Severe delay fund looms, says Knops

Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops.


THE HAGUE–Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops has issued a warning to St. Maarten. The reconstruction will suffer “severe delay” if the St. Maarten Government does not agree with the conditions today, Wednesday.  

  “I want an explicit approval. There is no time to lose,” Knops said Wednesday evening. St. Maarten Prime Minister William Marlin had until November 1 to agree to the Dutch conditions of the Reconstruction Fund. That explicit approval has not come and up to now it is not clear whether Marlin has said yes to the Dutch conditions.

  Knops said that he would “very much lament it” if the establishing of the fund were delayed. He added that this would be the “consequence” if the explicit approval didn’t come today. Knops emphasised that the Netherlands was still very willing to help the people in St. Maarten.

  The State Secretary has called St. Maarten Governor Eugene Holiday to express his concerns about the situation that has evolved. Earlier on Wednesday, Knops had said in an interview with BNR News Radio that he would await the political developments in St. Maarten before progressing on the issue of the Reconstruction Fund.

  The conditions of the Dutch Government, namely the establishing of the St. Maarten Integrity Chamber and the beefing up of the border control with the Royal Dutch Marechaussee (Military Police) and Dutch Customs, remain firmly in place.

  “We didn’t set these conditions for nothing: it is imperative that the money is spent properly. I also conclude that the political situation is a bit unpredictable and that the St. Maarten Parliament is meeting today to discuss the state of affairs,” said Knops.

  The letter that Marlin sent to the State Secretary on Monday, one day before the deadline, was a “step in the right direction,” said Knops. However, the letter wasn’t totally clear on whether Marlin gave his full consent to the Dutch conditions and it also left room for interpretation.

  The State Secretary on Tuesday asked the St. Maarten Government for a more specific answer, which Marlin was unwilling to give, said a spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations on Wednesday.

Source: The Daily Herald