We expected a purge, but it took a while to actually happen, because it is easy to dismiss, but difficult to replace people such as Jossy Lacle, and Myrna Jansen working Pro Deo as Board Members, so no financial interests there.
I am talking about the ATA board.
It was originally composed of three private-sector and three public-sector members with an unbiased, independent outsider as the chairperson.
AHATA withdrew the private-sector members last year, as a form of protest against the former MinTour. Then the new MinTour dismissed the other three last week, by sending them a letter.
After 6 years of service, your participation is no longer required, thank you.
We poled some movers and shakers for their opinions and found the following consensus that ATA’s best interest, read Aruba’s best interest, would be to keep the current members of the ATA board and fill in the AHATA seats to complete seven, because after all we are in transition, until the elections in September.
Or, at least keep a couple of members, perhaps Myrna Jansen with invaluable general tourism expertise as director, and Jossy Lacle as a chairperson with vast organizational expertise, in order to ensure a smooth transition.
On the downside, starting with 7 new board members from scratch means a steeper learning curve, less efficiency, which could be harmful for ATA and the island’s tourism.
After the elections in September a new, but more permanent MinTour will be appointed, and he / she might want to change the three public-sector appointees again.
So it would have made more sense to just add AHATA’s 3 members to the Board, now, and let the future MinTour, appointed in September, change the public-sector members if necessary. It just seems redundant to have two Board changes in just one year.
Or does the current MinTour think he will continue to hold on to the portfolio?
On a more personal level, the people I spoke to were ok with the changes. They anticipated the ax, and expected all incumbent members to be dismissed.
I am not sure what happened at the airport, I heard at first that Board Members were dismissed, then the story changed. They were retained. The airport has stayed at arm’s length from politics. It went well under the previous MinTour, and will hopefully continue that way with the current one.
Bottom line: Our general interest must prevail, because Tourism is everybody’s business on the island.