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Antilles Politics in Chaos as Governments Collapse

24 October 1999

Netherlands Antilles politics has been thrown into chaos with the resignation of Central Government Prime Minister Suzy Rommer following the collapse of her PNP party's coalition Government over disagreements about how to address the current financial crisis in the islands. It is expected that the resignations of her Cabinet will soon follow. The fall of the Central Government also triggered the collapse of the Curacao Island Government.

The latest crisis comes only a week after the resignation of the 'Three Wise Men' who had earlier this year prepared a National Recovery Plan for the Government. The main catalyst in the collapse of the central government has been disagreement between the political parties over how to implement the extreme cost cutting measures recommended in the Recovery Plan, including massive cuts to the civil service. The Government's failure to implement these cost cutting measures has severely hampered its ability to negotiate with banks to secure the 128 million guilder credit line required to pay civil service salaries. To further complicate matters, the banks have made it clear that even if their demands were met they could not provide all of the funds required, leaving Holland and the IMF as the only remaining avenues to make up the short fall.

It is still too early to predict the outcome of all the political manoeuvring in the Antilles, but if a new coalition is unable to be formed by the parties soon, Netherlands Antilles law will require new elections to be held for both the Central and Curacao Governments, even though there is no money available to pay for this. In the meantime, government activity at the Central Government level remains stalled until further notice.

TAGS: Curaçao

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