WILLEMSTAD - The Government of Curaçao regrets that 11 containers of humanitarian goods for Venezuela had to be destroyed, because the owners of the material did not comply with the rules and procedures, and as a result the goods were spoiled.
The containers were not part of the humanitarian hub function of Curaçao, but a private initiative. The containers arrived in Curaçao on 21 February 2019 in a ship that had left Puerto Rico for Venezuela without a permit from the authorities to enter the port. When the ship could not dock in Venezuela, it deviated from the original route and arrived in Curaçao. For days the containers of goods were in the hot sun.
The authorities on the ship did not have a report on the contents of the containers or a bill of lading for Curaçao. For humanitarian reasons and because the Venex organization indicated that the goods could be transported to Venezuela in the short term, the authorities in Curaçao made an exception and the ship was nevertheless allowed to enter our port. When the ship had to return to Puerto Rico, Curaçao again made an exception and granted those involved a temporary permit to collect the containers from the ship. Curinde fully cooperated by providing a temporary storage location.
The Government of Curaçao emphasizes that it is not products that have been transported to Curaçao according to the procedures of the humanitarian hub that the Government of Curaçao introduced during the same period. The ship with the containers arrived unexpectedly. The cargo did not arrive with the required documents. International rules and treaties prescribe certain procedures, whereby the authorities of Curaçao have the obligation to manage and control everything that enters our island. Curaçao cannot just permit the admission of containers with unknown contents to our country.
At the beginning of 2019, the Government of Curaçao and various organizations involved introduced a procedure based on international standards, whereby facilities were made available to interested parties for sending humanitarian goods to Venezuela. Curaçao acts as a "hub" for storing goods until transport is safe and possible. The procedures met the wishes and requirements of the Curaçao Parliament.
Curaçao has extensively informed all interested organizations and companies about the procedures. Curaçao has also indicated that cargo can only be transported to the neighboring country with the permission of the Venezuelan authorities and without any form of violence. Before an organization brings humanitarian goods to Venezuela for Curaçao, all documents about the contents of the cargo and other information must be sent to the Curaçao authorities for verification. This is to prevent weapons or other undesirable goods being transported through our territory to other countries.
Customs and other authorities have informed Venex, which is responsible for the freight, what steps Venex could still take to have the goods inspected and to make a request to donate to local organizations. This was also discussed verbally with Venex. This after Venex asked in August 2019 to be allowed to donate the goods to those in need in Curaçao.
Venex has not taken the necessary steps. When Venex made the request, perishable goods in the cargo were no longer usable. Since Venex arrived on its own initiative with the cargo, without following the various procedures, despite repeated explanation from the authorities in Curaçao, the non-sustainable cargo was lost. There was nothing left but to have Selikor destroy the spoiled goods, to protect public health in Curaçao.