photo: Tim van Dijk

THE HAGUE – The Caribbean municipalities can also count on a financial aid package from the Dutch government. Individuals and companies who suffer a loss of income due to the corona crisis will receive a compensation.

“As the government, we are very concerned and are closely monitoring the situation on the islands”, according to minister Raymond Knops (CDA) of the Interior and Kingdom Relations after a cabinet meeting in the Hague.

The aid package for companies and employees in the continental part of the Netherlands was announced on Tuesday.

Employees can still get salaries
The measures are comparable with those in the continental Netherlands. Companies who lose 20 percent or more of their revenue due to the corona crisis, can receive financial aid for three months to keep on paying full wages.

Employers who make use of this emergency measure are required to keep their staff on the payroll. These companies also have to pay one hundred percent of the salary. The government will pay-out 80 percent of the daily wages.

The emergency measure is also applicable to employees with a zero hours’ contract and individuals who have a temporary employment contract.

Extra support for entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs, including independent contractors, will also receive support. A special counter in the Caribbean municipalities will provide them with 80 percent of the minimum wage, without them having to pay this back. This is also the case for individuals who lose their jobs due to the corona crisis.

 ‘Major economic consequences’
The economic consequences of the world wide coronavirus outbreak on Bonaire, Saba, and Statia is ‘huge’ according to the Dutch government.

“Due to the travel restrictions the tourism industry, which the islands rely on heavily, has been paralyzed.” A lot of companies on the islands will lose income due to this.

Emergency measures for the coming three months
“With this new financial aid package employees and companies in the Caribbean Netherlands receive the support they require”, says Knops.

The measures will be in effect for at least the upcoming three months. The government and the Caribbean municipalities are working on the implementation plan and further details. According to the ministry for the Interior and Kingdom Relations these will be published on:

Temporary stop on tax collection?
Several municipalities in the continental Netherlands have already stopped the collection of taxes for companies, to prevent further financial difficulties. The government wants to implement this measure for the Caribbean municipalities as well.

Measures for Caribbean Netherlands

Take a look at all the measures (pdf) that the government announced on Friday for employers, employees, and independent contractors on Bonaire, Saba, and Statia.