Bati Bleki Weekly Recap, October 8th, 2017

Beach Cleaning, the next one is Nov 4th

Before I tell you about our adventures on Rincon Bay for the 23rd annual Reef Care beach cleaning, save the Nov 4th date, because you cannot always expect the same two people to volunteer. It’s your turn next time.

And I can tell you ahead of time, take nice garden gloves and a sturdy plastic bucket with you, because struggling to keep a plastic bag in check on a windy beach is a challenge; better get a bucket to go from your own utility closet, then you can transfer your findings into a plastic bag.

I took the AHATA shopping bag along, and it worked well. My bag saved the November 4th date already, excited for the next opportunity to contribute.

Castro Peres reports 35 volunteer groups, a total of 600 volunteers, in 36 locations, picking up trash from the California Lighthouse to Seroe Colordo. Castro said lots of last minute surprise volunteers, showed up.

Our group was 70 people strong, thanks to the efforts of Carla Cavallaro from the Jolly Pirates, collaborating with Arikok Park rangers and ABC tours. We collected 320 bags of trash, and worked until we ran out of bags and steam.

Applause. There were NO single-use plastic bags to be found. But we did find dozens and dozens and dozens of plastic bottle caps, some plastic toys, a few syringes and lots of broken bits of plastic, a helmet, fishing line, rope, empty beauty product bottles. So many straws (I’m hoping they are outlawed here by 1/1/18) and too many tiny plastic cups all over – a mystery why. Lots and lots of plastic drink bottles and some clear plastic bags like those used for ice.

Obviously, on the wild side, this is not all our trash, it is washed in by the waves, but the world is drowning in plastic, and the beaches need held.

Three things:

Following an earlier beach cleaning, post Trinidad oil-spill, I suggested to AHATA and KIA to get some prisoners out there, the Tourism Product Enhancement Fund agreed to pay for it, and get a beach cleaning program together. Rocco Tjon said it was possible, we almost had a meeting, then he started his campaign, #8 on the MEP list, heading to parliament, and the meeting never materialized. Rocco, please put beach cleaning with KIA on your list of things to do, it’s a win/win for the environment and for the prisoners!

Divi resorts banned drinking straws a few months ago, and guests never protested nor complained. Alex Nieuwmeyer says it saved the environment 2.25 million straws a year. And that his beach raking machine worked hard to rid the sand of straws, which still pop up months into the ban. All hotels should follow that lead and outlaw straws by 1/1/18.

Why do the ABC jeeps have to ride so fast, please slow down and smell the roses! Thanks ABC for providing the rides from the red anchor to Rincon, and thanks for transporting the trash back to the Serlimar container. From now on easy does it, take time to look around, it’s nice to do when you are not hanging on to dear life, screaming.

Sponsored by ATA, and many others, including lunchboxes and tee shirts.

Coalition talks full steam ahead

I met lawyer Arie Swaen at the opening festivity of Canwood Lawthe law practice just established by Doris Canwood, in Rancho. Doris deserves compliments for moving into an old, recently refurbished building in a neighborhood of ill-repute, thereby greatly contributing to a grass-root movement of urban revival in the heart of Oranjestad. Ok, it’s just behind the court-house and super convenient, but an office a couple of streets over would have saved her a few florins in security, but no, she wanted the character and the style of Rancho, to add to her mystic. So thank you Doris, smart move.

I checked with the so-called retired Swaen about this and that, we know each other for a long time over a series of chance-meetings in the supermarket on Saturdays.  We chatted, and I sent greetings to his brother a former Minister of Finance & Economic Affairs in the MEP government, Nilo Swaen, #6 on the list for the 2009 election which was lost. In early 2016, Nilo told me he is entertaining the idea of returning to politics. He might make a good professional minister. Just a thought.

Arie Swaen is a man with a moral compass and impeccable credentials, a member of the old guard, and I mean that with the utmost respect. I believe he did not know then, at the opening of Kenwood Law, how busy he will become as the Informador, the go-between the coalition partners, the magician who with spit and glue, maybe even chewing gum, will be tasked with the patchwork of our upcoming government.

The leader of MEP declared there is plenty of time, we’d better do it right, she says; the leader of POR, supported that wish by stating the coalition must last four years, but I think the longer it take to divide the pie, and assign the portfolios, the more surprises they might find, such as permits signed, and licenses granted by the SITTING government while coalition talks are ongoing. So don’t take too long, national treasures are being signed away.

