WHY IS IT SO HARD TO PERSUADE PEOPLE TO KEEP OUR ISLAND CLEAN?

I often wonder why it’s so difficult to persuade people to care about our island and planet upon which we completely depend. Why aren’t we making progress with Kòrsou Limpi i Bunita (a Clean and Lovely Curaçao) in all these years? The answer may be simpler than we think.

Recently I read a true Second World War story that disclosed how the U.S. carefully compiled a list of Japanese cities it wanted to bomb with the atom bomb. Kyoto was on that list. To the indignation of military advisers, Kyoto was however removed by the U.S. Secretary of War Henry Stimson. Instead, Nagasaki was added. Why did he remove Kyoto? Because Stimson and his wife had spent their honeymoon in Kyoto. It was difficult to destroy the city that represented love and beauty to him.

Be that as it may, the opposite is equally true. We easily destroy what we don’t feel connected to, what we don’t know, and don’t love. Nowhere is this more apparent than how we’re littering our environment. It seems that with or without law and fines (remember when relevant legislation was put on the negative list in 2010), littering has not been curbed. There are more cleaning actions now, and more ugly trash cans crammed in our capital city, but these don’t seem to have made a dent.

According to the Environmental Performance Index, Denmark is the world’s cleanest country. Wait, you’ll say, it’s because of their stiff fines. An offender is fined about USD 100 in Denmark, not a whopping amount. Interestingly, only 36 offenders have been penalized for littering in an 8 years period. And, anyone who has walked around Singapore and Korea, the cleanest Asian countries, must have noticed the lack of public trash cans. Not surprisingly, people in the cleanest countries say they feel closely connected to nature and take their own responsibility for a clean environment.

If people don’t experience nature or don’t understand the essence of nature, it’s unlikely they’ll care. And this is what’s missing. A campaign to stimulate humans to reconnect with nature and understand its importance. This may trigger a mentality change that puts an end to the poisoning of our life support system. The fact is that we lost touch with nature and have become an indoor generation. When was the last time we went for a walk in one of our parks, did some bird watching, or did nature photography? Without a human reconnection to nature, its destructing is certain.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Illicit Economic Activities in the Caribbean

As a member of the US-based think tank Global Americans’ Working Group on Climate Change in the Caribbean, I am glad to share that we have published our third paper* in our series on Climate Change in the Caribbean. This paper focuses on illicit economic activities in our region.

The Caribbean remains a unique and diverse environmental biome replete with valuable living
and non-living resources in its waters, reefs, and forests. It is also an ideal location for illicit activities. The geographic characteristics of our region have contributed to the Caribbean’s role as a staging point for South American narcotics headed for North American and European markets. Other illicit activities conducted around the Caribbean’s location include human trafficking, gun smuggling, and money laundering.

The focus of this paper however will be on illicit activities that are closely linked to climate change and include illicit gold mining, illegal logging, poaching, and IUU (Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated) fishing.

The global retail value of transnational crime:

Counterfeiting $923 billion to $1.13 trillion
Drug Trafficking $426 billion to $652 billion
Human Trafficking $150.2 billion
Illegal Logging $52 billion to $157 billion
Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing $15.5 billion to $36.4 billion

Illegal Mining $12 billion to $48 billion
Crude Oil Theft $5.2 billion to $11.9 billion
Illegal Wildlife Trade $5 billion to $23 billion

Small Arms & Light Weapons Trafficking $1.7 billion to $3.5 billion
Trafficking in Cultural Property $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion
Organ Trafficking $840 million to $1.7 billion

Source: Channing May, Transnational Crime and the Developing World, Global Financial Integrity, March 2017.

Who commits these crimes? The actors may surprise you. They consist of legal professionals, company formation, agents, notaries, bankers, and accountants who help launder illicit funds through licit institutions.

This report is intended to inform policymakers, non-governmental actors, and the public of the
a broad scope of environmental crimes in the region and suggest substantive actions to curb these
activities.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Buracheria i Tripulashon Ruso ku ta sekuestrá di un lots di Kòrsou

Na momentu ku un barku di peska Ruso a bandoná nos haf 40 aña pasá, ningun hende por a premirá ku esaki lo a resultá den un operashon polisial grandi.

Barkunan Ruso ku ta piska den awanan internashonal pafó di e kontinente Suramérikano regularmente tabata bin Kòrsou pa bùnker. Pues presensia di un barku di peska Ruso e tempu ei, no tabata straño. Na momentu e barku Ruso en kuestion kier a bandoná Kòrsou, manera ta rutina, a manda un lots pa gui’é for di waf di KNSM. Pero, poko despues ku e lots a subi abordo, e ta mèldu kantor ku no ta responsabel p’e kontinuá pasombra e tripulashon tabata mal fuma. Outoridatnan portuario ta manda un otro lots ku tambe ta ninga hasi e trabou ora e mira e situashon na bordo. Ta disidí manda nos mihó lots ku si ta saka e barku sin insidente. 

