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Published On: Sat, Mar 27th, 2021

Now we’re in the dog house

By Hilbert Haar

Is anybody surprised about the decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers to freeze liquidity support for St. Maarten? I saw this coming along time ago. The inevitable you-know-what has hit the fan and the responsibility for this situation rests exclusively with those members of parliament that want to have it both ways.

Related article: Choharis-petition puts liquidity support at risk

Pinocchio of Parliament

These parliamentarians half-heartedly support the country package and the trajectory towards the establishment of the kingdom law COHO (if we have to believe what Parliament’s Chairman Rolando Brison wrote to State Secretary Knops) but they also stand behind the petition the Choharis Law Group submitted to the United Nations. Said petition demands a stop to the process that leads towards the establishment of the COHO, the Caribbean Entity for Reform and Development.

The Kingdom Council of Ministers now wants to know what is what. Does the majority of parliament support that petition? If the answer is yes, it also answers that other question. Then it becomes clear that the majority of parliament opposes the country package. It also opposes the trajectory towards the establishment of the COHO legislation.

This means that the government will run out of money in the second quarter because the kingdom will not provide liquidity support if the parliament opposes the conditions that are attached to it.

Is this decision by the Kingdom Council of Ministers then another example of racist behavior? Certain parliamentarians will certainly play that card, if only because they have no other arguments.

Related article: Understanding racism

Objective observers will obviously conclude that the parliament does not want to play ball and that it now has to live with the consequences of its stubborn attitude.

In the game of poker players have to take decisions based on incomplete information. They do it all the time. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. But they live with the consequences of their choices and they move on.

Our parliamentarians however took decisions based on complete information. The conditions were clear. The consequences were clear. And still a majority of parliamentarians stuck to the wrong decision.

Related article: Knops hints at termination of liquidity support

How this will affect the people of St. Maarten still remains to be seen. Maybe there will be no more money for the companies that collect our garbage. Or there will be no money to pay civil servants, the police officers, the firefighters, or (of course) the parliamentarians.

And then there is the remote possibility that our parliamentarians will come to their senses. Maybe they will realize that you cannot eat autonomy. That you cannot pay for salaries and services from an empty treasury. That all hell is going to break loose the moment the first paychecks fail to arrive.

Maybe our parliamentarians ought to take stock of the way their brethren in Aruba and (up to now) Curacao are handling the same situation. According to the letter State Secretary Knops sent to the Second Chamber, the cooperation with these countries is constructive and the whole process moves right along in the right direction.

Until our parliament changes direction and finds a more realistic approach St. Maarten will remain in the dog house. And who wants to be there?

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Related articles:
The Hague freezes liquidity support
Letter Knops sent to the Second Chamber
Jacobs and Marlin defend position on draft COHO-law
COHO draft law triggers questions about compatibility with Kingdom Charter



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