Opinion: Downward spiral

POSTED: 06/19/14 11:56 PM

Downward spiral

Jacob Gelt Dekker is not happy with Prime Minister Ivar Asjes and his performance during his first year in office, he writes in a column on Curacao Chronicle.

“During his first year in power, Prime Minister Asjes did not introduce a series of political and economic initiatives to reverse high unemployment, a shrinking economy and rampant crime. In the wake of an ongoing global recession, the feeble island economies of tourism, trade, financial services and oil refinery could no longer compete with more sophisticated regions in the world; many companies failed or are teeter-tottering on the edge of survival.

Straightjackets of government overregulation and years of dictates by all mighty labor unions became the stranglehold for any entrepreneurial initiative and growth on the island. An urgent call by the Central Bank President, Dr. E. Tromp to increase productivity fell on deaf ears.

The Prime Minister’s priority was to impose budgetary discipline, much under pressure of the Kingdom, and leaving all other initiatives aside.

Thus, the government’s mandate, presented under the promising banner, “Peace & Prosperity,” became a blatant oxymoron. The bipartisan cooperation with coalition partner-PAIS became a daily battleground. “The island in the grip of international organized crime,” (Minister of Justice, Navarro), continued, “killing the islanders softly.” Note; Deflationary spending cuts paralyzed all brave initiatives of crime fighting minister, Navarro and recently, even education, which was already in a most deplorable state, fell victim to government’s austerity program.

Recent polls showed that 80% of the electorate no longer supports the ruling coalition government. Pueblo Soberano, the prime minister’s ruling party, last year decapitated by the assassination of its political leader, would be wiped out, if elections were held today.

Nevertheless, in his most recent press conference, the prime minister proclaimed that “most islanders were happy with his first year in office.” He also launched an elaborate program of “nation building.” On the tiny sovereign island state of Curacao, where internationalism is by far its strongest asset, the re-emergence of nationalism by a weak bureaucrat leader appeared incomprehensible to many.

So, for the remainder of the prime minister’s term, let us hope and pray that the he will have an epiphany or a divine intervention and, over night, become the inspirational charismatic leader able to pull the islanders out of their downward spiral into abyss.”

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