PHILIPSBURG:--- In June of 2023, State Secretary Van Huffelen stated that the Governments of Curacao and St. Maarten would have to find solutions to salvage Ennia. Shortly thereafter, Pro Soualiga kindly requested the State Secretary to provide the Government of St. Maarten with a sound legal basis whereby a government is fiscally responsible for the financial irregularities of an insurance company. How is the Dutch State currently legally offside on three varying fronts in relation to the Ennia ordeal? Firstly, the Dutch State declared to the International Court of Justice in February of 2018 that “the decisions on the political status and the economic, social and cultural development are made by the people itself, or its legitimate representatives, not by others. Moreover, such decisions shall be made in full freedom, without any outside pressure or interference."
Secondly, their own watchdog, the CfT roundly criticized the proposed loans. The State Secretary’s proposal of a 600 million euro loan to rescue Ennia violates its own imposed Financial Supervision Law (RFT), the Cft pointed out. According to the Financial Supervision Law, “the rules in the RFT are designed to protect and maintain the ‘starting equity’ of the countries as realized budget shortages might diminish that equity, and to protect the countries from lending too much on the capital market and build up unsustainable debts like the former Netherlands Antilles did.” In other words, the proposal of a 600 million euro loan to the Governments of Curacao and St. Maarten by the State Secretary is a form of predatory lending. Predatory lending describes “lending practices that are disadvantageous to borrowers and often involve deception by taking unfair advantage of a borrower's lack of understanding about loan terms.” Lastly, the Court of Appeal rendered a verdict in the ENNIA case whereby its former owner was found liable for over $100 million dollars. This essentially means that the Dutch State can now salvage ENNIA themselves and use the court’s ruling to recover the funds unlawfully extracted from Ennia. Bear in mind that in April of 2023, the Dutch State signed mutual agreements with Curacao and St. Maarten with the intended purpose of making the islands more resilient. The question therefore is: how can saddling the islands with unsustainable debt contribute to their financial resilience?