St. Maarten granted 4-week extension on NAf. 50M loan

St. Maarten granted 4-week  extension on NAf. 50M loan

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.

 

 PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten has been granted a four-week extension on a NAf. 50 million loan that was scheduled to mature on Wednesday, November 18.

  Both Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Finance Minister Ardwell Irion alluded to the extension during the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday, which was not broadcast live due to what the Department of Communications DCOMM said were “technical difficulties” beyond its control.

  “Today [Wednesday – Ed.] we heard verbally and we are expecting it in writing, that the loan that was maturing today, will be extended for another four weeks,” Irion said. “That is [more] positive news for St. Maarten.”

  Having an extension on the loan had been one of government’s top priorities for dialogue with the Netherlands.

  Jacobs said on November 11, she managed to secure a virtual meeting with Dutch State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops and the support staff from both sides. “During this meeting, I expressed St. Maarten’s continued willingness to maintain open lines of communication and to re-establish the negotiations on the third tranche for liquidity support. All this in keeping with the fact that we had been approved to continue to have the discussions in the last Kingdom Council of Ministers after a positive advice from the CFT [Committee for Financial Supervision].”

  Discussions to continue the negotiations are also in keeping with the July 8 motion of Parliament, which mandates government and Jacobs to continue to engage in negotiations for liquidity support for the country with the Netherlands. “Of course, due to the prolonged negotiations on the second tranche, we were not able to start our negotiations up until recently. The meeting with the State Secretary marked, essentially, the beginning of the negotiations on the third tranche,” she said.

  Discussions on Friday and Monday were “very amicable and open.” She said parties were able to engage in “healthy discussions” and a lot of information was shared on both sides. “The information provided served to clarify the main aspects that were unclear in the Kingdom Law. These aspects, we [will] be able to share once we have received the final written communication from the Netherlands on the feedback and proposals provided. That is expected today, Wednesday [yesterday] in writing after which our technical teams will then be following up and I will continue to update the people of St. Maarten accordingly.”