Committee presents financial report: Costs royal visit stayed well below budget

POSTED: 01/31/14 1:00 AM

St. Maarten – The first visit by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima to St. Maarten  – in November of last year – has cost the state 336,600 guilders – well below the budgeted 473,000 guilders the government had put at the disposal of the National Organizing committee under the chairmanship of Keith Franca.

Franca presented the financial report of the royal visit yesterday morning to Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams during a brief ceremony at the A.C. Wathey Legislative Hall in the Government Administration Building.

Franca expressed his appreciation for the work of Baker Tilly, the bureau that composed the financial report for his committee. The NOC-chairman presented the report to the prime minister, noting that he is required to do this based on the national decree that established the National Organizing Committee.

In 2011, when Willem-Alexander as the heir apparent and Máxima accompanied then Queen Beatrix on her farewell tour to the Caribbean, the organizing committee also managed to stay below budget. At the time, 294,000 guilders were available and the committee spent 223,000 guilders – a savings of 71,000 guilders.

Last year’s inaugural royal visit by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima had a budget more than twice the money that was spent in 2011, but also this time the committee manages to keep its hands firmly on the purse strings and complete the job and stay significantly below budget.

Treasurer Catherine Connor-Arrindell communicated closely with the Finance Ministry during the organization of the event and requested only the funds the committee actually needed.

There were some variances compared to the original budget of 472,880 guilders, but the result was that the organization stayed 136,271 guilders below budget. Video and photography were more expensive than thought, and the organization also issued more security passes than budgeted. Hotel accommodation was more expensive, because the organization housed the police security detail with the royal family at the Divi Little Bay Hotel. This decision, on the other hand, saved a lot of money on security expenses.

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams expressed her appreciation for the way the royal visit was organized and for the fact that the work had been done well below budget. “You have shown understanding for the government’s restrains and you did not engage in unnecessary overspending,” she said.


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