Published On: Thu, Oct 11th, 2018

Curaçao asks the Netherlands for expertise in getting public finances in order

Raymond-Knops1WILLEMSTAD, THE HAGUE - The government of Curaçao called in the help of the Netherlands to get public finances in order. Due to an imminent financial shortage, an urgent measure from the Kingdom Council of Ministers is in the air. The request from Willemstad to make expertise available has been honored, Undersecretary Raymond Knops reported on Wednesday evening in the second part of the debate on the Kingdom Relations Budget / BES Fund.

The minister called the financial situation of Curaçao worrying, but added that the government in Willemstad is of good will. His worries about the finances of Aruba are no less important, but the cooperation with the Cabinet Wever-Croes he qualified as 'good'. In spite of this, the negotiations about extending the financial supervision that has ended this year are apparently so difficult that despite the repeated insistence of the Financial Supervision Council there is still no agreement.

From Knops' reaction to critical questions about the quality of governance on Bonaire, it can be concluded that the Administrative Agreement that he wants to conclude before the end of the year is more than just a priority program that has been discussed so far. In this, if it is up to the minister, agreements are also made about good governance. He explicitly referred to political appointments at the governing boards and foundations. He confirmed once again that 9.5 million euros for projects on Bonaire is ready, but that they are only released when there is good governance.

Knop does not have much good to say about the government of Sint Maarten, which has already neglected law enforcement by reserving insufficient funds for it in the budget. With the entire Chamber, the Minister is annoyed that the government in Philipsburg does little to address the unsustainable situation in prison. But there is not urgent measure coming from the Netherlands. The suggestion of André Bosman (VVD) to summon Prime Minister Leona Marlin-Romeo to the Council of Ministers was rejected by the Undersecretary. He kept insisting that it was an internal affair of the autonomous country of Sint Maarten.

Knop also indicated that it is the islands’ own responsibility for the influx of Venezuelans. The Netherlands is prepared to provide expert assistance (which also happens), but categorically rejects responsibility for the alleged violation of human rights. The 132,000 euros that The Hague pledged to Curaçao for detention capacity for the benefit of the Venezuelans to be deported have not yet been transferred because there is a 'plan' missing.

At the end of the tame debate, ten motions were submitted on Tuesday.

By Rene de Zwart

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