How permanent is temporary?

In July 2022, the prices of water and electricity here went up, drastically, by 27.7% and 23.9% respectively.

The hike was approved by the government as a temporary measure — 6 months, said the minister, to help replenish the empty coffers of the utility companies.

Why were their coffers empty?

They forgot to hedge, heavy fuel oil prices went up, there were a number of excuses, but bottom line, we were told we must help WEB and ELMAR out of the financial hole.

Ironic, I know, these companies are supposed to make money not lose it.

It’s been more than 6 months, and there is no relief in view. They must be pleased with the free flow of cash into their pipeline.

The Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association whose members pay through the nose for utilities, sounded the alarm in early December, and two, unanswered letters, already went out to alert GOA of the need to act.

The minister in charge reports he is working on it, but doesn’t commit to any results. He took a few trips to South America in search of a reasonable fuel source — the minister he talked to, in Ecuador, meanwhile went to jail, and prices dropped worldwide, still our minister is humming and hawing.

This week a press conference was called. It lined up the representatives of the business community, trade, hospitality and almost all labor unions, a rare alignment between civic organizations determined to move GOA into action.

For once, they all agreed, they all had just one goal, and they all expressed disappointment in GOA’s ability to manage utilities, with their people at heart.

If they loved their people so much, they surely must act to reduce the burden of draconic utility rates.

Let’s see how it goes.

One happy island, is unhappy.

Who was there: OPPA, the representatives of 1,600 government pensioners, who have it especially hard in retirement having to choose between paying for medications and utility bills, the Customs union, the Teachers’ union, the Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, United Commerce Aruba, an association of local businesses, the Police union, the Hospital workers union, FTA, a general labor union, the Public Employee union,  and the Aruba Trade and Industry Association, representing the heart of Aruba’s economic engine.

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March 03, 2023
Rona Coster