St. Maarten Prime Minister: Drafting 2012 budget and capital investments are key priorities

POSTED: 07/15/11 12:55 PM

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams says that finalizing discussions on the budget for 2012 is a key priority for the St. Maarten government in the coming six months. She stated this on Wednesday in response to a question about her government’s priorities for the next months at the Council of Ministers press briefing.

“Discussions are right now taking place regarding the budget 2012. A lot of effort is being put into that to make sure that we don’t have a drawn out situation like we had with the budget for 2011, which has only been approved a few weeks ago,” Wescot-Williams said.

The Prime Minister was also clear yet again on Wednesday that the cabinet and the Board of Financial Supervision (Cft) now have a clear understanding of when the body will be involved in the review of the budget.

“What has definitely been the case is that over the past years of the implementation of the laws on financial supervision is that because of the informal contacts with whom and at what point, we have had several serious misunderstandings on a government level – as in between government and Cft. Yes they were informed. No they were not informed. It was informal. They were asking for information. It had to do with the budget. It did not have to do with the budget. Those types of issues surfaced because of the question of when and how the Cft should be involved. It should be very, very clear now that we will only give information after it has been given to the Council of Ministers,” the Prime Minister said.

Another general priority this year is carrying out both the infrastructure and training programs that the St. Maarten government is co-financing with USONA. One of those is a pilot training program for civil servants.

“All ministries also have their year plan and are executing now what is left of the budget 2011 to be executed,” the Prime Minister said.

Wescot-Williams consider the borrowing that will be done to finance capital investments a key component of the budget. The process to allow the borrowing has not been finalized and with the budget now passed government proceeds to secure the loans.

“Yes of course there has been a delay because the budget has not been approved until recently and it could be the case that some projects return in 2012 that we don’t get to complete this year,” the prime minister said.

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