Bati Bleki Buzz Weely Recap, Feb 4th, 2018

Equal in the eyes of the law?!

The parents of a victim of a tragic road accident welcomed some justice last week, when a verdict finally announced that the Policewoman responsible for the death of their twelve-year-old girl, in March 2015, will be charged, and will answer the charges in court.

Previously the local police department covered the incident up, they reportedly issued a meek report on a little alcohol consumption, and a loud denial of impairment.

Anyway, it took time, but the parent fought in court and won. There is no such thing as a little drunk, or a little pregnant. You are either pregnant, or you’re not.

In cases of drunk driving with tragic results, it doesn’t matter how much you drank. What matters is the fact you were inebriated behind the wheel. And membership in the Police department shouldn’t exempt you from charges.

A few days ago, a story reported on 24Ora told the outrageous tale of a high-ranking Police officer, name withheld, involved in reckless driving down the highway from Oranjestad’s Green Corridor, to the Balashi intersection. The Police gave chase and apprehended their man. He was then whisked away, discreetly, through the back door of the Police station for interrogation. No photographs, no public shaming. The story had no follow up. Apparently, he was not arrested. My sources say, the officer was sent home to sleep it off, his driving license withheld.

Dear MinJust: This story requires a follow up, plus, you should also take a minute to condemn the behavior of the prosecutor who decided to wave charges in the tragic death case, above.

Shouldn’t we all be equal in the eyes of the law?

The men in blue regularly hold the already law-abiding businesses of this island to the highest standards and are lax on watersport operator, kiosk owners, cock fighting arenas, drug peddlers and other petty hoods.

The Police closed down a stylish new restaurant on Palm Beach, a huge investment, for some insignificant form they failed to fill out, and they clearly attempted to underplay a case of reckless driving caught on video. Really?

Please issue a press release condemning/explaining, whatever you need to do.

A trip to the Derma Doc

As I was visiting my dermatologist, Dr. Noris Lampe she shared an interesting narrative with me. The doctor is a busy woman, laboring to reverse the effects of our equatorial sun on skin, among other medical pursuits.  Additionally, she almost participated in last year’s elections, on the list with MAS, plus she has lots of interesting opinions, on a diverse number of subjects including art. Yes, she is a hobbyist painter.

This is what she shared: It is a mistake to have just one giant health insurance provider, which in Aruba is a sickness insurance company, AZV, you get sick, it takes care of you, to a certain extent, at no extra charge. This is social medicine at its best.

According to Dr. Lampe, this type of health care is exorbitant, and unaffordable – the island is too small, the financial burden too big.

She would like to see two different insurance providers, a general one, and a specific one for accidents and shit-happens cases.

Employers will be asked to buy an extra group insurance for their employees for that later shit-happens category, from a giant global insurance provider who will take the risk, for a large group.

This will immediately relieve the current general health provider from unexpected expenses.

The giant global insurance provider taking the risk, will then oblige its clients to take precautions, wear protective gear, apply safety measures, and in general raise the bar on accident prevention. Companies will take the necessary steps to crack down on carelessness and negligence, otherwise they will get zero insurance coverage.

Of course, the added-value for that is less work and road related catastrophes that keep people away from work, and burden the AZV budget.

She also warned against adding any MORE house doctors to the mix. Add specialists, she said, and make the waiting time to see a specialist as short as possible. It is about 6 months now, as the house doctors prescribe paracetamol to their patients suffering from undiagnosed conditions.

Send the patients to specialists ASAP, she recommended. This will lead to a better diagnosis, early detection of issues, shorter treatment time, and a better survival rate.

Adding more specialists would mean less costly trip to Colombia to medical institutions there, because diseases at an early stage may be treated here!

As she finished zapping my last sun damage spot, her dissertation came to an end.

I can totally see her point. She is 100% right. We constantly hear the complaint that patients get to see the specialists too late, because AZV is rigidly restricting the number of referrals house doctors can make.

Boohoo.

In case Dr. Noris Lampe is wrong. Kindly explain why you think so!

An Update on ATSA

The members of the Aruba Timeshare Association, ATSA, enjoyed White’s incredible cuisine offerings recently, celebrating the end of a successful 2017 and the beginning of a hopeful 2018.

Party host, Ursell Arends, at the helm of the organization, is the Operations Manager, at La Quinta Beach Resort. He ran for parliament with Raiz last year, and returned to his home base when his party’s bid for seats was promising — 2,107 votes, 3.59% of the electoral vote — but fell short of the required minimum to enter parliament. Ursell says Raiz will run again in 2021.

