Alexandra. The Great?

The new Dutch State Secretary completed a two-day work visit on Aruba, it was a whirlwind. At the end, at a press conference, both MinPres and Alexandra van Huffelen addressed the country and the press.

MinPres was brief and courteous. She thanked the Dutch delegation, stating Aruba’s reliance on tourism hurt the country badly during the pandemic, and that her government almost achieved a budget surplus, in 2020, had things been different.

The cards we were dealt, she continued, included a crisis with Venezuela, a financial crunch and a social emergency. The recovery has been slow, she stated, and graciously expressed her hope for a collaborative future.

It must have been depressing for her. The State Secretary was really shown the underbelly of our island. Casa Cuna, a home for children and teen mothers revealed its urgent needs; Health care officials must have spilled their guts in distress; Union leaders did not spare her their outrage and disgust over salary reductions; then a scenic visit to the Parkietenbos dump with Anouk Balentina, who gave her a graphic exposé; A visit to San Nicholas included the ateliers, no bad, then there were a few work dinners, talks with ministers, and other stakeholders.

The State Secretary really got a well-rounded education.

When people from abroad visit, we always want to show them out best, to show off, but this time, in view of all our burning issues, the ugly truth was laid bare.

It saddened me. We are proud of our island, but looking at this visit’s itinerary, there was little to be proud of.

The State Secretary said she was motivated to do a lot of work in collaboration with the Arubans. She opened her address with a bit of Papiamento and seems genuinely interested.

Let’s see how things unfold. Will Alexandra become Alexandra the Great?

Yesterday I called the Fashion Police for some input: “Ten for effort,” the expert said. The State Secretary is clearly a fashionista. The Fashion Police was full of praise. She is a MUSE. We have been bored for too long. Out politicians aren’t fashion-forward. She dares. She is unique. She has balls. We will follow her and we are writing articles about her. The Dutch press follows her closely too.

But then at the press conference, an Amigoe di Aruba so-called journalist, enjoying the privilege to ask the State Secretary the first question – each journalist was given the opportunity to ask ONE – asked about her colorful dress, and she answered, pleased, that the extravagant Peter George D’Angelino designed it.

I think her fashion parade was confusion. If an Amigoe so-called journalist loses his focus, and strays into a sexist field, it means that the State Secretary’s frequent and fashion-forward wardrobe changes were a bit much for us. Turned a journalist into a fashion-victim. Then someone else asked her if she liked the made in Aruba soap she received.

She probably said to herself, I will be on a tropical island, I must look flowy, airy, friendly, on one hand and approachable on the other then she went shopping for the trip, and asked for the help of friends, Dutch fashion designers, and they came up with a wardrobe, including a Dior bag, and a change of Cartier watch, bracelet, necklace, ring and shoes. Including a red pair of high-heeled pumps, and fishnet stockings, for a visit at the governor.

We allowed it to divert our attention from the issues.

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February 18, 2022
Rona Coster