Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap Feb 23rd, 2020

Changing the KILL CAGE into a CENTRO DI CONTROL DI CACHO

Monday at the Kill Cage:

The door of the 40-year-old institution known as the Kill Cage was closed on Monday in preparation for the change, the conversion of the tiny facility into a Center for Dog Control.

By 9am there were nice puppies in boxes abandoned at the closed door, and the Animal Shelter called the rescue organizations to come to the rescue.

Nine abandoned, unwanted, dumped souls by 9am.

Monday teaches us that the plan for a dog center with 12 cages, is inadequate. The new plan — thank you for starting to think about solutions — calls for a 3-day moratorium where the abandoned dog will be held, allowing its owners to be found and/or change his mind about destroying the pet.

ONE out of ONE HUNDRED dogs is an animal dumped at the Kill Cage by a nasty neighbor and the new arrangement would indeed save him.

But judging from Monday’s numbers, in three days, you’d have 27 puppies, in 12 cage, not even mentioning cats, that usually arrive in much bigger numbers.

Cats were completely left out of GOA’s plan.

Those in charge of policy must understand that the animals dumped in the Kill Cage are all domesticated, they belonged to a family which irresponsibly decided to shirk its obligation. The pets are often dumped with fancy collars, by grandma and the grandchildren in the car, on a heartless mission.

These animals are UNWANTED. Their owners DON’T want them back, so holding them for three days entails, feeding, offering water, cleaning poopy cages, taking pictures, posting them on social media, trying to adopt them out. If you hold them for three days, you might as well make an EFFORT to find them new homes. Which of GOA’s employees will be in charge of that operation??

The dogs trapped in the street by Criollo Trapper, for example, and offered for adoption are often FERAL, and MORE difficult to adopt because they have to be socialized, domesticated first.

THE ONLY SOLUTION: It should be AGAINST THE LAW, to avoid responsibility like that without a fine. As long as it is acceptable here to just drop a bunch of kitties without their mom, or a bunch of pups in a box, the mentality of people will not change, you have to hit them in their pocketbook, fine them, you have to send the signal that this is kind of behavior is unacceptable.

We have reasonable spaying and neutering programs that are subsidized, and people should be taught to take that road!  

All other solutions are just band aids.

In September the Kill Cage changed its hours of operation and closed weekends and holidays. People shamelessly continued to dump their owned pets in front of the closed door, driving away in a huff. These people don’t want the burden back, so why would you decide to hold their pets in the hope that they will change their minds. They won’t.

Best party in town

I make sure to be there, at 4am on the dot, for the Jouvert Morning PJ parade every year, and I will tell you exactly why.

As a concerned citizen of this Dushi Tera, we suffer disappointments and disillusions, on a daily basis.  And the recently published Forbes magazine article did nothing to ease my fears: “The Future Of Aruba: How The Tiny Caribbean Island Is Bracing For Major New Hotel Development.”

The article is a sad read, with an eloquent interview with Tisa LaSorte of AHATA, who outlines the logical course of action for the island, thus pitching theory again practice.

Well-thought-out theory, VS. super-charged practice.

Then the article goes on to describe what we all know: Secrets, St Regis, Embassy Suites, Hyatt Place, Radisson Blue and the Oranjestad Port City.  All fantastic opportunities, only they are all happening here at the same time.

At the end of the article the cautious journalist puts in a note: *Original story has been edited to remove additional rumored resort developments until confirmations can be made.

Because he knows, and we know, that there are more.

You can’t help but be afraid, afraid of this process called progress that was unleashed here in 1924, and while well behaved for decades, has recently made quantum leaps, and who knows where it’s going.

Back to Jouvert Morning.

We started at 4am behind Le Groove, but they left us cold. They were just warming up, then we traveled behind Mike’s Disco, a first, I have never done that before, we joined a motley crew of locals, immigrants from other Caribbean Islands.

How did I know that? Duh, they were wearing their island flags, and Mike’s disco was playing the latest Carnival hits from our neighboring islands, which they were singing,

Our newly-found family members were traveling with a giant rolling vat of oil. They gently and respectfully anointed anyone within radius with the sticky stuff.

We got speckled and daubed, but didn’t mind at all because the atmosphere behind Mike’s Disco truck was that of collaboration, mutual respect and unabashed fun, as we were shuffling down Caya Captain Roger, before entering LagoWeg and that big pressure-cooker, that narrow street becomes.

