Rutte about Dutch Caribbean islands: "We are not only opening our wallet"

THE HAGUE - The Netherlands remains with the condition that Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten must implement economic reforms in exchange for financial corona assistance. This was announced by the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday in response to the open letter from some well-known Dutch people, in which the Prime Minister was called to show “compassion”.

However, the Dutch cabinet wants the islands to finally make political decisions about pension systems and the labor market. Rutte: "I don't see why we can't set those conditions. Do we just have to open the wallet? It is not strange to ask countries to do what has not been done for so long."

The letter was written by comedian Jandino Aspiraat, chairman of the employer’s organization Hans de Boer and former bank director Nout Wellink, among others. According to them, the Prime Minister should make the decision on a new aid package "with compassion and a warm heart." Because in their view, the Caribbean islands are through no fault of their own with several problems at the same time: hurricanes, the collapse of Venezuela and now the corona crisis.

Moreover, the letter writers reason, for example: the parties that are now in power in Curaçao are doing their best and there is good relation in the Kingdom. If the Netherlands adopts too cold an attitude, that could give populist parties the wind in their sails. De Boer: "Then the medicine in the Netherlands turned out to be worse than the disease."

However, Prime Minister Rutte does not think that the Netherlands is too strict. "We want to show solidarity. We are not asking whether the islands are making severe cutbacks at the expense of the population.” Next Friday, the Kingdom Council of Ministers will talk about new support.

Between 2010 and 2012, Curaçao was ruled by the populist and later convicted of corruption Gerrit Schotte. The relationship between his government and the Netherlands was difficult. At the end of October 2012, Helmin Wiels, who responded to anti-Dutch sentiments, won the elections. He was murdered in May 2013.

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