Published On: Fri, Oct 10th, 2014

From Staying Behind, to Soaring Ahead

dekker_0Our child turned four years old, and we celebrated. In front of our very eyes we witnessed the development phases, often painful but always loved and very dear to our hearts. The transition to autonomy, rather than independence, was the electorate’s calculated choice; a national identity as well as part of a larger entity. The first was new, daring and risky, and the latter old, trusted and comfortable.

Finding and defining the new identity turned out to be far more difficult than was anticipated. Soon after the magic date of 10-10-10, early steps were set.

Step 1. Staying Behind

“Staying behind”. Teams of early enthusiasts, full with youthful exuberance, often stayed behind after the first failure, in disappointment over, the-way-it-should-have-been. In clouds of long cherished expectations, nation building was fostered with symbol politics, a flag, national currency, national anthem, Parliament, Prime Minister, visas, immigration policies and nationalistic labor laws (80/20). Supposedly, isolationism would grow strong national identity and pride. Such may have bee the ideology, but alas, deep-rooted long-term diversity prevailed.

A change of policy towards openness was wanted and needed.

Step 2. “Stumbling Back” We witnessed political leaders who stumbled back into selfish friends-and-family-fights, rather than improving welfare and wellbeing of the island community. For many of those, their myopic visions could not be corrected with a simple set of lenses; the bigger picture remained blurred forever through their eyes. The second hesitant step was forward, towards awareness, even in an atmosphere of fear. After stumbling back a few times, acceptance was formed and with it, self-confidence.

Step 3. “ Sneaking Up” So painstakingly, we had to scrape the bottom of the barrel and reconstruct the basics. Dull technocrats replaced inspiring demagogues. Perseverance, hard work after you get exhausted from the work you already did, became the motto. “Do it again, it was not good enough!” We learned by trial and error, failure and practice.

Step 4. “Souring Ahead.” No doubt the next step will be souring ahead. Improving welfare and wellbeing of the community starts by building the economy. The island-economy depends on airlift, and that is about to double and triple in the coming years. New trade agreements with surrounding neighbor countries, migrations laws based on healthy equilibrium between quality and quantity, flexible local labor markets, education and skill training and a dramatic increase in security will soon launch the new nation. We will all witness the souring ahead!

By Jacob Gelt Dekker - Opinion Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle.

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