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The Netherlands freezes financial support for Sint Maarten.

raymondknops26032021The Hague – The Dutch Council of Ministers has today decided to stop providing liquidity support to Sint Maarten as long as the States do not unequivocally confirm that they support the agreement previously concluded with the Jacobs cabinet. This means that the Netherlands will not transfer the 39 million guilders that the Sint Maarten government needs to meet payment obligations to Philipsburg in the second quarter.

In a letter, which he sent to the House of Representatives this evening, State Secretary Raymond Knops (BZK) gives a detailed explanation of the decision of the State Council of Ministers. The reason is the complaint that a majority of the government factions in the States have filed with the United Nations against the Netherlands. In it, the conditions that the Netherlands imposes on aid to help the island due to the corona crisis are called contrary to human rights and racist.

In response, an outraged Knops demanded written confirmation from both the government and the States by March 18 that they fully support the agreement previously reached. Prime Minister Jacobs has done so, and the Secretary of State received a letter from President Brison six days after the deadline, which he believes leaves too many questions open. That is why the State Council of Ministers, on a proposal from the Secretary of State, decided today to freeze financial support.

This is what State Secretary Knops writes to the Chamber:  

On 10 March 1999, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the protection of I had to learn through the media that a petition has been submitted by the Choharis Law Group 'on behalf of parliament and the people of Sint Maarten' to the Special Rapporteur on Racism and the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent of the United Nations (UN). It is striking that among the MPs who have explicitly expressed their support for this petition are mainly members of the Sint Maarten coalition parties.

The petition targets alleged persistent acts of racial discrimination and alleged human rights violations by the Kingdom of the Netherlands against the inhabitants of Sint Maarten. Specifically, according to the petition, the process surrounding COVID-related liquidity support and the establishment of the COHO is seen as contrary to international human rights and also racist. The petition calls, among other things, for:

(...)

(iii)      terminating the COHO proposal and ensuring that no new Dutch entity or person(s) assumes similar powers,

(iv)      ensuring that the powers proposed in the COHO legislation and other executive and legislative authority remains exclusively with the elected island governments;

As I informed you earlier in response to questions from Mr Bosman (VVD) and Mr Van Raak (SP), I was very surprised to learn of this petition. The content of this petition, as well as the language used in it, cannot be reconciled with the previously expressed support for the national package and the creation of COHO.

As you know, this support was expressed by a large majority of Members of the States at the time and, on request, confirmed in writing by the President of the States on 14 December 2020. With this declaration, it was clear that support existed in the States for the national package and the conditions set for the third tranche of liquidity aid, which was crucial in order to reach the signature of the mutual arrangement on 22 December 2020.

The continued support of the entire government and parliament is still indispensable for the success of the process taken by the Netherlands and Sint Maarten. After all, the measures we agree with the aim of improving the economy and the living environment of Sint Maarten for all its inhabitants can only be implemented if there is sufficient support from parliament, especially when changes in legislation and regulations are needed. And the consideration of the proposal of the COHO National Law also requires consensus on the part of Sint Maarten.

Now that the petition that has been submitted shows that a majority of the States of Sint Maarten, including the coalition parties, are opposed to the proposal of the COHO National Law and the related national package, I adopted on 16 March last. sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten asking the government and the States of Sint Maarten to reaffirm the support for the agreements made in the National Package Sint Maarten mutual arrangement and with regard to the trajectory towards the establishment of the COHO National Law.

The Government, by a letter from the Prime Minister, dated 17 March last, quickly complied with this request and unequivocally confirmed its support for the process. I did not receive a letter from the President of the States until shortly before the State Council of Ministers, on 24 March 2010. Although this letter states that a majority of the political groups in the States still support the national package and the path towards the COHO National Law, the letter does not provide any clarity on how this support relates to the petition submitted, which is also supported by a majority of the States.

For the RMR, this raises questions, because how can there be support for the national package and the route towards the COHO National Law, but also for a petition explicitly calling for the cessation of exactly this route? For this reason, the RMR has decided to ask Sint Maarten once again for clarification on the support of the States for the national package and the process for the creation of the COHO National Law, in relation to the petition submitted and any other ongoing pathways under the motion adopted on 5 November 2004. As long as there is no clarification of the situation and the existence or non-existence of political support for this process, the Netherlands cannot be required to provide further liquidity support.

Liquidity support decision-making The Cft has estimated Sint Maarten's liquidity needs for the second quarter of 2021 at ANG 39 million. However, in view of the current political situation as described above, the RMR has decided not to provide further liquidity support to Sint Maarten at this time. Decisions on liquidity support for the second quarter of 2021 (fifth tranche) may be taken as soon as sufficient clarity has been established as to the position of the States.

 https://dossierkoninkrijksrelaties.nl/

 

Nederland bevriest financiële steun aan Sint Maarten
The Hague – The Dutch Council of Ministers has today decided to stop providing liquidity support to Sint Maarten as long as the States do not unequivocally confirm that they support the agreement previously concluded with the Jacobs cabinet. This means that the Netherlands will not transfer the 39 million guilders that the Sint Maarten government needs to meet payment obligations to Philipsburg in the second quarter.

In a letter, which he sent to the House of Representatives this evening, State Secretary Raymond Knops (BZK) gives a detailed explanation of the decision of the State Council of Ministers. The reason is the complaint that a majority of the government factions in the States have filed with the United Nations against the Netherlands. In it, the conditions that the Netherlands imposes on aid to help the island due to the corona crisis are called contrary to human rights and racist.

