Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap, Feb 25th, 2018

Salesmanship as it relates to Customer Satisfaction

I bought some new lamps recently at a mega store awarding fun miles for purchases. Then I called the electrician and made an appointment, mind you, I would have done it myself if I knew more about current, but they did not have that on my school curriculum.

So, the expert electrician shows up, rolls up his sleeves, installs the new lamps and inquire about the special European bulbs that fit into their sockets. Duh.

I don’t know. I did not realize I bought a European gadget with special needs. Grrr.

Anyway, I took another trip to that store, got the bulbs, screwed them in myself.

Same store, a few weeks later, I needed some TLC for my old BBQ. The sales associate was interested, she checked with the warehouse, shared her global concerns with me while we were waiting, I paid, got my fun miles, and called Mr. Fix It for an appointment.

So, Mr. Fix It shows up, but he couldn’t do much because of male/female attachments, I needed a widget for the job, but the sales associate didn’t ask any questions, and I wasn’t aware of gas tank connection differences.

I am taking another trip to that store today! Grrr.

It reminded me of an old joke.

This guy went to Walmart last Friday looking for Advil. Advil, said the sales associate, here you go, hope you feel better, soon, it’s Presidents Weekend, and luckily the weather is good.

No, said the man, it’s not me, it’s my wife, this flu season got her good.

Is that so?! The sales associate responded, your wife is under the weather, and you have all that time on your hands, maybe you should try fishing, we have these new automatic fishing rods that practically reel in fish themselves, also new just-arrived tackle boxes. You will however need a roof attachment for your car to transport your extra-long rods, but don’t worry we have those in stock. Hmmm, you have an old car, no problem, we have some amazing deals on new vehicles this weekend, I will be happy to show you!

Basically, I think anyone in retail should etch my old joke on their sales floor.

The Do it Center in Shaba has a feisty female sales associate in the plumbing department who knew to ask me the right questions when I came in for a new grey water pump. Kudos to her. I left with a male/female attachment AND a new hose! No pissed off repeat trip to the store required.

UTILITIES: Look no further, pick ECOTECH

I received an e-mail yesterday informing me that Utilities is looking for international solutions for our dump challenges so that it may transition from its current unacceptable handling of solid waste to a sustainable and sanitary system keeping pace with international standards and best practices.


BUT I cannot explain WHY you would be looking internationally if we have a plant right here, that is 100% prepared to help deal with our trash, at a FRACTION of what is cost handle it now?

Why would you look internationally if you have a partner right here, and now, who already made the humongous investment, and is prepared to run with it.

Are you creating an impression of transparency, opening the bid up, then making the reasonable choice of picking ECOTECH from among all those who sent in filled respondent forms?

Pleeeease. Make It easy on yourself and ECOTECH, pick your LOCAL partner, and do it NOW.

ECOTECH has a head start over any foreign entity coming here to set up a business, this is their home, they care, they speak our language in so many ways, why would you solicit an RFI for a Solid Waste Treatment facility if you ALREADY HAVE ONE.

You already have a long term sustainable waste management solution, why don’t you jump on the wagon???

Or maybe sadly, a prophet is never recognized in his hometown, such is human nature.

The MinInfra is under pressure from Serlimar, they want to stay in the game, but that company failed us miserably over the past 50 years, heaping untreated trash at the edge of our water to the tune of Awg 444 florin per ton.

If GOA grows balls and moves on the ECOTECH proposals, it will save 10 or 15 million florins a year.

The previous government drowned that cow, we’re already in big trouble, Salvage what is left!

CITGO declared a slowdown

RDA finally confirmed what we’ve been seeing, that it is at a standstill. Slow down they call it but you should read clinical death.

The media here reported it like it was another accident in Ponton. No tears shed, no pain or regret expressed, not a question asked. Zero outrage, it sounded like an everyday thing.

You are kiddin’. This is a disaster.

AVP dragged the entire country into the sink hole, under the deceitful leadership of the former MinPres, and no one goes to jail, and no one is accounted for the financial and moral bankruptcy?

