Aruba withdraws from constitutional process

September 1, 2007 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Government & Politics 

ORANJESTAD–Aruba has stopped participating, for the time being, in the negotiations for new constitutional arrangements for the Netherlands Antilles constellation.

Aruba’s decision was taken after negotiations with the Dutch Government on sharing the proceeds from the selling of Plant N.V. went sour.

No money, no deal, State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Ank Bijleveld-Schouten had said on Wednesday after her meeting with the Aruban Government about Plant N.V.

Hopes had been high that the issue of Plant N.V., which seemed to have been taking forever, would be finalised during Bijleveld-Schouten’s brief visit to Aruba.

Plant N.V. owns the buildings in which Marriott Hotel is currently housed. However, the buildings have been sold. Aruba had temporarily ceded its shares to the Netherlands as a guarantee for a loan, but it still considers itself as being the owner of the buildings.

Prime Minister Nelson Oduber hinted after his visit in the Netherlands in July that an agreement had been reached and that only the amount the Dutch had to pay Aruba had to be negotiated. However, Bijleveld-Schouten said on Wednesday that an agreement had already been reached on the amount: 151 million guilders, to be exact.

Oduber denied having reached any agreement and said he had informed the State Secretary in July that he had calculated a different amount. He believes Aruba is entitled to a higher percentage of the selling price of US $237 million. According to him, it had been agreed that further deliberations would take place on the level of civil servants and that the final amount would be determined in August.

After no agreement was reached on Plant N.V., the Aruban Government said the relationship between the island and the Netherlands had deteriorated. Also, Oduber ordered Aruba civil servants to stop participating in the negotiations for constitutional changes in the Netherlands Antilles.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles Emily de Jongh-Elhage told The Daily Herald she had taken notice of the media reports on the issue, but hadn’t received any official information from either Aruba or the Netherlands on the issue.

I can’t really comment on it at this moment. Before Bijleveld-Schouten left for Aruba earlier this week, she told me that Aruba’s participation in the process has been very positive. I would like to remain positive on the issue, she said. Constitutional Affairs Minister Roland Duncan was surprised when he was told what had happened. He was in Bonaire for a seminar on National Archives with the participation of all island territories and Aruba.

You’re kidding! Duncan said, after he was informed of Aruba’s decision to pull out of the constitutional change process.

He said he had no knowledge of what had transpired in Aruba and he would have to call Curacao to find out. However, he expressed his concern about how Kingdom partners were dealing with each other when negotiating on several matters.

He said the Netherlands had been playing “hard ball” with the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. He also contended that the Netherlands Antilles hadn’t been treating Aruba fairly.

Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles have a cooperation agreement on the Common Court of Justice. But, meanwhile, the Netherlands Antilles has negotiated a consensus Kingdom Law with the Netherlands on Justice without telling Aruba, Duncan said.

He strongly believes that better communication with Aruba is needed. I have just agreed with Oduber that the Ministerial working group between the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba would meet again in September after being inactive for I don’t know how many years.

Asked about Aruba’s decision to involve the constitutional change process of the Netherlands Antilles in its dispute with the Netherlands, Duncan said it probably had been done for leverage. While he believes it’s not correct, Duncan admits that the Dutch constantly do the same.

In the accord signed on Tuesday with Curacao and the Central Government, the Dutch used the leverage of money to incorporate new conditions to the debt relief programme in the accord, Duncan cited as an example.

Constitutional Affairs Commissioner of Curacao Zita Jesus-Leito too wasn’t aware of what had transpired in Aruba. But, she said she wouldn’t let these types of disputes and occurrences derail her attention from the main issue, which is the constitutional change process for Curacao.

Now it’s Aruba that doesn’t want to talk to the Netherlands. A couple of weeks ago it was Saba that had put a stop to its talks with the Netherlands. I will inform myself on what is happening, but I can’t let these things take up my time and attention, she said.

This newspaper was unable to contact Constitutional Affairs Commissioner Sarah Wescot-Williams for her comments on this latest development.

Source: The Daily Herald St. Maarten

AVIVA: Aviva’s Dutch subsidiary sells its stake in Ennia Caribe holding

January 6, 2006 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Business and Economy 

Aviva plc (“Aviva”) announces that its Dutch subsidiary, Delta Lloyd Group (“Delta Lloyd”) has sold for a cash consideration its 79.65 per cent holding in ENNIA Caribe Holding N.V. (“ENNIA”), a Dutch Antilles and Aruba based insurer, to Banco di Caribe N.V. in Curaçao. The current total net asset value of ENNIA is €19 million with gross assets of €359 million. The sale of its stake in ENNIA will have no material impact on the financial position of Delta Lloyd.

