SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament (MP) George Pantophlet disagrees with MP Sarah Wescot-Williams' remarks in her article “Stop the cat and mouse game,” the MP said in a press statement on Wednesday.
MP Pantophlet insists that this is not a game. Leading a country (constitutional state) can be challenging, especially during these times. However, Government has managed to make the relevant decisions to keep the country afloat, though sometimes these decisions are unpopular.
Canceling the closed-door meeting that was supposed to be held with the Prime Minister was a realistic decision. Former State Secretary Knops who was responsible for the heightening of negative tensions between the countries of the Dutch Caribbean, specifically St. Maarten, was completely left out of government. The MP says that in his opinion, this is a breath of fresh air.
The discussions to be held with our Prime Minister would have been about his actions as it regards to Caribbean Body for Reform and Development (Coho). Newly sworn-in State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs should be afforded the opportunity to dialogue and come with fresh, beneficial, and up-to-date developments regarding the Coho. According to what is mentioned in the new Dutch government’s program, the approach will be one that will have more understanding of the realities of the Caribbean countries and a more equal footing.
MP Pantophlet stated that since the new government was recently sworn in, it is only realistic to await the new Kingdom Council of Ministers' meeting in which I am sure the Coho will be discussed. The liquidity support and the matter of the deviation will all be issues that will be discussed in that meeting.
"In regard to the 2022 Budget debate, the Constitution is quite clear in article 100.2 where it states that the annual budget and the long-term budget shall be balanced. If necessary, in connection with the recovery of damages caused by exceptional events, including natural disasters, departures from the first sentence are possible, in accordance with rules issued by or pursuant to a Kingdom Act or National Ordinance.
"St. Maarten has not yet recovered from hurricanes of 2017 and we are facing tremendous challenges over the last 2 years as a result of the pandemic. The reality is that the committee for financial supervision approved the deviation in accordance with article 25 of the Kingdom Law for financial supervision. The reality is that the government of Curacao already approved its 2022 Budget. Parliament should proceed with the handling of the 2022 Budget. This is a realistic decision, MP Pantophlet stated.