PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Member of Parliament George Pantophlet has tabled a motion during the 2021 budget debate that aims at offering considerable relief for the Country of Sint Maarten in the form of debt cancellation. The Motion calls on the Government of Sint Maarten in their discussions with the Dutch Government to make it priority to request debt cancellation as this is the only recourse that will help Country Sint Maarten to get out of this debt and to execute its social and economic duties as it relates to the citizens of the country.
The factors on which the Motion was presented includes the fact that St. Maarten owes the Dutch Government close to Nafl 1 billion in which St. Maarten pays annually an amount of Nafl 12.7 million on this debt, it will take the country almost 100 years to repay this debt, Country St. Maarten was unable to start with a sound financial position owing to the fact that the agreed upon debt eradication with 10-10-10 was never received and the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and the 2020 COVID pandemic has further deteriorated and continues to deteriorate the financial position of St. Maarten. The Motion further indicates that due to these factors, the responsibilities as laid down in articles 17-22 of the Constitution of Sint Maarten cannot be complied with.
MP Pantophlet has been championing debt cancellation for years on the floor of Parliament. “Debt cancellation is not something that is out of reach. St. Maarten right now is faced with a budget deficit of more than NAfl. 240,000. Debt cancellation will ensure that we meet the social and economic needs of our country” MP Pantophlet stated on the floor of Parliament in his motivation for the Motion.
The Motion was passed unanimously in Parliament on Wednesday night with all 13 votes casted by the Members of Parliament in favor of the motion.