The Daily Herald – Kingdom government suspends payment in Saint-Martin


Prime Minister of St. Martin Silveria Jacobs (left) and Acting Secretary of State for Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops at the Binnenhof in The Hague after the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting today.

THE HAGUE – The Kingdom’s Council of Ministers today decided on Friday to suspend payment of the previously agreed NAf. $ 39 million in liquidity support in Saint-Martin.

Acting Secretary of State for Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops confirmed this as he and Prime Minister of St. Martin Silveria Jacobs walked out of the so-called continuous consultation (” voortgezet overleg ”) of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom.

Knops said the agenda item regarding the payment of the fifth tranche of liquidity support for St. Maarten had been “fully discussed”. He told reporters that the Kingdom’s Council of Ministers decided to suspend the April 23 decision to allocate liquidity support based on its proposal to postpone actual payment until good governance is restored to Princess Juliana International Airport.

Knops said Friday’s decision was also made on the basis of a letter he received from the Royal Schiphol Group (RSG) on Thursday evening. “In that letter it was stated that although the government of St. Maarten has taken positive steps to address the issues, the RSG did not consider this sufficient to stay at the airport,” he said. .

The Kingdom’s Council of Ministers has given Knops, Dutch Acting Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra and Dutch Acting Prime Minister Rutte the mandate to authorize the effective transfer of liquidity support when good governance is sufficiently restored to the Kingdom. airport, a decision which will also be based on information from the RSG. Knops said no specific follow-up meeting of the Kingdom’s Council of Ministers was needed to pay for the liquidity support.

Prime Minister Jacobs said he was very disappointed. “I am certainly not happy with this decision. I think the decision was already taken earlier on April 23 and that we should not be punished for the challenges and problems that arose after that date, ”she said, noting that she had no problem adding these challenges and issues to talking about future liquidity support.

“I find it very unfortunate that the rules of order are destroyed by making a second decision on something that has already been decided. I expected some understanding and support in continuing the consultation, but unfortunately the decision of the Kingdom’s Council of Ministers earlier in the morning has not changed, ”Jacobs said.

Jacobs said that by not transferring liquidity support, The Hague has duped “the people who need it most. It does not touch on corporate governance at the airport or other issues that we are currently addressing at the airport. “

Knops responded to Jacobs’ remarks by stating that good governance has always been a “common thread” in working with St. Maarten, not only now during discussions on liquidity support, but also with regard to rebuilding the city. St. Maarten after Hurricane Irma.

“We highly value the views of the RSG and how to run an airport based on good governance. The task that the government of Saint-Martin now faces is to bring order as soon as possible. The earliest would be best. Hopefully we can take a positive decision soon on the liquidity support payment based on an assessment of the RSG, ”Knops said.

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