Once a week, on Sundays I write about the most relevant and interesting happenings on the island in my weekly newsletter.
This weeks edition features the top news headlines in Aruba.
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Crime in Aruba
Many people say Aruba belongs to the most safest islands in the Caribbean.
However, with the recent uptick in crime one might think different about safety in Aruba…
What happened that you should doubt if Aruba is safe or not?
Last week a few unfortunate robberies targeted at visitors took place!
On March 18, 2017 two visitors were held up in the bushes close to super food (a local supermarket close to La Cabana & Tropicana Resort). They were held up at gunpoint and got all of their belongings taken away from them. According to the victims the suspect was a Spanish speaking man.
A couple of days later two robberies took place on the same day. The first attack was on a dutch couple near RIU hotel and few moments later another couple was attacked by supposedly the same thief near the Tamarijn resort.
The management of Aruba Hotel & Tourism Association (AHATA) is disheartened by the recent robberies that have been happening and wants the government (including the police) to take action immediately!
According to the board of tourism, the government needs to execute a plan as soon as possible before the situation really gets out of control.
It’s a fact that the majority of these crimes are committed by visitors from Venezuela and Colombia.
Because of the devastating situation in their countries right now, they enter the island and commit small crimes to send money for their families back home.
What is being done to stop these crimes?
AHATA wants the police to patrol the hotel area’s more often. Safeguard and strengthen our frontiers so that illegals are stopped from entering the island. And also to deport everyone who is undocumented back to their native country.
Right now many hotels are investing into more security, cameras, but catching the bad people and keeping them off the street is still an issue at the moment.
In my opinion, the police needs to be more proactive and the government needs to start patrolling Aruba’s coasts for illegals trying to get into Aruba by boat bringing in guns and drugs.
Should you be worried about being robbed in Aruba?
No, you shouldn’t, because to be forewarned is to be forearmed!
Don’t let a few anti socials ruin your vacation.
However, I would be very careful, use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re going to super food, avoid walking through the bushes alone or at night from now on. As a matter of fact you should avoid any situation or place where you can easily be a target to any type of crime.
Aruba is still safe compared to other islands in the Caribbean, but the recent crimes are very unusual to the island and has many visitors freaking out that paradise isn’t the same any more.
Tourism is Aruba’s number one pillar in the economy, so I expect the government to fight back hard against these anti socials to bring back peace in paradise!
Aruba Headlines The Panama Papers
Aruba’s name is usually in the papers for the top beaches in the world, but this time it has been headlining international news in the panama papers for a big scandal committed by an ex employee of the island’s native phone provider.
A couple of days ago the panama papers released a breaking news in Aruba that became the talk of the town.
An ex-employee of Setar has committed a fraud worth nearly 10 million dollars for nearly a decade long that has gone unnoticed by anyone – until now.
The story in short, an ex-employee named, Egbert Koolman, was in charge of buying phones from different providers abroad and selling them to setar, which in turn sold them to their customers. But where everything gets messy is that Egbert was buying refurbished phones from abroad (that contained malware and issues) for a bargain and selling them to setar as new phones.
How Could This Happen?
The director of setar had no idea of this fraud until now, and said that the most experienced controller couldn’t spot this fraud.
Setar customers are confused and stunned. Most of all they feel cheated out of their money.
What are they going to do now?
The problem is that, Egbert doesn’t live any more in Aruba. Since he was fired last year for another incident, he left the island and resides in Miami. So…Setar can’t pursue him in Aruba due to jurisdictional issues.
They have to take a different route, so at the moment they’re investigating who all is involved in this fraudulent case and sue them in a federal court in Miami.
The government is backing up setar and is supporting them as their lawyer is doing everything they can to clean their name and lock up those who are responsible.
Mio Might Lose There License
There are three network providers in Aruba, and one of them which is Mio, might lose their license according to the government.
Mio is popular among visitors (and locals), because they offer wireless WiFi devices.
Why they could lose their license?
It’s not a secret that the company has an ongoing dispute against the government for telecom fees that they still need to pay.
