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Netherlands Installs Temporary Government In Curacao

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

09 October 2012

The Netherlands government has denied claims by the former leader of Curacao's indebted government that the introduction of an interim administration had come as a result of a bloodless 'coup'.

Gerrit Schotte, leader of the political party 'the Movement for the Future of Curacao', has claimed that the introduction of an interim government was carried out contrary to the island's constitution, and in protest, he staged a one-day sit-in at government headquarters, during which he refused to vacate the premises claiming a legal infringement.

Schotte's government had dissolved the island's parliament on August 3, 2012 after it lost its majority. However, Schotte argues that legally he should have been allowed to remain in office until new elections took place.

The Dutch government has clarified that the interim administration was legitimately installed at the request of the parliamentary majority, and has been placed in temporary charge of the island's affairs in the run-up to elections scheduled for October 19, 2012.

The Dutch government is, however, expected to take a greater interest in Curacao's fiscal affairs going forward after issuing a 'formal compliance order' in July with respect the jurisdiction's deficit. In the eight months to September 2012, the government had racked up a budgetary deficit of ANG153m (USD86m), which followed a ANG98m budgetary deficit in 2011, thus contravening a pledge made upon its independence from the former Netherlands Antilles that it would maintain balanced budgets.

On October 10, 2010, a new constitutional relationship between the Netherlands and its Caribbean dependencies became effective, granting greater autonomy to Curacao and Saint Maarten and dissolving the Netherlands Antilles. The Netherlands agreed to write off the two territories' debts in exchange for an agreement that the territories' authorities would prudently manage their finances.

The completion of a reform of healthcare expenditure in Curacao is said to be urgent, and the next administration may be forced to investigate higher or new taxes in order to check rising levels of sovereign debt.

TAGS: tax | investment | Netherlands | law | international financial centres (IFC) | budget | Curaçao | offshore | Netherlands Antilles

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