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Vision and Credibility

Vision and Credibility

May 28, 2024

The Curaçao Business Association (Vereniging Bedrijfsleven Curaçao, VBC) recently invited the Prime Minister to present his vision for Curaçao. This choice struck me as odd, given that both the current government and the VBC suffer from credibility issues. For instance, the government's promise to reopen the refinery within six months has not been fulfilled, despite more than three years having passed. Similarly, the VBC's decision to invite the Prime Minister, without addressing these unfulfilled promises, did little to help its own standing.

I didn't watch or listen to the presentation, but I revisited an article in the Amigoe newspaper from May 17, 2024, which discussed the topic in detail. The Prime Minister's vision includes Curaçao soon joining CARICOM and the WTO, along with signing various international treaties, all to fulfill Curaçao's international ambitions. This vision also involves attracting foreign investors, which requires reforming governance structures, particularly in the civil service and corporate governance sectors. Additionally, there's mention of revising the social system, aiming to make Curaçao the jewel of the Caribbean.

The economic strategy is based on five pillars: a new energy sector, the harbor and surrounding areas, export, and expanding tourism. This is essentially nothing new. However, key issues like the future of the refinery, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the Smart Nation and Living Lab visions are conspicuously absent. This lack of attention to these crucial issues should be a cause for concern for all of us.

The Prime Minister's focus on incentives for foreign investors reflects the trickle-down philosophy, a theory that posits that benefits for the wealthy will eventually trickle down to the rest of society. This theory, however, has yet to prove effective in practice. The Prime Minister emphasized the need for honest leadership to achieve these goals, yet this is problematic given that the Public Prosecutor's Office has just announced progress in its investigation into document forgery related to the refinery. This raises questions about the government's commitment to transparency and accountability.

On the positive side, there is a vision to debate. The development of the energy sector and the harbor is promising, although these are not new plans. However, the lack of attention to people's needs is troubling, despite mentioning the social system. There's no focus on SMEs, despite talk of promoting exports. There's also no attention to the climate crisis, poverty, or inequality. But what isn't included now could still be addressed in the future, right? This potential for future improvement should give us all hope.

Miguel Goede

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