No Money

This week we were treated to two NO MONEY incidences.

Daryl Lue , the head of infrastructure at DOW, explained that the country cannot maintain its drainage system for lack of money.

Tubes are breaking in various places, pumps clog up and malfunction, the ferocious rain increased the water-load. The system is decades old, and DOW does its best to mitigate the damage, but there is no money for major repairs, hence, the gray water flooding, and the odor around the hotels.

We also heard that ELMAR showed up at the Police ward with instructions to cut the power off, for lack of payment, in the thousands.

I wrote about this already, umpteen times, but there is no asset maintenance on Aruba. From roads to toilet waste, none of our assets have ever been invested in, in the last 35 years. The only regular feature is the ongoing borrowing of funds.

Sure, they built the road around Oranjestad, doubling our national debt, and shaving three minutes off the time it took to get to the airport.

OK, the road was needed, but in a less bombastic format and….it has never once been structurally maintained since construction.

Our dump, at Parkietenbos, the Bubali RWZI plant. I saw it lapping the wall of the Embassy Suites garage this week, dark green and ominous.

The odor has been an issue for years, and chemicals are expensive and just mask the offensive smell for a short time.

Where do our tax florins, in billions, go?

What about investing the depreciations, or allocating money to a road fund, to structurally maintain all sidewalks, asphalt and gutters?

I believe former minister of infrastructure, Marisol Tromp, started to set something up and even arranged joint-forces with Dutch funding specifically for road maintenance.

Alas, that did not last.

We are blessed with the most expensive governmental apparatus in the Western hemisphere, with the lowest level of investment.

And we aren’t getting the level of service, you would expect, from that expensive machine.

This week, in conversation with a Palm Beach hotelier he said and I am quoting, that the roads around and right in front of our high rise hotels are an insult to the tourists who pour a lot of tax florins, into our economy.

The only portion of road maintained, is the 50 meter stretch in front of parliament.

Another insult to pueblo!

Poor Daryl Lee, I feel for him.

GOA collects nearly 4.4 million florins per day, or USD$2.4 million, to manage our country’s assets, and they are not even trying.

Just 3% of that is invested, 97% is burnt on salaries, interest, goods and services.

In general, this is a terrible record for a country or an organization serving people.

And what we make is not enough. We have to borrow to keep government operations, running.


As a rule: We should ONLY borrow for investment. We should be paying back what we borrowed on a timely basis so that our credit worthiness is maintained/improved.


We were in a dire financial situation pre-COVID. And the pandemic highlighted the problem further. It is not the cause of our financial vows.



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November 22, 2023
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