PHILIPSBURG--Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said on Friday that she is concerned about the “new entity” that is to monitor St. Maarten’s use of liquidity support funds from the Netherlands.
In its proposal on May 12, the Dutch government put forward a monitoring organisation as one of the conditions for the Dutch Caribbean countries to receive liquidity support. However, details about the organisation were not yet available.
Jacobs said this entity was the main agenda point to be discussed in a meeting with the Netherlands, Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten on Thursday.
“Documentation for said entity, however, remains pending,” she said. “Since the conditions were accepted … information on this new entity has, to date, not been forthcoming, despite the numerous consultations with the Netherlands.”
According to Jacobs, Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops said on Thursday that the new entity will “take the form of a democratically regulated, Dutch independent governmental organisation.”
“According to the statements made by State Secretary Knops and his support staff, the entity will be geared towards financial supervision of the liquidity support, monitoring the agreements per country, and will be result-driven.
“It will be based upon Article 38, paragraph two, of the Kingdom Charter, which will require a change in kingdom law by consensus. However, the structure of the entity remains unclear, as the legislative basis is still being finalised, according to State Secretary Knops,” she said.
Jacobs said the governments of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten “have only received assurances that documentation related to the entity would possibly be sent to the islands by Monday, June 29.” This is “a mere four days before the Kingdom Council of Ministers is expected to deliberate on it on July 3.”
She said she is concerned about the effect the entity will have on St. Maarten’s autonomy. She also questions the country’s input in how the entity will be comprised and on its expected timeline for implementation.
According to Jacobs, government sent a letter to Knops on Monday, June 15, that queried the entity’s composition, as well as its necessity and intent.
“The deadline is fast approaching without clarity. St. Maarten’s letter also reiterated that entities were already executing our salary support programme [Social and Health Insurances SZV – Ed.] as well as unemployment support [St. Maarten Development Fund] with the necessary audit via SOAB [St. Maarten Government Accountant Bureau] and other independent auditors. The balance of the funds would be going to assist government’s budget to carry its own responsibilities,” she said.
Even if documentation is received by Monday, it will leave “little or no time for proper consultation at the local level with Parliament, the Council of Advice, and the Ombudsman, among others, prior to the expected July 3 deadline,” said Jacobs.
She said this is the reason she requested an urgent meeting of Parliament on Monday, June 29, to discuss the entity. This will “allow the highest legislative body of the country to give input on … these conditions and, specifically, the entity, as proposed by the Netherlands,” said Jacobs.