Own the problem

Own the problem

That the draft Kingdom Act for the establishment of a Caribbean Body for Reform and Development COHO is off the table (see related story) can be considered good news. Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten all objected to the law proposal’s rather unilateral approach from The Hague.

Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Alexandra Van Huffelen has now agreed to replace it with mutual arrangements between the individual Caribbean countries and the Netherlands. Little is changing in terms of content: the so-called country packages with restructuring measures that COHO would supervise will continue to be implemented.

And that is ultimately what matters most, because the stated goal remains making these islands, their economies, public finances as well as populations more resilient to external shocks like the COVID-19 crisis, natural disasters, etc. If there is broad consensus about the way to do so, such a heavy-handed instrument becomes unnecessary and perhaps even counterproductive.

Of course, alternative accords are still to be worked out for signing next March and the devil is often in the details. Nevertheless, talks held in St. Maarten late last week opened the door to moving forward on the reforms and related investments with the desired political backing on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Moreover, frequent bickering over this issue mainly while former State Secretary Raymond Knops was in office will now hopefully come to an end. His successor Van Huffelen understood very well that allowing the three Caribbean countries to not only “own the problem” but also its solutions was and is of great importance.

The Daily Herald

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