From the Prime Minister Press Conference, yesterday

The MinPres announced in yesterday’s TV appearance that the Ombudsman law was approved in parliament. That institution, designed to serve as the “Defender” for the community, oversees investigations of complaints of unjust government handling of citizens. She also added that a child Ombudsman will also be appointed to resolve children related cases. As expected, this process by parliament to appoint an Ombudsman independently, will take time, and the furnishing of the office with funds from the MinPres’ budget, will also be time consuming.

Critical thought: Aruba is the only island from among the Dutch Antilles, who has no Ombudsman, yet. Not that out track-record is perfect, on the contrary, there are a lot of infraction committed especially in the immigration and naturalization processes, in view of the fact that Dimas never functioned properly and has been non-active since February. This practice of weaponizing our bureaucracy and intentionally letting people ‘hang’ without a decision about their legal status, will keep an army of Ombudsmen busy.

The MinPres also announced that the law to limit political financing was approved in Parliament. Donations per sponsor will be limited, to max Awg 50,000 per year per benefactor to parties; max Awg 20,000 per benefactor to individual politicians. Political parties and candidates must present an annual report, and the law does not cover investigations whether benefactors received any benefits as a result, and naturally, the law will take a while to be implemented.

The MinPres also announced that the Integrity Bureau, will be getting a leader and GOA is busy looking for one. This bureau will investigate and assist with corruption related cases.

Overall critical thought: I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but all above three fixes are LONG overdue, we have been talking about them for twenty years. Now they are being rushed in as a response to the general demand for reform. All three issues are counter-measures, in case a citizen is wronged, in case a political party gets greedy, in case politicians lose their moral compass. So these are CORRECTIVE MEASURES, not proactive measures.

What we are all asking are structural changes in the way we do business, not just band aids and paracetamols.

Examples:

One of my friends has an appointment for October to pick up her 2020 license plates.

We just received our 2016 income tax papers.

I really don’t have to give you examples anymore, you know very well that our government machine isn’t working. We often receive negative value from GOA, since our national debt has been increasing each year, 35 years in a row, even before Covid 19.

So if GOA had managed our resources better from the start, we wouldn’t be in a pickle at all, we’d have rich reserves to sustain us over the upcoming seven lean years.

On another note: I don’t understand why MinPres is so surprised by the public’s behavior. The way we behave reflects the way we were treated, carrying huge piggybacking moocher draining the lifeblood of hardworking citizens, businesses, and visitors, with little in return.

Our people learned to do their thing, to ignore GOA. It’s a survival tactic: pay as little taxes as possible, try to get away with as much as possible. This is an obvious protest against GOA’s stance against CHANGE, relief and reform, against our desire to improve our life, and engage completely with the Dutch to structurally downsize GOA right now.

Ombudsman… integrity bureau… stuff that has been in the procrastination pipeline for years. Now done in a jiffy.  Guess there is a reason for them to get it through now. Just like band aids and paracetamol, these measures focus on what went wrong, instead of eliminating the wrong.  

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September 15, 2020
Rona Coster