By Quirine Droogleever
“Police force Curacao angry and disappointed with RTL for a documentary about criminality in Curacao’, an article I came across about 2 days ago. Last week I watched the documentary, made by famous presenter Ewout Genevans. about the criminal side of the Caribbean Island, Curacao. In the documentary, Ewout is shadowing the Police for a few days to see what they do and what the dark side of the island is all about. On the first day of the job, he straight away deals with robberies, theft, weapons, and drugs. As he says so himself, ‘the side of Curacao, that a lot of tourists don’t get to see’.
Before coming to Curacao, I have had a lot of conversations about this topic, with people who lived here in the past or did their internship on the island. They had different opinions, but the thing they all agreed on is that you must be careful and think with a reasonable mind while living in Curacao. Things that you are used to do in The Netherlands, such as biking home after a party, walking on the streets, getting into a taxi, and leaving your car in an unsupervised parking area, are things you simply cannot risk doing here.
While reading online about the topic, I see 3 criminal activities that are common here on the island: Daily criminal activities such as theft, (un)armed robberies, assault, and abuse. Then you have money laundering and criminal money, and you have drug smuggling. Due to its location (50km from South America) Curacao is a useful and easily accessible transit country to transfer drugs to Europe and the US.
When I talk to my local colleagues about the disturbing news articles that you read every now and then they always give me the same answer with a slightly annoyed undertone; ‘It is because of you people’ When asking who ‘my people’ are, I already know what they mean. ‘My people’ are the Makamba students on the island. Makamba means white Dutch person. They firmly believe that the Dutch students here, keep the ‘drug culture’ alive. And I can understand where they are coming from. It is a two-way street, the students keep asking for it, so the dealers keep providing it. When looking at the documentary of Ewout, you see how easy it is for people to find drugs and you see the responses of students while being asked if they have seen drugs around them.
As for myself, I am happy to say that I have not experienced any harm around the Island. I am very careful and make sure to not put myself in certain positions where you are an easy target. My colleagues are of great help in this, since they have provided me with tips and tricks since the day, I entered the hotel. I think as a Dutch student, we have the obligation to show the locals around us, that we are capable of behaving as we should and that we are here for more than the late parties at Zanzibar or Mambo.
On the other hand, we should not give locals the opportunity to put us in that position. There will never be an excuse for committing a crime, no matter how bad the circumstances are. We should never victim-blame people who were exposed to crime, simply because they were at the wrong place and at the wrong time. As I always say, we all have 24 hours in a day, we can all make it happen.
We should work together, as one-happy-island, to keep this island as beautiful as it is.