Minister Donner: “No improper governance in St. Maarten”

POSTED: 04/8/11 12:10 PM

St. Maarten – “There is no improper governance in St. Maarten despite the problems to arrive at a balanced budget, but it is important that the Board for Financial Supervision Cft gets access to the financial administration of government-owned companies and makes an agreement with the government.” Kingdom Relations Minister Piet Hein Donner wrote this in answer to questions from the socialist Party, the labor Party and the VVD about St. Maarten’s budget woes.

The three political parties posed their questions in the past couple of weeks in separate letters. André Bosman (VVD) wanted to know whether St. Maarten practices improper governance because it wants to access its financial reserves, while it is unclear how much reserves the country really has.

Donner explained that St. Maarten adds 50 million guilders to its revenue – an advance of 20 million on the division of assets, and 30 million from its financial reserves. To assess the reserves, the Cft wants to have access to the capital position of the government-owned companies.

“The Prime Minister of St. Maarten has indicated that she will provide this information to the Cft. Only then will the Cft be able to give a balanced judgment, and I will base my opinion on it. At this moment I do not want to speak about improper governance,” Donner wrote.

The Minister pointed out that the Cft is entitled to access to the government-owned companies’ financial administration based on the Kingdom Law Financial Supervision.

The three parties also want to know what Donner would do with the Cft’s request for an instruction, as discussed in the April 1 Kingdom council of Ministers. Donner replied that the Council keeps the request under consideration as long as there is no balanced budget and that he would discuss the matter with Prime Minister Wescot-Williams. She assured Donner earlier that there will be a balanced budget before the next meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers on April 15.

SP parliamentarian Ronald van Raak asked whether it is possible that St. Maarten has benefitted not enough from the debt relief program and whether it is necessary for the country to contract new loans.

Donner replied that St. Maarten received its fair share. “Without debt relief the debt would have been 260 million guilders higher. “St. Maarten received 65 million for debt relief, and this amount could have been higher if the government had submitted a number of requests in a timely manner. Because there is a debt relief program and because St. Maarten has agreed to the Kingdom Laws the country must abide by the Kingdom Law Financial Supervision.”

Donner pointed out that St. Maarten will only be allowed to contract new loans once the current budget meets the agreed upon standards and when the Cft approves the conditions for the loans.

Jeroen Recourt and Martijn van Dam (Labor Party) wanted to know what will happen if the government in St. Maarten resists intervention by the Kingdom Council of Ministers. “For the time being I have no reason to assume that St. Maarten will not comply with an instruction from the Kingdom Council of Ministers,” Donner wrote. “If later on this turns out to be the case then we will consider follow-up options.”

The Minister pointed out that using the guarantee function is a solution of last resorts and that he is confident it will not be necessary to go that far.


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