Amigoe: When is Enough, Enough? When it Directly starts to Effect The Poeple


It has been a year since Natalee Holloway went missing. In that period of time theAruba protest tourism to Aruba has increasingly declined. The Aruban officials continually looked the other way, stated that there were no affects and delayed reporting the tourism numbers. Even today, some continue to live in denial, stating that Aruban tourism is fine. Really? Ask the people.

Why are Arubans now protesting the increase in taxes that are occurring? Economic changes never happen overnight. The slowly but surely take hold. Increases in inflation. Loss of tax revenue from tourism. Shifts in debt. Slowly but surely over time it happens and when heads are turned or kept in the sand the effects are extremely damaging. An economy is like turning a large ship. It takes quite a while to respond; however, once it does the changes take even longer to correct its path. Read the following articles from Amigoe regarding Aruba’s discontent. Looks like they are finally paying attention as they are being directly affected themselves.

Amigoe; June 4, 2006: Political manifestation massive 

ARUBA – “No more measures”, said AVP-leader Mike Eman during the manifestation against the increase of import taxes in front of the government office yesterday afternoon.  The turnout was big, about 2000 protesters. 

The protestors assembled across the DOW at the Paardenbaaistraat between 15:30 and 16:00.  The people that organized the manifestation handed out T-shirts, pamphlets, and Aruban flags.  On the T-shirts was written: ‘No more measures’.  Earlier that day, AVP-members were everywhere encouraging people to take part in the manifestation.

Monica Kock (MPA) and Andin Bikker (DR) were also amongst the protesters that started to move towards the government office a little before 17:00.  They had police escort and the traffic was detoured.  Also the police helicopter was watching the protesters from the air.  There were a lot of police officers and members of the Cuerpo Especial out to keep the peace.   

The first protesters with slogans like ‘no more’, ‘shame’, and ‘step down’ arrived at the government office around 17:30.  There were some government employees at the entrance of the building with T-shirts saying ‘don’t blame me, I am not a thief’. 

The idea was to hand the government a manifesto, demanding them to revoke the decision to increase the import tax.  Prime Minister Nelson Oduber and the ministers Nilo Swaen, Booshi Wever en Marisol Tromp came out to receive the petition of Eman, Kock and Bikker.  But at that moment, the people started to push.  The ministers were literally pushed back inside, and the manifestation leaders that were not prepared for this, withdrew.  Eman managed to calm down the protesters and the three party-leaders went inside to hand over the petition.  The pushing incident was the only blot on the manifestation that ended around 16:30, after which everybody went home. 

MEP-government repeats: ‘There is no other solution’ 

ARUBA – “Changing the measures will endanger the purpose”, writes Prime Minister Nelson Oduber in his answer on the request of the social partners to revoke the increase of the import tax.  Oduber says that the purpose of the measures is to come to a definite solution for the structural budget deficit and to achieve a balanced budget. 

The prime minister brushed off the other request to discuss the financial problems of the country in a national dialogue saying that “we have always shown interest in such dialogue, but taking part in one involves responsibilities”.  It’s not very clear what he means by that.  In the past, the government considered serious attempts to deliberate as “wanting to do the government’s job”. 

In his letter he listed again all the financial distress that the cabinets Eman I and II had poured out on the population.  He writes that despite the difficult situation, his cabinet managed to have the economy grow with 10 percent.  He is of the opinion that the path they have chosen is necessary for solving the financial problems.  He said that it is about a balanced package of measures: decrease the import tax on the primary necessities of life, increase the welfare, minimum wage, and pension, do away with taxes on wages up to 18.000 florins, do away with taxes and azv-premium on the aov, increase the child allowance, increase import tax on ‘some’ products, introduce sales tax in 2007, and legislation in the field of public finances.  In addition, a committee will be established to do a core analysis.

His reaction on decreasing the number of civil servants was laconic.

“Decreasing the number of civil servants means less service to the community, less public order and safety.  We need a lot of people to make sure that the population pays their taxes.” 

Protest action unions 

ARUBA – The unions, united in the Sindicato den Union (SdU), organized a protest action against the measures of the government this morning.  SdU gave an explanation first and then walked to the government office to hand over a manifesto.  Rudy Geerman, chairman of SdU indicated that SdU will definitely not accept the hasty measures of the government.  Nobody knows what the results of the measures will be now or later.  The protest action took place on the Plaza Daniel Leo.  At the time this paper went to press, there was no news on the course of the manifestation or on how many people took part.

The members of the police union SPA took part in the demonstration, also the ones that had to work.  They protested against the increase of the import tax and also against the rotation system for police officers.  The teachers’ union Simar emphasized that they do not take part in the political actions.  They are against the measures of the government and if the unions decide to take further actions, their members will decide on a different action.

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