THE HAGUE – The Rutte cabinet will help Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten with interest-free loans in the coming 6 weeks to alleviate the most acute financial distress caused by the corona pandemic. That is what minister Raymond Knops said today after the weekly council of ministers during a press conference via Youtube.
The loans have a term of two years and have no repayment obligation during that period. “You could say a soft loan, of which the possible conditions will be considered in the event of refinancing,” said Knops. In the meantime, work is being carried out on “measures that should lead to longer-term financial soundness”.
The amount of the emergency loan differs per country and depends on the liquidity needs for the next six weeks. For example, Curaçao will receive 117 million Antillean guilders (90 million euros), Aruba 42.8 million Aruban florins (22 million euros) and Sint Maarten 50.2 million Antillean guilders (more than 25 million euros).
Knops emphasized that the Netherlands wants to help Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. “But countries have also asked for budget support. We want to talk about that, but at the same time we need to talk about getting public finances in order. Before the crisis, they were not in order in all countries. ”
He compared that to the current discussion in Europe, where there are also countries that have not built up buffers. According to Knops, issues such as “taxes, land development, pension systems” must be tackled in the Caribbean countries in order to be able to absorb any shocks in the future.
He called these “difficult political choices”. According to Knops, it cannot be the case that three countries in the Kingdom are financially dependent on the Netherlands.