New ballgame

New ballgame

Talks on gradually ending the COVID-19 crisis-related 12.5% cut in public sector employment benefits for Curaçao, St. Maarten and Aruba (12.6%) as well as conditions for such will continue in August, it turned out from the recent meeting of their respective Prime Ministers Gilmar Pisas, Silveria Jacobs and Evelyn Wever-Croes with Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Alexandra van Huffelen. The three Caribbean countries are still looking to provide civil servants and teachers with some relief in the meantime.
Aruba, which hosted the gathering, expects to get approval from the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR in The Hague this Friday to repay government personnel 5%. When asked, Van Huffelen confirmed that such a decision could be taken for just one of the Caribbean countries.
Curaçao came up with a one-off “stimulation bonus” of 1,750 Netherlands Antillean guilders gross for each public employee, but Governor Lucille George-Wout had questions she wanted answered before signing the decree into law. The hope was to get a positive advice from the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT during its visit this week.
In St. Maarten there is talk of paying half the vacation allowance (3%). The Jacobs Cabinet has in any case announced alternative arrangements to “give something back” to civil servants.
If in any way possible, CFT and the RMR should seriously consider allowing all three of these modest compensations two years after the austerity measure was introduced as requirement for badly needed liquidity support from the Netherlands. Not only have government employees been affected quite a bit already, but the impact of the war in Europe and continued pandemic-related supply issues on consumer prices significantly eroded their purchasing power even more, which is not good for the local economy.
In that sense, this is very much a new ballgame.

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