Prime Ministers of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten meet

The three government leaders.

WILLEMSTAD–Curaçao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath welcomed his counterparts Leona Romeo-Marlin of St. Maarten and Evelyn Wever-Croes of Aruba in Willemstad for high-level discussions on several topics of interest.

The current Rhuggenaath Cabinet’s vision is to strengthen, more than ever, the ties that already exist between the autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This includes a new era of collaboration in various areas, matters of joint importance like integrity, human resources in the government apparatus and legislation, but also sustainable social-economic development and healthcare.

In all three cases a topic of priority is the policy on integrity, which is essential for combating illegal practices and the negative impact these have on them. St. Maarten is in the process of establishing a so-called Integrity Chamber, while Curaçao is in a well-advanced phase with its own integrity bureau that will be in charge of awareness, investigation and sanctions against illegal practices in the public sector.

Together with Aruba, which also initiated an integrity trajectory, they will continue investigating the possibilities to share knowledge, resources and ways to collaborate on an integrity policy for each island.

Rhuggenaath and Romeo-Marlin also discussed how they can collaborate to stimulate development. The Government of St. Maarten is working on reconstruction after Hurricane Irma left a disaster behind.

The two government leaders spoke about a disaster policy among all the Dutch Caribbean territories, so they can be on the same line of communication and better support one another during and after a calamity.

Risk and Calamity Management Director Lesley Fer gave a presentation on possible ways the islands can improve their cooperation. They agreed to an exchange between calamity entities in Curaçao and St. Maarten.

Romeo-Marlin spoke with Curaçao Finance Minister Kenneth Gijsbertha on his financial policies and with Minister of Health, Environment and Nature Suzanne Camelia-Römer.

   The prime ministers of Curaçao and Aruba spoke about relations with neighbouring Venezuela which has a major impact on the economy of both islands. They are trying on their own as well as together to get the border closure imposed by the government in Caracas lifted.

Rhuggenaath and Wever-Croes are in constant deliberation on this issue and will continue to keep each other abreast by exchanging information on the latest developments.

The three prime ministers agreed they would continue talking about a more formal mechanism to work together on a regular basis. They will stay in contact about the topics discussed during their meeting and will monitor the progress of agreements made.

Source: The Daily Herald