Minister Duncan clarifies statements made in Curacao press


~Reaffirms that St. Maarten has been "ripped off~

At the request of Minister Duncan the Ministry of Constitutional and Home Affairs hereby releases the following statement by the Minister:

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The Curacao daily newspaper "Ultimo Noticia" on page 10 of its July 20, 2010 edition published an article titled "Minister Duncan Antias a "rip off" St. Maarten pa mas ku 50 ana". A majority of the quotes were correctly attributed to the undersigned, although the article contains several errors and fails to provide the full story.
The Curacao political party MAN has rushed today, July 21, to issue a note on Facebook, signed by its president, Mr. Eugene Cleopa and general secretary, Mr. Giovanni Atalita – its extra-judiciary representatives – titled: "Partido MAN ta rechasa deklarashon di minister Duncan ku Korsou a "rip off" St. Maarten" . The MAN’s note is an emotional diatribe aimed at inciting the people of Curacao against the undersigned.

Some pertinent facts

1. The acronym MAN of this party stands for "New Antillian Movement" ("Movimento Antiyas Nobo"). The party has stubbornly continued to hold on to this name despite the demise of the Netherlands Antilles.

2. The party further deliberately – and erroneously – confuses and personifies Curacao ("Korsou") with the Netherlands Antilles.

3. Contrary to the nonsense that Curacao politicians feed the people of Curacao, St. Maarten contributes more than its fair share of tax revenues to the Government of the Netherlands Antilles. Since January 1, 1997 a Turnover Tax of 3% on gross receipts of businesses has been levied and collected by the Antillian government on St. Maarten. The Government of the Netherlands Antilles has collected each year more than 80 million guilders PER YEAR from 1997 until today! (St. Maarten gets 1/3 of these taxes back). Additionally, the Government of the Netherlands Antilles collects (a) gasoline excise, (b) transfer tax, (c) succession tax, etc. The Bureau Telecommunication and Post collects license fees in the millions annually. Then, St. Maarten – the tourist island – provides the Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles millions annually in foreign exchange license fees. Social security premiums are also levied on St. Maarten.

4. Anyone living on St. Maarten can attest to the fact that the services of the government of the Netherlands Antilles have been deficient. Most services and departments of the Netherlands Antilles Government are not enough staffed or existent on St. Maarten.
In short, St. Maarten contributes MORE to the Government of the Netherlands Antilles than it receives in services from the Government of the Netherlands Antilles.

5. A "rip off" is when the provider does not provide or deliver the services or goods that it has contracted to or is bound to provide or deliver! Fact is that the Netherlands Antilles have failed not only St. Maarten, but all of its constituent islands it is bound to service! This is logically the primary reason this "country" has fallen apart and the islands are going their own ways!

Some ‘ad hominem’ statements by the MAN party

a. The MAN party has accused the undersigned of "living a life of luxury on Curacao from the tax payers of Curacao" and finds it a shame that I should therefore dare say what I said;

b. The MAN party further alleges that the undersigned does not like Curacao and its people.
Not only are these allegations false – as the undersigned is entitled to the same privileges that all ministers enjoy (Curacao has 6 Ministers to St. Maarten’s 2) – but assume that the undersigned would therefore not be free to speak his opinion. In short, I do not have the fundamental freedom of speech. The MAN party is therefore typically trying to "kill the messenger" but cannot successfully refute the message! Moreover, the MAN party has proven its undemocratic nature and attitude!

Further facts

The MAN party is highly insulted by the statement of the undersigned that the police department and prison on St. Maarten are deficient. But is that not true? What contribution has the Government of the Netherlands Antilles made to the infrastructure of St. Maarten in the last 50 years? Before they say that such is the responsibility of the island territory, I humbly refer to the many infrastructural projects and funding the government of the Netherlands Antilles has carried out on Curacao! Then, the MAN party alleges that the taxes of Curacao have covered the budgets of St. Maarten. This dribble does not merit much of an answer. When and how so?
The MAN party then shirks the responsibility of the Netherlands Antilles to its constituents by blaming Holland for putting the capital in Curacao.

It is logical that – if Curacao politicians (like those of the MAN party) wish to assume responsibility for the running of the Netherlands Antilles – then they must also carry the responsibility for their failed management and leadership. By the way, who incurred a 5 billion guilder debt? And where were these funds spent? Let us compare Curacao’s and St. Maarten’s shares in this enormous debt!!

It is evident that the MAN party is deliriously yet holding on to the defunct political system called "Netherlands Antilles" and continues to cry and lament its demise and – thus – also fight the constitutional process and the end it will bring to mentioned political system. But then again, the MAN party is itself in an identity crisis, with a party board (President and General Secretary), Party Leader and now also ‘Number one on the list", all representing it. We wonder who represents what; especially now that the board also makes ‘political’ statements, as in the note referred to.

In light of the aforementioned, I need not apologize to the people of Curacao. Neither do I have to prove my love and ties to Curacao, as well as the other islands, including Aruba. That’s not for the MAN party to judge! Ta fei su kwenta!!


What the article in "Ulitimo Noticia" failed to mentioned was my further statement that I believe and maintain that once the islands have left the Antillian political system, they shall be able to cooperate and functionally cooperate much better, more efficient and beneficial than before, because they shall be dealing ‘one on one’ and not in an undemocratic political system dominated and run by (politicians from) one island. I always use the European countries as examples to justify cooperation. They have put aside a 1000 years of wars and dominance of each other to bind themselves to a union in which they act as a group, ‘one on one’ and based on agreements reached voluntarily! St. Maarten and Curacao – and for that matter – none of the Dutch islands in Caribbean have never fought a war against each other. We can cooperate on a voluntary and mutually beneficial basis, if we are sensible and rational.

I further maintain that the Netherlands Antilles and its government have also failed the island of Curacao, with its inefficient, deficient and stifling governmental double political layer.

Roland E. Duncan
Curacao, July 21, 2010.