A gorgeous restaurant, one of the nicest, most complex in theme, and most stylish in design, just closed its door. +297 is no more. It was supposed to teach us how it’s done, and it did not. My column today will be its eulogy, three different voice, three difference perspective.
Rona, it takes seven years to get a permit for just about anything on the island, they did what they could to open. They were pushy, if you understand what I mean. They got the place up and running, don’t ask me how. Then they ran into difficulties keeping up with the promises they made to deliver a superior product. They couldn’t get work permits for imported qualified staffers.
Add to it that the economy in Aruba is in a rut, our buying power is diminishing by the minute, the spending Brazilians and Venezuelans are gone, the off season here just became longer.
To top it off, they were harassed by the tax department with some fantastic 8 million florins debt. Basically, things went down after the clash with the Police, over opening hours, they couldn’t get break, no one helped, sure they made some mistake, and were a tad arrogant but think about the investment and the jewel they created, we should have shown more gratitude.
It’s their own fault. They thought they could buy their way in and employ illegals.
Look at the hotels: They can wait months and months and months for permits. Patiently. It’s a terrible process, but they run that gauntlet, teeth clenched, and remain sustainable.
+297 did not want to run the gauntlet and bleed and did whatever it did to become untouchable.
Enter the new government, and they ran out of friends.
For dog’s sake, they called a minister’s wife for help when the Police arrived at 4am, long past closing time, resulting in a famous video recorded scuffle.
Really? You call the minister’s wife when you are in trouble with the law?
They thought they were better than everybody. They were arrogant. And the closing is not the fault of the tax office, it is the fault of those who did no pay their taxes like regular people.
We all pay, right?
So, they should have too! And on a timely basis.
Besides, the concept did not work, it was too expensive, to complicated, too hoity toity, and self-important.
Forty people lost their job? These can surely find a better paying job today, because +297 underpaid its workers.
The investment came from Venezuela, where robbing the country is a specialty and a regular way of doing business. So, we shouldn’t feel bad about the debacle. That particular MO works in Venezuela. It failed here. You may blame ‘cultural differences.’