Customs Officers in Aruba Demonstrate … Walkout Could turned into a Strike


A simple drip of water eventually takes effect … such is the case in Aruba.Strike

Hundreds of Customs Department employees demonstrated against the policies of management of the Aruban Tax Department. Wasn’t it just recently stated that Aruba was an ideal market for investment as one of the reasons was a  a stable political climate? Things are beginning to happen internally due to the loss of tourism and tax revenue that are now affecting the Aruban infrastructure and the people.

Customs is a subdivision of the Tax Department and that is exactly the problem, says union leader Sharina Hernandez.  “We want a status aparte now.”  The responsible minister Nilo Swaen (MEP) of Finance and Economic Affairs indicated in a reaction that he will go to court if the walkout gets turned into a strike. 

“What the union does is very irresponsible.  I have talked with them on October 25th and there was no problem then.  Their reaction is lamentable, because they are doing this based on rumours “, said the minister.  (Amigoe)

This cant be good on several levels. Why would anyone want to shrink the size of the customs department other than they need to reduce government expenditures due to the shrinking economy and lack of tax revenue. Also, why would one chose the customs department of all departments to shrink?  According to union leader Sharina Hernandez, “the government has supposedly drawn up a report to drastically shrink the customs department from more than 200 to 20 persons”.

Amigoe, November 22, 2006: Customs officers demonstrate for liberation

 About a hundred employees of the customs department demonstrated against the policy of management and for a liberation from the Tax Department.  They did this in front of the Government-building this morning. 

ORANJESTAD – About one hundred employees of the customs department protested today against the policy of management.  Customs is a subdivision of the Tax Department and that is exactly the problem, says union leader Sharina Hernandez.  “We want a status aparte now.”  The responsible minister Nilo Swaen (MEP) of Finance and Economic Affairs indicated in a reaction that he will go to court if the walkout gets turned into a strike. 

“What the union does is very irresponsible.  I have talked with them on October 25th and there was no problem then.  Their reaction is lamentable, because they are doing this based on rumours “, said the minister. 

The Sindicato Aduana Di Aruba (SADA) says that the walkout and demonstration is a continuation on a letter that was sent to the minister last week Thursday, in which the union asked for a deliberation with the minister, because they wanted to talk about a number of problems.  The minister didn’t act within the proposed ultimatum. 

The problems the union wants to discuss are from way back, according to Hernandez.  “Our functions are more and more getting undermined.  For example the collection work that was taken away from us and given to the collector of taxes.”  Hernandez says that the collection duty was already a task of the collector of taxes, but at certain point it was given to customs.  She explained that the people that had collection as part of their job description and worked with the collector of taxes came to work for the custom department in the nineties of the last century.  “What will happen to them, now that the same duties are going back?” 

According to Hernandez, the government has supposedly drawn up a report to drastically shrink the customs department from more than 200 to 20 persons.  The custom officials also feel badly done by other projects that are with the Tax Department and are of the opinion that on top of that, management does not listen to them sufficiently.  Management does not come up for our interest, so we want to be separated from the Tax Department”, said Hernandez. 

The minister didn’t act upon last Thursday’s letter to meet with SADA within two working days and the union had therefore mobilized her members to have a meeting in front of the headquarters of the custom department.  Also non-members came to this meeting.  After the meeting, the custom officials went to the government’s building for a demonstration. 

The minister denies transferring the collector’s duties to the Collector of Tax.  He also doesn’t know anything about a report with the proposed personnel cutback.  He emphasizes that he did react on their letter.  “In my answer on the letter I suggested to meet on December 1st”, said Swaen.  “In earlier conversations I have also said that I will first deal with the changes of the Tax Department and then with the Customs Department.  I have always said that I am open for talks about a standalone customs department.”  


Posted November 22, 2006 by
Aruba, Economy, Politics, Travel | 47 comments

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  • Comments

    47 Responses to “Customs Officers in Aruba Demonstrate … Walkout Could turned into a Strike”

    1. chris on November 22nd, 2006 6:31 pm

      Somebody up there really likes the monkeys to have so many bad things happen to the lovely place.
      If they are cutting manpower,oops, wimppower from 200 to 20
      that tells me that it was all they ever needed . The rest are just fattening their bank accounts.
      If anybody should drop by, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving…..chris

    2. Allan K on November 22nd, 2006 7:04 pm

      If they collected taxes from liars, young and old rapists, murderers, coverups, they would be wealthy. Aruba is economically declining and crime is increasing so be it.

