“Studies show that when a given norm is changed in the face of the unchanging, the remaining contradictions will parallel the truth”. So goes the dictum by the poet Saul Williams that I use as a guide to this endeavor, this story I’m trying to tell of which A Gaiden Called Butthurt is a mere side story. My sphincter-ache is not central to the story, nevertheless I must clear this mental hurdle before I can remove myself from the equation and think of the real systemic problems underlying the island’s long-term development. And from there move on to solutions.
But new changes (most of them not the right kind of changes) that must be accounted for occur all the time and even though most of these fit my narrative just fine, sometimes a cataclysmic new bit of information comes along, throwing me off completely. The truth I’m trying to narrate appears to be so much differently then, that I can’t just get on with it. And so it is that halfway through the gaiden I must interrupt the interruption to bring you this side story of a side story. I’ll keep this short.
Recently “our” fiscal council published its feedback on Aruba’s 4th quarterly budgetary report 2016. The funny thing is that it both refutes my hypothesis that the Kingdom had the island’s government in a financial chokehold (a major plot point in Draagvlak 3 and PART FOUR of the gaiden) AND confirms PART FOUR’s other -more rhetorical- hypothesis that without the chokehold it was impossible to be sure the LAft-norm 2016 wouldn’t be exceeded, because the government seemed poised to simply repeat the same credit hungry pattern it’s had since the beginning of time (BTW: that last one is a major plot point in Draagvlak 2).
What’s more, CAft’s feedback goes so far as to imply, indirectly but unambiguously, that both the financial deficits in 2015 & 2016 must have exceeded their respective LAft-norms by indicating that Aruba’s treasury was 23 million florin IN THE RED at the end of 2016, despite the fact the authorities entered the 2015 fiscal year with a POSITIVE 18 million florin net liquidity and borrowed in both years MORE MONEY THAN THEY SAID WAS NECESSARY. The weak liquidity position only makes sense if they had bigger deficits than they purport. That’s not a good sign according to me, but you be the judge, dear reader.
I for one think this new bit of information unequivocally exposes the government’s posturing with respect to its finances as nothing but post-truth, akin to Kellyanne Conway’s alternative facts. The info (and the timing of its disclosure) does one other thing, namely support my conclusion in PART FOUR that when it comes to “our” fiscal council, one must always look for both what is said and what is left unsaid. I mean, they show the proof, but don’t draw the conclusion. I reiterate, this time in English: THIS TACTITURN BS MUST CHANGE.
But wait, there’s more. As explained in PART FOUR, CAft’s reaction to the 2nd quarterly budgetary report 2016 showed that the total of financial means realized in the first semester surpassed the total tax revenue realized in the same period by about 108 million florin. It’s strange that CAft omitted an explanation of the difference, but the difference itself is stranger still, now that the 4th quarterly report shows that in 2016 only 71 million florin was realized in total from capital transactions. So, where did that extra cash come from in the first half of the year?
Call me paranoid, but I think this is grounds for a public parliamentary investigation. If I was in the green faction I wouldn’t want a hit like this one to come in from my blind side. The Minister of Finance can excuse the lack of financial control all he wants and assure us that steps have been taken to remedy that situation, but the facts remain that this lack of control is being used to hide downside risks in the numbers for 2015 & 2016 and that the numbers in the first half of 2016 are dodgy, at best. Simply to remain silent is to admit complicity, as far as I’m concerned.
The recent parliamentary election in the Netherlands has left it nigh impossible to make any coalition cabinet without CDA, AVP’s sister party and ally in the North. But they won’t be much help, because the file on the Aruban financial irresponsibility has already been built up to point that any political support from the Christian Democrats could potentially bite them back in the butt later. Why would they risk that if there’s no clear political gain to be had from it? Why would they compromise their bargaining position for our benefit? The Dutch electorate doesn’t care about the islands. And Rutte’s VVD won comfortably over here.
I got one last detail. The feedback on the 4th quarterly report was published last week, right before the big electoral debate in the Netherlands, when the rules say it should have been published this week. CAft’s formal admission and apology for doing something similar in February makes it seem that this time around they just don’t care. Like a baby gangsta in EPB HATO aggressively bumping shoulders with another one and cocking his head like a waltaka (the Aruban common lizard). It was about time, if you ask me.