Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, October 1st, 2017

This is what I wrote yesterday afternoon, expect changes…

A note from a friend said: “I am also pleased with the outcome … It’s time for moderate corruption.”

The people’s vote  on Friday, September 22nd, 2017, indicated that it’s time to go slower, do less, spend less, introduce moderation and close the gap between common-sense and high-flying concepts, reality and fantasy.

And my older, cynical and sober friend insist that this election was about  replacing conspicuous corruption with moderate corruption, because they remember previous MEP governments also plagued with rampant nepotism and favoritism.

Only now, the MEP government will hopefully remember that this kind of behavior loses elections.

Our prayer for them: If you get into government, please don’t spend your next four years in political persecution, eradicating every shred of evidence that there once was an AVP government. Some of the AVP programs are worth saving. Please be smart, take inventory, make a list of unfinished project, re-assess cost, prioritize. Don’t toss the baby out with his bath water. No purges, no vendettas. Just rejoice in the opportunity you got, to serve your country #sinmiedo, and show’em how it’s done!


But things just got complicated yesterday afternoon, when the former MinPress recuperated from his emotional trance – with the help of Ensure and OxyPlus – and got back in the race. This morning Awemainta demanded an AVP & MEP coalition.  So things just got considerably MORE complicated.

Good luck to our esteemed Governor, trying to figure things out.

General commentary:

And the winner is: Ricardo Croes. He was the defiant, anti-establishment vote, the underdog, and he was chosen by a record 3,359 votes; 2,939 more than the last race in 2013, that didn’t get him anywhere. My friends explain that Ricardo will now sit in Parliament, and pester everyone: What is this budget line for? How much did you pay for that? What do you need this for? And make everyone’s life miserable. Ricardo, we rely on you to rock the boat, become our watchdog.

A dead myth: It was a well known fact, that Otmar Oduber had a large loyal base of fans and supporters, nurtured over years, during many Carnival parades. They are with him, we were told, rain or shine. I guess they’re not. Otmar Oduber is 2,200 votes lighter. All that fighting, and all those convictions, resulted in humble pie. Obviously, he is a valuable mover and shaker, and I hope he pays attention now and funnel his energy into new directions, we can live with.

His two other party partners, Marisol Tromp and Andin Bikker, I voted for both, in different years, on different platforms, lost their footing by joining forces as POR. They might still be part of the new government and might remain players, but that will be due to coalition talks, NOT thanks to voters’ trust.  Marisol with a mere 497 votes, down from 4,708 in 2001, and Andin with 1,086 votes, down from 3,047, are also valuable players,  and I hope they pays attention now and funnel their energy into new directions, we can live with.

The Winners: The MEP vote-getters performed well. But the results indicate we might expect a power struggles at the top of that party, with three inner-circle members feuding for control. Congratulation, to the leader of the party, Evelyn Croes, obtaining the support of 3,508 voters, followed by Glenbert Croes, 2,491, and Dangui Oduber, 2,399. He made an impressive showing.  Xiomara Ruiz exceeded expectations with 2,696.  The party’s newcomers campaigned impressively, they were Rocco Tjon, fresh in the race with 1,213, and #29, Dr. Arthur Vallejo, he should be pleased with his 972 votes.

Our Leader Maximo: Our former MinPres is still a popular man with 7,822 votes, having lost just 400 followers, since 2013. I can see his charm, he hugs, he kisses, he pats, he is tireless, huffing and puffing, and he talks a good talk. Best of all, he is not corrupt. He did not get rich; I think. He did not enrich his family members and friends. But he did allow his ministers to run away with the country. And as we know, he’s afraid to take decisions, afraid to piss anyone off.  So while it’s the Eman family party, this people-pleaser has got to go. Make room for new leadership, refresh the politbureau . He said he would retire, then changed his mind, “The people made me do it,” withdraw his decision to hang his apron up.

