Published On: Tue, Nov 8th, 2022

Miedema? Dutch government has never heard of him

PHILIPSBURG — The Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations does not know Jacob A. Miedema, the representative of a Dutch consortium that claims to be negotiating the refinancing of St. Maarten’s liquidity loans. “Nobody within the ministry has been in contact with Mr. Miedema about guarantees on loans or any other topic,” State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen wrote to Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion.

Xavier Blackman, speaking on behalf of independent MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten, told StMaartenNews.com a couple of days ago that “Dutch technocrats know about the consortium’s offer to refinance their loans.”

Related article: Mysterious Dutch consortium interested in refinancing St. Maarten’s debt

But the State Secretary has now emphatically stated that nobody within her ministry has had contacts with the consortium or with its representative Jacob Miedema.

Minister Irion posed several questions to the State Secretary in a letter dated November 3. The letter refers to a coalition group chat meeting that took place on June 23, 2022, at the invitation of MP Heyliger-Marten. In this meeting, the minister wrote, Miedema “informed the group that he had engaged in informal conversations with technocrats within the Dutch government and the ministry of BZK.” This meeting focused on the preparedness of the Dutch government to guarantee the refinancing scheme. Miedema said during the meeting that “granting St. Maarten a guarantee was received favorably.”

But State Secretary Van Huffelen puts those statements to rest in her reaction to Irion’s letter. “It is unlikely that the Dutch state will issue a full guarantee on the refinancing of any loan St. Maarten has obtained from the Netherlands, because such a guarantee has no advantages for the Netherlands while there are risks attached to it.”

Van Huffelen announces in her letter that the Netherlands is prepared to offer St. Maarten a soft deal on the refinancing of its liquidity loans. The current refinancing agreement expires in October 2023. “The Netherlands intends to make multi-annual refinancing-agreements that take the carrying capacity of the country into account. This has been discussed in the Kingdom Council of Ministers.”

Minister Irion said in a reaction to StMaartenNews.com that Miedema had started to beg his staff to have him sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the refinancing deal. “That set off all kinds of red flags with me.”

Those actions came after the minister demanded a term sheet before having any more discussions about the topic.

In June, MP Heyliger-Marten let the minister know that “based on informal talks there are indications that the ministry sees the benefits of this option from short-term liquidity and long-term strategic perspective, and is willing to discuss a (joint) proposal from the island and the consortium.”

Irion: “Now the State Secretary declares in writing that no such talks with civil servants within the Dutch government have taken place.”

Ahead of the June 23-meeting MP Heyliger Marten provided the minister with the possible terms for the refinancing-deal: a ten-year loan, to be repaid on the tenth anniversary of the contract, against 4 percent annual interest, to be paid in two installments every year. “The loan will be provided based on an irrevocable guarantee from the Dutch state.”

Heyliger-Marten furthermore informed the minister ahead of the June-meeting that “the lender is a Dutch legal entity that obtains the funds from Dutch and non-Dutch institutions.”

The secretary of MP Heyliger-Marten, who at the time was President of Parliament, sent log-in information to Miedema and Irion for the meeting of June 23. The information is addressed to miedema@anfire-tax.com. But an online search for this company hits a brick wall and leads to the website of Trans IP, the largest cloud provider in the Netherlands, and the message: “Anfire-tax.com is reserved for a client of Trans IP.”


Related article: Mysterious Dutch consortium interested in refinancing St. Maarten’s debt