Member of Parliament George Pantophlet says there are solutions to the capacity challenges

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Member of Parliament Hon. George Pantophlet
PHILISPBURG, Sint Maarten — MP Pantophlet believes that one of the solutions to the capacity challenges that we are currently facing, is debt cancellation. Debt cancellation will make the necessary funds available to hire additional legal experts to prepare the necessary legislation where needed and for government to meet other social responsibilities.
Threatening the people of St. Maarten by saying that if there is no political agreement, the loans for liquidity support would become due in April 2022, is tantamount to bullying and blackmail in its highest form.
“The State Secretary’s reason for delaying is because the countries did not comply with conditions and because there was no political commitment for an agreement that was reached on a civil servant’s level between the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean countries. The State Secretary is right, it is not up to the civil servants to decide but to give advice and prepare the legislation. The final decision lies with the governments.
“What I find ironic, is that the State Secretary never mentioned anywhere in his statements about the discussions that were supposed to be held in October as to whether the advice of the IMF will be followed on turning the loans into grants or gifts. What I see is constant pressure to comply and when one realizes that based on capacity the government can’t comply, this will be used as a reason for bringing in their own people to run government. I am not seeking any support for this analysis but this is how I see the agenda that is being carried out at present.
“Another solution is to reduce the amount of reporting government does to the Committee for Financial Supervision to twice annually, allowing the civil servants who are tasked with this to carry out their regular functions in a more structured manner. By doing so it will also allow St. Maarten to implement the necessary reforms at its own pace.
“The challenge with capacity is also one of a financial nature. It is a global fact that governments all over the world attract workers not because of salaries, but because of a stable income and benefits such as pension that is not always offered by the private sector.
“The state Secretary said that we should always think about the people who have it hard because they benefit when we do the right things. Let me try to understand, the state secretary is saying that cutting the unemployment support (SSRP) from 80% to 60% was the right thing? Is the State Secretary saying that cutting operational costs/ civil servants income by 12.5% is the right thing? Is the State Secretary saying that threatening the people of St. Maarten with defaulting on the Naf 50 million Bond if the Minister of finance had continue with the floating of the bond the right thing? Is the State Secretary saying that holding St. Maarten Curacao and Aruba hostage and trampling on the Democracy of St. Eustatius the right thing? Is the state Secretary saying that the Naf 3 million that had to be returned to the Dutch government coffers the right thing?
“The following is what I think are the right things; Debt cancellation, turn the liquidity support into gifts, any financial costs to the reforms should be financed by the Dutch government be it actual finances or technical assistance for starters. This is the right thing and for those who constantly state that it is their money, that discussion is for another time because we will have to go back into their history on these islands. These are capacity solutions”, stated MP Pantophlet.