Irion says country running on month-to-month basis

Irion says country running  on month-to-month basis

Finance Minister Ardwell Irion.

PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten is currently being run on a month-to-month basis with the absence of the much-needed liquidity support from the Netherlands, which has been put on hold based on issues at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). 

  Finance Minister Ardwell Irion painted the grim reality facing the country during the live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. He was responding to a question at the time. Irion said government will attempt to pay salaries this month, and indicated that an uptick in government’s revenues is expected, based on the recent start of homeporting and increase in passenger numbers.

  “The harsh reality at the moment is that St. Maarten is in need of urgent liquidity support, and at this point in time we are looking to at least try and pay the salaries at the end of this month,” he said.

  “We are basically now on a month-to-month basis. When it comes to taxes, we do see a slight increase or we expect to see a slight increase with the current economic activity of the homeporting.

  “And I believe in a meeting we had with TEATT [Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication – Ed.], the other day, we had about 4,000 incoming passengers in one day, so we are expecting to see a slight increase in our income, and we are basically month-to-month but we will be covering the salaries of this month.”

  In the absence of a Constitutional Court decision regarding the three national ordinances on cuts to the employment benefits of all semi-public sector workers that the Ombudsman submitted to the Constitutional Court for review, government will continue to maintain the 12.5 per cent cuts.

  “We have agreed to the temporary 12.5 per cent reduction of employment packages that was based on the conditions by the Netherlands for us to be able to receive liquidity support within the last year,” Irion said.

  “For now, the legal process is not finalised, as the Constitutional Court will be assessing the conditions and if they are compatible with our Constitution. We don’t have a timeline as to when this will be done as yet, so for now we will have patience and continue to await the outcome of the [deliberations of the – Ed.] Constitutional Court, while applying and living up to the agreement that we made.”