Sense of urgency

Sense of urgency

That the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation IPKO postponed in January has been rescheduled for early May (see related story) is good news. A new Dutch government was sworn in recently and although it regards the same coalition, other cabinet members based on the current seat divisions in the First and Second Chambers of the Netherlands’ Parliament have created a different situation.

It will therefore be useful for legislators of host St. Maarten and their colleagues of Curaçao and Aruba to “rub shoulders” again with their counterparts from The Hague. National Alliance (NA) faction member George Pantophlet spoke of a “fresh breath of air” (see related story).

However, exempting the Dutch Caribbean countries from their balanced budget requirement due to the COVID-19 crisis cannot wait that long. It’s very important for this to happen during the next meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR scheduled for January 21, so that the three governments have a legal basis on which to execute new policies rather than using last year’s budget.

These include so-called “country packages” of restructuring measures as condition for coronavirus-related liquidity support from the Netherlands. Contrary to Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten did not request any more soft loans during the first quarter, but they will need them later in 2022 to cover their respective deficits.

With just over a week to go before that crucial RMR session, it seems crucial that incoming Dutch State Secretary for Kingdom Relations Alexandra van Huffelen is quickly made to understand the urgency of this matter.