The sale is in line with Delta Lloyd’s strategy of focusing on the Dutch, Belgium and German markets.

Air traffic in Aruba in danger

December 24, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Airline News, Aruba News 

ORANJESTAD — Delays in the air traffic from Aruba are so substantial that several airliners are considering suspending their flights. Apparently the main reason seems to be due to the malfunctioning radar in Curaçao, the use of outdated software and an unreliable radio communication between the control towers of the Reina Beatrix and Hato airports. American Airlines already threatened to cancel the connections between Aruba and San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Peter Steinmetz, director of Aruba Airport Authority (AAA), admits that there are problems and stated they have been trying to bring this matter to the attention of minister Edison Briesen (MEP) of Tourism and Transportation and Ady Maduro of the Aviation administration. “Up till now it has not yielded any results”, stated Steinmetz. The problems continue to escalate, because aircrafts on the runway oftentimes need to wait for an hour or even longer before they are cleared for take off and sometimes they can’t even leave the gate.

The delays are especially damaging for connections to hubs in the US, where passengers need to change flights to reach their final destination. In most cases when these passengers miss their connecting flights due to reasons beyond their control, the airliner oftentimes covers the expenses of meals and eventual stay-overs.

Steinmetz has been given to understand that the air traffic control in Curaçao is waiting for the move of their department to a new building and that they are also waiting for new equipment. He considers it unacceptable that he can’t inform the users of ‘his’ airport on when they can expect an improvement. “Curaçao has been using this argument for too long.” What AAA can do is try to get the problem included in the agenda of the reunion of a delegation of the kingdom who will visit Aruba shortly to discuss a security investigation by the international civil aviation organization ICAO. “This is a kingdom’s affair and pressure could be exerted on Curaçao from The Netherlands to put their affairs in order”, stated Steinmetz.

The tower control in Curaçao supervises a large section of the airspace surrounding the ABC-islands. This aerospace is also largely used by aircrafts that fly from South-America to northern destinations. If the traffic can’t be controlled with the help of radar, it is done trough radio contact. This takes more time however which is why the safe distance between two flights is automatically made larger. Steinmetz estimates that the routes can be flown by approx. four times the amount of aircrafts with radar controls compared to the current situation.

Ineke Lampe, manager of American Airlines op Aruba, declared in front of TV cameras that she found it strange that the AA flights from Curaçao to San Juan did manage to depart on time. During the same program the Antillean minister of Transportation, Omayra Leeflang (PAR), offered her apologies and declared to expect to see a clear report on the delays as to find a solution to the problem. “It’s not a problem related with personnel,” stated the Antillean minister, “because we have sufficient traffic controllers in place.” She did not however come up with a possible solution.

The association of traffic conductors in Aruba indicated that the service from Curaçao’s end certainly left a lot to be desired, but that the problem did not only focus there. The radar doesn’t only malfunction in Curaçao; it malfunctions in Aruba as well. The omni directional beacon at the Reina Beatrix airport has been out of service for approx. a year and a half. The one in Curaçao on the other hand is still operational and according to the Aruban traffic conductors it accounts for better results. Another point that can’t be blamed on Curaçao is the fact that the flight connections between Aruba and the US have increased in frequency and thus also the amount of traffic in the airspace.

Air Traffic Control can’t meet the requirements set in the current situation. The air traffic conductors also point out the added pressure they must deal with and warn that this could lead to what they call ‘human error’.

The air traffic conductors believe that the beacon at the airport should become operational again as soon as possible, but that more importantly the radar installations in Curaçao as well as Aruba should be put to use. This would not only increase the efficiency but also the air traffic’s safety. The air traffic conductors cynically point out that minister Briesen has been promising to solve the radar problem for four years, but that nothing has yet been done. The radar is also not mentioned in the governing program of the recently appointed cabinet. “Don’t only look for the splinter in the eye of Curaçao, but look at the two by four in your own eye.

Look no further than the case of Amy Lynn Bradley

August 26, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Law Enforcement and Crime 

by Dan McGee
Thursday, August 25, 2005

I thought the commentary about the “Natalee Holloway,” madness was very interesting.

As a journalist myself, I was wondering where he got the information about the dissention within the Twitty camp.

Now this could be true, and if it is that shows me that the people, who came to Aruba to search for Holloway’s body were actually seeking to stroke their own egos. If so, they apparently lost sight of what was supposed to be going on.

