Once a week (on Sundays) I make a recap of the most recent news in Aruba today for you in English, so you can stay up to date with what’s happening on your home away from home.
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News in Aruba Today
Government election in Aruba has finally reached an end as the locals vote for a government of coalition.
According to the census bureau a total of 70.000 people were allowed to vote in the 2017 government election.
Are you wondering what the final results are?
AVP turned out to be the political party with the most votes (22.609 votes) followed by MEP (21.298 votes) – POR (5.344 votes) – RED (4.015 votes) – RAIZ (2058 votes) – UPP/PPA (640 votes) – CURPA (455 votes) and MAS (272 votes).
So which political party is going to govern the island for the next for years? One might think AVP will govern again, because they got the most votes, but the truth is different….
The way election works in Aruba is with asientos (which means the available seats in the parliament).
In the parliament there’s 21 seats available for ministers, so for a political party to govern the island they have to get a total of 11 asientos or more.
Since none of the political parties got 11 asientos on their own, they are forced to form a coalition of two parties or more (or we would have to vote again in the worst case scenario that they don’t want to work together at all).
So how much asientos did every political party get on election night?
AVP received 9, MEP also has 9, POR has 2, RED has 1 and the other ones didn’t receive enough votes to get a asiento.
The next government has to be formed by two or more political parties that have a total of 11 or more asientos.
This means AVP and MEP could work together, because they have 18 asientos together.
However the leader of AVP, announced right after the final votes were counted that they are joining the opposition party and are not willing to work with other political parties.
The leader of MEP also said during an interview that they are willing to work with any other political party expect AVP.
AVP and MEP are two different political parties with different visions for the island, so they are not a good fit together.
So what’s going to happen now?
The procedure after every election is that the governor of Aruba will sit with all political parties who have at least one asiento to form a government for the four next years.
It looks like MEP and POR will be working together, because together they have 11 asientos. The big question is if they will include RED to join them in the government.
The results of election 2017 were surprising, because AVP thought they would get the majority of votes and over 11 asientos (15 to be specific) to govern the island for the third time alone.
However, they actually lost 2 asientos (which equals around 6.000 votes).
Even though they lost 6.000 votes they still came out as the party with the most voters by a few hundred votes. This means they had a strong following, but some of their voters from the previous election avoided them for obvious reasons.
The real winners of election 2017 were MEP, POR, RED and RAIZ who grew in the amount of votes and asientos they got (both POR and RAIZ are newly formed political parties).
It is important to mention that the average percentage of people who don’t vote at election is between 10-15%, however for election 2017 the percentage of people who didn’t vote was around 35%, which is a lot of non voters.
The reason for so much non voters are they aren’t interested in politics and others didn’t manage to vote because the lines were too long.
I also used to say that I don’t care about politics and never voted at government elections, however this year I voted for the first time and it was a great experience.
Most locals are happy that AVP isn’t governing anymore and are looking forward for a coalition of different political parties.
Everyone is waiting for the governor to meet with the political parties that have at least one asiento to find out who is going to form the next government for the next 4 years.
Update For Micro Algae Pilot Plant
The government partnered with CITGO and TNO to start a microalgae pilot plant to reduce the impact on Aruba’s environment by the refinery.
TNO was hired to manage the micro algae project since they are Netherlands leading organization for applied scientific research in Aruba.
The whole idea of the pilot plant started when management of the refinery asked what they are going to do with the carbon dioxide released during the process of upgrading the crude oil in the refinery.
They decided to use the carbon dioxide emitted by the refinery to cultivate micro algae, by running the carbon dioxide through a pond with water to grow the micro algae.
Aruba’s focus is to be as close to 100% green and sustainable before 2020. So,this project is a modern one and matches the vision of a circular economy for Aruba.
In the last couple of years the government has approved a lot of innovative projects that sustain their vision of a circular economy. For example, an electricity saving and sustainable community in the district of kibaima, the solar panel park in San Nicolas and now a micro algae pilot plant.
Growing algae in Aruba has many benefits, for example it can be sold as a superfood plant in different forms (capsules and powder) that consists of more than 60% proteins and iron.
It can help locals who suffer from arthritis, anemia, digestive system or just need more energy.
Micro algae is already popular in other markets like beauty products, used by Estee Lauder and Bioderm.
Algae is being used around the world as additives for food, cremes and different other products. It’s a healthier and organic option than other synthetic additives.
The focus for the pilot plant is figuring out the right conditions to get the maximum yield of algae. After that they will move to the second phase, which is expanding the plant and going commercial (local and international) with the end product.
According to experts at TNO, the production and sales of micro algae products will boost Aruba’s economy.
