MP Irion questions the lack of availability of the Finance Minister.

PHILIPSBURG:— MP Ardwell Irion, the current Chair of the Committee of Finance, is calling to question the continued lack of availability by the Minister of Finance. MP Irion initially requested multiple meetings as early as April 20 of this year, when the position was held by the then Minister of Finance, Michael Ferrier. The MP has since then requested for the follow up meetings which were postponed by Minister Geerlings in consideration of his adjustment period.

Without the attendance of the Minister, many urgent topics cannot be finalized nor be called to question. On the agenda for deliberation were the 37 budget cuts. However, due to the absence of the Minister prior to the budget debate, nothing could be resolved. There was also need for clarity on how Hurricane Irma affected the Algemeen pensioenfonds, the government pension fund, and their investment strategies going forward. No update was given on the affordable housing project which was supposed to have been fast-tracked in addition to the parking lot that was supposed to start this year. In addition, one of the more sensitive topics to be tabled was regarding the list of demands made by Sonesta MAHO and Governments policy in awarding these.

On Thursday July 26, MP Irion sent yet another request to Minister of Finance Geerlings concerning the recent developments at the Central Bank regarding the progress on the emergency efforts to restructure ENNIA. The M.P. wants clarity on the restructuring measures, what effects these will have on the economy, what future risks it will pose and the plans to mitigate these risks.

“The Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten’s function of supervising, regulating and ensuring financial institutions are safeguarding the interest of stakeholders also comes into question when a matter jeopardizes the livelihood of the people. As a government, it is important to protect our local policyholders and keep them informed.”

It is worrisome when the group owning Mullet Bay, an iconic piece of land, is subject to restructuring and possibly sitting idle while Sint Maarten is taking an economic loss due to lack of development during a phase where we emphasize building back better and becoming more resilient.

Source: St. Martin News Network