Aruba’s Governor, the honorable Alfonso Boekhoudt, invited the island’s officials, NGOs and some members of the business and media communities, for a New Year’s toast this past weekend, at the Renaissance Convention Center.
This year, as in the previous one, his message of austerity and moderation was the underlying theme of the reception, everything from décor to catering had an unmistakably stamp of restraint good taste, reflecting His Excellency’s core belief of leading by example.
Invitee were asked to attend without their significant others or spouses, and in the casual spirit of the event, His Excellency and his wife were at the door, to first meet and greet their guests.
Invitees, including many members of the parliament – I don’t recall seeing any members of the opposition party – listened intently as the island’s conscience spoke, outlining three core values: Respect, Integrity and Protection, which he wanted to highlight as a blueprint for a successful 2019.
Let it begin with me, was his first point of discussion, asking his citizens to start the movement of change themselves, in their personal life and in their communities, leading a more service-oriented and sharing, less self-centered life. He also advocated compassion for fellow-citizens in need, and for fellow-nations of our region, undergoing tough times.
He spoke about integrity, doing what’s right, standing for what is right and acting ethically.
The environment got helping hand from our governor when he spoke about protection, protecting what is ours and conserving resources.
A nice touch was the Dande band, at the end of the governor’s address. Dande King Edjean Semeleer with a group of traveling musicians, asked for a donation into his hat, in exchange for musical blessings.
The governor’s office then matched the funds collected that night for a generous donation for a charity of His Excellency’s choice.
(Luckily, I tucked some bills into my evening purse, before leaving the house. I noticed quite a number of small no-interest loans being made in the room, as some of my cashless friends turned to their friends with more padded pockets.)