More funding needed to complete St. Maarten government administration building

POSTED: 06/1/14 11:30 PM

Loans do not include funds for purchase Emilio Wilson

St. Maarten – The 145 million guilders ($81 million) in loans that will become available to the government on Monday do not include funds needed for the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate, Finance Minister Martin Hassink said at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. The loans do also not cover the construction of a parking garage behind the new government administration building and the construction of an additional building known as Block D.

The loan consists of 60 million for capital investments this year, 40 million to pay of developer RGM and to finish the new government administration building and 45 million to refinance capital investments from 2011 and 2012 that the government pre-financed from its reserves. These latter investments cut deep into the country’s financial reserves to a point where it became worrisome.

“Our goal is to build up a reserve of 90 million guilders. That is enough to cover the government’s expenditures for 2.5 to 3 months,” Hassink said.

It appears that, before the loans became available, the treasury was nearly depleted, because Hassink said that with the 45 million that will be added to the reserves, the country’s liquidity position stands at just 50 million- at best good to cover 7 weeks of state expenditures.

The 40 million guilders loan for the new government administration building is not enough to cover all the costs for buying out developer RGM and completing the building, Minister Hassink said. The loan is already not destined for the construction of the parking garage and Block D, but the money also falls between 10 and 15 million short of the funds that are needed to complete the building. “We need between 50 and 55 million to complete the building,” Minister Hasssink said.

That funding for the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate is not included is due to procedures. Because the court suspended the court ruling that would have obliged the government to deposit $5 million into an account at a notary of its choice, there is more time to settle this matter. “We were not obliged to deposit the $5 million, so that is already a good thing,” Hassink said. “We are working on the budget amendment to include the purchase in the 2014 capital investment program. Only then will we be able to apply for a loan for the purchase of the estate.”

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