WILLEMSTAD – The Prime Minister of Curaçao Dr. Bernhard Whiteman cannot understand why the unions representing the oil refinery employees have called a strike. He considers this action as completely unnecessary.
According to Whiteman he cannot understand the objective of this action, because a few days ago he agreed on a meeting date which will be tomorrow May 20 to talk about the oil refinery and the negotiation process with the Venezuelan State Oil Company PDVSA.
The Prime Minister also stated that the unions should have understanding and respect for his position as the head of the government. The unions did not have objection with the agreed date for the meeting. But now he as Prime Minister receives a menacing letter under his nose demanding a meeting before the agreed date. “Now they want an ultimatum and this I won’t accept,” said Whiteman.
“I will not accept pressure from anyone. Tomorrow you will have other groups demanding the same and I won’t be anyone’s hostage,” said the Prime Minister.
According to Whiteman, he does understand where the unions are coming from. “It all started last week when parliament had its Central Committee meeting to talk with the multidisciplinary project team in charge of negotiating the future of the oil refinery with PDVSA. During this meeting a member of the opposition spoke about splitting the contract with PDVSA. On one hand negotiate the oil refinery at Schottegat and on the other hand negotiate for the installations at Bullenbaai. Apparently the unions don’t sympathize with this idea.”
“Again, the actions are completely unnecessary, but I will find in my tight schedule some time to meet with the unions. But they have to call off the actions first,” said the Prime Minister.
In the meantime various gas stations on the island have run out of gasoline and diesel. The refinery gates are being blocked by the employees which impedes the oil distribution company Curoil to enter and refuel its trucks for distribution.