Opinion: Democracy

POSTED: 04/17/12 2:25 PM

Democracy and Curacao seem to have a hard time together. The latest development in this soap opera is the reaction by Minister of Plenipotentiary Sheldry Osepa to a broadcast on Dutch TV in the news program Brandpunt.
Opposition parliamentarians Omayra Leeflang and David Dick were rather critical of the Schotte-government – as oppositions tend to be. But that is not okay with Osepa who fulminated in a reaction in the Antilliaans Dagblad against Leeflang and Dick with expressions like, “You may expect that we will leave no stone unturned to tackle this,” and “As yu di Kòrsou (literally: child of Curacao) you have to be behind your government towards outsiders.”
According to a definition written in 2002, a yu di Kòrsou is somebody who lives in Curacao or elsewhere, who understands Papiamento and who is prepared to work for the progress of Curacao. A yu di Kòrsou also accepts the multicultural situation and the cultural diversity on the island. She or he also accepts that the afro-Curacaolenean elements dominate the local culture. Apparently, Osepa is of the opinion that a yu di Kòrsou should not be critical of the government.
And what did Leeflang and Dick say anyway in the TV broadcast? Leeflang said that she expects “a coup” by Gerrit Schotte. Dutch parliamentarian Ronald van Raak, who once labeled St. Maarten’s Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger as “a little mafia boss” said in the same broadcast that the Schotte-government is in bed with the mafia and that the mafia sent Schotte to strip the national security service to find out if they possess any incriminating information.
Van Raak’s mafia allegations are getting old, especially since he has never presented a shred of evidence to substantiate his statements. That does not necessarily mean that Van Raak is just blowing hot air – it is not impossible that he is right on the money, but he still has to prove it.
Osepa’s reaction seems to be a bit hysterical and over the top. Politicians have a Pavlov-reaction to criticism: they deny everything. But wouldn’t it be better to invite the critics to present proof for their allegations? That’s how things are supposed to work in a democracy, and we figure that such an invitation could take a lot of air out of the statements made by Leeflang and Van Raak.
On the other hand: if they do present some kind of proof, it’s a totally different story – one that will be too hot to handle for a Minister of Plenipotentiary who reacts to political statements with open threats.

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