Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap, November 24th, 2019

Aruba Beach Tennis Open 2019, a tremendous success

The beginning was slow, remember? BTA, Beach Tennis Aruba, had to relocate the event from Eagle Beach and put down 40cm of sifted white sand over 24,000 square meters at Bushiri, in order to create an arena big enough for 40 amateur courts and one professional Central Court.

They had to build a village, with a food court, lounge areas, pop up stores, VIP gallery, First Aid, restroom, the works.

So the beginning was slow, but sometimes in the spring, MinInfra gave the green light to save Aruba’s biggest, most-popular, international sporting event, and the wheels started turning.

At some point the bandera went to MinTour, also the minister of sports, and from then on, says Sjoerd de Vries, on behalf of BTA, once the introductions were made all stakeholders collaborated, exceptionally well.

Sjoerd reports that BTA drew plans with military precision and stakeholders showed, gasp, responsive interest.

Great thanks to Marlon Croes from Public Works and Haime Croes from the Land Department for their immense follow up.

Then the department of the environment came on board with specific instructions about the trees and landscaping in the Bushiri area. They were satisfied with trash control and environment-friendly products in use, and stuck around for advice.

The sand was brought down from the Barcadera Harbor. Luckily they had some reserves stashed away, and ATA agreed to foot the bill from tourism money.

How can you run an international event without internet?

Setar agreed, and completed the work on time, for a handsome check.

Water? WEB complied.

ELMAR? There was not time to lay the electric infrastructure, so the event ran on a giant generator with LED lights which made the environmentalists happy.

While at the beginning they were only going to create the arena, after a number of roundtable conferences with BTA, they agreed to fix the entire area, and Aruba is now blessed with a new beautiful beach.

The event attracted about 1,300 participants from Aruba, Venezuela, Italy, Russia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Curacao, Puerto Rico, and USA. It was a bit smaller than last year due to a diminished number of Venezuelans and perhaps one more South American country with a crippled economy. But otherwise it exceeded all expectation.

The weather was PERFECT. And Less wind contributed to longer play.

From a spectator’s point of view, and I visited ABTO 2019 on a number of occasions it was a spectacular show. Beach Tennis was the main attraction, not the bar, not the social scene.

The non-smoking bleachers afforded excellent viewing with giant screens and good commentary.

The beer vendors came around; we didn’t even have to move from our seats.

And the pasta was delicious. Kudos to Gianni’s Group for a great field operation.   

So now it will take a week to pull all pieces apart, and next year’s ABTO 2020 will be a breeze, because handbook 2019, was well written.

The Aruban players did an excellent job, and last night for the finals the arena was PACKED.

The Italians won.    

 The ref who monitored the games of behalf of the International Tennis Federation, ITF, said Aruba delivered above and beyond.

THANK YOU SPONSORS, we couldn’t have made it without you!

 For more information visit the website,

Coffee-lovers, LOVE Juan Valdez

In 2013 we were happy to welcome Juan Valdez to Aruba. The company was opening a concept café at the Alhambra Shops, with an opening party in October.

I remember, I was there, as the then charming minister of education cut the ribbon. The company also opened a smaller outlet, equally cute, in the heart of Palm Beach

The chic cafes with seating indoor and outdoor, serve 100% Colombian coffee grown and harvested by Colombian farmers, since 1959. While the Juan Valdez character and his mule Conchita are fictional, they do deliver the message that this is the real deal, not blended with coffee beans from other countries.

At the time, the man and his mule were scheduled to make an appearance at the opening party, and I was looking forward to meeting Conchita’s local incarnation. Alas, they never showed, but the coffee more than compensated for their absence.

Last week, the Grand Café at the Alhambra Shops hosted a small get together having recently been renovated.  

I showed up unsuspecting. At the plaza I was greeted by a small crowd sipping nevados and tintos campesinos while listening to a live acoustic music concert by Jonathan “Jeon” Thiel, and his pianist Giendrick Boekhoudt. Surprise.

His dad was filing the performance and the thrilled small audience, was spellbound, under the stars, listening to all favorites, at a private, exclusive performance.

I couldn’t believe my ears. That was fantastic.

These days, you can enjoy truly delicious cups of coffee and specialty drinks at the Alhambra Mall, open from 7am to 10pm, at La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino in the lobby, and soon at Aruba Bank on the main street in Oranjestad. There will be a smaller outlet at the new D’shop, on Sasaki, which would greatly enhance the shopping experience.

At the airport? Sure, in two locations.

The Juan Valdez® Cafe brand represents the thousands of dedicated Colombian coffee growers who go about their work with precision and expertise. Growing coffee is like raising a family it requires patience, love and total commitment.

Juan Valdez is the only internationally recognized coffee brand that belongs to coffee growers. The stores give coffee-lovers the opportunity to experience the unique flavors and aromas of 100% Colombian coffee, including an appealing portfolio of single origin coffees. The friendly baristas prepare hundreds of cups every day, each with pride and passion. The Juan Valdez® Cafe brand represents the quality, values and traditions of Colombian coffee.

