During last week’s press briefing, the Minister of Finance informed one of the reporters about St. Maarten’s current liquidity status. St. Maarten currently holds between 25 to 30 million guilders in its coffers.
Our annual budget is about 450 million guilders, and we have difficulties balancing our budget. Furthermore, we know that the government has been relying on ad hoc payments such as the sale of its shares in UTS to cover expenses. As a result, we have no budget for capital expenses.
Many have been asking why our neighboring countries have been receiving financial aid from the Dutch and other international organizations without conditions. That is because they are in more deplorable conditions, according to international standards, when compared to St. Maarten. But don’t worry, St. Maarten is heading there, to deplorable conditions, at this rate. We’ve been having a declining economy since 2014 as all the cabinet changes have been costly for St. Maarten.
We cannot blame the Dutch or CFT [Committee for financial Supervision – Ed.] for a deal we accepted since 10-10-10. When we’re told we shouldn’t accept the World Bank’s bureaucratic procedures or conditions from the Dutch, we should question what was the alternative, as we’ve been spending so poorly for the last 7 years before Hurricane Irma.
We became a country that could not take care of its own people in times of disasters. The truth is, we lack long-term macro-economic planning by the St. Maarten Government and that is partially due to political instability.
The good news is, however, that there is a viable solution and it starts with putting people like me and your readers at the forefront of any policy-making process. This will ensure that hard-working families are able to afford what they need, that we give our entrepreneurs a head start, that we strengthen and diversify our economy and we alleviate poverty in our society.
People say things haven’t changed over the last 10 years, but they have. Only, the changes have not been for us!