Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap, July 29th, 2018

Miss Gay Aruba 2018

Sunday night, the Miss Gay Aruba pageant unfolded at the Renaissance Convention Center for the 25th year in a row.

Organized by Humphry O., retail executive 364 days a year and producer / promoter for one annual glamorous event, the evening included a festive opening, a sexy bathing suit segment, a bombastic evening gown parade and the glitzy coronation.

This year’s winner is the charming and eloquent Demi Lu Rose, candidate #4, who is very comfortable in her skin, in full make up, hair, towering heels and evening dress.

I watched all of the candidate video interviews, six in total, on the eve of the great pageant and I am hereby giving our small island two thumbs up, for being inclusive, accepting and supportive.

The evening sold out part of the convention center at Awg 850 per VIP Table, the crowd was over the top elegant and cheerful, the performances were entertaining and spectacular.

Some of the more serious activists wondered resentfully if Aruba’s LGBTQ community has been highjacked by a bunch of mischievous cross dressing drag queens? And the answer is Yes, just for one night, once a year. So, lighten up, let’s have fun.   

Back to the interviews:

Candidate #6, Nicole, saw herself as a role model and explained social media opened the door to public acceptance, “you will go far if you persevere,” she added.

Candidate #5, Jessica, talked about her freedom to dream, and be herself, she remarked that in recent year the LGBTQ movement helped bring minorities closer to main stream.

Candidate #4, Demi Lu, could run for office, she talked about equality and authenticity and was pleased to report that Aruba cracked down on discrimination. “Just hand her the crown, please,” said one of the public comments under her video. She was a favorite from the start.

Candidate #3, Dita, also enjoys a great gift of self-expression, she talked about the concerns of her community and the willingness to fight for acceptance and the absolute need to be unique and true to self.

Candidate #2, Alina, played with the camera, her small face looking at the photographer seductively, under a pile of Dolly Parton curls, she championed the right to be happy.

Candidate #1, Gersealin got personal and recounted her decision to break the news to her parents that she did not exactly turn out the way they expected. She talked well about self-expression and about the fear and guilt associated with coming out of the closet.

Humphrey, keep up the good work.

I guess all people face the same issues, and we are all preoccupied by the same concerns

United Farmers Aruba is born in Gasparito

It all started with Sonia Anaya, my neighbor, who told me about her composting experiments while we were visiting her grandfather, national treasure Padu Lampe, on Saturday morning, over pastechi and tamarijn juice, from home grown fruit.

Sonia told me she is joining United Farmers Aruba for a signing of a formal commitment that day, aimed at the formation of a farmers/growers’ association, “we can no longer wait for the government to facilitate things,” she said,” we have to move in the direction of sustainability, so local produce becomes more readily available here.”

The signing took place in the backyard of Gasparito Restaurant and the invitation called on all hobby and commercial scale farmers and their supporters, to come together for the founding of United Farmers Aruba Association, on Saturday July 21, 2018.

Fifteen farmers showed, that’s impressive, some already well-established and successful, some at the beginning of their journey.

A number of supportive members of Parliament, and the minister in charge of the agri-portfolio were invited, as well as representative of Santa Rosa, the island’s agricultural center in Santa Cruz.

Our fifteen brave farmers each deserves an individual column, but Gasparito is a great place to start

Rose and Danny Barros started three years ago to toy with the idea of farming, just because Dutch-born Rose is comfortable in the garden, and the consensus that farming is impossible challenged the couple to prove it wrong. Rose has been on the island for eleven years, and met Danny, a restaurateur four years ago. She calls it a farming love story.

They soon discovered their soil was not good enough and needed improvement with organic materials. They did that, composting and turning things around, slowly their three patches of growing fields were healthy enough for experimentation, corn, tobacco, and recently eggplant.

Their current eggplant harvest turned out well, and I have received a shipment of 4 perfectly round, firm and dark-purple beauties at my door step complete with cooking instructions, courtesy of Eco Living Aruba, the small business now run by Rose and Danny, in the famed restaurant’s back yard in Gasparito.

There is a water well on the property but Rose explains we should all trap more rain water, and become smarter about growing fruit trees, use efficient drip systems and mulch our gardens, so that our food improves, and our community becomes more focused, centered around communal activities.

