PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten is “very, very close” to reaching an agreement with the Netherlands for liquidity support for the country, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs said on Wednesday.
“In the recent meetings held with CFT [Committee for Financial Supervision – Ed.] regarding the conditions set for second tranche of COVID-19 liquidity support, I must say that sitting together with Minister of Finance [Ardwell Irion], CFT and our support staff, that the meeting was quite fruitful and productive,” Jacobs told reporters during the virtual live Council of Ministers press briefing.
“I believe that we are coming close, very, very close to an agreement that parties can live with. In the meanwhile, we are constantly trying to engage in discussions for the third tranche of liquidity support with the Netherlands.”
She said a letter to this effect had been sent to Dutch State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops on Friday to update him on the progress made thus far regarding the conditions for the second tranche and encouraging him to start the negotiations with St. Maarten for the third tranche.
“We are looking forward to his response and in the meantime government is finalising the package of structural reforms that is to be presented for the discussions hopefully before the upcoming Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting, which is scheduled for November 13.”
Although St. Maarten has reached “quite far” in its deliberations with CFT, Jacobs said there are still one or two points up for discussion which CFT has brought to St. Maarten’s attention and for which Irion had submitted a counterproposal.
“We hope that the letter sent with the update will encourage the State Secretary to continue to move forward with the discussions, as was the case with Curaçao, which was allowed to engage in discussions on the third tranche without having met all the conditions for the second one.”
Government, via Irion, submitted on Tuesday “alternative solutions” for the points still being discussed with the CFT, and government is awaiting their response to this proposal. Government’s intention is to avoid cutting into civil servants’ salaries. Government was supposed to have met with secretary generals and department heads on Wednesday and will meet with the general civil service personnel on Friday to update them on the progress of negotiations that have a direct impact on them.
Alluding to Curaçao, which has signed an agreement with the Netherlands, and Aruba, which has accepted the conditions, Jacobs said St. Maarten is not yet at this stage, but the country looks forward to engaging in negotiations to this effect as soon as the Netherlands is willing to do this as well.
As it relates to the agreement Curaçao had reached, government has not noticed any significant changes in the content of the Kingdom Law. The government of St. Maarten will not be making any decisions outside of a mandate it received in a recent motion of Parliament. When government has all of the information at its disposal it will update Parliament and the community.
“We look forward to us being able to get to an agreement that all can live with,” Jacobs said.
Bron: Daily Herald