    3. Robots on November 22nd, 2006 7:31 pm

      UN-RAVELING from within….

      the place stinks,


      i hate them all that are involved

      that island is a TOILET

    4. Richard on November 22nd, 2006 7:59 pm

      Well, you know that Aruba doesn’t export any products or services (at least, not legal ones). Maybe they figure that with no tourists coming, they don’t have to shake them down to see if they can stiff them for phony taxes.

      They’re going to have to cut somewhere … maybe they’re making this a test case for all government unions, figuring that with no business going on, they may as well see if they can send a message.

      Happy Thanksgiving to all SMers of good will.

    5. mac on November 22nd, 2006 8:50 pm

      Who would want to go to this hell hole? Maybe the same people who want OJ’s autograph and book.

    6. dennisintn on November 22nd, 2006 9:12 pm

      why would anybody believe minister swaen or any of his peers in the govt. of aruba? these are the people who have convinced half the population of aruba that natalee ran away from a bad situation at home. or committed sucide and buried herself. or “just vanished” nobody is responsible. they will lie about something this morning, and tell you a different lie about the same thing this afternoon, and actually expect you to believe both of them and they get really defensive and hurt about it when you call them on the lies.

    7. Kat_gram on November 22nd, 2006 10:01 pm

      Oh Dennis you are soooo cynical ! !
      Happy Thanksgiving to you all here who are the regulars. And even all the irregulars ! !
      We had our Thanksgiving in Canada but it is always good to think about what we are grateful for. I spend way too much time thinking about things I don’t have or thinking about the way things should be instead of being grateful for what IS.
      And if Arubaanse is here, God bless you sweetie !

    8. Carpe Noctem on November 22nd, 2006 10:59 pm

      Ask N-O-T what TOILET can do for you…

      Ask HOW YOU can continue to take a dump on the

      nasty island that ‘ROBOTS’ dubbed TOILET!!!!!


      Justice 4
      Sweet Natalee!

      The wicked in Aruba
      shall never rest,
      NOT if I
      can help it, bubba.

      They make me friggin’ SICK!

    9. ashishauriora on November 22nd, 2006 11:06 pm

      AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) — A plan to roll and smoke the world’s largest joint was cancelled at short notice in Amsterdam when the organizers realized they could be breaking the law.

      “We have now read the small print and realize there could be problems,” Thijs Verheij, one of the organizers, was quoted as saying by ANP news agency after consulting Dutch drugs laws.

      The group had wanted to roll a 1.5-meter long pure-weed joint, stuffed with 500 grams of marijuana and containing no tobacco, and smoke it in a bar.

      It had initially thought the attempt would be legal if 100 people each brought along the five grams of the drug tolerated by Dutch authorities for personal use.

      “Unfortunately it looks like this will not be possible,” Verheij said. The attempt had been planned for Wednesday.

      A police spokesman said: “We would definitely have investigated this. If you make a single joint with half a kilo of cannabis in it, it would cross the line.”

      Verheij said the group had hoped to beat a record set with a joint containing 100 grams of marijuana

    10. joe bear on November 22nd, 2006 11:48 pm

      Anarchy today,crime yesterday.another plauge on your house.

    11. judy w. on November 22nd, 2006 11:58 pm

      *Happy Thanksgiving to all you Monkeys! Let us remember to always be thankful for our blessings and remember that it’s never so bad that it couldn’t get worse.
      *Also let’s remember Natalee’s family in pray during this, the beginning of the holiday season.

    12. mayan_moons on November 23rd, 2006 1:02 am

      LOL at the irregulars Kat_gram!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too and everyone here!

    13. nychic on November 23rd, 2006 1:58 am


      …even you kel(mac)

    14. Carpe Noctem on November 23rd, 2006 2:59 am

      Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!


      …and a special prayer will be said
      again & again & again,
      that the Holloway-Twittys get the
      closure as to what
      happened to Natalee…

      & that they level the Dutch & Aruban scuzz-loads
      that we already know to be responsible!


