The budget debate resumes on Monday with uncertainty hanging over the fate of two ministers who have been asked to resign by the UD/SMCP coalition. It’s the 2019 version, mind you, still unapproved nearly halfway into the year.
The intention is now to pass it before July 1 so that any direct effect from the content can still apply to both the third and fourth quarters. The Romeo-Marlin Cabinet has warned of dire consequences for failure to do so.
The latter include not getting liquidity support from the Netherlands needed since the devastating passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017 to cover the resulting deficits. There could conceivably be a negative impact on the disbursements from the Dutch-sponsored Recovery Trust Fund managed by the World Bank and even financing for the economically crucial reconstruction of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).
The lack of time to study some recent adjustments to meet requirements of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT was given as the reason a majority of parliamentarians earlier this month refused to handle the latest draft. The result would have been a postponement until the start of July when the legislature is normally in recess, but participation in next week’s Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation IPKO in The Hague was cancelled instead to continue the budgetary debate.
One of the biggest “hot potatoes” that remains on the table is the Dutch government’s demand that the elected representatives in Philipsburg take a 10 per cent pay cut, as the ministers have already done. Both these salaries are the highest within the kingdom.
While they may understandably dislike the idea of such conditions being imposed on them, those voted into office by the people of St. Maarten – certainly under the current circumstances – must simply choose to act in the best general interest and move on.