E historia naturalmente no a kaba. E barku Ruso a sali haf kue direkshon di laman grandi, pero nos lots no tin fin di baha fo’i e barku Ruso i subi e boto di lots pa bin aden. Kapitan di e barku di lots ta bati alarma ku a sekuestrá nos lots. E notisia aki ta yega serka Gezaghebber ku despues di konsultá ku Fòrti ta manda tres boto yená ku polis bon armá tras di e Rusonan.

Ora  polis logra subi e barku Ruso ta nota ku nos lots no tabata sekuestrá sino totalmente bou di su awa, igual na e tripulashon. E no por a ni baha e trapi di kabuya i mester a mar’é na un kabuya i ‘fir’é’ den un di e botonan ku polis.

Gezaghebber, furioso ta primintí un investigashon ‘profundo’. Kantor di Haf sinembargo ta deklará: “No ta nada straño, ku un loods ta dal bitter, ora e guia un barcu. Bo mester corda ku e hendenan aki ta guynan di laman. E olanan ta pone cu nan ta haña gana di dal un drinks “ (Nobo, 4 desèmber 1982). 

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Inflashon na plaka chikí

KIKO TA INFLASHON?

Inflashon kier men ku balor di bo florin (Naf) a bira ménos pasombra preis en general di produkto/servisio a subi i konsekuentemente bo por kumpra ménos kos. Si promé por a yena bo tanki di gasolin ku Naf 100, awe bo por yena solamente 3/4 tanki ku n’e.

KIKO TA KOUSA INFLASHON?

(1) Ora no tin sufisiente produkto/servisio pa kumpli ku demanda di e kumpradó, esta skarsedat. Skarsedat ta subi preis. Te ainda produkshon ta mas abou ku normal pa motibu di e.o. skarsedat di trahadó komo konsekuensia di Covid. China ta traha muchu tiki ‘chip’ pa hinka den outo i p’esei tin ménos outo nobo riba merkado i nan preis a subi te aya. Esaki ta inflashon di demanda.

(2) Preis ta subi ora trahamentu di e produkto kosta mas, esaki pa motibu di oumentu di gasolin, transporte, koriente i salario (prinsipalmente na Merka, pa falta di trahadó). Esaki ta inflashon di kosto.

(3) Tin pais manera India, Argentina, Indonesia i mas ku -pa motibu di entre otro e guera na Oropa- a prohibí èksportá sierto produkto (trigo, soya i fruta) pa garantisá alimentashon pa nan poblashon. Resultado ta ménos produkto riba merkado i oumento di preis.

KIKO TA KONSEKUENSIA DI INFLASHON?

Inflashon tin konsekuensia grave: kaida di forsa di kompra, empobresimentu, kriminalidat, emigrashon i malnutrishon. Inflashon ta pone preshon riba gobièrnunan i por resultá den kambio polítiko, sea ku elekshon òf ku protesta masal manera Sri Lanka. E tema prinsipal di oposishon na Merka i Turkia pa elekshonnan binidero ta inflashon. Meskos lo por pasa na Kòrsou.

INFLASHON I KÒRSOU

Pa gran parti nos tin inflashon di kosto ku ta keda importá. No tin un ‘toverstok’, pero si vários instrumènt ku por fria doló. Ounke ku semper por tin desakuerdo kua instumènt usa, ta straño e falta di sentido di urgensia pa konsiderá inflashon komo un prioridat nashonal i proponé maneho ku sikiera ta trese alivio. Bisa ku bo mannan ta mará manera un mandatario a hasi, no ta un opshon.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

Ken bo ta pa disidí ken ta Yu di Kòrsou òf no?

Si Yu di Kòrsou1 (YdK) tabata un nashonalidat, lo a defini’é den nos konstitushon (p.e. nasé na Kòrsou; nasé den ekterior di un òf dos YdK; i naturalisá). Serka nos esaki (ainda) no ta e kaso. Tin hende ku ke imponé nan definishon ku sinembargo ta sembra divishon, asta bou di e grupo ku a nase na Kòrsou i tin algun generashon aki. Mihó lo tabata un definishon basá riba balornan komun ku ta promové nation-building.

