Reality or just politics?

False pride or pride well justified?

At this moment in time, Aruba faces the dilemma of whether to accept the conditions laid down by Holland in order to receive help long term (the only help available today), which implies renouncing part of its autonomy.

The decision to defend our autonomy no matter what, is only valid if the majority of the population is on board. This decision has as consequence the inevitable deterioration of the quality of life of the Aruban people, something which before this moment never seemed possible.

In order to make this decision, as I understand it, would require a referendum since its implications exceed proposals made by the current government voted in at the previous elections.

The decision to accept the conditions detailed by Holland would give a better outlook in the short and long term, allowing Aruba to avoid economic collapse and lay the foundations for a more efficient, diverse and modern economy.

At the same time this decision would hurt the pride of part of the population.

The question is not which option do we choose, but rather do we have the ability to make the choice?

We need to analyze the cold, hard facts. Let’s leave sentiments to one side.

Aruba has, for whatever reason, a high public deficit, an even higher level of debt and a ‘mono-product’ economy (that of tourism) that has been one of the most affected in the world by COVID.

Aruba exports tourism, but unlike other countries whose forte is tourism, Aruba needs to import almost everything necessary in order to function. This means energy, food, medicine and other materials for construction, technology etc.

So, will tourism and Aruba recover? Of course they will.

However this recovery will take time, 1 or 2 years. When that recovery finally arrives, the deficit, the debts, the vulnerability associated with having a ‘mono-product’ will still exist, and on top of that there will be a higher level of unemployment as a result of those affected by COVID.

Whilst this lasts, it will mean a larger deficit on the scales of commerce which will have to be financed somehow, and that would only add more debt.

The government of Aruba has already stated that it cannot access international credits.

Without this access to credit, Aruba will have serious problems in maintaining its population with the basic elements necessary for survival.

Since yesterday, and after long negotiations Aruba got 100M florins from local Banks? This clearly shows we are out of the international market.

We can not be happy because the rosea will last till nov/dec.

Let’s suppose that we can magically solve this problem. I really believe that it can’t even be solved with the help of magic. But, as economists say, ‘if’ we could solve it, with what resources and how could these deep rooted problems be solved?

The government of Aruba has developed a master plan in order to diversify and make the economy of Aruba more efficient. Surely everybody agrees that this is a necessity.

Now, in order for the master plan to actually happen and not just end up a list of wishful thinking, it needs time and money.

We don’t have either of those elements.

Aruba doesn’t have other natural resources that can be exploited either, something which obliges us to be much more efficient and realistic at the moment of planning this new economy.

Faced with this objective reality, it seems that rejecting Holland’s offer is more of a suicide mission than a patriotic decision.

Aruba is faced with a pivotal moment in its history which demands that its governors look towards the future.

The governors that achieve this today will be the heroes of tomorrow.

 

 

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September 12, 2020
Rona Coster