From FB: Eco Living Aruba
The idea of ‘Eco living Aruba’ was conceived by Daniel and Rose Barros while discussing how they wanted to live their lives. It’s an idea based on a journey to learn and present what is sustainable and possible on the island of Aruba. Sustainable can mean many different things but for Daniel and Rose it means always pursuing a balance in life between what the environment already provides around us and using what is technologically available. A balance of living comfortably but also respecting the nature around us. Being blessed with the opportunity to grow food on a beautiful island has become a passion. A passion to share that experience with others.

CHECK THEM ON:

https://www.facebook.com/ecolivingaua/

http://www.ecolivingaruba.com

BUCUTI & TARA BEACH RESORT WELCOMES LOGAN HOSPITALITY

I melancholically wrote about relocating friends recently and it’s heartwarming to also experience returns. The official press release says it all:

In late June Bucuti & Tara Beach resort announced the return of former executive team contributor Susan Logan to the resort.  Logan will oversee sales, marketing, e-commerce and related projects for Bucuti & Tara from her Florida-based firm Logan Hospitality.

Logan is quite familiar with the resort having worked there more than 20 years before leaving in 2009. Over the past decade, her work in hospitality has included owning and managing two successful restaurants and working with Booking.com. Most recently she served as the Director of Distribution, Reservations, & Revenue Management for a collection of over 600-member hotels at Historic Hotels of America – Historic Hotels Worldwide.

“It’s an absolute pleasure returning to Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. The property is one of the world’s best with its well-trained dedicated team led by visionary leader Ewald Biemans who values innovation, sustainability, re-investment and possesses a clear understanding of true hospitality,” says Susan Logan. “I look forward to contributing new perspectives from my industry experiences to attract and please Bucuti & Tara guests.”  

Wow, worked here for 20 years was away for 10, couldn’t stay away any longer, that’s such a great story! Welcome back Susan.

From my recollections Susan was among the first on the island to grasp how technology is changing our lives and our way of doing business. She was among pioneer hotel executives here to totally embrace and master the mysteries of the internet and its vast possibilities, she served as advisor on anything e- to the tourism authority and hotel association and lived in the 21st century long before its introduction.

We’re fortunate to have you back.

There’s something about the water here, once you have a sip, you’re bound to return.

An update on Barcadera

I visited Barcadera yesterday checking what progress it is making on its vision of becoming: The Best in Class and Most Sustainable regional Multi Cargo Sea Terminal service provider.

It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining and the sky was clear.

I took a right at the end of the curvy new highway at Balashi, then a left at Arugas, you can’t miss, I was told. True. There was a long line of transport trucks lining the road, drivers idle, shooting the breeze, nothing to do, mid-morning, on an otherwise busy Tuesday.

The gates to the port were closed.

It was 10am. A cargo ship was already tied up to the dock, ready to dislodge its containers, but the port wasn’t operational.

My gracious host Mike de L’Isle, CEO at ASTEC NV, provided me with safety shoes, a helmet and a blazing-orange vest. Together we took a stroll through the 125-million-florin container harbor.

We walked to the end of the pier overlooking WEB and the Balashi bay, white smoke was wafting out of the chimneys.

Why is the port closed at 10:30am?

You know the answer already.

Since the beginning of the year, “smoke gets in my eyes” complaints have been crippling the operation with huge financial consequences.

The volatile and unpredictable nature of container ship schedules, just got more volatile and more unpredictable with the slow down at Barcadera.

On the morning I was there, there wasn’t a trace of smoke in the air, the wind was blowing in the right direction, the air was fresh. Still the port was closed.

Why?

Because the keys to the kingdom are at the hands of Customs.

Which is a bit bizarre. Why would you build a 125-million-florin facility and hand the key over to a third party? The harbor is ISPS certified — International Ship and Port Facility Security and can take care of its own security.

It is a bit odd and cumbersome. Let’s say you build a family home and hand the key to the neighbor?

Or hand your balls over to a third party to carry and hold?

Port security will be cheaper and more efficient under port management, manned by security officers – a less challenging workforce.

Which brings me to the second point of my story. WEB.

WEB bought some cheap fuel for its boilers and generators, with a HIGH SULPHOR CONTENT. Higher than the expected norm, to make its bottom line shine. They have been burning inferior, subpar combustibles affecting the port, at the mercy of the wind direction and caprice.