Pa nan, si bo koló no ta pretu, òf sufisiente skur, si bo no ta baila tambú, kome giambo, papia papiamentu (sin importá kon malu bo skibié òf masakré) bo no ta YdK òf asta YdK di pura cepa. Pura cepa kiermen “rasecht” i ta un ekspreshon kargá i konsiderá rasista ku a sòru pa página skur den historia i presente.

Kòrsou ta konsistí di hopi rasa, etnisidat, i orígen. E promé habitantenan tabata Indjan prosedente di Sur Amérika, pa despues yega Spañó, Hudiu, Hulandes Oropeo, katibu di Afrika i mas grupo.

Mi antepasadonan a yega Kòrsou na 1795. Awor abo ta bisami ku mi no ta YdK (di pura cepa)? Pasombra mi no ta pretu sufisiente, no ta interesá pa baila tambú, no ta fanátiko di giambo? Pasombra mi gusta músika rock, futbòl Merikano, kome sushi i ta skibi na ingles? Ken bo ta pa kuestionámi i otronan simplemente pasombra nos no ta pas den bo definishon diskriminatorio i rasista?

E tendensia aki pa dividí ‘nan i nos’ ta un eskoho konsiente pa identifiká, inventá karakterístikanan di e.o. komportashon, kultura, rasa pa distingí un grupo for di otro pa finnan makabre. Kòrda kon a usa “nos no ta nan” den kampaña. E eskoho aki (t)a kousa hopi morto rònt mundu i den kasonan ektremo, matansa pa kaba ku sièrto gruponan.

‘Nta mihó definí YdK a base di un sèt di balor komún ku ta promové inklushon, kompashon i kapasidat pa stima nos pais inkondishonalmente?

Willemstad, Kòrsou

1Mi ta usa Yu di Kòrsou pasombra esaki ta den nos himno

Can we finance climate change in the Caribbean including Curaçao?

Alex Rosaria is a member of the US-based think tank: Global Americans’ High-level Working Group on Climate Change in the Caribbean that just published Climate Finance and the Caribbean. What follows is a brief summary. For the complete document:

The costs of dealing with climate change are massive and daunting. The United Nations has
called it “the trillion-dollar challenge.”

Climate change finance is relatively well-established with public finance organizations, but it is a
new and expanding area for the global private investment community. As such, it is driven by
increased concerns over climate change and the need to assume greater responsibility among
stakeholders to do something about it. Increased private-sector engagement is an important
development for a region like the Caribbean that contends with tough climate change issues and is
burdened by high debt levels and constrained fiscal resources. The following recommendations
seek to provide a framework for Caribbean countries to approach climate change financing with
greater success.


Caribbean governments need to level more pressure on multilateral lending institutions,
particularly the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, to move away from
basing concessional lending rates based on per capita income levels. The United States,
Canada, and other non-regional stakeholders should lend their support to such an effort.
Encouragingly, U.S. Vice-President Harris’ U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the
Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC 2030) initiative pledges the U.S. Treasury’s advocacy to
unlock additional financing from multilateral lending institutions for infrastructure
projects in underserved Caribbean countries.

The Caribbean should consider developing a plan to reach out to some of the key players in executive and legislative branches around the world (i.e., the Nordic countries and Germany would be especially receptive) for additional support.


As reflected by severe floods in Guyana and Suriname in 2022, droughts in a number of island-states, and rising sea levels throughout the region, climate change makes a natural area where U.S. and Caribbean interests converge and where action is needed, especially in the area of
financing.

The Caribbean needs a plan to foster robust institutional ties between regional civil
society organizations dedicated to the environment and climate and international
organizations.

Caribbean countries need to upgrade human capital to better play the climate change
finance game. Caribbean governments facing the need for climate change financing must
consider that human capital is needed to steer through what is often a complicated
process. Without experts with the necessary skills, Caribbean countries will not be able to
conduct reforms to improve the quality and coverage of current assets as well as manage
future upgrades. The ability to tap the newly emerging financial system that is more
geared to green finance will slip out of reach in what is a competitive game. In this
regard, Caribbean countries should reach out to the G7, G20, and other interested parties,
including civil society organizations, for assistance.

Caribbean governments need to sharpen their knowledge of funding sources. There are
many institutions dedicated to helping finance climate change projects. (See Appendix 2)
Once identified, governments in their application process face eligibility standards. At the
same time, some governments may lack the capacity to prepare proposals or fully
understand the investment process including investment banks, institutional investors,
and rating agencies.

Caribbean governments need to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of ESG
and how it plays into investor perceptions of the region. Paying attention to the
Caribbean’s natural resources are usually left to the tourist sector; a broad audience of
investors from North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East are interested in
helping preserve the Caribbean.

