Minister Plasterk impressed with business plan for new hospital --- offered assistance to St. Maarten if its needed.
PHILIPSBURG:--- Prime Minister William Marlin, host of the visiting Minister of Kingdom Relations and Interior Affairs said that the Minister came to St. Maarten on a working visit, mostly to officially meet with the Council of Ministers. Marlin said that during that meeting it was decided that the Kingdom and St. Maarten will ceased all discussions relating to the establishing of an integrity chamber and the Protocol that was signed. He said discussions will resume after the Constitutional Court renders its decision on the matter since the Ombudsman took the matter before the Constitutional Court.
As for the budget of 2016 he said St. Maarten is one step ahead because the Council of Ministers managed to approve the budget and send it over to Parliament before the January 31st deadline. However, the Kingdom could not comment on the budget since they are still awaiting the advice from the CFT regarding the budget, while Parliament still has to debate and approve the 2016 budget.
Prime Minister Marlin said that there were some discussions relating to justice especially regarding decisions that were taken earlier. He said currently they are in the process of reviewing those decisions while working on a way forward on justice related matters. Marlin said further discussions still has to take place on the support the Kingdom promised St. Maarten and he considered that to be a work in progress. Prime Minister Marlin further stated that St. Maarten’s Minister of Justice raised concerns on the monies that is allocated to St. Maarten and how it will benefit the country.
Minister Plasterk in his statements said he was particularly impressed with the Minister of Health and Labor Emil Lee especially with the business plan he has for the construction of new hospital on St. Maarten. The visiting Minister said that he even offered assistance (help) to St. Maarten if the project is approved by the CFT. Asked what sort of help would the Kingdom provide Minister Plasterk said that if the CFT approve the project then financing it could be provided by the Kingdom and even professionals to work at the new hospital could come from the Kingdom since proper health care is indeed vital. Moreover, he said he made these suggestions because Saba and St. Eustatius could benefit from the hospital on St. Maarten.
The visiting Minister that is responsible for St. Maarten towards the Kingdom said that he was also impressed on the work done by the Minister of TEATT Ingrid Arrindell who is busy working on marking St. Maarten, Saba and Statia as one destination. He said this will indeed attract more visitors to the islands especially since visitors could come to St. Maarten and then travel over to the other two islands. this idea he said will serve as package vacation that will benefit all the islands.
Minister Plasterk said he also visited the St. Maarten Harbor Group of Companies and he was also impressed with the plans the harbor has for the country, and most of all impressed with the statistics on the amount of visitors that comes to St. Maarten. “Based on the statistics I have seen St. Maarten is leading and that is indeed a good thing.
The Minister and his delegation also met the chair and vice chairs of Parliament on Tuesday morning, where he said he had a fruitful meeting.
Asked by SMN News if the Kingdom has another 22M Euros set aside for St. Maarten to strengthen the justice chain, since the 22M Euros allocated to St. Maarten is already designated to sustain the 55 RST detectives that will be coming to St. Maarten. Minister Plasterk said all of that is on hold as they await the decision of the Constitutional Court. Asked if the Kingdom is still hell bent on creating a second CID department within the RST while the law clearly states that there must be one police force and one Chief of Police in every country, as well as one CID department. Minister Plasterk said that the Kingdom has no intention of breaking the country’s laws, but the objective is to get the RST and KPSM to work much closer where both parties could share information. He said the two Ministers of Justice, namely St. Maarten’s Minister of Justice and the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands already have an agreement on this matter and how they intend to move forward