PHILIPSBURG:— Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr made clear during the budget hearing on Tuesday that Parliament should hire a legal translator to translate the budget and other documents for Members of Parliament. He said government paid for the translation of the 2016 budget and this year the request to translate the 2017 budget was submitted late and the translation is in the process. However, he said that government has to prepare the budget in a language that the CFT and the other councils fully understands and as such government should not have to pay for the translation of the budget for parliament.
The Finance Minister went as far as explaining how long it took for the Court system to mandate that judgment be handed down in Dutch and English. The Minister of Finance said some years ago two of the sitting judges could not read Dutch yet the verdicts were pronounced in Dutch he said it took the former Netherlands Antilles three years before a decision could be taken where the verdicts had to be in both languages. He further explained as a citizen of the country he took it upon himself to translate the civil code for the people of St. Maarten and back then he advised that the other laws are translated but to date it has not been done.
On Monday, during the budget hearing MP Frans Richardson requested that the budget is done in both languages since most people on St. Maarten speaks only English including some MP’s.
COLA budgeted at 0, a blatant insult to civil servants.
The finance Minister also explained that all Ministries have budgeted zero for COLA payments because it was a recommendation from the CFT, citing that St. Maarten can no longer afford such payments. He said it is indeed a blatant insult to civil servants since prices will increase while salaries will not be.
Minister Gibson said most countries have stepped away from the COLA system, however, he did say that some unions are trying to renegotiate something that will assist civil servants financially.