THE HAGUE – The Netherlands wants a kingdom entity to monitor the spending of the many hundreds of millions of loans that Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten need to get through the corona crisis and compliance with the associated conditions.
Undersecretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) sent a 218-page document under strict secrecy to the government describing the approach advocated by the Netherlands. The Kingdom entity will be established for a (provisional) 7-year period and will be managed by 3 Dutch experts yet to be appointed.
In order to qualify for a new tranche of loans (in addition to the EUR 350 million in liquidity support provided to date), the countries must agree on Friday during the Kingdom Council of Ministers on a consensus kingdom law in which the supervision of the use of the aid and the implementation of reforms are being arranged.
The Prime Ministers of Curaçao and Aruba, Eugene Rhuggenaath and Evelyn Wever-Croes, do not have a good word for the Dutch position. The conditions are contrary to the Statute, they say. In addition, they consider it unreasonable to have to agree to a unilateral consensus statute law designed by the Netherlands within 4 days. Normally this is preceded by months of joint consultation and the collection of advice (such as from the Council of State).
Due to the stagnation of tourism because of the corona pandemic, the economies of Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten have been hit hard. Unemployment has risen above 50% and many thousands of families must rely on the food bank. Because government revenues have also evaporated, governments are unable to cater to the need and invest in economic recovery.
The Prime Ministers of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten traveled to the Netherlands to meet with the Kingdom Council of Ministers this Friday to present their case.