Budget cuts affect many organizations

POSTED: 01/14/14 12:48 PM

Mental Health Foundation and Safe Haven receive less subsidy

St. Maarten – Cuts in the 2014 budget affect many organizations on the island. Notably among those that will have to make do with less money this year are the Mental Health Foundation, the Charlotte Brookson Academy, Safe Haven, Carnival and the Heineken Regatta. While it appears from the budget that the subsidy for several organizations has been cut down to zero, there is also a post for the St. Maarten Financing Organization for non-governmental organizations. In most cases, the so-called income-transfers will have been moved under that budget item.

The Mental Health Foundation however, sees its government support go down from 1.8 million to 1.6 million guilders – a cut of 12.1 percent. The budget post residential care 700,000 guilders) goes to 450,000 guilders this year, a cut of 35.7 percent.

The subsidy for the Turning Point rehab center remains flat at 1.2 million guilders; Turning Point appears twice in the list of income-transfers. The second post, 200,000 guilders in 2013, more than doubles this year to 410,000 guilders.

Percentage wise the Diabetic Foundation is taking a big hit of 71.4 percent; its subsidy goes from 70,000 to just 20,000 guilders this year. The HIV/Aids project that under the inspiring leadership of Suzette Moses-Burton brought St. Maarten the acclaimed Red Campaign sees its subsidy go down by 62.8 percent from a bit more than 336,000 to 125,000 guilders.

Safe Haven also has not escaped the wrath of the number crunchers: its subsidy goes down by 26.7 percent from 300,000 to 220,000 guilders.

In the sector youth and education, the Charlotte Brookson Academy sees its support cut by 42.5 percent from a bit more than 1.4 million to 835,000 guilders. Community centers get 50 percent less and have to make do with 200,000 guilders. The same fate befalls the budget item monument care: the subsidy drops from 250,000 to 125,000 guilders.

In the cultural department, the Book Fair receives 44,000 guilders, 10,000 less than last year. Dow’s Pan in Paradise loses its complete 10,000-guilder subsidy, as does the Ms Hawaiian Tropic pageant. Toastmasters – a debating club for civil servants – sees its 10,000 guilders subsidy reinstalled this year.

There are also winners this year: St. Maarten Student Support Services received 32.9 percent more for a total f slightly over 2 million guilders; the Council for the Maintenance of the Law gets 76.2 percent more (925,000 guilders) and the Coastguard gets 9.4 percent more (1.75 million).

The Boardwalk Mas, an event that will celebrate its sixth anniversary this year, gets 11.1 percent more (80,000 guilders). In the fun department, Carnival and the Heineken Regatta, each on the books last year for 500,000 guilders, receive 30 and 40 percent less respectively. The subsidy for Carnival this year is 350,000 guilders, for the regatta 300,000 guilders.

Also in the budget for income-transfers is a post of 126,000 guilders that benefits unidentified religious institutions.

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