Bati Bleki Buzz Weekly Recap, October 20th, 2019

The 5th Annual Bartenders’ Brawl—a co-production of Island Temptations magazine, When in Aruba, and Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino—will take place on Oct 25, 2019, at Renaissance Festival Plaza, Oranjestad, starting at 8 pm.

The elegant event will showcase a record of nine of Aruba’s top bartenders impressing event-goers with their original craft cocktail creations.

Aruba’s local spirit distributors are the essential collaborators to make this event happen, supplying all the liquor and necessary ingredients to produce these exciting libations for attendees of the event to enjoy. Renaissance’s culinary team will fuel the guests with savory noshes while a local deejay extraordinaire provides an upbeat, lively backdrop to the festivities.

This year, the People’s Choice award will be given by special invitees, international food and travel influencers. Additionally, a panel of judges will select the Judges’ Choice.  Awards will be presented at 11 pm.

Participants include Tropical Bottling Company, La Cava NV, Aruba Trading Company, Pepia Est, Divino NV, TEC NV, and Manrique Capriles.

The team at Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino and Island Temptations/When in Aruba are proud to provide a venue for Aruba’s talented bartenders to showcase their creativity and further elevate the island’s growing craft cocktail scene.

Cheers to all the bartenders and distributors that help make this a dynamic evening!

Tickets to the grand mixology contest, Bartenders’ Brawl 2019, are now available online at

Eat MY Hat? With pleasure.

Dear friend, said an email received from a very intelligent gentleman in Curacao: I hope you will not call it “fairy tale” in your popular and well-read column because if you do, you might find yourself having to eat your words in a later edition.

He was referring to my Friday column regarding the inaccuracies reported on Aruba’s takeover of refining and terminal assets from Citgo.

Aruba said: It’s a done deal. We’re in charge from now on.

Citgo said: It’s a temporary release. The agreement stands and will resume in time.

I believed Citgo.

The takeover MOU signed by the MinPres got wide distribution. It was carried by Oil & Gas Journal,,, Houston Chronicle,, and other refining related publications.

Just because it was repeated, it created the illusion of truth, and you already know that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth.

So, my concerned friend from Curacao warned me I would have to eat my hat, if indeed Aruba manages to shake Citgo off permanently.

I said with pleasure.

If the amazing picture described by the MinPres comes true, I will eat my hat, feather included.

(She declared Aruba has 25 companies dying to negotiate, workers will be protected, creditors and contractor paid, in her words: “We’re looking for a serious partner that can invest immediately, make the refinery state of the art, comply with environmental standards, pay their fair share to the government and treat their employees well.”


But, it ain’t happening so fast yet.

On the other hand, Refineria di Korsou, made a speedy move.

Apparently after negotiations with the Chinese fell through last year, the Curacao Chronicle reports that RdK met employees to inform them on a visit by the Klesch Group, a possible new operator for Refinery Isla, signing an agreement with that group in September and starting the due diligent process in October.

(Gary Klesch, born 1947, is an American entrepreneur who in 1990 founded the Klesch Group, a global industrial company, based in Geneva, Switzerland, which he owns and chairs. The Klesch Group of companies has interests in metals, mining, oil and gas, power generation, chemicals and other traditional “heavy” industries. Klesch specializes in principal investing in companies that are operating below their full potential.  He was educated by the Jesuits, so he thinks outside the box, and his expertise in the field of business restructuring, recovery and growth, is recognized around the globe.)

If Aruba moves fast it could hitch a ride on the Klesch group wagon entry into our arena, perhaps the Klesch group would like to pick up the Aruba refinery to upgrade the Venezuelan crude oil here and send it to Curacao for refining? Using LNG, natural gas in both locations?

IMAGINE, the Department of the Treasury of the USA already blessed this upcoming marriage with a license, allowing the continued operation of the Curacao refinery and the BOPEC tank farm on Bonaire, despite the US sanctions. In other words, the Venezuela Sanctions Regulations were ALREADY AMENDED in honor of this deal, and perhaps Aruba could do the same?

My friends in the biz say that if former RdA emperor Nelson English came on board, he could make it happen. He is an experienced advisor, and could put a deal together, providing all involved drop the WIIFM attitude, and think about the good of the country.


One of the hottest, most contested topics concerns Serlimar, our lame local trash removal company. Sorry, no recycling, no waste management, mostly in deficit, until the arrival of the new MinInfra who saw the potential to turn the pauper into a prince, on our backs.

Some say, he is eyeing the Serlimar director job, once he turns his apron and pitch fork over to a member of his party, and the new incoming MinInfra, Marisol Tromp.  

