THE HAGUE – Curaçao, like Italy and Spain, needs to reform, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday. The island is struggling economically due to the corona crisis and riots have been going on for two days. Rutte said he was “concerned” about the situation.
The Dutch cabinet helps Curaçao with tens of millions to get through the corona time, but demands reforms in exchange. “We are not asking for budget cuts,” said Rutte. According to him, it should lead to the country being able to hold its own in the next crisis.
According to the Prime Minister, the situation is comparable to that in the European Union. “Curaçao is just like a copy of Spain or Italy.” The Netherlands believes that the EU can only invest billions in an emergency fund in the southern European countries hard hit by corona if they implement reforms.
Responsible Undersecretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) also emphasizes that Curaçao must take measures to put its finances in order. Then the cabinet wants to help. Curaçao must, among other things, improve tax collection and screen government companies.
The riots in Curaçao broke out two days ago after a protest by garbage collectors because their fringe benefits were cut. This cutback for civil servants is part of the conditions that the Netherlands has set for loans that have been granted to mitigate the consequences of the corona crisis.
The past two nights have been very restless on the island. There were arson and vandalism. Dozens of people have been arrested and a curfew has been set. According to Knops, the Dutch marines on the island were not called upon yet to assist in maintaining order.