While declaring there is plenty of room for agreement, both MEP and POR desire the same lucrative posts. MEP calls them Tourism, Finance and Justice. POR calls them Justice, Economy and Public Finance. Same thing.

MEP walked away with 22,061 votes in the September 22nd election. POR landed just 5,531, do you think it is an even playing field?

No way.

MEP is definitely in the driver’s seat, but alas, it cannot govern without coalition partners.

What would you do? Would you give key positions away or would you hold your ground?

I think someone had better call Shareen Luidens, at CENSO,  and ask her how fast she can get the ball rolling for another cycle of elections, forcing a decisive majority rule.

Do you think the next election round would turn out differently?

Whodoneit? Or Happy Animal Day.

Yesterday a post by FK Chung reported that some puppies were dumped the day before from a pickup truck in Seroe Biento at 1:03pm, midday, in the middle of nowhere, and the island went ballistic with 956 FB shares and countless responses. The post included a picture of the disoriented puppies, and the truck license plates.

“E senjora di e pick up aki a cabi dump puppies den sero biento plantenrust… bo ta kere ta hende!! A23853. Awo awo… 1.03 pm, 10-02-17.”

I asked Policeman Kenny Montero, an animal lover to look into it and he reported: The police checked the car license plate. The car was registered to a company address at Cayena Mall; they visited and the company doesn’t exist anymore. The last time that somebody paid for the license plates on that car was 2016, so there is no address and that is why they’re asking for a witness to come forward and provide more details.

So basically, an unlicensed car belonging to an unlawful citizen, committing crimes against the Animal Kingdom. Additionally, it is totally shameless, because Seroe Biento is in the area of the kill cage at Wayaca Veterinary Services, this beautiful soul could have just dropped the pups there, but the embarrassment, the thought she might be viewed by an animal rescue organization, drove her to heightened atrocity.

At a recent AHATA membership meeting Police Commissioner Adolf “Dolfi” Richardson shared with an audience made up of hospitality executives the latest initiatives in the combat of criminality on the island. He ran a presentation which we have already seen a number of times, about cameras, and intelligence and recruitment, adding his charm and charisma to the mix of commentary and data.

At one point he was asked by lawyer Patrick Brown, if the police also goes after small offenders. Brown was referring  to what is known as the Broken Window Theory which maintains that MAJOR anti-social behavior, and BIG crime can be reduced if we crack down and prevent SMALL crimes such as vandalism, driving unlicensed cars and dumping puppies, which create an atmosphere of ‘anything goes,’ and the accommodation of lawlessness and bad behavior.

That Broken Window Theory introduce in 1982, was used to motivate reforms in the NYPD, introducing Stop, Question and Frisk, which was controversial but very effective.

Back to the AHATA meeting: The commissioner laughed, and stated he is always criticized for wasting his time on small stuff when he is supposed to go after big stuff.

My point?

It would be an excellent PR move to go after that pickup truck, locate that lady, fine her, shame her, because the rescue organizations find it very frustrating to continuously deal with irresponsible pet owners, WITHOUT protection from the law. And while there is a law, it has no teeth. This is a good opportunity to make a case against cruelty to animals, ease the frustration of rescue organization and introduce lawfulness in the treatment of animals on Animal Day.

Now go kiss your dog/cat, and wish them a great day!

About SM, fundraising and bikes

Volunteers for SM

At the AHATA membership meeting just recently Ricky Tromp and Ruben Ibarra of the Red Cross shared a bit of their distressing experience in St Maarten, during hurricane Irma. They talked briefly about the devastation and then announced they are still looking for volunteers to fly the following day to St Maarten for 12 days, to work under minimal condition and help out their operations there.

It was a surprise announcement. Ricky talked about the need to rough it while there; no hotel rooms, just bare necessities, and Ruben spoke about the need to be tough, in order to face the incredible hardship to humanity.

Raise your hand if you can go tomorrow, they asked. In a perfect world they would have had a lot of volunteers but in reality we’re all tied down by our obligations.

HOWEVER, dear reader, if you have some time on your hands and are willing to live rough and be tough, and if you can work under pressure, the Red Cross needs you. Get in touch with them via Face book, you will get 4 hours of training, and join the next mission of mercy!

