SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament (MP), Sarah A. Wescot-Williams expounded on her objection to the postponement of the Central Committee meeting on Thursday January 6th regarding the recent meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers, MP Wescot-Williams said in a press statement on Sunday.
“I objected to putting off the meeting, because I believe there is some explaining to be done by the Prime Minister regarding the meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers (KCOM) of December 17th last. In suggesting the postponement of the meeting of January 6th with parliament, Prime Minister Jacobs asserted that there was no further update to give Parliament at this time. I respectfully disagree”.
“Having learned of the proposed agenda points of said KCOM meeting, the postponement of the point regarding liquidity assistance and the deviation for the budget 2022, the subsequent statement by former State Secretary Knops and our Prime Minister’s reaction to this, raise more questions than it provides answers. The proposed meeting with Parliament was scheduled to be behind closed doors and I questioned this fact as well. However, the meeting did not take place at all. The more I hear and read, the more I am convinced that this COHO trajectory is going to backfire big time,” the MP elaborated.
Wescot-Williams does share one hopeful expectation of Prime Minister Jacobs, and that is “that the new Secretary of State for Kingdom Relations, Mrs. van Huffelen, will be open to at least discuss this trajectory on its (de)merits, not on emotions and biases.”
Questions to the new State Secretary, Mrs. van Huffelen should include the following, the MP opined: What has her predecessor Mr. Knops done to ascertain that the structure as envisaged for the COHO will actually work? What are some of the best practices in executing agreements between the Netherlands and one or more of the Dutch Caribbean countries? Has the Ministry of Kingdom Affairs analyzed the failed agreements under different names that have been entered into in the past between the Dutch State and the Caribbean countries?
If the Government of the Netherlands (Rutte IV) is serious abouts its governing intentions as expressed in its governing program, this is an opportune moment to look at the building blocks for a 'shared future.'
“In the coming weeks, the Parliament of St. Maarten will be expected to continue the 2022 budget debate. Some argue that this debate can and should take place, irrespective of the negotiations regarding the COHO and country packages. Again, I respectfully disagree.
While our own constitution stipulates a balanced budget and does provide for deviation from this, this deviation points to the so called CFT law. So we are back at the CFT and the Kingdom Council of Ministers, to whom the CFT reports. Hence my strong appeal to the Government of St. Maarten to stop the “cat-and-mouse game” and come with sound arguments for another trajectory than the one currently on the table. We have the experience on our side of what works and what does not. With the new incoming Dutch government, there might be a very small window of opportunity, if approached in a strong manner and with substantiated evidence,” the Member of Parliament concluded.