The Lamentable Events in Curacao

Just to keep you up to speed, it is interesting to know what’s happening across the pond.

Midday Wednesday, a group of protesters started walking towards Fort Amsterdam, Willemstad, the seat of GOC, demanding that the MinPres, Eugene Rhuggenaath, step down.

Off with his head.

It was a small group, perhaps 50 people, all employees of Serlikor, Curacao’s Serlimar, they were protesting the 12.5% salary reduction, and GOC’s many failures.

My sources report that for years Serlikor served as the politicians’ dumping ground, when obliged to find campaign runners jobs. The accumulation of workers did not solve the trash nor the human resources challenges, on the contrary it brought a lot of needy, resentful, uneducated people together into a dysfunctional organization, where they were underworked, doing nothing meaningful, just getting paid, and languishing away, as frustration simmered.

The march was peaceful, and I did not see the ranks swell, they did not attract more participants along the way, apparently when they arrived at Punda and knocked on the fort’s gate, the doors were opened by a policeman who ‘struck’ a protester, with the butt of his gun?!

My information is sketchy. In a TeleCuracao interview the protesters accused the police of starting the brawl, and even shooting tear gas into the crowd.

The footage I saw of the unfortunate afternoon events, did not depict any of the above.

What I saw featured loitering hooligans and vandals piggybacking on the general atmosphere of public disorder in order to loot a store, overturn a police car and toss street planters around, also light some vacant houses on fire. The Fire Brigade reports a busy night.

The marines were then brought in. His Majesty’s Royal Dutch Marines arrived in military trucks, and fanned out in downtown Punda. A curfew was decreed. The police made a few arrests and send some of the offenders for complimentary overnights in the police station cells.

Serlikor aimed to light a match, apply pressure on GOC, we’ve seen similar irrational behavior here on behalf of the labor unions. Luckily, Arubans are better educated, and our MinPres came out of her fortress to face the music, when a similar manifestation threatened downtown Oranjestad.

In Curacao the MinPres announced a 6pm press conference and condemned hooliganism flanked by his MinJust, Quincy Girigorie. He did not come out into the street.

The protesters called for new elections. And in a TeleCuracao interview one of the protesters debunked the Covid19 myth as Dutch/American, “because we the blacks in Curacao are not affected.”

See my comment above, about better-educated Arubans.

The protests, looting, fires and arrests, have just created bigger problems for our neighbors. They will run into trouble with their saviors, the Dutch, who must begrudge the negative sentiment provoked by the unions, instead of gratitude for salary subsidies.  

Infuriating the masses, then repressing them with police clubs and tear gas doesn’t benefit the situation, it escalates it.

So perhaps the strategy should be REDUCE work hours, for less pay, perhaps some of these workers would love working less.

We have a lot to learn from the experiments conducted across the pond.



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June 25, 2020
Rona Coster