Claire Elshot and Raymond Jessurun of the St. Maarten Consumers Coalition.
PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Consumers Coalition voiced their concerns with the new National Alliance (NA)-United People’s Party (UP) coalition and their priority where it involves the eradication of poverty.
The coalition said in their weekly press conference on Thursday, neither UP nor NA signed the eradication of poverty declaration. “In a letter to the Anti-Poverty Platform last year February, USP [US Party – Ed.] committed to address the eradication of poverty. However, with USP left out of a governing coalition, what will be the commitment to poverty eradication by the NA-UP coalition?” the St. Maarten Consumers coalition asked.
The Consumers Coalition said UP had pledged to sign the declaration of eradication of poverty in its recent manifesto. “They did not sign before the election. When they will sign is still to be seen. Will the UP negotiate the eradication of poverty in the governing programme?” the Coalition asked.
It said the former UD-SMCP coalition government had included the eradication of poverty in their governing programme. “Will UP negotiate with NA to prioritise the eradication of poverty in this new governing accord? Will NA agree to support policies to eradicate the poverty?” the Consumers Coalition questioned.
“The presentation and handling of the upcoming 2020 budget will be the proof of the pudding. The 2019 budget was a skeleton budget. There was no meat in the budget for the poor and the needy! What is the meat that the NA-UP coalition will bring in the 2020 budget for the more than 13,000 poor and needy households? Will the NA-UP governing coalition eradicate the poverty?
“As Anti-Poverty Platform we will request a meeting with the formateur Silveria Jacobs and with all the MPs of the political parties represented in Parliament to share our concerns and suggestions for the meat in the 2020 budget,” the Coalition concluded.