Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, April 26th, 2016

STARTING TODAY: “Operation Cunucu” will perform FREE Sterilization on street dogs until 30th

Animal Balance, a volunteer organization from the USA is sending a team of 20 professionals to Aruba to perform sterilizations on stray dogs, trapping and then fixing the dogs in the dump, at Parkitemnbos. All dogs that are trapped will be returned to the same place where they were found, once they are sterilized.

While the main focus of “Operation Cunucu,” is humanely trapping the dogs at the Parkietenbos dump, you can also help your neighborhood, by bringing some of the strays living on your street, to be operated.

Location of Clinic: Centro Dakota

You may drop stay dogs: Between 8am and 9am

Pick up time after surgery: 5pm

Dates: April 26th, April 27th, April 28, April 29th and April 30th.

Attention San Nicholas Residents: If you wish to drop off a stray dog, from your street, to be operated and returned, the organization has a collection point outside the YMCA, for those without transportation. Volunteers will pick up the dog from you at this collection point and return the dog to you, same day, between 5pm and 6pm.

Attention Oranjestad Residents: If you wish to drop off a stray dog, from your street, to be operated and returned, come to Centro Dakota; please make sure that the dog is on a leash or in a kennel.

The Free Sterilization Clinic for street dogs and puppies will handle a maximum of 500 dogs and puppies for this year’s campaign. All dogs treated will receive Free Vaccinations against Parvo and Distemper, and flea and tick prevention treatment. All dogs will receive a small tattoo in their ear to indicate they were operated.

Plataforma Ley de Cacho is in full support of this campaign, and we ask that if you are an owner of a dog, please keep your dog on your property, because if your dog is trapped, it will be sterilized.

Additionally, 40 local and international volunteers are giving their time to support “Operation Cunucu,” in many other ways to make sure the campaign is successful, and we thank them.

“Operation Cunucu” has full support and co-operation of the Government of Aruba and members of Parliament, specifically the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Health. A special recognition should go to Member of Parliament Donny Rasmijn.

The project, has been two years in the making, and was only made possible through very generous donations, of mostly American tourists.

The project enjoys the support of the local NGOs, Animal Rights groups, the local veterinarians and many businesses, who sponsored accommodation, lunches, dog food and more.

It is our sincere hope that Aruba will come together and help us reach our target number of 500 dogs sterilized, we need all the support we can get in making this possible……So if you know of a street dog, please bring it to be sterilized.

Sterilization is beneficial for the dog’s good health, and it is the only humane method of population control. Be a responsible dog owner, not just a dog lover.

Offbeat Island by Hunter Thompson, July 16th 1962.

Nobody is Neutral Under Aruba’s Hot Sun

The Trocadero Bar on the Caribbean Island of Aruba is spacious sunny & breezy with slated doors, and a long white porch that faces the sea.

It’s the kind of place where you might discover Somerset Maugham, or the ghost of Humphrey Bogart eyeing you sullenly from the other end of the black marble counter.

Aruba is in the island group called the Netherlands Antilles, a Dutch possession and the Trocadero is on the waterfront in Oranjestad, its capital.

Fifteen minutes southward over the blue green sea are the mountains of Venezuela. The bamboo chairs on the Trocadero porch afford a lulling panoramic view. First the concrete palm lined quay, dotted with native fruit stands, then the pier lined with fishing sloops, then near the white sand-bar at the entrance to the harbor, one or two heavily laden smuggling boats waiting to make their stealthy trip to Colombia.

Under the burning sun on a recent morning four men were sitting on the Trocadero porch and drinking beer. Two were Antilleans. “Boeboe,” a local merchant and “Makaku,” a landowner. Boeboe is a Papiamento language nickname for a family’s eldest son. Makaku is the Swahili word for monkey. Like most Antilleans they were of Dutch ancestry mixed with the native stock.

The third was a Dutchman, Jos Van Kuijk, Aruba’s editor for the Amigoe di Curacao. The Amigoe, a daily, is the largest paper in the Netherlands Antilles. And the fourth was an American – me.

Their Holland is Gone

Most of the Trocadero patrons are Dutchman or prosperous Antilleans. Many of the Dutchmen are former seamen or officers in the Royal Dutch Navy, and when they talk about Holland you feel they don’t really believe it exists. The Holland most of them knew was the Holland before World War II and it is more a memory than a fact.

There is, of course, still some tangible contact. Letters come and go, they smoke Dutch tobacco and drink Dutch beer, their language is Dutch but their souls are in a sort of Caribbean limbo and time weighs heavy on their hands.

