Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, February 5th, 2017

A column about Medical Issues

I read in the newspaper the opposition party airing the Hyperbaric Chamber issue and called Dr Posner for an update.

True, for more than 8 years Aruba was fortunate to have a Hyperbaric Oxygen Producing Environment, H.O.P.E., a considerable private investment by I.A. Posner MD, who was its Medical Director, on Punta Brabo 3, Oranjestad, they helped a lot a people, and saved quite a few body parts.

Then about 2 years ago the costly equipment was sold to another island. Trinidad.

So what’s the situation now? Patients in need of hyperbaric treatment, losing limbs to diabetic issues, suffering from hard to heal wounds, they have to be flown out to Bonaire or Curacao for treatment.

Wow, what happened there, first it was great then it got all screwed up?!

Really an upsetting story. The HOPE center operated three chambers and was certificated by US and Europeans medical boards. The US Navy and the Dutch Marines visited often to make sure the service is available, and then one day our national health insurance, AZV, felt a private doctor shouldn’t profit off the situation, it wanted the hospital to shoulder the task and the center had to close.

BUT, here comes the but…. The hospital never picked up the glove, and the investment was never made, bottom line, our national health insurance still foots the bill, only the centers in Bonaire and Curacao profit, and the Aruban patients suffer the inconvenience of having to travel, their treatment never optimized.

At the end of the day it’s all about the money….The Aruba health services provider recognizes the importance of hyperbaric chamber therapy in wound care, and added it to its basket of available treatments, but we have to travel overseas to find it.

So is the Hyperbaric Chamber a must. I asked.

Dr. Posner explained that in the past, many dive operations related to tourism, insisted on having a chamber available for diving accidents, in cases of decompression sickness, DCS, but those are rare now and far apart, perhaps two cases a year; the divers affected by the bends are usually professional divers who were overconfident, not dive students; the schools on the island became very good at preventing the bends.

There is also another group on the island promoting a hyperbaric chamber for beauty and rejuvenation purposes, but that’s not the same thing!

I understand that the Horacio Oduber Hospital is in talks with the MinHealth to located extra funding, and we’re not sure where these negotiations stand. He is slow to pull the trigger, and while he is busily contemplating the pulling of the trigger, he could also include a radiation center, so that local cancer patients do not have to travel to be treated, and also an interventional cardiology unit; cancer and heart disease are our two largest health costs by far.

They are spending 100million Euro on brick and mortar for the new hospital facility, how about some new useful equipment?


One of my friends asked her house-doctor to fill in a Ritalin prescription for an Adhd-diagnosed child. Are you sure you wanna do that said the doctor, the crazy record will follow your child forever, and create challenges later in life for driving license and mortgage acquisitions.

That doctor must be nuts herself. The medication is prescribed for hyperactive kids, they are not crazy, they are a bit different and must be taught differently and accommodated. What an unprofessional comment from an MD. Very 50s. What about secrecy? Isn’t the relationship between a doctor and his patient governed by secrecy? Our advice, change house doctors, ASAP.

Letters from readers, worth paying attention to

As I read your articles most of the time and love what you write, I just wanted to vent my frustration of the Dimas with you and if you think it is something you can write about please be my guest.

I am on my 4th working permit and it took me 2 years to get the first one. I received 2 work permits expired but I was happy that finally I was legal in Aruba. My 3rd work permit expires in Feb 2017 so I started my new request in November 2016 to make sure everything is on time. When I had it all ready and needed to turn in all the paperwork and get my stamp as proof, they told me that the rules had changed and that I need to make an appointment online, which I did. The date given to me was 5 weeks further, which took me to Dec 5, 2016, I turned in all the paperwork and got my stamp and I was happy because as a Dutch person I only need one more to go and I am done with the permits.

I had to go to Curacao for work, I am at the airport at the immigration and the lady asks if I have a permit because what she could see in the system was expired in Feb 2015??? I always carry a copy of my permit with me and showed it to the lady and she said go to the Dimas because something is wrong.

Friday morning first thing I am at the Dimas; I took a number because now even for the reception you need to take a number. I waited for an hour, when I explained what happened she said, I can see that your 4thpermit is in process. When I asked when it will be ready she said maybe in March and she could not tell me, I had to take another number for that……. When I asked for the re-entry letter (because I need to travel for work and as it is expiring in February, I will need this letter) the lady tells me that they do not give letters anymore that I have to go online and download the re-entry form, pay AWG 40 and that this can only be used once, that every time I need to travel I will have to do the same thing. Go back to Dimas (take a number, probably wait in line for an hour or more) When I asked how long it will take to get the letter, she told me 3 to 5 days.

