Every island is different.

There will be a press conference regarding the bond issue at 10am, this morning, so we will understand a bit more, of the great mystery of money markets.

MinFec already told us, Aruba is a veteran of bond issues, they have been used as a fundraising instrument for many years, and we, the public, never objected.

It didn’t even register in our consciousness.

But this time it’s different.

A positive attitude cannot fill fridges, turn electricity and water back on, pay rent and Setar bills, insurance premiums, and Serlimar invoices.

I asked around, about bonds, and one of my friends explained:

Bonds are published and left “open” for one week for potential interested parties to buy in. In our case the Central Bank of Aruba had AWG 60M and US$60M available for purchase by any interested party in the Kingdom.

Of course, the Dutch could make out like bandits, buying the dollar bonds and earning 5.3%; that would have been a good deal for the Netherlands.

However, CBA saw more interest in the local currency, and MORE than the initial Awg 60M was handed over. That’s why CBA decided to offer more bonds in local currency.

At the end it looked like they could issue Awg 100M.

On the USD bond, it was said that interested parties needed more time, this is why the bond issue was left open, or opened up again for a day or two.

The USD bond issue was reduced from the initial $60M to $50M. And my source couldn’t tell me how much was finally bought/sold. We’ll see what MinFec says.

The parties buying these bonds are local individuals/private people and pension funds; not really the banks. So what you have is Awg 100M sold among local people and APFA, the pension fund. The USD bond issue must have been bought by pension funds from Curacao.

This bond issue business gives people with liquidity and the pension funds a chance to invest in Aruba, and get a decent return. Remember, there isn’t much to invest in these days when everything is at a standstill.

As for the aid-agreement with the Dutch, according to our MinPres, it is the Dutch’s court.

They told us that we should ask CaFT for the funds to fill the BURACO of two months.

MinPres said the filed request is on Caft’s desk, and the waiting is on them.

She also said that if the Dutch can have the money here by the time we need it, we will, of course, take it.

BUT, the timing is unfortunate.

We need the money this week, so there is too little time to go through proper channels, and we doubt that it will happen on the fly, which means that we will have to take the funding from the just sold/bought bonds.

In this case. My sources insist, plan B was a blessing.

You can’t put all your eggs in just one basket.

If MinPres did that, we would have had no choice. Yes, this will cost us more in interest payments, but just accepting all conditions, isn’t healthy either.

The Dutch have a certain way of thinking about life and love, and have struggled to find consensus in the EU with Italy, Spain, and Portugal, when some Dutch strategies did not sit well with the EU member states. There the Netherlands was just told that their demands wouldn’t fly, in spite of the fact that those were gifts, they were handing out.

Aruba unfortunately, doesn’t have the arguing powers of France and Germany, who will not be pushed around.

We are the small, spoiled kid who has to endure his due punishment.

Don’t get me wrong, it is important that something is signed that is fair, and hopefully now that the pressure is off, an agreement will be reached before December.

Another HUGE issue here is that the Netherlands always sees St. Maarten, Curacao, and Aruba as “one”. We are not one.

That is a very short-sighted view.

And you would expect that after decades of relationships, the Dutch would know better.

But fact: Everything for the Dutch is Curacao.

Everything is done from Curacao.

Even CaFT sits in Curacao.

They have a beautiful office on Aruba where nobody sits.

For some reason the Dutch like Curacao better than Aruba.

We have always been the island that stood up for itself and did not need the helping hand, ALL the time. It is time that the Netherlands wakes up, and stops treating us the same.

We are not.

Every island is different.



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September 28, 2020
Rona Coster