At the moment a point of discussion is the consensus law called Kingdom Law Aruba Financial Supervision which we know as RAft. A draft law that since July 2020 in the midst of the pandemic has generated a lot of anger and discord because of how it has been presented at the most critical health and financial moments of Aruba.
The process how it was conducted, same as in the case of COHO, was condemned and questioned during the IPKO meeting not only by the Parliament of Aruba, but also by the same Dutch Parliamentarians. This was not only registered in the appointment list of May 2022 in Sint Maarten, but also in the report of the Parliament of Aruba issued on 20 May 2022 by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which to this day has not been contested. In part 1 of the article I elaborated on the procedure of a Kingdom law and in this part I will elaborate on our own report submitted on 20 May 2022.
Why are they not contesting and insisting that Parliament give its approval without being challenged?
Under enormous time pressure, the Aruban Parliament had to submit its questions in the form of a report by 20 May 2022, from which we have not received a response to date. Of course, as a Member of Parliament, I wonder why the Netherlands is required by the Parliament to give its approval in order to follow the procedures while the procedure, which is stipulated in our Statute, requires that the critical questions of the Parliamentarians of Aruba as of the House of Representatives in Holland must be answered. I’ll give some examples of points that came up in the report that we’d like to see changed if we talk about a consent law.
One of the things that we definitely want to see change is that we give Aruba a longer repayment period and in the context of our current situation it would also be prudent to give us a grace period to start repaying. Another point is why we do not receive the same treatment that Corsica and Sint Maarten received in October 2010 when they passed a Kingdom consent law. Curaçao and Sint Maarten received low interest write-offs for their debts and a discharge for all their debts amounting to about 3 billion florins.
In our case we are asking to incorporate into the law that our international debts can also be inscribed at low interest, which would mean that we could save around 70 to 80 million florins per year on interest alone from Mike Eman’s ‘MEGA DEBE’. This change, which will save us a lot of interest, should not only be used to pay off debt, but a lot of it should be used for investments that are very much needed in our country. I personally think a 50%-50% split would be one that we could accept. In addition, there should be an article that after 3 years evaluates this law and if changes are needed to make it function optimally and prevent what is happening with RFT, where there are reports that indicate that this law is killing the economy of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and that it should be modified.
Another point that I disagree with and that needs to be modified is the departure of the law that in the concept is not well defined. In the current concept it is required to come up with a constitutional change that exceeds Dutch authority. At this point also the Netherlands is acting in bad faith because they know that this clause can never be achieved. In the exit clause there should be a point where if Aruba as a country has a bank that can finance the debt of Afl. 916 million at a percentage that is better than the 6 to 8 percent, which now handles the guillotine on the table, that the Netherlands will cooperate for Aruba to do so. Finally, when Aruba pays the debt the rijkswet is abolished and the supervision transforms itself into a local law as we have come to know as the LAft.
I think there has to be a willingness and certainly if we want to talk about a consensus law, the Netherlands has to start listening and take seriously the points that are important for Aruba and reach out to each other. We as a country are certainly looking for a better agreement that will benefit our country and on the other hand there is the Netherlands that will be guaranteed to get its money back. I therefore appeal to both Governments to sit down calmly and once again review the questions raised in the Parliament’s report and seek consensus in the interests of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.