Agreement for Draft Consensus Kingdom Law to Parliaments

February 9, 2022 1:30 pm

Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands have reached an agreement on the submission of the proposal of the Kingdom Act Caribbean Body for Reform and Development (COHO). The Kingdom Act forms the foundation for a new form of multi-year cooperation between the countries in the Kingdom.

The economies of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Netherlands offered help in the fight against COVID-19 and supported the countries with food packages. In addition, EUR 1 billion in emergency liquidity loans was provided to support public finances in the event of a sudden cessation of economic activity.

As a condition for granting the liquidity loans, it has been agreed that the countries will accelerate reforms that will strengthen them. The countries are adhering to this agreement. The aim is to enable the economy and society to better absorb a crisis in the future, so that governments are able to offer new opportunities to residents and businesses. To support the countries in this, it has been agreed that an independent Caribbean Body for Reform and Development will be established.

In anticipation of the formal establishment of COHO, a country package has each been agreed with Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The measures from the country packages are further elaborated per country in successive implementation agendas. In this way, every Caribbean country is able to take steps in a way that suits them. COHO will provide support and monitor the implementation of the topics described in the packages. These tasks are currently performed by the Temporary Work Organization (TWO).

The four countries reached a final agreement this week on the elaboration of the Kingdom Act. Changes compared to previous consultations include clearer agreements with the countries about the incorporation of the country packages in the various budgets. It has also been agreed that the objections that exist about the powers of the financial supervisors C(A)ft will be further elaborated in the implementation phase.

Agreements to address the possible implications of the execution of the cooperation protocol between the C(A)ft and COHO, including the mutual tasks, roles and responsibilities, have also been established. COHO and the C(A)ft will consult with the governments of the countries about the cooperation protocol before it can be established or amended.

Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have drawn attention to a number of concerns regarding the enforceability of the law within the constitutional legal order. These points include guaranteeing policy space and autonomy of governments, the convergence between C(A)ft and COHO and the space for

investment to be able to implement the reforms and accompanying policies. The Netherlands has promised to discuss this and make agreements.

The proposed Kingdom law will now go to the Parliaments of the countries and the Second Chamber of the Netherlands. Later in the process, the First Chamber will also have the opportunity to deliberate on the Kingdom law.