PHILIPSBURG: --- Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said on Wednesday that St. Maarten still did not receive the NAF39M liquidity support from the Netherlands neither the loan agreement even though St. Maarten has fully complied with all conditions set forth by the Dutch Government, said liquidity support since April 2021.
The country’s Prime Minister further stated that the goalposts are being moved for different reasons that have nothing to do with the conditions and agreements made between the government of St. Maarten and the Netherlands. She said in March the goalposts were moved due to the COHO law and Parliament’s stance on the matter, that issue she said is now off the table, but the latest issues raised in the State Secretary’s letter regarding issues at Princess Juliana International Airport has surfaced.
Jacobs said the issues raised by the State Secretary are still very much unclear to her government because the issues raised has nothing to do with liquidity support.
Jacobs said that while the NAF39M has been agreed upon and she has since responded to the letter sent by State Secretary Raymond Knops, the Dutch government is yet to live up to its end of the agreements. She said the issues at the Princess Juliana International Airport both Holding and Operating Companies have nothing to do with the agreements made with the Dutch Government for liquidity support.
Asked if St. Maarten has a plan B to secure finances the Prime Minister said there is currently no plan B in place. In response to the question as to whether, civil servants will be paid their salaries at the end of this month the Prime Minister assured that salaries will be paid, but the SSRP and unemployment support will be grossly affected. Jacobs further stated that creditors and other financial obligations that the government of St. Maarten has will not be met unless the liquidity support is released.
PJIAE Management Board and Supervisory Boards will be held accountable.
The agreement with the reconstruction of PJIAE Jacobs said falls within the NRPB and the Trust Fund, all agreements she said are between St. Maarten, PJIAH/PJIAE, The Royal Schiphol Group, and the World Bank. Jacobs said it's quite disconcerting that PJIAE/ PJIAH are being liquidity support. Jacobs said that St. Maarten will be meeting with the Technical Group from the Netherlands and it is her hope that St. Maarten could get the impasse resolved.
Jacobs said that while the State Secretary has linked this Corporate Governance of PJIAE and PJIAH to liquidity support she made clear that within the implementation agenda there is a part that deals with Corporate Governance which St. Maarten is working on. She said studies have been conducted and the Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers is busy setting up an implementation team. Despite this, she said the issues at PJIAH and PJIAE have no bearing on the liquidity support.
Jacobs said it was brought to the attention of the government that there are issues regarding corporate governance at the airport and the government is busy with its due diligence to deal with the matter. She called on the general public to respect the procedures that are being followed since the matter is not about anyone person but instead, it is about government achieving its goal in completing the project which is a high priority.
As for the staff of PJIAE, the Prime Minister said their concerns have reached their ears and that the operating company both management and supervisory will be held accountable to ensure that proper steps are taken to involve the employees to ensure that the culture becomes a more positive one.
SCHIPOL Agreement should be extended until 2023.
In response to a question regarding the agreement with The Royal Schiphol Group that will come to an end in August 2021, Jacobs said that based on the agreement in place The Royal Schiphol Group, PJIAE/PJIAH, and the Dutch Government, then the agreement must be extended until the project is completed which she is projected by 2023. Jacobs said the Holding Board raised concerns on the changes that The Royal Schiphol Group wants however negotiations are still ongoing.