Bati Bleki Buzz, Weekly Recap, August 4th, 2019

It’s the principal that counts

OK, so the numbers were a bit exaggerated in my column on Friday, but the principle stands.

This discussion about assumptions and whether or not that green list was true or not, can be avoided if the ministers and aides would publish their travel expenses. Like they do in other countries. Transparency and accountability are key. That way the public is informed and forms an informed opinion, asking informed questions.

Besides, all this noise about transparency and accountability. We’re entitled to it. In the Netherlands the ministers, state secretaries and senior officials must publish all their expenses, not just travel, but also accommodation costs, restaurants even professional literature, all receipts must be submitted on claim forms downloaded from the internet, since 2012.

We should copy/paste. There are also guidelines about extending a business trip for personal reasons, maximum amount of days. Check out Rutte’s hotel bills on:

In 2009, the then Minister of the Interior, announced that the expenditure of ministers and state secretaries would be made public. Then in 2012, it applied to all officials

Bottom-line: We want GOA to handle tax money responsibly and make its expenditure controllable. All administrative costs of government officials and senior officials, should be made public.

Of course in order to do a good job, they must incur expenses, I get that, and that’s ok as long as public money is handled with care.

Before abandoning the subject: Is part of the list true? How much of it is true?

Just to say it’s incorrect is not enough. Then it’s just he-said-she-said.

Are the ministers all travelling while we need laws passed in parliament and the country governed?

The Hammer

I met Josephine Martilia Albertus recently. She is an impressive powerhouse, the president of SIMAR representing 400 to 500 teachers on the island.

The MinEdu, as is his custom, announced just before the weekend that he was removing all over-time privileges from teachers. Though it is an excellent move, and recommended to help restore the health of our ailing economy, SIMAR contends that it cannot be announced out of the blue as a fait accomplis without including Simar in the decision-making-process.

As her married name implies, Josephine, the HAMMER, Albertus, is out to protect the interests of the teachers.

According to her, they are sent out into the battle field, unsupported, without the necessary tools to educate our kids in the 21 century. With one florin per child for technology, classrooms are under-equipped and understaffed, resulting in a population where 60% is WITHOUT a secondary education diploma.  

What are you going to do to solve this crisis in education: Chronic lack of funds, unpunished fraud within school management circles, deep teacher frustration, overwhelming parent dissatisfaction, disconnected ministry of education, a national plan for education with ZERO allocated funds.

I will work very hard, she said.

New Dinner Concept at Asi Es Mi Peru

We wanted to show off, says Jan Van Nes, then he thinks about it and decides to drop the off. We wanted to show that our menu can go far beyond Ceviche and Aji de Gallinia, and showcase the amazing richness of the Peruvian kitchen that goes from comfort food and classic recipes to world class gastronomy.

Jan van Nes and his wife of 26 years Roxana Salinas – I won the lottery when I met her, he often declares, hosted an evening affair in honor of Peru’s 198 Independence Day at their Asi Es mi Peru Restaurant at Paradise Beach Villas.

They opened their restaurant in 2017, then added Las Brasas Peruanas, an authentic Peruvian Roast Chicken Rotisserie and an Ice Cream Kiosk, and were ready for the next challenge.

They enclosed the upper floor of their restaurant in glass, and created a private dining room, with a community table seating sixteen. They outfitted a small kitchen and unveiled the Fina Estampa, the Fine Impression, a five-course dinner menu, available for groups of up to 16, in the colorfully decorated, fully air-conditioned space.

Peruvian cuisine was born when indigenous cooks met European immigrants, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese and Japanese, mixing in local ingredients such as corn, potatoes — growing more than 3800 potato varieties – and quinoa.

And according to Roxana, the whole world is now interested in native Peruvian foods and culinary techniques, adding exotic potatoes, red and black quinoa to menus, around the globe.

The Fina Estampa by Chef David Lizano started with three bite-size amuse, Ceviche, Causa Limena and a tiny fish ball, all beautifully garnished, each sitting in their own perfect dollop of sauce.

The amuse was chased by a stuffed Aji pepper, nestled on a cushion of the world’s creamiest, fluffiest quinoa.

A layered masterful soup followed starring a quinoa crusted shrimp with a quail egg crown, floating mid rich, velvety shrimp broth, perched on a crescent of puree, complemented by green lima beans and diced Peruvian potatoes.

The first main course, Seco de Pescado under a cloud of alfalfa sprouts, presented delicately grilled and seasoned fresh fish, surrounded by a medley of typical, multi-colored Peruvian potatoes. The second main course, the Estofado de Carne con Majao de Yuca en salsa de Aji Amarillo, was off-the-chart delicious. The mashed yucca, flavored with Aji Amarillo, sans heat, was incredible.

