This is how we lost our autonomy

We are living proof that our inability to govern ourselves leads to a loss of autonomy. It doesn’t depend on our status within the Kingdom. Scores of independent countries are suffering the same fate. Take Sri Lanka. This country was lured into accepting cheap (Chinese) loans that went to finance shady projects like an airport in the President’s hometown that’s now abandoned and serves as a long-term aircraft parking. It took the Covid tragedy to expose these bad choices. Today inflation is sky-high, there’s no money to import fuel and food and the country cannot pay off its debts.

I believe that the majority of people in Curaçao understand that our problems cannot be ascribed to The Hague. Yet, I get it. it’s easier to create an outside enemy than accept responsibility and change our ways. It can’t be a surprise that some local dinosaurs insist on a conflict model with the Hague because they can financially benefit and/or boost up relevancy. Most of them always have.

The main problem we are facing -if you believe in long-term development and wellbeing- is not the lack of money. We lack capacity, strong institutions, and the right persons on the job. It’s also about making our regulatory frameworks flexible, modern, and our workforce smart and competitive to be able to adjust to changes and be globally competitive.

There is no silver bullet, yet we’ve been betting on ridiculous projects such as ‘one-thousand hungry cows’, a Chinese-designed Las Vegasish strip, a space industry, and whatnot. We need to get our act together and start governing like adults. It’s time to tell the naked truth: without a deal that seriously invests in capacity building and reforms the future is bleak. We will be doomed to depend on others to do what we know we should be doing ourselves.

Colombo, Sri Lanka


Author: alexdavidrosaria

Alex Rosaria is from Curaçao. He has a MBA from University of Iowa. He was Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and United Nations Development Programme Officer in Africa and Central America. He is an independent consultant active in Asia and the Pacific.

11 thoughts on “This is how we lost our autonomy”

  1. ALEX, it’s time for you to publish your opinion in Papiamentu and Dutch in the local press, as well as participating in Radio & Television interviews to KICK our people awake to face reality. Ku kordial saludo di Jopi.


    1. Most local media suffer from the same affliction you have described above. This does not mean we stop trying. Keep up with the blogs. More people are reading than you think.


      1. I liked this article. I for one agree that many of our problems cannot and should not be ascribed to The Hague. However I totally disagree that we do not have the right persons for the job here. I believe you know that what happens is when choosing persons for the job, many prefer to give these jobs to those around them with little or no knowledge of the job concerned.
        While reading, I was thinking and asking myself, also wondering, why those who had a chance of really making a difference in government still did not do it. I would really love to see, and I do believe many with me, an honest, sincere, self reflective article from you, indicating how when you had the chance to effect some positive and durable change for this island, this didn’t happen. Not being sarcastic, maybe naming it: “How we lost our day in government”. This might shed some light on why, with all our professionalism, knowledge and capital, we are not making full use, (not losing) of our autonomy.


      2. Thank you for your comment. First of all, I did not say “right person for the job”, but “right person on the job”. We have the right people, but many are not even being considered because of plain politics. Btw, whilst this practice is prevalent in government it does also exist in the private sector. Most of us are idealists, self-consuming in some sense in thinking that we alone could change the world. We as individuals are however not an island. Just like you were not able to stop money laundering, I was aware that my contribution to change is limited. This doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my period in government. I’ll start with the things I (we) did not do: steal, be involved in illegal activities, or being accused or investigated at some point. Our accomplishments are a.o. 12 pieces of legislation, a ban on smoking inside, saving and restructuring pension monies (APC) getting rid of the “aanwijzing”, and producing balanced budgets for many years. I could go on, but at this stage in my life, it’s not about keeping individual scores. It’s about collective change, which is difficult. But to go back to my article, our democracy (as invented by the West many centuries ago) is flawed. It’s not producing the results people want today. I’ve advocated many times that we need a group of thinkers to rethink democracy, make it better i.e. make people believe again, trust again.


  2. As one of the professionals, whom has tried several times to rise to the challenge, I can say we have a lot of wrong people on key positions. There has not been one job I have done, where I was not confronted with fraud and corruption, mostly caused by the tone at the top. If we talk about Government or government related, the moment you step on toes or touch vested interests, you (and your family) become a target. and often they are better equipped, mostly because the have fewer inhibitions, to force the professional out. One lesson you learn fairly early on, is that in that moment you stand alone (or with few people). Other professionals see this, and logically will avoid certain positions.

    I do believe that one of our priorities should be to focus on corruption and fraud and weed out the cancer that has been growing for decades. This cancer is one of our impediments in our democracy. And without a treatment, there will be no recovery. What can we do about it? Keep trying to correct….

    Currently, with a group of professionals we are setting up an association to focus on fraud awareness on the Dutch Caribbean islands, and be a catalyst to deal with white collar crime. In the second half of this year, we will officially start.


  3. This is a post that everyone on the island of Curaçao should read. It’s about time to shout so that everyone will wake up out of a fantasy dream. I agree that the lack of seriousness and some level of corruption hampers the island’s process of the acute need for development.


    1. Thank you. Yet, polls after polls indicate that corruption (which is much more than stealing money) is not a priority with voters on our island. Look at the people they vote for to represent us.


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