Aruba and Curaçao thankful, but not entirely happy

Aruba and Curaçao thankful, but not entirely happy

Wever-Croes and Rhuggenaath with then St. Maarten Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin


WILLEMSTAD/ORANJESTAD—Many in Curaçao and Aruba are not entirely happy with the loans the Netherlands wants to give the Dutch Caribbean countries in acute budgetary assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis.

  Aruba can borrow about 21 million euros but had asked for a grant of about 200 million euros. Prime Minister of Aruba Evelyn Wever-Croes initially said she could not agree with the low amount, but later stated that she appreciated the liquidity support.

  Other local politicians expressed their frustration. They say The Hague does not understand that 80 per cent of the island is dependent on tourism and that almost all income has been lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. They feel disadvantaged in the kingdom.

  Curaçao business owners also want more help from the Netherlands. They fear an increase in unemployment from 20 to 50 per cent.

  Dutch Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Interior Minister Raymond Knops announced last Thursday that Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten will receive soft loans in addition to medical aid and, where necessary, help from Defence Forces for the protection of public order.

  Curaçao had requested more than 393 million euros but will receive a loan of 90 million. St. Maarten asked for a grant of 126 million euros and got 25 million in pending liquidity support.

  In Aruba and Curaçao these days social media have referred to the large fundraising campaigns that were held on the islands when the Netherlands was hit by the mass flood of 1953. Images of newspaper articles from that time are shared via Facebook and WhatsApp.

 Curaçao's Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath also mentioned these actions in 1953 as an example of the solidarity he expected.







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