    15. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 10:36 am

      Why do you remove my comments does the truth hurt?

    16. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 10:41 am

      America is not a free land you are ruled by a dumb ass who you all folow like sheep.
      When you see a web site like this you will also follow because you can not think for your selves, may I remind you that more people are killed and go missing in your shity country than any other world wide even more than in a 3rd world country and that does not say alot for for you does it?

    17. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 10:42 am

      20 customs wow amazing that a country does not need many, maybe because they are peacefull not like you gun happy yanks

    18. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 10:47 am

      have any of you actually been to Aruba i doupt it, just being sheep as usuall following somebody else, can not think for your self, working in a factory getting home after a slave job and reading bullshit here on this site


      SM:   You make posts like this and wonder why your posts are being deleted?   (klaasend)

    19. viet vet on November 23rd, 2006 11:08 am

      Well, smarter, since you are not in jail at this time does not mean you will succeed in getting away with your crime. You are actually dumber than us because we know who you are and you also know I have been to Aruba more than a few times. May be there when you are……….so be careful, you are going to get caught in more lies. You do not have to like our country and we do not care if you come over here. Have you seen any ads in Aruba for Arubans to visit the U.S. at reduced rates? Does or has your country received aid from the United States? We don’t need you or your country(ies) whichever you claim as yours. We in the US are too giving, we need to be more takers,,,like you.

    20. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 12:10 pm

      Amazing that you jump to a conclusion that I am an Aruban wel no FYI I am English as you know we hate your country for your dumbness,lies and bullying of smaller countrys.
      Givers, takers hmm yes you are takers stealing oil is your main thing. yes there are alot of cheap deals to USA on Aruba because people from Aruba are visiting more worthey destinations but when i walk down the street on Aruba there are many Americans here they are the smart one’s who rise above your level of thinking and that is not hard.
      Please also inform me what America gives that does not involve arms,porn,murder and brain washing?
      and please do not say aid to other countrys because more is spent on war for oil than helping your own after hurricans for example.


      SM:   Another American living in Aruba?   Friends with Julia Renfro maybe?   No offense, but you spell like someone that English is not their first language ;)    (klaasend)

    21. chris on November 23rd, 2006 12:33 pm

      Whatever happened to the Queen’s english, Smarter?
      If she were to see your post, she’d probably disown you.
      FYI, I was born in Germany and my english seems to be quite good.
      Every time one of you opens his/her mouth, we get more determined to sink that hellhole in the ground or sea as the case may be…..chris

    22. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 12:34 pm

      That is maybe because I am well travelled speal more than one languge and my first lanuage is not english anymore more but for you maybe that is a hard concept to grasp.
      Who is Julia Renfro?
      Amreican living in Aruba I am English please do not insult me!

    23. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 12:37 pm

      Lol my spelling was extreemly bad in my last comment

    24. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 12:42 pm

      Any way you get the drift you are dumb to the rest of the world even if I say this and can not spell at least I will accept it but you will never learn.
      Go to the UK or Holland infact most places and you will notice how free they are and brain washed you are in to thinking you are.
      Why does no body comment on all the people missing and killed as mentioned in US or is that just a normal everyday thing for you?
      SAD people

    25. Tee Gee on November 23rd, 2006 1:01 pm

      This situation is disintegrating when you allow people like “Smarter than you” to contribute tripe to this blog. I for one will not read it again. I am referring to the contributions of the “smarter than you”.


      SM:   Why don’t you just scroll past the posts you don’t want to read.   I felt it necessary to allow a few of “smarter than you’s” posts to go through so we can see how smart they aren’t   ;)    (klaasend)

    26. vicki on November 23rd, 2006 1:13 pm

      Hey dumber than you…what the heck is your problem. Need an anger management course? We here all realize that ppl go missing all the time, but the familys of the victems dont have to be bullied and humiliated by the Ale or Prime Minister. So, dont come to our country we have enough riff raff here. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone that Natalees life has touched even the trolls. May God bless us all today and may we remember to be thankful for what we have.

    27. jackson80 on November 23rd, 2006 1:30 pm

      i like it when they start losing their tempers and insulting, it shows the pressure of the boycott is working…….

