COHO Aruba

Breaking! St Maarten Civil Servants Will Once Again Be Receiving 100% of Their Salaries

Breaking! St Maarten Civil Servants Will Once Again Be Receiving 100% of Their Salaries

THE HAGUE/CARIBEN – Civil servants in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are allowed to earn one hundred percent of their salary again, state secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations, D66) announced. The temporary discount of 12.5 percent was a condition for the corona loans.

Many people lost their jobs due to the corona pandemic, while the islands barely had money to support people. Hundreds of millions in interest-free loans came via the Netherlands, with different conditions. For example, that everyone who receives a salary through the taxpayer must hand in their salary ‘out of solidarity’ (mandatory).

Top incomes must be reduced by 25 percent
. Salaries may be paid out for one hundred percent again in the coming months, on one condition: anyone who earns a top salary through the government must finally surrender. It is a long cherished wish of political The Hague . It means that all politicians and high earners at the various public companies will earn 25 percent less.

Social security levy will not disappear in one go
The discount of 12.5 percent on the salary of the ‘ordinary’ civil servant will not be reversed in one fell swoop. The islands must come up with a plan on how to finance that. Aruba expects that its civil servants will receive another five percent from 1 July and the rest of their wages only in 2023.

Curaçao Prime Minister: ‘Sounds nice, but first black on white’
Curaçao is reacting cautiously to the announcement from The Hague. In an initial response, Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas says that the idea “sounds nice”, but that he wants to see the details. “I first want to see the ‘okay’ of the Reich Council of Ministers in black and white, then I will respond.”

The islands have asked the Netherlands more often to stop with the discount. The abolition of the ‘solidarity levy’ will be officially discussed on Wednesday 25 May during the Kingdom Council of Ministers in The Hague.

Aruban Prime Minister: ‘We succeeded, all confidence in’
Aruban Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes reacts with enthusiasm to the announcement from The Hague. “We succeeded”, responds Wever-Croes. “I don’t expect things to be different in the Kingdom Council of Ministers. I have every confidence in it.”

“But there are three conditions, under which MPs must also surrender. I cannot make a decision on that, that is what Parliament itself is about. I also want to know when parliament will consider the Wever-Croes standard bill.”

Holiday pay for civil servants this year.
On Curaçao, Finance Minister Javier Silvania is also reluctant. He does not want to respond substantively yet, but emphasizes that his cabinet has taken measures for this year to already accommodate the Curaçao officials. This year civil servants will receive 3 percent holiday pay; before the pandemic, it was 6 percent. “That has also been approved in the Curaçao Council of Ministers.”

‘Salary discount caused a lot of frustration on Curaçao’
The Curaçao parliament has long been done with the 12.5 percent discount. Member of Parliament Giselle McWilliam (MAN), former Minister of Economic Development, says he is ‘very happy’ with the promise from The Hague. But she emphasizes that it is ‘very late’. “Officials have worked very hard for the country during the pandemic. And as a thank you, they received less salary.”

“It caused a lot of frustration in Curaçao,” said McWilliam. “In addition, for example, people in nursing in the Netherlands, and also Bonaire, were paid extra. That’s very crooked. So I’m glad this is being straightened out.”

‘Solidarity? Major differences in the Kingdom’
The salary discount was introduced in mid-2020 in response to the corona pandemic as a sign of ‘solidarity’ for the people who have lost their jobs. “That argument about solidarity has really been outdated for some time. Especially because there have been major differences in the Kingdom for some time now.”

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