Power Struggle at DIMAS

The dysfunctional Department of Integration, Management and Admission of Foreigners has currently put its ailing culture on full display.

Under the leadership of conservative director Kathy Ruiz-Paskel, this place was a black hole. According to consumers, they lost documents, they dragged their heels, they hated their clients, the department was poorly managed and suffered from chronic lack of communication, both interior and exterior.

Of course some will tell you it was a policy, and that the seasoned legal professional with years of experiences navigated that important department according to prevailing anti-immigration sentiments, and did her job thoroughly.

Thousands of complaints, didn’t change anything, though with digitalization, in recent years, they lost fewer documents, but still dragged their heels and hated their clients.

In walks a new populist minister entrusted with the integration portfolio. Does he have his eyes on new voters which he will enlist with a more lenient admission policy? Then off goes Kathy’s head.

Guarda Nos Costa also had three tablets with which they could tap into the DIMAS system, to see what’s what, our boy wanted that info-sharing revoked, but the director opted to leave the tablets in GNC’s hands.

Many on the island would like to see a more lenient admission policy. The island is short of workers and according to UNHCR 17.000 Venezuelans refugees and migrants are living here in limbo and we could close the employment gap with their help.

But, a bold, courageous and humanitarian move of that magnitude requires trustworthy, credible and qualified people to run it, and our boy recently appointed a good looking 26 years old, who studies for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at the University of Aruba.

It must be a great school if it teaches kids so well that they can take on a senior position in government, and study, at the same time.

Yes, she is related to the minister via, via, and judging by her FB posts, campaigned for the minister — G4 on the MEP list of candidates, last year.

Another IT specialist with zero legal background, but with solid campaign experience for the former minister of justice and current minister of labor, was also named to co-manage the show.

The changes at DIMAS did not meet with employee approval. They all immediately sided with the current minister of justice on the other side of the spectrum – he just announced more severe measures against anyone employing or housing an undocumented person.

In essence, the move towards perhaps a more liberal admission policy, by the Minister of Labor, Integration and Energy, coincided with more severe measures against would-be employers and landlords, by the Minister of Justice and Social Affairs.

Our minister of health also chimes in, reporting our undocumented population burdens us with 11 million in unbudgeted medical costs, while they could contribute 28 million as subscribers, if in the system, a positive balance in our favor.

While indeed the minister of integration has some discretion in appointments – the Dutch imposed an absolute freeze on additional hires, the question remains is it legal, can the minister appoint a director, or a steering committee or a management team to lead the department, or is it the ministry’s job, because the ministry doesn’t equal the minister.

And my friends report DPL, the department of labor, is quagmired too, worse than ever, with changes in leadership, related to the minister, via, via, but the absolute freeze on additional hires stands.

If you look around the world, a well-organized wave of immigration is a gift, new skills, new genes, new energy, it’s always a good thing, and we are hopeful.

Where is MinPres on this crossroad? We don’t know. It feels like she is supportive of a new approach, from a distance, but if it crashes and burns, it won’t weaken her position.



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March 22, 2022
Rona Coster