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St. Maarten government heads to court to get promised Dutch debt relief

THURSDAY, 07 FEBRUARY 2013

PHILIPSBURG–The fight to get the remainder of the promised debt relief from the Dutch government will soon enter another phase when the St. Maarten government files court proceedings against the Dutch government.

Some NAf. 183 million in debt relief was promised; only about NAf. 63 million was paid out by the Dutch government to cover St. Maarten’s debts of General Pension Fund APNA.

The Council of Ministers made the decision to head to court in its meeting on Tuesday, Finance Minister Roland Tuitt told the press at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers Press Briefing.

Tuitt said, “This item is going to court. Let the court decide what is right and what is wrong in this whole process. … We will choose some lawyers and they will have to deal with this matter going forward.”

It is not clear yet whether the case will be filed in the Joint Court of the Dutch Caribbean or in The Hague. Tuitt said the most advantageous route will be taken by government upon advice of the lawyers.

This move comes after repeated attempts by the present and past governments to access the money that was promised and outlined in a kingdom law to help the country get a good start as of October 10, 2010.

Those attempts have been met by several road blocks by the Dutch government, in particular statements that “the door to debt relief is firmly closed” from present and past Dutch Ministers for Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations.

The debt relief was “an integral part of the political developments leading up to 10-10-10,” Tuitt said, adding that, not because one minister in the past government “forget to give in certain documentations” related to the debt relief, there could be “a disqualification” to access the monies outlined in the kingdom law on temporary financial supervision for St. Maarten and Curaçao.

The debt relief was aimed at giving St. Maarten “a new start” and based on that new start the other items in that kingdom law have a basis, such as the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT and its monitoring of the country’s budget.

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