The first press conference for 2021

The first press conference for 2021, listed our economic recovery, Covid-19 and the visit of State Secretary of the Interior, as topics.

The tone was optimistic and soothing. It is a MinPres specialty, to strike a civilized, and measured, yet overall shiny view of things.

She talked about creating new opportunities, which was the part I liked best. Perhaps for the first time I heard: “Listen peeps, things will not go back EXACTLY to the way they were, you can’t just sit around and wait for life to improve, you must seek new ways, reinvent yourself, take this famous cordiality and determination – her favorite words, and put them to practice. Don’t be passive, be proactive.”

We gotta save ourselves, since Knops needs help, he cannot do it all by himself.

Which is the right message, the MinPres should broadcast every day.

One of my tourist friends reported taking a tour, destination Conchi, which started at 5am, and included a hike and a spectacular sunrise over the park, with an environmental angle. He showed me pictures and raved about a physical and spiritual experience, that he will never forget.

The guide, with a passion for nature, and a marine biologist wife, worked for a reputable dive shop before he decided to spread his wings and offer eco-friendly private hiking & snorkeling excursions. His 100% personalized concierge level experience, gave my friends a priceless high, and a resolve to return to Aruba.

Why am I wasting your time with this story?

It proves my point that we cannot wait for someone to move our cheese BACK to where it was. We gotta get hold of this slippery cheese and move it to our liking.

The second part of the press conference did not resonate well with me.

Apparently there is a plan to encase the Lighthouse, Eagle Beach, Baby Beach & Ayo Rock Formation in concrete, with parking lots and choke chains of souvenir kiosks.

The plan to bake nature into a brick and cement strip mall, was titled: “Aruba Outdoor Amenity Economy,” designed to upgrade natural landmarks and create small business opportunity around them.

It’s the worst idea ever. We need less kiosks, less concrete and less cement.

I recently drove by the Baby Beach Parking lot, during the holidays, the place was packed.

Our biggest problem is maintenance. The parking lot was dirty, signs rusted. The beach was lovely, untouched, except for the Big Mama Grill that keep growing every time I look at it – I am grateful they seem to have lost their shabby Yabba Dabba Doo, Flintstone costumes. Nature is enough of an attraction at Baby Beach, there is no need for an added Flintstone theme.

So I am saying NO to this ‘beautification’ plan.

Our only important mission is to protect nature, and leave it alone. Sure you can clean Ayo, and empty trash cans, but don’t build any kiosks, because we have enough.

Last but not least, about local souvenirs: We have a strong community of local artisans, they don’t wait for the tourists to come to them, they go to the tourists. The resorts generously create opportunities for the artisans to sell their original crafts. They even have a foundation @artandcraftaruba, and rotate between locations and take turns to equally share with all members. Most of them are certified having successfully passed the authentic seal – seyo di artesano – inspection. [email protected]. They don’t need the kiosks, they just need support from the resorts!

I liked the Public Markets in Oranjestad and San Nicolas idea, we can use and upgrade existing locations, introduce fresh produce, just don’t build extra shanty towns, we already have enough. 

Welcome State Secretary of the Interior Knops, I hope you get to dip in our ocean while here or hike to Conchi at sunrise after your meeting with GOA this week to review the content of the loan conditions and the progress of action plans to achieve the objectives in the conditions. Amen. 

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January 05, 2021
Rona Coster