Buncamper: St. Maarten should use crisis to take a new direction

      Buncamper: St. Maarten should  use crisis to take a new direction

US MP Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper.


PHILIPSBURG--The United St. Maarten Party (US Party) wants to see St. Maarten taking a new direction, creating new revenue streams and making good use of the current COVID-19 health crisis to do so.

  US Party Member of Parliament (MP) Claudius “Toontje” Buncamper says the country must “clean up” its government organisation, make people accountable, automate and innovate. “Tax reform should come now and we must avoid copying the Netherlands. What works there does not work here,” Buncamper said.

  He was at the time responding to a question from this newspaper on where the US Party faction stands on the Dutch government’s signal that ministers, MPs and directors of government owned companies should reduce exorbitant salaries and their call for a leaner government on the islands of the Dutch Caribbean as conditions for aid.

  Buncamper said government and Parliament have just – for the first time in history – taken a pay cut.

  “Will that satisfy any and/or everybody? No. The reference to the salaries of the directors of the government owned companies is ironic. If we pay foreign managers or even Dutch European managers to come in to ‘fix’ our companies or monitor investments or reconstruction – most recent example is the Airport – the exorbitant salaries or compensation seems to be acceptable to The Hague but compensating the local managers even half is unreasonable?” Buncamper asked.

  “It all depends on the measuring stick that you use. But it also will not solve the bigger picture. The government’s budgetary commitment is based on 90 to 95 per cent of legal and contractual commitments. This means that the space to make government leaner is limited.

  “The balance five to 10 per cent is the only room we have and that would mean that we can make no improvements. It means our infrastructure will continue to deteriorate because we have been forced to cut into that budget so much that we now have only about [a – Ed.] fraction of what is really necessary to properly maintain it. And I could go on with examples of the continuous efforts of making the budget leaner and the consequence of that exercise,” said Buncamper.

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