Not a push, not a shove, nothing rude: One Love!

I always marvel, later, standing on the street at Julio’s bar as the sweet sunrise light filters in, how is it possible, that we are all so well behaved, peaceful and kind, and then I say to myself, Aruba. This island has a golden core of goodness, and no matter how hard it gets, Jouvert Morning brings out the best in us.

We had a fantastic party, about 10.000 people. Sure, drinking, a bit J, but I did not see any crazy behavior.

Tsunami, N’Fusion, we rode their tails and enjoyed their music, Le Groove warmed up, and gave us what we wanted, that GROOVE they are famous for.

Then we had a Johnny Cake with Salt Fish, and went straight to heaven.  

The Forbes Article

On Sunday, I was sent the Forbes article by a friend who wrote: If you think they are not reading you, they will be reading Forbes.

Forbes is an American business magazine. Published bi-weekly, it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics. Forbes also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, politics, and law.

And this week it reported on Aruba.

The headline was a dramatic statement: “The Future Of Aruba: How The Tiny Caribbean Island Is Bracing For Major New Hotel Development.”

Note the word bracing, like it is an accident, a head=on collision.

Then it went on to list a few upcoming projects we all know: Secrets Baby Beach, St Regis, Embassy Suites, Hyatt Place, Radisson Blue and the Oranjestad Port City. 

But at the end of the day the article BALLOONED, its writer editing the content to include:

Secrets Baby Beach, 600 rooms, St Regis, 310 rooms, Embassy Suites, 330 rooms, Hyatt Place, 116 rooms, Radisson Blue 209 rooms, the Oranjestad Port City, Kimpton Hotel, 215 rooms, Panama Jack, 400 rooms, the last two are a repositioning and additions of the Holiday Inn, Acqua, up to 500 rooms, Grand Harbor Resort & Water Park, 400 rooms, that’s the one next to Screaming Eagle.

The development of a boutique hotel around the Olde Molen, was left out, 100 rooms.

All condos being built behind and around Eagle Beach were not even mentioned.

Aruba Life, in Noord, did not make the list.    

As I said before, fantastic opportunities, only they are all happening here at the same time, on a 20 x 6 piece of real estate that already stretched its resources to the max. Think water and electricity production, sewer treatment, education, the airport.

It is now evident that GOA, is NOT MOTIVATED to cut its expenses, they are NOT going to tighten THEIR belt. After more than 2 years under the same government it is clear that structural changes in the way we do business and handle public finances will NOT happen.

The fix?

Get more people in here to pay taxes, build more rooms, import more employees BROADEN your tax base, raise tax revenues. Get more money to misspent.

This formula is guaranteed to ruin our quality of life, and destroy what made Aruba successful in the first place.

With all due respect, the AHATA CEO, explained to the visiting journalist that committees are being formed to address these issues in time.

And I ask, are they?

We also need to make sure, she added and she is right, that we manage where growth takes place and the location of activities and attractions, to avoid saturation of high-traffic areas. It is and should be our highest priority to ensure that the visitor experience remains enjoyable and return-worthy.

I hope GOA is listening to her.

New Lunch Concept at Hyatt Place Aruba Airport

The 116-room hotel and business center opened in October and was well received.

It immediately achieved synergy with the airport, enjoying a reciprocal business relationship with its various departments. A great portion of Aruba’s business travelers, attracted to the friendly rates and generous amenities started booking room-nights, as well as vacation ownership clients wishing to extend their timeshare stays here with a few before and after days.

The hotel has a lot to offer, roomy rooms with comfy Grand Hyatt beds, free Wi-Fi everywhere, a hot breakfast buffet in the third-floor lobby Gallery, plenty of unique places to work, connect, gather, chill, sip or nibble inside, and around an outdoor pool and bar with dancing flames from the elegant, linear fire-pit.

Executive chef Jeffrey Vrolijk recently came on board to contribute his talent to the food offerings at the Gallery. He serves food all day, highlighted now by an Executive Lunch for just $20 per person, with free parking included.

The Gallery served a different themed lunch menu everyday Monday, through Saturday, presenting international specialties from the Italian kitchen on Monday, Asian on Tuesday, Venezuelan on Wednesday, Mexican on Thursday, and local soul food on Saturday. An all-day a la carte menu is also available.

