Published On: Fri, Sep 21st, 2012

Kingdom Council of Ministers warns for bankruptcy of Curaçao

THE HAGUE - The fear of the Kingdom Council of Ministers and the Financial Supervision (CFT) that Curacao is heading for bankruptcy, was diametrically opposed by the Curaçao government who assured that they are working hard to sort out the finances.

The instructions by the Kingdom Council of Ministers was premature and, moreover, not according to the correct procedure established, argues Mr. Douwe Boersma on behalf of the Government of Curacao during a hearing by five State Councils, which is how the members of the Council of State are called.

Arguing that it was necessary to impose instructions on July 13, outlines Mr. Eric Daalder behalf of the National Council of Ministers, indicates a very dark future for Curaçao. "While the situation at the time of the appointment was already bad, now is the situation on the basis of current data only worsened." According to most recent estimates, the current budget deficit for 2012 has grow to 300 million guilders in 2013 and up to 420 million in 2014 and 2015.

The capital of the island, with assets such as buildings, according to Daalder may not be used for these deficits, but it is also not sufficient because its value is not real. It is in the accounts of the government estimated at 500 million, but some are worth 315 million less when taking into account deferred maintenance, he says. "At the end of next year, the equity will be exhausted. Curaçao is heading for bankruptcy by the end of 2013 if no measures are taken, "says Daalder.

Boersma argues, with the assistance of the Secretary-General for General Affairs Stella van Rijn, that the Curaçao government is doing its utmost to balance the budget and thus comply with the guideline. At the request of the State Council for Curaçao Robert Van Rijn Vornis, Boermsa mentions as examples the restructuring of health care and the decision to increase disability age from 60 to 65 years, with only one exception for employees of 58 and 59 years. "This is a drastic measure, but we underline the urgency because the disability funds are exhausted. The government is willing and able to take steps which appeared during our Budget Day. But you understand that such measures cannot be implemented within a day. "

Kees van Nieuweamerongen of Committee for Financial Control (Cft) says that the Cft takes into account the complexity of such measures, but that the government should have taken these measures at the beginning of the year. "We hope that now it will happen soon."

State Councillor Hans Borstlap wants then know whether the instruction still can be seen as an additional incentive to implement austerity measures, a description of the measures that Prime Minister Mark Rutte previously used. Van Rijn reiterates that in all decision the correct procedures are followed, such as submitting all decisions to the Advisory Board, the Social and Economic Council (SER), the Organized Officials Consultation and eventually the Parliament. "We can say that an opinion should be swiftly given, but we cannot force them," she says. "The political answer is that everything that is imposed by the Netherlands is experienced as repulsive, so that says nothing about a possible acceleration", she adds.

Jaap Polak, chairman of the committee of five State Councils, describes the dispute between the Curaçao government and the Kingdom Council of Ministers a serious problem. "The State Council shall come with a draft decision which will be sent to the parties, but not for the public. I cannot say when, but the situation requires us to do something as soon as possible.”

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