If you are a frequent visitor to this site by now you know that the tone written here is predominantly positive. However, once in a while I call out certain actors/partners in tourism when I see things which I feel are wrong. Lately beach-spaces have been under pressure on several fronts and I’ve been pretty vocal about it. This is from the recent increase in legal construction project but also the tolerated illegal ones. At the end, the latter bothers me the most, because put together it does more damage on the land than otherwise.
Passions Restaurant at Eagle Beach, known for its food, service and overall ambiance, was single out this week by the Department of Infrastructure as the only beach-restaurant to have legal title by paying a sort of land tax for the use of the beach. Good for you and thank you for showing the proper respect for public domain. Passions Restaurants is located on Eagle Beach, across from the Amsterdam Manor Resort [also a great establishment]. It’s open daily from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. I would highly recommend this place for sure. Again, food’s good, service’s good and view’s awesome.
The rest of the beach-restaurants don’t pay for the usage of the land. I’m already hearing their excuses: “others are doing the restaurant thing on the beach without paying, why should we”, “they have never taxed us, it’s the tax collector’s office’s [read: government] own fault” and a the last one if my favorite “we pay enough taxes as it is”.
All excuses are invalid. Period. If you are using public spaces without permits or without paying land taxes you are acting illegally. Yes, even if the government did a poor job of regulating the public spaces, such as beaches. You know that the beaches are not there for your benefit without compensation. Obviously the government doesn’t go without blame here.
I hate bureaucracy. I hate Aruba-bureaucracy even more. Regulation would mean more administrative control, inefficiency and in Aruba it would mean more public officials which I absolutely don’t want. We have more than enough.
However, strict regulation is needed to halt the free for all on our beaches. In the past perhaps there wasn’t much need for regulation because there were only a handful of restaurants and tourism numbers were small but now not anymore. Now it seems that the current government understands the urgency to control the public-spaces and have announced steps to regulate this sector.
In my opinion the biggest reason we need new regulation in this area is to stop judges making laws. The – by me – much hated jurisprudence [definition: the course of court decisions]. In reality this means that there’s a deficit in organic laws thus obligating judges to make up their own rules. And guess who judges side with? Our judicial systems allows it, but I think it’s immoral. The sovereign [definition: supreme lawmaking authority] needs to wake up. Lawmakers and Ministers need to step up and start passing legislation quickly. Limit the bureaucracy, let the business come to code and stop judges play lawmaker.
Not everything is illegal
Using the beaches for unscheduled activities such as weddings or parties isn’t illegal and shouldn’t be regulated. It’s impossible to regulate it anyway.