One of my talented friends writes: Yesterday was the day in which parliament was about to resume deliberations and eventually get to a vote, attempting to approve an ill-conceived national ordinance giving the mismanaged and semi-bankrupt Serlimar, the state controlled trash collection agency, full monopoly on waste management.

In the absence of an environmental framework here, regulating what constitutes waste, waste management, waste processing and the proper disposal of whatever, Serlimar never had to acquire the expertise, the resources and the trained personnel to engage in ALL activities associated with the full spectrum of waste management.

So they remained stuck: Collect, dump, set on fire, and say it wasn’t you. Repeat.

In Aruba, all treaties ratified by the Kingdom of the Netherlands on waste management and processing, in particular hazardous materials, were never implemented, and never turned into a national legislation.

With the new MinInfra in 2016, the plan to introduce a waste to energy plant, or in other words the sexy incinerator, arrived on the scene, without an economic feasibility plan, or a study of emissions, and/or enforceable air standards, BUT with a big bill, to be guaranteed by Serlimar, and levied from the sheep.

Yes, every household milked, every visitor bled, the holy principle of Free Market, upheld by private companies in the waste management sector, had to be trashed for this rags to riches scheme to work.

Civil society organizations protested, the battle in the public opinion arena raged on for weeks, and luckily, when it went to parliament for the third time, it did not garner support. Was it common sense? The general interest of the public? Or the need to safeguard free market enterprise?

For member of parliament Ricardo Croes to endorse the legislation, the legality of cannabis was a quid pro quo.

By the mere fact that the law keeps popping up for debate and eventual vote, GOA exposed itself as paying only lip service to sustainable development

The second hottest and most contested topic is the threat of receiving a KB from the Netherlands, or an aanwijzing, which will in fact escalate financial supervision to financial guardianship, and micro management, a type of breathing-down-your-neck control.

What it exactly means, I don‘t know. The Dutch may come here with a list of things to do, perhaps slash all salaries across the board by 20%, cracking down on expenses, and perhaps even arrive here physically, in teams, verifying that things are hopping.  MORE TOMORROW

WOO: Keeping up with OO

WIIFM = what’s in it for me.


In one of her numerous press releases MinFec expressed disappointment and frustration, she thought Aruba was fulfilling its side of the financial supervision deal and still the threat of a KB or a ‘aanwijzing,’ hangs over the island’s head at the end of the year’s second financial quarter.

I had little interest in local politics until 2015, but I do pay a bit of attention now that the stakes are higher and the sheep are asked to carry an immense burden.  Yes, I just noticed my personal LB, went up considerably, not to mention what happened to my buying power.

So the press release starts with 2010 when trouble began, and the kingdom indicated it would from then on, oversee public finances in order to cure us from overspending. But despite clear intentions, under the green flag, GOA doubled our national debt. Welcome to 2016 and the new government jumping through hoops in order to avoid a KB, a royal decree, a laundry-list of what MUST be done.  

The parties recently met in New York, there were niceties and photo opportunities and upon their return to the Netherlands, the officials recommended that dreaded laundry-list for Aruba, an ‘aanwijzing, ’as the ultimate instrument, enforcing compliance.

I asked around what is meant.  

If you compare it to a private company, says one of my friends, the Supervisory Board would from now on dictate every move to Management.

Will the island get one?

It’s 51%-49% chance to the disadvantage of Aruba, he thought.

The biggest issue with the Dutch government is the island’s personnel expenses, the size of the government machine. It’s huge.

Of course Aruba may appeal the decision, Curacao did, but why bite the helping hand?  The island should instead attempt to foster a friendlier relation with the wealthy mother-ship.

Aruba, he says, needs an alternative source of income, it must reinvent itself, come up with a new-money making industry, the sheep can no longer sustain the pressure.

The road to salvation is made of new economic pillars.

And cities around the world have reinvented themselves successfully by thinking out of the box. Bilbao, Spain, opened a museum and found revival, Medellin developed medical tourism and cashed in, Colorado cultivated Cannabis in 2014, and secured $683,523,739, in the first year.

We need someone to come up with a brilliant idea.

But in order to cash in on a brilliant private sector idea, the public sector, i.e. GOA, must prepare good infrastructures.

Ask yourself: How easy is it to register a company, open a bank account, get a license, apply for a work permit?

It’s hell. We’re very bureaucratic, and as long as we stick to the old ways of doing things, nothing will change.

Ribbon Cutting Hyatt Place, Aruba Airport Hotel & Business Center

Ribbon cuttings are in general joyous occasions, and yesterday’s business event was handled very well by the crew of the brand new Hyatt Place, Aruba Airport Hotel & Business Center.

