Published On: Thu, May 17th, 2018

St. Maarten and Curaçao still owe for Coast Guard

Coast GuardTHE HAGUE - Curaçao and St. Maarten still have to pay their 2017 contribution to the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. The Dutch government has sent the countries a reminder that payment is overdue.

Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops referred to the unpaid invoices in the 2017 Annual Account of Kingdom Relations which was sent to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday.

Curaçao has to pay 3.8 million euros and St. Maarten 950,000 euros for 2017. This is respectively 16 and 4 per cent of the Coast Guard budget. The Netherlands pays the largest amount: 16.4 million euros or 69 per cent, excluding the cost incurred by Defence in carrying out Coast Guard tasks.

According to Knops, the St. Maarten government is appealing to its problematic financial situation in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, while in Curaçao the payment request was not completed for administrative reasons.

The Dutch government’s support in St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba after Hurricanes Irma and Maria had a big influence on last year’s Kingdom Relations budget. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK contributed 28 million euros to emergency assistance, including the additional expenses of the Dutch Representation in Philipsburg VNP.

Other Dutch ministries, including Defence, Justice and Security, Education and Public Health contributed nearly 15 million euros to the massive emergency assistance operation in the Windward Islands. Especially Defence contributed a lot. The Ministry of Justice made manpower available, while Public Health provided medication and the Education Ministry sent educational material to the islands.

The assistance provided after the hurricanes led to a 6.5-million-euro increase in expenditures by the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard, which was largely paid by the Netherlands. The Coast Guard also spent more on combating (drug) smuggling and illegal immigration.

The largest expenditures on the 2017 Kingdom Relations budget, 187 million euros, related to debt restructuring after dismantling the country the Netherlands Antilles. Two new loans were provided in 2017: St. Maarten borrowed 10 million euros for the prison and the Tax Office, and Curaçao took a loan of nearly 30 million euros for infrastructure, the Tax Office, school buildings and the new hospital.

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