Shame on them for valuing their bottom line first.

New fuel is coming in Aug 3rd, they will mix what they have with the new batch to come up with better grade combustibles, but that company should be held responsible for millions in damages, in upsetting life at the port as we know it.

I learned a lot more. I will revisit the subject.

Right now, I want you all to express your outrage with WEB’s conduct on the matter and condemn its shitty practices.

From an old column: …. To make this project happen, ASTEC the company operating the harbor, and APA, the Aruba Port Authority partnered with a number of local businesses such as META CORP, determined to move the operation away from town to an area past the airport.

It took years, but it happened. Naturally, the activity of loading and discharging ships requires good logistics, and as a result of the decision to move the harbor it was agreed that ASTEC will be making the shore side investment in the new development, building docks, and offices and warehouses, buying cranes and forklifts and whatever it takes to operate the port while the Aruba Port Authority, APA, will be making the maritime investment, I am not sure what it entails but I am confident it takes a huge financial outlay to acquire anything from vessels to technology.  Fast forward to March 2016. It worked. Together, the island was given a new container harbor, with a total investment of 120 million dollars.  The shareholders, ASTEC, APA, META, increased their input, added some capital and borrowed the rest, but they made it happen. Hip Hip Hurrah.

And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None is a mystery novel, an old best seller by Agatha Christie, I read it in my youth: Ten mysterious murders unfold, yet the criminal leaves clues behind, with every person he knocks off, he eliminates one of the ten Little Indian figurines that sit on the dining room table. And then one morning, there were none!

Just like GOA’s department heads, one morning we’ll wake up and they’d be none, all gone to the guillotine.

Many months ago, a hand-written list of the government department heads circulated. Its title said it all:  Those who must go. There were eighteen names on the list. Nine are already gone, that’s 50%, not bad for a few months of work since September.

At this rate you eliminate one a month, play nice first, close in for the kill, assassinate his/her character, get entangled with lawyers in court, then leave the scandal hanging. Abandoned. Whatever.

I suggest to round everyone up, a la San Nicholas Razia, and conduct a mass firing, why do it one by one, if you can do it all at one time??

Robert Henriquez, suspended for 30 days, follows the footsteps of Jerry Starring, Alwin Koolman, Elio Blijden, Anco Ringeling, Gerald Fingal, Isabel Dammers, and more, some were spared the humiliation, but all NINE are out of a job!

The Ladies of the Night

First of all, let me tell you, there is no happy hooker. That is a myth. No hooker loves and is passionate about what she does. On the other hand, sex is a commodity, its get traded everywhere, even in the white house, so it is not going away!

As you already know, Immigration Police swept down on the bars in San Nicholas collected three dozen of the bar sex workers, hauled them down the Police station, and later on had to release them practically driving them back to bed, because they were all legal, documented, only Dimas has been taking its sweet time to issue the papers.

Thus, the Immigration Police raid was a waste of time. And while they were busy harassing the last business still alive in SN, a boat with twenty illegals came in, just 2 were caught.

While I appreciate the strong hand and the determination the Immigration Police chief brings to her job, I have to say she is at times over enthusiastic and confrontational. I understand she would love to get rid of the bars and the in-house working girls all together, in hope of also losing the pimps, the drugs and the lowlifes. Conducting a surprise raid is not the answer.

I read about a contemporary trend in Red Light District management called the Nordic model – hope it is more effective than the Swiss model.   “Under the Nordic model, prostitutes are decriminalized and offered help, to leave prostitution behind. However, it also becomes a criminal offense to purchase sex. This flips the balance of power between prostitutes and those that exploit them on its head. It also kills off the wider market of drugs, violence, and pimps, effectively restricting the sale of sex to those rare instances where it is genuinely a transaction between two consenting adults.”

Did you get it? The Nordic model, already adopted in many European countries, lends protection to prostitutes, but harasses their clients, and the sex industry including its ugly criminal underbelly.

On the other hand, some of my friends say, leave SN alone, worry about the high-class escorts and call girls in the high-rise area, they are everywhere. 

The sex trade is the only business still alive in SN, why ruin the town’s last economic pillar.

 

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July 29, 2018
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