Home to roost

Home to roost

The Kingdom Council of Ministers in principle approved providing 50 million Netherlands Antillean guilders in liquidity support for St. Maarten as advised by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT to ensure the desired norm of two months’ reserve. Several conditions for such were maintained, but Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and Finance Minister Ardwell Irion apparently did manage to get pension reform off that list.

They successfully argued that this is a very complicated and sensitive issue all over the world, while there are many lingering concerns among civil servants, public sector unions and Members of Parliament (MPs) over the current daft ordinance. Mind you it’s still a huge a priority to safeguard the long-term viability of General Pension Fund APS, according to CFT and others.

Two conditions remain, including additional structural financial means from the local government for justice, police and detention capacity. A pledge to that extent has reportedly already been made, but The Hague wants to see it reflected in the 2020 budget to be passed by Parliament.

The other requirement continues to be a pay cut for politicians, more specifically MPs in Philipsburg. It was a bit surprising to hear Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops say this was “at an advanced stage.”

There had been no indication in that direction other than a motion passed by Parliament last year asking government to explore several alternatives to lower the gross income and cost of legislators. It was recently brought up again by UD leader Sarah Wescot-Williams, who had submitted such.

Perhaps a proposal has been prepared behind the scenes for the elected representatives to follow the example set by cabinet members and give up some of their lucrative benefits in solidarity with the people still suffering from the devastating impact of  Hurricane Irma in September 2017. It seems that chicken has now come home to roost.