Every weekend, on Sunday I write a recap of the latest news about Aruba in English, because I know how important it is for you to stay connected with what’s happening on your home away from home.
If this is your first time reading my newsletter welcome – enjoy the read!
Latest News About Aruba
This week a lot has happened on the island – let’s start with one of the most important news in Aruba….
New Traffic Laws
The minister of justice introduced new traffic laws this week that you should know about, if you plan on driving in Aruba.
Now there’s a law that you can’t use your cellphone to text while driving in Aruba.
You might be thinking, only to text, can you still use it to call while driving?
No, because if the police notices that you have your phone in your hand while you’re driving, they are allowed to pull you over and give you a fine, whether you were using your phone or not – the fact that you have your phone in your hand is enough reason for police to fine you.
There was already a law against using cellphone while driving in Aruba, but it was too general.
This new update on the law specifically states that it’s prohibited to have a phone in your hand while driving a car.
According to the minister, most people cause unnecessary accidents by using their phone while driving (calling & texting), but texting is the predominant cause of accidents on the island.
Another law introduced by the minister of justice is directed to drivers who cause accidents, and leave the scene without waiting on authorities to arrive.
People who cause hit and runs will be prosecuted and punished more severely.
Depending on the severity of the accident you caused, the maximum jail time you can get is 4 year, before the new law it was 2 years.
Take this notice as a warning – don’t get caught with a phone in your hand by the police while driving in Aruba.
If you’re looking to rent a car, but don’t know which company to rent a car from – let me help you find a rental car in Aruba.
Update On Oil Spill
The communications manager of Aruba’s national park (Arikok) announced that the oil spill isn’t considered a crisis anymore.
This means that all the beaches (including natural pool) in Arikok have been declared open again!
Yes, share the great news with all your friends that are coming to Aruba.
However, they’re still monitoring the beaches for any oil patches that might be drifting our way.
Volunteers and public workers will keep cleaning the beaches until July 20, 2017.
The beach clean up can take longer than expected, because the amount of oil that spilled in the sea and still needs to come our way is unknown.
It could take weeks and months before tarballs stop washing up on our shores.
One thing is for sure, the beaches on the north side of the island (including natural pool) is open again for the public.
What’s Going To Happen To Mio?
A few weeks ago the minister of telecommunication gave MiO (phone provider) until June, 30 2017 to pay their licensing fees, which have been reportedly unpaid for almost two years.
What’s the total amount they owe the government?
Word around the island is close to 8 million dollars!
According to the minister of telecommunications, in a previous interview, he will “pull the plug” on the company if they don’t pay their debts in a timely manner.
MIO tried to find a solution with the minister, but nothing MIO could come up with were satisfactory for the government to agree on.
What’s mio’s side of the story? We don’t know – because no one released any information yet regarding their case with the government.
During a recent interview, the minister of telecommunication mentioned that the licensing fees for phone companies are straightforward – if you want to open a phone provider on the island, you need to sign a contract for 10 million dollars for 10 years (1 million a year).
The time frame of the contract can’t be changed – this count’s for either a small phone company or big one.
So what does this mean for you, if you’re used to using MIO to get internet?
There are other alternatives, like Setar and Digicel.
I have experience with Digicel, you can buy a chip or a device to connect to the internet.
Where can you find a Digicel?
There’s a Digicel in the arrival hall at the airport and two other offices in the downtown area.
Trash Burning Pilot Plants
Last week there was a big fire at one of Aruba’s landfills (Parkietenbos).
The government announced that they will be closing the dump as soon as possible – something the inhabitants from parkietenbos wanted for years now.
However, is the announcement of closing the dump just a political stunt – to get votes for the current election?
Whatever the government’s intention behind it is, the employees from one of Aruba’s waste management company (Serlimar), which is responsible for managing the landfill, didn’t take the news lightly and demonstrated in front of the parliament his week.
