Mustard After the Meal

Our curfew days are over. On Thursday, the stringent Toque de Queda will be done and over with.

I believe we had 58 days of that medicine over the past weeks and overall most people complied with the restrictive measure. The Police reports 552 violators, fined Awg 1,000 each. Only 30 settled their bill, the rest will have to explain to the judge why they were on the street, under a calamity state of emergency.

Ten businesses were also fined for violation of the curfew hours, and two individuals were cited for breaking quarantine.

We all understood the reason for enforcing TDQ, basically, to get people off the street to lower the rate of infection, and to prevent the clogging of the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital with accident victims, fighting for their lives.

We also knew that the authorities were aiming at crime prevention, though I don’t remember it openly discussed, besides the general demand to behave and respect.

Having crashed the curve, last week, GOA announced its intention to lift 2 out of 3 restrictions, no more shelter in place, no more ban on gathering, but TDQ remains because curfew has contributed to a reduction in crime.

As soon that that was made public lawyer Ronny Wix under the umbrella of the Aruba Bar Association, announced that the Order is concerned with the legality, proportionality and subsidiarity of the curfew.

The educated legal brief published by Wix, the Dean of the Order, pronounced that “Crime does not currently constitute a calamity within the meaning of the Calamity Ordinance, because there is nothing to indicate that there is (well-founded fear of) a huge increase in crime. Crime prevention therefore does not provide a legal basis for maintaining the curfew, at least not at this time.”

The letter focused on the deprivation of our liberty and the consequential fining of individuals for having left home.

Mustard after the meal.

A day late and a dollar short.

Now you come up with this??

Because as it turned out TDQ will be lifted this coming Thursday, probably totally unrelated to the protest letter, but of course Wix who doesn’t shy away from publicity would like to claim the credit.

My insider friends tell me that the members at large of the Aruba Bar Association were pretty shocked at the publication, airing without prior association approval, and Wix’s unabashed explanation that he published for fear no consensus will ever be reached. He said he won’t do it again.

We are all second-guessing ourselves these days.

Was it all worth it?

Why didn’t we act like Sweden?

Why did we act like China? They can afford it, we can’t.

Why did we crash the world economy if now, no one cares about hand-washing or social-distancing, anymore?

In Aruba and across the world, citizens are congregating, in total defiance of science and/or common sense. We have seen pictures of crammed beaches and swimming pools, not to mention our own supermarkets.

Social distancing? Apparently no one cares. People had enough of government interference. They are tired of preventive measures.

So what’s left?

We are all responsible for our own health and well-being and on a personal note I will continue to respect and follow recommendations, and I hope everyone around me does too.   

There was a suggestion, at the end of Wix’s letter, and it basically says, ditch curfew: It would be more sensible not to sell drinks between 11pm and 5am in bars, restaurants and OTHER establishments, and that way the police will be able to check all citizens and tourists for compliance with a restrictive measure when the borders open up again for tourism.


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May 26, 2020
Rona Coster