SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - “With the 2020 draft budget on its way to the CFT, the question begs: what is the 2020 budget of the country all about?
What will we see in the budget that addresses the most pressing needs of the people of St. Maarten?”, was MP Wescot’s response to the news that the 2020 draft budget was sent to the CFT.
“Yes, there is a procedure involved, but at the end of the day, there is only so much maneuvering space and no more. The opportunity therefore is now to have the discussions on the more fundamental issues such as healthcare, pensions, taxes, immigration/labor etc.”
While from Government estimates, it appears the budget will reach parliament mid-April at the earliest, Parliament has not been officially informed of this delay in presenting the country’s budget., the MP continued.
The budget is one of the most important tools/rights of Parliament and should be treated as such.
In the meantime, however, Parliament can be proactive in its vetting of budget related issues, such as the financial state of our Government owned companies. MP Wescot: “I will therefore be requesting that the latest financials of these companies be sent to Parliament for scrutiny as soon as possible.”
I have also asked for the Government to state its position on the approved motion by parliament regarding the reduction in salaries and benefits of Members of Parliament. This motion specifically calls for these cuts to be made in the budget 2020 and the question is whether this has been done.
The following questions were posed to the Minister of Finance on the matter:
- What steps has the Government taken to execute aforementioned motion?
- Has Government considered this motion in the preparation of the budget 2020? If not, why was it not considered?
- Is Government in favor of presenting a proposal to formally address the “cost of politics” (salaries, unemployment benefits, travel, etc.)? If not, what is Government’s view on the conditions imposed by the Dutch Government for liquidity assistance 2019?
- How is Government progressing with the other conditions?
- Does Government concur with the Integrity Commission (2014) that there must come clarity regarding the function of Members of Parliament; either this function is full time, or it is part-time with commensurate reduction.