Caribbean countries need to find a way to gain better lending terms from multilateral
institutions, to overcome the high-middle income and middle income “hurdle” in terms of public lending. Specifically, they must advocate for special consideration to account for
the gap between GDP indicators and vulnerability to external shocks.

For those Caribbean countries that have not done so, the creation of an environmental
security investment plan is well worth pursuing.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Djis sigi hunga ku kandela tokante referèndem i independensia

Mas i mas ta hunga ku e idea pa yama un referèndem pa independensia òf kanta independensia den Staten. Lo bo kere ku e grupo aki ta planeando un independensia responsabel manera traha riba mehorashon di kapasidat institushonal, fortifikashon di demokrasia i un enseñansa ku ta kuadra ku e retonan di mayan. No. Mas bien ke independensia pa nan hasi lokual nan ke. Ke bergonsá Hulanda internashonalmente i ta keda insistí ku ta dor di engaño nos no ta riba e Lista di Non-Self-Governing Territories. Nan ta sapatiá di tur manera pa pone nos ariba. E grupo ta sea bobo òf ignorante pasombra bo no mester ta riba e lista pa bira independiente. Puntra South Sudan òf Slovakia.

Ta hunga ku kandela. Apesar di atvertensianan1, no tin lei di referèndem ankrá den Konstitushon ku ta pone kondishon pa un referèndem pa kambia nos status, esta e persentahe mínimo di hende ku mester vota i ki ora un opshon ta sali ganadó. Sin un lei, si 30% di pueblo vota di kua 51% ta skohe pa independensia, independensia ta gana.

Sin un lei, Staten por kanta independensia si 2/3 parti disidí. Téknikamente -apesar di nos derechi di outodeterminashon- independensia mester pasa Staten-Generaal Hulandes ku posiblemente lo kuestioná pakiko no a konsultá pueblo. I, pueblo aki lo keda ketu, òf lo protestá i akshoná kontra e desishon di Staten?

Mester realisá ku e opshon pa provinsia ta kresiendo2. Sin un lei di referèndem tambe ta konta ku si 30% di pueblo vota di kua 51% ta skohe pa munisipio, e eskoho ganadó ta munisipio. Ademas, un otro konstalashon den Staten por kanta integrashon den Hulanda.

Un lei di referèndem ta imperativo. Sin esaki, nos pais ku ya ta sufri di inflashon, debe, forsa di kompra redusí, alimentá pa Covid i un guera na Oropa, por kai den un abismo i divishon nunka bisto.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

1

2

Mientras Kòrsou ta sigi kremp, poblashon mundial ta yega 8 mil mion

Awe ta Dia Mundial di Poblashon ku ta den lus di e echo ku na 2022 nos lo yega un poblashon global di 8 mil mion. Esaki ta un kresementu di mil mion den último 11 aña. E kresementu no ta pasombra hende muhé ta haña mas yu (fertilidat), pero mas bien resultado di avansenan den sektor i medisina ku ta alargá bida di hende. E kresementu ta trese sinembargo hopi reto: seguridat di alimentashon, garantia di oportunida i derechi igual pa tur hende.

Na Kòrsou nos poblashon no ta krese, pero ta bira prekupantemente chikí i bieu. Banda di fertilidat abou, nos poblashon a kremp for di 2010 ku 10,000 pasombra mas hende a bai ku hende a bin. Ta bon pa realisá ku un poblashon chikí ta trese reto i problema pa nos. No t’asina ku ménos hende tin, mas kos tin pa parti.

Un poblashon ku ta dekresiendo tin konsekuensia negativo pa desaroyo ekonómiko, ‘cost of doing business’, poder di kompra, konsumo, kompetitividat, gastu di kuido, sentido di soledat i produktividat. Esaki ta resultá kaba den kantidat di kas pará bashí, skolnan ku tiki alumno, problemanan ku fondonan di penshon. Prekupante ta e fuga di e klase medio i ‘brain drain’.

Ta komo si fuera nos no ta realisá ku nos situashon aktual ta un bòm ku lo èksplotá si no atendé ku nos problema. Mester di un manheho demográfiko. Mester atendé e kuestion aki no solamente den sektor públiko, pero tambe privá. Kisas mas importante ta pa nos bira konsiente ku nos tin un problema ku ta vislumbrá di bira grandi i inmanegabel.

Willemstad, Kòrsou

After the Summit of the Americas, it becomes painfully clear how isolated we are in the Caribbean

The 9th Summit of the Americas (the Summit), which took place last month in Los Angeles was supposed to bring together leaders to promote cooperation and inclusive economic growth based on shared democratic values in North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean. No, Curaçao didn’t participate (1).