Their salaries are high by any standards, and their daily routines are long since established: Open the office in the morning, close it at noon, open it again at two, and lock up at six. They are paid for their responsibility, they explain, the work is done by employees.

They also explain it is necessary to drink in the tropics “to keep the system in balance,” and besides, there is not much else to do. On most mornings you will find them at the Trocadero, running up bar bills averaging well over $120 a month, per man.

They are a laughing, talkative lot, with sharp tongues and a combative sense of humor. The conversation ranges, as it does on most islands, over a full range of local gossip and backstage politics.

During my visit one of the main topics was the forthcoming election, when Aruba would elect eight members to the “Staten” the Netherlands Antilles legislative council. Whichever party won the majority of seats would rule the island for the next four years.

The Animosity is Mutual

There are two main parties, the Aruba Patriotic Party, PPA, which has been in power for eight years; and the Aruba People’s Party, AVP, they are noted less for their ideological differences than for their deep-seated mutual animosity.

On the morning at the Trocadero, Makaku, the land owner, and a member of the AVP, asked the American if he had enough film to take picture of “all the hangings,” that would take place the day after the elections. Then, he nodded at Boeboe, a PPA supporter, “The Fat Swine,” he said. “We’re going to hoist him up.”

The American looked at Boeboe, who sat quietly while Makaku continued. “You are a good friend of mine, I love you like a brother. But after the voting – with tears in my eyes– I am going to hang you.”

He turned back to the American.”You ask who is who in these elections, well by God, I tell you – it is the decent people against the cut-throats and the Bolsheviks.”

Van Kuijk, the journalist, chuckled quietly. “I tink id is time for a cool beer.” He said signaling the barman. Makaku was still talking about “hangings, hangings.”

Boeboe nudged the American. “Don’t pay any attention to this fanatic,” he said with a smile. He is an old and bitter man.”

“Hah “—Makaku snapped. “He’ll pay attention when he sees you dangling from a lamp post.” He nodded solemnly.”The day of judgment is coming—we have a noose for every one of you thieves.

Reprisals and Vendettas

Boeboe laughed. ”Who do you call thieves? Only 2.000.000 out of 20.000.000—10 percent, is that thievery?” He looked at the American. “I ask you seriously– would you hang a man if he took only 10 percent?”

There would of course be no post-election hangings. The PPA, incidentally, retained its majority of five of the eight seats. But sweeping economic reprisals and lingering personal vendettas are common after each contest at the polls. When a party comes into power, for instance, almost all government employees of the other party are fired instantly – unless they have been secretly working for the opposition.

Many do. Few Arubans are neutral at election time, although they are often afraid to say which side they are on. After the elections, however, everything settles back to normal.

Relatively, that is. “Normally,” on Aruba is a hard to pin down.

For the white Dutchmen, for instance, it is a life strung out over long hot months and years, staring at the barren, cactus studded Aruba landscape as it turns faintly red towards the evening. The “Cunucu” or the Aruban countryside, is indeed one of the ugliest sights in Christendom: A lands of scrub brush and huge boulders, dry gullies and mile after mile of rock strewn flats.

Americans Live Apart

For the American colony at Lago, the world’s largest oil refinery, normality has nothing to do with Aruba. The 2,000 Americans down there on the island’s southern tip live almost entirely apart. Now and then you will see one or two in Oranjestad or at the Aruba Caribbean Hotel. The local Dutchmen call them “Utility People,” and add, with a very wry smile, that they ”are living out there behind their wall.”

Americans are not viewed with much enthusiasm. With the possible exception of President Kennedy, the only one who enjoys any popularity is the late Lloyd Smith a former President of Lago. There is a statue of him in front of the Aruba cultural center, and the new road on the south shore is called Lloyd Smith Boulevard.

For the American tourists at the big, new hotel, normality is what they left at home. They spend their days peddling idly around in the surf on things called watercycles, or just wandering up and down the beautiful eight mile beach that stretches from the hotel in both directions.

The Aruba Caribbean is three years old and doing well, according to the local Tourist Board, but it is not very popular with the natives.”That is not Aruba,” they say.”It is ugly.”

It is also expensive. During the winter months a single room goes for $28 a day, and in the summer $17. But a guest is granted the opportunity to get it all back at the casino.

Aruba is a peaceful place with enough strange twists to make it interesting. The Divi-Divi tree forever points downwind, and there is a tower 200 feet offshore at the Palm Beach Club where you can have your drink sent out by cable car. The wind never stops, it almost never rains, and the people are hospitable in the extreme.