Tanker Stuck On Riff Near Renaissance Island
An oil tanker got stuck on one of the riffs (small look alike island) close to Renaissance island last night.
The local authorities were informed about the situation and dispatched two tug boats from the Aruba ports authority to pull the big tanker from the riff.
Director of ABC (Aruba Bird life Conservation) an organisation that protects Aruba’s nature said during an interview that the stuck tanker didn’t spill any oil.
According to local authorities the tanker got stuck on the riff while the captain was making its way to the cruise port to change staff.
He got to close to one of the riffs and got stuck.
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New Connection Between ABC islands
Aruba airlines announced that they will be flying to Bonaire and Curacao soon.
The news is great for locals and visitors who want to visit Bonaire or Curacao from Aruba.
They are buying a new airplane (model dash-8, which holds 50 passengers) to fly between the ABC islands, because the current two planes they have aren’t adequate for short distance flights.
There’s only one airline that covers the routes between the ABC islands, so Aruba airline breaks the monopoly to offer better airfare prices than the competition.
The intention of Aruba airlines is to fly 3 times a week between the ABC islands.
Management of Aruba airline didn’t say when they are starting the new flights, but will make a public announcement once it’s official.
Rough Beaches & High Temperatures in Aruba
According to the department of meteorology in Aruba, the current hurricane season hasn’t affected Aruba that much, but it’s starting to cause big waves, rough beach conditions and a rise in temperature on the island.
During a press conference, the director of the department of meteorology warned everyone to watch out for big waves and strong currents.
The areas that a warning has been issued for are the north coast, Arashi, high rise and low rise hotel.
In certain situation waves can be as high as 6 to 7 feet high in the north coast of the island. On the south coast of the island waves can be between 2 and 4 feet high.
Besides the big waves, the island has been experiencing a rise in temperature, a sort of excessive heat on the island (which is good news for you, because you’re seeking some fun in the sun).
This week temperatures have risen to over 39 degrees Celsius, even locals are starting to complain about the heat!
This weather can endure until the end of the hurricane season which is around the month of November and December.
The department of meteorology advises everyone to drink a lot of water, use sunscreen and seek lots of shade during the day.
New School Materials For MAVO Schools
The minister of Education invested $900.000 for all the schools of higher general secondary education (MAVO).
The money came from the education funds and approved by the members of the Parliament.
They invested in new school books and materials for 10 MAVO schools in Aruba.
It’s important to mention that this investment in MAVO schools is an additional sum of money to what they already get every year.
The government and minister of education are hoping to make a change in the method of teaching in all MAVO schools.
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Rumors of Another Hotel in Aruba
There have been some rumors in the media that there’s going to be a new hotel constructed in the area of Arashi beach.
Yes, another hotel on the island, something most people are fine with and others not.
However, the department of infrastructure and planning confirmed that this is indeed a rumor, because they haven’t received any petition for land to build a hotel near Arashi.
The rumor reportedly started when a public figure in Aruba posted on Facebook that they have insider information that a new hotel is going to be made in Arashi.
Many members of the parliament and investors are calling the news fake!
If there’s anyone who know’s if this is true or false, it’s the minister of infrastructure.
However, he hasn’t elaborated yet on this issue.
New Hospital Logo
With the new addition of two hospital towers, next to the existing one, the management decided to also give the logo of the hospital a face lift.
The logo that everyone knew was made in 2005.
Now they are welcoming almost the same logo, with a more modern look and brighter colors.
According to the director of the hospital, the new logo holds the essence of the hospitals past and embraces the future they are working towards.
Staff from different departments such as the blood bank and laboratory worked.together to design the new logo.
Firemen Saves Family Lost in North Coasts of Aruba
Everyone who visits Aruba wants to explore the north coast of Aruba, because of its beauty (even locals).
The north coast of Aruba is totally the opposite of the hotel area, all you see is rocks, dirt roads, waves pounding against the coves and a baby blue sky in the background.
Usually when visitors explore the north coast, they usually don’t get lost (and if they do, they find they way back on the main road).
However, this time a family went to explore the north coast of the island until after sunset and couldn’t find their way out to get back to their resort.
When it got too dark, they immediately called 911 to notify them that they are lost and don’t know their way back to the main road.
The local fire department was notified and immediately dispatched to rescue the lost family.
Luckily enough the family was easy to locate by the firemen and no one was injured.
To avoid getting lost in the north coast of the island, always leave before sunset so you can still orientate yourself (it’s harder to so in the dark, if it’s your first time around there) or ask other visitors and locals for direction.
Aruba is too small to get lost, you might lose direction of where to go, but it’s really hard to get lost on the island.
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