A petition has been going around, it arrived on my FB page, later I noticed poet Natusha Croes and art curator Glen Goddijn were both helping circulate it. Natusha posted: Come on, come on, wave of petition signing, please, this person is super great, genius, I almost dare to say Luis deserves to transgress the small island mentality reigning.
Luis tells a touching story: Since I was 2 years old I’ve lived on Aruba. 20 years later and I still don’t have the Dutch nationality/Aruban citizenship. When we arrived, my family remained illegal for 7 years, until in 2003 I and my family received our first permits. But even with 13 years of legality on the island, the government doesn’t want to recognize my right to the Aruban citizenship. The government has done all that it can to sporadically hand out permits, leaving me with many gaps in my legal residence, which makes it impossible to meet the requirement of 5 years legal residence (with no gaps) to apply for the Dutch citizenship. Even now, when I have asked numerous people inside of the government for help, including the prime minister, Mike Eman, the minister of integration & infrastructure, Benny Zievinger, and the minister of education, Michelle Hooyboer-Winklaar, it seems like none of them are interested in my plight or are powerless to affect any kind of change in this situation for me.
Luis is not the only one, lost in the bureaucratic maze. One of my friends who has been living here for two decades, was denied nationality on the same basis, there are gaps in her paperwork thanks to the snail-paced, sloppy Modus Operandi of DOOV, Direktie Openbare Orden en Veiligheid, and later the same entity with a different name DIMAS, Departamento di Integracion Manejo y Admision Straheros.
That department kept moving from Dakota to San Nicholas, to Tanki Flip and to Wilhelminastraat packing its paperwork into boxes each time, and letting the boxes fall off the truck every time they moved. They were notorious for misplacing and losing valuable documents, not to mention making their clients stand in line from sunrise to dusk, exposed to the elements, in order to get a number, so their case would be heard.
Then some swindlers set up shop as middlemen, and when they disappeared with the fees paid to them to help process permits, gaps were created in paper trail.
Then some pigeons set up shop under the office roof and the bureaucracy had to take a look break to clean up the poop, creating more bottle necks in the process.
I have many people in my inner circle who suffered from that negligent and indifferent attitude. WHY? Because the people at DOOV and later at DIMAS hated their jobs.
Yes, the people in charge of regulating immigration couldn’t stand their clients.
My former foster daughter, now in her thirties, just recently managed to obtain her Dutch nationality. She arrived here as a baby, spent her youth and young adulthood at Imeldahof and Cas pa Huventud, where she was cared for, but remained paperless, as no one volunteered to undertake that paperwork challenge. Consequently, no AZV for her, no AZV for her baby daughter. Recently, because she stuck-to-it, despite all bureaucracy, she received the burgundy passport, and is chasing the rest of the legalities, right as we speak. Happy ending. It took 27 years.
We have a new Governor, perhaps in his capacity, he can lobby for an amnesty so people like Luis and my GF who fell victim to an inefficient, lazy and flawed process, may be naturalized. Perhaps appoint a special tribunal within DIMAS, dedicated to the resolution of special cases. Read how easy it sounds on Wikipedia. In reality, in Aruba, it’s via dolorosa.
Naturalization (or naturalization) is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It may be done by a statute, without any effort on the part of the individual, or it may involve an application and approval by legal authorities.