In general I noticed a proliferation of new businesses in Noord and environs, a Turkish Shoarma takeout in a red ocean container shares the lot with another pastel-colored snack shack. Another car wash, El Boris, at the beginning of the Palm Beach road, sporting a provocative, colorful, sexy sign. Do you think that a car wash is as lucrative as a snack truck? Or is a hardware store more profitable? I just recently received a visit from an officer in the Police permit department. He was questioning the residents of my street, within 200 meters of an upcoming business as to how we feel about the increased mercantile activities in our laid back neighborhood. He asked common sense questions such as: What are my reasons and/or complaints and objections pro or con the building and/or operation of a business close by?! And do I feel that the presence of this business near me will or could create or cause public disorder in our residential area. Do I believe that the presence of a business practically next door to my home will or may interfere or disturb the peacefulness and tranquility that I have always enjoyed here, etc. you get my drift. The officer was super friendly and scribbled every word I said in long hand in his book, in Dutch, which I then signed. So why am I telling you all this? Because apparently, we citizens of Aruba have a recourse, the Police Permit Department, not that they can do anything, but it feels good to be heard. So that’s how it works: If a Shoarma takeaway container decides to move in next to you, setting up shop on government leased land, then you can complain to the Police. However, on privately owned land, anything goes, there is little you can do. So apparently if your neighbor decides to install a row of public bathrooms on his privately owned land, tough luck, take it on the chin, but on leased land it’s another story, you may complain, but if one of the ministers gives a green light, then refer to the above option I already described, tough luck, take it on the chin. Basically my visiting policeman said that we have no detailed regulations in place, thus it’s all so difficult to curb the general public’s appetite for mercantile activities. He also said that those wishing to open businesses are in principle required to place paid adz in the newspaper declaring their intentions, forewarning their neighbors, but the adz they place are usually so small, that no one ever sees them.
ISLAND OF MERCANTILISM
January 03, 2016