Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap December 29th, 2018

Official legislation with regard to phase 1 of the Aruba tax reform

Thank to Grant Thornton, who wrote the newsletter and AHATA who circulated it, let’s look at the official legislation with regard to Phase I of the Aruba Tax reform:

On December 20, 2018 the Parliament of Aruba approved the draft legislation with regard to phase 1 of the Aruba tax reform which will enter into effect on January 1st, 2019. This newsflash, Grant Thornton says, aims to provide a summary and inform us on this topic.

Ground Tax

The changes for ground tax will enter into effect as of January 1, 2019. The rate will depend on the value of the property and previous tax-free portion of the asset, Awg 60,000 will be eliminated. According to the new legislation the following rates will apply for residents of Aruba (non-commercial property):

Property value: Awg 120,000 to Awg 250,000 = 0.2%

Awg 250,000 to Awg 500,000 = 0.3%

Awg 500,000 to Awg 750,000 = 0.4%

Awg 750,000 or more = 0,6%

Note: Current rate is 0.4% for everyone.

*example: if your property value (resident, non-commercial) is Awg 400,000 the ground tax will be Awg 400,000 x 0.3% = Awg 1,200

The above rates do not apply for non-residents and commercial property. In that situation a fixed rate of 0.6% will apply over the property value.

If you are presently subject to the ground tax, your property value will remain the same for the period of 2017 up to 2021. Meaning that as of January 1, 2019 your current property value will be used to calculate the ground tax to be paid during 2019.

Tax payers who have not received a ground tax assessment for the year 2018 should file a declaration form with the tax authorities ultimately April 1, 2019. This also applies to ground tax assessments incorrectly imposed for a low amount.

As previously mentioned, the ground tax will be a declaration system as of the year 2019. Therefore, the tax payer will have to file a declaration form starting in the year 2019 (“aangifteplicht”).

Business Turnover Tax (BBO)

As per January 1, 2019 the mentioning of the BBO/BAZV/BAVP on the invoice will be prohibited. If an entrepreneur were to mention the BBO/AZV/BAVP on their invoice the tax authority can impose a penalty up to Awg 10,000. With the new legislation it is expected of the entrepreneur to include the BBO/BAZV/BAVP within their prices.

However, the Prime Minister of Aruba, Evelyn Wever-Croes, announced that there will be a transitional period of 6 months or until the replacement of the BBO/BAZV/BAVP with a single indirect tax (phase 2). During the transitional period, the entrepreneur is still allowed to mention the BBO/BAZV/BAVP on the invoice. The policy in this regard will be published later. As soon as Grant Thornton obtains this policy, they will confirm the further details. (That deal was brokered as a result of protest. AHATA co-created and co-signed a letter to GOA, with various other private sector groups, to request NOT to implement that change for BBO/BAZV/BAVP. 

Personal income tax

With regards to the personal income tax a Ministerial Decree has been implemented with the official changes. The personal income tax rates will be reduced to four brackets and only one tariff group which will be as follows:

Salary from Awg 0 to Awg 33,587 = 14%

Awg 33,587 to Awg 63,369 = 25%

Awg 63,369 to Awg 141,783 = 42%

Awg 141,783 and more = 52%

So, for example if you make anywhere between Awg 33,587 and Awg 63.369, you will page 25% tax, and 42% for anything above that and under Awg 141.783. If you make more that Awg 114.783 a year, you pay 52% income tax ☹

Phase 2

During the public meeting of the parliament it has also been mentioned that phase 2 of the tax reform is planned to enter into effect as of July 1, 2019. During phase 2 of the tax reform the future of Business Turnover Taxes, personal income tax and corporate income tax will be decided.

The Cadushi Festival Overview

The Cadushi Festival was founded in 2014 with the intention to provide a different sort of holiday activity that focuses on supporting local artists, promoting conscious living, and providing a festive venue for people to gather and share in meaningful ways. The December 2018 festival marked Cadushi’s fifth Christmas edition.

Stay tuned for future Cadushi Festivals, and don’t forget to Slow Down, Buy Local!