#ChocoChristmas #Tintocampesino #premiumcolombiancoffee #lifeisbetterwithjuanvaldez

Halleluiah, something to be proud of

The Aruba Parliament just ratified a law banning Styrofoam plates, cups and food containers.

Sunscreen containing oxybenzone.

Attention party people: Releasing of plastic confetti and balloons into the sky is now verboden.

Plastic products: Plates, cups, cup covers, straws, toothpicks, food containers, bags, drink stirrers, and cutlery, are out.

Note that the law only describes the products as PLASTIC but in the explanatory memo it defines the items as SINGLE USE.

The law has no date of introduction, but this will be determined by the Minister of the Environment.  However, local news agencies mentioned July 1st, 2020 as the implementation date. 

The law also offers the Minister the right to impose a fine of Awg 10,000 on violations of the law.

Some official notifications will certainly follow in the future.

Congratulations, we joined the enlightened world.

It will take a while to replace PLASTIC products with PAPER products, but these too should be reduced, recycled and reused.

Beyond Hacking: Cyber terrorism

A story circulating in the media: Our hospital computers have been high-jacked for ransom by professional criminals who are holding our information hostage for a bitcoin payment of$250.000. Horacio Oduber is in good company. The cities of Newark, Atlanta, and Sarasota have been hit. So have Cleveland’s airport and San Francisco’s transit authority. You can negotiate a reduced rate or kiss your information goodbye.

If you pay the ransom, you get your info back. If you don’t, then at the end of a certain period set by the criminals, all is lost an irretrievable.

State of the art firewalls cost money. Did the hospital invest adequately in security?

One of my friends forwarded me a WANT AD. The hospital recently published a laundry list of ALL its system in search of a new IT person. They did not use a discreet head-hunter. They wanted to save the fees, and just published an ad with requirements.

They listed their goodies. This must have been a tempting invitation.

Also, conspiracy theorists speculate that it’s convenient in wiping out all evidence of maleficence, erasing all trails. 

Of course, they could always play tough and refuse to pay. According to 60 Minutes it could take up to 2 years to reconstruct what’s lost.

The more we hear about the hospital the more it becomes clear that both management and board should be fired for #incompetence. We deserve better.

Secrets? We should have NO secrets, what a terrible name in the age of transparency.

The new 600 room All Inclusive, known as Secrets Baby Beach Resort, held a ground-breaking ceremony on November 14th. At the time it was reported that construction is ready to begin, and conclude by 2021. The festivities were well-attended by GOA’s ministers, dignitaries, and the joyous San Nicolas Business Association, pleased to see business heading into town. Then they threw a party at Carnival Village, where several of the town’s bands performed.

I asked a few upright citizens to comment:

MAVEN ONE: You asked me for my opinion on the Secrets project at Seroe Colorado, so here it is with pleasure:

The resort will have a substantially positive impact on the economic and social situation of San Nicolas. 

The closings of the refinery ravaged the town that was once flourishing, and the industry that once fed the island’s economy.  

San Nicolas raised some of our most outstanding hotel employees, since the beginning of the hotel industry here. I remember hearing the late Ike Cohen praise his employees from San Nicolas for being extra hospitable AND fluent in English. They bring a warmth and personality to the job.

Secrets will invigorate San Nicolas and reward it hospitable population with steady jobs. They have been preparing for that from day one of the Tourist Industry here.

The social spin off effect will be staggering and felt everywhere, providing Aruba with another tourist attraction to compete with our neighboring Caribbean tourist products. 

About environmental issues: There is not one project, not even a residence, that can be built WITHOUT in one way or the other, impacting the environment.

Progressive societies try to mitigate the impact, with rules and regulations as well as environmental protection laws. 

In Secrets’ case, GOA has provided for this in many different ways. 

Lastly, Secrets will require infrastructure, which will provide work for our construction industry, for the two upcoming years

MAVEN TWO:  The resort is St Nicholas will severely cripple our hotels on Palm Beach, we have fantastic workers who live in San Nicholas, and all high rise hotels will have to look for new people, and go through WORK-PERMIT HELL.

GOA is talking through both end of its mouth. Encouraging development but cracking down on foreign permits, to the umpteen degree.

MAVEN THREE: This is the wrong ‘type’ of hotel for the island, and the area. The large, All Inclusive invasive, over-bearing properties, are so yesterday. We all agree on development, on a small, exclusive scale. And the arrival of a large behemoth is against the will of the people, and against prudent advice regarding over-development.

MAVEN FOUR: It’s the death sentence for Seroe Colorado Bay Key Islands, according to Birdlife International, IUCN. Additionally, according to a Standard Oil report from 1928, when the Americans surveyed the area of Seroe Colorado, as they were building the school, hospital and the bungalows, the area of Baby Beach is not suitable for over-building because of the danger of sink holes. And as far as the maintenance of any such large scale project goes, in this wind-swept, salt-laced environment, it is a nightmare.

MAVEN FIVE: Secrets? We should have NO secrets, what a terrible name in the age of transparency.       


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November 24, 2019
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Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
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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