Bati Bleki Buzz, Weekly Recap, November 26th, 2017

Some commentary regarding the speech of His Excellency, the Governor of Aruba during the swearing in of our new government

Aruba’s Governor Alfonso Boekhoudtin office since the beginning of 2017gave an enlightening speech at the swearing in of our new cabinet, and while the media paid attention to the outfits worn by the new ministers – it was a hat day – a handful of people paid attention to the content of His Excellency’s speech, chuckled and enjoy it.

I was away, but I was sent the link, http://masnoticia.com/discurso-di-s-e-gobernador-di-aruba-na-ocasion-di-huramentacion-di-gabinete-wever-croes/.

I read the text with great interest!

The swearing in of the new cabinet was a festive and formal state event, and while starting nice and sweet, taking about fresh opportunities for Aruba, and improved cooperation between the kingdom partners, the Governor also outlined his vision for a stable and sustainable future.

The best part of his address came last, as he described his role in government, tactfully and legally reminding everyone he was the boss.

According to the constitution, he is indeed in charge, and he did not shy away from telling the new members of the Wever-Croes cabinet that he is the head of state here, and that he will be watching them, reading their documents, and exercising “the right to watch, the right to warn, and the right to advise.”

He urged them to “do what they say, and say what they do,” and remain strictly transparent at all time, as he reiterated repeatedly, think about their country first, and work on behalf of the general interest.

He also hinted at the sometimes-forgotten-fact that our constitution also grants the tiger teeth, and that he will use his royal investiture, if needed.

Wow.

We have a new sheriff in town, and he carries a gun. The man is taking his responsibilities seriously, and expects everyone to do the same, just in case anyone’s still thinks his role is merely representative.

Those of you who follow the news do realize that our Governor just claimed his turf back, and I was personally happy to hear from him.

We have a freshly put together coalition of motley characters – I promised not to utter a word of criticism for 100 days — and it’s good for them to be reminded that they should de-politicize their role, accept input from the Central Bank, and all other advisory boards, and basically benefit from ‘lessons learned,’ as they deal with important financial matters and battle against corruption.

He also openly expressed his plan to improve the previously “under stress” relationship with the Netherlands, to successfully carry individual and collective responsibilities serving all kingdom partners.

Overall, it was a fatherly speech, he talked about collaboration in spite of differences, making the slogan Hunto Pa Aruba, real, and that, he stated, counts for the opposition as well. Good comment.

No, I don’t think it was a self-important statement, or a self–aggrandizing exercise, I think it was an appropriate blue-print for change.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

I was away for two weeks. We went on a road trip in Portugal, driving 1,622km in a temperamental Fiat, which my fearless driver remembered from her childhood as ‘Fix it Again, Tony,’ an obviously derogatory nickname for a car known for frequent breakdowns.

Not to worry, it generally behaved. It refused however to charge our phones, which was the source of much stress, on the road from nothing to nowhere with a dying cell, and no Waze to the rescue. But otherwise, it was a smooth and much enjoyed adventure.

Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, Aveiro, Sintra, Evora, Tavira, Faro, Monsaraz, and Silves, I might have forgotten a few, all UNESCO World Heritage sites, so much culture, history, and esthetics. We loved every minute.

Driving, the roads were empty. There were no cars on the highways. The villages along the way were practically empty and very quiet, just a handful of little old ladies and their cats.

We saw no young people, in the country side.

They think there is nothing here for them, said my taxi driver on the way to the airport, they flock to Lisbon and Porto, or move abroad to other countries. There is no joy in the air.

We thought it was paradise, I said, a fantastic country. They think it has no future, he answered.

True, they were a dictatorship until 1974, and while government improved the mood remains somber, and repressed.

We listened to Fado, the music of Portugal and wanted to throw ourselves off the cliffs. These people have a fondness for sadness.

On the plane to Aruba I sat next to a young Italian, 42. He does something complicated in Milan, something to do with international clients and marketing campaigns. I told him among other things, that I admired the Italian Dolce Far Niente and their Forget Domani attitude when I was growing up, being able to take the afternoon off, watch a sunset, ride a Vespa without a helmet, lavish amazing attention of strange women, and speak the loudest. In general, acting as if Italians were the center of the universe, and God’s gift to humanity.

He looked at me soberly, 10,000 feet in the air, and said: We lost that. We are no longer like that. We are rushed and crazy, and we do not take afternoons off to have ice cream and espresso in the park, we still cook, he added, chase women to a certain extent, we’re still loud, but the essence of the free-spirited Italian has disappeared, we are burdened by the list of things-to-do.

So the Portuguese think they have no tomorrow, and the Italians have become preoccupied and stressed.

Who’s living for the moment, in the present, just for today?

Aruba.

I am grateful for that.

I will resume my “A column a day keeps the doctor away” routine, from today on.

Thank you for reading.