Then of course I have my AZV card that is linked to my work permit, hopefully I can renew that with the proof of submission of Dimas (dated stamp)

Rona, this is my 6th country I live in, I have never ever in my life had such a bad experience as here. I speak Papiamento, Dutch, English, French and Spanish and have lived in all these countries as well. Now I need to pay money for a letter because they are late with my permit! It is not about the AWG 40, it is about the principal of how they change the rules every time and make us pay or go through the hassle of waiting again for a letter. Who comes up with these rules, who is responsible?

If the story is relevant you can use it, please do, maybe it can help, anonymously please. I still need my 5th permit. I love Aruba but the certain things I will never comprehend. I only live 4 years here and to get things done is just frustrating.

After my whole adventure at the Dimas, I poured a glass of a wine, sat down at the beach and looked at the beautiful sunset and listened to the sound of the ocean, took a look at the man I love and remembered why I am here and took a deep breath, that I should be happy because a lot of people in the world have no other choice but living in war torn countries.

An update on Insel Air

Over the past few months Insel Air was the butt of all jokes, and the source of much aggravation, as it earned the Cancel Air nickname. But jokes aside the sister companies, Insel Air Curacao and Insel Air Aruba inconvenienced a multitude of people. One of my girlfriends decided to travel from St Maartin to Aruba in honor of her 40th birthday, and after many hours of delays at two airports, she scrapped the plan: “It was a nightmare! Delayed flights and then being waitlisted to not making it on the flight the next day. I would have spent my whole bday at the airport so my boyfriend decided to turn back. We got back flying credit for future travel. So we have to plan another trip. I was very disappointed, not the 40th bday I expected to spend :(.”

I called the former Aruban airline boss Frederick Nuboer, on Monday, tomorrow is my last day, he said, I am leaving Insel Air going back to my tax practice, to resume my consultant role with an office on the main street, best of all Insel Air is going to remain one of my client.

So what happened here, I asked.

Venezuela happened, among other things. Our giant cash strapped neighbor owes Insel Air Aruba Awg 29 million, and Insel Air Curacao Awg 68 million, for tickets bought and paid for in Venezuela. Yet the money is stuck, Venezuela has been withholding funds belonging to international carriers; the last time I checked they were holding more than $5 billion hostage, resulting in the suspension of most airline operations.

So the airline is restructuring with the help of a much needed loan from the government of Curacao, to the tune of Awg 33 million. The bail-out money will tide the company over while it come up with plan B. Part of the that is a new CEO for the Aruba operation, Stephan Van Spaandonk, a man with an airline maintenance background.

With the creation of the Aruba hub, a few years ago, the company set out to service 16 destinations, operating both a regional island-hopping carrier and an international airline offering medium-length trips. It was a great plan but the universe did not collaborate, and strategic realignment is called for.

Is it true you did not have enough pilots to operate the routes you offered, I asked? Nuboer explained that indeed there is a shortage of pilots around the globe with the large global carriers gobbling up the available one. Aruba faces a special challenge because flight school awards a certification, not a degree, thus the local ministry of education doesn’t recognize it as higher-education, which is eligible for student loans. You may study Airline Management as a university degree and receive a government study loan and then, earn your pilot license on the side, without financial aid. Which is a challenge, in need of evaluation.

Will your kids go into aviation, I asked. My son is an avid photographer, he will be leaving for Colombia shortly to film and photograph birds; my daughter might take after her mom and become a medical professional.

So, if you need an independent firm specializing in tax law, Nuboer Inc., on Caya Betico Croes 158, might be just what you need.

Yoga 1.01

I have a question for you. When you’re feed the dogs, you know how we have to bend down to pour kibble into their bowls, or when you bend over to pick up their poop, do you have to part your knees sideways, and sort of squat while sticking out your butt, before you reach your downward destination?

If you bend awkwardly, if you are stiff, I have just one word of advice for you: Yoga.

I go to two excellent classes, both at FLY FIT studio at Paseo Herencia, on the garage third floor. Drive up the ramp, park, then spill out of the car, and you have arrived.

Chair Yoga – We remain seated at all times on fitness steps, and we use belts to pull and stretch our arms, torso and legs, with Gladys Buti Yoga. The class is super entertaining, and equally beneficial. I feel an inch taller when I leave.  This is a gentle form of yoga, not hard, not tiring, and it is in the process of being recognized formally as a type of yoga, distinct from others. I didn’t get a Gladys video on YouTube so I am showing you this. Gladys’ classes are much more fun. Thursday 11am.

