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Column JGD | GreenTown or PDVSA?

Column Jacob Gelt Dekker voor Curacao Chronicle | GreenTown or PDVSA?

Only after a D.D. (due diligence), Guangdong Zhenrong Energy (GZE), as main investor for the Oil Refinery (RdK), was disqualified. The D.D. showed that the company did not have access to the required funds of US $ 1,5 billion, to upgrade the RdK facilities.

GT (Green Town) has claimed for years that there are billions available for its plan to redevelop the area as a smart town. Before the community wastes another two years, a due diligence of GT, or at least a minimal feasibility study, would be appropriate. Show us the money!

The economic philosophy of the GT groups is:

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1. An assumption that fossil fuel will be phased out within the next few years. This is most unlikely since, annually, there are still 78 million internal combustion new cars sold per year, versus 2 million, EV’s, Electric Vehicles. Oil consumption has gradually grown to about 100 million barrels per day, to reach 130 million barrels by 2025. GT’s assumptions, and public statements that, most likely, the world will run out of oil, already this year, are false.

2. Supply side economy, with an attitude of ”build it and they will come.” An office park-city for US $ 5-6 billion has to be set up, and according to GT, businesses from around the world will flock to the island, eager to lease the super expensive office space. GT promises at least 16,000 new jobs for highly skilled labor. This is a most unlikely scenario. The super expensive infrastructure of a Caribbean island cannot compete with any mainland facility.

“In order to the close the refinery down for good, another economic pillar would have to replace the 8% to 9% GDP that the refinery now contributes,” admitted Mr. Leito, one of the Green Town initial promoters, in an interview. But in seven years the GT people have not been able to produce one single company, as a new investor in their future city. A lot of noise was made with Damen Ship wharf, who were already on the island, and joint-ventured with the Dry Dock. A yacht harbor facility, also already establish on the island as well, had to be another Knight-in-Shining-Armor.

Energetic words by Green Town President, Andres Casimiri, speak for themselves. “Green Town presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for economic and community development with the potential to make Curaçao the leader in sustainability in the Caribbean.”

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“Green Town wants to replace the heavily polluting oil refinery on Curaçao with a lively, green and vibrant city district around the harbor, generating more than 16,000 new jobs, and a significant increase in government revenues and be powered solely with sustainable energy.” With thundering rhetoric, the fire-and-brimstone GT-President continues his sermons, no matter how much fake news there is in the content. “Where our grandfathers were traded slaves, we will build a city that will gleam in greatness, shine in durability, and sparkle as a witness of our perseverance and technology.”

But GT does not have one cent of investment capital available, no foreign investors, no companies eager to set up shop, no skilled workers: it is all fantasy. On FB. Casimiri announced that he wants me: “… finance the 1.5 million euro for a feasibility study, and you have an action plan, a ‘terugverdien’ model, and a bank guarantee. All professionally, made by a company of your own choice.”

And another GT proponent calls it ‘mean’ when I called GT’s bluff.

With PR-disaster and stock market-scam, Space Expedition Curacao, and Gerrit Schotte’s oil exploitations, just behind us, it is no more than prudent to call their bluff.

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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