Published On: Tue, Nov 4th, 2014

The final judgment

dekker_0Gerrit Schotte, former and first Prime-Minister of Curacao, will have his day in court on 16 January 2015. He stands accused of money laundering and fraud. Details of formal charges against him and his partner have not yet been spelled out in detail in public.

Opponents have been eager to paint Schotte-cs. as a proxy of Sicilian mafia bosses in the Caribbean. As rebuke, Schotte pointed his finger at the Public Prosecutor’s office as a proxy of his political opponents. In January, the constitutional independence of the Judiciary and the impartial Judge will be on trial more than anything else.

The assassination of Schotte’s former political ally-turned opponent, Helmien Wiels, demonized parties on either side of the political power struggle as extremely corrupt and ruthless criminal caricatures, with no other objective but to line their own pockets. The caricatures have taken on a life of their own and with the larger public perception prevails far over reality.

In the end there will be no winners with any judgment of the Court. The ongoing power struggle between warring factions will be greatly at the expense of the entire island community and its bleeding economy. In spite of desperate efforts by a team of skilled technocrats, the island’s focus has not been on well fare and well being of the community. Economic growth has been at a still stand for more than ten years.

To complicate matters even further, a bitter fight ensued between an eager and integer Minister of Justice and organized crime. So far, the Justice Department’s attacks on organized crime only affected some foot soldiers and minor pawns while untouchable godfathers remain anonymous, and safely fortified behind legal barriers.

Many wonder how the tie can be broken and opposing forces joined. Will it ever be possible to overcome high barriers of deeply rooted hate between competing clans, between races and between cultures?

More than a hundred thousand islanders living-in-exile gave up all hopes and built their future and that of their children elsewhere; they no longer want to be bothered. The international community, starting with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, pulled out. Public discussions, media publications and parliamentary intervention appear wasted.

Resolute changes could come from local competing kingpins, who now seem totally lost in their micro worlds of self-indulgence. It is not likely. What remains as a reality is the wheel-of-fortune of exterior forces of global development. Inevitably sooner or later, foreign opportunists will swallow up the remains of the island feuds and build new palaces on the leftover ruins, but at least it will be their palaces and not of any of the locals.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker - Opinion Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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