James defends Shigemoto’s attempts to get debt relief

POSTED: 09/17/12 1:38 PM

GREAT BAY – United People’s party MP Jules James defended the attempts of previous Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto to obtain 40 million guilders in debt relief from the Netherlands in a press release sent to this newspaper on Saturday. He also figures that the Dutch won’t budge, no matter which government will take office and that he only sees a sliver of perspective if D66-leader Alexander Pechtold becomes the new minister of home affairs and kingdom relations.
“The Dutch have maintained that there was an implied deadline of October 10, 2010 for the requests to be submitted to them for relief. My understanding is this was neither in the final agreement (slotakkoord) of November 2006 nor in any of the signed documents thereafter. I do not thin k that it matters much who won the election in the Netherlands as they seem to be united on that point,” James stated.
“No debt relief for SXM, because the requests were officially submitted after 10-10-10 when the UP formed the government. We took office and the previous Minister of Finance, Mr. Shigemoto wrote on numerous occasions letters to both Ministers of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations regarding the debt relief for SXM; in concerned over 40 million guilders which they both refused to pay. I understand that the state secretary of finance and his staff confirmed to the then Minister of Finance Shigemoto at the time that the funds were still being held for SXM at the Central Bank of Curacao and SXM. The Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) was the only authority who could use the “kan bepaling” to determine how these bills could be paid if they did not fully comply with the required conditions. The Minister of BZK Drs. Ank Bijleveld nor her successors ever decided to use the extensive communication with Shigemoto’s office. No one wanted to pay SXM its share.”
James said to suspect that whoever forms the new government in the Netherlands will stand united with this approach. “Our Justice Minister playing hardball with the Dutch does not help matters either. (I am not saying that he shouldn’t). The Dutch are known for using force in areas of desperation (i.e. financial) to gain ground in other areas where we may actually be right or have a point. The only light I can foresee is if Mr. Pechtold becomes the new Minister BZK.”

But James fears that the European economic and financial crisis does not help SXM’s plight either. “The Netherlands is still feeling the downturn caused by Greece and southern European nations. So the Netherlands has had to cut billions from its budget to balance it – a feat they may still have not accomplished fully. It’s a tough one, but the current minister of finance of SXM has to keep trying because the NA-led government prior to 10-10-10 failed to submit the bills timely for payment to the Netherlands. Our government took office after 10-10-10 and tried everything in its power to get the bills paid,” the MP stated.

Lastly, James took a shot at the situation in Curacao. “I think that patience is wearing thin with Curacao and experience has taught me that every time Curacao misbehaved in the past the Netherlands threw more money at them and stricter regulations at SXM….will this change now?”

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