Big loser & Small loser: Benny Sevinger, what a dreaded name, a synonym for nepotism, favoritism, and broken regular government channels. Everything became a favor under his leadership, resulting in complete breakdown of systems in the land department and at Dimas. He lost 1,147 votes, 30% of his followers. I guess you cannot buy everyone. Mike de Meza, lost just 67 votes, but if you think about his ROI, you realize how pathetic his performance was, in spite of all the money spent on the opening party of the refinery, the fireworks, the soup on his birthday, the refinery contracts, and the money paid to Antonio Gario for having a big mouth. Incidentally, I noticed, overnight, Gario is already playing footsie with MEP personalities.

The underdog: RAIZ, a new party made a debut, and enjoyed the endorsement of an older crowd, that did not want to give its support to the ‘potheads’ within RED. It was a protest vote, and the party garnered 2,107 votes, just short of a parliament seat, but nevertheless, it was an interesting option for voters.

Curpa, a god-fearing party with a total of 468 votes and MAS with 287, should revamp their platforms. Please don’t go out of business, just see if you can inject more energy and excitement into your narrative.

The political heir o the throne: Richard Arends, he garnered 1,390 in his first race. He’s a good, educated guy, I hope he cuts his teeth in the opposition benches, and grows to fulfill the promise he shows.

From a reader, extra BBB: Why do over 23,000 Aruban citizens think corruption is acceptable?

It happens all over the world, think USA (Trump) and Venezuela (Maduro). However when it happens on your beloved island, one starts wondering. This is my analysis.

Every party has its loyal supporters who can be split into 3 groups:

  1. Low-life followers who need to keep the corrupt government in power so they can keep their corrupt and criminal lifestyle ( think Maduro supporters).
  2. Job and business dependent followers. This group will probably lose their income and livelihood if there is a change in government officials. Think the coordinators and businesses who receive lucrative government contracts.
  3. On the other hand there is a group of decent, law abiding people who seem to be completely brainwashed by the green machine. These are educated people with solid moral values and pillars of the community.

This third group is the one I will describe.

I will call this group, ‘social climbers’. They believe that the green party is a party of the ‘elite’ and they dream of belonging to this ‘exclusive’ club.

Let’s not forget that this party was founded with men from Oranjestad who treated the country folks like second class citizen and have tried over the years to create and maintain this gap, think Tivoli Club etc.

The green party is a membership party and loyalty is expected from their members.

Therefore, these social climbers with their nails bleeding are climbing this non-existent social ladder desperately waving the green flag to show their unfailing loyalty.

To these people I say, wake up and smell the roses. This green party of the 1940’s does not exist anymore.

The only ‘exclusive’ thing about the green party is that it is full of white collar criminals and their exclusivity is the promotion and fomenting of corruption.

These social climbers should use their skills and energy to promote good governance instead of boycotting it.

This loyalty is not exclusive to the green party as the yellow party also has its share of ‘blind’ followers. However it does not match the loyalty of the green party followers.

I still have hope that one day we get to objectively elect the officials who are supposed to represent us in parliament and once elected, we have the balls to call them out if they are not performing as per our values.

This campaign has been painful to watch with ignorance about the state of Aruba being the most talked about but also the most defended.

It seems our loyalty makes us forget our integrity, ignore our moral values and our dignity is definitely on the back burner.

However, I think we are on the right path when we look at the votes for smaller parties, so I will keep hoping and praying for our beloved island.

Revisiting Bobby Farrell

Last week Mirla Passchier invited a handful of people to Papiamento restaurant for a preview of a sculpture idea, by Gilbert Senchi.

Gilbert works under a public art foundation by the name of ARTopia, with Mirla Passchier Eduard Ellis, and Mich Biegstraaten, as both the chef/restaurateur and the businessman appreciate the bohemian artist, working in Europe and South America on a variety of interesting art projects.

The artwork previewed at Papiamento restaurant that night was a life size plus sculpture of Bobby Farrell, commission by a German client.

Gilbert is now busy researching the phenomenon of Bobby Farrell, the male performer of Boney M. a famed disco-era band. Farrell came from Aruba, and Gilbert tells the story of a driven young man, determined to leave the island and find his fortune out there, in the big wide world.

