Most descriptions agree that the set of preverbal markers includes lo, ta, a, and tabata, but there is no agreement on their interpretation. Nonetheless, it seems safe to say that Papiamentu does not have a purely temporal system, in that at least one marker, tabata, is clearly a tense-aspect marker: It combines tense reference (past or anterior) with an aspect interpretation (imperfective) (Goilo 1953, Muller 1989, Andersen 1990, Birmingham 1970, Kouwenberg 2007)-although it may be more accurate to say that it marks non-perfective past rather than a true imperfective.
Most authors characterize a as marking a (tense-neutral) perfective. In contrast, Maurer (1988a) characterizes a, like tabata, as [+anterior], distinguished from tabata as perfective, and suggesting that these forms should be constrained to similar tense reference.
The more peripherally placed marker lo has been described as a future tense marker (Birmingham 1970), a posterior tense marker (Maurer 1988a), an Irrealis Mood marker (Kouwenberg 2007), and a Finite Mood marker (Kouwenberg & Lefebvre 2007).
Even more controversial is the interpretation of preverbal ta (see Feature 46 "Tightness of link between progressive marker and verb").
Source: Kouwenberg and Lefebvre 2007: 27
Source: Muller 1989: 229-230