Sarah: “The fall of the Marlin cabinet justified by the horrific financial and economic outlook of St. Maarten.”

p>That the financial state of the country is worrisome is a no-brainer. But we all should be alarmed.
This dismal picture is all the more clear with the presentation of the amendments to the 2017 budget by the Minister of Finance. These amendments have been in the make for some time, but the format had to be changed from one that amended a proposed pre-hurricane Irma amendment, to one that amended the approved budget 2017. At least, this is what government says.
However, Government’s tardiness with the 2017 budget amendment has more to do with government’s reluctance to concede
that while they engaged in a shouting match of “over my dead body”, the country financially was bleeding to death. What a sick game to play!
The financial reality we see today and the Marlin government’s lack of urgency and willingness to deal with the Dutch government is now haunting us big time. Caretaker status or not, resignation or not, government must accept this responsibility and failure.

It is exactly the prospect of this financial nightmare, that precipitated the fall of the Marlin cabinet, as it was clear that Marlin was on a collision course with the Dutch government over the funds to be made available to St. Maarten.

Now again we are put between a rock and a hard place. Do we sanction the illegal actions of the government by passing the amended budget and hopefully (still) open up the liquidity support 2017 or do we hold the government and individual ministers accountable for their actions? Or do we do both?

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The Marlin-government ministers – with a caretaker status- now admit that the conditions imposed by the Dutch government, were necessary to secure our only viable financial lifeline, yet they delayed this for months and now present Parliament with a fait accompli.
Not one of them has or ever had a plan B, yet they ridiculed anyone who stood up against their “crusade” which was aimed against Dutch aid. Today the same fist the opponents of Dutch aid raised in protest, has opened up to accept this very aid.
The Marlin government should be held accountable for bringing the country to the brink of a financial abyss.
Ministers, members of Parliament, politicians and all those who supported this course of action, should admit their failure and move on.
No wonder, it was difficult to present the 2017 budget amendments. And to add insult to injury, there is an apparent breakdown in communication with the CFT, which is ill-advised and counter productive.
The caretaker ministers MUST admit they had to reverse their stance, but the time they took to do so, cost our country dearly.

Sarah Wescot-Williams (DP)

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