To the President of the House of Representatives of the States General
At the end of 2020, an agreement was reached with the autonomous countries of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten (hereinafter: the countries) regarding the country packages, in which reforms were agreed. This with the aim of strengthening the financial, economic, institutional and social resilience of the countries in such a way that the countries will be better able to independently absorb external shocks, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, in the future. As a condition for receiving the necessary liquidity support for the countries, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten must implement these reforms.
On March 26, the National Council of Ministers (RMR) discussed the liquidity support to Aruba and Curaçao for the period April – June 2021. The liquidity requirement is determined quarterly after advice from the Board of (Aruba) financial supervision (C (A) ft). discussed the RMR. Your House has already been informed by letter about the results. In the same letter, I informed you that the RMR has been holding on to decision-making on the fifth tranche of liquidity support for Sint Maarten, until clarification has been obtained as to whether the States of Sint Maarten support the COHO bill and the associated national package.
As explained below, I have now received sufficient confirmation with regard to the available support from the States of Sint Maarten for the national package and the process towards the realization of the COHO Act. This allowed decision-making on the fifth tranche of liquidity support to Sint Maarten.
United Nations petition
As known to the House of Representatives, the Choharis Law Group has submitted a petition to the Special
Rapporteur Racism and the United Nations (UN) Working Group of experts on people of African Descent. The petition targets alleged ongoing acts of racial discrimination and alleged human rights violations by the Kingdom of the Netherlands against the residents of Sint Maarten. Specifically, the process around the COVID is related
liquidity support and the establishment of the COHO seen as contrary to international human rights and racist.
The content of the petition submitted cannot be reconciled with the previously expressed support of the States of Sint Maarten for the national package and the process towards the realization of the COHO Act. In this context, the RMR once again requested Sint Maarten on March 26 to provide clarification regarding the support of Parliament for the national package and the process towards the realization of the COHO Act. This in relation to the petition submitted to the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations.
Reaffirmation Aid States
On April 16 last I received a letter from the chairman of the States of Sint Maarten, in which he, after advice and permission from the Parliament, once again expresses his continued support for the national package and the path towards the realization of the COHO Act. This letter also discusses the relationship of the aforementioned support to the petition submitted, as requested by the RMR on March 26. The President of the States indicates that the petition requests nine so-called remedies and that none of these remedies pertain to the process towards the realization of the COHO Act.
Although the petition is difficult to reconcile with an earlier agreement on the country package and the creation of a reform entity such as the COHO, the RMR considers the confirmation of support sufficiently clear to continue the trajectory for liquidity support. The following passage in particular is decisive in this respect: “[…] as I affirm in this letter, the Parliament of Sint Maarten supports the legal trajectory towards the establishment of a reform entity as agreed upon by the Prime Minister and the Government of the Netherlands on December 22, 2020. ”
In addition, the letter states that neither the petition nor the memorandum of law are against this process and that nothing from the petition and / or the memorandum of law should be interpreted a contrario. With regard to the apparent contradiction implicit in the petition in relation to the support for the process, the chairman writes that the passages in which an explicit request is made to stop the process towards COHO in the light of the draft bill as it must be presented at the time. view. Now, following the advice of the Council of State, an AASXM Government Docs
When a suitable proposal is drawn up, the passages mentioned are outdated.
According to the statement of the President of Parliament, the emphasis should be on the remedies from the petition and not on the conclusion in the memorandum of law. In addition, the conclusion refers to a draft bill for the COHO Act that is already outdated in view of the advice of the Council of State.
The above provides sufficient clarification with regard to the necessary continuous support from the States of Sint Maarten for the national package and the process towards the realization of the COHO Act.
Decision-making on liquidity support
Now that both the government and the States have reconfirmed their support, the RMR has been able to decide on the liquidity support for the second quarter of 2021. The Cft has estimated the liquidity needs of Sint Maarten at ANG 39 million for the second quarter of 2021. The RMR has on the basis of this advice, decided to proceed with the provision of the fifth tranche of ANG 39 million liquidity support, at the moment that Sint Maarten has signed the first implementation agenda.
