~Take it or leave it stance from Dutch Government~
PHILIPSBURG:--- St. Maarten’s Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in her address to parliament on Tuesday said that St. Maarten and the other Prime Ministers of the Kingdom namely Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten were left out of the discussions on the conditions that the Kingdom will impose for the requested loan from the Dutch Government.
Jacobs said St. Maarten was not even given the agenda point on the meeting they were asked to attend where the conditions were presented.
The Dutch Government already made available $20M in its first tranche, but the country must inform the Dutch Government by Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 if the conditions presented for the interest-free loan is accepted. Jacobs said from the $53M, $24M will be for immediate budgetary support while $29M goes towards the stimulus payroll support undertaken by the SSRP.
Cuts include 25% on personnel cuts on salaries for Ministers and Members of Parliament and other personnel costs. Civil Servants must accept 12.5% salary cuts across the board. The salaries of directors of government-owned companies also must capped to reflect 130% more than the salary of the Prime Minister. Pension reform also must be concluded by July 1st. The pension age must be increased from 62 to 65, the increase of the AOV age also to 65.
Jacobs said that some of the conditions set forth by the Dutch Government are attainable while several of the conditions are not available for the time frame. The Prime Minister said that legislative requirements will be needed for the implementation of the conditions. Jacobs said St. Maarten was given up to 11 am on Wednesday, May 20th to inform the Dutch Government if their conditions for a loan are accepted.
Jacobs made clear that the conditions set forth by the Dutch Government take away the autonomy from the country since there will be more supervision by the CFT. She said the Dutch Government also informed St. Maarten that other unknown conditions can also be implemented. She said the Dutch Government also informed St. Maarten that an entity will be established to either disburse or supervise, however, no details were given to St. Maarten about the intended entity neither is it clear if St. Maarten will be represented in the entity.
Jacobs also informed Parliament that the conditions set forth by the Dutch Government do not foster stronger relations with the Dutch Government.
Faction leader of the USP MP Claudius Buncamper did not mingle with words when he said that the Dutch Government is not helping St. Maarten but instead, they are abusing the country. MP Buncamper said that St. Maarten made several mistakes over the past 10 years since the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles. He said St. Maarten was not helped by the Dutch since 10/10/10 because the Dutch never ensured St. Maarten got the necessary assistance, so it grows. Buncamper further advised the Government of St. Maarten to stand together when taking a decision on how to move forward he cautioned that when that decision is taken as one.
Faction Leader of the National Alliance reflected on what transpired post-Irma and how the Dutch gave St. Maarten an indecent proposal. This time though Marlin said it is a take it or leave it situation. Marlin said St. Maarten is held by its throat because of the constellation the country is in because St. Maarten cannot borrow money elsewhere. Marlin said based on what he could see is the Dutch Government does not want to see St. Maarten prosperous in the constellation.
Marlin said the message given by the Dutch is clearly wrong. Marlin said St. Maarten is at the mercy of the Dutch because options are not given.