With Carnival Monday coming up, Hyatt Place offers a Pool Day Pass for $35.- which includes a relaxing roof-top experience, an option to visit the fitness center complete with LifeScapes equipment, and a choice of one main course from the Gallery’s a la carte menu, escorted by a nonalcoholic beverage, to help you recuperate from Carnival.

That Pool Day Pass package is available every day for those celebrating their birthday or just in need of a much-deserved day off.

If you are looking for a company meeting-place, Hyatt Park boasts two meeting & event rooms, in fact three breakout spaces where business may be conducted with a spectacular view of the airport. A half day package and a full day package are offered including the venue, the setup, a small audio visual package, projector and screen, including chef’s selection during a morning coffee-break, all day nonalcoholic beverage service and a chef’s selection lunch buffet, at reasonable rates.

We were invited for Friday’s Happy Hour and already decided to try it on Friday February 28th from 5 to 7, looking forward to taste Chef Vrolijk’s Hummus from Around the World platter.  

That by itself is a good reason to visit. The platter features the classic recipe of mashed garbanzo beans and tahini; the European version made with green peas and cream cheese; the Indian curried variety with red pepper, and the black olive Mediterranean kind, I tried all four heaped on freshly fried banana chips and couldn’t decide which one was BEST. They are all fantastic.

Chef Vrolijk comes to Hyatt Place having worked at the Aruba Renaissance Resort and a number of other premier establishments, he brings with him a passion for food and great enthusiasm to innovate and please.

Chef, we are all yours. Surprise us.       

Whose job is it to protect the environment

Does poor GRETA THUNBERG have to defend the earth, nature and mankind all on her own?

Does Aruba Bird Life Conservation Foundation have to continue to sue the government to prevent development and construction of hotels / condominium projects in areas designated as nature preserve in the Territorial Ordinance Plan??

My guest speaker today is Johan P. Sjiem Fat, Attorney at Law, Sjiem Fat & Co, who has a brilliant mind and is one of the most intellectually astute individuals I know.

He was invited to speak on behalf of the Aruba Bar Association when two new judges were installed last week.

I asked him what he said, and after reading his piece, I decided to publish because it is relevant to us.

His topic was the TRIAS POLITICA, which is a constitutional system, please stick with me, it gets interesting in a minute. That system dictates the separation of governmental powers, meaning it tells us who does what, who makes the rules, the legislative system, right? Who then sees to the execution of the rules, the executive branch, right? And who is in charge of the courts and the judicial setup in case violations of those rules occurs.

Basically a threesome, a system of checks and balances, the lawyers calls it Trias Politica, the triangle of government.

The issue of the happy threesome came up, in light of a recent Supreme Court decision in the URGENDA case.

The case concerned the topic of climate change. That’s how it is relevant to us.  

Urgenda, an environmental action group filed a class action against the Dutch State demanding that they adhere to the climate change norm based on international consensus among climate change scientists and international organizations to reduce emission of greenhouse gasses by 25% or more by 2020 in order to fight climate change.

Urgenda won the case and the Supreme Court ruled that the state had to comply with the order as demanded by Urgenda.

The decision started a heated discussion in Holland about whether the Court had overstepped the bounds of its authority as delineated in the above 18th century TRIAS POLITICA separation of government powers, by making climate change policy and ordering the State to enforce and comply with this policy.

One of the main arguments in the critic’s corner was that Urgenda had no democratic legitimacy to force the State to follow a certain climate change policy, whereas the parliament and the government / executive branch, who had such democratic legitimacy, were sidelined by the court’s decision.  

The criticism was quite vehement and aggressive accusing Urgenda and the court of attacking the rule of law and democratic order based on climate change madness.

Urgenda and its defenders argued that the court merely applied the law, namely the human rights protection of Dutch citizens under the EU Human rights convention and that if the democratically elected representatives fail to protect the citizens, we should all be glad that a group like Urgenda steps up to the plate to demand such protection by the court in a class action lawsuit, in order to prevent poor GRETA THUNBERG from having to defend the earth, nature and mankind all on her own.

The President of our Joint Court expressed concern over these attacks on the judiciary and explained the role of each branch of government under the TRIAS POLITICA. She furthermore expressed hope that the fierce discussion that erupted in Holland can be prevented, as each branch of government acknowledges its place and explains its decisions and policy to the general public.  The President furthermore explained that attacks on the integrity of the judiciary are dangerous because they undermine the rule of law.

In his speech Johan P. Sjiem Fat said he would give those present a TRIAS POLITICA homework assignment. And he summarized the court’s decision in the Urgenda case and the arguments made by opponents and proponents.

