Social welfare on Curaçao has been raised by 30 percent, as of July 14th. According to the minister of Social Development, Labour and Welfare this is necessary because of the growing poverty on the island. Still, the amount isn’t enough to live on.
Minister Ruthmilda Larmonie-Cecilia (PNP) recently pointed out several times that she is worried about the employment situation on the island and especially the rise in poverty. To help with this she has requested parliament to help bringing about a raise in social welfare benefits. She got that support.
Fleeing to Bonaire
Minister Javier Silvania of Finances (MFK) has made money available for this. That is why a single person who is not able to work will receive 211,12 guilders per two weeks (instead of 162,40 guilders). This is an amount of 422,24 guilders a month.
The minister acknowledges that it is still not enough. He has made a comparison with Bonaire in parliament, there a person in similar circumstances receives 413 dollars, every two weeks.
That, according to the ministers, is one of the reasons why 1200 persons have left Curaçao to go live on Bonaire, during the last year.
The increase in welfare benefits means that a (married) couple will now receive 281, 10 guilders more, for a total of 365.43 guilders a month every two weeks. That is an amount of 730,86 guilders a month. People who only receive an old age pension also get a raise of 30 percent.
The reality we live in
Minister Larmonie-Cecilia has great concerns about the situation on the island. ”It is the reality we live in. The cost of living keeps increasing. Especially for people with only social welfare or an old age pension it isn’t enough to live on.”
At the same time social benefits may not exceed more than 70 percent of minimum wage, otherwise working for wages would no longer be attractive.
Before, the minister stipulated that the povertyline for a family of two adults and two children is 3.141 guilders a month. “But a big part of the population earns less. Certainly as a consequence of the high inflation of the last period.”
The poorest country of the Kingdom
The minister has fought hard before to raise the minimum wages. But still all measures are not enough according to her, to make sure the majority of the population can live a decent life.
According to her Curacao has sunk deeply. Where it once used to be one of the richest islands of the Kingdom, it is now the poorest, according to the minister of Social Development, Labour and Welfare. Who states there Is still a lot of work to be done on all the three different components.