The Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Hon. Silveria Jacobs in the House of Parliament on Wednesday addressed the concerns of Members of Parliament (MPs) about the fact that the House is handling the draft 2022 national budget without having the deviation from article 25 granted by the Kingdom Council of Minister (RMR).
“Government has a legal obligation to submit the budget. Governmentt has a legal obligation to request deviation based on the deficit as a result of the disasters we have been facing from 2017 up to the present. The Committee of Financial Supervision (CFT) has advised positively and the RMR should have already approved such as per law, however, they are in default. No conditions other than the provision in the Kingdom Act Financial Supervision under the CFT can be added to be able to deviate.
“We are in discussions with new Dutch State Secretary for Kingdom Relations to get this handled on February 4. Parliament should do its due diligence, debate and approve the draft 2022 national budget, and Government then has to incorporate all amendments etc. before it can be sent to the governor for ratification. Seeing the current timeline, there should be no challenge to have a ratified budget in place by mid-February to be able to live up to our obligations to the people of Sint Maarten. I have explained this part in my letter of December 23, 2021, to the Honorable MPs via the chair,” Prime Minister Jacobs said on Wednesday in the House of Parliament.
Jacobs adds: “These are the political and legal realities that we are facing. Despite this we have continued to engage with the Dutch State Secretary for Kingdom Relations to encourage our discussion partners and colleagues to handle the matter a.s.a.p. To that effect an official request was sent to have a meeting with the new Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations to address specifically this item along with other pertinent matters.
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts we could not get the meeting before our debate, today. But I do have a meeting scheduled with the new Secretary of State Van Huffelen on Thursday. In the meantime technical staff have met twice to prepare for this meeting. I will be able to update on this matter once I have spoken to the Van Huffelen.
“The Council of Ministers have presented a draft budget to the House of Parliament for deliberation as part of its legal obligation and thereafter the council will take the necessary steps to ensure that its ratified,” Prime Minister Jacobs concluded.