Some information leaked the day before yesterday, from the office of the Land Department, a certain bureaucrat, gave another paper-pusher an order to release SEVEN parcels of land for construction. The terrain is located behind the Salina in Malmokweg, and is considered protected wetland.
The story implied that the Legal Adviser told the bureaucrat to lay off the wetlands, but the bureaucrat persisted and instructed the paper-pusher to follow up and release the parcels to friends and family members.
The son of this, the daughter of that, each received a parcel of land in a prime location, that is a nature reserve, adding insult to injury.
- The land is not available for development.
- Most humble unconnected Arubans must wait 10 or 12 years for the release of terrain where they can build a home, and privileged few, connected to the Minister of Infrastructure, get instant satisfaction and preferential treatment.
I understand that the legal adviser also called DOW, Public Works, to make sure they are informed and will reject a petition for a building permit.
Poor paper-pusher, if he/she follows up on the bureaucrat’s orders, he/she will be committing fraud and can be dragged into court, because wetlands are protected, he/she as a government employee cannot act on illegal orders.
We told Greg Peterson, he is a wetland activist, and Reymundo Dijkhoff, he is the head of the National Archaeological Museum Aruba, a man who devoted a great part of his life to the protection of archaeological sites, which Malmok is one.
We told Marisol Tromp, who is a member of Parliament, she lives in the neighborhood, and has a stake at its protection.
We told the neighborhood lawyer Lincoln Gomez. We told press members.
The following is what MOST said to me: Thank you for your info. Well, as you know, this is election time and our democracy has many flaws, this is just the norm here, especially before elections. As long as Arubans keep on voting the way they do and Parliament doesn’t do its job to stop nepotism, this will go on, until perhaps the Mother Ship, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, gets really mad. And there are signs that the mother ship is getting pissed: A minister was recently suspended and perhaps more will follow.
In the case of Malmok, I am sure that both NGO and GOA institutions involved will try to mitigate the blow to the wetlands, which incidentally were just announced off-limits by Princess Beatrix on a recent island visit. She proclaimed 16 areas ‘sacred,’ but apparently it is of no value for the government, and they do not intend to follow the recommendation.
I totally understand that both NGO and GOA institutions try to remain on the government’s good-side and cannot offend the hand that feeds them.
Personally, I don’t want any of these good people to suffer political persecution, and professional suicide. I am sure they will use good judgment and will reject the petition to build, but then the MinInfra can overrule it. And he probably will. He has the last word.
By good judgment I mean, they can “hold” a project to investigate/assess its archaeological importance and or ecological importance, and in the case of Malmok all experts agree that this is a fragile area, as it is considered an early Arawak Indian archaeological site and a nature reserve.
So this is peculiar situation. The island has ROP, developmental guidelines, but they are more often ignored than followed.
Many here vouch for the material honesty of the MinPres who is not a materialistic person. Yes, he dangerously overspends public funds, but not for personal gains. We cannot say the same about his ministers. And we fault the MinPres for not reigning them in, and for not setting the tone and the standards of conduct.
I have to quote, my poetic friend Charles Croes in the matter:
STOP GIVING AWAY MY STUFFI!!
STOP PROMISING PEOPLE THEY CAN HAVE CHUNKS OF MY YARD!! STOP.
WE AS A NATION OF PEOPLE ARE UPSET AS HELL. SO ARE OUR CHILDREN AND THEIRS AS WELL.. STOP CUTTING MY TREES. I (we) NEVER SAID IT’S OK.
YOU WORKED HARD TO GET WHERE YOU ARE. YOU CAME TO US AND APPLIED FOR YOUR JOB. YOU WERE HIRED. WE – THE PEOPLE – HIRED YOU. WE TOOK VOTES AND WE HIRED YOU TO LEAD NOT GIVE AWAY MY YARD OR CUT MY TREES. IT IS NOT IN YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION. PERIOD.!! UNDERSTAND??
NOW GO AND DO WHAT YOU WERE HIRED TO DO … GO LEAD.
GO LEAD THIS SMALL STONE IN THE CARIBBEAN TO GREÀTNESS AND SANITY. WE WOULDN’T HAVE HIRED YOU IF WE DIDN’T THINK YOU COULD.