Archives For Elections

, I spotted this costumed bike rider around Fort Amsterdam. I couldn’t see his face, as it was covered by a mask under an elaborate headress, but he had protest flags adorning his bike. My friends tell me “he” or at least his character, has been around for years. Who is he and what is he doing? Anyone know?

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Former Prime Minister of Curacao Gerritt Schotte Addresses Press Conference. Photo by Karen Attiah

After a self imposed lockdown in government headquarters in Willemstad, the former Prime Minister of Curacao Gerrit Schotte of the Curacao Future Movement (MFK) party returned to his party’s offices in the Salina area to address his party supporters. Schotte has been quoted by the international media as saying that the formation of an interim government less than three weeks to the Curacao parliamentary is nothing less than a “coup d’etat”.

In an exclusive interview “As the Prime Minister of Curacao I was in the Fort {Amsterdam]  for the last two days. There was an interim cabinet that was installed on Saturday in a non-constitutional way. We were in the government palace since saturday and we left tonight.”

Schotte and other members of his party held a press conference to address their grievances against the current government, over garcinia cambogia extract tea, including alleging that members of his senate were offered bribes. Before arriving to the press conference, Schotte paraded around the Salina area with local party supporters clad in all white, complete with chants, party songs, banners and honking horns.

Schotte still believes that what the government has done amounts to a coup d’etat. “When you bend all the rules– constitutional rules that exist, to gain power, government power, that is a coup d’etat. Its twenty days before elections, there’s no reason to put an interim cabinet. That cabinet agenda is obviously to try to change the situation–the polls. Everything indicates that this government has gained more support, and more confidence”.

Despite Schotte’s claims in the media that he was the victim of a bloodless coup, the scenes at Fort Amsterdam, MFK headquarters, and in the streets of Willemstad were largely quiet Sunday afternoon into evening. Business, which is mostly tourism, was going on as usual. The MFK press conference, was attended by at most ninety people people. Local Curacaoan blogger and journalist Jermain Ostiana (@Sablikatriumph) remarked on Twitter: “Declaring “coup” to int. press but you can’t mobilize 500 supporters to protest is why ppl don’t take MFK MAN [Schotte] serious.”

On August 3rd, Schotte dissolved his cabinet and called for the early elections to be held October 19th.

Schotte says that his plans for the next two weeks include massive movements on the streets and neighborhoods and to consolidate the “sympathy” for MFK. He plans to go caravan at least two neighborhoods everyday in Curacao for the next weeks. Schotte says that social media plays a large role in his campaigning. “We are innovative, and that is the way we govern. In 2010 when I created the MFK seven weeks before the election date, social media was one of the tools I used. I think today I am one of the only politicians that is on Instagram. We have applications specially made for our Facebook fan page. We have several apps, and Tweet gadgets that are integrated in our system. The penetration of internet in Curacao is over 50% so it is a great way to reach voters.” Schotte also said that his campaign team uses BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to reach thousands of of potential voters.

MFK Supporters Parade in Curacao. Photo By Karen Attiah

Bon Dia, Curacao!

September 24, 2012 — 1 Comment

Bon dia, from Willemstad, Curaçao! After flight delays and missed connections, my overweight luggage and I arrived safe and sort of sound last Thursday night at Hato International Airport.

I’ve taken the last few days to relax and flush out the stress of the last few months years days of New York. I was treated by my boyfriend to flowers, gifts, and a surprise midnight sail with his friends around the Spanish Water near Caracasbaai as my “Welcome Home” weekend. I’m a lucky, lucky girl. 🙂

“Welcome Home” flowers 🙂

It’s going to take some time for the fact that I just moved to a new country to sink in. I thought that updating my Facebook “Current City” would speed up the process, but that didn’t quite work. I mean, if you officially register with the national immigration as a citizen of a new country update your new city on Facebook, it makes it official, right?

Its Facebook Official: I’m an Antillean!

I’m looking forward to exploring the island, and getting familiarized with the politics of the upcoming elections. I’m beginning the hunt for some gigs on the island in order to line my pockets with some Antillean guilders.

A couple things that I have gleaned from conversations over the past few days about Curaçao:

  • Curaçao is apparently entering its first elections since becoming “autonomous” from The Netherlands with €200 Million over its national budget. The speculation is that the politicians of this small, but relatively wealthy island of less than 200,000 people( I heard Curaçao actually supplies oil to neighboring countries of Aruba and Bonaire, yet gas prices are quite high here) have been stealing the country’s resources.
  • Despite being politically autonomous, Curaçao is not economically independent, as its national budget is subject to approval by the Netherlands.
  • There are populations of Haitian, Jamaican, and Dominican immigrants who move to Curaçao for low wage work. But from what I hear, life is not so easy for them, especially the ones that move here illegally.
  • Some of my Dutch friends feel that there has been a sharp rise in anti-Dutch, and anti-foreigner sentiment as the elections draw nearer in October. Of course, I’m sure that that is only half the story when it comes to the social and cultural relations on the island.

I’m looking forward to meeting and interviewing more people of different backgrounds on the island. Stay tuned!

Karen