St. Maarten Prime Minister about 2013 budget: “A budget-instruction is now a moot issue”

POSTED: 09/19/13 12:48 PM

St. Maarten – The amendment to the 2013 budget that the parliament approved last Thursday has been signed by Governor Holiday, Finance Minister Hassink and Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and the Kingdom Council of Ministers have been informed about the budget’s current state.

“We believe that there is now no need for the advice from the (financial supervisor) Cft to issue an instruction to St. Maarten to balance its budget,” Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said at yesterday’s press briefing.

The budget amendment is still awaiting an advice from the Cft. According to Wescot-Williams, this advice will come “as soon as possible.” Last week a spokeswoman for the Cft said that the organization has two weeks to write its advice and that this would potentially take it past tomorrow’s deadline, when the Kingdom Council of Ministers is set to take a decision about a possible budget-instruction.

The prime minister said that the process to compose the 2014 budget has started and that the individual ministries are working on their budgets for next year. “It leaves not much room compared to 2013,” Wescot-Williams said, adding that the government will keep an eye on personnel costs and at its ability to contract loans now that the 2013 budget-amendment has balanced that budget. The loans will be used amongst others to buy out the developer of the new government administration building and for the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate.

Wescot-Williams said that Finance Minister Hassink sent information about the 2013 budget amendment to Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk on Tuesday morning. “We did not receive an official reply, but our Minister of Plenipotentiary has been in touch with Minister Plasterk, giving him a status report in terms of, what do we do now? We have the feeling that the proposal for an instruction is now a moot issue.”

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