Today’s Editorial: Solution Day?POSTED: 04/4/11 12:13 PM
The government is set to participate in a critical discussion today on the 2011 Budget. Saying the stakes are high is an understatement. Because as the Council of Ministers heads into today’s discussion they will have played the numbers game and realized that the cards are stacked against them in term of how many members of the Dutch Second Chamber are ready to tell Minister of Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner to intervene.
We believe there is something to consider as parties sit down. St. Maarten has never been in an equal position to Curacao. That island reaped the vast majority of the benefits of the Central Government; with infrastructure being built there that supported their ambitions for something greater than being an Island Territory. Asking an island that was not responsible for many issues, especially its judiciary, its crime fighting and its prison to be ready on day one with cash to invest in expensive improvements is unrealistic.
And seeing as the Plans of Approach are so expensive because of the ambitions that were put into what are initially two year plans, we suggest phasing those plans over four years, so that it becomes less cumbersome.
The point of tasks left undone or not paid for, by the former Netherlands Antilles government must also be paid for. It is wrong to ask St. Maarten to find the money to pay debts by the Antilles, without pressing for compensation in reply. In this regard the liquidation committee is key.
Now is the time, as we forge into new relationships, to ensure that those who are truly responsible are held accountable and the playing field is truly made level.