Published On: Sat, Jan 14th, 2023

COHO off the table but country packages remain

Share This

PHILIPSBURG — The draft consensus kingdom law COHO (Caribbean Organization for Reform and Development) is definitely off the table, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs announced in a press release after the conclusion of a four-country consultation between the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten. The country packages containing drastic reform measures remains however in place. St. Maarten signed on to the country packages in December 2020.

The four-country consultation was a two-day event that took place in Philipsburg. Present were, apart from Prime Minister Jacobs, State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalization Alexandra van Huffelen, and the prime ministers of Curacao and Aruba, Gilmar Pisas and Evelyn Wever-Kroes.

According to the prime minister’s press release, the positions of the four countries were shared “in a transparent and open atmosphere.” The release reaffirms “the importance of the reforms laid down in the country packages.”

The four countries have reached the outline of an agreement for a mutual regulation that will replace the COHO. The agreement aims to regulate the working method, the manner of reporting, the support by the Netherlands and the duration of the regulation.

The countries expect to sign a final mutual regulation by the beginning of March. In the meantime, consultations will begin about the loans the Netherlands provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. These loans will become due on October 10.

The countries also spent time on discussing the dispute regulation but there is no noticeable progress. The countries are waiting for the positions of the respective Caribbean parliaments and the Dutch Second Chamber.

A Kingdom conference will be organized to discuss the dispute regulation, the democratic deficit in the kingdom and other topics. The press release does not address the wishes of politicians to address decolonization as well.