Published On: Tue, Jan 2nd, 2018

St. Maarten: Way cleared for NAf. 67M Dutch liquidity injection

sxm-Richard-GibsonPHILIPSBURG - Room was officially made in the 2017 budget to prepare for a liquidity injection of NAf. 67 million from the Dutch Government. Parliament voted ten to zero Friday afternoon on several budget amendments tabled by caretaker Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr.

The amendments include a NAf. 8 million allocation for a re/training programme for hospitality workers. The programme is essential to build the country back better in the wake of Hurricane Irma’s devastation on September 6, according to Gibson Sr.

The cash injection will help Government keep its head above water at least for the next three months. It will also go to civil servants’ salaries, payment of debts related to hurricane debris clean-up and jumpstart a number of other projects.

Without the liquidity support, Government would have plunged into further financial woes.

Motivating her vote on the budget amendment, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said she has an “extreme feeling of satisfaction,” because “the entire matter of the Dutch aid has come full circle.”

She thanked Gibson Sr. and other members of the caretaker Cabinet for being “man and woman enough” to acknowledge that Government’s stance on Dutch aid, taken after the hurricane, “was not conducive to further development” of the country.

MP Claret Conner (United People’s party (UP)), said in his motivation that the amendments bring “hefty” financial obligations and Government must be frugal in its spending.

Also voting for the amendment were MPs Rodolphe Samuel, Ardwell Irion, George Pantophlet, Romeo Pantophlet and Hyacinth Richardson (National Alliance (NA)), Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani (UP), Chanel Brownbill (independent) and Frans Richardson (United St. Maarten Party (US Party)).
Not present for the urgent plenary session were MPs Theo Heyliger, Tamara Leonard and Franklin Meyers (UP), Silvio Matser (US Party) and Perry Geerlings (DP).

The Central Committee meeting and the plenary sitting of Parliament this week were called during the annual holiday recess. This was necessary for the budget amendments to pass before December 31 or the country would have risked losing the Dutch Government’s liquidity support.

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