The 2018 edition of the Cadushi Festival on December 22nd, was awesome.

I met a great number of extraordinary people, doing many ingenious things. Each year, the festival confirms that indeed Aruba is an exceptional island, blessed with an abundance of creative individuals.

Getting there was easy, this time, it was held at the end of main street at Plaza Nikki Habibe, an urban setting that’s totally charming.

Some of the locals I met, in no particular order:

Ivan Caleto: This guy is special. A music producer, guitar player and DJ, from Colombia, a Global Beats specialist by definition, who also plays vinyl records, spinning at 45 and 33 revolutions per minute. In the World Music genre, he plays, Tropical Boogie, Guaracha, Son, Afrobeat and Dutch Caribbean music from the 50s to the 80s. He owns an incredible collection of songs in Papiamento, perhaps 4,000, old-school tunes, that are practically extinct, and he is the only DJ on the planet still playing them: A sweet, rhythmic and sonorous retro sound. I love it.  

Fundi Bistro: A collection of super attractive and dynamic guys: a graphic designer, a choreograph, a chef, a psychologist, and an elevator technician, who share a passion for food and drink. They served a delicious cocktail that night by the name of Suurzakje, made of a secret juice, rum and craft beer. It was super delicious. I am ready to have another one, right now.

They also offered buckets of Jingle balls, for just Awg 10, made from beetroot, sweet potato, pesto and chicken, nestled on a green carpet, in a paper cup.

More on the subject of balls: I learned that most of them quit their daytime jobs in order to come together and create a communal work space, in town, not far from Atelier 89, where they will work, brew craft beer and cook creatively.

They promise no automation, no artificial intelligence, just a fulfilling ecosystem for living a better life, that’s collaborative, exciting and shared with us, their clients.

Can’t wait for FUNDI BISTRO to open. Mark down the name.

Fundi, a word from the Bantu family of African languages, meaning a learned person, usually used for as (master) craftsman, expert or genius!

Folklore Queen & LOL AW: A collaborative, creative, mother and daughter duo. Mom, Vicky Arens Tjon a Tjoe makes exotic, bohemian jewelry, from recycled materials. The charming, illustrated, naive t-shirts and canvas bags are by Angie, her pre-teen daughter. Both love crafts, so they express their inner artist together. Angie is crazy about Japanese-style cartoons, and carries that style over into her designs where characters have names and attributes.

Cream of Wu’s: Very edgy tote bags and black-and-white T-shirts with funky designs. I don’t get them, But I am not a millennial.

The Raspao Station: Susanne von Saalfeld is a talented hobbyist. She did Natural Salt from Aruba two years ago, the Fermentation Station and sourdough last year, and this year she was into Raspao, in many interesting flavors she concocted herself: Mango Chili, Tamarindo Chili, Canela Jamaica, Coconut Parchita, and Kombucha Grapefruit, just to name a few of her homemade syrups.

Operating an electric ice shaving machine for the production of perfect snow cones, in two sizes, she enjoyed great popularity. What’s it gonna be next year? Insects?  Algae?

Diana Hopman: The mixed media collage work of this well-established artist lights up many walls in Aruba. If you have an old atlas at home, please donate it to her, as she recycles maps, incorporating the world into her attractive art pieces.

Taki Aruba: Our forager Frank Kelly is a hit craft-cocktail maker, he also cooks on small open fires, and is famous for authentic, local and delicious offerings.

Dushi Cakes: The girls were super cute and made tasty cupcakes.

D’abaru Snack: The Kelkboom family, the trailblazers of vegan, artisanal food on the island. They never miss an opportunity to educate the public about their delicious snacks.

ArubaLife: Organic makeup by Julienne Paskel. Her products are 100% handmade.

Gumbs Juice: A charming, easy talker, this guy is a trip. His OJ is delicious and so is the fresh-squeezed pineapple and apple. Find him in town, tucked in a giant orange, next to Djiespie’s Place.

SoGreen Hair Products: The gook looks like guacamole, but my hair loved it, second year in a row.

