Preventing abject poverty

It was heartening to learn that two Dutch Second Chamber members sought clarity about conditions for liquidity support to St. Maarten, Aruba and Curaçao, as well as the contested draft Kingdom Law to establish a Caribbean Reform Entity (CRE). Last Friday’s headline “No parliamentary supervision…” created some concern about the lack of any democratic scrutiny over the proposed new supervisory and executive body.

The two opposition members in The Hague asked 15 questions of Undersecretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, who is currently visiting Bonaire and Curaçao, requesting answers before next week Friday’s Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting in which decisions are to be taken on a third tranche of COVID-19 loans for the Dutch Caribbean countries. They want his reaction to critical remarks and objections from elected representatives, political authorities, and many individuals on or from the three islands, but also all four Ombudsmen in the kingdom.

One of the main issues is a “too short timespan” to comply with the requirements and willingness to “create space” for balanced decisions. The argument that certain measures may increase the adverse effect of social economic inequality within the kingdom makes sense too.

“Hunger, unemployment and economic recession” were all mentioned because that is the reality on the ground if further financial assistance is stopped or delayed. Providing food aid is one thing, preventing abject poverty quite another.

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