According to a spokesperson for Serlimar, the government signed a contract with Serlimar and one of the agreement is that the government can’t make any decisions about the landfill without including Serlimar in it.
The good news is that the government assured the employees from Serlimar their jobs, even though they plan on closing the landfill.
So what’s the government going to do with Aruba’s waste, if they close the landfill?
One of the alternatives the government came up with is to partially burn the trash in special incinerators – and recycle the leftover trash or process it for a different end use.
The government hired several local companies to experiment with burning the trash from parkietenbos and finding ways to minimize the fumes that will be released in the process.
The government will give an update on the landfill situation this week – if they’re going to close the landfill or not….
Petition To Stop Hotel Construction
A few weeks ago the minister of infrastructure announced that two hotels will be constructed in the area of San Nicolas (sero colorado).
According to the minister, both hotels will be all inclusive and 500 rooms each.
Locals didn’t take the news well and expressed their dislike on social media.
A local journalist started a petition to stop the construction of the hotels in sero colorado.
She started the petition against the government, because sero colorado is a unique place on the island and should remain untouched.
What makes this part of the island so special?
It’s rich in history – there’s Indian caves, water tunnels, phosphate mines and ancient paintings made by Aruba’s first inhabitants.
The leader of the movement is also worried that the construction of new hotels will damage the beaches in this area.
Locals don’t want another hotel in Aruba and hopefully the government gets the message!
While the minister of infrastructure is planning to build 2 new hotels in sero colorado, he also plans to bring down one hotel in the downtown area that has been unused for years now.
The minister of infrastructure announced that the Bushiri hotel will be brought down a few months ago. However, since the minister’s announcement, the public works company cleaned the area around Bushiri, but the building is still standing tall.
Many people are wondering when the Bushiri hotel is going to be removed.
The director of Aruba’s public work company announced that they received a petition from the government to bring down the building.
According to the director they are evaluating the project in regards to the technical and judicial aspects, before they accept the project.
They gave the government an estimate for the project just over half a million dollars.
After they accept the project and the government approves it, which can take about 2 weeks – they will have 45 days to bring down the building, pick up the waste, clean up the area and level the ground with sand.
The hotel might not be there on your next visit….
What do you think the government should build in this area?
New Cinema or not?
There’s a case being fought in the courts against the government and a commercial investor who wants to build a new cinema on a wetland area (locally known as Salinja) on the north side of the island.
Of course, Aruba Bird Life Conservation is against the new cinema because, the wetland is very important for the bird life in this area.
The commercial investor started a case against the government, because they are taking too long to transfer the wetland area to the investor, so he can start building the new movie theater.
However, the government doesn’t feel obligated to transfer the area as of yet, because they are not ready to do so – which is causing the impasse at the moment.
Aruba bird life conservation is speaking up for nature and is trying to stop the project.
The judge will give a sentence on July 5, 2017 whether the commercial investor is going to be given this piece of wetland or not.
You might be thinking doesn’t Aruba have enough theaters? One in renaissance, and the other two other ones in Paseo mall.
The problem is, the commercial investor is closing down the cinema in Paseo mall and wants to build a new one.
In my opinion, there’s no need for a new cinema, and certainly not on a protected wetland area.
Second Political Debate
A second political debate will be held after locals witnessed Aruba’s first debate a few weeks ago.
The next debate is going to be directed towards millennials and has been organized by a group of millennials.
All 10 leaders of the political parties have agreed to take part of the debate.
This year’s election is going to be different than all the previous years, because millennials are more involved with politics than ever, and politicians are fighting for their votes.
The debate is going to be focused on topics and issues our millennials are facing in society. .
It will be different than the previous one – the first change is that the debate is going to be held in two sessions instead of one.
During the first session all leaders have to answer the same questions, so the public can see their vision and ideas. The second part of the debate is going to be two politicians debating about several topics – I’m sure everyone is excited about the second part of the debate.
The event will be held on July 13, 2017 at 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM at Cas di cultura.
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