For dessert, a trio of world-wonders, Lucuma ice cream – the Lucuma fruit is often referred to as the Gold of the Incas — tiny twin macaroons, and a Picaron, a sweet potato and pumpkin, typical Peruvian donut with honey glaze.       

Peruvian Wines, Vinos Intipalka, from the Valle Del Sol, really surprising top wines from Peru, especially the Malbec, were responsible for the festive mood and chatty, grateful guests around the community table.

Roxana invited some of her young compatriots to introduce the guests to Peruvian folklore coming together from African, Spanish & Peruvian sources, with two dances, one from the highlands and Andes, and one from the Amazon Jungle, both stylized, beautiful courtship stories of a man and a woman, and a harvest dance from the coastal areas, all in striking brightly colored costumes.

Great for birthday parties or family gatherings, good time guaranteed.  

About crazy ideas

Everything costs 300-million these days, the Waste Incinerator, the Un-Natural Bridge, it’s the magic number.

The idea to ‘give back’ to Aruba its Natural Bridge, was first floated by Jan Ten Hove, from the Marine Corps Aruba. He unveiled it at TEDX, on the corps’ 350-year anniversary.

It was insane then. It is insane today.

I asked some of my friends to chime in:

 Reaction AGAINST

–Funny, the Dutch decided to ‘give us a gift,’ except, Aruba will have to for it. Typical. They have ZERO funds, obviously, they are planning to fund-raise in the community.

–Utter bullshit. It’s just like putting a ski jump on Jamanota.

–Traffic to the Collapsed Bridge is still very strong, no downturn al all, people are fascinated by disasters, an icon remains an icon even when fallen.

–There is money to be made in things falling down. Example the Parthenon or the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece, millions flock to see scattered remains.

— Schools need funds. Schools need AC. We need drug rehab centers. Childcare centers for working single parents. We urgently need elderly care for greying population. If someone wants to give Aruba a great gift, let us start with one of the above, instead of an “un-natural” bridge.

Reactions PRO

–I am against crazy projects but perhaps it is not that crazy! WWII destroyed most of the landmarks in Europe. And they were rebuilt. So now we can visit the Czar’s winter palace and garden in Peterhof, St Petersburg, the Russian Versailles, and it looks as good as new. Notre Dame is being rebuilt in Paris. One World Trade Center was rebuilt to replace the Twin Towers, even the White House was rebuilt after a fire.

–New Zealand was a remote destination with difficult weather, gorgeous, but tough, then someone said Bungee Jumping, 30 years ago, and now thrill-seekers from around the globe go to NZ to jump 134-meters off a platform, from the highest one, a 40-minute drive away from civilization. They created a thrill, an attraction, using their bridges and gorges, and now it’s a ‘thing,’ an ‘experience. Let’s take a 24-hour flight, go to NZ, jump off a cliff, head first.

Crazy. But money making.

Facts: In Sept 2005 the Natural Bridge collapsed. Tourists and locals continue to visit the site daily. What is the source of the attraction besides the ruins, and a baby bridge? Clean bathrooms courtesy of De Palm Tours, excellent pastechi, a great selection of souvenirs, and friendly service

The Plan: Build a 55-meter span, with a 3.5-meter diameter, carrying a maximum of 471 people of 100kg each (We’re working on the weight goal).

A foundation has been established to oversee the bride project to guarantee its upkeep and regulate access.  Current board members include: Jan ten Hove, Chairman, Folkert van der Woude, Rafael Estrada and Frederik Ph. (Junior) Tromp.

My suggestion, if you really want to make it happen, not that it’s a good thing: Register a company, and sell shares, OBLIGE ALL tour companies, planning on visiting the site, to become share-holders in the project, let those who will profit, pay for it, otherwise lubid-fugetaboutit

While building, you might as well add a Rotonda.

New Merchant Association established

Driven by Frans Ponson of the General Store, and Francis Saladin of Frasa International Trading NV, a new merchant association announced its formation last week, as a form of grass root protest.

Normally they would be organized under ATIA the Aruba Trade & Industry Association “the leading advocacy organization representing the interests of the Aruban businesses and providing a range of services to its members, since June 18th, 1945.”

But somewhere along these years ATIA fell asleep or lost its edge and an alternative has been formed CUA, which in Papiamento stands for United Merchants Aruba, representing more than 10 thousand locals.

They had already drafted an urgent letter to the MinFec, Finance, Economy & Culture, on July 4th, 2019, so far unanswered in which they outlined their concerns.

What moved them to action is the recent discussion on the bundling of all taxes, namely, BBO/BAZV and BAVP, into the total price on the bottom of the consumer’s receipt.