Cunucu Mondi Fierno: They make a very impressive line of craft wines, liquors, and spirits, made from organically grown local fruit. These people are organized; it’s all nicely packaged and professional. And they are tireless too. They never miss an opportunity to educate the public about their delicious, artisanal products.

Aruba Coffee Roasting Company: I met them last year for the first time, and I am pleased to say that I see them more and more. I see their coffee brewed and served at a number of places on the island and it is also more available now, in select stores. I even got some for my birthday, as a gift. Yummy.

Jes Beachbags: Sascha is eternally creative, making purses and bags of all sizes, made from all kinds of materials. She sold out this past Saturday.  

Kid’ Corner: The kids had a special storefront at their creative disposal, that was a great idea.

 Rescue me and I will rescue you!

Sgt Peppers Friends delivered about one dozen four-legged super models to the Ritz Carlton runway event hosted by general manager Louella Brezovar, and attended by resort guests, this past Sunday afternoon. You should have been there, it was so cute.

The animal rescue organization currently cares for about 25 dogs, ranging in age from puppies to young adults, all ready to be adopted. The older dogs are spayed and neutered. Also fostered about 50 cats and kittens, ready to go.

The Ritz Carlton event relied on volunteer doggy foster-parents to bring and show the dogs, who are kept track of by Dayenne Holwerda-Munk, at the head of that network.

We met many darlings who started life literally in the dump, but were rescued and nursed back to beauty and health!

How about taking one home with you, check out Facebook, Sgt Peppers Friends, and find the one for you!

Khara, a beautiful brindle, about 8 months old.

James, a young male about 2 years old.

Mystique, the last remaining of a 6-puppy nest, her siblings are already adopted, she is about 10 months old.

Buffalo, Moose, Raccoon & Squirrel, the brown and while pups stole the show, and our hearts, they are ready to go and can travel in the cabin of an airplane to their forever home, any day.

Grizzly, is the only tan boy, from that cute 8-week-old litter.

Kwihi, a small size lady, about two years old.

Moko, a small to medium size dog, very social with other dogs.

Bowie, his looks are unique, and he is starting to get out of his shell.

Lazuli, a beautiful grey lady, about two years old, loves going for walks.

Duff, she came a long way from the box she was dumped in, along with her siblings.

George, handsome boy, walks well on a leash and loves the dunes.

Rescue, love, adopt!    

Thank you to the Ritz Carlton Aruba for creating awareness among guests, while at first, we are the ones who rescue our dogs, at the end they are the ones who truly rescue us

From My Book Island Life, useful tips for NYE

Good Luck Tips, Dos and Don’ts for New Year’s Eve

In most Aruban homes, good luck for the coming year is believed to be within reach if certain rituals and traditions are properly followed on New Year’s Eve. Most of the rituals revolve around sweet-smelling perfumes and incense that symbolize cleanliness, purity, prosperity, and eternal good luck. The removal of bad luck, Saka Fuku, symbolized by the removal of dirt and bad smells, and the bringing in of good luck are serious occupations on New Year’s Eve.

  1. At midnight, make sure you have CASH money in your hand and in your purse. Not just credit cards. Hold your cash in the palm of your hand. More will follow if you do.
  2. Step out of your house at midnight, making the sign of the cross, right foot forward as a dose of bad luck prevention.
  3. Direct the smoke from the pagara, especially the last blast, to your living room. Make sure all doors and windows are open. The smoke will cleanse the residence of all bad influences.
  4. Sweep the red paper littering the street, better known as pagara leftovers, on January 2. Do not touch it on the first of the year!!! Leave it there to fly in the wind, good luck in tow.
  5. Make sure the first person you hug and kiss after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s is healthy and wealthy. Do not hug back anybody who is needy. They will take away your good fortune if you do. For good luck purposes, hug a successful MAN first.
  6. Burn incense everywhere. Do not overlook corners. My friends recommend traveling around the house with an old can containing a noxious, smoky, tar-like secret substance, stopping for a few minutes everywhere, for best results.
  7. A little bread and sugar should be burned along with the incense so that there will always be bread on the table and a sweet, loving relationship in your life.
  8. Make sure you get home before midnight to spend time with your family and friends. Guaranteed to drive loneliness and misery away.

