photo: John Samson

PHILIPSBURG – Prime Minister William Marlin of Sint Maarten remains resolute in his rejection to the two preconditions in order to receive reconstruction funds. Marlin dispatched a letter to Dutch Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Friday.

The Netherlands set the deadline at October 31, for Sint Maarten government to agree to the two preconditions. The first condition is increasing border control via the ‘Koninklijke Marechaussee’ and the second is the implementation of the Integrity Chamber, with a few changes, which were not agreed upon beforehand. This includes allowing the Netherlands to appoint two members of the Chamber.

Border control
“Current arrangements, among which the flex pool with the Royal Marines, ensure a joint and efficient border control”, writes Marlin. “There is no need to introduce new measures”, according to the Prime Minister. “Government cannot agree to have the Dutch Government take over a responsibility that belongs to Sint Maarten”, he tells Plasterk in his letter.

“Should this be necessary and needed, support is welcomed”, Marlin elaborates. “Support should, however, be done within the limits of the existing legal regulations, considering the statutory powers and responsibilities of Country Sint Maarten.”

Details of financing from recovery funds
“The actual details on the financing are lacking in his letter,” Marlin stated about the letter that Plasterk send on October 13 about the recovery funds. “It is essential to know what the detailed specifications of the financing entail, among which: what is the total amount that will be made available, for which specific purposes the available funds can be used, which part is a grant and which part is a loan?”

Integrity Chamber
The Marlin government has requested an extension from the Dutch Government on the deadline for establishing the Integrity Chamber on October 1, because the deadline of October 31 was “no longer realistic due to the catastrophic impact of hurricane Irma and the necessary shift in priorities first towards emergency, followed by recovery”, writes Marlin. He ensures Government “will remain committed to finalizing the process as soon as possible.”

Prime Minister Marlin about the Integrity Chamber in april 2017

The draft legislation on the Integrity Chamber was approved by the Council of Ministers the weekend before hurricane Irma struck. The draft is already forwarded to the Council of Advice for input.

Marlin calls for the local and Dutch Governments “to jointly discuss the coordination of priorities of the recovery and reconstruction of St. Maarten and the Dutch preparedness for (financial) assistance. The government of Sint Maarten remains resolute in her position of open communication between the countries”, Marlin stresses.