    28. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 2:30 pm

      If the boycot is working why is Aruba full of americans?


      SM:   According to AHATA there’s a drop in tourism.   Don’t you read the paper in Aruba?   (klaasend)

    29. Smarter than you on November 23rd, 2006 2:45 pm

      Why are my comments edited in free speech website?


      SM:   “free speech website”?   LOL – this is the personal blog and website of Red and Tom.   Although most comments and points of view are welcome, they still have the right to edit or ban posters if they choose.   In the case of your posts, I’m actually the one doing the editing and deleting.   If you don’t like it, send an email ro Red or Tom.   (klaasend)

    30. Carpe Noctem on November 24th, 2006 8:14 am

      Oh, you better not SHOUT…

      You better not CRY…


      Coming up, DECEMBER 5th…

      ‘Sinterklaas’ is coming to
      town in de Nederlands…
      & he’s bringing his
      Black Peter!!!


      Joran expects us to take him at his word that
      our dear Natalee made the following racist

      -Are the Kalpoe brothers your slaves?

      -My mom is Hitler’s sister?


      Are YOU KIDDING ME???

      Dutchboy, PUH-LEEZE! She never said
      those things. The MANIPULATOR in you
      used those as TOOLS to turn Arubans
      and others against the family of the
      victim. ( think Cochran-esque )

      if we can not beat them with logic…
      then we will play to raw emotions to
      anger and confuse people.

      How can anyone seriously believe this crap-ola
      from a 22 time liar?
      ( I’m sure that number has to be higher)

      … according to Natalee’s Case – Joran and the K2
      Brothers lied to ALE at a bare minimum, 22 times.

      That number seems to be commonly accepted by all.

      Why LIE TWENTY
      TWO TIMES?


      Not only does this WEENIE-SAURUS (J)
      have gi-goondo C R E D issues…

      …but the country he claims to feel
      MOST AT HOME IN celebrates with the following:

      Sinterklaas & Zwarte Piet – December 5th.

      ‘Zwarte Piet’ translated
      is ‘BLACK PETE’ -

      This is basically the Nederlands version of

      ‘Santa & His Elves’



      …only with some REALLY UNIQUE DIFFERENCES!!!


      Great reads – if you have a
      few spare moments of time.


      I do not hate all Dutch people.
      I refuse to let myself hate all Arubans.

      There are good and bad
      people in every country.

      If anything – Nat’s case
      has taught me that!

      The good people from all three
      countries working in harmony,

      Failure is not an option -J4N-

    31. windy city on November 24th, 2006 1:08 pm

      Hey “dumber than me”,

      If things are so bad here in my beloved USA, WTF is everybody always trying to get in?

      Why is the Mexican govt. so up in arms about the border fence?

      As Joran would say, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”!

      P.S. Your about as English as the Kalpoes are Irish!

    32. dennisintn on November 24th, 2006 3:04 pm

      #3l, you’re mighty right on all counts, windy.

    33. Smarter than you on November 24th, 2006 4:21 pm

      I am English but as explained before it not first language anymore and yes people do want to live in the USA the same as they want to live in the UK do not forget as bad as the USA and UK are there are far worse, so in all reality for a far worse of place why try to put them down more like you do why not show that you are better instead of stooping to the same level?


    34. Mike on November 24th, 2006 4:32 pm

      can someone translate 33 for me? has kelmal been reincarnated into something even more stupid????????
      this guy’s english is worse than my spanish, french and german all put together. hey, if you can not converse in a language we can understand just go home and take your toys with you.

    35. windy city on November 24th, 2006 4:48 pm

      #33 You poor mis-guided soul. Your trying to make this about you instead of Natalee. That’s a bit selfish, don’t you think? See, while your here spewing your anti-American bullshit, Natalee’s family suffers the painful reality that they will never see their child again. A pain so deep a coward like yourself could never bear. Please stop to think about victims and their families instead of yourself. It will make you appear a little less like an asshole, and more like a decent human being. Have a great weekend! :)

    36. Carpe Noctem on November 24th, 2006 5:06 pm


      33 has taken the time to learn English
      through Babelfish…

      He/she knows just enough English to be dangerous
      and annoying. LOL

      Kinda like I know the German phrases…

      “Where is the mens room, frauline?”


