Key ingredients

Key ingredients

Curaçao has made some interesting suggestions to Dutch State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen on adapting the draft national ordinance to standardise top incomes at all government-related entities. It turned out that the earlier calculated maximum of 263,000 Netherlands Antillean guilders per year was not based on 130% of the prime minister's full salary and should in fact amount to NAf. 295,000.
In addition, the intended “note of change” would expand the two-year transition period in the law proposal that is already with Parliament to five years for those in function since more than two years ago. The difference between their current pay and the new limit would then be deducted by one-third annually during the last three years.
Finance Minister Javier Silvania was criticised for asking permission from the Netherlands but explained that the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR had set the original legislation as requirement for long-granted liquidity support. It later became a condition to phase out an also-related 12.5% benefits cut in the (semi)public sector too.
St. Maarten passed its own “Jacobs Norm” law since early last year, but the example shows how it may be possible to suggest reasonable adjustments to the country package of restructuring measures being implemented as part of commitments made to receive the COVID-19 crisis zero-interest loans. As such, the local government having paid out their suspended 6% vacation allowance to its employees this year with approval of neither the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT nor Van Huffelen was certainly not the end of the world.
Agreement has since been reached with CFT on alternative funding for this move, which also paves the way to getting third-quarter liquidity support requested from The Hague. The Parliament in Philipsburg was about to approve the necessary changes to the so-called 12.5% law formalising it all, but that has been delayed due to a conflict between the new “coalition of eight” and Chairlady Grisha Heyliger-Marten.
The point is that parties involved on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean should not be overly rigid about the planned reforms and their execution, especially under significantly changing circumstances including far-reaching consequences of the war in Europe. Pragmatism and flexibility will be key ingredients to bring this process to a successful end by improving the lives of people in the Dutch Caribbean.

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