SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The board of the United St. Maarten (US) party has called for the complete retraction of the three laws that regulate cuts to income and benefits, stressing that government have failed in its basic obligations towards its people and are embarrassingly unable to motivate or defend the reason for the laws other than blaming the Netherlands.
“The only thing we know for sure is that our people are suffering and times are getting harder. It is unacceptable to us that a government which is supposed to ensure a decent quality of life for its people, persists in enforcing these unfair and abusive laws. It is forced suffering by a country upon its citizens,” the US board said.
The US board pointed out that there has been no savings realized by government by cutting people’s income and benefits. “This was confirmed by the CFT who stated clearly that no savings were realized. Yet, this government refuses to bear down and tackle its own waste. Instead, it continues to hire more people instead of using those funds to pay current workers what is owed to them,” the US board said.
Having always stated its party’s opposition to the three laws, the board noted that a motion was still tabled in Parliament to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the three laws after six months.
“This motion was passed with some MP’s using this motion as motivation to support the laws. Well six months has long passed. Where is the evaluation? Who is leading this evaluation? What is the position of the MP’s who tabled and supported this motion? In actuality the motion has been rendered moot. So we are now calling on the authors and supporters of this motion to lead the way in retracting these laws,” the US board said.
The board lamented that the Christmas season is coming up and civil servants and workers at semi-government entities do not know what kind of Christmas they can expect or provide for their families. “We just had a St. Martin’s Day which saw members of the National Alliance led coalition wishing people a Happy St. Maarten’s day. While there are many things to be thankful for on our national day, we can guarantee that it was not a happy one for many people,” the board said.
It continued: “The government cannot say how the laws will be further implemented, they cannot say how long is temporary, there is no SSRP, uncertainty of the food program, they are busy running people down for taxes, discussing implementing of more taxes, global reports point to food prices continuing to increase drastically, meaning cost of living will only get harder especially with GEBE fuel clause, gas prices are going up. The trend is clear; the quality of life of its citizens is deteriorating and the government has no solutions for anything.”
As such, the board stressed, the three laws must be retracted and people paid and re-paid what they are owed. “Will government give people and businesses a tax break? No it will not. Will government reduce turn-over-tax? No it will not. Will government suspend the fuel clause? No it will not. Nothing is happening but the Prime Minister sent a letter to civil servants on November 5 telling them that the laws will be retracted once ‘we are able to handle our financial obligations independently’. And when exactly will this be? After we have paid off millions in loans?
“What is the government’s identified target to retract the laws? What is government’s plan? Where is the comprehensive economic plan? None of this exists and so we call on the government not to wait, but retract the laws immediately. Your people are suffering. How can this not move you to act and act as decisively as you did when you took away their income,” the board concluded.