In response, an outraged Knops demanded written confirmation from both the government and the States by March 18 that they fully support the agreement previously reached. Prime Minister Jacobs has done so, and the Secretary of State received a letter from President Brison six days after the deadline, which he believes leaves too many questions open. That is why the State Council of Ministers, on a proposal from the Secretary of State, decided today to freeze financial support.

This is what State Secretary Knops writes to the Chamber:

On 10 March 1999, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the protection of I had to learn through the media that a petition has been submitted by the Choharis Law Group 'on behalf of parliament and the people of Sint Maarten' to the Special Rapporteur on Racism and the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent of the United Nations (UN). It is striking that among the MPs who have explicitly expressed their support for this petition are mainly members of the Sint Maarten coalition parties.

The petition targets alleged persistent acts of racial discrimination and alleged human rights violations by the Kingdom of the Netherlands against the inhabitants of Sint Maarten. Specifically, according to the petition, the process surrounding COVID-related liquidity support and the establishment of the COHO is seen as contrary to international human rights and also racist. The petition calls, among other things, for:

(...)

(iii) terminating the COHO proposal and ensuring that no new Dutch entity or person(s) assumes similar powers,

(iv) ensuring that the powers proposed in the COHO legislation and other executive and legislative authority remains exclusively with the elected island governments;

Zoals ik u reeds eerder liet weten in antwoord op vragen van de leden Bosman (VVD) en Van Raak (SP) , heb ik met grote verbazing kennisgenomen van deze petitie. De inhoud van deze petitie, alsook de hierin gebezigde taal, zijn niet te rijmen met de eerder uitgesproken steun voor het landspakket en de oprichting van COHO.

Zoals u weet is die steun destijds door een grote meerderheid van de Statenleden uitgesproken en desgevraagd op 14 december 2020 schriftelijk bevestigd door de voorzitter van de Staten. Met deze verklaring was duidelijk dat draagvlak in de Staten bestond voor het landspakket en de voorwaarden die gesteld zijn aan de derde tranche liquiditeitssteun, wat van cruciaal belang was om te komen tot ondertekening van de onderlinge regeling op 22 december 2020.

Nog steeds is voor het welslagen van het traject dat Nederland en Sint Maarten zijn aangegaan de voortdurende steun van de gehele regering alsmede het parlement onontbeerlijk. Immers, de maatregelen die wij afspraken met het doel om de economie en het leefklimaat van Sint Maarten te verbeteren voor al haar inwoners kunnen alleen maar uitgevoerd worden als daarvoor voldoende steun is van het parlement, met name wanneer wijziging van wet- en regelgeving nodig is. En ook de behandeling van het voorstel van Rijkswet COHO vereist consensus aan de zijde van Sint Maarten.

Nu uit de ingediende petitie naar voren komt dat een meerderheid van de Staten van Sint Maarten, waaronder de coalitiepartijen, zich afkeert van het voorstel van Rijkswet COHO en het daarmee samenhangende landspakket heb ik op 16 maart jl. een brief gestuurd aan de minister-president van Sint Maarten waarin aan de regering en de Staten van Sint Maarten wordt verzocht om herbevestiging van de steun aan de gemaakte afspraken in de onderlinge regeling Landspakket Sint Maarten en met betrekking tot het traject richting totstandkoming van de Rijkswet COHO.

De regering heeft, via een brief van de minister-president d.d. 17 maart jl., al snel aan dit verzoek heeft voldaan en heeft de steun voor het traject ondubbelzinnig bevestigd. Een brief van de voorzitter van de Staten ontving ik pas kort voor de Rijksministerraad, op 24 maart jl.. Hoewel in deze brief wordt verklaard dat er bij een meerderheid van de fracties in de Staten nog steeds steun bestaat voor het landspakket en het traject richting de Rijkswet COHO, biedt de brief geen enkele helderheid over hoe deze steun zich verhoudt tot de ingediende petitie, welke eveneens gesteund wordt door een meerderheid van de Staten.

Voor de RMR is dit aanleiding voor vragen, want hoe kan er steun zijn voor het landspakket en het traject richting de Rijkswet COHO, maar ook voor een petitie waarin nadrukkelijk verzocht wordt om het stopzetten van exact dit traject? Om deze reden heeft de RMR besloten Sint Maarten nogmaals te verzoeken om opheldering inzake de steun van de Staten voor het landspakket en het traject voor totstandkoming van de Rijkswet COHO, in relatie tot de ingediende petitie en eventuele andere lopende trajecten in het kader van de aangenomen motie van 5 november jl.. Zolang opheldering over de ontstane situatie en het al of niet bestaan van politieke steun voor dit traject uitblijft, kan van Nederland niet verlangd worden nadere liquiditeitssteun te verstrekken.

Besluitvorming inzake liquiditeitssteun Het Cft heeft de liquiditeitsbehoefte van Sint Maarten voor het tweede kwartaal 2021 geraamd op ANG 39 miljoen. Gezien de actuele politieke situatie zoals hiervoor beschreven, heeft de RMR echter besloten op dit moment geen nadere liquiditeitssteun te verstrekken aan Sint Maarten. Tot besluitvorming over de liquiditeitssteun voor het tweede kwartaal van 2021 (vijfde tranche) kan worden overgegaan zodra voldoende duidelijkheid is ontstaan omtrent het standpunt van de Staten.

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