Businessman Rene Kan told me two or three years ago and I am quoting: “I said from the very beginning, and you can quote me on that, I’ve learned from my banking years that it is never a good idea to negotiate with a potential partner/country that has one foot in a coffin and the other one on a banana peel. And you are even crazier if you continue these negotiations when you see, from the beginning of the process that your middleman goes to prison in the USA.”

He was off course referring to our dubious friend Roberto Rincon, a guest of the Feds in Houston. Rincón is talking like a little bird, spilling all his secrets.

(PS. Rincon and Shiera’s singing already brought down 10 powerful officials who pleaded guilty, also investigated the Venezuelan UN Ambassador, Oil Czar Ramirez, questioned for the disappearance of 11 billion, and his cousin Salazar, all accused of bribing foreign officials, and sending millions to their own bank accounts in Switzerland and Andorra)

Read this:

South of the border, everyone who was anyone, also went to the slammer in Venezuela. And I am convinced that a few former Aruban ministers are not sleeping that well at night for fear that the Feds also asked Rincon about the wonderful time he had in Aruba, rubbing shoulders with penniless government officials, happy to receive a gift from a friendly so called rich and connected Venezuelan oilman.

We were affiliated with a solid stock exchange registered company, Valero, which was let off the hook for the cleanup in order to climb into bed with lowlife crooks.

The estimated RDA cleanup is one billion dollars.

Valero was responsible until the AVP government let it walk away.

They were told three years ago, that the shit will hit the fan. Businessman Milton Berlinski was on the exploration team, and he resigned three years ago when he smelled a rat.  It’s not 20-20 hindsight, it was clear to see, then.

The AVP politicians put on their pink glasses and in spite of warnings went ahead to negotiate a legal contract with CITGO/PDVSA.

Instead of spending money on international savvy experts, they took some island boys along, some local yokels, totally inexperienced and naïve. This is what happens when you let juniors make deals like this.

People here are not pissed because they just don’t understand the impact it has on the economy. What it has cost us so far. And what it will cost in the future.

On a positive note:  We thank God that THEY/CITGO came out and confessed. Imagine if it took months and then AVP blames MEP for screwing up their brilliant deal. Now it just dies on its own and MEP cannot be blamed.

MinEdu on a mission to ‘privatize’ Aruba’s public schools

Out of nowhere the MinEdu aired his plan to clump all Public Schools here under a foundation’s umbrella, an arrangement similar to that of the Catholic Schools and the Protestant Schools, who are separately governed by mostly-dysfunctional boards.

I thought Public Schools are here to serve the public and should offer a decent education to all. Is it constitutionally possible to abolish Public Schooling?


Absolutely ZERO savings: GOA pays for everything anyway, teacher salaries, books and supplies, and though parents could and should participate symbolically, they DON’T most of the time. The maneuver will incur added legal costs for the new Stichting structure, new headquarters, secretaries, coffee makers, copiers, the works.

Diminished control: There will be no oversight on expenses, or control over the quality of instruction. No room for outside, impartial inspection.

Exclusions: The schoolboard may decide not to enroll kids based on their shaky immigration status, their different religion, or below norm cognitive level and/or behavioral difficulties. Then what? We’re face by tragic inequities in the island’ education system.

Job Insecurity, and that is the main point: My friends who teach in the Public-School system are visibly shaken and upset, as the MinEdu is threatening their legal status. As teachers they are government employees, occupying well-protected and regulated job. Under the foundation umbrella, they would be at the mercy of the board. This is a REAL source of concern to almost 1,000 bread-winners. OK, some of them deserve to be shaken but most are entitled to job-security.


None. But the MinEdu had arranged for a presentation which according to him was received as too good to be true. From my experience, anything which seems too good to be true, is too good to be true.

The MinEdu mentioned he wanted “politics out of the public schools.”  I’m unclear what he means by that. Basically, if he appoints his party people to the board, he just introduced politics into the equation.

MinEdu = You have bigger fish to fry. This is a marginal issue, find something truly meaningful in need of change.

