Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, September 15th, 2019

Captain these seas are rough

In conversation with a friend this week we realize the challenge: GOA waited too long with all these reforms and now they are voting themselves out of government.

True, they rushed it as much as they could, but it took time to get to the murky bottom, and now that they are taking good steps to remedy, it looks like they are a government from hell.

We fear, they will lose the elections and that the circus with the opposition party will repeat.

It’s the MEP conundrum, Catch 22, they are doomed if they do, and doomed if they don’t.

I hear myself and think that I am just grouchy, but I can’t stop.

Fact: Goa, signed a deal with the Dutch for financial supervision, which I am all for, but now the Dutch hold GOA to those painful obligations, and it’s not making GOA popular.

Fact, MEP signed a coalition agreement with POR, like signing a pact with the devil who now has them by the balls, commanding extra taxes for trash and monopolizing trash collection and disposal.

I believe the coalition will make a deal, POR will help vote in the Sugar Tax and MEP will support the Trash levy imposition. Tit for Tat.

They are selling us down the river.

FACT: They have done nothing to teach this country to reduce, reuse, recycle.

They have done little to reduce GOA’s expenses, on the contrary, they keep hiring more people into service and opening new departments and Sui Generis, to staff them with voters.

While GOA claims it aims at attracting a better, more upscale tourists, it has done everything to make sure we are not able to service them with proper and willing people to serve them.

Ask yourself: Who is the biggest consumer of alcohol and gasoline and possible sugar on this island? 

I am sure that the one million tourists drink more in liquor vs. the 120k of our population. So who are they sin-taxing?

Our visitors, on their gasoline and sugar/liquor consumption.

And while we’re at it, as a bonus, lower AZV costs by introducing Co-Pay.

My friend explained to me they have an issue with overtime, while 50% of GOA’s employees are AO, and demotivated the other 50% are working, and paid overtime, double.  I hope it’s not true and that he’s just being grouchy!!

Great Farewell Party for Retiring General Manager Gerrit Griffith

Recently General Manager Gerrit Griffith announced his retirement, having worked for Divi Resorts 43 years.

He retired as General Manager, Phoenix Aruba Beach Resort and declared his intentions to spend time with family members including a cute granddaughter, travel with wife Leonora, but most importantly, join Ban Uni Man Pa Cria Nos Muchanan, a local not-for-profit foundation, as their fund-raiser, with an ambitious goal, he says, to secure finances to continue feeding over 650 disadvantaged elementary school kids breakfast every day, for the next five years.

His farewell reception at Divi Links Club House Plaza was nicely attended by members of the community, government ministers, industry partners and colleagues including his successor, General Manager Pearl Lake and Divi Resort’s President & COO, Marco Galaverna.

The party featured many heartwarming and grateful speeches as well as a most entertaining and insightful video, starring company and community personalities, talking about Griffith as a leader, a friend, and a role-model.

Wishing Griffith good luck on behalf of the Government of Aruba, Glenbert Croes, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. While hospitality is losing a strong player, he said, social affairs is gaining a gladiator, a formidable contributor to those in need of assistance.   

Calypsonian Lloyd Baptiste gave a guest performance singing ‘Celebrate Good Time…. Come On,’ reenacting his gig at the Tamarijn Beach Resort Happy Hour on Sundays, 40 years ago.

Griffith accepted the gift of an all-inclusive European vacation for two, and a rare vintage vinyl record, produced by the resort back then, featuring Lloyd and the Jays, the house band of yesteryears.

Gerrit Griffith graduated Cornell University in Ithaca NY along with a group of other local kids, who are all still working and enjoying good careers. Upon his return he was hired at the 75 room Tamarijn Beach hotel as assistant manager. Those were the days.

He then moved on to manage the hotel as it expanded into a resort and during his years with the company, he left his mark on Divi Divi, the Dutch Village, Divi Village, the chain’s Flamingo Beach Resort in Bonaire, and its Little Bay hotel in St Maarten, finally he served as GM at Divi Phoenix Aruba Beach Resort.

Somewhere in between he went to Barbados, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, and immediately came back to Aruba. That pasture was not for him. So basically, he enjoyed diverse settings, and jobs, under just one employer, and left it all behind September 1st, 2019

Griffith reports he enjoyed an exceptional run with the company, there is something about DIVI, he says: Once Divi, Always Divi.

Managing Director Alex Nieuwmeyer took advantage of the occasion to also introduce the recently recruited Ferry Zievinger, Divi Village & Dutch Village General Manager.

With six different bars, and ten beautifully presented food stations, the party was a first-class production with anything from butler passed hors d’oeuvres to sushi, Italian, and Latin specialties, a carving station, a sizzling grill, and enough bite-size desserts to feed an army.

Thank you industry partners for pitching in: Elite Production, the Smiley Band, Aruba Trading Company, Romar Trading, Pepia Est, The Little One, Sunny Ray, Divino NV and Bersa.    

Gerrit Griffith is the recipient of the Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.       

You will now find him at the door of Superfood, throughout October, fundraising for Ban Uni Man Pa Cria Nos Muchanan, you cannot say no to the man.

$37 Million Rebrand of Landmark Curacao Marriott Beach Resort Nears Completion

The $37 million renovation of a landmark 328-room beach hotel in Curacao is set for opening October 21st, 2019, breathing new life into the property, impeccably positioned on six acres of prime oceanfront real estate. The transformation of the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino to the elegantly stylish Curacao Marriott Beach Resort, promises to bring a fresh feeling of luxury and excitement to an island regarded as the ultimate vacation destination for diving, outdoor recreation, and relaxing under the famous Caribbean sun.

Upon completion, the hotel, which was purchased in 2017 by Piscamara Beach Resorts, will offer 328 newly reimagined guestrooms and eight suites designed by Mexico-based Arquitectura de Interiores. The new look and feel features undertones of Dutch Naval influence and colonial elements woven throughout a clean, contemporary design. Rooms and common areas will share a cool color palette of blues and whites drawing inspiration from the area’s turquoise water and azure nights, enhanced by natural wood tones and vibrant pops of orange.  Additionally, each guestroom and suite will feature a host of amenities including private balconies featuring ocean or pool views, large flat-screen TVs, luxurious bedding, and spa-inspired bathrooms. Suites feature expansive living areas and sleeper sofas.

Award-winning Caribbean-born Chef Dino Jatiani, who previously owned the acclaimed Temptation restaurant in St. Maarten, was tapped to help develop and oversee the property’s multi-million dollar food and beverage operation.  The new Curacao Marriott will feature eight distinct dining and drinking outlets, including a sushi bar, craft cocktail bar, breezy pool bar, onsite marketplace, and more.  A new signature fine-dining restaurant C-Spice will feature a modern take on upscale Caribbean dining for breakfast and dinner.  The menu will feature Dutch Caribbean, European, and Latin American influences with fresh, locally-caught seafood and hand-picked local produce to create exciting, ever-evolving flavors.  Guests will have the choice of dining inside or al fresco on the open-air terrace, and following dinner, enjoy a hookah and cigar lounge featuring a variety of premium rums and spirits in the adjacent courtyard.

In addition to a dream-worthy leisure experience, the property will cater to the meetings and conventions market with 9,000 square feet of functional outdoor and indoor meeting space.  Options including the 5,000 square foot Royal Ballroom for events up to 375 attendees, a 3,000 square foot Queens ballroom, and a spectacular botanical garden featuring a bounty of lush, native plants and fresh, ocean air.

Additional enhancements to the property include an adult-focused lap pool joining a main family-friendly resort pool, state-of-the-art fitness center featuring the latest equipment, kids club and a picturesque walking path adjacent to the hotel.  Catering to health-minded guests, the property will also feature daily exercise classes, including yoga, Pilates, and pool fitness.

The all-new Curacao Marriott Beach Resort is located at John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Piscadera Bay, 10 minutes from historic Willemstad, the island’s hub of dining, shopping, and entertainment and just 15 minutes from Hato International Airport.  For more information, visit https://www.curacao-marriott.com/.

A local rate is now available Pre-Opening, Sneak-Peek, Oct 21 to Nov 15,with travel dates until December 20, starting at $105.- to locals, with an ID, to reserve write to:[email protected] or call +5999 736 8800 during business hours.

Save the Date, September 26th, from 10am for the Ling & Sons Annual Food Show

The Ling & Sons Super Center Food Show 2019 is heading into the Marriott Grand Ballroom and its three times bigger than last year’s!

The popular annual event will transform a show-visit into a much-enjoyed interactive experience.

Mark your calendar, Thursday, September 26th, from 10am to 6pm, in the Grand Ballroom of the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino.

The show will have the latest gastronomic trends on display and will unveil the refreshed Ling & Sons logo, and look.

All retail and wholesale clients are invited, hoteliers, restaurateurs, event planners, catering chefs, food & beverage professionals, purchasing agents, and food lovers of all ages.

The show will promote all of the super center’s brands and quality products from around the world with a special emphasis on Vegan, Organic, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Exotic and Gourmet, best of all, it’s free of charge.

A raffle of 6 culinary trips to Miami, with Ling & Sons buyers, will reward show goers for attending.

Winners will explore how food is sourced in the USA and cared for until its arrival on store-shelves in Aruba.

To participate patrons are required to shop for Awg 50 at the store and receive a raffle ticket; or visit the food show as a consumer or retailer, and receive a ticket.

We can look forward to a spectacular display of super-premium fruits and vegetables including many exotic and new varieties, house-baked specialty breads, ready for the grill meats, tapas and international cheeses, fresh seafood and delicate sushi.

Popular, exclusive Ling & Sons recipes, you know what I mean, Tuna, Crab and Chicken Curry salads, will have a dedicated corner, as well as a Dutch station and a Holiday corner, with festive selections.

Romar Trading partnered with the food show to pair its fine lines of wine and beer with products on display.

An exclusive Spanish section will feature the amazing Capa Negra products of that country including Pata Negra the famous Jamón ibérico, Iberian ham, made from black Iberian pigs, fed a specific acorn diet, paired beautifully with Gancia Baquero cheeses.

Chefs will be cooking, bartender pouring, you cannot afford to miss

Call for more information: +297 521 2370 ext. 223 or 640 7002 or email: [email protected]

Visit www.lingandsons.com

Or follow the store on social media.

META meets, KVK meets

Got to love META CORP. You don’t get to be in business for 100 years, if rolling-over to endure the punches is your MO. On the 100th year anniversary of the company, META is confronting great perils, and the show of force of all their impeccably-kept garbage truck and heavy equipment, blaring their horns in front of parliament, was a classic.

I have to conclude that the Sugar Tax, is really a META tax; if you want to tax sugar (not a bad idea), tax all sugar containing products. So candy, cookies, fruit juices, that contain more sugar than the sodas produced locally.

I think it is an absolute disgrace that GOA thinks it can get away with this. How can you pick one producer and take him out of business, citing the IMF report?

Did the IMF say go annihilate Meta, or did they say an option could be a sugar tax, that is not a soda only tax?

Besides taxing us to death, there is a lot GOA could do, to reduce its overhead, and tighten the belt, but somehow it seems easier to penalize the business sector.

Reminder” META CORP employees are voters.   

Entrepreneurs speaking,

The Chamber of Commerce invited entrepreneur to a Town Hall Meeting about the topic of Fiscal Reform and attendees had the opportunity to present their point of view and come with suggestions and solutions regarding the following topics: BBO on the receipt, BBO at the border; Sugar Tax, Withholding tax (bronheffing) on management fees and royalties.

The Chamber wanted to hear what the business community had to say.

The had to say a lot. The room was brimming with concerned yet civilized and eloquent people.

They want GOA to listen, AND take their concerns to heart.

I missed the first part, and arrived at the Free World. It was interesting nevertheless.

Suggestions:

The merchants want GOA to think policies through, like master chess players, fully understand and weight all consequences.

They want GOA to run the island like a business.

They see GOA keeps robbing the private sector of business opportunities, running inefficient, money losing companies, that should be held in private hands.

Serlimar, Arubus, Arutram, all staffed with friends and family members, the forum even suggested privatizing CBS, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and run it as a money-making enterprise, mining data, instead of a costing GOA millions each year, to produce ear-pleasing stats for the ministers.

GOA is not teaching its employees to economize and find efficiencies, they greatly air-condition all these building, and never turn any switches off. Preventive maintenance? Forget about it. The island burns half a million in fossil fuel per day to keep the light on, and no one addresses the need to reduce.

The island should have transitioned to solar energy a long time ago, with legislation compelling all new construction to install it. With an encouraging perk, in the form of a GOA subsidy.

Big concerns were voiced that we will be penalizing tourism with this new wave of measures, and AHATA has already circulated a red flag press release warning against Aruba becoming more expensive.

One merchant pointed out it was a good sign that the MinPres and MinFec called a stakeholders’ meeting, for the first time in history. It shows they mean to resolve issues, in spite of the danger of voting themselves out.

One merchant opined the MinPres is conflicted because her loyalties to her father are greater than her loyalties to her county.

Another suggested the MinFec is filled with good intentions, yet totally unprepared for the job.

One merchant said he thought the BAVP was created to pay for PPP, so how come a few years into that we’re still broke?

And where is the environmental fee going?

Aren’t we already paying for trash collection with our taxes?

The private sector wants a smaller, more efficient GOA, when will that happen??

As I said, civilized, eloquent people, also well-informed.

Issues are like tissues; you pull one out the other pops up

Issues are like tissues; you pull one out the other pops up

One of my friends called, she was agitated, it’s the end of the world as we know it, she cries, Douana striking, teachers disgruntled, the people making happiness in a can are unhappy, the director of DIP she said, was so outraged he threw a chair against the wall and broke his wrist.

She went to DIP to beg on her knees for some one-year-old plans to finally be released, and the clerk sprang from her desk and locked herself in the bathroom, refusing to come out until the client leaves. She could not take the disappointed look in my GF’s eyes anymore. She’d rather stay in the toilet.

Nothing moving. It’s all stuck. Said GF.

Sure, some things are moving, but not at the same pace as others, in the words of George Orwell, “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.”

The 22 NEW Serlimar garbage collecting trucks were pimped by just one graphic design company, at Awg 6,000 a pop, and I am going to let you guess who got to do that job – hint, the same company that owns Logo Aruba –  in spite of the fact that the first truck was initially commissioned from a competitor at 2/3 or the price. The favorites landed the contract and collected the cash.  

I told her not to worry, yes, the honeymoon between us and GOA is over, we’re all standing here exposed, the real us, biased and greedy, but Aruba always intuitively finds a way.

There is a lot going on. I asked for a ‘spalation from my neighbor, did he, or didn’t he double dip? He promised to answer, but avoided me like a plague. We have a way of chewing up and spitting out new politicians, Tico Croes, Juan David, now Richard Arends. A fresh talent comes our way, and somehow they misread cues, stumble, and end up on the outside. In the case of that parliamentarian, through his consulting company he is advising privately owned companies at considerable fees while working for the people. If I AM WRONG, he had nothing to fear, but if indeed he double dipped at RDA and the parliament of Aruba, he is in mud up to his eye balls.

Last but not least RDA. As we all said all along, this project while worthwhile perhaps, under different circumstance, was an absolute joke with Venezuela as a partner. It was never-ever-ever going to work. Blaming it now on US sanctions from last year is also an absolute and utter joke. Who are we fooling? We should have never gone into bed with these crooks. Most are in prison, except for the ones on island.

Sly fox, Director Alvin Koolman, hung on, as much as he could, and finally stepped down, despite sisterly protection in the MinPres office. His departure, is due to his own failure to make CITGO meet its obligations. He was certainly technically qualified for the job, just not a strong enough bulldog to go after CITGO to comply with the agreement.

The MinPres now has total control over RDA, terminal and the money making FMSA, that is our life-line, assuring a steady supply of fuel to the airport, our cars, the ships, WEB. She will not be able to run the show, she is a tax lawyer not an oil woman, who will she hand RDA over to?

Her father is in the middle of the mix, having been RDA’s lawyer for 25 years. I hear rumors he is talking to Nelson English, former GM & VP during Coastal & El Paso days.

Loyalty to Aruba FIRST, please.

Share on:

September 15, 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