Published On: Fri, Apr 2nd, 2021

PM Jacobs refuses to sign implementation agenda and demands liquidity support first

PHILIPSBURG — Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs demands that the Netherlands provides 39 million guilders ($21.8 million) in liquidity support to St. Maarten before she signs the implementation agenda of the country package. In a letter to the Second Chamber, State Secretary Raymond Knops maintains that he is waiting for a clarification of the position of St. Maarten’s parliament about the country package and the draft kingdom law COHO (Caribbean Reform and Development entity).

Knops points out that he asked for this clarification on March 26. The deadline for signing the country package was April 1. The Council of Ministers of St. Maarten approved this package before that deadline but now it appears that Jacobs has not signed the agreement with the kingdom about it.

Instead, the prime minister went off-island for “family-related reasons” while she did not clarify either in a recent interview with Cedric Peterson on the government broadcast Inside Government that she would withhold her signature from the agreement.

The tone of the letter Knops sent to the Dutch parliament is down to earth: “I am in talks with the prime minister of St. Maarten about the implementation agenda. She has indicated that she will not sign it as long as her country does not receive liquidity support.”

And therefore, Knops notes, he is now waiting for a clarification from St. Maarten’s parliament about its position towards the country package, its implementation agenda and the draft consensus kingdom law COHO.

PM Jacobs’ refusal to sign seems a clear attempt to put the ball in Knops’ court, but the state secretary played it straight back to her.

Knops reported that Aruba’s Prime Minister Wever-Croes signed the implementation agenda for the second quarter of 2021 on March 29. “The fall of the Aruban cabinet on March 30 has no impact on the agreements laid down in the implementation agenda. Prime Minister Wever-Croes has indicated that the agreements made with the Netherlands stand,” Knops writes.

Like St. Maarten. Curacao has not signed an agreement about the implementation agenda either because the balance of power has changed after the elections. “The incoming government of MFK and PNP has asked the government of Curacao not to take any irreversible steps related to the agreements with the Netherlands,” Knops writes. “They need some time to study all relevant documents. Considering this request, the government of Curacao says it is unwise to sign the implementation agenda now. The Dutch government hopes that this will be possible shortly so that the cooperation can continue in the interest of the population of Curacao.”


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PM Jacobs: “I never-ever flip-flopped”