~ Government working on diversification and phased reopening.~
PHILIPSBURG:--- The Government of St. Maarten has decided that they will not accept the draft law to establish a Caribbean Reform Entity on the overseas countries namely St. Maarten, Curacao, and Aruba.
Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said on Wednesday that prior to accepting the conditions set forth by the Dutch Government the Government of St. Maarten had informed the Dutch that St. Maarten will accept conditions that would trample on the constitution and any laws both locally, Kingdom related or Internationally. Jacobs said the over 200 pages of the draft law is indeed a violation of the Kingdom charter and does trample on the rights of the country since they are not even allowed to discuss or share the contents of the document with the parliament of St. Maarten. Jacobs further explained that she already asked that the discussion on the draft law be postponed since St. Maarten and the other two Caribbean countries need more time to seek legal and other advice on the law.
Asked by SMN News what other plans St. Maarten has in place to secure the much-needed loan to assist employers, the unemployed, and employees through the SSRP. Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion said there is no other plan B other than to get the Dutch Government to postponed and probably re-work the draft law which he said will take time for financial reform.
Irion said that St. Maarten will have to work on reopening its tourism market to the outer world without putting its people at risk. Special emphasis will have to be placed on the marine industry and agriculture for food security.
The country finance Minister said no country in the world was prepared financially for the COVID 19 pandemic and its effects on their economy. However, he agreed that St. Maarten will have to work on its financial reform and planning for hard times like creating a calamity fund. However, Irion said but this will take time. While not divulging the contents of the draft law Irion said that the Dutch Government knows that financial reform will take time because they want 7 severs with the Caribbean Reform Entity. Based on the draft document it is rumored that the members of this entity will be appointed by the Dutch Government and they will have to answer to the Minister of BZK. Irion also said that the document does not even clearly state what the countries are asked to accept while the draft law was not even vetted as yet.