BATI BLEKI BUZZ, November 27th, 2015

THE ABB SAGA CONTINUES. I get regular updates from the MinTou including pictures, on a daily basis. That means two to three different articles every day, describing the activities of the minister, and I can tell you with great certainty that he is a busy man, he is a hard worker. I also get regular updates from the MinEd, at least twice a week I hear about a renovated school or a teachers’ conference, in short, we know exactly-approximately what he and she are doing. We never get any mail from the MinInfra, but with him it’s easy. The proof is in the pudding.  If highway construction takes place or a bridge materializes, you know the MinInfra is involved. In my neighborhood for example, they have been building a restaurant and a party venue, and while the minister did not send me a press release about his plans to rattle my sleepy residential neighborhood, I know for a fact that he must have been involved in one form or the other, only he is not in the habit of informing me. So now that I set it all up nicely, I can tell you that we hardly hear anything from the MinFin, and last week we heard from him a number of decisive times, describing his plans for fiscal reform, a taxation overhaul and a new license plate procedure. It sounded excellent. Like a done deal. Then yesterday I hear from a MinPres advisor that the MinFin spoke prematurely. It was not a done deal. It was not even a plan. It was wishful thinking. It was what he as a smart businessman would do, if he were running this country. But, alas, we know he ain’t. So settle down children, those pro and those con. Our taxation overhaul and fiscal rehab are just a twinkle in the minister eye. There is still a long way to go before anything changes. So why did he come out slugging, with such great confidence. My sources, political consultants Michelle Osborne and Lissy Lampe, suggested because his you-know-what was on fire. The government invited him over from Bonaire, to help fix our accounting. He was fishing, sunning, minding his own business, playing his maracas when he got the call: Your country needs you. So he packed his instruments and showed up for work. He worked, and worked, and worked, came up with a beautiful symphonic piece, only now the conductor of the orchestra doesn’t likes his music anymore. While before they were crazy about his harmonies, they now think he is out of tune. So the MinFin decided to have a public concert, see if the masses liked it. Some did, some did not, but I was happy that at least someone smart and educated is checking things out. Back to square one. Nothing’s happening.

TRANSITIONS. The General Manager of the Playa Linda Beach Resort, Steven Marra, resigned his post at the hotel, following a mutual agreement to move on with his career. Now you know that this is too good to be true, right? Why would he move on with his career, where would he go, he was perfectly content at Playa Linda lifting and pushing, renovating here and there and signing up new tenants. So, what happened? Insiders report they suspected tension between the GM and board members but underestimated it, did not think it would come to that. Others say they saw it coming a mile away, with considerable differences of temperament and a whole bunch of sensitivities on either sides. While Marra could not hold on to his post, at the neighboring property, the Holiday Inn, General Manager Jorge Landa seems incapable of holding on to his people. After Ann Brinkman relocated to Playa Linda, that was a while ago, and Christina Galindo joined Caribbean Palm Village Resort, Shirley Geerman’s position as Director of Marketing & Sales was recently eliminated. The GM has been here since 2003 and the only time I hear his name mentioned is when he lets go of one of his long time local employees in favor of some new arrival. The Holiday Inn resort, lest you forget, is owned by Pristine Real Estate, and the Lowenstein family, and managed by IHG, InterContinental Hotel group. Another entity incapable of holding on to its people is the Aruba Tourism Authority Advisory Board. Award winning hotelier Ewald Biemans recently retired his seat on the board. He reports frustration with the way tourism funds are handled, often funneled into secondary projects instead of pure marketing. Hotelier Joe Najjar, a trustworthy steward of hospitality, will be taking his place. Local businessman Harry Koeman will be resigning his seat soon, or perhaps he already did. He didn’t want to say anything about it but I suspect he too is dissatisfied with the way things roll. Example? The Beach Policy. The document has been concluded, readied for implementation, yet the legislation and execution of the plan is dragging its feet. If there’s anything Harry resents, it’s a pair of dragging feet!  So yes, where is the Beach Policy?  The island’s number #1 asset should be governed by it. Where’s the hold up??

THANK YOU IMELDAHOF. Last weekend’s 7.5km walk was a lot of fun with 200 walkers showing up at the crack of dawn to sign up and receive a tee-shirt, Take Action, Stop Abuse, advocating children’s rights. It rained cats and dogs at 6am as we started walking, and it only cleared half way through the Alto Vista neighborhood. Altagracia Lampe, who did not want to get her hair wet, for fear of curls, used the tee shirt as a turban! I noticed there were LESS street dogs roaming the streets. All of Noord’s four legged canines were securely barking at us from behind their respective fences. After the Wet Tee-Shirt walk we received a sumptuous breakfast cooked by volunteers and Imeldahof’s staff members, replacing all calories we burned while walking. Thank you Louella Brezovar for recruiting me for the 12th edition of the walk, sign me up for next year.