PM: No Dutch takeover of any entity pending | THE DAILY HERALD


POND ISLAND–“There has absolutely been no talk about taking over any of our entities,” said Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin in the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.

Responding to the questions from The Daily Herald on whether she has had indication that the Dutch government was positioning itself to grab control of the country via its vital government-owned companies, she said: “At this time, there has been no indication of such.”

Several companies, including Princess Juliana International Airport, have requested funding via the Dutch government-financed, World Bank-administered St. Maarten Recovery Trust Fund.

The Netherlands has made “a proposal for certain conditions to be implemented” for access to be gained to trust fund financing, said the prime minister. “But are they going to take over? There has absolutely been no talk about taking over any of our entities and I don’t think that is in the best interest of St. Maarten.”

She did not share what are the conditions laid out by the Dutch government.

As for layoffs within government and its companies, there are no plans for such, she said, adding that the focus is on revenue-generating actions and cost-cutting measures.

However, Government will look into relieving so-called “ghost” civil servants of their positions. Those civil servants who collect a salary but do not show up for work may soon be cut from the payroll.

This ghost problem is not as widespread as it was in the early 2000s, but does require attention, said the prime minister.

Source: The Daily Herald