Mark, zo kunnen we toch niet ademen

I had a tourista riba mi isla day yesterday, it was pure magic, we have a wonderful thing going here!

Then at O’Neil’s Caribbean Kitchen in San Nicolas, I saw long-time union leader Anselmo Pontilius having lunch with economist Ben Marapin and I longed to become a fly in their curry, I know what they were talking about, they were discussing flexible labor laws, and Anselmo, the sly fox, picked the right brains to pick.

If we had more flexible labor laws, employers would be encouraged to hire and create more opportunities for part-timers, and full timers, liberated from fear of getting stuck with a surplus of people, in the off-season, for example.

It’s great that they are talking, because among 18 conditions of the famous kingdom document sent to the MinPres, is one regarding the layoff of 1,500 GOA employees.

The 200plus page confidential document outlined 18 conditions, for continued financial aid to the island. In her response letter the MinPres protested the confidential nature of the document, she wanted to disclose its damning content to all stakeholders, unions, parliamentarians, etc., and share the fatal burden of decision with them.

Her second point of discussion was the urgency: It took the island 34 years to dig itself into a gargantuan economic hole, and the kingdom wanted an answer, a yes, in just four days. No por.

In her last paragraph she evoked a famous line:” Mark, zo kunnen we toch niet ademen.” Mark – Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister – we cannot breathe this way, quoting American George Floyd and Aruban Mitch Henriquez, who met a similar fate in the Netherlands. The MinPres was asking for more time.   

I found the comment smart, because we all understand exactly what she is saying regarding the pressure applied, but some of my friends found it uncool, especially when followed by ‘kind regards’ at the end of her two-page solicitation.

About letting 1,500 GOA employees go:

We had a good laugh last evening when we envisioned some of the laid off Casino Inspectors, for example, relieved of their passive, laid-back government jobs, filling in an application for work at the Bucuti and Tara Beach Resort, and stating during their interview with owner Ewald Biemans that they are accustomed to reading their Diario, and smoking two cigarettes with their coffee, first thing in the morning, just to get going.

That useless department, with all due respect, if dissolved, has totally unskilled workers, hired for reasons of nepotism and political favoritism, and their transition into the private sector will be difficult.

So how do you innovate, transform and face the future with vision and creativity surrounded by 1,500 low-skilled and entitled individuals which must be motivated, spruced up and re-educated. That’s a huge job by itself.

The second piece of secretive info leaked is a 12.5% tax to replacxe BBO and/or invoerrechten. There are two ways of collecting it, like a BBO, at the point of sale, and then you ELIMINATE import duties, tariffs. Or as Import Duties, at the port of entry and eliminate BBO etc. I see a lot of moaning going on, online, but GOA cannot keep all taxes, it will have to eliminate a few if it raises the rate to 12.5%.

I think the BBO route is safe. The infrastructure is in place; we all know how to do it. The invoerrechten route is murky, because then Customs becomes super important and they have to stay awake and check all invoices, verify amounts and veracity, and that’s a bit over their heads. Customs in Aruba isn’t exactly known for its diligence and productivity and we will be leaving too much up to them. I vote for BBO.

Third condition revealed raised the age of retirement to 67 which alleviate a bit of the pressure on the pension fund.

More will be revealed today!!

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July 08, 2020
Rona Coster