PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021, Parliament approved all three laws pertaining to the enforcement of cost-cutting measures. This was not done without much reservation from Members of Parliament.
The Members of Parliament of the National Alliance faction firmly believes that Government and Parliament alike, must provide for and safeguard the well-being of the people of Sint Maarten. This surely calls for tough decisions that may not be desired by all.
During the deliberations, Members of Parliament strongly expressed their displeasure with the manner in which these conditions and laws were imposed upon us. As Kingdom partners, it should not be so that in order for Sint Maarten to receive help during a crisis, our autonomous status must be infringed. This seems to be the new modus operandi with the Government of the Netherlands, as they continuously set conditions that are not favorable to Sint Maarten and its people.
The reality is, there will be days when the decisions taken will sit well with the public and then there are days like today, when the decisions seem to not be in favour of the public. However, we can all agree that the only way to safeguard our people, the public and our current situation is to accept these temporary laws. Tough decisions had to be made.
We are not pleased by the fact that Civil Servants of this Country can no longer enjoy their
This is certainly undesirable for us all and if circumstances were better, this would absolutely not be accepted. However, we are certain that if Civil Servants are asked whether they would prefer their benefits cut or their salaries cut, they would choose to maintain their salaries over maintaining their benefits.
Our Government fought to ensure that salaries of Civil Servants (with the exception of one top earner) remain untouched, but at the end of the day, due to our current crisis and the lack of contingency plans in the past, cuts had to be made in some areas.
Although there is a diverse mix of senior, sophomore and rookie Members of Parliament and a plethora of philosophies and purviews, we are certain that a love for Sint Maarten is
something that we all have in common. With this shared love for Sint Maarten, Members of
Parliament should be able to put their heads together, put pride aside and take decisions that would best benefit the people.
Currently, this decision is securing the salaries of our Civil Servants. So again, even though we are dissatisfied with the laws and conditions being forced down our throats, we will hold Government accountable in ensuring that these laws remain temporary. Government is urged to take actions and continue to seek ways to improve our current status so that we will soon be back in a position to give our Civil Servants their benefits.
With this love we have for Sint Maarten, there are many other things that Parliament should be dramatically debating right now. Let’s debate healthcare and the changing of legislation to improve the environment in which our specialists can operate. Let’s talk about the minimum wage and the fact that it is extremely too low in comparison to the cost of living.
It is a fact that this pandemic has affected us all. However, it is the job of the Representatives of this Country to keep the ball rolling so that in the near future, the people of Sint Maarten can experience some relief and know that we are looking out for them. The pandemic is not the only thing happening at the moment. Many other pertinent issues need addressing and as a faction, we will bring them forward (again) soon.
As a faction, we could have taken a prideful or emotional decision to not pass these laws because of how they were forced down our throats, but how would we then be able to look at our people and explain to them that their salaries would be non-existent?
Thousands of households would be left without an income. No representative with a good conscience would be able to bare seeing their people in that state.
As a faction, we would like to strongly re-iterate that these laws did not sit well with us.
We did not agree with the manner in which these laws were imposed on us and if there were other feasible options on the table, we would not have accepted them. Unfortunately our options were; take it or leave it. So the tough decisions were made now in order to look out for you, the people of this Country.
We are fully aware that it may get even tougher before it gets easier. We are also aware that due to our crippled economy, we may be in a position to yet again have to make unpopular decisions. However, we assure you that your well-being will remain our moral compass when we are taking decisions and we will always fight for you.