Dutch parliament sets this Friday as absolute deadline for SXM budget

POSTED: 04/11/11 12:51 PM

THE HAGUE – The Dutch parliament is for the time being satisfied with Kingdom Relations Minister Piet Hein Donner’s statement that St. Maarten will have a balanced and Cft-approved budget no later than this coming Friday, April 15.

The factions originally had wanted to hear via Donner’s letter of last Tuesday that the conflict between the board for financial supervision Cft and the government of St. Maarten had been put to rest. The parliament threatened with an emergency debate to force Donner to intervene if this would not happen.

But on Friday, Dutch parliamentarians said that they did not have too much of a problem with waiting a few more days. “There will be a debate anyway and we have no problem waiting for another couple of days,” Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak said.

Van Raak expects that the delay will come with some benefits, like access to the books of government-owned companies. “That makes waiting worth our while. Then we will be able to see whether those government-owned companies are operating properly, or that there is corruption and nepotism.”

Other parties have accepted the delay as well, even though Donner did not answer all their question in the letter he sent to the parliament last Tuesday.

Labor Party MP André Bosman said that the budget must be completely in order on Friday. “we will not continue to putt this off,” Bosman said, adding that his party is following the events in St. Maarten closely, a statement mimicked by Labor Party’s MP Martijn van Dam.

The latter is confident that the budget saga will come to an end on Friday. “Otherwise St. Maarten would not have made such a proposal,” he said. But Bosman is also weary of the possible outcome. “If the budget is not balanced, the Netherlands will get the bill.”

Van Dam prefers to operate carefully and says that St. Maarten is responsible for its budget. “You don’t want to interfere all the time, but on the other hand they must make sure that they have their affairs in order. They should not use the Netherlands as an excuse to do nothing. We’d rather stay out of this.”

On Friday the parliament expects a letter from Minister Donner saying that St. Maarten has kept its most recent promise. That morning there is a meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers, and St. Maaerten’s budget is one of the agenda points.

If there is no approval from the Cft for the budget that day, the Council of Ministers will give St. Maarten an instruction to force it to comply with the standards agreed upon in the Kingdom Law financial supervision.

Van Raak indicated that he will ask for a debate after receptions of Donner’s letter. “We cannot continue with putting things off. It has to be clear that everybody in the Kingdom has to stick to agreements we have made.”


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