AFBA Forum: Advancing Synergy with Governmental Labor Instances.

The forum at La Cabana brought together many business owners in the Food & Beverage sector, for a dialogue with three important players in the field: SVB, the social insurance bank, DIMAS, the Department of Integration and Management of Foreigners, and the Labor Department.

Also present in the room, the representatives of adult education, Enseansa pa Emploeo and DAO, the Department of Labor and Investigation.

The minister in charge of Labor, Energy and Integration was on hand to contribute to the conversation.

SVB, DPL and Dimas, are three different entities, they are each supposed to do their share in sync, for Aruba to have the perfect work-related bureaucracy in place.

I applaud the Aruba Food & Beverage Association for the initiative to bring stakeholders together but came away with a realization that the bureaucrats are there to defend their process and execute the policy, nothing more, nothing less, slowly.

It’s the policymakers, not the bureaucrats, who are weighing the industry down and drowning it in paperwork and cumbersome processes.

So that’s my report. I have nothing to report. Those who are paid to defend the process defended it, and those who can change it claim they are doing their best, and it isn’t easy.

The natural conclusion is that GOA is still talking thru both ends of its mouth, granting permits under the free market policy with little government intervention on one hand, and maintaining strict control over the labor market, taxes, rules, regulations, etc., on the other hand.

The Social Security Bank went through its process that requires anyone who works, even for one hour, to be properly registered. DIMAS went through a labyrinth of rules, regulations, petitions, and forms, then the Labor Department, explained their multiple layers of projections, planning, appointments, and advice, with the help of a professional power point presentation.

We listened quietly for a full hour. During the Q&A, the minister got involved and we heard him say they were doing their best, they are working on improvements, but it is easier said than done, a phrase he repeated several times.

What did he mean by that?

He is the decision maker, why is it easier said than done.

Aruba is currently suffering from a shortage of workers and is trying to recruit extra hands from among those already on island, yet DPL and DIMAS, seem to have no sense of urgency, they operate on their own schedule – for example a permit at DIMAS undergoes SEVEN process stages.

Both DPL and DIMAS said it was the fault of the partially filled forms, and missing information, but insiders report they send back petitions if a comma is missing.

Things are moving, but very slowly. Meanwhile we have new businesses opening every day.

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February 26, 2024
Rona Coster