The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

Plans in the making for New Home For the Aged

Sometime back I put some thoughts on Facebook on the need for the relocation of the Home For the Aged to where one could get “A room with a view”. A good number of people responded in a positive way. I decided then to follow up with a letter to  the foundations in charge of the hospital and the Home.

I immediately got a positive response and the ball started to roll. This past week on Wednesday the 27th, the two Foundations invited me to attend their meeting. Mr. Marcel van Bevaran a planner from the company Royal Haskoning gave a positive presentation to all those present and a recommendation to go for the idea which I had presented.

Of course it will require time and money to achieve this, but in the end Saba would have a much better and larger hospital and a Home for the Aged in a location where they will not think they are in a half way house waiting only on death. Last Saturday I was there in the Home. Frieda Caines was celebrating her birthday. I sat with Irene Granger(100) who is sharp as a tack and visited others who are there. They are treated well, but I can see that in a new location with a view, some trees and a place to plant a few vegetables, raise a couple of yard fowls and so on they would be more happy.

The two boards agreed to move ahead and to engage an architect to start the planning. The land is government land and the road leading to it is a government road, so no need to ask permission from anyone and Commissioner Bruce Zagers has already pledged his cooperation to transfer the land as to make this project possible.

People in the community look at perhaps the land might be too steep and so on. With money everything is possible. Some weeks ago I stayed in a condominium on Aruba for a great price. My greatest enjoyment was to sit on the verandah and watch the broad river passing by with no less than FOUR waterfalls. There were all kinds of ducks and other birds and even a Pelican would fly in at times and dive down to catch a fish. You will be saying to yourself: A river on Aruba? Yes. It is all part of the golf course next to the hotel. The “river” flows around the property and has a couple of small lakes. One with a tree growing in it in which the birds nest.It is situated where the old Shell “Eagle” refinery used to be. My taxi driver Michael Johnson (Gabo’s great grandson) told me even that when they were building the golf course they came across a number of old barrels of oil still in the ground from the days of the refinery back in the nineteen thirties.

So with the home, they can scoop out the watercatchment area of the present cistern, build underneath another cistern and parking garage. From the parking garage two elevators can take you up one or two floors and on top of all that a new U shaped Home can be built with nice gardens etc. The public area can have the dining room and a large 15 to 20 foot wide verandah facing the town and the sea, and Voila, there you have it. So let us all think positive and contribute where we can to make this a reality.

I was impressed with the professional way Dr. Blauwboer handled the meeting and how positive all those present from the two Foundations were with this idea and they agreed to move forward with the next stage and that is to get a good architect who knows the Caribbean to start making the plans and then to look for the necessary funding. Also I want to thank them for inviting me to their meeting and allowing me to put my two cents worth of ideas forward.Think positive. Think “Yes we can” and it will happen.


The government owned land runs from the main road through “New Town” includes the cisterns and goes up past Tara Ground into the Mountain. The Road leading to the Government owned cisterns is a Public Road built when I was Commissioner so the Foundations have a big head start there already to achieve the goal of a new Home For the Aged. Wish them well.

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