What happened in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 29, 2023 is something that Aruba as a whole should disapprove. The motion presented by Kamminga Parliamentarian from the VVD and Van den Berg (CDA) parties, about the requirement that financial supervision in Aruba must take place through a Kingdom Law, otherwise the Dutch government should charge Aruba with a higher interest (rent) and make profit on the backs of our people.
While it is a sum of money that the Netherlands itself is borrowing at an interest rate of around 3% and would have to charge Aruba at the interest rate of the financial market which could then be between 6 to 8%. The community should be aware that it is a loan, and Aruba will pay back the amount. It was also once again emphasized and demonstrated, through the reasons why they came with the proposals, that what some Dutch parliamentarians know or care about the situation of our country or our democracy. It is known that in October it will be the moment that Aruba must begin paying the debt that was created with Holland. A debt of 916 million to provide support and assistance to the people including wage subsidies and financial support to small and medium-sized companies. It is no secret that the financial support through a guarantee from the Netherlands, which we are certainly glad and grateful for, was not given unconditionally. Something that to this day we can hardly understand and find unacceptable. Initially it was given under the “take it or leave it” attitude where the Caribbean islands would have to agree with COHO and Aruba in addition with RAFT otherwise they would not get the support.
This while we were going through the most difficult moment in the history of our country since 1986. In addition, we can all recall the requirement of for example the cut of 60 million per year that the Netherlands demanded in the care here in Aruba during a pandemic. A condition that to this day they are unable to explain or justify in any way. The COHO process was removed from the table, because it undermines the authority of the islands and obstructs the ownership of the islands. The islands parliaments were opposed to the Kingdom Law and certainly the part of the “Forced Consensus” did not have the support of parliaments including the Dutch parliamentarians. The question we need to ask is whether these arguments are valid for RAFT as well, why the Netherlands is still pushing for this to be implemented. Just to harmonize supervision? And who stands for fair and equal treatment? It is also good for the community to keep in mind the reality that Aruba is not being offered the same favorable conditions as our sister island if received in 2010. And on top of that we now have Dutch parliamentarians demanding to charge us more interest if we once again do not agree with their throat-snatching attitude.
We all need to realize that the loan is not a gift and the government is negotiating the conditions under which we will pay it back. For the Netherlands a debt forgiveness is not relevant, it would be good if they gave an explanation why.
However, it remains incomprehensible why we cannot find a lower interest without conditioning it and based on article 36 of the statute. Or why if they really want to help our country, e.g., by helping us with interest expenses, they don’t sign up to refinance or structurally finance our financial needs. Something that certainly costs zero dollars and is virtually zero risk. Many unanswered questions. However, before they raise our financial supervision to the level of RFT at our sister islands Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Because there are evaluation results that indicate different points of concern. Without talking about the overall we can’t really say whether it worked or gave the desired result.