The Dutch Negotiations

A recent update from GOA reported that the Netherlands is willing to lend Aruba the amount needed for liquidity until the end of the year, at 0% interest, however, it requested an outlook on the total amount needed, a request which GOA complied with, and is reportedly awaiting response.

GOA continued to explain, last week, that if that process takes too long, more than a few days, GOA will make use of the funds raised on the local market to meet its obligations.

As you recall GOA offered bonds recently, in Awg and US$, to individuals and entities within the kingdom, the total funds raised by these bond issues: Awe 100M and USD 43.3M, a total of Awg 171M, enough to keep GOA afloat until December? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

A few weeks ago, until that dreaded Thursday press conference, we all thought that the Dutch aid-agreement is a done deal. Then MinPres came on TV, and killed the momentum saying that Aruba will help itself; then two hasty cycles of successful bond issues followed.

How many times can she show us that trick?

Once more before the end of the year?

The supply of local money will run out, then what?

The first option, we were told, is the Dutch loan. But if it fails, GOA will have to revisit the local markets and some other Kingdom entities for more money. Of course, an alternative last resort option is also an international loan.

Then disappointingly, according to MinFec, only in an EXTREME CASE, cuts in the public sector will be made.

So, that is where we stand, in a very grey area. No Dutch aid-agreement, no reform. There is zero certainty of what is coming, four million florin BURNT per day without the economy EARNING anything near this amount. No attempt to lower expense level made.

Turn off lights? Negotiate reduced rent?

At the same breath, GOA reported that CFT, our financial supervision organ is now working on the fourth loan portion. But I checked. Working is a loose term. The papers have been drawn. The proposal has been prepared, no one knows exactly what we are waiting for, and what is being negotiated.

My politically astute friends tell me that if indeed a Window of Opportunity exists, it is now.

In politics interest increases and then dies. Issues run in cycles. Up, then down. What is of interest now, is obsolete tomorrow. Politicians retire. Elections are lost and won, things come and go, and sometimes you gotta hit the iron while hot.

The current Dutch premier and the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, are both interested in the island. They are willing to do something courageous and long term. Their predecessors, had other concerns, and their successors who knows, but at the moment the top bananas are interested in the island, and acknowledge a moral obligation to help.

However, this week, the Dutch were more interested in the level of positive Coivid19 cases in their large cities. There was some scandal involving a young influencer who failed to support government policy as promised, and the political attention was directed inwardly.

Next year, the Netherlands with hold a general election on March 17th, 2021, but may be forced to hold it even earlier. It’s a coalition government of four parties, so anything could happen.

We clearly had their attention last week, but this week Covid reared its ugly head, we don’t know what will happen the following week, then premier Mark Rutte will have to worry about his own party, so that he doesn’t lose so many seats again in 2021, as in the 2017 elections.

Basically, a Window of Opportunity opens and then it shuts, perhaps forever.

It is still open now.

And it seems that until our electorate gets the courage to demand proper government, we will not get it, and great opportunities will continue to be missed.




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October 01, 2020
Rona Coster