Opinion: Off to the races

POSTED: 12/18/13 12:01 PM

And we’re off to the races again. The December 15 deadline to approve the 2014 valium online to buy budget has passed and there is no indication that a budget debate could take place this week. Therefore, the board for financial supervision Cft has done what it has to do: advise the Kingdom Council of Ministers to give St. Maarten an instruction.

This time around though, there is a lot less menace in this perceived threat. The Finance Ministry is on the ball and it had already asked the financial supervisor for an extended deadline until January 16 before the instruction-advice went to the Kingdom Council of Ministers. In this sense, the advice is not more than a formality – which does not mean that it makes St. Maarten look good.

However, fair is fair: Minister Hassink has made a huge effort to get the ball rolling for the 2014 budget, but he was at the same time saddled with the legacy of his predecessor Roland Tuitt, who now claims that Hassink made a mess of things by closing down the internal control department at his ministry.

Whether that is true or just political saber rattling remains to be seen. Hassink has not reacted yet to the allegation. He is probably still looking for the title of the right pop song to make his point.

The parliament seems to be set on making life more complicated for the finance ministry, given its doomed initiative to approve a motion that contains all kinds of Christmas presents citizens will never receive.

So far however, we still have confidence that Hassink will pull off his mission impossible by presenting a 2014 budget that will get a positive advice from the Cft before the January 16 deadline. Last week, the minister already mentioned January 13 as a possible date for the budget debate.

What will happen to the 2015 budget is another story altogether. Hassink intends to begin work on that project immediately in the New Year. That will give him six to seven months – roughly – to complete the job. That feels like a walk in the park, considering the time he had to produce the 2014 budget.

But the next stumbling block is already on the horizons. It’s called elections 2014. While it is at this moment unclear when these elections will be held, politicians will probably not feel like approving a budget that contains unpopular measures shortly before the elections.

This suggests that, while Hassink is gathering steam to get the whole budget train on track and within the confines of the established deadlines, politicians could throw a spanner in the works next year. Hassink has so far indicated that he is gone after the elections, so the next minister of finance will not be a professional but a politician. We all know the results citizens may expect from those characters. The first two finance ministers the country had in office since 10-10-10 – Hiro Shigemoto and Roland Tuitt – have both been instrumental to humongous delays in the budget process. Shigemoto is awaiting trial next year, while Tuitt may consider a return to his old post. It is going to be a long time, before this country will be able to function without its financial supervisor Cft.

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