What is this world coming to?
I almost lost all hope when I heard on the news that someone was peeling the green turf off the meridians and stealing them.
What could he possibly use it for?
But then my hope in humanity was restored: See letter at the end of this column.
This week the kingdom loans for Aruba, our lifeline, were under discussion.
Apparently on July 3rd the Kingdom Council of Ministers will decide on the third liquidity injection for Aruba, and the conditions set for this one has become stricter and stricter.
Why do these conditions become stricter? You already know, because we have been spending like crazy, hardly making any structural changes, claiming to follow guidelines and ignoring good advice.
The next loan about to be approved by CAft, our body of financial supervision, would be for Awg 204M, covering the island’s expenses in July, August & September, 2020.
If we don’t get the money, we can start fishing. Or gold mining.
The recent info regarding the conditions for the July 3rd liquidity, was received by GOA, and one could see our MinPres turn pale, but she understands the situation very well, and knows how to handle herself under pressure.
She asked for the conditions in writing, she said she will debate with stakeholders and evaluate the effect on Aruba’s autonomy and economy.
Keep in mind, if we don’t accept we go bust, if we accept we will be getting future loans at 0% interest and the Netherlands will assist us with refinancing, of our astronomical debts.
But the conditions cut deep into our so-called autonomy, and basically we can send parliament home, because all financial decisions will be relegated to the Dutch.
Under the new agreement, a new financial entity, on top of CFT will oversee the funds, and how we spend them – on citizens, not on GOA’s employees.
The BIG change: Financial supervision (CAft) for Aruba, will be regulated by a Kingdom law (RFT) instead of an Aruban law (LAFT). This change would make Aruba’s supervision similar to the one set up in Curaçao and St Maarten, giving the Kingdom more freedom to supervision, to assure integrity and transparency.
Meanwhile a letter was published in a local paper, and I am carrying it in its English translation:
Dear Prime Minister, Dear Mark,
The external shock from Corona has hit our very prosperous Netherlands very hard and fortunately we have the means to struggle upwards with great difficulty. Our Caribbean partners in the Kingdom have faced at least three of these external, unaffectable shocks: hurricanes, a completely collapsed neighboring country of Venezuela and the Corona virus over it. And then Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten (CAS islands) are also small-scale island economies, which are already fragile by nature and highly dependent on tourism. Corona literally means that no tourists come to the islands anymore. The social and economic misery on the islands is almost incalculable. Tens of thousands of families live off the food bank, with formal and informal unemployment going up to 30 to 50 percent.
The Netherlands stepped in in the first three months of the Corona crisis and sets firm conditions for its assistance. That is also logical on the islands. There is much to reform and improve in the island societies and economies.
On July 3. the Kingdom Council of Ministers will decide on the continuation of the Corona aid from the Netherlands to the CAS islands. We call on you to make that decision with compassion and a warm heart on the one hand and a cool mind on the other. The compassion speaks for itself, many people on the islands have nothing left. We have to help them. But cool mind is also very important. Conditions are part of this, but let the islands participate in the decision-making process and ensure that in the next elections everyone will appreciate the solidarity and the rule of law of the Kingdom of tires. Organize the aid in such a way that on the one hand the underprivileged on the islands experience the added value of the Kingdom relationship and on the other the economic structure of the islands is strengthened. Positive developments were underway there, such as greening and Unesco / cultural tourism. And there is so much more possible, with both sides in the Kingdom relationship combining business and warm heart.
We make this appeal on behalf of many in the Netherlands,
Jandino Asporaat, Hans de Boer, Roger van Boxtel, Glenn Helberg, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, Tania Kross, John Leerdam, Churandi Martina, Ed Nijpels, Alexander Pechtold, Jörgen Raymann, Paul Rosenmöller, Clemence Ross, Nout Wellink, Herman Wijffels