Ferry. Yes? No?…and Mental Health Awareness

Ferry to/from Venezuela, true or false

The consul of Venezuela, Luis Cardenas, recently invited for a press conference at the Holiday Inn with more than 70 Venezuelan businesses offering a variety of products, prepared to connect with their counterparts in Aruba.

Immediately after that conference the officials of Naviera Paraguana announced they are ready to offer ferry service to Aruba in late October/November.

The announcement delivered an avalanche of reactions on social media in here, mostly negative and fearful. Many expressed their concern over the prospect of receiving 600 Venezuelans on a daily basis, without the proper controls in place and without official screening/vetting.

Apparently Naviera Paraguana expressed its desire to offer the service, and assumed that that is all that’s required – after all it was included in their 2016 business plan.

Then yesterday the government official in charge Carlyle de Coteau, clarified that the Aruba Port Authority, and the local Customs and Immigration are unprepared, as far as a terminal and personnel, and that this is not a done deal, no petition filed, no permits granted.

End of story.

On the other hand, I feel that if well managed, a regular ferry service between the ABC islands would be a welcome development. Mobility is the source of progress and many locals would certainly want to take advantage of the opportunity to travel to Venezuela; many Venezuelans would do too, and both countries could benefit, providing again, arrival on the island is processed and supervised.

I have a friend who arrived on Aruba by ferry more than two decades ago; she remembers the goats and the cars being transported and reports it was an adventure!

I personally remember a rust-bucket named Almirante Luis Brion that offered ferry service from Venezuela to Aruba from 1973, until she was taken out of circulation in 1994.

The Ling Family introduced the Jordan Ling Foundation

The Lings, as in Ling & Sons IGA Supercenter, retired from the food business in 2012 and I still miss them every day. They left a legacy of excellent service, and personal sacrifice. They lived and breathed the business, and the buyers of the store still haven’t filled these big shoes completely.

The Lings started the store as a family business in 1949, and sold it to Albert Heijn, having served six generations in their Savaneta, San Nicolas and Oranjestad outlets.

Last year, the family endure a terrible blow when Jordan Ling, a highly educated, promising young man, put an end to his life, following a long bout with mental illness. The family announced this week that they established the Jordan Ling Foundation, dedicated to his memory, and that their first project was an awareness conference on mental health at the Renaissance Convention Center, October 22.

The family said their initiative is designed to break the stigma associated with the subject, and to open channels of communication regarding mental health, a silent killer, across demographics. The family will be working closely with PAAZ, the psychiatric ward at the Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospital.

The general public is invited to attend the conference.