Personally I believe what Beth Twitty has been saying about the authorities on Aruba. In fact this was kind of confirmed when the Prime Minister, in what has to be almost the understatement of the year, admitted that there were mistakes made.

If someone wants further proof they need look no further than the case of Amy Lynn Bradley. This woman was kidnapped off a cruise ship that docked at Curacao in March of 1998. A year later she identified herself to an U.S. Navy sailor in a brothel, which I believe, was in the same port she was kidnapped in.

The FBI interviewed the sailor, who waited too long to report this, and confirmed his story. This means that a kidnapped woman was enslaved in a brothel, and made to work as a prostitute, right under the noses of the local police.

In the Holloway case the police waited long enough for any evidence to be covered up before any arrests were made. Then Van Der Sloot’s father was briefly arrested and informed the boys that if there was no body, there was no case.

Since the chief of police is Joran’s godfather doesn’t this indicate something is amiss?

Despite all of this I know that the majority of the people in the Antilles are good, decent people trying to make a living. Just like I met on two sides of this world.

After spending most of my life in tourist areas I know just how difficult making a living can be. My question to them is, what have you become?

I’d bet money that some of the staff at that brothel on Curacao knew that Bradley was a prisoner there and kept against her will. Some of them probably know when and where she was shipped to. If she was killed, they know that as well. In fact some might even have had a hand shipping her to the mainland and might even know just where she actually is.

Of course I can’t blame them for being silent.

Once again, look at Aruba. Where is that gardener whose testimony blew a hole in the boy’s story? If he’s smart, he’ll be back on Colombia in hiding or if not probably has suffered a fatal accident. Still, I hope they can find him alive.

So folks, it all comes down to you. It’s not 1998 and the Internet allows a person to offer real information anonymously. So far the Bradleys have only heard silence about their daughter. Let’s see decent citizens of the Antilles finally stand up and be counted, even if they can’t publicly do it.

Oh yes, if you want to respond, forget the hate mail I’m seeing on Holloway’s site. That just shows you’re worthy of the scorn Beth Twitty and others have for you.

Finally I want to leave you decent types with two American sayings that I think apply. First is “action speak louder than words,” let’s see those who know either go to their ministers or use the Internet to offer real information to both grieving mothers. Something that might actually help.

And last of all, to you decent citizens of the Antilles, the “ball is in your court.” Maybe someday the names of these two unfortunate women be remembered as the turning point when the decent people started to make the Antilles the paradise it should be.

Thanks and good luck

P.S. Any information should be sent to either of the two following websites.
Amy Bradley –
Natalee Holloway –

Source: Caribbean Net News

Gangsters in paradise?

July 31, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Law Enforcement and Crime 

Driving home from a day with family in Pensacola last Saturday, I enjoyed a beautiful lightning show. While watching, I listened to a station playing jazz and world music. One song in particular caught my hear.

The island rhythm made me want to dance. I pictured the beach at night with lots of food, smiles on every face and an intense limbo competition under way.

But, the backbeat to the song was ominous and menacing.

As I drove on, I reached the source of the beautiful lightning show. As the rain beat down on me and I strained to see the road, I had an epiphany. Like the beauty of the lightning from a distance, Aruba seems like paradise, too beautiful for flaws.


© 2005 The Mississippi Press.

Continental Airlines Announces Weekly Nonstop Service Between LaGuardia and Aruba

July 12, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Travel and Tourism 

Continental Airlines announced it will begin nonstop Saturday service on Dec. 17 from LaGuardia International Airport to the Caribbean island of Aruba, pending governmental approval.

Continental already offers nonstop to Aruba from its hubs at Newark Liberty International Airport and Houston, Texas. Also in December, Continental will begin nonstop service to two new Caribbean destinations in the Netherlands Antilles: Bonaire (from Houston) and Curacao (from New York/Newark), Continental’s 19th and 20th Caribbean destinations, respectively.

The Saturday flight from LaGuardia to Aruba will depart at 7:50 a.m., arriving in Aruba at 1:20 p.m. The return flight will depart Aruba on Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., arriving at LaGuardia at 6:15 p.m. Continental will utilize a Boeing 737-700 aircraft with seating for 12 in first class and 112 in coach for the flight.

Teen’s Mother Wants Brothers Kept in Aruba

July 5, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Law Enforcement and Crime 

ORANJESTAD, Aruba (AP) – The mother of a U.S. teen who disappeared in Aruba spoke bitterly Tuesday about a court decision to release two brothers she accused of a violent crime against her daughter and pleaded for countries to refuse them asylum.

