Top Dutch official received more than 40,000 euros for eighteen days’ work in Curaçao
WILLEMSTAD, THE HAGUE - The representative of the Netherlands in Curaçao received a net foreign reimbursement of tens of thousands of euros last year, while he only spent eighteen days on the island. Although this is contrary to the guidelines, the highest official at the ministry gave permission for the arrangement. This is evident from answers from the ministry to questions from the Dutch media NOS. It concerns Henk Brons, who was representative of the Netherlands on Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten between 1 January 2015 and 1 July 2018.
He is currently Director-General Kingdom Relations at the Ministry of the Interior.
Civil servants who settle abroad on behalf of the Netherlands are entitled to an expense allowance because they often incur additional costs. For example, life on the spot can be more expensive and civil servants sometimes have double housing costs.
Bronze received the remuneration starting in 2015, when he moved to Curaçao to represent the Netherlands there. The situation changed when he got a second job in September last year. He also became acting director Kingdom Relations at the ministry in The Hague and moved back to the Netherlands. The Secretary-General at the Ministry agreed that he retained his foreign compensation.
For more than nine months he continued to combine the functions in The Hague and on Curaçao. In that period he was only eighteen days as a representative on the island and he received a net allowance of around 4500 euros per month. In total he received 41,745 euros in this period. It has been converted into an expense allowance of 2319 per day when he was in Curaçao. He also spent 26 days on Sint Maarten and Aruba, but he was allowed to declare these visits as business travel.
In order to claim the reimbursement, you must live abroad and you may not stay anywhere else for longer than 60 consecutive days. "In reasonableness" the Minister can determine that exceptions to the rule are made if the regulation fails in a particular situation.
The 41,000 euros comes on top of his salary (in 2017 that was 181,000 euros) and is untaxed. That means that Bronze does not have to pay taxes. Of this amount, he also did not have to pay rent, gas, water and electricity for his official residence in Curaçao: the total compensation is even higher, but his housing costs have already been deducted by the ministry.
The amount was not only for Brons himself, but also for his wife who initially moved to the island. When she returned to the Netherlands with him, that part of the amount was not adjusted by the ministry. It was also agreed that, on top of the standard arrangement, the couple would receive four business class return flights.
For 7,000 euros his wife flew twice to Curaçao. According to the ministry to prepare the final move and to attend the farewell of her husband.