Published On: Fri, Oct 5th, 2012

Schotte trying to buy votes

WILLEMSTAD – According to a report in De Telegraaf, there are indications in Curacao that the deposed Premier Gerrit Schotte is trying to win a one way ticket to the premiership by buying votes. Islanders are worried because democracy on the island is under further pressure.

The rumors on the Caribbean island are becoming more persistent that Schotte’s party MFK is offering young voters money, Blackberries or laptops as bait. If you show a photo of your completed ballot, you will be paid 350 guilders (200 dollars). The Electoral Council of Curacao takes the allegations very seriously, but is powerless. "There is no law that forbids to take a photo of your ballot," said spokeswoman Liza Dindial of the electoral council.

These alleged practices are the tip of the iceberg. During the 2010 elections Schotte worked with, by far, the largest campaign budget, the origin of which was never clear. The current expensive PR campaign on local TV and radio stations raises finance questions. Certainly the ties closely with the Italian mafia and the dubious gambler Robbie dos Santos, who according to the Curacao Secret Service has already financed Schotte two million guilders for political favors and services. "When MFK candidate Dr. Payo Schoop, shortly after the election victory in 2010, asked where all that campaign money came from,  Schotte reacted in great anger," says former MFK parliament fraction leader Dean Rozier. "Relations with Schoop was never mended in the party." Schotte was too "busy" campaigning to respond. Schotte’s Comrades have started a smear campaign against their former comrade Rozier.

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