|Fredis Jose Refunjol
Former Governor of Aruba
Fredis Jose Refunjol is an Aruban politician and a former Governor of Aruba. Originally a teacher, he has served as a government official for the past twenty years, starting as a Member of the Estates of Aruba.
Early life and education
Governor Refunjol was born in Aruba on 19 December 1950 and is married to Clarette Maria de Lourdes Refunjol-Lopez. Together they have two daughters (Cheryl and Zanette) and one son (Fredis). Refunjol received his Higher Elementary Education (MULO) diploma in 1968 and his Senior General Secondary Education (HAVO) diploma in 1973. Three years later, in 1973, he graduated from the Aruba Teacher-Training Academy and was certified as a teacher.
Upon graduation, he secured employment at the Heilig Hart College in Savaneta as a teacher. He taught for eight years before being promoted to Principal in 1981. Two years later, in 1983, Refunjol joined the Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo (MEP). The next year he became the party's vice president, holding that position until 1987, when he was named as the party Secretary General (effective 1988).
While serving as party vice president, he stood as a candidate in Aruba's first parliamentary elections in 1986, where he was elected to the Estates of Aruba. In 1989, he was the informateur (politician who investigates on behalf of the Crown whether a proposed cabinet formation will succeed) during both the formation of the first cabinet of Prime Minister Nelson Oduber (Oduber I) and that of a second cabinet (Oduber II) formed in 1993. After the first cabinet was formed, he was named Minister of Welfare, serving until the MEP lost at the polls in 1994. During the Government of Henny Eman (1994–2001), he reverted to his original role as a member of the Estates. After seven year in the opposition MEP won the 2001 elections, after which Refunjol served as formateur for the third cabinet of Oduber (Oduber III). In Oduber III, he was named Minister of Education and Administrative Affairs, in addition to becoming Vice Prime Minister.
In 2004, the term of Governor Olindo Koolman expired. As he had already served two terms, he was not reappointed by Her Majesty the Queen. Due to the extent of his government experience, Refunjol was appointed to the vacant post, assuming the office of Governor on 1 May 2004. When nominated, he enjoyed the unanimous support of the Aruban Parliament during deliberations on his candidacy. As a result of the nonpolitical nature of his office, he was required to resign from the MEP and from the Estates immediately upon taking office and is barred from political action until his service as Governor is complete.