Published On: Fri, Nov 7th, 2014


Jacob Gelt DekkerOrganized crime, with its shadow economy of money laundering, is incompatible with expeditious law enforcement, transparency of public procedures and equal treatment by authorities for all. With a shower of pay-offs, organized crime creates mazes in the law, and more often, an army of hired henchmen/lawyers will put the law out to pasture. Stimulating procrastination has become organized crime’s tool of preference.

Foreign and local investors’ wishes are incompatible with procrastination, murkiness of regulations and clientelism. Nothing is more devastating for an open-opportunity economy than endless quid-pro-quo, favoritism, cronyism and nepotism. In such a case, investors prefer to go elsewhere. Even local institutional investors---pension funds---requested and obtained dispensation from the Central Bank to reduce their legal quota of required local investment in favor of foreign money markets.

The local market of Curacao is drowned in sticky, thick procrastination, so thick that even cabinet ministers are unable to make headway. The sunshine economy of the island has come to a total standstill for more than 15 years, whereas the shadow economy of organized crime blossoms all over. Well fare and wellbeing of the general population is suffering greatly at the expense of organized crime with their local pawns and shadow economy. Year after year Curacao ranks amongst the lowest on the international list of preferential investment countries.

If eliminating poverty on the island and improving well fare of the population is the ultimate objective of politicians, the present influence of the shadow economy will have to be reversed.

According to Minister of Justice, Nelson Navarro, all levels of the society and government are infiltrated by organized crime, which means, the government does not have sufficient means to make that change by means of law enforcement; it requires structural change.

So, please government make those changes for the benefit of all. Do away with unenforceable laws and regulations. Please reduce your inflated staff of government employees-on-the-take. Clean up money laundering in public land grabbing, construction, gambling and illicit election campaign contributions.

Some of the new great, simple and very effective tools at your disposal :

1. Do away with the cash society and switch to electronic money in all shops and businesses. Let the public use Debit and Credit cards only. It will be easy to eliminate the already dying NA-guilder and to restrict cash dollar imports.

2. Implement Value Added Taxes in favor of direct taxes. The first step was made already with sealed Point-of-Sale cash registers for turn-over tax.

3. Legalize marginal none-violent crimes, like marihuana cultures and trade.

4. Legalize the 32,000 non-documented immigrants on the island.

5. Drop import barriers, join Caricom and eliminate smuggle, and rampant corruption of customs officers.

It will take a leader with guts, but it can be done!

By Jacob Gelt Dekker - Opinion Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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