Strides forward

Strides forward

The outcome of Friday’s Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR meeting was not as bad as it may seem. They withdrew the draft Kingdom Dispute Regulation because the final version lacked backing from the Dutch Caribbean countries, which felt it did not reflect earlier arrangements made with the Parliament of the Netherlands due to the non-binding nature of rulings by the entity to settle disagreements, while the Council of State had also been less-than-positive in its advice.

And even though this was the last RMR meeting before summer recess, there is no need to be overly concerned St. Maarten might not be able to get its badly-needed sixth tranche of liquidity support to cover the third quarter until September. Caretaker State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK Raymond Knops had already been authorised to release the loan once requirements for such have been met.

Curaçao is in the same boat mainly because of the recent election, but the new MFK/PNP government now indicates it will accept the existing conditions set by The Hague for continued financial assistance despite both parties having campaigned to renegotiate. They basically rejected the proposed Caribbean Body for Reform and Development COHO that is to supervise execution of a so-called “country package” of restructuring measures altogether. However, the Council of State was critical as well, opening the door to possible desired adjustments.

Truth be told, the incoming Pisas Cabinet II did not have much choice either, as it encountered a practically empty national treasury. St. Maarten faces a similar cashflow crisis and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs expressed optimism in the Friday/Saturday edition of this newspaper about having fully complied.

Aruba is in the same boat too, but already managed to get its sixth tranche. No matter how you look at it, the current unprecedented socio-economic circumstances demand taking a few steps back to hopefully make strides forward again in the no-so-distant future.