Published On: Fri, Mar 19th, 2021

Knops hints at termination of liquidity support

PHILIPSBURG — State Secretary Raymond Knops (Kingdom Relations) has confirmed in a letter to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs what was already clear: the Parliament has put continued liquidity support at risk by filing a petition with the special rapporteur of the United Nations that aims, among other things, to stop the process towards the establishment of the COHO, the Caribbean Entity for Reform and Development.

Related article: The answer is clear: Parliament opposes conditions for liquidity support

Jacobs answered Knops stating that the Council of Ministers is committed to the realization of the country package and that “despite the petition launched by Parliament, the Council of Ministers maintains majority support in Parliament for the ongoing process for the implementation of the country package.”

But Knops is not convinced. In a letter dated March 16, he demands that the Council of Ministers and the Parliament confirm their support for the country package and the process towards the establishment of the COHO by March 18. Parliament meets today, Friday, March 19, in a Central Committee setting where Jacobs will present the draft implementation plan for the country package.

Related link: Parliament’s notification about Central Committee meeting on Friday, March 19, 2021, at 11:00

Knops states in his letter that the cooperation with the Netherlands only has a chance of success “if all parties involved are prepared to make a maximum effort.” The continued support from the government and the parliament is necessary for the continuation of this process, Knops points out, adding that establishing the COHO requires consensus.

“I observe that the St. Maarten’s required consensus for the proposal threatens to vanish.” Knops wrote. “Based on the mutual agreement, terminating the country package is lawful if it appears that there is no support. The government of St. Maarten has committed to this agreement. If the country package is terminated, continued liquidity support cannot be demanded from the Netherlands.”

Jacobs responded to Knops’ letter the very next day. In it, she provided “clarity about the continued commitment of the Council of Ministers.” However, that clarity is restricted to the Council’s support for the execution of the country package. The Council of Ministers approved the concept-implementation plan for it, Jacobs wrote. This plan was drafted by the technical staff of the government with input from the Temporary Work Organization.

Late Thursday afternoon on March 17, at 3:37 pm to be exact, Jacobs forwarded Knops’ letter to Parliament. This she confirmed in her letter to Knops. “With the clarification provided herein, I trust that we can continue to move forward with this process,” is the final sentence of the Prime Minister’s letter to State Secretary Knops.

Continuation story: Knops answers to questions posed by Second Chamber members Van Raak and Bosman about the UN-petition filed by Choharis on behalf of the Parliament of St. Maarten


Related articles:
State Secretary Knops: “Fight against poverty is the responsibility of St. Maarten”
Emmanuel: Prime Minister must explain her position on petition
The answer is clear: Parliament opposes conditions for liquidity support

It is our analysis, after reviewing the situation up until now, that Parliament will most likely cancel the Central Committee meeting on Friday, March 19, 2021. Even though this is the modus operandi when it comes to dealing with tough situations in Parliament when the coalition is caught between a rock and a hard place, and even if the excuse is to draft a written response to Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops’ request to reiterate Parliament’s majority support for the agreed-upon execution of the country package and the implementation of the COHO agreement, postponing this crucial meeting would be detrimental to the whole COHO process and put the liquidity support for St. Maarten in jeopardy. The people of St. Maarten do not deserve any prolonging of the implementation of the support the country direly needs.