American doctors in Curaçao have COVID-19


This 23 April 2020 video from the USA is called Comedian Eviscerates The Government’s Failed Response To Covid.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Unrest in Curaçao about infected doctor

In Curaçao, great concern has arisen after a member of a group of 85 American medical specialists was found to be infected with the coronavirus. The doctors, together with healthcare workers from Cuba, were supposed to come to help in the Curaçao Medical Center in preparation for a possible corona outbreak. All 85 are quarantined and will be sent back home today.

Some would go to work in the former old hospital, which will open its doors again for intensive care. There are 84 beds. The new hospital on Curaçao has room for 32 corona patients. The extra IC places are for patients from all former Dutch Antillean islands.

The group of doctors was made available to Curaçao at the invitation of the Dutch government. The Netherlands pays the bill.

Scientology cult endangers Caribbean people’s health


This 2 May 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Why The Government Just SHUT DOWN Scientology‘s Cruise Ship

Scientology‘s ship and spiritual retreat, Freewinds, was shut down and quarantined for measles on the island of St. Lucia. As an ex-Scientologist, I discuss their stance which may have led to the measles outbreak. I give you all of the details on everything you need to know about the Freewinds and what happened. Then, I discuss my mental health and give an update on my cult recovery therapy sessions.

From British daily The Guardian, 3 May 2019:

Scientology cruise ship leaves St Lucia after measles quarantine

According to Reuters Eikon shipping data, a Panamanian-flagged cruise liner identified as SMV Freewinds had been docked in port near Castries on Thursday. It was at sea and expected to arrive at Curaçao on Saturday.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Curaçao government is calling on residents who have been in the vicinity of the Freewinds cruise ship to report to the medical service. A crew member of the ship, owned by the Scientology movement, has gotten measles.

The ship was off the coast of Curaçao last week, where it is located more often. It also serves as an entertainment ship for onshore residents, says correspondent Dick Drayer. “When they are in the harbour, concerts are also done, and a few dozen people come to that.”

This video says about itself:

The Freewinds Measles Ship Seen in Aruba

When we were on an 11 day Caribbean Cruise from Tampa to New York in April 2019 we came across the MS Freewinds in port in Oranjestad, Aruba at the same time as our ship, the Norwegian Pearl.

There are some rather famous anti-vaccine celebrities who are Scientologists, such as Jenna Elfman, Kirstie Alley, and some others: here.

According to Dutch NOS TV, Scientology opposes mandatory vaccination.

New fish species discovered near Caribbean Curaçao


This 20 March 2018 video is about the new fish species discovered in the new ocean zone called rariphotic.

From the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute:

New deep reef ocean zone, the rariphotic, teeming with new fish species

New zone comprises reef fishes –including numerous new species — that live well below shallow coral reefs

March 20, 2018

Summary: Diving down below the range of scuba in the Curasub, Smithsonian deep reef explorers discovered a new world where roughly half of the fish had no names. They are calling it the rariphotic.

Based on the unique fish fauna observed from a manned submersible on a southern Caribbean reef system in Curaçao, Smithsonian explorers defined a new ocean-life zone, the rariphotic, between 130 and 309 meters (about 400 to 1,000 feet) below the surface. The rariphotic occurs just below a previously defined reef zone, the mesophotic, which extends from about 40 to as deep as 150 meters (about 120-450 feet). The role of this new zone as a refuge for shallower reef fishes seeking relief from warming surface waters or deteriorating coral reefs is still unclear.

The initial motivation for studying deep-reef ecosystems was the declining health of shallow reefs. Many researchers wonder if deeper reef areas, sometimes known as the “coral reef twilight zone”, might act as refuges for shallow-water organisms. As the Smithsonian researchers sought to answer this question, it became clear to them that scientists have only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the biodiversity of reef fishes.

“It’s estimated that 95 percent of the livable space on our planet is in the ocean”, said Carole Baldwin, curator of fishes at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, lead author of the study and director of the Smithsonian’s Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). “Yet only a fraction of that space has been explored. That’s understandable for areas that are thousands of miles offshore and miles deep. But tropical deep reefs are just below popular, highly studied shallow reefs — essentially our own back yards. And tropical deep reefs are not barren landscapes on the deep ocean floor: they are highly diverse ecosystems that warrant further study. We hope that by naming the deep-reef rariphotic zone, we’ll draw attention to the need to continue to explore deep reefs.”

The authors defined the rariphotic based on depth observations of about 4,500 fishes representing 71 species during approximately 80 submersible dives to as deep as 309 meters. Most of the fishes in the rariphotic zone not only look similar to shallow reef fishes but are related to them rather than to true deep-ocean fishes, which belong to quite different branches of the evolutionary tree. This research showed that assemblages of the kinds of reef-fishes that inhabit shallow water in fact have double the depth range they were previously thought to have.

