Opinion: Old song

POSTED: 12/22/11 3:44 PM

The successive presidents of the Netherlands Antillean parliament charged a bit more than $78,000 to government-backed credit cards between 2002 and 2010. In Curacao they’re making a fuss about these expenses, but in reality Finance Minister Jamaloodin is wasting his time on stuff that isn’t worth talking about.

Let’s face it: $78,000 in eight years is $9,750 per year, or $812.50 per month. One could also say that all these parliament presidents spent on average 26 dollars and 71 cents per day on representation. Wow!   The government accountant bureau Soab investigated these expenditures; and guess what: the accountants found insufficient information to determine whether these expenses were justified. We wonder how much the Schotte-cabinet spent on the Soab-investigation, and whether it was worth it.

Obviously, Finance Minister Jamaloodin wanted to find something he could use against members of the opposition, but with the Soab-investigation now concluded it is fair to say that the whole exercise yielded exactly nothing, apart from a glimpse into the thought processes that run through the minister’s head.   It is amazing that the Schotte-cabinet keeps pursuing this kind of so-called investigations while it refuses to start the currently most important investigation of all – namely the recommended investigation into the integrity of a number of ministers.

Politicians the world over know that the best way to escape from an impossible situation is to deflect the attention. George Bush started a couple of wars to make people forget about the troubles at home, and Israel has made a point  of never making peace with its Arab neighbors lest it has to address issues within its own borders that have  nothing to do with terrorism-threats.

And so we rumble on, slowly towards another year in politics. So far, we have not heard a lot about positive developments in Curacao; it’s just one scandal, or perceived scandal, or dreamed-up scandal, after the other, and all the time the country’s citizens are left slightly bewildered. Some of them must wonder why on earth they elected this government that had shrouded itself in a cloud of suspicion, and that seems to prefer hunting down political opponents, and renaming schools and prisons in ways outsiders will never be able to remember, over cranking up the economy and providing jobs to the people they are supposed to represent.

It’s an old song, and we’ve heard it many times before: every country gets the government it deserves. So maybe the havoc this government is creating in Curacao is exactly what the people in Curacao want. Since the people are entitled to determine their own destiny, who are we to tell them they have to do things differently?

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