Government slashes budget for Attorney-General by 65 percent

POSTED: 01/14/16 9:11 PM

Instruction has consequences for everyone”

St. Maarten – Certain plans cannot be executed and certain commitments cannot be met, Finance Minister Richard Gibson said at yesterday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. As examples he mentioned a 500,000 guilders lower budget for the court, a severe 64.7 percent cut in the budget for the office of the Attorney General (from 1.7 million to 600,000 guilders) and a hold on the invoices from the Dutch Forensic Institute MFI.

“Meeting the terms of the instruction from the kingdom government has consequences for everyone,” the minister said, “also for institutions and plans. “If you do not have the money, you cannot spend it.”

Minister Gibson brought St. Maarten’s dire financial situation also to bear during the GVO-consultation with his fellow-ministers of justice last week in Aruba. “Minister Van der Steur asked for our cooperation but I said that I cannot do it, because I don’t have the money for it. Once we have a balanced budget we can look anew at the situation.”

Minister Gibson referred once more to the accumulated deficits of 60 million guilders that have to be settled in three years and to the 150 million guilders in payment arrears to social insurance agency SZV and to general pension fund APS.

“Properties will have to be sold. One of them is the new government administration building. We need to balance the budget and I intend to honor the kingdom instruction fully.”

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