Published On: Thu, Apr 28th, 2022

Parliament Curacao wants amendments to draft COHO-law

WILLEMSTAD — “The Parliament of Curacao finds the draft consensus kingdom law COHO in its current form unacceptable,” the website dossierkoninkrijksrelaties.nl reports. But the motion to which the site refers says no such thing. It states that “negotiations must result in a cooperation that guarantees Curacao’s autonomy.”

The parliament approved a motion about the COHO (Caribbean Organization for Reform and Development) on April 26 with 20 votes to one. Only Rennox Calmes (TPK – Trabou pa Kórsou) voted against.

The motion does not reject the establishment of the COHO outright but it lists ten concerns that require “urgent attention.” In that respect, the motion differs in spirit only slightly from a letter Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas sent to State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations) on March 28.

In that letter, Pisas expresses his concern that there is no majority in Parliament for the COHO-law in its present form. A year earlier, shortly after he was installed as prime minister, Pisias assured The Hague that his team stood for continuity of government and that it would continue with negotiations about the COHO-law.

In the March 28-letter Pisas mentioned six areas of concern; they deal with the name (COHO is tarnished due to the debate about autonomy-undermining articles), the place where COHO will be established (The Hague), the authority of the Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations to issue instructions, COHO’s authority to enter into cooperation protocols inside and outside the kingdom, its authority to demand information from government departments and government-owned companies and the Dutch ministers influence on the choice of candidates for the COHO.

The parliament’s motion echo’s two of Pisas’ concerns: about the minister’s instruction authority and about the representation of the countries in the COHO.

The motion contains eight other concerns. The parliament wants a financial commitment from the Netherlands, it wants a strengthening of the COHO’s development-task, and criteria that define when financing or subsidizing can be stopped.

The parliament furthermore wants clarity about the appeal to the crown, the strengthening of the government apparatus, the relationship between financial supervisor Cft and the COHO and the ownership of the countries. Lastly, the parliament points out that support and supervision are both under COHO’s control.

The move by the parliament in Curacao will cause further delays in the establishment of the COHO. The parliament in Curacao wants to formulate amendments to the draft law in consultation with the parliaments of Aruba and St. Maarten.

Whether all these efforts are going to change anything remains to be seen, because the islands depend on the willingness of the Dutch to accept any amendment. And if the islands refuse to accept the COHO, the consequences are clear. In that case they will no longer receive financial support from the Netherlands.


Photo caption: Photo parliament building in Curacao taken from the DossierKoninkrijksrelaties.nl website. Photo by Caribisch Netwerk.