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DH | No mercy for Aruba

Aruba Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes (left) and Finance Minister Xiomara Maduro explained during a press conference earlier this week that the Dutch demand to prolong the financial supervision protocol, was a “last-minute” condition. (Aruba government photo)

THE HAGUE–The extension of the protocol for the supervision on Aruba’s public finances is not a new condition, but a “logical consequence” of the lack of clear budget norms per January 1, 2022.

Dutch caretaker State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops stated this in a letter he sent to the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday, regarding the postponed decision-taking of the Kingdom Council of Ministers last Friday.

Aruba and the Netherlands “unfortunately” were unable to reach an agreement about the budget norms per January 1, 2022, According to Knops, this situation has evolved because the current financial supervision protocol ends as of that date.

“This means that per January 1, 2022, there is no clarity about the norms for financial supervision and for that reason alone it was my advice to the Kingdom Council of Ministers to not approve the use of Article 23 of the Kingdom Law on Aruba Financial Supervision LAFT to deviate from the budget norms,” he stated.

According to Knops, the prolonging of the protocol or other agreements concerning budget norms with a term that is long enough to “prevent a vacuum” was not a new condition, but a “logical consequence” of the lack of clear budget norms per January 1, 2022.

Knops said that from the start he had been “very clear” on this to the Aruba government. He explained that after the Netherlands suggested that it wanted to prolong the protocol without an end date, and Aruba indicated that it only wanted an extension for one year, the Netherlands tried to find a solution by proposing a usual three-year extension, and to end this term as soon as the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision was implemented for Aruba.

“This proposal was also rejected by Aruba, which means that we are in a deadlock. There is no way to explain the lack of agreement about financial supervision in a current situation whereby the Netherlands made 903.5 million Aruban florins in liquidity support available,” stated Knops.

The state secretary noted that lack of clarity about the budget norms “logically” kept the Netherlands from making further agreements with Aruba about the refinancing of these loans or to give further financial means.

As for the accusation of Aruba Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes that the Netherlands was forcing the Aruba government to bypass its own Parliament, Knops said it was up to the Aruba government to discuss the financial protocol and the possible consequences with the Parliament. “That is not a task of the Dutch government, and neither is it the intention of the Netherlands to side-track the Parliament.”

During a press conference earlier this week, Wever-Croes and Finance Minister Xiomara Maduro gave their account of what took place in the past weeks in the deliberations with The Hague. Their explanation is entirely different.

Wever-Croes and Maduro said a professional team from Aruba had worked incessantly to comply with all the Dutch conditions, so Aruba could receive liquidity support to endure the COVID-19 pandemic. They said “all of a sudden” the Netherlands had set a new condition for the eighth tranche of liquidity support for the first quarter of 2022.

According to Wever-Croes and Maduro, the condition, set without prior consultation with Aruba, was that the 2018 financial supervision protocol would be extended without an end date. “Despite this last-minute condition, Aruba entered negotiations about the prolonging of the protocol in order to find a solution so we could get liquidity support.”

The condition of a prolonged protocol with no end date was not something that Aruba could agree with, they said – at least not without consulting the Aruba Parliament first. The Aruba government has asked the local Advisory Council for advice regarding the extension of the protocol without an end date, in an effort to get out of the impasse with The Hague.

Bron: Daily Herald

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