It is the end of yet another year, and time to celebrate, time for great happiness with your loved ones. I wish you the very, best, whole-heartedly and thank you for all those hours some of you spent on reading my columns.
A column is not a journalistic report but an opinion and does not require extensive evidentiary support. Readers who get emotionally involved sometimes forget this. Everybody is entitled to his opinion, but nobody to his own facts. Facts are immutable events. Opinions are interpretations of facts.
The showdown between an old union leader and the 7th Prime Minister of autonomous Curacao finished up in a strike, and ultimately a draw. Unfortunately, the strike will hurt the already ailing economy of Curacao. The Union leader showed the world that he is still an antiquated Castro-Chavismo communist who has little or no sense of reality.
Demanding salary increases in a shrinking economy, yes shrinking again for the 8th year in a row, is equal to self-mutilation and suicide. But an effort to destabilize the center-right government must have made it worthwhile for the Unions. How sick can you be????
The somewhat demented Union leader is eager to see a weak Prime Minister but does not seem to know how to build an economy. The outdated labor laws, frozen in time, are the biggest handicap for any new investment on the island. There is no new foreign investment.
With the enormous challenges facing the economy of Curacao in 2018, there is no place for dissent; we will get through it as long as we are united and work together.
Just to name a few trials.
The refinery and its employment of about 3,000 workers, directly and indirectly, is at stake.
The off-shore financial industry is also entering its last year and many wonder how that will affect employment at the financial services on the island.
Tourism on Curacao is not recovering. Year, after year we see a decline, especially the Venezuelans who no longer have the means to spent a few days. Our number one tourist is gone!
In addition, the marketing strategy of the CTB has gone from ‘Luxury vacation’ to ‘Jack-in-the-box.’ But there is no money to be made in mass tourism and discount vacations as the only main product. Whereas thousands of cruise ship passengers crawl through old town streets, their spending is limited and reduced to spending some loose pocket money.
The ongoing plague of serious crime and even its growth has put all effort to shame. Whatever the authorities and the courts are doing, it does not work. The conditions are such that too many people disappear in the shadow economy, just to survive.
Also, education has failed miserably. Many efforts were made, but requirements of the entire industry grew much faster and outstripped any schooling could compensate for.
By all means, the coming years will continue to be tough! Nevertheless, I hope and pray for your continued contributions and efforts.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle