Published On: Mon, Oct 17th, 2016

Power slip

Jacob Gelt DekkerThe proposed new government coalition is a mirror image of similar administrations, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago. Even some of the faces of the past, aged and well wrinkled by now, are part of the new present. Power slipped from the clumsy populists, the Goddetians, Schottians and Wielsians back to the small elite who have been ruling affairs on the island for generations.

On top of the new Government’s list of priorities are not security, welfare and well-being of the People, but Constitutional issues with the Dutch, which stem from broad agreements drawn up and mutually agreed on 10-10-10. The island received billions of Euros in exchange for some form of financial supervision, which made it more difficult for politicians and their cronies to fill their own pockets. Cronyism, nepotism, and the “friends and family” structure were curtailed.

The new government believes that its most urgent priority is to abolish these agreements. Before even starting for a single day in government, the new Administration signals, loud and clear, that they are in for free, unsupervised spending.

Populist politicians, like Goddet, Schotte and Wiels, failed. They did not know how to organized themselves. They were full of enthusiasm but also very clumsy and naive in Administration of governing bodies. Amongst their party insiders, they lacked a sophisticated elite with management and government experience.

Soon, Prime Minister Schotte, in panic, stooped down to the low level of his crooked street fighter past and blatantly displayed a lack of knowledge and naivety of government and state affairs. Wiels carefully observed his colleague’s crash, realized his party's incompetence and shortcomings and hired professionals for ministerial jobs. If you were to put the most positive spin on it, Curacao’s populist governments maintained not much more than the status quo.

It looks like the status quo will be continued for a while to come. All those who are hoping for a radical and total change that will bring wealth and well-being to the people will be disappointed again.

The solution to the problem is and remains coalitions, but not only on Cabinet level. Coalitions, in the strongly segregated and fragmented island communities, is what is needed. Islanders should have the choice between two or three political parties when they go to the ballot box, not twenty! But unfortunately, Islanders have systematically refused to sit around the table and discuss what they have in common and how to build on that together. They are segregated by skin color, birth origin, language, religion and most of all by deeply ingrained prejudice.

Moral leaders of the island community have it in their power to bring people together and created one, or a few, big happy families. Unfortunately, they refused and instead of coming together, they have often been the motor for even more social fragmentation through faith-based congregations, which appear to be multiplying each year. If change does not come from the People, it will not come, and what is presented and such is just another window dressing.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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