St. Maarten Government to request 20 million guilder advance

POSTED: 03/10/11 12:13 PM

St. Maarten – The Government of St. Maarten plans to request a second advance on its share of the assets of the former legal entity the Netherlands Antilles, in order to help balance the budget. The measure was announced Wednesday by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams.
The first request, totaling 15 million guilders, was made by the National Alliance/Heyliger coalition to balance the 2010 budget. Now the United People’s Party/Democratic Party government is seeking 20 million guilders, but the figure could be revised based on talks with the Board of financial supervision (Cft).
“We have done this because as you know the so called liquidation committee that will have to finalize this process is not yet formalized, so the completion of that process (ed. division of assets and liabilities) has not yet been done and as such we have requested that St. Maarten gets an advance on the money due to it, also in the context of the budget 2011,” Wescot-Williams said.

The request will be sent to the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten where the actual cash of the Netherlands Antilles sits and to the government of Curacao in the absence of the liquidation committee.
The prime minister said she could not speak “broadly” on the matter of fees and which ones would be increased or not as part of efforts to keep the budget balanced. She also acknowledged again that next to the plans for introducing a fee for residence permits and raising the fees for work permits that there must be an improvement in the service.
“Then you have another issue of whether all fees being collected right now for all services, whether they are at the rate that covers the service in the administration. If you ask me if we’ll go up five guilders on an I.D. card I can’t tell you no absolutely not. The other issue is the matter taxes and no government is not considering at this time raising taxes. It is for this reason that our calculations that with the best will in the world we cannot provide the services to the people of St. Maarten as required to do on the basis of 416 million guilders, to which the Cft is recommending also based on the economic growth that the budget be brought back to,” Wescot-Williams said.

The prime minister said her government firmly believes that in this time of crisis the government should be able to do things like draw on its reserves and that it should be able to draw on its share of assets, and being able to claim the debt relief because these are components that are viewed as the basis of the country’s viability.
“If these things don’t all fall together then we will have a problem financing the services in Country St. Maarten,” Wescot-Williams said.
The prime minister added, “Anyone following the discussions on the budget and the cuts that have been made in the budget would understand that if you look at increases these are but a small component of the measures taken on the budget as a whole. We are now walking that very thing line in terms of being able to provide the services to the people of St. Maarten and we had this discussion last week with the finances that we have available. With this I mean we have cut the budget. Even with the 460 odd million guilders the budget was walking a very thin line to do all of the necessary things for the people of St. Maarten. A budget down to 416 million for country St. Maarten is just completely impossible.”

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Comments (1)

 

  1. Dave in DC says:

    Sarah,

    You need to get an advance because you are millions in debt, yet you are considering giving the new owners of Pelican a $1.2M tax break?

    Your tax revenue is going to begin to hemorrhage because your biggest spending customers, thousands of Pelican members, are no longer coming to town. People have been forced to give up on you and your country due to a lack of leadership in a situation that your government could have controlled back in December.

    Business will begin to fall. Taxes revenue will get worse and the cycle will spin out of control on you.

    Maybe you should turn to Royal and QIT. They were so wonderful to Pelican owners, why not ask them to manage your money and your government they way they did us? In a few short years Royal will have put you into massive debt while borrowing from QIT on your behalf.

    Then they will return to their back pocket judge who will pretend to care about justice. With James by their side they will foreclose on your whole country, tell you it is for the best and they are only helping, and take it over the way they did the Pelican Resort from its rightful ownership.