Gumbs says decision on ENNIA accord now rests with Parliament

Gumbs says decision on ENNIA  accord now rests with Parliament

From left: Finance Minister Marinka Gumbs, TEATT Minister Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Chairperson of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams and Member of Parliament Viren Kotai.

 PHILIPSBURG--The decision on whether St. Maarten will continue with the present binding agreement on the ENNIA matter inked by the former government or whether the present Finance Minister will be given an opportunity to pursue a “better agreement”, now lies in the hands of Parliament.

Finance Minister Marinka Gumbs made this clear at a Democratic Party (DP) press conference on Monday, hosted by DP leader Chairperson of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams, Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport, and Telecommunication (TEATT) Minister Grisha Heyliger-Marten, DP Member of Parliament (MP) Viren Kotai and Gumbs. The party called the conference to let the public know that the DP is still working and will continue to work leading up to and after the August 19, elections.

At the press conference, Gumbs said she wanted to update on the ENNIA matter and clarify certain points ahead of the continuation of the ENNIA meeting scheduled for July 18.


Minister of Finance Marinka Gumbs (right), with her Curaçao counterpart, Minister Javier Silvania during the latter’s recent courtesy visit.

“Firstly, I want to make it clear that I have never been in a position to negotiate any new deal regarding this issue. The agreement in question was signed by the previous Minister of Finance, Mr. Ardwell Irion and former Prime Minister Ms. Silveria Jacobs. The agreement signed by them is legally binding and they have committed both themselves and the government to the implementation of the current solution,” Gumbs explained.

“It is interesting to note that the former minister is now asking if I have a better solution. However, I was never given the opportunity to seek an alternative. My role has been limited to understanding the solution that was signed by them. Based on my assessment, I do not believe this is the best solution for St. Maarten. The decision now rests with Parliament. It is up to the members to determine whether they wish to continue with the agreement as signed. Without Parliament's approval, the agreement will not be binding,” she said.

When asked to clarify whether her statement means that she will no longer pursue a better solution, Gumbs further explained: “I am not saying that I will not pursue a better solution. I am saying that at the present moment, the decision lies with Parliament. Parliament needs to take a vote on this already binding solution. Once Parliament says – well if they are for it, then there is no need for me to try to go further to find a solution, if Parliament says, no, we are against it, then I can start the pursuit because again, this is my opinion that there is a better [solution – Ed.]. I can’t in good conscience believe that the agreement that is on the table right now is the best solution for St. Maarten. I do not believe that we exhausted all possibilities. So, the first step is for Parliament to make their decision by a vote, once they do so then I would definitely step in to do what I believe to be [in] the best interest of St. Maarten.”

Asked what her better solution is, the minister said this will be determined once she has received all the facts on the matter. “I believe that I wasn’t given all the options. Immediately after my day in Parliament, what took place was I got various calls from ENNIA representatives, from the Netherlands, in and of itself, trying to find out what we can do. It’s so funny that those calls came in immediately after that day in Parliament because I’ve had several meetings prior to that asking for the necessary information – asking who are these 3,084 policy holders from St. Maarten and I understand that information like their names cannot be given and I did not ask for names, but dates of birth, which entities were they representing – paying into… and that information wasn’t given to me. So, before I can go ahead and start the pursuit of finding a better solution, I needed information and now it seems as if that information is readily coming to me. Once I get that information, we will be in pursuit again after hearing from Parliament on July 18, on their decision, I will then be in pursuit of finding a better solution for the people of St. Maarten,” Gumbs made clear.

The Daily Herald

Copyright © 2020 All copyrights on articles and/or content of The Caribbean Herald N.V. dba The Daily Herald are reserved.

Without permission of The Daily Herald no copyrighted content may be used by anyone.

Comodo SSL

Hosted by

© 2024 The Daily Herald. All Rights Reserved.