About fundraising

La Cabana beach Resort & Casino recently gave a donation to Koningin Wilhelmina Fonds, and I was touched when superwoman Lupita Croes spoke about the needs of the foundation. The contribution comes in handy, she said, as the targeted group of Arubans stricken by cancer is growing, parallel to the expenses involved.

Among the expenses noticeably increased, transportation of patients to treatment facilities, airline tickets to Colombia and the Netherlands for specialized procedures and stipends for those accompanying their loved ones for treatment abroad. These increases are putting a financial strain on the foundation.

According to Croes, 2017 has not been a good year for the Cancer Foundation, funds are scarce, and the independent, unsubsidized Wilhelmina Fonds, relying on the annual street collection and other community initiatives, is struggling to maintain the level of support services required.

The foundation, however, is very grateful to the generous Aruban community, but unfortunately, funds raised do not cover the yearly expenses anymore.

If your organization is fundraising for the community, remember Koningin Wilhelmina Cancer Foundation, cancer never goes out of business.

Everyone wants a free Bike

I bought an Awg 650 bike for a member of my household this summer, and when he no longer used it, I tried to sell it at half the price. Let me tell you, it is impossible to sell an almost new second-hand bike in Aruba.

So I decided to give it away, to someone who provides me with a good reason, on messenger. The result? I got dozens of requests from people who needed my free bike, for their sons, their daughters, to lose weight, to lower cholesterol, to replace a stole bike, to visit grandparents, you name it. Everyone needed a free bike. Anyway, a cute 11 year old finally got it. He wanted to join his older brother exploring the neighborhood. His wish was granted.

Let us make the world revolve around you!

I liked that slogan. The world should revolve around me, at least five minutes a day.

After beach cleaning last Sunday it was time for a special treat at the Ritz Carlton Spa, and I was looking forward to it the whole day. The spa recently introduced a new treatment they named the Divi Divi Massage, an 80 minute session featuring different techniques created by their house therapists, introducing unique artisanal massage oil.

I did not want to fall asleep during the treatment, or drift away and miss the entire production, so I engaged my therapist Joanne and spent my 80 minutes philosophizing about life, career choices, kids, and the nature of men, while getting my muscle tissue and fascia stretched and broadened. There were plenty of sliding and gliding stokes but what I enjoyed most was the kneading of my neck and shoulders, as Joanne successfully squeezed all my accumulated toxins from the dense stubborn back area. The word Hamburger came to my mind. Joanne was digging deeper and deeper behind my neck: Chop, grind, pound, and then it yielded. And I laughed. This girl is a magician.

Don’ hold back, she encouraged, I am going to find out about all your knots anyway, so relax, let go, I am in charge, put down your guard for now. And I did. Breathe out the stress, breathe in the calm she whispered, spraying a delicious scent into the air a mix of vanilla and eucalyptus.

How can you not love a therapist that’s strong, confident, and in charge.

The spa at the Ritz Carlton says that it delivers a new level of luxury. It does. The robes were cushy, comfy and did not leave waffle designs on my backside; the relaxation rooms was filled with the best lounges, I did not want to leave. The cookies were delicious too, paired with a tart, and not so sweet, mysterious fruit juice. I forgot to ask what it was, but I will come back from more.

I left all my pains and tension with Joanne, a knowledgeable therapist, an expert at relieving adhesions, knots and tension, the unnecessary baggage we carry along with us in our lower backs, and shoulders.

We have a ritual, she explained, a specific way of delivering service to clients, but I also go with my intuition to where the client needs it most, and I stay there, until I feel the flow of oxygen and nutrients restored. Smart.

We need the morons in DOW fired

After destroying the south side of Seroe Cristal, and excavating there all week, against the protest of neighbors, the cries for help were finally heard, and DOW issued an apology yesterday, claiming it was all a misunderstanding. We do not require an apology, you just need you FIRED. For crimes against nature committed at Frenchmen’s Pass and at Seroe Cristal.

You are moron who take decisions in your air-conditioned offices, then send uneducated, most of the time foreign-born help, to execute those. You never inspect what you expect and the result is always disastrous, especially in line of the law passed in parliament this week protecting the flora and fauna species.

DOW, should be punished for criminal activity.