An Aruban court on Monday released two Surinamese brothers who had been held since June 9 along with the 17-year-old son of a high-ranking justice official in Aruba. The three were the last people seen with 18-year-old Natalee Holloway the night of May 30, when she disappeared near the end of a vacation with classmates to celebrate their high school graduation.

“Two suspects were released yesterday who were involved in a violent crime against my daughter,” Beth Holloway Twitty told a news conference, her voice cracking with emotion.

“The criminals will not only be allowed to walk freely among the tourists and citizens of Aruba, but there are no limits as to where they may go,” she said. “I am asking all nations not to offer them a safe haven.”

Holloway Twitty made an urgent plea to the Aruban government not to let the brothers leave and to inform the State Department if they try to flee the island.

“I haven’t seen my beautiful daughter in 36 days,” said Holloway Twitty, crying. “I will continue to search for her until I find her.”

A judge on Monday ordered the release of brothers Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18, saying there was not sufficient evidence to continue holding them. The brothers have insisted they are innocent.

Under Dutch law that governs Aruba, a protectorate of the Netherlands, detainees may be held 116 days before being charged by a judge. The standard of evidence required for further detention increases with each court hearing.

Joran van der Sloot, the 17-year-old son of a top justice official in Aruba, is still in custody though he has never been formally charged. Van der Sloot has admitted to being alone with Holloway the night she disappeared and the judge on Monday ordered him held for another 60 days.

Van der Sloot’s mother, Anita, said her son told her he was alone with Holloway on a beach but he did not harm her. One of his lawyers, Antonio Carlo, said Monday that his client “maintains his innocence.”

Holloway, from Mountain Brook, Ala., disappeared in the early hours of May 30, hours before she was to catch a flight home after the five-day vacation with 124 other students.

Numerous searches by Dutch marines, Aruban investigators and volunteer rescue groups have failed to turn up any trace of the young woman.

The Dutch government said Tuesday it had sent three F-16 jets to the neighboring island of Curacao, where they were going to photograph the ocean starting Wednesday in hopes of finding some trace of Holloway.

The Kalpoe brothers have told police they dropped van der Sloot and Holloway off together at a beach near the Marriott hotel, then went home. Their lawyers have argued repeatedly that authorities lacked sufficient evidence to continue holding them.

But Holloway Twitty continues to insist the brothers, along with van der Sloot, know what happened to her daughter and should be detained until they share that vital information with police.

Prosecutors may appeal the decision to release the brothers within a few days.

Attorney General Karin Janssen has acknowledged that prosecutors have no solid evidence that Holloway is dead. They have said a murder conviction is possible without a body, but the case requires strong evidence such as a confession, reliable statements and forensic evidence.


Associated Press Writer

Aruba Urges Netherlands To End Holloway “Fairy Tales”

June 29, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Government & Politics 

WILLEMSTAD, 29/6/05 – Justice Minister Croes of Aruba wants the Dutch government to show official support to the island. He says fairy-tales about the disappearance of American schoolgirl Natalee Holloway are systematically appearing in the US media.

Croes is afraid of the consequences that the negative reports could have for American tourism on the island. On some TV programmes, Aruba is now being depicted as a criminal island full of gambling, dealing and drinking. Statistics however show that Aruba is many times safer than Curacao and the other Netherlands Antilles – from which Aruba has been separate since 1986, though it is still affiliated with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Croes had a meeting in Curacao yesterday with Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Kingdom Relations Minister Alexander Pechtold. “The credibility of our legal system is being endangered,” Croes complained afterwards. “On top of this, we have the same legal system in the entire Kingdom, so the name of the Netherlands is also being dragged through the mud. We can no longer passively look on at how our name is being smeared. The Netherlands must help to counter this.”

Donner promised to bring up the matter with Foreign Minister Bot. “We must look at how we can prevent this leading to great damage for the island of Aruba. Perhaps we can put the picture in the press straight via the Netherlands’ embassy in Washington.”

The American press has been in Aruba for weeks to report on Holloway’s disappearance. She was in Aruba for a short school-trip to celebrate passing her final exam. Nothing more has been heard of the girl since 30 May. The Public Prosecutor’s Office and the police are assuming that she has lost her life.

Hearing of five suspects in Aruba delayed

June 27, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Law Enforcement and Crime 

Five suspects in Aruba, tied to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, had a court hearing postponed Saturday because a judge’s flight was delayed.

A judge from Curacao, flown in from another island to avoid the appearance of impropriety, had his flight delayed several times Saturday and then rescheduled the hearing for Sunday morning, CNN reported.

