WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – According to a report in De Telegraaf newspaper, there are indications in Curacao that the deposed Premier Gerrit Schotte is trying to win a new ticket to the premiership by buying votes. Islanders are worried because democracy on the island is coming under further pressure.
The rumours on the Caribbean island are becoming more persistent that Schotte’s party, MFK, is offering young voters money, cell phones or laptops as bait. If you show a photo of your completed ballot, you will be paid 350 guilders (200 dollars). The Electoral Council of Curacao takes the allegations very seriously, but is apparently powerless.
“There is no law that forbids you to take a photo of your ballot,” said Electoral Council spokeswoman Liza Dindial.
These alleged practices may, however, be the tip of the iceberg. During the 2010 elections, Schotte worked with the largest campaign budget by far, the origin of which was never clear. The current expensive PR campaign on local television and radio stations raises similar financing questions.
Schotte is said to have close ties with the Italian mafia and the dubious gambler Robbie dos Santos who, according to the Curacao Secret Service, has already financed Schotte to the tune of two million guilders for political favours and services.
“When MFK candidate Dr Payo Schoop, shortly after the election victory in 2010, asked where all that campaign money came, Schotte reacted in great anger,” said former MFK parliamentary faction leader Dean Rozier. “Relations with Schoop were never mended in the party.”
Schotte was reportedly too busy campaigning to respond to these allegations.
Meanwhile, Schotte’s supporters have started a smear campaign against their former colleague Rozier.
Republished with permission of the Curacao Chronicle