From what I gathered from the friendly speeches of General Manager Marta Raven, Contractor/Investor Stefano Pellizzari, Pelca Development Company, brand representative Luciano Julio, MinTour Dangui Oduber and Developer/Investor Luis Cano, the project began with the purchase of the terrain 4 years ago.

The buyer, Luis Cano, relocated with his family from Venezuela. He has been established in Aruba for a while, running a number of local businesses, also agent for Caterpillar Aruba. Cano initiated the planning and construction of the project in partnership with his fellow-countryman Stefano Pellizzari.

Pelca Development Company, was put in charge of the project and in January 2017 outgoing ministers Mike de Meza and Paul Croes, got to lay the cornerstone.

A different set of ministers showed up proud for the 2019 opening MinPres Evelyn Wever-Croes, MinTour Dangui Oduber, MinInfra Otmar Oduber and MinEdu Glenbert Croes, who popped in late and managed to catch all photo opportunities while skipping the speeches.

MinTour remarked it was his father that cut the ribbon on the Hyatt Regency and that he was pleased, twenty years later to do the same for Hyatt Place.

Cano whose name did not appear on the original program, asked to address his invitees anyway. He was visibly emotional and moved to tears, by the realization of his dream, a stylish hotel and business center, in the heart of the island.  If you recall his brother AIS Aruba Industrial Services business partner Carlos Cano, was gunned down in Venezuela in 2015, as a result of a botched robbery or kidnapping attempt. Cano’s joy over the project completion was mixed with profound sadness.

The Hyatt Place Aruba Airport Hotel & Business Center was an investment of $50 million of the investors’ own money, I understand. They built 116 rooms, that’s $431,000. – per room, they obviously spent generously, and it shows. The property is understated, elegant, and distinctly user-friendly.

The hotel recruited 43 employees, and one of the highlights of the morning speeches occurred as Raven addressed her team, they were all standing on her left, lined up on the staircase leading up to the hotel’s second floor, she turned to them, looked into eyes, and expressed her heartfelt gratitude for their many contributions.

Brand representative Luciano Julio, a trim man with a slight Portuguese accent, Regional Vice President of Operations, spoke about the brand: 305 Hyatt Place locations around the glove, and growing by the minute, offering modern, comfortable accommodations, breakfast included.

The hotel, with great two-level parking, will also offer a food court, spa, bank, car rental, and various retail stores, on the ground floor, business and meeting spaces on the second, while the lobby, restaurant, pool and bars, may be found on the third, overlooking the Haystack.

The hotel will easily connect to the airport, and with 2 million passengers passing through AAA annually, and more than 20 airlines, I am confident it will reach synergy faster than we think.

Check out their very affordable rates.

Hyatt Place Aruba Airport Wayaca 6-B Oranjestad, Aruba

Website:, for questions: [email protected] +297 523 1207

Laboratorio di Servicio makes groundbreaking move and achieves ISO-accreditation

Under a beautiful sunset, a mixed crowd of local and Dutch healthcare professionals got together in front of the main Laboratorio di Servicio office in Eagle.

The mood was jubilant and invitees could feel in owner Robert Wever’s speech that he was extremely proud of two recent company accomplishments, namely rapid expansion and the coveted ISO-15189.2012 certification.

Laboratorio di Servicio, the largest lab service provider on the island is now officially ISO-certified, meaning it operates under the same standards as ISO-accredited labs in the Netherlands.

Which is even more critical, in view of the latest disastrous news regarding the mismanagement of the hospital lab.  

Robert Wever, Aruba’s leading clinical chemist is well-known in healthcare circles as a top professional and a visionary, striving to maintain very high standards within his company, and among employees.

After working in the Netherlands as a lab-specialist he decided he wanted to improve the quality of lab-services offered here. He made good on his decision and even expanded to the island of Curacao.

After a healthy injection of funds from the Aruba Growth Fund, the healthcare-chain’s majority stakeholder, Wever and his new dynamic business partners were set to expand into the five operating pharmacies.

When they were done, the “di Servicio” healthcare brand proudly reported NINE “prikpost” lab locations besides the Eagle main-branch.  

In a brief interview with Wever he reports, “Not even our local hospital, Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital, is ISO-certified, and I couldn’t continue operating “business as usual” knowing that Aruban patients are not receiving optimal, quality healthcare. Our number-one mission is to provide reliable and safe care to our patients, and that is why we HAD to make the necessary adjustments and upgrades to ensure ISO-standard service.”

Laboratorio di Servico, raised the bar on healthcare services here and although lab visits and tests are ordinarily far apart, it is reassuring to know they are available, in close proximity to doctors’ offices, in all neighborhoods, prepared to help diagnose, screen, or monitor many specific diseases or conditions, maintaining the safest, best level of efficient and reliable service on Aruba.


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October 20, 2019
Rona Coster
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
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster