Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs
~ Knops arrives for working visit ~
PHILIPSBURG--Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs on Wednesday dismissed talk that there will be “a Dutch takeover” of the country, noting that she wanted to nip these “crazy rumours” in the bud.
She said Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, who arrived in the country late Wednesday for a working visit, is not accompanied by a delegation of 20, 30 or 40 persons.
“There will be four persons accompanying him and two will remain after he leaves with his other two, to continue the discussions with our delegation,” she said during the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. St. Maarten will play “a serious role” and Jacobs urged everyone involved in the talks, including those who will be hired, to ensure that the country’s voice is heard.
While in St. Maarten, Knops will be attending a series of meetings with Governor Eugene Holiday, Jacobs, Finance Minister Ardwell Irion and other relevant ministers and organisations related to the reconstruction projects and programmes currently underway.
When Knops departs, a small delegation of two persons will remain in the country for a few days to continue meetings here. They will meet with representatives of the St. Maarten temporary work organisations set up to start the discussions on meeting the conditions for the third tranche of liquidity support.
Knops will also meet with the Dutch representation in St. Maarten and government’s Secretaries-General platform. The Secretaries-General platform was approved on Tuesday in the Council of Ministers meeting. It was created to execute the plan of approach for the country packages and structural reforms.
Jacobs issued a call on each ministry, their ministers and secretaries-general (SGs) to put their “best foot forward,” for St. Maarten to realise all of the plans that are in the works.
“The government of St. Maarten, and by extension civil servants, SGs, department heads and ministers will play a large role in meeting these conditions in ensuring that the programmes and projects have the interest of St. Maarten first and foremost and have our input from the beginning,” she made clear.
“So, I encourage each and every one involved in the process to keep your minds open. Ensure that St. Maarten’s voice is heard in these discussions and that the timelines we set are realistic and achievable and are smart in total. So, I look forward to the discussions moving forward and that we can get the most out of these reforms, programmes and projects.”