Curacao demonstrators protest at reform deal

20th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Protestors claim the new debt restructuring agreement will allow the Netherlands to have too much influence of the island’s financial affairs.

WILLEMSTAD – Around 1,000 people on the island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles are protesting against the terms of a political reform agreement concluded with the Netherlands.

The agreement, if approved, will see Netherlands restructure most of Curacao’s debts amounting to EUR 1.7 billion.

The protesters on Curacao, carrying banners bearing slogans such as 'Curacao is not for sale!', say the autonomy agreement gives the Netherlands too much say in the island's financial affairs in exchange for debt restructuring.

A referendum on the agreement is scheduled for 15 May.

Under the current political reform process, the Netherlands Antilles in its present form will cease to exist. The islands of Saba, St Eustatius and Bonaire will become 'special municipalities' of the Netherlands; St Maarten and Curacao will acquire autonomous status.

While it is unclear what will happen if the agreement is rejected, Netherlands Antilles Prime Minister Emily de Jongh-Elhage has threatened to resign in case of a no-vote. The Netherlands may also withdraw its offer to restructure Curacao's debts, leaving the island in a financial crisis.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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