SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas of Curaçao was presented with the first copy of the Social Economic Council's (SER) of Curaçao 2020 Annual Report on Monday, October, 4, 2021. The annual report accounts for the SER activities and results in the corona year 2020 and reflects on the need for a rapid transition from crisis management to sustainable recovery policies.
The foreword emphasizes that COVID-19 has increased the contradictions and uncertainties in Curaçao and that, unlike what has been the case so far, it is necessary to focus as a collectivity on the resolution of the structural factors that stand in the way of a balanced and sustainable socio-economic development of the island.
"The ever-growing and exacerbated by the corona crisis poverty gap, job insecurity, declining quality of labor, shortages in social sectors, backlogs in the implementation of public services and declining educational performance are symptomatic of the apparent collective inability and lack of decisiveness and urgency to remove structural institutional, legal and administrative barriers," the preface states.
According to the SER of the leeward island, it is therefore of great importance that "the causes of this are tackled and that substantial investments are made in welfare improvement and welfare growth: in future earning capacity, in security of work and income, in strong public services such as education, care and security, in restoring the confidence of citizens and entrepreneurs in the government, in more equality of opportunity and in a sustainable living environment, now and in the future."
Creative socio-economic program
The SER of Curaçao therefore expects that the coming period will demand much of our adaptability. "Global transitions, such as rapid digitalization, globalization and an aging population will bring about major shifts in employment between sectors and changes in the nature and content of work. To adequately cope with these transitions as a society, an ambitious, multifaceted and creative socio-economic program is needed to strengthen the agility and resilience of our economy and to offer people more security. It is important that promising trajectories, arising from the agreements made in the Kingdom context (the Land package Curaçao), are quickly taken up and implemented."
The SER of Curaçao considers it important, in the light of the above, to invest in necessary adjustments in the context of these major transitions: in training and (lifelong) development, in the organization and building an infrastructure to offer people the possibilities to remain employable in the current job or to guide them to new jobs that offer fair pay, security and control, and in improved social security. "Investments are needed now in our public sectors, in our future earning power through greater innovativeness and higher productivity, in greater inclusiveness through more equal opportunities and fairer sharing, and in a sustainable living environment, now and in the future, in short: in our prosperity."
"In doing so, we as a society must focus on broad prosperity, which involves basic questions that live among the population. Do I live comfortably and safely? What about the future of my children? Will I still be able to pay the bills at the end of the month? Does my study offer the prospect of finding a suitable job? Broad prosperity is about the quality of life and the quality of the living environment and the interaction between the two. It is essentially about three interrelated pillars: productivity, inclusiveness and living environment. These force us to look at economic growth in a different way that also takes serious account of social and environmental challenges."
Based on the ambition to allow everyone to share in that broad prosperity, the SER of Curaçao will focus on three areas in particular in the medium term:
- Investing in broad prosperity, public sector and future earning power
- Labour market, income policy and equal opportunities
- Budgetary policy
The SER: critical and constructive thinker
Starting from cautious hopeful signals that, as far as the acute health problems of COVID-19 are concerned, the worst is behind us, the transition should be made as soon as possible from crisis management to sustainable recovery policy. The SER of Curaçao will support this transition by continuing to think critically and constructively and by continuing to act as a problem solver. As a permanent advisory and consultative body of employers, employees and independent experts, the SER will support all steps towards the labour market of the future that offers people sustainable employment and income security and companies flexibility. The SER of Curaçao will monitor progress intensively in the coming period and, where necessary, formulate additional proposals.