There was some good news from The Hague for a change. The decision on a budgetary instruction for Curaçao won’t be taken until next week Friday, as efforts to make joint agreements with the Netherlands instead on tackling the island’s financial-economic crisis continue.

No final position was taken either on adjustments Aruba’s Parliament made to that country’s Financial Supervision Ordinance, basically eliminating the Kingdom Council of Ministers’ oversight in this matter. The Dutch cabinet is not happy with that, but the government in Oranjestad promised to stick to the established budget norms regardless.

So, while these issues are still on the table, there at least seems to be a willingness to seek compromise rather than more polarisation. That will hopefully also be the attitude towards motions adopted by St. Maarten’s legislature along with the crucial and long-overdue 2019 budget.

Another positive development was approval of a Kingdom Dispute Regulation by the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, with representatives of the Caribbean countries in attendance. It may not be all that the latter had hoped, but at least there is now something to build on, with an evaluation in three rather than five years.

An amendment was passed allowing plenipotentiary ministers of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten to solicit advice from the Council of State if (acting) prime ministers of the Netherlands as chair of the Kingdom Council determine there is no dispute to handle. Another amendment also specifies under exactly what conditions the kingdom’s government can deviate from Council of State rulings.

Of course, differences and even tensions between the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean countries can always occur, but with a solution-oriented approach their common interests and shared goals should prevail.