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September 2004 Vol. 30, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Thumbs Down: Plaza Resort Bonaire

from the September, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Thumbs Down: Plaza Resort BonaireLast March, Bruce Weiner’s room was burglarized while he and his companions were sleeping. The perps made off with $7500 worth of cameras, scuba equipment, and other belongings. When he reported the theft, resort manager Marc van Breen first asked why Weiner didn’t have travel insurance, hardly an empathetic response. Insurance wouldn’t help Weiner salvage his dive trip, with his camera and regulator missing, nor relieve that gnawing sensation we get when our space is violated.

Van Breen assured Weiner that the losses would be submitted to the hotel’s insurance company in the Netherlands, and that the resort would reimburse for losses not covered. A maintenance man upgraded the villa’s inadequate sliding door security. (The villa next door had been broken into the previous night, but occupants scared off the intruders).

Upon returning home to Goshen, NY, Weiner sent a letter itemizing the missing items, but got no response. He made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Van Breen, so he wrote to Undercurrent. Our calls and e-mails to Van Breen also went unanswered, but not ignored. In August we heard from Bous Scholts, the resort’s Director of Sales & Marketing, who claimed he was awaiting word from the Dutch insurance company, five months after the incident.

Once Weiner was promised full reimbursement, it’s our belief that the Plaza – a very large corporation – should have reimbursed the burgled guest, and settled with the insurance company itself. It’s bad policy and lousy public relations to hold Weiner hostage to bureaucratic relations between a hotel and its insurance carrier – if, indeed, that is the reason the Plaza is dragging its feet. Could it be they are really just waiting for Weiner to go away? /p>

Bonaire’s sterling underwater reputation is tarnished by its other reputation – crimes against tourists. “This would have been one of the nicest dive vacations I’ve had,” Weiner told us, but now says he’ll never go back: “There are too many other places to spend my money.”

PS: Crime seems related to Bonaire’s proximity to South America and drug drops on the island. Bonaire expanded its airport so it could handle international flights, and now it’s paying. In July, five drug couriers were arrested at Flamingo Airport, at least three locals were arrested for crimes against diving tourists, and several burglars, including two addicts, were arrested for break-ins. Holland has appropriated money to supplement Bonaire’s police force, which now has an international airport to guard, but it’s tied up in bureaucratic wrangling with the inefficient government in Curacao. The Bonaire jail has been closed since mid-July for repairs, but Curacao has yet to release the allocated funds, so many people arrested are not being incarcerated.

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