If you are not moving forward you are in fact going backwards

Thank you, Aruba Bank, for the initiative, hosting the Second Academic Economic Forum at the University of Aruba. The topic was super interesting, Demographic Transition & Economic Growth: What does changing demographics mean to our main economic pillar, read tourism.

I will break it down for you. On a small island, a great percentage of the population is getting older, they will have to be cared for, including housing & medical by a smaller, younger, tax paying segment of the population. The economic burden will be enormous, and the only solution is controlled immigration of young people who will come to work here and help pay for all our social services and government bills.

This will not happen tomorrow, but surely within the next decades and it is the responsibility of GOA to think about it now, otherwise we will never be able to afford ourselves. This is what keeps Edwin Jacobs, the Director of the Aruban Social Insurance Bank, SVB, up at night worrying, and he was probably looking forward for some good suggestions from his audience, at the University of Aruba.

As it turned out it was a bit of a missed opportunity.  Jacobs got no answers, just more questions.

Panelists Varelie Croes, our Chief Innovation Officer, Ronella Tjin Asjoe Croes, the CEO of the Tourism Authority, Ewald Biemans, a multiple award-winning hotelier and the above mentioned sleepless SVB director were asked questions by the University Dean John Wardlaw. The questions ranged from the environment to the expansion of our tourism industry to the aging of the population, including timeshare owners and island residents, also about the diversification of the economy. The panelists were quizzed on specifics, some questioned were narrowly focused, so the dialogue never took off beyond sound bites.

As you all know, Aruba is today more dependent than ever on tourism, and no other source of income is visible on the horizon. But apparently a large portion of Aruba’s rocking-chair-experts, do not wish our tourism to grow any further. No more they say. But they totally fail to suggest an alternative.

Diversify the economy they say, wow, what a great idea. We were unable to diversify it in the past 50 years what makes them think we can start diversifying it now????

True, China has many millions available for investment, but climbing into bed with the Chinese you will find coarse bedding and punishingly flat and firm mattresses. That’s how they like it.

Anyway, what is the alternative. OK, no more tourism, I agree, then what?

And to drive the point home, Wardlaw revealed during the forum that a research among university students confirmed that just 10% of them are willing to work for tourism, because of the long hours, weekends, and holidays.

That’s terrible. We all want our comfy lifestyle but no one is willing to work in the industry which creates it.

Someone has to get up and say, kids, this is an island. Your island. Tourism is our only hope to survive and thrive. You do not have the luxury of choice here. Sorry. Of course, you can leave, but if you stay you must contribute to tourism, and do so with a smile on your face. We are lucky to have a good industry. We are lucky to have an economic PILLAR, that’s something big and supportive, not just a stump.

SO…. until we identify an alternative industry come help make beds, clean toilets, flip burgers and carry luggage, because the resorts have a hard time finding housekeepers and if you are not willing to do that, YOU SHOULD BE OK WITH A WAVE OF SCREENED AND QUALIFIED IMMIGRANTS, COMING TO GIVE US A HELPING HAND.

Watty Vos Boulevard, WVB, Is Coming to Eagle Beach

I attended the gathering at the MFA in Noord where the department of Public Work presented its upcoming portion of the road building project from the area of Ling & Sons Supermarket to the Riu Antillas.

The project is expensive and fancy and never mind the polemic whether we need it fancy or modest, we will grow into it, and it will certainly alleviate the traffic bottle-neck in town.

The presentation was very low energy and very somber. My eyes closed. It would have been received warmly had the speaker put some charisma and charm into it.

Bottom line, we will be inconvenienced with many closed roads and alternative routes for three months – that’s an optimist talking, and at the end of three months we will have an improved flow of traffic with more roundabouts.

They will be cancelling the cactus, sea grape and aloe median in the scenic road along the hotels, the two traffic lanes will be adjacent to each other, and the portion of the southbound lane will be return to the beach.

BUT…no pedestrian crossings. The Loss Prevention department of La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino expressed concern. I think Super Food should be worries, the challenge for shoppers to make it safely across the street continues.


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February 25, 2018
Rona Coster