Who said island life was boring or uneventful?!

This is what was discussed in my chat this week:

Arubus drivers are slowing down work today, December 15th, to express their dissatisfaction with management wishing to implement work reforms, which the employees and their Union oppose. Arubus is an essential operation, and I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the crises at the hotels when bus-using employees fail to show up for work. Shutting down or slowing down the little public transport we have is irresponsible. Besides, if any company requires reform, it’s Arubus.

Sunday’s JetBlue flight was delayed, then cancelled. They made one announcement then kept everyone in the dark. The airport was freezing, then slowly all outlets closed. Finally, passengers got to board, but deplaned a short time after. They were not travelling anywhere. The flight was cancelled. Jet Blue wasn’t on the ball, at all. They should have figured it out by now. How long has Jet Blue been on the island? It was a Boston flight so passengers handled it well, but ground personnel was stressed and untrained. By 10pm they release the passengers, but then there were no taxis. The issue, said one of my friends, was not the delay but the lack of communication. Delays happen everywhere and we should be better prepared for the winter season of 2023.

AHATA sounded the alarm on Wednesday when GOA snuck an additional measure into the upcoming tax reform that would greatly affect the cost of doing business. GOA tried to levy BBO on all services and good delivered to local companies by foreign companies overseas. Examples? Good imported for the resorts or the services of the Marketing and PR companies employed by the resorts, operating out of the USA, in the USA. That would spell disaster but I understand it was since revisited and amended, no BBO on goods, yes, BBO on services, and the responsibility to collect and hand over the tax is on the local company. They write laws on the fly, they are in a rush, not thinking things through. We are heading into a tax reform, implemented in two weeks and there is zero clarity about what it EXACTLY entails.

We were vindicated to hear that the court denied Richard Kramer’s request to return to the coast guard, Warda Nos Costa, following his suspension as the interim director. The court doubted his ability to fulfill his duties according to regulations in view of the culture of intimidation and threats he promoted, often taking the law into his hands. His return to GNC may represent a danger to judicial democratic order, and a risk to public administration.  We all agreed it was karma who finally caught up with him.

Then there is this unfortunate suicide of a brilliant, young, University of Aruba student, Elida Artega, a yoga lover who just handed in her final paper. Her entire social circle finds her suicide absurd and unbelievable. It is not like her, they insist. She reportedly committed suicide by hanging at the home of a former, well-connected parliamentarian who was off island with his wife. Her family asked for an autopsy, and was denied, but now it seems the death will be further investigated, and an autopsy will be performed, though the local police wanted to close the case with no further probing, declaring there was no basis for suspicion of foul play. Elida’s friends insist, and started a go-fund-me to raise money for the autopsy and a proper sent off. This is not a clear cut case, and while I am not a conspiracy theorist, many are. Our community demands more clarity.

Then there is the ridiculous stance taken by two MEP party member against the ruling in favor of same sex marriages. Two insignificant parliamentarian voices are fighting a lost battle. It is just a question of time; same sex marriages are coming. Another scholarly member of the AVP party joined the disappointing chorus in an attack on the HOF, the court of appeal, that issued the pro same sex marriage verdict. It is very upsetting when the so-called young generation of politicians, once elected, resort to the old thinking and the old way, even if the government appeals to the high court in The HAGUE, as some religious leaders are demanding, marriages of the same sex in Aruba are coming!

The Affair Besaril is also continuously making waves. We want to know if the man is still a government employee or was he fired ? If not why not ? Is he still in service of land Aruba ? Will he pay back ? How much ? Will there be detailed guidelines and controls going forward ? When? It will be interesting to see if the prosecutor acts, or not, and if they decide to pursue the money, after all, this is a common practice, to inflate expense accounts, will they go through the trouble to track the expenses and insist on restitution, the man was an insider, will they go after a member of the inner circle?

Who said island life was boring or uneventful?!


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December 15, 2022
Rona Coster