Coronavirus: emergency package for entrepreneurs and employees in the Caribbean Netherlands
As in the European part of the Netherlands, there are also major concerns in the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom about the effects of the coronavirus. In Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, a new reality of stalled activities applies. In addition, for the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom, the substantially stoppage of air traffic and cruise tourism will have major economic consequences. The consequences for small-scale societies, which rely heavily on tourism, are enormous.
Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius are an integral part of the Netherlands, for which there is a direct responsibility. That is why today the government decided to take exceptional economic measures for employees and companies on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, because of the coronavirus. The letter about the emergency package for employees in the Caribbean Netherlands is comparable to the letter that the Cabinet sent to the House of Representatives on March 17th regarding the European Netherlands. The structure of the letter is the same and the measures are also comparable, with adjustments to the specific situation of the Caribbean Netherlands.
The package was sent today to the House of Representatives on behalf of the Ministers of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Finance and the State Secretaries for Social Affairs and Employment, Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and Finance. Minister Raymond Knops stated on behalf of the Cabinet:
“As a Cabinet, we feel very closely involved in the situation on the islands. The effects of the coronavirus are great on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Due to the restrictions imposed on travel, the tourism sector, on which the islands are highly dependent, is virtually "paralyzed". This has major effect on corporate profitability and employment. This new package provides employees and companies in the Caribbean Netherlands with the necessary extra support.”
Within the autonomy of the countries of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten, the responsibilities lie differently than for the Caribbean Netherlands. They too are confronted with the effects of the coronavirus: medical, social, economic and financial. Contacts with and between countries are intensive, so that we can assist each other where necessary.In the very exceptional circumstances of the moment, it is being studied whether, based on the possibilities within the Statute of the Kingdom and the exceptions in the laws and regulations, the countries can be enabled to cope with the crisis as good as possible.