Before the Summit started most discussions centered around Washington’s decision to exclude Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. This led El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines to stay away. Also, key figures of the U.S. Administration weren’t present which diluted the Summit.

Perhaps more regretful is the fact that there were few concrete major policy pronouncements. This showed perhaps the lack of policy convergence in our hemisphere and the painful realization that the US is not the shiny city on the hill anymore regarding leadership and democracy.

I’ll turn to what can be viewed as achievements and opportunities for the Caribbean. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was successful in putting the following items on the agenda: Food security, Finance, and Energy respectively by Guyana, Barbados, and Trinidad & Tobago. It’s telling how the Caribbean was front and center in this Summit. CARICOM managed to be an agenda maker and not the traditional agenda taker. Another achievement is the agreement to launch the Caribbean Partnership for Climate Action (PACC 2030) to address climate change, given the region’s vulnerabilities to natural disasters.

What’s Curaçao going to do?

What’s more, food security, energy, and finance are also important issues for us. Can we afford to remain sidelined and not find a formula to work together with CARICOM? Do we approach the U.S. bilaterally to find a way to coordinate on these issues? What’s Curaçao going to do? Doing nothing is not an option it seems.

Willemstad, Curaçao

De klassenmaatschappij op Curaçao

Mijn 99-jarige koffievriend die iedere dag een hoed draagt, vertelde onlangs dat hij zich kan herinneren dat John F. Kennedy het gesprek van de dag werd door de eerste president te zijn die bij zijn inauguratie in 1961 geen hoed droeg en hierdoor gezorgd heeft voor de teloorgang van de hoed. Deze stelling is niet helemaal correct want de heer Kennedy had wel een hoed in zijn handen op weg naar de inauguratie maar deed deze tijdens de ceremonie niet op, en ook bijna nooit tijdens zijn presidentschap wat inderdaad voor veel consternatie zorgde. Verschillende bronnen betwijfelen of deze mode bewuste president helemaal alleen de hoed heeft laten verdwijnen, maar hij speelde wel een belangrijke rol hierbij.

Ook op ons eiland is in de jaren 60 de hoedenrage verdwenen, maar ik weet niet of er hier ooit schande werd gesproken over het bloothoofd. Op foto’s van straatbeelden vanaf het einde van de 19de eeuw was er bijna geen man op Curaçao te verkennen die geen hoed op had. Politici, directeuren, artsen, praktizijns en bankiers bleken een grote liefde te hebben voor dit hoofddeksel. Hoe hoger de (cilinder)hoed hoe interessanter de drager. Het is ook geen toeval dat een ‘average Joe’ in het Nederlands nog steeds wordt aangeduid als ‘Jan met de Pet’ en geen ‘Jan met de hoed’. De hoed was een statussymbool en scheidde de gewone man van de ‘upper class’.

Gedurende medio jaren 60 is de hoed als statussymbool hier verdwenen. Misschien als bewustwording van de bestaande klassenmaatschappij, slechte arbeidsomstandigheden en oneerlijke beloning zoals elders in de wereld toentertijd. Er kunnen andere redenen zijn voor het verdwijnen van de hoed want ik heb hierover geen onderzoek gedaan. Een aantal foto’s na de opstand van 30 mei 1969 toont een ommekeer aan in het gebruik van hoofddeksel in de lokale politiek: de belangrijkste leiders van de opstand hadden bijna altijd een pet op, ook toen ze bij de Gouverneur waren voor beëdiging. Met uitzondering van het dragen van burlesque “hoeden” door vrouwelijke politica in het Koninkrijk, lijkt het tijdperk van hoeden voorlopig voorbij. De ondergang van de hoed betekende echter niet het verdwijnen van onze bestaande klassenmaatschappij.

In plaats van de hoed zijn er andere statusobjecten gekomen. De ‘gated communities’ die sinds 30 Mei 1969 zijn vervijfvoudigd, luxe wagenparken, opulente religieuze gebouwen, dure horloges, peperdure feestjes, sieraden en ik kan zo doorgaan. De hoed is ingeruild voor andere materiële acquisities.

Ik moet dan ook ongetwijfeld denken aan ’s werelds oudste blogger, de Zweedse Dagny Carlsson, die dit jaar op 109-jarige leeftijd is heen gegaan. Zij groeide na haar 100ste verjaardag uit tot een beroemdheid in de wereld van bloggers. Ik las af en toe haar ‘blogs’ en vond vooral haar motto: ‘niets was vroeger beter dan vandaag’ heel mooi. Bepaalde dingen gaan inderdaad nooit weg, ze veranderen slechts van vorm.

Willemstad, Curaçao