Aruba needs a good CFO, a Chief Financial Officer, wanted!

The MinPres looked chipper last night, she must have had some positive phone calls with K & K, Kamp & Knops, the almighty Kingdom representatives, about getting ‘liquidity’ support,’ 42.6 million florins, I believe, for 6 weeks in April and May, thus her mood eased.

I did my best to keep on top of things, yesterday, it’s hard, because they are all going in different directions, a drama starring many renegades including out-of-place members of Parliament Rocco Tjon & Co., who wrote to the Governor demanding help in fundraising for Aruba, as if the Kingdom owes him, a letter that should/could have been written, if written at all, by the MinPres; and Advisory Board member Hellen v/d Wal who went out on a limb to point out AGAIN that Aruba is structurally dysfunctional and unsustainable, thus granting us a loan is ridiculous, we can’t pay it back anyway, just hand out the cash as a gift!

My liquidity support, by the way, is called Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, and I like it very cold.

Back to GOA. According to a friend who keeps track of things, GOA said they needed 1.3 billion, but will settle for 70, in April and May, for payroll, goods, services, interest and principal payments on previous loans, which the 42.6 million loan, doesn’t cover.

GOA also needs 40 million florins for economic relief efforts, which it will have to find somewhere, possibly not in US money markets following the downgrade of our credit rating.

They are also 50 million florins in the hole for SVB/AZV payments, due to zero income.

Take out your calculator: 54 SVB/AZV + 39 interest and principle +42 relief = 135 million florins for April & May.

NOTE: With above liquidity support GOA’s payroll expenses are covered, hence, the chipper stance.

Still no efforts to reduce economic footprint, just posturing. Nothing structural.

GENERAL STATEMENT: For the past 30 years, Aruba’s governments saw the island as a business opportunity and took turns plundering its riches and filling their pockets and the pockets of their cronies. Different political parties, same playbook. Everything here was a business opportunity, from contracts, to deals, to jobs, to favors. It is apparent that we have NOW reached the point of no return. The days of a highly functioning economy, under a badly functioning government, are over.

As we stated before, now is the time for a decisive stance, make dramatic changes to lower GOA’s weight on our economy starting with the MinPres, giving herself and her colleagues across ALL government agencies, SETAR, WEB, RDA, ELMAR, Serlimar, FCCA, Arubus, Aruparking, a minimum salary effective today.

She needs to ‘sell’ it to our people, because any ‘help’ secured from the Dutch must also be ‘sold’ to their constituents. They also have tax payers, they answer to. They must follow the policy line of a frugal and efficient government.

So finally, at this point financial supervision must be escalated. We should welcome good Dutch housekeeping, tied to financial assistance, let them be our CFOs.

The Dutch will not dictate what to spend the money on, but they will insist on receipts, and transparency, they will supervise collection of taxes, creating hygiene and sanitation in the accounting department.

This is not a tall order according to my sources, because the Dutch kingdom has all of the supervisory infrastructure in place. It would be like adding a small town to their list of clients at the Federal agency, nothing more complicated.

Just like banks who manage mortgage loans, whereby payments are staggered based on project-phase completion, the Dutch will hopefully instate a help-you-to-help-yourself approach, ignoring childish political temper tantrums.

Sometimes, a patient must be hospitalized, in the ICU and intubated, helping him breath with a ventilator. Well that is the state of our economy.

To do that, the patient must give up his delusion of autonomy for a while, trust the process, surrender to medical professionals.

Same here. Obviously, patients never argue the point, they are grateful, understand they have to give it up, accept vulnerability for a while, if they want to live.  

So Aruba must accept it will never get a lump sum loan, because it proved over time that it doesn’t’ handle the responsibility well; if we wanna live, we require strict discipline, a job that our parliament and our Central Bank failed to do.

It’s a two pronged plan, first financial supervision, immediately, so we can breathe, later structural changes of our statuut, whatever that means, to anchor long term sustainable changes by law. All we need is political goodwill, or in other words, shut up and get out of the way.


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April 09, 2020
Rona Coster