Introducing Guest Writer: Miguel Mansur Jr. (Futuro Nobo)

Despite an extraordinarily busy schedule, on Friday Parliament once again tried to pass a motion of no confidence in Minister Lopez-Tromp during debate on spearfishing. The motion passed without a majority, in violation of our constitution and the rule of law. Afterwards the President of Parliament, a supposedly neutral position, tried explaining that he also has a knowledge of law and the vote is legal. Well maybe he did not study hard enough or he lacks a reasonable understanding of constitutional law? What is certain is that partisan politics is now taking precedence over our constitution.

Diminishing our legislative body into dysfunction was not enough for the MEP parliamentarians. They continued their attempts to manipulate the public by twisting the truth and promoting their alternate reality. If anyone deserves a motion of no confidence it is Mr. Ady Thijsen.

Meanwhile the opposition showed signs of life in their attempts to formulate a rescue plan. So far their position has been: 1) the deal with the Netherlands is NOT acceptable and 2) they want a deal. That is equivalent to offering nothing in the form of solutions but simply more noise in the cacophony of traditional politics. Let’s hope they are successful in formulating something realistic and of substance as our economic situation continues to worsen whilst unemployment rises.

There was information circulating on social media regarding the alleged finalists with respect to permits for the import and export of medicinal cannabis. If the information is correct, three of five petitions were on behalf of sitting ministers in government. This surely cannot be an example of integrity and good governance, neither is the result with a stalwart supporter of the MEP being issued the only license. What happened to competition, how is the public interest served by authorizing a monopoly? Let’s hope the information amounts to rumor and hearsay otherwise it will be a new low in the shamelessness of those that govern.

During all the political maneuvering of the last few weeks, two important things escaped coverage. On October 7th the Central Bank released their updated economic forecasts for 2020. As expected the situations is alarming, they foresee an economic contraction of between            -25.4% and -32.3% (Real GDP) this year. With at least an additional 1.1 billion florins in debt our debt/gdp ratio reaches an alarming 134%. If we include the financial obligations associated with PPP projects then our debt/gdp ratio reaches 157%, making Aruba the fifth most indebted country in the world.

According to the updated forecasts we will close this year with 6.3 billion in financial obligations (including PPP) of the public sector. That is more than Afl. 63,000 on the head of every Aruban. The government does not produce anything, they regulate, so its the people that will need to figure out how to dish out more money to continue financing government. Despite the disastrous state of public finances, government decided to add an additional 65 million florins in interest expenses through the issuance of bonds rather than sign an agreement with the Netherlands.

A technocrat government is an immediate solution for the lack of courage in our politics. Cabinet Wever-Croes has demonstrated their inability to address the elephant in the living room and undertake the difficult steps required to address the crisis. More delays, surveying the appetite for further bond issues in the local market hoping the pension fund will acquire enough to carry the government to the next election without signing is not a solution. If the government collapses or steps down, we would not survive a caretaker government unable to sign an accord with the Netherlands during the 3-4 months it will take to organize an election.

The government issued a plea for unity, now is their turn to live up to that. Step down, unite with the other parties in parliament and form a government of technocrats based on national unity to move the country forward. Otherwise tied to the chains of traditional politics, we will only continue digging a deeper bottom.

Share on:

October 22, 2020
Rona Coster