St. Maarten Government “clears the air” on Cft and debt relief

POSTED: 01/12/12 3:44 PM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams says the Council of Ministers “cleared the air” on the St. Maarten’s relationship the Board of Financial Supervision during a meeting with senators and members of parliament from the Dutch First and Second Chamber on Monday. The discussions came ahead of the ongoing Inter-parliamentary Consultation on the Kingdom, which concludes on Friday.

“The Cft was established to fill a void as far as financial checks and balances are concerned, however the spirit of that understanding was so that the government of St. Maarten would have a structure from which to follow in establishing its own checks and balances,” Wescot-Williams said.

St. Maarten’s prime minister said the government also used the meeting to dismiss rumors about St. Maarten’s accountability with regard to Dutch funding after the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles as roughly 65 million guilders of the pledged debt relief was ever received and the island would still want to make use of the remaining 88 million guilders.

“We have received all kinds of technical information on why we have not gotten that. The fact remains that that has not taken place and in addition to that St. Maarten had to assume its part of the unpaid left over Antillean debt so rather than getting relief we have had to take our part of that outstanding for our account,” Wescot-Williams said.

Having to take on the debt has impacted the government’s budget planning and its commitments to “many development projects.”

“The obligations that we have taken upon ourselves as a country is certainly more than we can afford right now because we do not have it….hence the discussions on the budget and our plans of approach.”

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