Their collective petition asked the MinFec to reconsider and postpone the implementation of that ruling until such time when the complete upcoming tax reform is revealed.

They want to keep the BBO / BAZV / BAVP on the receipt, for the sake of transparency.

As it stands right now, the consumer is taxed three times – which is a great cause of general dissatisfaction, when you read comments, posted on line, in the wake of the CUA formation.

As reported by Rainbow Warriors International, and I believe they are right.

One environmental theory, by the name of “WORLD OVERSHOOT, measures our consumption, and when we use more from Nature than our planet can renew in a WHOLE year, we call it EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY.

This year according to a website by that name, July 19th was earth overshoot day, because by that day we have produced as much CO2, as we were supposed to produce the whole year.

The 7month global demand for ecological resources such as fish, forests, and services exceeded what earth could regenerate in this year.

As we keep consuming, we grow a deficit by wiping out the earth’s natural resources and accumulating waste, mostly, CO2, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

I am sure you read the sad Yale report: Greenland is melting at an unprecedented rate, causing vast quantities of ice to disappear and global sea levels to rise. The fate of the ice sheet is not sealed, but unless CO2 emissions are sharply cut, the long-term existence of Greenland’s ice is in doubt.


Apparently the overshoot day for Aruba was, April 2nd, 2019. If we build 9 more boutique hotels and say 5 of the theoretically targeted larger hotels – Iberostar, Three Rivers, St Regis, Radisson Blue, Embassy Suites, we will end up with World Overshoot Day in January.

We need to mount a campaign, of reducing our footprints, making our island more sustainable and conserving our most precious assets for our tourism, namely the natural landscapes and environment.

The situation has gotten worse over the past year thanks to the efforts of the MinInfra campaign: “Get off the Pot or Poop,” forcing all option holders to start building, otherwise the option on land will be lost, within 6 months.

Ministeriële Regeling, Landsverordening Uitgifte van Eigendommen (LUE) Optie-Erfpacht-Akte: If the option-holder adheres to all requirements as stated in the option it goes into erfpacht and once the project has erfpacht, it is ruled by the Akte, and it has to start building within 6 months. Article 7 of the LUE)

Rather than losing the option on terrain, a MASSIVE, UGLY building drive erupted, as unannounced and unidentified projects started along the island’s main traffic arteries. For fear of losing the option to build, they all started.

Will they finish? Do we need more strip malls?  

According to Rainbow Warriors International, and NGOs who keep tabs on public awareness, we spent 25 times more money on public campaigns focusing on stray cats and dogs than campaigns to conserve nature and create more sustainable consumption patterns.

The twelve plus animal welfare and animal rights NGOs consume more than 350,000 florins each year and contribute nothing to what should be our chief concern: Reducing our footprints, making our island more sustainable and conserving our most precious assets for our tourism, namely the natural landscapes and environment.

Take notice that: There is a totally unsustainable expansion of product going on here, with SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, and CONSERVATION OF NATURAL ASSETS, on the back-burner.

A nationwide campaign designed to slow things down and reach every single demographic group, will be effective and would require an annual budget for two years of Awg 120,000.

That is Awg 10,000.00 a month.

Mind you, we spend MORE THAN THAT on stray cats and dogs!!!


Welcome Back Ferry

Divi Resorts Hires Ferry Zievinger For General Manager Position at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort and Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort

An Aruba native, Zievinger takes over the position on September 1, 2019

 Divi Resorts is welcoming another fresh face to its management team on Aruba. Aruba native Ferry Zievinger will take over as General Manager of Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort and Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort, effective September 1, 2019.   

“I’m looking forward to aligning my 35 years of experience with the company’s vision and pushing this vision to its boundaries,” said Zievinger. “I want to make sure that when someone plans a trip to Aruba, our resorts are always considered first, and that we excel as a hospitality company that’s trusted to create flawless vacation experiences.”

The big move comes just weeks after the company announced that Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort’s Pearl Lake will be promoted to General Manager, taking over the position formerly held by Gerrit Griffith who is retiring after 43 years with Divi Resorts.

Zievinger’s previous experience includes Director of Food & Beverage at Marriott in Curaçao, General Manager, Hotel Manager and Food & Beverage Director for Sandals Resorts throughout the Caribbean and Regional General Manager for the Sandals Corporate Team. 

“We’re excited to welcome Mr. Zievinger to the Divi family,” said Marco Galaverna, Divi Resorts President & COO. “As a local with an extensive background in the hospitality business, we feel he is the perfect fit for the job and will help propel our Aruba resorts to the next level.”

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August 04, 2019
Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster