Core Campana

Last month I read on social media that a TV personality headquartered in Santa Cruz was furious about a letter circulated in her barrio, signed by the MinPress, offering help, a general term which covers anything from a job to asphalt and street lights, to any Santa Cruz resident who takes the matters into his hands and contacts one of the following seven people: Suzette Kock, Ichelle Simon, Atan Lee Sr. Tyson Lopez, Oscar Bislip, Curt Croeze and Andres Werleman, all government employees or so-called coordinators in the MinPres stable.

She was furious that the MinPres dares go fishing in her barrio, traditionally populated by members of the opposition.

And I was furious because the propaganda letter was printed at the expense of the tax-payer, delivered at the expense of the tax-payer, and all these people now jumping at the wishes of Santa Cruz residents, get paid with tax-payer money, Core Campagna, running the election campaign of the incumbent MinPres.

In other words, his election campaign in funded by the people of this island.

On Monday, we took a small island Tour, destination San Nicholas, to visit the artwork and have lunch at O’Neil’s Caribbean Kitchen. We were 50% successful. The artwork was there, photogenic and fun, but O’Neil’s was closed. So we ended up at Amuse Sunset Bistro and enjoyed an amazing early evening experience, with unrivaled sea views and gracious service.

But the road to San Nicholas, via Paradera, Santa Cruz, Sabana Basora and Savaneta was treacherous, with every sidewalk and every road under repair!

It’s definitely election time in Aruba. The residents have made their lists, fix this, fix that, and handed them it to their hopeful politician, hoping to be reelected on the wings of barrio repairs and personal favors.

One of my girlfriends writes: They have been walking the neighborhoods for 8 years now, with an entourage of government representative in tow, DIP, DOW, Social Affairs, taking orders from residents. So our people ‘learned’ that everything is a ‘favor.’ They don’t go to the government departments anymore, because it is easier to request service off the MinPres menu.

It goes like the following: During a home visit, the MinPres solicits needs and wants, and hands the list  to his entourage for handling.

Once given the instructions, the member of the entourage will secure a house, a place at a specific school, a job, a piece of land, unemployment stipend, or freshly paved sidewalks. Raoul Gravenstijn, for example, a nice guy, who works for Social Affairs, has been walking the barrios for years, making sure the barrios get light, and that unemployment stipend are paid, courtesy of the MinPres. He is no longer at his desk, because he only follows up on the ‘ter beschikking’  requests, translated to ministerial orders. So government employees only follow up on the ‘ter beschikking’ cases, only on cases referred to them by the MinPres or other ministers. Consequently, they practically abandon the jobs they were hired to do, and relocate to the bestuurskantoor, our government offices, for special projects, as personal assistants to their minister, and after the 4 years are over, they would go back to their regular jobs. Roaul, for example, now works full time for the MinPres in the barrios.

Yesterday driving by the government offices I noticed two dozen people hanging outside the doors, they were waiting for this minister or the other with their list in hand.

It’s election time in Aruba.

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April 13, 2017
Rona Coster