Coast Guard Curaçao on strike because of threats
WILLEMSTAD - Concerned about their personal safety after a day’s work, employees of the Caribbean Coastguard in Curacao have decided to go on strike last Monday.
The coast guards fear for their lives and are often seriously threatened by criminals. Unlike off-duty police officers, who may carry their weapons at all times, coastguards are not allowed to be armed after working hours.
The activities of certain criminal groups, local and international, are hampered by the coast guard and to make their dissatisfaction clear, they often threat the officers after working hours.
“You can expect that a colleague will be killed at home if he or she does not do what the criminals want,” said one of the coast guard officers.
The Coast Guard cannot defend themselves now if their life is threatened by criminals that, of course, are in fact armed. A bizarre situation, which looks a bit like a prey and the hunter, according to a coast guard officer. “During the day the hunter, after hours the prey”.
A member of the union representing the officers emphasized that there is no question of a strike. The members are angry and worried, as they get no feedback from the Minister of Justice, Nelson Navarro on their letter of January 6, in which they expressed their concern about the weapon policy.
The strikers conducted a telephone conversation with the minister and then decided to jointly deliver a letter to him. In it, they suggested an ultimatum to implement a decision that was already taken. The case has been going on since December 2014 when an advisory committee was created. After that the required documents were submitted and Glock pistols for personal use were made available. The idea was that the officers could take these weapons home.