Mio hasn’t been paying its fair share for their telecom license fee to the government like the other two companies.
The minister of telecommunication said during a press conference that the mio is running about 2 years behind of their payments, which adds up to about 8 millions dollars.
Deadline For Payments
Mio has been given different ultimatums to pay their debts, but the government didn’t announce a specific deadline for this new ultimatum during the press conference. However, they did say that they will be start the process to revoke mio’s license, so before you know it they may be soon gone.
If you always use MiO for WiFi when you’re in Aruba, you probably have to look for another alternative to rent a wireless WiFi device.
Related Article – How To Spend One Day in Aruba With 7 Different Adventure Activities.
All About Insel Air
Many visitors decide to come to Aruba and then travel to Bonaire or Curacao for a few days to check out our neighboring islands. They mainly use insel air for these flights. But recently a lot of employees were fired from insel air and those who are still with the company, are still waiting for a paycheck for about 2 months now.
But what’s going exactly with insel air?
The airline is basically almost bankrupt, because they haven’t been generating income for a long time. They have been having a lot of internal problems, their air crafts are grounded at the moment, because they’re old and not safe for any flights.
The company is divided into two parts, one in Aruba and the other located Curacao. Both of them are in a huge impasse, but the company in Aruba has more issues than the one in Curacao.
As if things aren’t going bad enough, the airline got another setback to deal with when the international air transport association (IATA) publicly announced to all travel agencies that no airlines tickets from insel air Aruba or Curacao should be sold. And if they are still sold it would be on the travel agents own risk!
Insel Air in Aruba is practically paralyzed, there are no flights going out or coming in. The employees haven’t received a single payment yet. And the government doesn’t want to help them, because they don’t support privately owned airlines anymore after the bad experience they had with Air Aruba.
It’s not clear how, when (or even if) the employees from insel air Aruba will get paid. The company is protected against bankruptcy until the mid this year, so we just have to wait and see how this plays out for them.
Unrest About Frenchman’s Pass
Aruba’s infrastructure is under construction, but locals are mad that the government and other organizations in charge of the developments are damaging the island’s nature.
What drove the locals mad?
The current highway from the airport to San Nicolas is being renovated, so a couple of routes on this highway are blocked, leaving drivers to find another way to reach the other side of the island.
Due to the blocked roads many trucks and buses are now forced to pass through the popular Frenchman’s pass (located near the balashi gold mines in St.Cruz). The Frenchman’s pass is popular for it’s high towering native kwihi trees that hug each other from side to side.
However, some truck (and bus) drivers have been complaining that the trees are damaging the bus and asked if they could be trimmed a little bit. But workers from the local infrastructure company made a huge mistake by removing almost all of the kwihi trees.
The local community is in disgust with the way the government and local development companies are treating nature in Aruba.
In reaction to the community, the director of the local development company held a press conference and said that they acted wrong in this situation and are very sorry and disappointed about what happened.
They promised that this wasn’t their intention, and will be more careful when working around protected areas as such as Frenchman’s pass from now on.
No More Traffic Light at Balashi
If you ever rented a car in Aruba, you must have driven at the stop lights from balashi, right where the beer refinery is. However, those days are long gone, because they have removed these traffic lights.
The traffic lights were removed because of the highway developments in this area.
Instead of traffic lights there is going to be a big roundabout, and it’s currently being created right now.
So if you’re planning to drive in Aruba in the coming weeks and plan to go to the other side of the island, remember that this road doesn’t have a stop light.
Pay attention on this big highway, because everyone is used to a stop light and since it’s gone, everyone has to rely on giving each other preference.
The Current Zika Situation In Aruba
Since the first case of zika was reported a year ago and made breaking news in Aruba, the island has been added to the list of countries with a zika travel ban.
Despite the travel bans, people are still visiting Aruba!
How is the situation now?
In the last couple of months a lot of people have been going to the doctor because of a strange rash. The department of public health reported over a hundred of these similar cases, but after laboratory results they are not sure if the rash is related to zika.
The department of public health ensures residents that in spite of the recent rash cases there is no reason to worry, because there isn’t any type of zika epidemic in Aruba.
