photo: John Samson

DEN HAAG – Prime Minister Mark Rutte postponed his working visit to St. Maarten because of diplomatic unrest with the local government. According to the Netherlands St. Maarten Prime Minister William Marlin is misinterpreting the conditions for receiving the reconstruction funds post hurricane Irma.

Rutte planned to visit the island at the start of November, but he thinks currently, “it’s not a good idea to visit the island as long as an agreement is not made on the terms under which the assistance is being offered”, this according to his spokesman.

In exchange for a hundred million euros for reconstruction, St. Maarten must first agree to border control carried out by the Royal Marechaussee and establish an Integrity Chamber. Under the leadership of the Netherlands administrative corruption will be investigated on the island.

Prime Minister Marlin said he does not want to give up autonomy. He accused Minister of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk of keeping the homeless on St. Maarten as “hostages” with those terms.

The Netherlands holding firm on its conditions
The St. Maarten Prime Minister intends to fly to the Netherlands to discuss the current conditions. Marlin said an Integrity Chamber takes a lot of time to set up. “The Netherlands is holding onto the previously stated conditions”, the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations reminded on Tuesday. According to a spokesperson Marlin is “still welcome to visit the Ministry.”