Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes: “Our coalition is stronger than ever”

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(Oranjestad)—Recently, Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes, along with Minister Dangui Oduber for Tourism and Health, visited Jacksonville, Florida, to meet with executives from Jaxport to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for a new cargo route between Aruba and the U.S.

In relation to this, our reported approached the prime minister with a few questions about this MoU. Firstly, our reporter asked if there are any reasons as to why the ministers in charge of the finances for the economy and transportation were not present during this meeting in Jacksonville.

The prime minister indicated that she had signed the MoU with Jaxport on Monday to explore the possibility of collaboration between Aruba and the U.S., and seeing how the MoU concerns the general development of the island, as the prime minister, she thought signing the MoU would be a no-brainer.

She remarked that this MoU concerns the finances managed by Minister Dangui Oduber as well as APA. The latter is currently working with Jaxport so that the government agency can help APA with the terminals. This, Minister Oduber had previously arranged with Jaxport already, and Monday’s meeting was to finalize this agreement.

The prime minister further explained that besides this, they would also like to explore the possibility to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the Aruba docks to provide cruise ships LNG when they dock on the island. This matter is also included in the finance management by Minister Oduber, who was also present at the meeting. For this goal, Eagle LNG also signed the MoU agreement.

She added that they will continue to explore options to open more routes for cargo and cruise ships for Aruba. This will again all be managed by Minister Dangui Oduber.

“If we can finalize the agreement, this can provide general benefits for our tourism (Minister Oduber), energy sector (Minister G. Croes), economy (Minister Wever), transportation (Minister Arends) and finally, for the island’s general finances (Minister Maduro). This trajectory will be effective immediately. Therefore—as you can see—this agreement really concerns different areas of general importance, which all falls under my ministry,” the prime minister clarified.

In relation to her ministry—formed by a coalition between the MEP and RAIZ parties—our reporter asked the leader if there is a division amongst the members of the coalition, to which she assured that this is not the case. “Our coalition is stronger than ever. I’ll refer to one small example: Minister Arends (RAIZ) and I both attended the UN Water Conference in New York last week to represent Aruba.”

In terms of the LNG services for cruise ships, our reporter asked the prime minister if this also includes the San Nicolas dock where the fuel pipeline is located, seeing as there has never been a mention of LNG in the down town area, which would indicate a pipeline running all the way to the down town area.

The prime minister explained that it is already public knowledge that Eagle LNG is currently building a bunker station in San Nicolas and that the process is going well. According to her, the company is also communicating with the inhabitants of that district.

She clarified that there will be no LNG pipelines installed in the down town area, but the APA has now asked for a tank station at the cruise ship dock (as it is common practice in other countries) so they can offer LNG services for the ships. Many cruise ships have switched to LNG and it is for this reason why APA is interest in a tank station. APA is already having discussions about this project.