What we talked about this week

Will prices drop?

Aruba’s Chamber of Commerce recently met with a representative of the Dutch embassy in Caracas.

They talked about the opening of the Aruba-Venezuela border and established that there is produce in Venezuela that is well-priced and abundant, and will surely help provide the island with eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, and many more agricultural and industrial products that might help drop prices here.

The border closed overnight in 2018. And while we got over it fast, with significant price increases, when I look at the map, the Paraguana Peninsula, and other more remote areas across the water, I realize that these are arid and poor, and the fact that they grow anything is a miracle. The closing of the border must have been an economic disaster to those dependent on exporting their products and goods to Aruba. It must have been a full blown calamity, when the pipeline shut down. I can only imagine they are looking forward to the re-opening of the market.

 

Buyers Beware

We remember the tragic tubing accident on the water in Aruba, almost one year ago, where a 13 year old tourist lost her life when a boat captain lost control of his vessel, pressed the boat throttle forward, and ran over her, when attempting to swerve and pick her up, from the water.

The scene on the beach, the grief, the shock, just unforgettable.

The local prosecutor found no reason to take legal action, nothing criminal nor negligent, and the family took to the air, to Good Morning America to share their pain. They did not know the danger, they said, they could not foresee the disaster, and they wished to warn others, buyers beware, before anyone on the island prepares to take a boat ride or embark on a similar adventure. Check for insurance papers and the availability of first aid, they recommended, there should be a second person on the boat as a look out.

True, buyers have to be cautious, but where is our responsibility? Do we offer quality, safe services on our beaches?

The answer is no, because we have no regulation and the reason why the local prosecutor closed the case, is that he had no case. Anyone could buy a boat, register it, get some kind of license, then hire a few action seekers to drive it.

True, it was an unfortunate accident, still the questions are nagging, is anyone checking the watersports sector for compliance with safety and security rules?

I believe a committee was set up to look into the matter, which in Papiamento means the issue was tabled and forgotten, and it remains the responsibility of the parents to say no, and to risk to be considered uncool.

 

How can we talk of integrity?

Integrity was the subject of conversation this week.

Cabinet Wever-Croes I was dissolved when charges against a POR coalition member surfaced. MinPres went to the governor, and flushed the kid down the drain with the bath water.

Recently two former MEP ministers were implicated in a criminal investigation yet GOA still stands.

What also popped up was the issue of a diehard Mepista, a member of the old guard, one of the above subjects of investigation, former minister Edison Briesen, who retired from politics, yet was very much involved in foundations and boards, representing GOA at RDA and at other honorarium-paying jobs.

Finally, GOA was also going to pay the ultimate honorarium, a fine, imposed by the courts of over 2 million, in lieu of Briesen, but coalition members woke up to object, AFTER charges were filed. The plan was OK with them, before.

It seems Briesen will have to bear the consequences of hastily signing a contract, almost fifteen years ago, and my friends believe he did not enrich himself while in office, as I said, a member of the old guard.

 

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February 18, 2023
Rona Coster