Published On: Mon, Feb 10th, 2014

Minister Jardim against credit extension for InselAir. “Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours!”

DAE_InselAs was expected by everyone, aware of the problems with civil Aviation in Venezuela, it’s now the turn for Curacao’s national carrier InselAir to confront cash flow problems due to the lack of dollars in Venezuela. If we have to believe Inselair’s spokesperson Mr. Edward Heerenveen, the company has the equivalent of over 80 million dollars stuck on their accounts in Venezuelan Bolivars. Consequently Inselair is confronting serious cash flow problems due to the inability of the Foreign exchange administration (Cadivi) in Venezuela, to convert Bolivars into US Dollars!

Same was the case 6 months ago whit another local airline DAE, which went bankrupt due to corruptive actions by Venezuelan Civil Aviation officials, combined with the clumsy actions by the Curacao Government, mainly the Traffic and Communication minister Earl Balborda, the Minister for Economic affairs Stanley Palm, and prime minister Ivar Asjes, whose actions helped DAE go down the drain!

It was obvious that the clumsy actions by the Government in the case of DAE, was the result of a political vengeance, against DAE employees! At that point in time DAE was in severe financial problems as a result of over 23 million dollars stuck in Venezuela. DAE personnel in their desperation went for help to ex Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte, to assist in resolving the Dollar exchange problem in Venezuela.  The fact of the matter is that above mentioned ministers voted against a temporary credit extension for DAE, to help the company stay afloat! The final story on the DAE issue is known! The clumsy actions by the Asjes administration killed DAE and resulted in a significant blow to Curacao’s Economy and hundreds of local aviation workers lost their jobs!

In less than 6 months later, same administration has to deal now with the Inselair issue! Again a monetary problem in Venezuela is threatening the existence of a Curacao airline! Inselair has severe cash flow problems, and same as was the case with DAE, 70% of their revenues comes from Venezuelan travelers. Most lucrative destinations serviced by InselAir, including Miami and Suriname, depend on Venezuelan tourists!

If Inselair can’t resolve its problems in converting their Bolivars into US dollars, and/or does not receive financial assistance (temporary credit) from the Government or its agencies, InselAir will be in deep problems. However, it’s not only Inselair that depends on the Venezuelan market for almost all of their business! Most, if not all businesses in downtown Punda & Otrobanda, including hotels, depend on the Venezuelan tourist for their revenues. Consequently InselAir can’t stop their flights neither reduce their frequency from Venezuelan cities to Curacao International Airport.

Accordingly Inselair went for financial help to the board of Curacao Airport Holding (CAH) and requested two (2) million dollar temporary credit in order to survive until the dollar issue is resolved in Venezuela. But once again government officials are playing political games with such an important issue, jeopardizing hundreds of jobs in the local aviation industry, not to mention the economic Blow in case InselAir goes the same route as DAE!

According to reliable sources in the industry, this time it’s the Minister of Finance, Jose Jardim playing clumsy and is "vierkant dwars" and not willing to support financial help for InselAir! According same source, Jardim is opposing the financial credit for Inselair, based on the fact that the same request was rejected for DAE 6 months ago. In the case of the DAE request, CAH management had approval from their board of directors, but it was the denial from Minister Stanley Palm and Minister Earl Balborda, that opposed such a credit, based on the ridiculous statement that the Government must not use public funds to help private companies. Six months later, the same ministers turned around 180 degrees and are now favoring to use public funds to financially inject a private company.

Legally the credit can be extended without the approval from the Government! CAH is an autonomous entity and the management needs only an approval from their board of directors to proceed. However, due to his experience in the DAE issue, CAH’s managing director Mr. Maurice Adriaens, wants now written support from the government coalition partners (Senators Alex Rosaria-Pais and Glenn Sulvaran- independent), before proceeding.

According to well-informed sources, Minister Jardim, is strong in his position, that if financial credit was denied for DAE on above mentioned reasons, it should be denied also for InselAir due to same reasons. It’s publicly known and accepted that Minister Jardim, is ”sponsored” by independent member in parliament senator Glenn Sulvaran, who’s involved in a scandal with the subsidizing foundation FDRS with public funds! Jardim is also involved in same scandal which is now under investigation! It’s obvious that Jardim is taking a political position on this matter and is using this issue to gain leverage and support from the coalition partners to cover his involvement in the FDRS scandal.

The fact of the matter is that Minister Jose Jardim is no fool and is well aware that his involvement in the FDRS scandal could cost him his job and his reputation. Therefore, he’s sending the message loud and clear: “Scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”. According to sources, Pais headman Alex Rosaria is in intensive negotiation with Jardim’s sponsor Glenn Sulvarán and obviously will have to do whatever it takes to pool “"Sulvaran over de line"! and to convince Sulvaran to support the credit for InselAir!.

There’s a saying in dutch: "voor iets, hoort wat!" (To get something, you need to give something)! This is the way mediocre and immoral politicians attend to important issues, jeopardizing interest of our country and risking the wellbeing of our people! Shame on you!

By: Jorge “Palu Djo” Sulbaran

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