The repayment of the loans acquired because of covid19 were due on October 10, 2023. If one was following statements I made in the past, I made it quite clear to the then Director of the Committee for Financial Supervision Mr. Gradus that doing so was impossible to which he agreed. I mentioned to him the issue of “Debt Cancellation” and his response was “it is a political matter, to which I responded, “It is not political, it is social.”
What I can conclude however is that the bullying and blackmailing by the Dutch government being executed by State Secretary Alexander van Huffelen continues. The statements made by the State Secretary in the early stages that we are brothers and sisters in comparison with today’s behavior is a complete contradiction. Some might say, I told you so, to which my response is, I always give someone the benefit of a doubt. The whirlwind visits and the island hopping that the State Secretary usually makes to the islands is a stark reminder of how unimportant they consider us to be. 11000 residents of BES islands (Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius) are living below the poverty line.
Special Municipalities indeed. They don’t enjoy the same social benefits, minimum wage or pension. I am wondering how many more reports will have to be made before action is taken. Forgive my distraction as I get back to the matter at hand. The State Secretary Alexander van Huffelen under orders or not interfered in our internal affairs by insisting that if we don’t solve the Ennia problem, we would not get favorable interest rates for the loans incurred because of covid 19. That is tantamount to bullying and blackmailing. And it is amazing that in the 21st century with so much talk of democracy, human rights the rights of self determination and the rule of law these actions are still taking place.
The extension given whereby St. Maarten is given a year to repay the loan at 3.4% interest for me goes completely against the apologies of Prime Minister Mark Rutte with his comma and King Willem Alexander’s show of remorse for their role in slavery. I understood that the State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen does not even want to entertain the discussion of Debt Cancellation. We will be discussing amendment to the 2023 Budget and discussions on Draft Budget 2024. The payments to the Law Enforcement officers and all others concerned will take place during such discussions. It appears that it will take some 7 years or more to make this pay out to our men and women in blue.
If my information is correct, based on repaying the liquidity loans along with the regular loans will amount to some 24 to 28 million guilders annually (I stand to be corrected), this amount should be used to pay the law enforcement officers who have been waiting for 13 years to have their function book finalized in order to correct their salaries. This instead of paying it to one of the richest countries in Europe and by extension in the world. But what they done is give us an additional loan of some 60 million guilders for Capital investments? They have budgeted 4 billion euros to assist their citizens to deal with inflation, minimum wage and affects due to climate change but they can’t cancel the Debt which is some 700 million euros? Is what I am requesting realistic? Yes it is.
If the Dutch government can put aside 2.5 billion euros for Ukraine, then surely they can cancel 700 million Euros owed to them by their (so called brothers and sisters) Kingdom partners. It is but a drop in the bucket compared to what has been committed to Ukraine with promises of more. But to continuously put unrealistic financial demands on us that will keep us enslaved for another 100 years is an indication that their apologies were just words without content. The late great leader Mr. Fidel Castro said and I paraphrase the debt is a cancer.” I say it cannot be treated by restructuring it but only by cancelling it. Stop the bullying.
MP George Pantophlet