PHILIPSBURG – “I made fiscal discipline a passion during my tenure,” Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr. said on Wednesday during what could have been his last appearance at the Council of Ministers press briefing.
Describing the three stages after Hurricane Irma – relief, recovery and rebuilding – he said that it was necessary to prepare a new 2017 budget, because the current budget is “no longer based on reality.” The minister presented an amended budget to the Council of Ministers that has in the meantime been approved. “It contains additional expenditures; the amount for onderstand (social welfare) has been doubled. It still has to go to the Council of Advice and the Parliament before we can make these expenditures.”
Gibson referred to the letter from Minister Plasterk of October 13 in which he complimented St. Maarten with the way it had bounced back after Hurricane Irma. “Compare this to Puerto Rico, where 70 percent still has no electricity and 50 percent is without water,” he said, adding that St. Maarten “got the worst of the storm, the worst in its history.”
Minister Gibson said that in spite of the way social media have muddied the waters, “there is “no doubt that we have done a fantastic job. I am satisfied that we have done the job that needed to be done.”
Gibson noted that the Parliament adopted a motion in January that prohibited the government from accepting an Integrity Chamber on Dutch conditions. “We tried to negotiate. There is no shine without friction – and that is what we were applying.”
Referring to what he labeled “the buzz about a motion of no confidence,” Minister Gibson said that he is proud to be part of the government. “We stood with pride to balance our budget. But if this motion of no confidence is passed I will immediately submit my resignation as a minister.”
Photo caption: Five ministers were present at Wednesday’s press briefing. From left ministers Emmanuel, Jacobs, Marlin, Boasman and Gibson. Photo Hilbert Haar
Source: StMaartenNews http://stmaartennews.com/finance/minister-gibsonthere-no-doubt-done-fantastic-job/