Naturally, ATSA was happy to welcome him back as president of the association. He is a valuable player.

Last year, the association modified its bylaws to include condominium complexes operated by Owners’ Associations. As you might know, once a complex is more than 50% sold, the Owners’ Association takes management over. That change facilitated ATSA memberships for a number of successful condo developments.

The industry here, according to Ursell, is often underestimated. It represents 40% of the island’s room inventory and 25% of its GDP, yet it gets very little press, and shies away from publicity.

That will however change on February 22nd, when Robin B. DiPietro, the director of the International Institute for Foodservice
Research and Education and a professor at the University of South Carolina in the
School of Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management, presents her findings on the Economic Impact of Aruba’s Vacation Ownership, at the University of Aruba.

We used to call it timeshare, it should from now on be referred to as Vacation Ownership.

As the Caribbean’s #1 destination in the Interval exchange network, the island’s vacation owners have supported One Happy Island through thick and thin, through unfortunate personal tragedies and public relations debacle, and global economic slumps; they are a constant, they keep coming back.

No other island in the Caribbean may claim a 40% vacation ownership market share. It is unique to Aruba and a source of envy to our neighbors.

The general public will be invited to listen to DiPietro’s findings on the 27th, also at UA, with press and dignitaries invited.

Challenges? The 40-year-old industry must continuously reinvent itself in order to go strong another 40 years. The new generation of owners are different than the original ones, and their needs must be met with fresh products and new twists.

Airlift is a challenge too. As more condominiums become available more air seats are required. The airport is building four more gates. They will be ready in 2020, until then, it is sometimes difficult to find affordable airfare at a convenient schedule.

What does the future hold? More collaboration between ATSA and AGA, more association members, more dialogue with stakeholder, government and NGOs, more nature preservation and protection; 67% of travelers are concerned about the environment and we should take better care of ours.

February 1st, StimamiSterilisami, starts again today!!

This is what you need to know. Register at: http://stimamisterilisami.com/.

Fill out a short form on line, pick a veterinary clinic from among six on island and you will be getting a number by return mail. With that number you may call your vet for an appointment. On the designated day, you bring your stray dog or cat, no pedigree please, to the vet, pay Awg 75 per dog, Awg 35 per cat, and you’re done.

Pick up your sterilized pet in the afternoon and return it to the street, if a stray, or enjoy it without being burdened by unwanted puppies/kittens. The registration is only valid for three months, so don’t procrastinate. In just three months they can fill your backyard with babies if you don’t take charge.

The sterilization procedure is subsidized by the generous and conscientious Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, and their partners, the Aruba Product Enhancement Fund. Funds from the Aruba Tourism Authority are reportedly forthcoming.

The campaign started three year ago, because nearly 7,000 unwanted cats and dogs are euthanized each year by the Veterinary Services – abandoned by their owners in the designated kill cage, adjacent to the animal shelter in Wayaca. Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts took the decision to earmark considerable funds for a national Spay & Neuter campaign, an idea animal advocate Yessy Arends, suggested.

It was super successful, and in the first year a grand total of 4,450 surgeries were subsidized since the program was rolled out in December of 2015.

In February 2017, the program entered a second phase, surgeries of all registered dogs and cats were performed as planned, however new registrations for subsidized surgeries were only possible through Aruba’s legal rescue foundations, helping homeless dogs and cats on Aruba, namely: ARA, ARF, AARF, Sgt Pepper’s Friends, New Life for Paws, Animal Shelter, Nisi Cannis (Crioyo Trappers), and Cas di Animal.

By that time, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort invested over Awg 375,000 in the program and received some financial contributions from ATA and the Tourism Product Enhancement Fund, to the tune of Awg 200,000.  More than 6,330 pets were registered for the procedure.

Which is serious money, to pay for the fact that many locals are irresponsible pet owners and would adopt a pet, but do zero to prevent procreation.

Tisa LaSorte, reports on behalf of Bucuti, that you gotta watch it. Under normal circumstance, one pair of dogs, can become 11.000 in five years, so in principle by spaying and neutering 3,760 dogs and cats, in that second phase, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort prevented the suffering of 41 million animals in the next 5 years.

In 2018, starting today, subsidy is available to EVERYONE, just go on line to register. If a dog roams your neighborhood, register him, bring him in for surgery, pay Awg 75, and rerun him into the street. Life on the street in Aruba is not miserable. It’s imperfect, but if you cannot adopt your neighborhood stray, by spaying it, you took control of an out-of-control situation.

