Published On: Mon, Nov 6th, 2017

Fall from grace

Jacob Gelt DekkerEmsley Tromp, the former President van de CBCSM dominated the news last week. After decennia of loyal and apparently impeccable service, the top civil servant had his day in Court as he stood accused of fraud with his own pension fund. The Prosecutor was seeking astronomical penalty fines, a jail sentence, and public service.

Gerrit Schotte, the former and first Prime Minister of Curacao, was recently convicted by the Appeals Court for bribery, fraud, embezzlement and received a stiff jail, sentence, fines, and was barred from political participation for years etc..

George Jamaloodin, the former and first Minister of Finance is under house arrest, as he stands accused of conspiracy to commit murder and another slew of charges.

Eric Garcia, a former Giro-bank President was arrested and stands accused of embezzlement of millions of dollars.

Helmin Wiels, chairman of a major ruling political coalition party since autonomy of 10-10-10, was assassinated.

And these are only a few names on a long list of prominent politicians, civil servants, and businessmen, who got caught. Many remain out there, doing every day what they should not do, and forsaken the trust, the electorate and public put in them.

The already tainted reputation of Curacao’s integrity of government and financial management is now damaged beyond repair. Election after election, year after year, produced at least seven governments, with ministers and prime ministers, since autonomy. None was to any avail; corruption continued unabated, while economic growth came to a standstill and contracted.

The electorate and citizens of the island do not seem to be able to deal with reality. What they are doing, and how they are conducting business does not work. A few arrests may make some optical change, but after all, it is merely window dressing. They, as a society will have to change, change dramatically.  Level playing field, transparency, checks, and balances demand eradication of the exclusive class of privilege. The elite will have to adapt or move out.

Since a small clan of privileged still have a tight grip on affairs, such is not likely and Curacao, as an island community, will sink even deeper into the cesspool of disintegration and opportunism.

Next year, 2018, will add an extra special challenge to the economy with the end of the oil refinery lease to Pdvsa, and the final episode of the off-shore financial services Industry. Combined with a shrinking tourist market and a strong growth of crime, the overall picture does not look good.

When will the population come to their senses and change their ways??

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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