Plasterk concerned about St. Maarten’s finances

POSTED: 05/28/13 1:12 PM

AMSTERDAM – Concerns about St. Maarten, the aftermath of the Helmin Wiels-murder in Curacao and underprivileged youngsters were the main topics at a meeting of the association Antillean Network with Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk on Friday. Jamila Baaziz reported for Caribisch Netwerk about the meeting that took place in the Bijlmer Park Theater and that attracted an audience of around 80.
“Politically and financially the situation in St. Maarten is worrisome,” Plasterk said, adding that it will be difficult to change the financial situation this year because the budget still has not been approved. . Measures will hardly be able to have any effect and this may cause a new hole in the budget.”
Plasterk says it is remarkable that the large flow of money in the country does not end up everywhere. There is a lot of cash flow in St. Maarten through the private sector. It would be good if that money would benefit everybody.”

Plasterk foresees for Curacao exciting times with the arrival of a new cabinet of which he hopes it will continue on the chosen “sensible course.” He also mentioned the construction of a new hospital and the problems with the Isla-refinery as challenges. Plasterk described the murder of Helmin Wiels again as horrible. He dismissed criticism that he was naïve about Wiels: “In the end it is about what somebody does when the moment is there. Wiels understood that very well and I will keep saying that.”

The audience at the meeting was of the opinion that the awkward position of underprivileged youngsters on the islands and in the Netherlands warrant more attention. A recent Unicef-report showed that children’s rights in the islands could do with improvement.
Social workers from Capelle aan den Ijssel indicated that semi and unskilled youngsters often don’t make it in the Netherlands because they are poorly informed about how things work.
The social workers pleaded for more opportunities on the islands and also for more information about the Netherlands, so that youngsters develop a stronger tendency to shape their future in the islands. Plasterk said that he is willing to contribute to this process.

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