THE HAGUE - Curaçao's Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague, Anthony Begina, says he is pleased with the efforts of Dutch soldiers to restore peace on the island. But he is also critical, because according to Begina, the Netherlands shows too little understanding of the situation the island is in.
Curaçao, which has been hit hard by the corona crisis, is dealing with a collapsing oil industry and is home to tens of thousands of Venezuelan refugees. “There is a large group who are currently having a difficult time. We are not a country with a lot of financial opportunities to support everything and everyone. I expect the Netherlands to show a little more empathy with what we are currently experiencing.”
Curaçao has been completely dependent on the Netherlands since the beginning of the corona pandemic. But to qualify for a package of corona support, the island must meet strict conditions. For example, the Netherlands requires that politicians, civil servants and administrators of public companies surrender part of their salary.
According to Begina, the Netherlands wants those reforms too quickly: “We also have unions in Curaçao, we also have employment contracts and a collective labor agreement. You have to be able to prepare and explain those reforms well, but we are not allowed that time.” According to the Minister Plenipotentiary, the pressure this entails is one of the reasons that people take to the streets angrily.
The Dutch military personnel who have been deployed in Curaçao to maintain public order are part of the army. According to Dutch Defense Minister Bijleveld, they are mainly concerned with guarding vital buildings so that the Curaçao police have their hands free. Next Friday, the cabinet will announce whether Curaçao will receive further support and, if so, which.