SATURDAY, 16 FEBRUARY 2013
THE HAGUE–St. Maarten’s financial situation and the budgetary process will be the main topic of a meeting between St. Maarten Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt and the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on February 26.
Tuitt will be meeting with members of the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations behind closed doors. He will be accompanied by his Policy Advisor Xavier Blackman and Concern Controller Arno Peels.
The agenda points will be the general financial developments on St. Maarten, the country’s new financial policy, financial supervision, the 2013 budget and the debt reorganisation. Tuitt will be visiting The Netherlands from February 22 to March 1.
The Second Chamber is concerned about the budgetary process in St. Maarten and the fact that there is still no approved 2013 budget. The Council for Financial Supervision CFT has given a negative advice on the draft 2013 budget and suggested several adaptations to the budget to compensate for what the CFT called overly optimistic tax revenue calculations.
The CFT had an informative meeting with the Second Chamber behind closed doors last week, in which the council updated the Kingdom Relations Committee on the latest developments and the general financial status of countries Curaçao and St. Maarten and the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
St. Maarten’s Council of Ministers has to approve a new, revised budget shortly, which the CFT will review before mid-March. Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk told the Second Chamber during a debate on Tuesday that he wanted to wait for the CFT’s advice. In a letter to the Dutch Parliament dated January 30, Plasterk said he hoped St. Maarten would take its responsibility seriously and as such avoid an instruction by the Kingdom Council of Ministers.
The revised budget will be discussed at the next meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers on March 15. St. Maarten as well as Curaçao is subject to the Financial Supervision Law, a law that was implemented when the two islands attained the status of country within the Dutch Kingdom.
St. Maarten and The Netherlands have a difference of opinion on the debt reorganisation. According to St. Maarten, it could not have a healthy start like the other islands of the former Netherlands Antilles, because not all of its debts were paid off. St. Maarten was unable to substantiate all claims associated with the 1.5 billion-euro debt reorganisation exercise at the time.
However, for the Dutch Government the debt reorganisation process is a closed chapter. The Hague has contended that St. Maarten had ample time to substantiate its claims and provide proof of its outstanding bills.