead the negotiations and don’t be led by them. An alternative such as Greentown, whether you love or not, it's an extraordinary leverage to PDVSA and to convince the Venezuelan government that there are alternatives to the site and therefore we are not dependent on oil from Venezuela.

We should emphatically point out to the Venezuelans and PDVSA that Curaçao is now a 'Isla util’ (useful island, referring to what the Spaniards called the island when they arrived here for the first time, ‘isla inutil’ meaning useless island) and that there are many developers who are ready to develop the water property in the most sheltered harbor of the Caribbean, in such a way that the government can yield many tens of times more on rent, tax and currency than the miserable annual $ 20 million they receive now.

If the government wants to follow the path, which is laid out for them, they should, in the general interest of Curacao, invite more experts to be part of the negotiating team. Then no one can say that they haven’t done their utmost to ensure the economic future of Curacao.

Andrés Casimiri
President GreenTown Curaçao Foundation

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