Carnival is over, we’d better get back to life.

Last week the MinFEC – Finance, Economy, Culture – took on the subject of Moonlighting reiterating the obvious, which is not so obvious in Aruba, that government employees cannot hold down a second job in addition to their full time, salaried government duties, unless specific permission is solicited and granted, BEFORE assuming any added paid-for responsibilities in other areas, that might sometimes be in direct CONFLICT of interest with the official occupation.

She was berating a particular radio personality who is a government employee and a former AVP member of parliament who took it upon himself to rack her over the coals everyday during his air time on channel 90.

His response was that he was doing the radio program during his free time and not on the government clock. Maybe.

The minister is of course right. It is ethically wrong to work in two places at the same time, but it’s a small island and you have to cut people some slack. Yes, a senior member of the police can play in a band if music is his hobby and his passion. Granted, music has anti-stress benefits, and is good for the soul, as added-value.  Work somewhere are a volunteer after-hours? That’s good for us all, but transparency is the key.

No, you cannot work as a draftsman for the land department during the day, and draft construction plans for a fee after-hours, then submit them to yourself for approval in the morning.

Or work as the inspector of medications, own a pill-import business, and rent space from a large pharmacy chain as a tenant, thus securing preferential status, to the medications you privately import and publicly approve.

You see we are all children, and when boundaries are not clearly stated we will test, how far we can go and how much we can get away with.

I believe that the whole business of work place ethics needs to be revisited. No, you cannot take copy paper home from the office, or refer all potential legal disputes to your family firm for resolution.

So, I am with the MinFEC, and following her declaration a general crackdown on the double dippers is in order. It will help redefine what’s appropriate and what’s not.

In the current government, for the first time, with have an Integrity portfolio under the wings of the MinPres.

It would be good to dust that cape off and present it to a person of high morals, who would become our national Guardian of Ethics, reminding us all what is acceptable and what’s not, draw the line on double-dipping and design an acceptable moonlighting protocol.

BECAUSE, the whole country is moonlighting. It is a fact. The cost of living is so high on Aruba, that everyone is doing more than one job, just to make ends meet, and bad decision often follow.

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February 13, 2018
Rona Coster