Apparently, Farrell left Aruba at age 15 as a ship-hand. He became a sailor for a while until he reached Europe. There he evolved into a DJ, touring the Nordic countries and Germany and in 1974, he was eventually chosen by a clever music producer as the front dancer / showman for an all-female disco band with performers from the Caribbean.

The band became super successful and the more successful they became the wilder Farrell got, jumping, dancing, bare-chested, in skin tight pants and extravagant costumes, showing off a hairy chest and his signature, carefully styled afro, all glistening in the stage lights.

Farrell lives forever on YouTube, as Boney M. They appeared around the world cranking out amazing hits such as Daddy Cool, Ma Baker, Rasputin and on the River of Babylon.

But here’s the mystery and the tragedy. His musical contributions were allegedly few, he was lip synching. The voice was that of his sleazy producer, German singer and songwriter Frank Farian, but the showmanship and the charisma were all Farrell’s, and that’s what international audiences filled stadiums for.

I watched some of these old clips. Farrell needed help, he was drugged out of his mind. He was an atomic bomb, bundled in glitter, an adventurer, an iconoclast, a rebel, and he was burning the candle on both ends.

While Farrell was destroying himself, he made millions for his producer who also happened to be the producer of Milly Vannily, the fake pretty-boy duo.

That was Farian’s MO, he concocted the music Farrell performed. The relationship was purely exploitational, and because of Farrell’s lifestyle he could not help himself, couldn’t protest, nor change things, he was always dependent on Farian for a pay check, and remained in this cycle of abuse, practically until the day he died.

Worst of all, he signed away all the rights to the music, so Farrian owns it all, and Farrell’s family remained uncared for, no royalties, no gain.

The story of Farrell’s death is peculiar. One of the band’s most catching tunes, Rasputin, the “Greatest Russian Love Machine,” was banned in Moscow, when the band travelled to Russia to perform. The song angered the communist regime because it described the degenerate life of a mystic, Russian healer, and the advisor of the Czar’s wife. While Boney M. couldn’t play the song to Russian audiences, it became super-popular in Europe. In 2010, when the band returned to St Petersburg, Farrell died in his hotel room, of heart disease. He complained earlier he had difficulties breathing, but no one listened to Farrell, described as a fantastic person, but quite bizarre, with a big heart and an explosive temper. Ominously, Farrell died on the very same day Rasputin was murdered in 1917, on December 30th.


Roberto Alfonso Farrell was a Dutch dancer and performer from Aruba, best known as the male member of the successful 1970s pop and disco group Boney M.

BornOctober 6, 1949, San Nicolas, Aruba

DiedDecember 30, 2010, Saint Petersburg, Russia, at the age of 61

SpouseJasmina Farrell (m. 1981–1994)

BuriedZorgvlied, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Music groupBoney M.

Funny commercial about him:.

She was the happiest corps I’ve ever seen

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, whispered master of ceremonies Fernando Mansur when Don Wannabe and his drop-dead gorgeous wife MeMe, sailed through the double wooden doors to host THE event of the season, at the House of Mosaic, a Murder Mystery Party.

The suave, smooth master of ceremony was totally thrilled with his guests, members of the largest Mafioso crime families in Noord and Santa Cruz.

The stylish criminals came in early and left late, drinking champagne like water and leaving a bloody trail of dead bodies behind.

I played the part of Sly Sleaze, who runs an illegal yet lucrative real estate business for Don “Big Jim” Ravioli. To my great disappointment at the end of the evening, I found out that my beloved wife, the adorable Rebecca Ravioli, daughter of “Big Jim,” who was my boss, as you know, in the Fiesta Cu Tereno business was the red-handed killer, knocking out her father, in the early evening hours, and neutralizing Carrie Crooner-Ravioli, “Big Jim’s”’ new trophy wife, later in the night. Rebecca was revenging the shame of her shunned, divorced mother, Vicky Ravioli.

What can I say, sprawled dead on her chair, Carrie Crooner, a drinking, smoking, floozy flapper, was the most beautiful corpse I have even seen….

