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Willemstad
• zondag 29 januari 2023

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CC | The Netherlands has confidence in reforms in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten

archieffoto | Persbureau Curacao

THE HAGUE – The Dutch cabinet says it is ‘confident’ that Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten will implement all agreed reforms in the coming years. This is according to State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations, D66) in an interview after a new deal has been concluded.

In exchange for hundreds of millions of euros in emergency loans, the Netherlands has demanded from the islands during the corona crisis that radical reforms be implemented. For six years, these would take place under the strict supervision of The Hague via the Caribbean Organ for Reform and Development, the so-called COHO. According to former State Secretary Raymond Knops, it happened too often that the islands do not keep to agreements. Still, the Coho is definitely off the table.

The Caribbean countries are happy that COHO is off the table. Do you understand that?

“The Netherlands is concerned with the reforms, not with the form of supervision. The reforms are extremely important to ensure that the countries’ economies improve. That the investors are interested in. That there will be an efficient government apparatus, that education and health care will be in order, that taxes will be collected. We have also agreed that we will realize those country packages. That is what I find very important.”

“So yes, the construction of a Kingdom Act and the organ of a COHO will not continue. But we will work with the COUNTRY packages and the temporary work organization will also continue to work to advise, help and support so that those reforms are implemented. Whether it is called COHO is less important to us.”

You indicate that all agreements about the reforms will stand. Yet we saw relief and many congratulations in Curaçao to politicians that they have fulfilled an election promise. What is there actually to celebrate?

“You would have to ask them because I don’t really know. What I celebrate is that we have now moved from a system for which there was no support to a mutual arrangement for which there is support. Because the feeling at the COHO was always: it was forced on us.”

Forced on by the Netherlands. Do you agree with that?

“No. The agreements we made at the time were based on: there will be support and reforms in return. But the Caribbean countries say: we do not think that is a good construct, we want a mutual arrangement.”

“Initially, this was also designed by them. We have made changes together in the past few days. That they say: we see it as a product of ourselves and in collaboration with the Netherlands. We don’t feel like we were forced to do that much. Equality and respect would now be much more central. I think it is a good conclusion to continue working.”

Member of Parliament Miguel Mansur (Accion 21) says in the opposition in Aruba that he is afraid that especially the reforms that are controversial will not take place in Aruba. Because COHO was the guarantee, he thinks. What is your reaction to this?

“But again, the reforms continue. That remains central. And I also hope that the governments will keep to the agreements. Because that is always the basis of cooperation. That’s number one.”

“Number two: I hope that opposition parties will continue to monitor this closely in their own country. Because of course it’s about the people who live there. We do this together to ensure that there is good education and health care. That the environment is respected and that taxes are collected. And opposition parties, just like those of the coalition, can also play an important role in this.”

Trust plays a major role in politics. You obviously have that confidence.

“I am confident that these agreements will be honored. Period.”

And if the Caribbean countries do not keep to the agreements?

“Then that also has consequences in that respect. The loans simply have to be repaid. If the countries have indicated that they do want to make agreements about this… yes, that will of course be more difficult if those reforms are not in place.”

The Netherlands has lent hundreds of millions of euros to Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Do they have to keep paying back those loans?

“At the moment there is no payment. The loans do have an expiration date and that was actually last year. But because liquidity support was also given to the countries last year, we extended it together. But the arrangement expires on October 10 this year.”

“Some countries have already indicated: we can’t or we can’t bear it so hard. What we have agreed is that we will have a meeting about those loans next month, in February.”

Will there be a remission or partial remission?

“Not any time soon. No.”

Bron: Curacao Chronicle

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3 reacties

  1. “I am confident that these agreements will be honored. Period.”
    De bevolking ook. Die weet wat het woord van een politicus waard is
    Blijkbaar zijn ze het in Nederland weer vergeten

  2. The Dutch cabinet says it is ‘confident’ that Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten will implement all agreed reforms in the coming years.

    Op basis van wat zijn de confident? Ze laten immers nooit zien dat ze serieus bezig zijn!

  3. Kijk PIK PISAS zit met zijn dikke opgerolde nek sinds dat hij zich al drie jaar elke dag kan vol vreten en het arme volk heeft niks nada nopes te vreten.

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