Budget arrived too late in The Hague

THE HAGUE–Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops is content to have an approved 2018 budget for St. Maarten, but unfortunately the document arrived in The Hague too late to have it discussed in Wednesday’s Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting.

“The 2018 budget should have been on the agenda of today’s [Wednesday’s – Ed.] Kingdom Council of Ministers. We received the budget in the course of the night, later than we had been promised,” Knops told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting of the Kingdom Government.

The Daily Herald asked him whether he was satisfied that St. Maarten’s 2018 budget had been adopted before Tuesday’s midnight deadline, thereby avoiding an instruction of the Kingdom Government. Knops said he was content with the approval by the St. Maarten Parliament, but he noted that it was a little too late.

“I have much comprehension for the situation that St. Maarten finds itself in after Hurricane Irma, but two weeks ago the Finance Minister informed us that it would all work out. Still, that deadline was not met,” Knops said.

Due to the six-hour time difference, the document arrived in The Hague in the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, too late to be discussed in the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday morning, also because the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT needs to look at the budget before it goes to the Kingdom Government.

Knops said he had brought the matter to the attention of the St. Maarten Government. “I have informed them that it is important to stick to agreements.” The 2018 budget, which shows a deficit of NAf. 197 million, will be analysed by the CFT and then go to the Kingdom Government for handling.

“The financial situation of the Dutch Caribbean countries is already not very good, and the circumstances in St. Maarten are even worse in St. Maarten due to the financial constraints as a result of the hurricane. St. Maarten is facing a gigantic challenge. That is why the Dutch Government had allotted funds to help St. Maarten,” he said.

According to Knops, the urgency to tackle the financial problems is a bit higher in St. Maarten. “But I also believe in opportunities and I want to work on that with the St. Maarten Government. Therefore, I am content that the St. Maarten Parliament has given its consent to the budget.”

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/76467-budget-arrived-too-late-in-the-hague