New Year, New Places

As far as I know, people in the world are divided in two: Coffee lovers and tea drinkers. You might have noticed the choice of words. People who drink coffee have a relationship with the brew, while tea drinkers just exercise an option. I think.

I am obviously not as passionate about tea, as I am about coffee, and my admiration of the amazing bean quantum leaped after visiting a coffee plantation. I grasped the considerable hardship and vast expertise invested in my morning cup, as I climbed the flanks of the mountain, to reach the elevation where the bushes were precariously growing berries, to be hand-picked, then carried down the slopes, dried, sorted, roasted, wow.  

One of my most favorite world coffee brands is Lavazza, previously unavailable here. But things have changed, effective today, with the opening of Oscar’s Market at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino – Lavazza has a new home in Aruba.

Named after the late, visionary Oscar Henriquez, you may get Lavazza espresso in the new lobby café, and enjoy the mix of Central and South American Arabica beans which create the rich dark roast with strong, fragrant flavor and aroma. It will sputter out of a gleaming new espresso machine, before you very eyes!

You may also buy some coffee at the cute market, which is suitable for your home drip coffee maker or a French press.

The late Luigi Lavazza pronounced laˈvattsa, in Italian, founded his business in Turin in 1895, as a small grocery store. It is today a global empire with 2,700 worker-bees, still headquartered in Turin, Italy

I checked the Menu of Oscar’s Market: Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte in 4 different sizes and many styles including some made with Lavazza Tierra Brasile 100% Arabica Espresso – a premium blend that comes from the marriage of two selected coffees, Arabica and Cereja Passita.

Then there is a Cappuccino Frappe menu board listing beverages served with or without coffee and sinful liquor shots, Hot Chocolates, Chai and five varieties of Lemonades.

Best of all the Gelato, Dulce De Leche, Ferrero Rochet, Oreo, Pistachio, plus, plus, with TIPSY varieties such as Italian Amaretto, Crema Rum, Lemon Tequila, and Sangria Rose.  

Open from early morn!   

New Year, New Places 2

The Tamarijn all-inclusive just opened a bar at the edge of the water, and it’s open to the public, just bring your wallet, and chill.

It was baptized with an ingenious name: The BEACH BAR.

And as expected, it’s spectacular, overlooking the crescent bay between the Tamarijn and Divi all inclusive.

Dutch mural artist Leon Keer spent a week here, with his assistant, his wife, working on 3D murals depicting beach life for the decor, a retro pink lifeguard booth, a la Miami Beach, a rack of colorful surfboard, and an VW minibus, the iconic camper that is so evocative of surfing and beach culture.

(If you look at the mural, and let you eye travel on the horizon, the painted line will merge flawlessly with the ocean outside the bar)

Besides amazing 3D murals, the new watering hole is blessed with comfortable seating outside on the deck, and an oversize bar serving specialty cocktails, including my favorite Aperol Spritz.

Food & Beverage manager Dominique offered me one when I stopped by to Oooh and Aaah the new bar, I thought I did not hear him well. But I checked the menu. Yes, Aperol Spritz is listed alongside Tito’s Lemonade, Bourbon Ice Tea, Royal Mojito, Peach Collin, Casa Noble Paloma, Queen of Bahia, and Beach Bar Loaded Rum: with Captain Morgan, Meyers & Malibu Rum, Kahlua, Pineapple and Orange juices, Angostura bitters and Grenadine Syrup.

That would cure anything.

I also counted 10 commercial beers and 6 craft varieties, beer on tap including Heineken, and wines by the glass

The food menu is coming soon……. stand by.

*Leon Keer, is known in Aruba for his contributions to St Nicolas, and his famous optical illusion Maiz Blanco box, at the beginning of the main street. The VW bus will receive an augmented reality feature soon, and I will understand it when I see it…



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December 30, 2018
Rona Coster