The Curaçao government is waging a futile battle to preserve the oil industry

According to oil experts in my network, CORC is yet another monstrosity that thinks it can save the Curaçao oil industry from the collapse that was ushered in by PdVSA at the beginning of this century. The wise men first came from the Far East and then from the not-so-Far East, now Curaçao is going to try it out of the circle of nos-mes-por (we can do it ourselves). And who this nos (we) may be, Dios so sa (God knows).

What we mortals do know is that CORC is home to the same unions that for years structurally played together with the Venezuelans and the government of Curaçao to gas the residents of the refinery.

Not much will change, the government of Curaçao wants to continue in 2021 on the old foot with the new CORC. It's all in the government's advocacy note in the Clean Air Everywhere lawsuit. The Rhuggenaath government wants to deal with the environment and the residents of the refinery in the manner stated therein - just like its predecessors.

This has everything to do with the fact that during Rhuggenaath's reign (2017-2021) nothing was done to boost the economy and help create replacement jobs.

No jobs to replace refinery jobs and no new jobs outside the pollution industry. The year 2019 and the year 2020 have been used to keep the unions on the line with empty promises, such as our not-so-distant eastern neighbor Klesch. Instead of using the time to get people ready for a different kind of work.


And now Curaçao is facing new elections on March 19 and the government parties can think of nothing but to appoint CORC to operate the refinery. Some opposition parties have also claimed that the unions can do it themselves.

By designating CORC, the opposition parties are taken out of their sails. Union members and their families may now be able to vote for government parties. But with the August 2019 judgment, in which stricter environmental requirements were set by the court, the unions have no chance.

The appeal that the government brought against the August verdict is therefore folly itself. Intended as a helping hand to flesh out the beautiful intentions in the coalition agreement, the plea memorandum of the Country of Curaçao should give the appearance that the selection of CORC is not an empty shell.

It seems almost impossible to me that the judge - who will rule today, Tuesday - will soften the demands. The defense written by FCW-legal is weak and does not take into account the concerns of the First Court about the role of a swabbling government that itself cannot substantiate, for example, the concept of "balancing of interests".

Unless the residents of Curaçao within the Kingdom are second-class citizens who do not deserve clean air, I do not see a fundamentally different judgment from the Court today. Moreover, for thirty years, local administrators have neglected environmental requirements and rejected Dutch aid in this regard. While the Netherlands can be held accountable for pollution in an international context.


The Urgenda judgment of the Hague court in 2015, and the rulings of the court and the Supreme Court that followed it, should have opened the eyes of governments on both sides of the ocean. In the overseas territories too, it is high time for climate action to be taken and promises to be fulfilled.

In the rush to bring in CORC, the Curaçao government apparently does not realize that the Council's decision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent compared to 1990 probably also applies to the islands.

An obvious measure is not to let the refinery reopen before environmental measures have been taken. Perhaps the judgment of the Court, today, will be an impulse, whether or not forced to do so.

But even more interesting at this stage is to entrust an independent body with an audit of the selection procedure that CORC eventually brought to the surface. My hypothesis, and with me that of many, is that the selection is a purely political trick and that Prime Minister Rhuggenaath's decision-making cannot stand the light of day.

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