      “I have a very red pencil, good afternoon.”

    37. Carpe Noctem on November 24th, 2006 5:59 pm

      ((I am English but as explained before it not first language anymore ))

      I think your underwear are cutting off the
      all important blood flow to your brain!


      P.S. Aruba is full of a lot of things…
      Chit, Lies, Frankincense, Hand Lotion, Myrrh,
      Iguana Farts…

      HEYYY, Who gives *Myrrh* anymore ANYWAY, ain’t that all ‘played out?’ I hope they saved the receipt!


      Regardless… they are not as full of Americans as you claim.

      AHATA says Aruba tourism is sucking the proverbial big
      kahuna-huna. Last time I checked, those letters stood
      for: Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association.

      They’ve been doing it for just over 40 years. (Est. 1965)
      I think if anybody should know what’s up…
      they would be hearing about it first!

      Now, I am off to fix me a turrrrrrrkey sam-ich. :)

    38. windy city on November 24th, 2006 6:30 pm

      I just finished my sam-ich Carpe. What a wonderful holiday to celebrate the greatest country on the planet!

    39. John on November 24th, 2006 7:42 pm

      Have any of you even left the US to longer than a week vacation?
      Ok Natalie maybe dead but did a whole island plan and do this or was it maybe a few misguided kids?
      I think tourism is at a low not just in Aruba if I am right maybe trends are changing for holiday destinations.

    40. windy city on November 24th, 2006 7:56 pm

      #39 You are not right. The rest of the carribean enjoys growth in tourism at this time. Even Jamaica! A few misguided kids along with a misguided corrupt justice system is why Aruba is in an economic down spiral.

    41. Miss-Underestimated on November 24th, 2006 11:43 pm

      Happy Thanksgiving fellow Monkyes. I see we are getting to em. No rest for Aruba until Natalee Holloway is returned home and her murderers in jail.

      John its spelled NATALEE

      Tourism is down in Aruba because of the coverup and corruption in the NATALEE HOLLOWAY CASE

      Carpe Will anyone ever admitt who that old man was sitting next to NATALEE HOLLOWAY at the casino, on the last day she was ever seen alive? Maybe someone or a Vandersloot can tell us who that old man was.

    42. viet vet on November 25th, 2006 11:07 am

      Smarter than is English, not British but maybe Borat don’t know, noe, no. hicht is from kakasczbar ao myebe f.on a other kountry. a reel smart englishmon of course, maebee an neiderlander be namen joran. likes too go to bars or what. If you think this makes any sense at all then you are smarter than. Who is about as English as the South China Sea. We certainly don’t want or need his kind in the USA.

    43. LilPuma on November 25th, 2006 2:52 pm

      #39. John
      We’re screaming about what was appears to many to have been a sham investigation and coverup of a crime against an American tourist by a few in Aruba. We are making the fuss because the people in Aruba aren’t. If a similar situation occurred in America – strong appearance of a coverup, especially when the suspect is the son of a government employee who is friends with police and prosecutors and judges, we would be crying foul. We don’t know why Arubans aren’t, but we’ve seen many who don’t seem to think much of Americans, yet they smile and ask us to come there and spend our money. Many of us are saying, well, if that’s how you feel about Americans, fine. But don’t expect us to stop in for a visit and spend our money.

    44. viet vet on November 25th, 2006 7:11 pm

      Well said LilPuma. They all want our money and get angry when we stop spending it with them.

    45. dennisintn on November 25th, 2006 11:40 pm

      #43, lilpuma, i’ve been trying to say it that well for over a year now. nice work, keep it up.

    46. Gram23 on November 26th, 2006 12:28 am

      Aruba (Island of killers) Things will never change there. Killers walk free.

    47. Carpe Noctem on November 26th, 2006 2:05 am

      Hi Gram23,

      Glad to see you are still on the board. I don’t
      see you on as much as I used to. Happy Holidays
      to you.


      Justice 4 Natalee!

      It is time to hold the
      lying Van der Sloot
      and Kalpoe kidnapping,
      rapists, and murderers

      BOYCOTT ARUBA until we ley ‘em out.

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