PHILIPSBURG–“Not fruitful” is how Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs views the meeting held on Wednesday with Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops, who she felt was seriously offended that she had taken concerns about the delays in the provision of liquidity support to the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR.
Knops had a series of meetings, including one with Jacobs and Finance Minister Ardwell Irion, during the St. Maarten leg of his visit to the islands.
In response to a question from a Member of Parliament (MP) during a parliamentary meeting on Thursday, on whether anything fruitful had come out of the meeting with Knops, Jacobs responded: “In the planning for the meetings this week, originally there were only meetings with the Justice Minister on the progress committee and their recommendations.
“Afterwards, and also seeing that the state secretary mentioned that he would seek clarity on what government was doing to address corporate governance issues at the airport, I did agree to attend that meeting. Was it fruitful? In my opinion, no.”
She said the meeting had only served to further clarify what was mentioned in a letter from Knops and another letter from her.
She said that while perhaps a bit of clarity was garnered in the discussions, it is clear that Knops had been “highly offended” that she had written to the Kingdom Council of Ministers and made this public.
Jacobs asked Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte on May 6 to intervene and address “unnecessary delays” holding up the provision of the NAf. 39 million fifth tranche of liquidity support for St. Maarten. She wrote the letter given the fact that, at the time, there had been no positive responses, nor had the loan agreement for the support been received (and has still not been received). The letter was sent to the Kingdom Council of Ministers addressed to Rutte.
Knops accused Jacobs of “publishing” her letter to him, but she said she had not done this.
“To the contrary, the letter of the State Secretary was actually in the press before I was able to catch it in my email, so I think that allegation is for the State Secretary himself,” Jacobs said in the legislature.
A press release had been issued on the fact that a letter had been sent to the Kingdom Council of Ministers, she added.
“If that is considered that I published the letter, then that is the purview of the state secretary. He further reiterated that if sufficient steps had been taken, he is bringing it back to the Kingdom Council of Ministers and I reiterated that the Kingdom Council of Ministers had already deliberated on this liquidity support and nothing towards meeting the conditions had changed.
“He differs in his opinion on that and I maintained that the impasse of that is upheld. If the Kingdom Council of Ministers does not inform the state secretary, as we had requested, that he is acting outside of his mandate – he is not mandated to stop the payment, he is actually mandated to make the payment. So, if the state secretary is empowered by the Kingdom Council of Ministers to re-table this agenda point, then that’s what will happen.”
Jacobs maintained that she does not agree that the fifth tranche of liquidity support that was already approved should be put back on the agenda of the RMR to be discussed.
“I even told the State Secretary that if what is being discussed now for the implementation agenda includes that corporate governance at the airport should be at [a particular stage – Ed.] by the next time we require liquidity support, I could be understanding that you are setting a condition for future liquidity support, but for liquidity support that is already approved, I cannot agree with the move that has been made,” she said.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/jacobs-meeting-with-knops-was-not-fruitful