He explained that the TRIAS POLITICA issues and discussions clearly have relevance in Aruba too, because every court case that involves government policy or decisions can raise the question about whether or not the judiciary is overstepping its authority by encroaching on the territory of the executive or legislative branch, or whether the executive is trying to play judge, jury and executioner.

With respect to class actions in Aruba, Johan P. Sjiem Fat pointed out the cases initiated and won by ARUBA BIRDLIFE CONSERVATION against the government to prevent development and construction of hotels / condominium projects in areas designated as nature preserve in the Territorial Ordinance Plan.

The TRIAS POLITICA questions that these cases raise are:

Is ABC influencing the court to make environmental policy without democratic legitimacy and preventing much needed economic development for Aruba, which the Minister of Infrastructure, who did have democratic legitimacy, was willing to facilitate?

or 

Was the Minister of Infrastructure overstepping his authority and was he neglecting the protection of the environment necessary to ensure future generations that there would still be some nature left on our Happy Island by trying to facilitate commercial development in nature preserve areas? In which case ABC’s actions and the court’s support for such actions can only be applauded.

He also said that in his opinion the discussion about the place and boundaries of the judiciary and the executive and legislative branches is legitimate and necessary in any democratic society, and that the Bar Association does not object to these discussions taking place with the use of strong language.

Of course the Bar Association agrees with the President of our Joint Court that attacks on the judiciary’s integrity and independence are reprehensible because they undermine the rule of law and our democracy.

This is the homework assignment for you: Answer 2 questions:

  1. Based on the separation of government powers do you find the Urgenda decision horrendous and an infringement of the TRIAS POLITICA?

OR

  1. Would you find the Urgenda decision fantastic and a correct interpretation of the TRIAS POLITICA, which he would have applauded?

In general Johan P. Sjiem Fat concludes, the subject of Climate Change-litigation is fascinating. Another Environmental Action Group recently sued Shell in the Netherlands for not doing enough to prevent climate change.

Lawyer Anouk Balentina took on GOA and won

I don’t know how many of you read the column about whose job it is to save the environment, but it was very relevant to our situation.

CONGRATULATIONS, lawyer Anouk Balentina and the Parkietenbos neighborhood for the favorable decision of the local court.

I guess it is OUR job to save the environment since governments around the world bla-bla about the issue but don’t mean it.

So the long-suffering Parkietenbos neighborhood took GOA to court demanding the remediation of the dump issue, and the mitigation of its negative impact on several barrios, between the fumes, the flames and the stinky smell, they asked GOA to move its derriere on their behalf, and find a sustainable garbage treatment solution for the island.

GOA’s lawyer explained how hard GOA is working to overcome the challenge, so the judge gave GOA three months to implement its genius plans.

The neighborhood will be in court again in May, to monitor progress.

It’s an interesting case, says an attorney friend. Many of the same issues present, as in the Urgenda case, from a previous column:

GOA’s duty of care, and its obligation to protect life, health and wellbeing of its citizens, a lot of lip service by GOA that they are doing everything possible, without however real results.

In Urgenda’s case the supreme court clearly said that TRYING won’t cut it. Citizens have a right to demand effective protection of life, private life and wellbeing!

So, I believe the court is gonna hammer GOA with an injunction if they do not deliver in 3 months. And it’s high time for that.

The Book of Carnival Rules

The Lighting Parade is San Nicholas was fantastic, full of good vibes, music, dancing, and orderly conduct, in the parade. Apparently we had some disorderly conduct on the sidelines, but not on the inside, and the best thing about the evening was its pace. The Lighting Parade is SN moved, we were shuffling away in good tempo, while the Lighting Parade in Oranjestad crawled lifelessly.

My media friends say that the Lighting Parade in Oranjestad lost its luster, and the once-mighty-spectacle was the recipient of severe criticism in radio stations and on social media.

It was the shadow of itself. And the spectacular exceptions within that parade only highlighted the fact of its being overall dull.

I understand from some group leaders that an initiative just started to write to book of Carnival Rules and Standards, and the goal is to present SMAC with a bible of sort, filled with regulations to adhere to, so that participants know what’s expected of them when they sign up for the experience.

It is an expense, and if you can’t afford it, no sweat, signed up for the more affordable Lighting Parade in SN. But if you sign up for town, then you have to show us your feathers!

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February 23, 2020
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