If you bought an overpriced pedigree dog, you can afford to pay full price.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts hope the program helps educate locals about the importance of the surgery, and that it helps create more responsible pet owners. Amen!

Ridiculous

A wild strike by customs forced the boat from Miami loaded with fresh produce to go to Curacao. It couldn’t offload here. The Barcadera port was closed.

This is ridiculous. They are such crybabies.

All supermarket shelves were empty for two days because our Customs Officers are disgruntled. They were promised some stuff by the outgoing government. That outgoing government dragged its heels on the implementation. Now they are holding the new government at gun-point, you could say.

The MinFinEcon answered their claims at length. Take a number, wait in line. I have many other fish to fry. Your turn will come. You cannot hold me to a schedule, just 85 days into government.

The men in brown finally went back to work on Thursday afternoon. And produce was offloaded, TWO DAYS LATE. The stores had to pay employees overtime to stock shelves. The brokers sat idle for 48 hours.

Who are you punishing with the strike?

You are punishing us. Because the merchants will stick us with the overtime bill, by raising prices on not-so-fresh-anymore products.

You will get paid anyway, working or not. Of course, you are government employees.

Question: Why can’t you stage a walk out on non-busy days?? You just held vegetables hostage by your action, why not pick a nonconsequential day??

And by the way, when you occasionally rip through boxes to inspect content, why don’t you tape them back shut?

Out of simple courtesy, Customs should make an investment in tape, to nicely seal boxes opened.

I have written about Aruba’s Customs Agents a number of time, they flip out every second week, they strike, they slow work down, they inconvenience tourist-arrivals.

Last year they went on strike. Over parking. And before that over some car-rental office space.

Last year I said: The issue is probably not the issue; the strike is just a symptom of a deeper postema. They must not feel loved, nor appreciated, that’s why like kids they act out, on totally unrelated issues.

Under the previous administration, MEP followers were cranky.  Now under a new administration the AVP diehards are crabby.  Why should it matter? Work is work; you work for Aruba!

We should remember who is at the helm of the DAA department, the agents realize they play an important role, but they suffer from complete lack of leadership.

It’s that complete lack of leadership, that’s problematic, and the rank and file feel invisible and uncared for, so they act out in desperation. It’s all an attempt to be heard and respected. And their self-important union leader doesn’t help the situation!

Carnival, How Does It Work?

I don’t know, but it does. And forgive if I am sleepy this morning, I spent the night on the streets in San Nicholas with ten thousand other revelers, shuffling behind the island’s most popular bands, beer in hand.

As promised J’ouvert Morning started at 4AM, February 3, leaving from Joe Laveist Sportpark, and meandering through the streets of otherwise sleepy San Nicholas, a long loop, back at 8am to where we started, with a stellar musical line up: N’ Fusion, Buleria, Tsunami, Steam, Le Groove and two DJ trucks.

The music is fantastic this year. N’Fuzion at the head of the PJ parade featured Rasty, a bus driver by profession, a veteran Carnival star and a crowd magnet. His song is super catchy; last year’s hit was Rising from the Dead, this year it’s ALIVE, feeling alive.

Tsunami has a song that keeps playing in my head, DO WHAT YOU WANT, sung by Blacky, inspired by the recent comment of the former MinInfra who declared in parliament he doesn’t give a damn.

Le Grove with T-Money, his real name is Tony Mingo, an old time favorite; he spins a classic by the name of SIDELINERS, a fun tune with easy lyrics.

Last but not least the most popular so far FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL by Rasta, fronting Buleria, wow, it’s all about love, we’re coming together to celebrate love – what’s not to like about this song??

Brass sections, drums, laser beams, mammoth speakers, costumes, body paint, hair styles, prima donna attitudes, thousands of diehard fans – it all played out in the packed streets of Aruba’s out-of-business oil town.

The SMAC organization, a not for profit, puts it all together with a handful of board members. Shannon Henriquez, a veteran Carnival queen is the chief coordinator, the president, she pulls the strings, Red Cross, Police, Serlimar, she has it all at the tip of her fingers.

In real life she is the Human Resources director of Aruba Air, but her company loans her out for the months before Carnival. The deal is the following, do your job, take care of 140 company employees AND run Carnival in between. How does she do it?? She is a super woman. Did I mention a beautiful family? Yes, she runs that too. True, all districts and groups have their own leaders, but Shannon is the glue that keeps it all together.

You may visit the SMAC headquarters on Weststraat 7, Oranjestad, Aruba, or E-mail Shannon: [email protected], @smacaruba. Call 583 1800

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February 04, 2018
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