On Vacation

One of my neighbors literally ran into me on my Sunday morning walk along Malmok.

I was just noticing two or three more lights vandalized — the work of some sociopath annoyed by working public property – when the neighbor accused me of going soft. Why are you so nice, he asked, send them all to hell, GOA hasn’t been following up on any of the useful advice given during the pandemic, by the grass-root committee of well-meaning, educated citizens, whose reports, voluntarily written,  have been piling dust in GOA’s filing cabinets.

True. GOA’s employees are content too, they are getting their salaries restored to pre-pandemic level, their jobs are protected, they think things will be back to normal, but the truth is, my neighbor kept gushing, that by switching to LNG, life on Aruba will become much more expensive since the price of liquefied natural gas has gone through the roof, and decision-makers are pushing ahead regardless of the cost to the nation, its citizens and future generations.

My neighbor needed to vent: They are forging ahead thinking that the expansion of our tourism product, more hotels, more airline seats, will save us, disregarding the current crises, local and global, because that is what the Minister of Tourism is saying.

And why are they issuing additional permits for more condos and resorts, if the industry is so-called plundering the island.

By this time, my Sunday Zen was completely destroyed.

Of course, my neighbor is right.

But until the end of August, when all movers and shakers come back from vacation, there is nothing to report.

MinPres rushed to the Netherlands, failed to convince the kingdom that salaries should be restored to pre-pandemic level, called her peeps here, and they agreed to do it anyway.  Consequently, our financial supervisors recommended disciplinary measures, then we all went to summer vacation, with all issues hanging, suspended mid-air.

The Minister of Finance and Culture, is holding the fort. She enjoyed a public appearance this weekend at the evening dedicated to Etty Toppenberg, a musician I personally admire.

She also celebrated 13 years in politics and took a demure dip in a pool on a Sunday, wearing a fetching wide-brimmed straw hat and a blue bathing suite, as she lounged on a plastic raft.

Between photo opportunities she announced tips would not be taxed, that while it was proposed in the past, as part of the fiscal reform, it will not happen. Those working in service positions will continue to pocket their tips, tax free.

Most salaried people’s income will continue to be taxed to the last cent, and others, will continue to enjoy the privilege of tax-free income.

In most rational countries, each individual is responsible for filing his own taxes. Millions of Americans, for example, prepared and e-file their own income tax returns each year. It’s not all that bad, you get to also itemize deductions, on education, health care, whatever is permitted and sometimes you even get money back!

But that is the case in a rational country.

To conclude, all soft news until the end of August.

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August 15, 2022
Rona Coster