WILLEMSTAD – The government of Curaçao held a press conference today to talk about its position on the demands of the Netherlands for financial support. The press conference was attended by Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath, Minister of Economic Development Dr. Steven Martina, and Minister of Public Health Suzanne Camelia-Römer. Prime Minister Rhuggenaath announced that on Monday July 6, 2020, the Government of Curaçao received a package from the Netherlands, which contains extensive documentation about the new conditions regarding the financial support of the Netherlands. “After taking note of the contents, the Government’s first impression is that the majority of these conditions affect fundamental rights enshrined in our Statute, affect our democracy and violate our laws,” the Premier said. The Netherlands even demands that Parliament should agree to a comprehensive basis for a new consensus law and amendments to existing laws in the kingdom. If not, this will affect the financial support of the Netherlands.
The package is such that implementation – in all probability – will seriously affect the well-being and stability of the country. “From the moment that the Government approached the Netherlands for financial support, we were open to the conditions imposed by the Netherlands. However, the Government can no longer simply accept these current conditions. Not only because of the content, but also because of the form and the short term, which offers no space to analyze the proposals in a normal and responsible way,” said Prime Minister Rhuggenaath in his introduction. The Premier indicated that this is a contract with very far-reaching consequences and a new consensus law requires a negotiation process. The government of the Netherlands refuses to provide the following part of the liquidity support, for the months of July and August, if the Government of Curaçao does not unconditionally accept all conditions. “This proposal is not in accordance with the advice of the CFT (Committee for Financial Supervision), which have indeed advised to provide part of the required liquidity for the coming months.
The basic reason for not agreeing is the fact that the Netherlands is presenting the new conditions and proposals only 4 days before the Kingdom Council of Ministers must take a final decision, on Friday 10 July. “The Government is of the opinion that this is absolutely not realistic, given the weighty influence of these conditions and the fact that Curaçao as a country does not have the time to take a well-considered position regarding these new proposals.”
One of the Netherlands’ proposals is to establish an institute in the Netherlands, which will determine all aspects of financial management, as well as the reforms of the government, the economy and the allocation of the funds that will go to Curaçao. This means that the Netherlands will set up an entity, consisting of 3 Dutch experts, who will make decisions based on Dutch laws, which must take on Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten for a period of 7 years. In the eyes of the Government, this proposal is completely unreasonable and does not reflect the spirit of the cooperation enshrined in the Statute.
“The COVID-19 pandemic had very unpleasant consequences for our community, which meant that the Government had no other option than to approach the Netherlands for financial support. This was based on a sense of solidarity, which must live between the countries in the Kingdom.”
Premier Rhuggenaath says that the Government is aware that it cannot take a decision, which will have far-reaching consequences for everyday life without proper consultation. As a result, the Government will consult in the coming days on how to deal with these issues and it will expressly communicate with the community about the conditions and their consequences.