The judge was to determine if Paul Van Der Sloot, 53, a legal official; his son Joran, 17; Satish Kalpoe, 18; his brother Deepak Kalpoe, 21; and disc jockey Steve Croes, 26, should remain in custody.

No one has been charged in the disappearance of Holloway.

Meanwhile, a team of Texas search specialists Saturday began hunting for the Alabama teen missing on the resort island of Aruba since May 30.

Tim Miller, director and founder of Texas Equusearch, said most of the 24-member search team, including eight divers and one dog, had arrived by Friday night. Three more highly trained dogs and their handlers were expected to arrive Saturday.

Miller said at least $25,000 had been raised for the search via the group’s Web site.

Lawyer: One Aruba suspect to be freed

June 26, 2005 by admin · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aruba News, Law Enforcement and Crime 

Steve Croes, a disc jockey who was arrested in connection with the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, will be released Monday because of a lack of evidence against him, his attorney, Eleni Lotterhoman, said Sunday following a court hearing. There was no word yet on how the judge may have ruled in the detention of the other four suspects. Croes, 26, worked on a party boat on the island. Sunday’s hearing was postponed from Saturday because the judge being flown in from the nearby island of Curacao was delayed, said David Kock, defense attorney for 18-year-old Satish Kalpoe, one of the suspects. Holloway, also 18, has been missing since early May 30. The other suspects include Kalpoe’s 21-year-old brother, Deepak Kalpoe; their 17-year-old friend, Joran Van Der Sloot; and his father, Paul Van Der Sloot, 53. Kock said Sunday he feels the investigation is moving in the right direction, as police have scrutinized cell phone records and Internet traffic as part of the probe. Those records, Kock said, show Joran Van Der Sloot called Deepak Kalpoe about 2:40 a.m. on the morning Holloway disappeared. In that call, according to Deepak Kalpoe’s statements, Joran Van Der Sloot told him he had left Holloway on the beach and was walking home. About 40 minutes later, Kock said — about the time it would take him to walk home — Joran Van Der Sloot text-messaged Deepak Kalpoe to tell him he had arrived. “I just think this goes to show that the story that Deepak and Satish are telling … is substantiated by facts,” Kock said. Antonio Carlo, defense attorney for Joran Van Der Sloot, said Sunday prosecutors have asked the judge to extend his client’s detention for eight more days. The judge has not yet ruled on that request, he said. His client, he said, was in good spirits, but was “shocked and disturbed” by his father’s arrest. None of the suspects has been formally charged, and it was unclear when charges might be filed. Defense attorneys for the four younger defendants have said they are innocent; Paul Van Der Sloot’s attorneys have not yet commented. Also Sunday, a Texas-based search team was combing land and surrounding ocean for Holloway. Plans included using side-scan sonar on a dive boat, said Texas EquuSearch spokesman Joe Huston. The entire 27-member team, including eight divers and four dogs, arrived Saturday night. The dogs, said Huston, will work most of the day — skipping the middle of the day when their sense of smell is less acute. He said the group would like more volunteers and hoped residents would donate drinking water and some meals. The team searched a wetlands area Saturday, and also the northern tip of the island near a lighthouse, combing the beaches with the dog. After borrowing a boat, the team installed side-scanning sonar equipment and conducted a water search. Paul Van Der Sloot, who is relatively new to the bench, was arrested Thursday, while the other four have been in custody longer. He has been denied access to his son since the teen was arrested. A judge is to be flown in from Curacao to avoid the appearance of impropriety and would consider continued detentions for the five in separate hearings. Police Commissioner Jan Van Der Straten on Friday refused to say if Paul Van Der Sloot was being cooperative. His wife, Anita, dropped some towels and other items off at the jail Saturday, but was not allowed to see her husband. Prosecution spokeswoman Mariaine Croes said charges — if any — will not be filed until the investigation is complete and evidence is reviewed by prosecutors. Under Aruban law, authorities can arrest a suspect based on reasonable suspicion, unlike in the United States, where police must have probable cause. Prosecutors can ask judges to approve three eight-day extensions of detention, followed by two longer extensions. Croes has said suspects may be held up to 116 days — and in rare cases, even longer — before charges are filed, to allow evidence-gathering to continue. Defense attorneys for the original four have said their clients maintain their innocence. Holloway, from the Birmingham, Alabama, suburb of Mountain Brook, was last seen about 1:30 a.m. May 30 as she left a nightclub with Joran Van Der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers. She was on a trip to Aruba with about 100 classmates and a few parent-chaperones to celebrate her high school graduation.

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