The HAGUE/PHILIPSBURG:--- The negotiations between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten about an agreement on a multi-year aid and recovery program under Dutch supervision have progressed to such an extent that signing on December 18 is possible.
But then the government and Parliament of Sint Maarten must give 'The Hague' the confidence in black and white that they will comply with earlier agreements and the conditions attached to new loans. This is evident from the letter that State Secretary Knops (BZK) sent to Prime Minister Jacobs. Read the full text below:
Dear Mrs. Jacobs,
On November 13, the technical talks started about the Netherlands' offer to Sint Maarten for the third tranche of liquidity support, including the associated conditions. The aim is to reach a political agreement during the Reich Council of Ministers (RMR) on December 18.
Yesterday I was informed that Sint Maarten has decided to abandon the Development Policy Operation (DPO), with which agreement has now been reached on all points at the official level and the technical discussions have been concluded. That is a significant step. However, it does not mean that everything is now ready for a political agreement next week. As you know, it is, therefore, necessary to take two important steps first.
You must organize political support in your cabinet and parliament, and you must meet the conditions for the second tranche of liquidity support.
Conditions for the second tranche of liquidity support
On December 8, I received a recommendation from the Board of Financial Supervision Curaçao and Sint Maarten (Cft), which shows that Sint Maarten has not yet fully complied with the conditions of the second tranche.
The Cft concludes that - although you have made progress with the legislative processes in recent weeks - it is uncertain whether parliamentary decisions will take place this year. In addition, not all measures have yet been implemented by Sint Maarten. This means that these measures must be implemented retroactively in the shortest possible term. In the technical discussions, we have already asked the question of what Sint Maarten will do to provide the Netherlands with sufficient confidence in a time that it will actually arrive at the adoption of the legislation and its implementation in the short term. We have not yet received an answer to this. However, the Dutch cabinet needs this confidence in order to be able to sign an agreement on 18 December. That is why I ask you once again to let me know how Sint Maarten intends to implement the measures related to 1) the retroactive reduction of 25% of the total package of terms of employment for Members of Parliament and ministers 2) the retroactive reduction of 12.5% of the total package of employment conditions for employees in the (semi-) public sector and 3) the standardization of top incomes. In doing so, I ask you to pay attention to the way in which Sint Maarten can guarantee the Dutch cabinet that this will be the case will actually take place in the shortest possible term, even after an agreement has already been signed. I would like to receive this explanation tomorrow, Friday 11 December 2020. Political support in our conversation on November 11, I already indicated that an agreement is only possible if there is sufficient political support for this on St. Maarten. Not only in the cabinet, but also in Parliament. I ask you to clarify this in the form of a statement or motion no later than Monday, December 14, so that there is still enough time to submit the documents for an agreement to the RMR if all conditions have been met. This statement or motion should show that there is no longer any inconsistency with the motion of the United People's Party and the National Alliance on (completion of complete) decolonization, which was passed in the States of 5 November last. I emphasize again that a motion or other form of support from the States is a firm requirement for me to reach an agreement. Finally, I do not need to remind you that on December 18, the extended-term for repayment of the expired bullet loan will also expire again. As has already been officially stated, I see no room for further extension without an agreement. You are of course aware of the potential consequences of a technical default for Sint Maarten. I therefore sincerely hope that your cabinet is prepared to take the necessary steps and that together we can continue to do the right things for the people of Sint Maarten. "