No deadlines for projects in governing program

POSTED: 07/21/15 7:00 PM

St. Maarten – The governing program the Council of Ministers sent to parliament yesterday contains a wish list from the seven ministries that contain no fewer than 329 topics. The Ministry of Vromi tops the list with 74 policy objectives for the governing period until 2018, that of the Finance Ministry is the shortest with just 18, but at the end this last list contains a clear direction for the future of the Central Bank.

The cabinet intends to start the dismantling of the monetary union with Curacao. But the Ministry of General Affairs seems to have a different idea. It also devotes some points to the central bank. It wants to improve its functioning, ensure the improvement of the physical structure of the building, transform the local office into a full-fledged branch in accordance with the Slotverklaring and pursue the construction of a new building. Not a word here about the dismantling of the monetary union and thereby the end of the central bank.

What stands out from the myriad of details is the lack of time schedules. There is not a single proposal in the program linked to a deadline. That makes the program more like a policy document designed to guide de government in the direction it wants to go than a roadmap for concrete projects.

The program contains a chapter about strategic objectives. It mentions four core issues: enhancing the quality of life for the people of St. Maarten, ensure the execution of good governance, focus and ensure sustainable growth and financial discipline and management.

Then there are eight priorities. Top of the list is “arriving at a decision” about the integrity reports, followed by the establishment of the gaming board. The cabinet ants to strengthen the National Detective Agency, write a plan of action for the tax office and execute financial and operational audits of government-owned companies. The cabinet furthermore insists on the implementation of the counterpart policy.

Then there is a plan “to implement projects that reduce energy costs through waste to energy technology, the introduction of renewable energy technologies and the provision of incentives for “identified target groups” to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient society.

It is unclear whether the topics listed under each ministry are in order of priority, but if this were so, here are the topics that top the list per department. General Affairs: “Facilitate employment for returning graduates and create incentives to attract students.”

Public Health: “Establish a health care research and development center.”

Social Affairs: “Create development programs where no community is forgotten by placing greater emphasis on community planning to create a greater sense of community spirit and a positive healthy outlook.”

Labor: “Further develop and strengthen the counterpart policy” respectively.

Justice: “Implement an extensive and in-depth review of the immigration function based on a continuous review of the need for non-locally available labor.”

Education: “”Implement education reform necessary for the future development of Sint Maarten by maximizing the potential of our students. No student, teacher or school should be left behind.” Culture: “Create the mechanism to disseminate the message that an awareness of culture enables and develops a healthy spirit of nationalism.”

Youth Affairs: “Establish firmly as the government’s position that the youth is the future and the most valuable resource of St. Maarten.”

Sports: “Develop a comprehensive sports policy with the emphasis on access for all, focusing on making it possible for all citizens, regardless of their physical ability or age to participate in sports activities, whether recreational or competitive.”

Finance: “Present a realistic and well-supported budget critical for the proper governance of Sint Maarten, reflecting the needs for governing the island with evidence of the sources of support for the budget.”

Tourism: “Emphasize tourism awareness as a part of everyday life, stress on the importance of excellent service.”

Economic Affairs: “Ensure sustainable economic growth based on studies, proper planning and the involvement of the primary partners in the economy and stress on creativity, innovation and job creation.”

Transportation: “Assist in improving the current infrastructure by gathering and providing data and support.”

Telecommunication: “Implement quality standards for companies providing communication services on the island.”

Public Housing: “Update existing plans for housing needs on the island.”

Spatial (Urban) Planning: “Emphasize the need for spatial planning in Sint Maarten and its beneficial effects for the future.”

Environment: “Establish an environmental committee consisting of government, business and environmental groups whose objective will be to ensure that practical and internationally recognized environmental, health, safety and security considerations are given to priority with regard to protecting Sint Maarten.”

There is no chapter under this ministry for infrastructure.

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