st maarten judith roumou

Knops: No Evidence That Sint Maarten Government Supports Petition. But Sint Maarten Is Entitled To Independence

The Hague – The Kingdom cannot stand in the way of Sint Maarten’s independence. That is “unwritten Kingdom law”, State Secretary Raymond Knops writes to the Lower House in response to questions from VVD and SP about the complaint that the States of Sint Maarten have filed with the United Nations against the Netherlands.
Sint Maarten can unilaterally determine that the country leaves the Kingdom, says Knops. The other countries will have to agree to changes to the Statute and independence will have to be achieved “in a manner surrounded by sufficient democratic guarantees.” The minister cannot answer the question when the talks can start, because this is not the case and it is not up to him anyway. He will not take the lead. The answers to the other questions from MPs André Bosman (VVD) and Ronald van Raak (SP) reveal a shared irritation about the petition submitted by Parliament. Whether the government of Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs supports the petition, Knops says he does not know. He has asked for clarification about this. “To my knowledge, the government of Sint Maarten has expressed no support for this petition.” The petition was not submitted on behalf of the other islands. Any suggestion of neo-colonialism towards Sint Maarten or repression of the democratically elected government by “a neo-colonial authority” (meaning Coho) Knops rejects. “The Coho aims precisely to support Sint Maarten in implementing reforms of an administrative nature, realizing sustainable, sustainable public finances and strengthening the resilience of the economy, including the embedding of the rule of law that is necessary for this. ” There is also no racial inequality in the treatment of the different populations in the Kingdom. Each country has autonomy and its own “constitutional order” and responsibilities. “The economic situation in the different countries is different. This can lead to differences in the economic position of citizens within the Kingdom. ” Sint Maarten’s financial problems are not only caused by hurricane Irma and the corona pandemic, Knops confirms. The standards in the Financial Supervision Act have not been observed for some time. He points to the concerns the IMF has “regularly” expressed about the rising debt ratio. That is why supervision is necessary and extended. Regarding the obligation to run loans through the Netherlands, Knops says this is only beneficial. The liquidity support is a loan at 0 percent. “On the other hand, if Sint Maarten had had to raise loans on its own on the international capital market, the interest costs of the country would have been much higher, which would have led to a higher national debt.” The outgoing State Secretary does acknowledge that reconstruction after hurricane Irma, for which the Netherlands has made 550 million euros available, has started slowly. But in the meantime it has gotten underway. “Trust fund spending more than tripled from $ 21 million to $ 68 million between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020. In addition, about $ 67 million of direct aid has been spent on reconstruction activities. ”

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