September 21, 2012 1:43 PM
THE HAGUE — The fear from the National Council of Ministers and the Council financial supervision (Cft) that Curaçao is heading for a bankruptcy, was entirely at odds with the plea from the government of Curaçao that it is working hard on organizing the finances.
The instruction from the National Council of Minister is premature and for that matter hadn’t come about according to the correct procedure, lawyer Douwe Boersma argued on behalf of the government of Curaçao, during a hearing by five members from the Council of State.
As argument that it was necessary to give an instruction on July 13th, lawyer Eric Daalder on behalf of the National Council of Minister sketched a very gloomy future for Curaçao. “Although the situation had already been bad when the instruction was given, that situation has only worsened, based on the current data.” According to most estimations, the current deficit on the budget for 2012 will increase to 300 million guilders in 2013 and as much as 420 million in 2014 and 2015. The own capital of Curaçao – possessions such as buildings – cannot be used to cover those deficits, according to Daalder, but on top of that is also not sufficient because the value of these isn’t real. In the books from the government it is estimated at 500 million euros, but is approximately 315 million less worth when considering overdue maintenance, he said. “The own capital depleted late last year. Curaçao is heading for a bankruptcy towards the end of 2013 if no measures are taken”, said Daalder.
With assistance from the secretary general of General Affairs, Stella Van Rijn, Boersma counters that the government of Curaçao is doing its utmost to balance the budget and simultaneously comply with the instruction. At the request of the Curaçao member of the Council of State, Robert Vornis, Van Rijn mentions as examples the restructuring of the pubic health care and the decision to increase the AOV-age from 60 to 65 years, whereby only an exception is made for employees of 58 and 59 years. “That is a drastic measure but we endorse the urgency because the AOV-funds are depleted. The government is prepared and capable to take steps and that also appeared during our own day of the Queen’s speech. You’ll understand that such measures cannot be implemented within one day.”
Kees van Nieuwamerongen from the CFT replied on being asked that the Cft does consider the complexity of such measures but that the government should have taken those measures at the beginning of the year. “We now hope this will be done in the short term.”
Member of the Council of State Hans Borstlap then wanted to know if the instruction could be viewed as an extra inducement to implement economy measures, a description for the measures that Premier Mark Rutte had used earlier. Van Rijn repeated that the correct procedures must be followed for all decision-making, for example presenting decisions to the Advisory Council, the Social Economic Council (SER), the Organized Civil Servants Consultation and eventually the Parliament. “We can indicate that an advice must be given as quickly as possible but we can’t force them”, she said. “The political answer is that everything imposed by the Netherlands is considered revolting, so that doesn’t say anything about possible urgency”, she added.
Afterwards, Jaap Polak, chairman of the committee of five members of the Council of State, described the dispute between the government of Curaçao and the National Council of Ministers as a serious problem. “The Council of State will produce a draft decision that will be sent to the parties but not be made public. I can’t say when, but the situation demands we try to do this as quickly as possible.”
WILLEMSTAD – De zitting van de bodemprocedure van het beroep bij de Raad van State tegen de aanwijzing, heeft vandaag plaatsgevonden. Op 13 juli heeft de Rijksministerraad aan het bestuur van Curaçao een aanwijzing gegeven, maar Curaçao ging hiertegen in beroep.
Curaçao moet de overheidsfinanciën op orde brengen. Half augustus heeft Curaçao beroep ingesteld tegen dit besluit. Volgens Raadsman van Curaçao Douwe Boersema ging Curaçao niet in beroep, omdat ze het oneens zijn de beslissing, maar omdat zij vinden dat het tot vrijheid van Curaçao zelf behoort, in samenspraak met het College Financieel Toezicht.
Omdat het instellen van een beroep geen schorsende werking heeft, blijft de aanwijzing aan tot er een uitspraak is gedaan. Dit kan twee maanden duren. Zowel een delegatie van het College Financieel Toezicht als een delegatie van de Curaçaose regering was hierbij aanwezig. Minister van Financiën Jamaloodin was niet bij de zitting, hoewel hij wel in Nederland was voor het beroep.