Published On: Fri, Jul 21st, 2023

Lack of refinancing-agreement could cost St. Maarten millions

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PHILIPSBURG – If the government does not manage to reach an agreement about the refinancing of the corona-loans with the Netherlands before October 10, it could cost St. Maarten’s treasury an additional €18 million ($20.16 million) in annual interest, dossierkoninkrijksrelaties.nl reports. Curacao and Aruba would each be confronted with €54 million ($60.48 million) in additional annual interest costs.

State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations) confirmed after Friday’s meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers that there is still no agreement about the refinancing of the loans. Time is of the essence because such an agreement requires the approval of the Dutch Council of Ministers, the parliament, and the Second Chamber.

Without an agreement the loans will still be refinanced but against the market-interest rate of up to 8 percent. An agreement with the Netherlands could bring the interest burden down to between 2 and 3 percent. The combined corona-loans of the three Caribbean countries amount to €2.1 billion. Van Huffelen said that the fall of the Rutte-government will have no effect on her mandate to make a deal with the Caribbean countries.

If it is up to her, Van Huffelen will also be the state secretary for kingdom relations in the next Dutch government. Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on November 22 and Van Huffelen expects that the new government will take office in April or May of next year.