Dutch commit financial assistance to implementation of Plans of Approach

POSTED: 04/5/11 12:04 PM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner signed an agreement Monday, in which the Dutch government commits to supporting the execution of several of the Plans of Approach. The agreement covers the hiring of additional personnel who will work at the Civil Registry (Census Office), The Immigration Department, the Police Force, the National Detectives Agency and the Prison. The Department of Legal Affairs and Legislation and the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning, Environment and Infrastructure also fall under the agreement, even though they are not part of the regime of General Kingdom Measures.

The point of departure is that the Dutch will pay for all allowances above the local salaries that the hired personnel receive. Each of the people hired will be in service of St. Maarten and will get their salaries directly from the government. This will include their base compensation at local scales plus the additional compensation. St. Maarten will then bill the Dutch Ministry of Kingdom Relations every six months.

The three allowances covered by the agreement are travel and moving costs for the trip to and from the Netherlands, rent allowance, labor surcharges and continued payment of contributions to the Dutch pension fund where this is explicitly taken up in the employment contract. A single person or someone with a partner will get $1, 000 dollars in rental allowance per month. A family with one child will get $1, 500 dollars per month and a family with more than one child will get $2, 000 dollars per month. In terms of the pension premium the government and contracted party must agree that they will continue to pay into the Dutch Pension Fund so St. Maarten can declare these costs with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK). In special situations a different pension can be covered, but BZK must approve it first.

The compensation of lawyers who may receive a scale greater than has been established in the government’s formation plan will get the difference in their base salary paid by the Netherlands.

Once the bill is matched against the labor and the rental contracts that the recruited personnel sign, the Dutch government will transfer the amount to account stipulated in writing by the government of St. Maarten every six months. The government can claim costs made between October 10, 2010 and November 1, 2013. After the latter date, the government of St. Maarten must include the costs in the budget of St. Maarten. Changes to the labor contracts must also be sent to BZK so adjustments can be made in the pay outs. The Dutch government will also retain the ability to offset receivables owed by St. Maarten against payments that should be made under this arrangement.

Ahead of the signing Donner said, “I am glad to sign these agreements to support implementation of the Plans of Approach. St. Maarten as a country has started with an impressive burden. We made agreements leading up to this new status for these plans of approach and we are glad to agree on the support that will provide expertise.”

Discussions

Donner and the prime minister, who was accompanied by Justice Minister Roland Duncan, also discussed the first report of the committee monitoring the implementation of the Plans of Approach. The report which covers the period between October 10, 2010 and December 31, 2010, shows that the island is three months ahead of where it should be in implementing the plans. Parties have noted however that more work needs to be done in terms of recruitment, identifying finances and on capacity building. With that in mind parties have looked ahead and are now looking towards another consultation in the middle of May or early June on the report that will assess the first quarter of 2011.

 

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