She must have pissed Rebecca off, seducing “Big Jim,” then dancing the Charleston all night, snapping selfies and carrying on, as if nothing had happened. The phonograph played on, when we found Carrie Crooner dead as a door nail.

On the eve of the 2017 election, we did the right thing, Jacqueline threw a birthday party and we all showed up dressed the part.  The house of Mosaic sent instructions out ahead of time, and we enjoyed an evening of gangsters, hit men, politicians, a jazz singer and many shady characters, for a full blown production of the Roaring Twenties,

We were fed delicious Italian dinner. The costumed staff poured drinks. The D Store dressed most party goers, and decked them out in pearls and diamonds, tiaras too.

Arlene stayed in character all night, and Jacky looked fabo in a marabou feather jacket. The double decker-cake was home made by the birthday girl.  Perfection.

100% client-centered

Dutch-born Marc Giesbers and his wife, Brazilian-born Pauleti Oliveira joined the management team at Aruba’s most decorated property, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, in September. Having returned from a European family vacation, Marc assumed the position of Director of F&B and Pauleti now handles the resort’s famed Elements restaurant.

It is certainly very opportune to introduce new leadership, following the extensive renovation of the Tara wing, with a $5 million investment. After all, upgrading and improving the already pretty-perfect is an ongoing pursuit at Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort.

Marc is a familiar name on the island. He was hired off a cruise ship as Executive Chef at Chez Mathilde, in her glory days, perhaps two decades ago. Remember? That was a hot spot. He then went on to have a long term relationships with La Cabana Beach Resort & Casino, and then another with the Amsterdam Manor and MVC Eagle. He spent almost ten years in the later, helping further promote and improve the resort’s popular three restaurants.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is not an ordinary hotel. The property has always been ahead of its time in its quest for environmental and sustainable practices. It is also a trend setter as a 100% client-centered operation, prepared to go one million extra miles in an effort to customize vacation experiences and satisfy the most discerning travelers.

With his extensive F&B experience, Marc is looking forward to carefully nurture the oceanfront Elements restaurant, and continue to offer memorable culinary experiences which feature fresh ingredients at healthy European portions, against the backdrop of breathtaking views.

Elements restaurant under Pauleti’s leadership will continue to offer Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free dining, as well as the best in European and Caribbean cuisine. It isn’t easy to source certified organic selections, natural products, fresh fish and pasture-fed beef on our island, but Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort is committed to a sense of total wellness, and that is just one aspect of the operation, “where authenticity and local experiences are the focus.”

I dropped in for coffee the other day, and met Marc & Pauleti in their new element, Marc is always super-charged and enthusiastic, Pauleti more restrained and demure, complementing each other in the workplace. Of course, Pauleti worked at Amsterdam Manor and MVC Eagle, too.

The coffee was great, the banana bread moist and generously sliced. Then owner Ewald Biemans appeared, he was doing his morning rounds, personally checking in with guests, enquiring about the quality of their vacation experience, so far!

The exceptional settling, combined with exceptional care and connection, are priceless. Here you go, I cracked the code for you.

My Wish for the New MinPres

The list of eligible Members of Parliament was published yesterday, but changes are still possible, as the new MinPres, tries to make space for closer allies, and move others, less favorable along, perhaps with a promise of a cushy, new government job.

She will probably attempt to trade some players on the eligibility list, make room for others.

Basically the list endorsed by the Electoral Committee is the list of 9 top candidates, #1 to #9, but in reality the number of candidates accepting government jobs is 14. Remember 9 seats in parliament, plus 5 coalition ministers. You do the math.

Before the elections, the new MinPres made a pledge to reward those with most votes with a Member of Parliament position, but I think that her guideline should be merit-based, ‘The right person, for the right job,’ and forget about the actual number of votes obtained, because in a nepotistic system, those with large families, got more votes, and those less connected and in traditionally-green areas, Savaneta, Playa, got less. So votes do not reflect the person’s ability to work well in parliament.

