Shame on Senor Frog’s and its operator Grupo Anderson’s, from Mexico

If you recall in November, Grupo Anderson’s sneakily sent a representative to Aruba to close their business here and mass fire the staff.

The stealth operation was to take place under the cover of night. The hatchet-man arrived, emptied the safe, pocketed whatever he found, fired 32 employees and headed to the airport, ready to leave, when he was intercepted by the enraged yet restrained employees who recruited the tax authorities to help prevent the man from leaving the country.

The strategy was successful. The tax man walked in, held Daniel Orosco for as long as it was legal, and then sold the restaurant equipment to pay for some arrear taxes, and let him go.

Those left with their hands empty were the employees, who have been cheated out of their wages, vacation pay, pension plans, and most importantly a steady, monthly income.

So now you know the story. It happens you say. People go out of business. The employees should have read the writing on the wall.

In this case I beg to differ. Grupo Anderson’s has been exploiting business opportunities on the island for many decades; they have had a very successful relationship with Aruba where their shoddy “Spring Break” “anything goes,” type of party product was well received.

I have seen companies going out of business in Aruba before, it is an economic reality. Some of my friends had to fold their businesses, making sure they pay every single cent they owe because they wanted to continue to live here, and if you want to continue to live here you pay your debts and start anew, because it is the best long term strategy.

And as a community we go on, only remembering how honorable, ethical, and well behaved you were.

The shameless Grupo Anderson’s on the other hand did not give a damn. They made a killing here for many years, enjoyed the good times, and bailed out as soon as the going got tough. And no, there is no protection against unscrupulous employers, at least very little.

The issue was in the news again this week because Grupo Anderson’s local lawyer dumped them. She has political aspiration and cannot be associated with a scandal. She shouldn’t have picked them up in the first place. But she did, making false promises on their behalf, declaring they will pay the employees and take care of their obligations, which was all bogus.

On a funny note, the pressure on her is mounting, to dedicate her upcoming fund-raiser cum birthday party proceeds to the abandoned employees of Grupo Anderson’s instead of to her political campaign.

As for the Grupo Anderson’s employees, go find another job, with a local employer with deep Aruban roots, you might be better protected there, no guarantee, going out of business is tough.