Hanging around bars

The Aruba Bar Association last night elected a new board: President: Ronnie Wix and Vice-President: Johan Sjiem Fat.

Other board members elected include Demis Illes, Lianne Pieters & Gabriela Sjiem Fat,

The new board will start its two-year term in January 2019.

They intend to focus on the following things among others:

  1. Continuing legal education both for our members, as well as providing information about legal topics for the general public.
  2. Representing interests of the bar vis a vis the courts, regulatory agencies and the government 
  3. promoting the rule of law in general.
  4. Inviting more guests to speak on non-legal topics at Bar Association meetings.
  5. Organizing more social events for members.
  6. Figure out other meaningful ways in which we can contribute to our community. Perhaps some form of pro bono work for charitable or idealistic causes.

The new board thanks the outgoing board for the great work it did during their two-year term.

I understand that there are about 90 lawyers in Aruba, about 60% of them show up to the bi-monthly meetings of the bar association to discuss legislation and/or government policies.

Some of the highlights of the outgoing board achievements included a raise granted to criminal lawyers who undertake the defense of complicated cases pro bono, but collect a standard rate from the government. That rate which hasn’t been updated in 25 years, was just recently adjusted.

Another highlight included the discussion undertaken by journalists, members of the media, and law enforcement regarding the role they play in ethical reporting of news on the island.

(That discussion did not go anywhere according to me, but it was potent and turbulent while ongoing)

The bar association also devoted time to training and educating its members regarding the refugee crisis in the region, and the refugee law, a branch of international law which deals with the rights and protection of refugees, from all walks of life.

It’s a thankless job, says the outgoing president of the bar, you listen to many people whining, and there is no reward for hard work! I did not seek reelection, he adds, but am pleased to say that the outgoing board kept the association together; no divisive arguments, no controversies.    

My information however tells me that the election of the new president was not glitchless, and not unanimous, and no one would explain further!

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December 03, 2018
Rona Coster