The real danger we’re facing is our inability to govern ourselves effectively which makes it impossible to take advantage of our society’s huge potential. This didn’t happen with a bang; the seeds were sown deep within our institutions and psyche, years ago.
We keep voting for candidates with questionable backgrounds and zero qualifications to govern that our political parties throw at us. We prefer being lied to about mega projects and promises of ‘no more measures’, however bad our situation may be. See, politicians know that real conversations about our problems and how to tackle structural shortcomings, don’t produce votes. Populism does. When politicians who ran on a realistic agenda with no tolerance for corruption do get elected, we don’t encourage them to keep their promises but ask them to be our personal ‘fixer’.
It’s not only politics. We can’t advance if the press keeps feeding us garbage and biased news instead of reliable information. We can’t expect the same churches that go to length to coverup child abuse by their own ranks, for moral guide. Nor does it make sense not talking about incest, the surge of personal bankruptcies, gambling, prostitution, domestic violence and mistreatment of animals. Whilst we fight discrimination by the Dutch, we discriminate others whether they are (potential) refugees or based on their origin, sexual orientation and creed. We prefer to play the victim, misuse the slavery card and not deal with our past demons and assume responsibility for our future.
No wonder we live from crisis to crisis. No wonder we defend corrupt politicians (“Others have stolen before. Let him steal now”.), make fun of those who warn against destroying the environment and turn a blind eye to transgression. We’ve become a hardened inward-looking group that flaunts apathy for university graduates and never seem able to be happy for each other(‘s success).
We need people who hold up a mirror to who we are. Only then is change possible. And no, Curaçao isn’t too young to expect more. We’ve been autonomous since 1951 and during this period we’ve seen countries like Korea, Singapore and Ireland rise from the ashes of adversity or sink in poverty like Venezuela. There is no magical solution but hard work, planning, capable politicians and modern structures that will allow us to produce knowledgable human capital that is globally competitive. The choice is ours to make.
Alex David Rosaria (50) is from Curaçao and has a MBA from the University of Iowa. He is a former Member of Parliament, Minister of Economic Affairs, State Secretary of Finance and UN Implementation Officer in Africa and Central America.