THE HAGUE – St. Maarten had until today to fully come to an agreement with the terms for receiving support funds from The Netherlands. State Secretary of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops warned that the reconstruction delay would prolong if the island does not agree with the conditions.
Knops announced today that the two-week ultimatum expired, without a clear indication from Prime Minister William Marlin (NA) on the terms.
The yes or no from Prime Minister Marlin up until the last moment was not given, despite the insistence of his own parliament and of the Dutch diplomats on the island. Meanwhile a new coalition government has been formed on the island which has accepted the conditions. The Netherlands will give St. Maarten a few more days to decide.
Hope for a positive sign
Knops said he thinks it was ‘good news’ that ‘the parliament voted on the conditions’. The Netherlands will await a decision in the coming days said the State Secretary. “We hope that this a positive sign that will lead to an agreement on the conditions. Then we can work on offering assistance.”
The Hague wants to the see that the support funds are allocated as soon as possible with a guarantee that the money does not end up in the wrong hands. “Integrity and adequate border control are crucial for a successful reconstruction”, said Knops. “It is important that St. Maarten’s government unambiguously accepts the conditions. This was reiterated to the St. Maarten government on Monday.
The State Secretary on Wednesday called the Island Governor, the head of government and the King’s representative on St. Maarten to share his concerns on the political impasse.
“At the same time, the political situation on St. Maarten is unpredictable”, said Knops. If St. Maarten does not agree, it is the possibility that the Netherlands will intervene in St. Maarten via the National Council of Ministers, although the State Secretary does not want to take this route. The Netherlands will wait a few days before taking the next step in The Hague. There is ample political support in the Second Chamber.