On May 16th, 2020¸ State Secretary Knops held and chaired a meeting regarding several urgent matters, including the conditions for further liquidity support from the Kingdom Council. Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and the Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion were in attendance. The Prime Minister believes that State Secretary Knops did not have all the necessary information before the meeting and behaved in an unbecoming manner. Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “As kingdom partners, we should treat each other with mutual respect, and that certainly did not happen during the meeting.”
According to Prime Minister Jacobs, the information submitted on the agenda items was immediately disregarded by State Secretary Knops. Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “It was simply rejected as irrelevant to the discussion or falsehoods in general. While we have communicated our positions and findings openly, honestly, and in a transparent way.
State Secretary Knops made comments, that the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers were being uncooperative with the Steering Committee for the Trust Fund of Sint Maarten, implying that communication with the Prime Minister’s Cabinet was difficult. In refute of this, the Prime Minister stated, ‘That statement is absolutely incorrect as I have had meetings with the World Bank Country Director and the St. Maarten representative on the Steering Committee. On May 28, the Council of Ministers received a presentation on the St. Maarten ‘Emergency Debris Management Project.’ I even sat in on a World Bank mission pertaining to the e-governance program.
The tone of State Secretary Knops was described to be quite unpleasant during the meeting and State Secretary Knops even ended the virtual meeting prematurely and rather abruptly.
Prime Minister Jacobs further stated, “From the beginning, the convening notices for the meetings have not been decent. We received the agenda items too late and without underlying documents or further explanation, even after repeated requests.”
Prime Minister Jacobs has sent a letter concerning these challenges to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and hopes that Prime Minister Rutte will investigate the matter. “I remain ready to continue the conversations with an equal mediator who is open to discussion in a decent manner and who shows respect in the event of disagreements,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.