From left: Philipsburg Jubilee Library Board Secretary Shirley Pantophlet-Gregoria; Treasurer Joseanne Peterson; Chairperson Paul Martens, board member Jeanina Dupersoy and Interim Director and Project Manager Pieter Lucas.
Govt. owes Jubilee
Library NAf. 643,880
PHILIPSBURG--The government of St. Maarten currently owes the cash-strapped Philipsburg Jubilee Library a combined total amount of US NAf. 643,880 in unpaid subsidies dating back to 2014.
Chairperson of the Library board Paul Martens said on Wednesday that the library has not received the 10 per cent subsidy that government usually withholds pending the submission of annual accounts of the subsidy recipient, since 2014. The 10 per cent was not paid for the years 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and for 2018.
Martens provided the information to Members of Parliament (MPs) during a meeting of Parliament’s Committee for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs on Wednesday.
The operations of the library, whose building was destroyed during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and later condemned by the Department of Health and the Fire Department, is primarily funded by government subsidy. The library receives an amount of NAf. 1,219,000 per annum in subsidy from government for its operations. Ten per cent is held back and only paid after the annual accounts are provided. “The Library has followed that procedure diligently,” Martens explained, noting that the 2018 annual report is currently being finalized and not yet submitted as additional information is being added. “The previous years were submitted and approved by all the necessary departments and we have not received the 10 per cent since 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 (and 2018).”
He said also that there had been “a mysterious deduction” from the amount owed for a “backlog” dating back to 13 years ago from 2006 of NAf. 34,338 guilders.
He said the NAf. 643,880 owed by government represents almost half the amount of annual subsidy that the library receives. “Which is quite a good bit of money.”
Once received the intention is to put these funds towards the construction of a new library building.