Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs
PHILIPSBURG-- St. Maarten tabled its case for liquidity support from the Netherlands for 2019 and the remainder for 2018, during meetings in the Netherlands this week.
"We are here to make connections aimed at improving the working relationship within the Dutch Kingdom based upon mutual respect and understanding in the best interest of the people of St. Maarten," Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, who is in the Netherlands with Finance Minister Ardwell Irion and a delegation, said in a statement early Friday morning.
Meetings were held on a technical level with technical representatives from the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations BZK. Additionally, the St. Maarten delegation met with Minister of Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops. In-depth discussions were held between both parties pertaining to the 2018 and 2019 liquidity support. More specifically, St. Maarten’s position regarding the conditionality of pension reform, to acquire liquidity support for 2019 and the remainder of liquidity support for 2018, was shared.
“We’ve shared with Minister Knops, that we find it very unreasonable that pension reform is a condition for liquidity support as this topic is an extremely sensitive topic all over the world. Additionally, it is also clear that the people of St. Maarten, including the unions and the members of parliament still have great concerns where the draft pension reform law is concerned," Jacobs said.
During both meetings, Irion informed Knops and the technical representatives of BZK concerning the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT advices which were also discussed which supports St. Maarten’s need for the promised liquidity support for 2018 and 2019.
The St. Maarten delegation also met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok, to discuss research related to visum policies in the Caribbean. They also met with Dutch Caribbean counterparts in that context in preparation for this discussion in the Kingdom Council of Ministers.
Additionally, the St. Maarten delegation paid a courtesy visit to the representative of St. Maarten in the Council of State Maria van der Sluijs-Plantz and her support staff.
Courtesy visits were also paid to the Vice-President of the Council of State Thom de Graaf, Chairman of the Second Chamber Jan Anthonie Bruijn, as well as the Chairman of the Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Jan Paternotte. During these visits, the delegation touched on the dispute regulation for St. Maarten.
In these meetings, Jacobs stressed the importance of communication, representation and input from St. Maarten in decisions related to the island. “Ways in which these may be improved is also being highlighted. The delegation is working towards making sure St. Maarten’s voice is heard in the plenary sessions of the First Chamber as it pertains to the discussions on the dispute regulation,” said Jacobs.
The Prime Minister represented St. Maarten in the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting on Friday together with Minister Plenipotentiary Rene Violenus on the agenda point of the agreed upon 2018 and 2019 liquidity support for St. Maarten. The Ministers concluded their trip in the evening meeting with some of St. Maarten’s students and other St. Maarteners at a reception organised by the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary in The Hague.
Jacobs looks forward to more positive meetings in culmination of this week in the Netherlands.