Let me repeat:  Take a look at the list and pick the 14 most intelligent, educated, and savvy; those with some experience in other organizations, and in business. University degrees count, eloquence and presentation count too. And that’s what I mean by ‘The right person, for the right job.’

Dear MinPres: I hope you rise above last names, and family connections.

Anyway, over a glass of wine, we picked your lucky fourteen for you.

The leader of the party, the new MinPres, Evelyna Wever Croes, is intelligent and educated, and a member of the Croes clan. She comes from a long line of politicians — her father Hendrik Croes, brother of iconic Betico Croes, and her uncle Rudy Croes, the former Minister of Justice, were both at the heart of many controversies, and embody old-school politics on the island. So you know she is well connected and a tax advisor and lawyer by profession. But now she represents new blood, the refresh of the original MEP party, and she needs to keep in mind the fact that she is today entrusted with the formation of the government BECAUSE the people of the country want a coalition, rejecting majority rule, demanding a government that’s transparent, innovative and careful with our money.

BUT ALAS, some pieces of the MEP platform are for the birds, old fashioned, outdated, ridiculous, such as the support of the opening of the refinery, and underlying tones of xenophobia and homophobia, in the treatment, for example, of immigrants and in the attitude towards same sex marriage.

Anyway the list of fourteen good ones:

Xiomara Ruiz Maduro, a straight shooter, a woman of principles; Romeo Crispin, a vote-getter for St Nicholas; Dangui Oduber, smart, the party is in his blood; Glenbert Croes, charismatic; we hope he won’t lose the lesson of his first round in government; Rocco Tjon, first time candidate, structured and strong; Daphne Lejuez, sharp as a whip, lots of organizational experience from the KVK, also savvy in the business world;  Edgard Vrolijk, has parliamentarian experience; Louisette Christiaans Yarzagaray, an animal lover and advocate; Sueann Ras, vote-getter in Savaneta; Sharlene Starke, a great girl and I trust she will do an excellent job in education; Stephanie Croes, very knowledgeable in the areas of hospitality and music; Edmond Paris, has understanding of economic concepts; and Arthur Vallejo, a medical professional, also related to the new MinPres, we suspect he took some votes away from her, but nevertheless they stayed in the party.

So here you are, your top fourteen, send nine to parliament, make five ministers, and we’re good for at least four year, if you develop the ability to seek consensus.

Please keep in mind that Aruba with 120.000 residents is the size of a SMALL village in the Netherland, which is usually efficiently run by the major and his secretary. So let’s keep everything in perspective.

Don’t do it.

Two things today.

One of my friends reported to me that a certain developer sitting on the parcel of land between La Quinta and Oceania Residence, the one previously designated for the construction of condominiums expressed his current optimism that under the sitting government, you know the one that had already resigned, he will be able to get the permit signed, and then develop a 600 room All Inclusive resort at that location, the last minute political climate he said, is favorable.

I say, don’t do it, to whoever is in charge of that decision.

A new mega resort on Eagle Beach will require about 800 employees, and that is just the tip of the burdensome iceberg. I hope it’s just a rumor, wishful-thinking on behalf of the developer.

One more thing from yesterday.

I read an editorial in Solo Di Pueblo, page 2, “Hopi politico lo bay gradici y nenga e stoel,” making suggestions for Daphne Lejuez and Dr Vallejo to turn down their seat in Parliament. The newspaper asked Lejuez to show maturity and step down and advised Vallejo to switch lanes and become an advisor. Really?!

I say don’t do it, to whoever is in charge of that decision.

If MEP’s old school guardia attempts to purge the new and exciting candidates they just recently attracted, it will forever KILL their chance of attracting a new kind of voter, a non-traditional MEP follower. As a party, in order to broaden your support base, you must branch out, hug and hold your Playa candidates, and the ones from Noord and Savaneta. You are already very strong in Santa Cruz, so you must keep fishing in farther ponds. Lejuez and Vallejo are great assets, get rid of some junk in the trunk and make room for innovation.


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October 01, 2017
Rona Coster