Covid crisis Aruba: TIME FOR ACTION

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What do Governments do in moments of a heavy crisis to assure that their economy does not collapse, or to re-start their economy? We can learn something from history, the same counts for the lessons learned with Development Aid, just like Aruba received from Holland for years.

Construction has always acted as an engine; very easy to roll-out (of course only when putting aside the bureaucratic hurdles), see for example US President Hoover with his gigantic infrastructure program in the 1930’s. And very important, don’t give people money without a counter service; you don’t give a hungry person fish, but a fishing rod, to be self-sustainable. You don’t lay-off workers and give them money, you give their employers subsidy to keep them working. This method always has given the best results.

What we can do today in Aruba, to usefully fill the working day of the enormous amount of workers from the tourist and related industry (with as counter service subsidy to their employers):

  1. Our island is everywhere very dirty and looks shabby, and especially when you leave the beaten touristic routes. Let’s get these workers to clean up/ tidy up/ do small repairs; starting in their own ‘bario’, involve the neighborhood inhabitants and make tons of propaganda, organize a competition to create neighborhood identity. Per street/ block you only need a handful of people (social distancing) to do this, do the gardens/ yards around the houses as well. In 2-3 months of time our island will be spick and span, shine in its natural beauty like the Aruban carnival, the plants will get a new luster after the dust has been taken from their leaves, our children don’t play in the mess anymore and our elderly at home can look from their patios again and walk safely to their neighbors without falling over debris. After this effort of course through propaganda and incentives we have to keep it clean at all times. After we are done with the barios we can continue deeper into the cunucu to save our nature. ‘Nos ta un pueblo trahador’, our leaders like to say, this is the way to show it off, to become the cleanest island in the Caribbean.
  2. Many requests for building permits are stuck in the bureaucratic government process. Name a Master-Architect for the country of Aruba, as normal in many countries. This will stimulate design and construction. With ease, he can issue 20-30 permits per day, including the permit to start using the plots of land for which those citizens already have a long lease option or are owner/leaseholder.
  3. The country of Aruba, has promised in writing over a thousand small plots of lease land for building their own house. However most have not been formally processed yet. Here the same, forget about all the normal procedures, and issue immediately permissions to start building. Couple if needed these plots to the standard building plans that DOW has permit ready. The notarial process can follow in the coming months. Do this as well by appointing a Long Lease Master. Each small house gives immediate work to 4-5 persons (this creates responsible social distancing). Furthermore the supply chains can keep their workers.

Count for your selves how much direct employment can be created almost overnight. I’m sure many of you have good ideas as well. Share them with this newspaper.