Since 2011, when DROP began, more than 40 researchers, most from the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), have intensively studied deep-reef fishes and invertebrates off Curaçao. They named six new genera and about 30 new species as they explored a 0.2 square kilometer (0.08 square mile) area of reef, much of which is too deep for enough light to penetrate to support the algal symbionts on which reef-building corals rely.

“About one in every five fish we’re finding in the rariphotic of the Caribbean is a new species,” said D. Ross Robertson, marine biologist at STRI and a co-author of the study. “So far, my favorite is Haptoclinus dropi“. It was named by Baldwin and Robertson in 2013 for the Smithsonian’s DROP research project. Many more new species already discovered by DROP researchers await description.

While SCUBA divers can work down to about 40 meters (120 feet), the Curasub mini-submarine plunges to 309 meters (about 1,000 feet), where it can stay submerged for up to eight hours at normal atmospheric pressure, enabling the passengers to simply step ashore after a dive. This technology has significantly extended scientists’ ability to explore deep reefs.

Based on their research on reef fishes, the Smithsonian researchers and co-author Luke Tornabene (assistant professor at the University of Washington and former Smithsonian post-doctoral fellow) present a new classification of coral-reef faunal zones:

  • Altiphotic (high light): The new name for the previously unnamed 0-40 meters (0-120 feet), the well-lit zone where reef corals are abundant, which extends as deep as conventional scuba divers normally go.
  • Mesophotic (medium light): 40 to as deep as 150 meters (120-450 feet), the maximum depth at which tropical reef-building corals and their algal symbionts can survive.
  • Rariphotic (low light): Newly discovered faunal zone from 130-300 meters (400-1,000 feet), below the reef-building coral zone, and as deep as Curasub can go.
  • Deep aphotic (effectively no light): Below 300 meters (below 1,000 feet)

“Reef ecosystems just below the mesophotic are globally underexplored, and the conventional view based on the few studies that mention them was that mesophotic ecosystems transition directly into those of the deep sea“, Baldwin said. “Our study reveals a previously unrecognized zone comprising reef vs. deep-sea fishes that links mesophotic and deep-sea ecosystems.”

Fundamentalist preacher raped many girls


The Rains of Blessings church, photo by Dick Drayer/NOS

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

18 years in prison asked for in Curaçao‘s biggest abuse scandal

Today, 4:40 PM

A 54-year-old pastor on Curaçao must go to prison for 18 years, as far as the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) is concerned. He will also not be able to lead a church for 20 years. The pastor is said to have abused churchgoers on a large scale. His youngest victim was 11 years old. The abuse began in 2003.

It is the biggest abuse case that Curaçao has ever known. By the end of 2015, more than a year ago, one girl was brave enough to report against the pastor and leader of the Rains of Blessings Church.

Then the reports came in. Also from the Netherlands where there are branches of the church in Tilburg, The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. More than twenty cases became known. Ten of them were on trial on Wednesday. The victims were also present. Their statements were read.

Exorcism

The pastor raped the girls under the pretext of devil exorcism. He scared them by saying they were possessed by demons he had put into their bodies. He would wake them up if they would say anything about the abuse.

Orlando B. drugged his victims and used a lot of violence. Some girls woke up while they were covered with blood. One of the victims became pregnant five times, after which he brought her to a doctor and paid for the abortions. After the abuse he gave money to the girls to buy a morning-after pill. The pastor claimed the right to remain silent.

Dutch church sexton suspect of abusing young girl: here.

Dutch corporate destruction of Curaçao coral


This video says about itself:

13 May 2015

“Curaçao’s Coral Challenge – Reviving the Rain Forests of the Sea,” is the fifth film in an award-winning series of Pace University student documentaries on environmental themes, each featured on The New York Times’ Dot Earth blog.

As with all of the previous films, this documentary centers on a society seeking to enhance its economy without diminishing its environmental assets. In Curaçao’s case, the challenge is finding ways to move beyond an economy based for nearly 100 years on refining Venezuelan oil to a more diverse one including substantial tourism — but doing so without harming the still-vibrant reefs ringing parts of its coast.

In interviews, experts say plenty that can be done to boost prospects that Curaçao, with extraordinarily rich reefs on its east end (the area known as Oostpunt) and north shore can maintain this resource far into the future.