The budgetary consequences of this fifth tranche are presented to you in an incidental supplementary budget law. Normally, new policy is implemented after the States General has authorized the Budget Act. As the postponement of the provision of the fifth tranche of liquidity support cannot wait until the formal authorization of both Houses of the States General, the cabinet will distribute this tranche to Sint Maarten in the second quarter of 2021. This acts in accordance with paragraph 2 of Article 2.27 of the Government Accounts Act 2016.
At the official level, work was done on formulating the first implementation agenda for Sint Maarten during the period from 22 December to mid-March. The implementation agenda sets out concrete steps arising from the measures agreed between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten.
The implementation agenda had to be signed by the Netherlands and Sint Maarten before April 1, on the basis of Article 3 of the mutual arrangement land package between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten of 22 December last. Due to the lack of a decision on the allocation of the fifth tranche of liquidity support, the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten has indicated that he will not sign the implementation agenda. Signing the implementation agenda after all is conditional for the award of the fifth tranche of liquidity support.
Country package progress
The period between the agreement of the mutual arrangement on December 22, and the realization of the implementation agenda was primarily dominated by getting to know the departments on both sides of the ocean, setting up working groups and consultation structures, making working agreements. and formulating joint action plans. At the same time, the conditions letters for the second, third and fourth tranche of liquidity support formulated deadlines with which Sint Maarten had to comply.
Sint Maarten has now complied with the vast majority of the agreements laid down in the conditions letters linked to the second, third and fourth tranche of liquidity support. For example, the national ordinances regarding cost-saving measures were published on March 18 and 19. In addition, with regard to the measures associated with theme D: Financial Sector, the IMF investigation into the financial sector and its supervisory system have been completed. Recommendations arising from this are included in the implementation agenda.
Filling in the preconditions for the implementation of the measures sometimes took more time than anticipated. In these cases, and in the event that Sint Maarten cannot be blamed for a deadline not being (fully) met, the relevant deadlines for measures have been adjusted and / or reformulated in the implementation agenda.
This applies, for example, to measure C.4, which concerns the modernization of the Tax and Customs Administration on Sint Maarten. From various conversations between the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Finance on Sint Maarten, a picture emerges that useful investigations have already been carried out in this regard and a general investigation is not indicated. A few less comprehensive studies and / or inventories of specific subjects will suffice. The implementation agenda therefore includes a new deadline for C.4 for an action plan for this first phase of measure C.4. With regard to measure B.15, the corporate governance of the airport, a workable decision has now been taken by the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten. The stipulated condition has thus been met and there is now a way forward for this measure, for which follow-up steps are included in the first u
implementation agenda. Sufficient progress is therefore being made with regard to these measures.
Nevertheless, there is one measure from the condition letters that Sint Maarten has not yet complied with. This condition that has not been (fully) fulfilled concerns:
- To promote reconstruction (Trust Fund), Sint Maarten is present
25 January 2021 effective measures to enable the processing of applications (work and residence permits) from foreign self-employed persons and employees on behalf of NRPB and broader within one month after submission, and inform the TWO in writing about this.
The National Decree has been signed by the Governor. The legislation is expected to be enacted in the near future.
Despite the fact that this condition has not yet been (fully) met, Sint Maarten has made a strong effort to implement this condition and the first visible results have been achieved. In general, a positive start has been made with the implementation of the country package.
The implementation agenda for the second quarter of 2021 will be signed shortly. You will then be informed about the content of the implementation agenda.
Your House will receive enclosed the Assessment Framework for Risk Schemes Central Government Liquidity Support fifth tranche to Sint Maarten.
The State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations,
drs. R.W. Knops
Categories: Netherlands Vs Former Antilles