As Van Kuijk puts it: Aruba is a nice place to be. I tink, and if not for the politics, I might stay.” Hunter S. Thompson  July 16th 1962.

Will the law-makers listen to their Advisory Council?

We were recently told that Parliament will be debating and deciding on a National Ordinance to amend the licensing of hotels and by doing so regulate the number of all-inclusive rooms offered on the island.

The ordinance was to be signed by the MinTour, MinJust & MinHealth, and the opening paragraph of the draft explains that the government would like to maintain some kind of “balance” in Aruba’s tourism product mix, so that a good variety of accommodations is available, but not too much of just one kind.

That famous “balance,” is believed to be 40% of hotels offering all inclusive, 60% of hotels offering transient or EP accommodations, and among the transient hotel, just 20% of all packages sold may be all inclusive. Then the MinTour may reassess the situation every five year, and make changes according to his findings.

Basically they explained: “Regulating all-inclusive accommodations and preserving a balanced accommodation mix is necessary and efficient, according to the government, particularly considering Aruba’s great economic dependence on tourism.”

(You know the argument, right? Taxis, bar & restaurants, suffer a reduced level of income if tourists remain in their hotels, for breakfast, lunch & dinner.)

Anyway, you should know that at the same time the law-makers were debating the perfect mix of all inclusive & EP hotels — which the hotels believe is none of their business — they wanted to kill two birds with the same stone, and also in the name of safeguarding the “balance,” set some rules for the “Other Accommodations,” or “Lodging,” the fastest growing segment of hospitality.

Additionally, the law makers recommended that the MinTour charged with tourism affairs should also be involved in the issuing of licenses to hotels and lodgings, not just the MinHealth, as is the practice up till now.

They went on the define “lodging” as an establishment that may accommodate up to 10 people, with or without service against payment; and “hotel” as an establishment that may accommodate ten or more persons, with or without service against payment.

So….if you have a small guest-house, vacation rentals, with a maximum capacity of 10 guests, you’re defined as “lodging.” If you have room for more than 10 guests, you are a “hotel.” With two different license requirements and regulations, yet to de defined.

I read and read and fell asleep trying to finish the suggested documents, three nights in a row.

God bless Raad Van Advies, the Advisory Council.

They sent the Governor of Aruba a nice letter saying not so fast. You did not study sufficiently, you did not prepare, the ordinance you are using is inappropriate, you did not present sufficient evidence for your claims, there is no socio-economic impact study, why is the lack of rules a problem, we think your solutions are not relevant to the challenges on hand, we think you should switch strategies and pursue a “market-oriented” approach that would give tourists what they want rather than offering tourists what you are prepared to give. Why would you be restricting competition? Why would you create an unfriendly environment for foreign investment?

Lodging? Give us more insight on that market, study it a bit longer, and get back to us.

The only remark left is the following: Will the law-makers heed the advice of the council they created for the purpose of giving them well-thought-out advice?!

So…. What’s gonna happen on Malmok

MY COMMENTARY: Minister Schwengle is now the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dam. If he removes the plug, the flood gates will open and in 3 or 4 years Malmok will be filled with Venezuelan-investment in boutique hotels, one fancier than the other, and more difficult to upkeep.

Thus Minister Schwengle, and we are calling you by your name, not by your title, we hold you personally responsible for the decision, to grant a hotel license or turn it down.

In my opinion, Ocean Z deserves a lodging permit, when and if the government gets around to defining, and issuing one. A permit to operate tourist vacation rentals, no services, no restaurant, if Ocean Z can live with that, the neighbors, I think, will come around, and will not object too much.

On January 18th, I wrote to Ocean Z, because I thought we were friends, and I said: This is not over yet. So don’t act desperately. You will eventually be able to operate the property for vacation rentals, so do not create more challenges for yourself. You were doing great, until the jetsetter newsletter was sent and the parties advertised. Ocean Z will have to negotiate with the neighbors so it can also do what everyone already does, which is renting to tourists, no services, no frills. Please preserve the peaceful and calm nature of the neighborhood. Let it remain an oasis of sport and recreation. The neighborhood and the people whose names are on the lawsuit, do not want change, they like it old fashioned, and quiet. “Chic” and “modern” are NOT advantages to them. Make peace with the neighbors because you will have to live with them… because you want to be able to rent, the same way that everybody else does. You have to negotiate with the neighbors and reach an understanding. But do it PEACEFULLY, because we will remain neighbors forever. Yours truly,

THE FACTS:  Land Aruba or the MinInfra were prohibited from changing the designation of the Malmok leased land from residential to commercial. The judge even imposed a penalty if the designation is changed. Malmok is still protected, as a kind of nature reserve, by law. And, should Ocean Z wish to change the designation of its leased land, it still has to go to court.

