Anniversary, but no celebration (part 2)
WILLEMSTAD - The question arises as to whether a country of only 40 thousand inhabitants has the capacity of a full-fledged system of government. Curaçao had experience with governing - all ministries of the Netherlands Antilles were established on the island - Saint Martin had to build almost everything from scratch.
Politicians on St. Maarten believes that they are on track, but the Netherlands considers that the country must do more to fight corruption. Also, Saint Martin should bring the budget in order. St. Maarten is also criticized for the high salary of the brand new parliament, 125 thousand dollars (111 thousand euros) per year.
On Curaçao the biggest concern of the people is the lack of work and their own finances. The economy shrinks and entrepreneurs complain about bureaucracy. “Everything is getting more expensive, and I will probably earn the minimum wage my whole life,” says a 35-year-old shop assistant. She manages to barely support her four children and pay the required school for them.
“In the Curaçao politics, it’s not really about the things that are really important,” said Independent MP, Omayra Leeflang. About poverty and the 37 percent youth unemployment. People feel that they are not moving forward.”
Some politicians in Curaçao use the Netherlands as scapegoat, according to the independent MP, this is to distract attention from the problems. If it was up to Leeflang, the Netherlands Antilles would have never been dissolved. “This structure functioned better than we want to admit. There was a separation between the policy, the government of the Netherlands Antilles, and the implementation thereof by the islands.”
The funding of political parties is one of the biggest problems of the new countries. Because the political parties themselves should ensure for sufficient budget, wealthy people or organizations can buy these parties and exert influence on politics.
Corruption can now also develop more rapidly now that the additional administrative layer of the Antilles has ceased. “Criminals are less afraid to be reprimanded. It went faster than light in the first cabinet of the new country Curaçao: everywhere they sent the CEO’s of the public companies away. They also wanted to take over the Central Bank and the energy sector.”
Leeflang founded the party Un Kòrsou Hustu, a righteous Curaçao. The lack of luxury is evident during the inaugural meeting in September. Hundreds of predominantly in purple-clad supporters were crammed into a too small of a hall where the air conditioning was broken.
The question is whether such a party without frills attracts many voices. The largest group of voters are listening to one of more than twenty radio stations on the island. Politicians buy airtime there to tell their story, undisturbed by awkward questions. Some political parties have even their own radio station. Leeflang hopes that with Facebook she can spread her message.