What’s being done to prevent mosquitoes in Aruba?
The government together with local organizations in charge of mosquito prevention are doing all they can to remove all existing breeding grounds they can find. They started by fumigating the area of San Nicolas, where most of the rash cases were reported. And then step by step they will make their way down the entire island.
But according to them, the local residents also have to give a helping hand by eliminating objects in their yard that can cause mosquito breeding grounds.
The administrative manager from AHATA, Vanessa Rasmussen, mentioned during a recent zika press conference, that Aruba’s hotel are well protected against mosquitoes. They are regularly monitoring the area around the hotel and are removing any possible breeding grounds.
According to her, there is no need for visitors to worry about mosquitoes in the hotel.
Mosquitoes are everywhere around the world, and being bitten by one that carries the zika virus can happen to anyone. The only thing you can do is protect yourself by spraying repellents and wear clothes that cover your entire body if possible.
If you’re pregnant (or trying to), consider if you should travel to Aruba or not. The situation is not alarming, so if you really want that beach getaway, take the risk!
Sea Turtle Season in Aruba
It’s that time of the year again, turtles come to Aruba especially on eagle beach and palm beach to lay their eggs in the soft white sand.
Did you know that sea turtles complete an important cycle in their life by always returning to the beach they were born to lay their own eggs?
If you love Aruba, you probably love everything about it, that includes the sea turtles
The organizations committed to protecting sea turtles in Aruba, like Tortuga Aruba and Tortuga Hotline will be closing the turtle nests with barricades.
They also spread awareness to locals and visitors to respect these turtles, by not shining any light (flashlights, camera flash) as the turtles come out of the beach at night. Because some turtles can be timid and they can return to sea without laying their eggs, which would be very sad to see happen. They also ask not to step over the barricades and walk on the turtle nest, because the pressure can easily crack the eggs.
Aruba Marine Life Lecture Series
It’s no secret that Aruba is a wonderful place to snorkel and dive, because the island has some of the most amazing wreck sites, corals and marine life in the Caribbean region.
However, very few people understand Aruba’s marine life, what needs to be done to preserve it and how to protect it.
That’s why Aruba Reef Care Foundation is organizing an informational course on Aruba’s marine life.
The course is going to be scheduled on 3 different days.
The first lecture is about lion fish invasion and management held on March 29, 2017.
If you don’t know it yet, the population of lion fish in Aruba has been increasing at a rapid rate. You might think that’s a good thing, but the lion fish is unwanted by local fishermen and organizations such as Aruba marine life.
The problem is that lion fish are invasive and they kill other fishes that are important to the balance of our reefs, corals and ecosystem.
The second lecture will be on April 12, 2017 and will be about the sea turtles of Aruba. Tortuga Aruba will be giving a general overview of the different type of turtles that visit our island, their life cycles, migration patterns, why they are in danger and how we can protect them together.
The last lecture will be held on April 26, 2017 and experts will be talking about sharks and rays on Aruba. They will explain what types of sharks and rays frequent our coasts, their habitat and their roles in Aruba’s marine life.
These lectures will be held in Aruba’s local library, biblioteca nacional, located in the downtown area. All three lectures will take place on 7.00 PM – 8.00 PM each night.
If you’re going to be in Aruba during these lectures and you are fascinated with Aruba’s underwater life, add this event to your to do list. If you have kids, this is a great event for them.
Ask your hotel concierge for tickets and directions.
Wine and Tapas Event
The young professionals of Aruba’s Kiwanis club are organizing a wine tasting and tapas event for a good cause. All proceeds of this event will be used to help Aruba’s children at the local orthopedic center.
It’s going to be on April 6, 2017 at the Azia Restaurant & Lounge (7.00 PM -10.00 PM). They will be serving 3 types of wine and have 6 different types of tapas. If you’re in Aruba in April and like to wine, dine and mingle with locals, you should add this event on your to do list!
It’s going to be a different experience, a local one, and for a great cause!
Click here to read previous breaking news in Aruba newsletters.
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