Preserva Malmok & Ocean Z may go to court but the Government of Aruba retired its litigation.

Fact, in accordance to leased land rules, Ocean Z is not allowed to host events, or parties, and all of its thirteen lovely rooms and pool area are to be used by guests exclusively. So I cannot walk off the street and drop in for dinner, for example. And basically the neighbors are pleased that the court confirmed those principles.

Fact, in accordance to both sentences on January 13th and April 19th, Ocean Z must obtain a hotel license in order to open. This week’s sentence did not grant the property a license, and bear in mind that the property already lost 3 cases against Land Aruba over that same issue.

For minister Schwengle nothing changed, if he grants the locense he stands a chance of being fined in line with the sentence from January 13th, by Awg 10 millions, which is inconvenient in light of the island’s financial situation.

So basically, to obtain a hotel license Ocean Z must duke it out at LAR, and if the license is granted Preserva Malmok y the Harms family, can also go to LAR with an urgent court date to suspend the license. At LAR a judge will have to evaluate the negative impact of full service hotel licenses, on Malmok.

In view of all that it is difficult to believe that Minister Schwengle will act, it will take time, but as I said, it will eventually happen.

Goats VS Civilization

This week I saw the post of Chef Bas Kuurstra who came up with a delicious goat menu, because the neighborhood goats were destroying his garden. He suggested:  Cabrito Stoba, Sopi di Bestia Chiquito, Funchi cu Keshi Cabrito & Chicharon di Cabrito.

He also said: The Police apparently is powerless against the owner of the goats! If your dog roams the street it’s a problem and they will impound your dog but if the owner of a whole herd of goats just lets them out onto the street intentionally, they can’t do anything about it!

And these animals are destroying our property palm trees and plants in our garden worth close to Awg 500, not to mention the effort that goes into it! I love the sight of a few goats on the street as much as the next person but the owner should definitely be responsible for the damages and the police should do more to stop it!

Then lovely Rosemeurys Jimenez Kuurstra adds: So for anyone who is having trouble with goat-eating-gardens in Boroncana, and you want to find the owner and send him the bill for the damages, he lives in Kurimiao #5, Noord. I’m just sick of it, he needs to be responsible for what his animals do, he has a ranch and needs to keep his beasts inside.

My Two Cents: I have to say that this is an age old battle between primitive goats & civilized men, what I mean is that roaming goats are remnants from the time we were nomads, wandering the face of the earth with a small herd of domesticated animals, for milk, and meat. But we rejected the nomadic life style in favor of agriculture, and now we stay put, in just one spot which we cultivate, and then we can’t stand the goats, destroying the plants we worked so hard to grow.

No fair, not fair. Naty Maduro from Santa Rosa will tell you that the goats are part of this island’s heritage and as such they deserve protection. They live here too. And they are roaming animals, that’s what they do, they need to be walking all day and eating everything they find, that’s in their genetic program. They are curious and willing to eat almost anything, including tin cans and cardboard boxes. Well, at least it looks like it, when they browse for edible materials. So here you have it: Two worlds, crashing, colliding in the garden of Bas and Rosemeurys, tradition against modernism, primitive against civilized.

The late Roger Coster used to say: A goat eats your plants; you have no one to complain to, it has no owners; who are you going to complain to? You hit a goat with your car, all of a sudden it has five different owners, they all show up demanding compensation.

I love the goats, our “wild life,” and I raised the fence around my house twice; the dogs do a good job at barking when a billie goat eyes my bougainvillea.

So please have a heart, we’re suffering from drought, no water, it’s all dry, the goats work very hard to feed themselves.

Finally, I think you are seeing sheep. I recently noticed a good looking herd in Noord but they were sheep. How did I know??? Goats’ tails point to the sky, Sheep’s tails point downward.

BO TWT SA: There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat. Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species; Female goats are referred to as does or nannies, males are bucks, billies, or rams, and babies are kids. Castrated males are wethers, and the meat is called goat or mutton!

And that’s all I know about goats, also that both males and females have beards. Thank you Lord, for not making me a goat!


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April 25, 2016
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Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
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
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster