We recently saw pictures of our beaches, with chairs and umbrellas covering every inch of white sand. Apparently the Beach Vendors have in the last year expanded their activities, they cleverly diversified, adding the sale of chairs and umbrellas, to their already obnoxious water sports portfolios.
Apparently the sale of drugs was not as lucrative in recent years, with the aging Aruba tourist population, and the no-brain chair and umbrella scheme proved immensely successful for this well-educated, well dressed, and well-behaved segment of the population.
A chair is a wonderful thing. Rent it out once, then rent it out again the following day, no maintenance, no need to even wipe it down; charge $30 in cash per piece, and literally piss on whoever attempts to bring their own chair to YOUR beach.
Just look menacing, strut around barefoot, beer belly hanging over tattered shorts, and if someone threatens to call the police – they don’t come anyway, set their palapas ablaze.
How did this saga begin: In July 2014 a certain misdirected bureaucrat was appointed by the MinTour, who decided to shoot himself in the foot, to write a Beach Policy.
The man wrote a studious brief. He measured, he spelled out the rules, the way he saw them. And like every other piece of legislation, it was immediately implemented by 95% of the population. The law abiding 95% of the population.
The Aruba hotels were told to comply and move over, and that was a sign for the Beach Vendors to take over, in a free for all.
IRONICALLY, the Beach Policy which set out to regulate all beach activity on the island empowered the 5% of the non-law abiding population to take matters into their hands. And why not? That class of free-loaders and exploiters saw an opportunity. The hotels were told to back off, retreat into their boundaries, there is no vacuum of power, someone was bound to fill in the space.
And fill they did. Chairs and umbrellas, umbrellas and chairs. For cash, an endless supply of unreported income.
I want to seriously point out that we’re at the tipping point, where there is no way back. The solution is simple, enforce the document. The breakdown of law and order on our beaches has gone too far.
For the umpteen time: All Beach Vendors must be licensed, and their license must spell out their does and don’ts and should be on display, at their place of business, specifying the permitted scope of their activities.
The hotels welcome the legislation, it is in their interest, in the country’s interest, but the enforcement is the missing ingredient. Why are the Beach Vendors above the law? Why are they protected? Why doesn’t the Police crackdown on illicit activity? Who really owns these beach concessions? Why are they allowed to ruin our quiet beach enjoyment experience?
Why do you torture the restaurants into compliance with health and safety regulations and exercise a hands-off policy on the beaches?