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Kingdom Council of Ministers wants 8 more conditions to remove 12.5% cuts imposed on St. Maarten for Liquidity support.

~ Government will continue to fight for relief.~

silly06012022PHILIPSBURG:--- Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion announced on Wednesday at the Council of Ministers press briefing that the Kingdom government has indicated through the State Secretary that the Kingdom wants to impose 8 more conditions in order to remove the 12.5% cuts that were imposed on St. Maarten in 2020 in exchange for liquidity support.
Jacobs said she already sent a letter to the State Secretary on Tuesday and intends to follow up when the State Secretary visits St. Maarten. The Prime Minister reminded us that the 12.5% cuts were a condition placed on St. Maarten and now the Kingdom wants to add 8 more conditions in order to remove one. She indicated that the discussion in the Kingdom Council has been postponed since there is no agreement on the added conditions.
Jacobs said 3 of the conditions that have been made public are those that St. Maarten proposed in its letter to the State Secretary when asking for the removal of the cuts. Those that were made public are the 25% cuts for the elected and appointed members of government that will remain in effect, that St. Maarten would cover the costs through its annual budget which she said St. Maarten is prepared to do and the legislation for top income earners must be implemented, which she said was done. All of which the Prime Minister is prepared to do or has done.
Jacobs said those conditions that were made public are the ones St. Maarten suggested in order to give its people relief. She explained that the country does have problems with the other 5 conditions that are yet to be made known.
Jacobs further explained that while St. Maarten worked on the legislation for top income earners, they had to meet with Curacao and Aruba to further discuss this legislation and amend it, in order for it to be in line with the other two Caribbean countries of the Kingdom. This legislation was sent to the Council of Advice after which it will be sent to the Governor’s office so that it could be sent to the Parliament of St. Maarten.
The Prime Minister said that if this is a condition before the removal of the cuts, she finds it unfair since there is a trajectory that must be followed. The State Secretary has said that she is in solidarity with the people of St. Maarten with the high cost of living and she herself wants to move towards removing the 12.5% cuts that were imposed. Jacobs said that the BES islands already received a stipend to cope with the high cost of living while St. Maarten and its civil servants have not received anything even though not exempted from the rising costs for food that are affecting all countries globally.
Finance Minister Ardwell Irion said the government of St. Maarten made these 3 proposals to the State Secretary and that they will continue on this path. He said that St. Maarten is not getting any liquidity support for these cuts to be removed. The economy is growing, and he personally does not believe that everyone outside of government should be punished for political reasons. The Minister of Finance said the Dutch Government does not have any other reason to justify maintaining the 12.5% cuts for a longer period. “On top of all this, maintaining the cuts no longer makes financial sense. He said if the cuts are applied to all entities that receive a subsidy from the government, then this will reduce their wage taxes will affect the government’s income.” The meeting has been postponed for another two weeks however, these conditions must change to match the reality of the people of St. Maarten and help them by removing the cuts.

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