The course, created by Pace Professor Maria Trimarco Luskay some 15 years ago, has made films about efforts to conserve natural resources since 2011, when she was joined by the veteran New York Times journalist Andrew Revkin, the Pace University Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Big damage to coral of Curaçao, probably by construction corporation BAM

Today, 17:04

A large piece of coral has been plowed to destruction off Curaçao, probably by Dutch developer BAM. According to the first estimates, it is a strip of seabed in shallow water of about 542 meters long and an average of 50 meters wide. BAM is engaged on the south coast of the island in the construction of a pier for cruise ships and other large vessels.

The damage was noted by staff members of a diving school who had seen drag and anchor work by two BAM ships. They contacted the research institute Carmabi, which investigates the reef at Curacao and is committed to its conservation. …

The authority for the construction of the megapier is the Curaçao Ports Authority. Director Humberto de Castro says he has been informed of the situation and has spoken to Carmabi and BAM. “Everything indicates that BAM indeed caused this, I could not find another cause.”

De Castro also learned that it was an area where BAM was not authorised to do anything and finds it worrying, but he first wants to investigate the exact location of the damage. …

About the impact on BAM, De Castro is still careful, but “at the end of the day, those who caused the damage are responsible.”

Mark Vermeij, Scientific Director of Carmabi, has meanwhile dived at the reef and describes severe damage to an area of ​​3.7 hectares of healthy and living coral. There are two long trenches in the coral to where the pier should come.

The coral in the area is internationally protected under the Cartagena treaty, and may only be removed locally with a specific license.

According to Vermeij, the ships seem to have dragged two anchors, for the base of the pier, like a plow through the seabed. Normally, such anchors are picked up before they are moved. Through the action, large pieces of coral were destroyed.

“Compare it with aerial photographs of a residential area where a tornado has ravaged everything,” says Vermeij. “Everything has been thrown away and it’s hard to see what’s still there.” Carmabi volunteers are currently investigating the damage more accurately and are saving what can be saved.

The construction of the megapier was already sensitive in Curaçao, where the coral is an important tourist attraction. Even before the start of the work it was clear that about 300 meters of healthy coral would be removed for the pier. The more than 500 meters now damaged is located west of that area and is therefore extra damage.

Coral is under pressure in many places in the world. For example, coral reefs in Japan and Australia suffer from mortality and bleaching due to higher water temperatures.

October 2018: oil drilling damage to Curaçao coral.

Curaçao coral reefs video


This 1 February 2017 Dutch video is about biology student Auke-Florian Hiemstra, doing research about coral around Curaçao island.

Corals may get temporary reprieve from bleaching: here.

Curaçao sharks and cattle


This video is about a hammerhead sharks near the Caribbean island Curaçao.

This Dutch video is about cattle and other animals in Dutch nature reserve Klompenwaard.

Curaçao school children learn about sharks


This 20 December 2016 Dutch language video is about school children on the Caribbean island Curaçao learning from the Save Our Sharks organisation about sharks.

Curaçao workers’ strike victory


Striking workers on Curaçao yesterday

Dutch NOS TV reports today that bosses on Curaçao island in the Caribbean have given in to demands of striking precarious workers at the Isla oil refinery, and other workers in general strike in solidarity with them. All precarious workers together will be paid 900,000 euros in wage supplements.

Also, the government has withdrawn its anti-free speech decree banning assemblies of over four people, another cause of the general strike. The government has also said they are willing to change the third cause of the general strike, a law making higher wages for public sector workers illegal.

The general strike was peaceful; contrary to what the government had said in advance as they threatened Dutch soldiers’ violence against striking workers.

According to [NOS correspondent] Dick Drayer the people were mainly on the side of the trade unions. “I’ve seen that the people are angry because a housekeeping book seems to be more important than the needs of society. People refer to the uprising of May 30, 1969, when a strike at [the] Shell [oil refinery] led to unrest that left two people dead. Things did not go that far this week, but I felt a willingness to go further if necessary.”

On 30 September there will be elections on Curaçao. Some trade unionists are candidates.

See also here.

Poverty and Roman Catholicism in Curaçao history: here.

Curaçao workers’ strike not illegal


In this 3 September 2016 video, representatives of various Curaçao trade unions express their support for the fight by the precarious workers working for subcontractors at the Isla oil refinery.

From the Daily Herald in Curaçao today:

Court of Justice agrees with unions

WILLEMSTAD – A judge in Curaçao rejected the petition of contractors’ association AAV to order the SGTK union to end the strike of its members working at the Isla oil refinery that is nearing the end of its third week. The court ruled that the strike was not unlawful in light of the current dispute related to a new Collective Labour Agreement (CLA). The verdict did not concern the general strike by 23 unions gathered at seven locations on Thursday.