Yoga For Beginners – Our instructor, Daniela, is as young as she is flexible, and she doesn’t burden us with too much Zen and too much confusing asana this, or asana the other, in Hindi. She gives a great, structured class. Admittedly, it was exasperating at first with the downward dogs, but I totally get it now, and I have stronger arms, as a side benefit. It took about four classes to totally get it, on a beginner’s level.

I urge you to sign up, if you can’t bend over easily; if your bend is graceful, you may ignore my column.

Yoga For Beginner at FLY FIT studio at Paseo Herencia, on the garage third floor. Drive up the ramp, park, then spill out of the car, and you have arrived.

Atraco Den Dia Cla, Robbery In Broad Daylight

The Caiso & Soca Monarch contest as it is now called, held a couple of qualification rounds this week, but the winner has already been picked, Jerrino. His Calypso is Da Bomb. It reminded me of yesteryears when Mighty Talent penned the most clever Calypsos, delivering them masterfully to packed audiences at Lago Sport Park, in St Nicholas.

Calypso, traditionally sung in English, contains social commentary attracting more attention because it is put to music. It allows the masses to challenge the doings of the government and continues to play an important role in political expression here. Calypso also serves to list our gripes with the government, and air what bugs us!

The brilliant Atraco Den Dia Cla Calypso protests a number of issues

Nepotism: The friends and family culture of Aruba’s ruling party where just a few people eat the whole cake, then there is nothing left for Jerrino, no terrain, no work. Privileged few maintain five drivers to chauffeur them around, yet his car gets booted, he has to line up in the harsh sun to pay for his car registration, and he has no cent left to shop. He is being robbed by the government in broad day light.

Disconnect: Jerrino recounts a humiliating incident in which the MinPres in one of his empty PR stunts, walked into a neighborhood, got offered some homemade stewed cucumber from a humble little old lady and in his rush to pose for the Fakebook picture opportunity picked up the fork and knife, in total disconnect from the nature of the dish in front of him, which is eaten with a spoon.

Safety & Security:  Jerrino complains in his composition about the fact that laws are not respected, especially those designed to protect children against sexual abuse, people are suffering, enduring hardship, yet nothing is being done.

Overspending: In his last hilarious calypso conclusion he talks about the Green Corridor at Awg 250 million budget overrun, which ironically destroyed every green pocket on the island. He calls it an attack on his pocketbook, a robbery in his pants.

I’m feeling it, Atraco Den Dia Cla, Atraco Ariba Cartera, you have to listen to it, the tune is catchy, the lyrics on the mark.

The Marketing of the MinPres

The island’s election campaign is on, and I understand the MinPres has an expert Colombia-based marketing company helping him with his public image.

One of the recent highlights of their campaign strategy featured the MinPres live on Fakebook, riding the back of a Serlimar garbage truck, picking up some tricks of the trade from a humble garbage collector. It looked staged, because it was.

Then a few days ago, the MinPres was featured dressed in glaring safari green, in a jungle in Colombia, looking through a pair of impressive bird watching binoculars, as he participated in some bird festival in Perreira. We still have to see him do something for our local birds.

I went through his Fakebook page picture: Our MinPres learned how to fly a drone, and took a picture at a baseball pitching machine, he posed at Santa Rosa, the agricultural center with the pigs, and had his picture taken pretending to fix some street lights in the barrios; He also posts images of himself flicking the street light switches in Sta Cruz, Sabana Liber and Montana, where he also inspected the quality of collected rain water, on camera.

Aruba is getting street lights everywhere. It’s about time. It’s election year and the MinPres is pleasing his voters. In yesteryears we used to joke about asphalt. Streets got asphalted at a rapid pace before elections.

For a MinPres of a small country with limited resources he also travels a lot, to Curacao and Columbia, just recently. I think I know why he decided to show interest in birds in Perreira. His expert Colombia-based marketing company is probably headquartered there, and he needed to report how their strategy is working here.

They are clearly marketing our MinPres like a rock star, a new member of the Kardashians, live on KUWTK 24/7.

OUR QUESTION: Doesn’t he have a country to run? If 100% of his time is dedicated to staged FakeBook appearances, who is in the office to oversee business, tourism, the environment, and our safety?  We still think Aruba is a great country to live in, but with a MinPres singularly preoccupied with his reelection, who’s minding the shop?

I posted some fun images on Fakebook, to illustrate my point,

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February 05, 2017
Rona Coster