photo: Aruban prime minister Evelyn Wever-Croes - Source: Sharina Henriquez

ORANJESTAD – “We will not let foreign powers, not even the Netherlands, destroy our economy. Like it happened on Curaçao and Sint Maarten”, says Aruban prime minister Evelyn Wever-Croes after the Netherlands added a new condition to the list of demands for providing an emergency line of credit worth 204 million florins (a bit more than 100 million euros).

Prime minister Evelyn Wever-Croes speaking about the Netherland’s new demand (Dutch spoken)

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The Aruban prime minister heard the new demand on Sunday, when she had a call with Dutch state secretary Raymond Knops: agree to enter into the Kingdom consensus law for financial supervision. “I asked him what would happen if we didn’t agree before Friday. At that point Knops replied that we would not get the loan. That’s an insane amount of pressure, I replied.”

Next Friday the Kingdom Council of Ministers (RMR) will decide whether or not new lines of credit will be provided to Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. According to Wever-Croes a positive advice has been giving by financial supervision board Caft, to lend funds to Aruba so that the island can pay salaries for the upcoming three months and cover other government costs. This is in addition to providing the unemployment benefit Fase and the extra loan subsidy to companies who were hit hard by the corona crisis. The funds also have to sure up the pension funds AOV and Apfa, and the health fund AZV.

 ‘It would be unfortunate if something like that were to happen’
– Prime minister Aruba speaking about escalation on Curaçao

But now that the Netherlands has presented a new condition, the island is thrust into uncertainty once more. Wever-Croes: “This time we can’t make this decision on our own as a government. It’s a Kingdom consensus law, a higher level. That’s why we have to talk to our social partners and the other parties involved, and Parliament has to agree to it. We have three days to do all of this.”

After the situation in Curaçao escalated last week due to the cuts, the Aruban prime minister started worrying about this. “It would be unfortunate if something like that were to happen on Aruban.”

In a reaction the spokesperson for Knops said: “The state secretary will not be saying anything before the RMR has made its decision. So we can’t react to this.”

What is a Kingdom consensus law?

A kingdom law is applicable to all countries within the Kingdom, including the Netherlands. A Kingdom consensus law applies to two or more countries and is entered into voluntarily. In the road up to Curaçao and Sint Maarten becoming independent countries within the Kingdom (2010), the Netherlands tried to get Aruba to join the Kingdom consensus law for financial supervision. But those negotiations failed. Immediately after 2010 The Hague tried several times to get them to join, with no luck.