Published On: Sat, Sep 29th, 2012

Minister Hakim: “Breaking monopolies in Curacao is like political suicide”

WILLEMSTAD – Recently Minister Hakim was invited to give lectures at the University of Curacao, Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean (ICUC) and the University of the Dutch Caribbean. Students had the opportunity to ask critical questions to get a better impression of how the Curacao economy functions. “One of the greatest challenges in my career as Minister was to break the monopolies on the island and this month I succeeded in creating the logistical infrastructure to import fruits and vegetables to Curacao”,  Minister Hakim explained during his lecture.

The university halls were filled and the students were able to follow the extraordinary lecture titled “How the Curacao economy truly functions”. It’s not every day that students get the opportunity to interact with the Minister on his knowledge and experience on the economy.

Minister Hakim explained his vision for Curacao and how to came to certain decisions to connect Curacao through different logistical routes. “Curacao was really a rock in the ocean in terms of its connection to the global world, completely isolated. Many have critize me because I was traveling and visiting many countries to connect Curacao, but I had to start signing agreements with these countries of which we wanted to do business with. Without bilateral conventions you cannot create logistical routes either by air or maritime”, Hakim explained. One Ticket Multi Destinations was the result of a strategy to bring more connectivity to the south of Caribbean and key countries in Latin America which could make commerce more accessible and thereby bring fruits and vegetables at a cheaper price for Curacao. Hakim continued explaining that consequently he negotiated with the cruise operator Pullmantur so they can navigate South Caribbean, creating a cruise route like never before and turn Curacao into a tur around port. “But to reach an agreement which can really position Curacao as a commercial hub in our region, I had to sit down with this Mediterranean company in Barcelona. Again I had to travel, realizing that commerce will not come to Curacao by itself. To develop and elevate our economy we have to go abroad, explain the possibilities and the benefits of doing business in Curacao”, explained the Minister . Currently the Mediterranean company is developing a business plan and they will start navigating this region in 2013.

The student took the opportunity to ask questions, e.g. on the red tape and how to stop local companies like the Curacao Dry Dock and the Oil Refinery. “We have to operate with capable and knowledgeable people. We can manage our own companies or indicate what the requirements are if we are leasing these facilities. The Government has to prevent the formation of monopolies”, the Minister explained. As an example he said that the lack of competition in the harbor and aviation has caused the prices to rise and that Curacao misses the opportunity to be competitive in the region.

“Going against these monopolies means political suicide”, the Minister explained. “But Curacao cannot become a logistical hub, if I don’t put forth the effort to eradicate monopoly which exists on the island. When you eradicate monopoly, Curacao can truly  realize its potential as a commercial center for our region”, said Hakim.

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