Two pieces on Wednesday

From Curacao: Split personality, the private opportunist VS the public moral compass

Following a blog by Ton De Jong in Carribisch Uitzicht

The humiliating Ennia judgment, should have included the copying of the following sentence, 100 times: “Unfortunately, selfishness is still deeply rooted in the hearts of many.”

The sentence might be familiar to readers because it derives from the Christmas and New Year’s address Jaime Saleh delivered in 2000, as then Governor of the Netherlands Antilles.

Saleh, regularly peppered his introductions and speeches, with moralizing statements, bundled in with the rest of the solemn text.

It is now interesting to read in retrospect. For example, in 1998 he opened a symposium that was all about morality, with the words: “The four most important virtues are: Prudence, Justice, Strength and Temperance.’

I have always listened to him with great appreciation, says De Jong, Saleh was a figurehead of integrity on an island of Curacao where, unfortunately, mismanagement was, and still is, very widespread. It was only logical that he became a confidential adviser to Queen Beatrix.

After his retirement Saleh was rightly appointed Minister of State of the Netherlands Antilles. Everyone wished him many more healthy, and happy years, in which he would undoubtedly devote himself fully, to the Curaçao society.

While researching my book ‘Groot Geld op Curaçao,’ De Jong explains, which describes the past and present history of the shady offshore business, proliferating under the protection of Curacao’s laws, I came across Saleh in a capacity that I had not expected. Saleh turned out to be running a trust-office with only one customer: The makers of the very expensive watch brand, Cartier.

The intention there was clear: To avoid paying tax by allowing the money flow to run through Curaçao. Saleh was no longer associated with that company after 2015. But his personal business philosophy was obvious, to make a lot of money quickly. Of course, it is legal, and one can take advantage of opportunities, but it does say something about the person, and his character.

Aruba Bank – the polemic

Aruba Bank aired a long, I say boring, schmaltzy commercial. I asked around for opinions:

Pollyanna: I like it. Such handsome kids they found, wow. And so multi-cultural. Cute and very much in tune with the holiday season. Sweet as candy for sure, but anything that’s a distraction from today’s total mess we call life on earth, is welcome, and I embrace this effort with both arms. Mi Ta Hopi Druk, comiendo ayaka y kalakuna — it’s Priceless. It’s Christmas, I am also voluntarily watching holiday movies on Netflix these days. I guess you’re either a sucker for Christmas, or NOT.

The Grinch: Shoot me, but truth must be spoken. The costly Aruba Bank commercial that enjoyed 1.6K likes 303 comments, 896 shares and 32.8K views is the world’s most boring piece of schmaltz. The kids are cute, ok, their family members loved the exposure, but submitting the general public to pure sentimental torture is a sin. There’s nothing exciting about the full blown children’s choir production of the bank’s year-end greeting 2021, it’s fake. Nobody gets time off to make Ayakas and roast turkeys, and if you don’t respond to e-mails, you get fired, everywhere, except at the RBC bank, where it is common practice.

Share on:

December 08, 2021
Rona Coster