Published On: Sun, May 24th, 2020

Gordon-Carty objects to liquidity support conditions

PHILIPSBURG – In a statement issued à titre personnel, former Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor has spoken out against the acceptance of the Dutch conditions for liquidity support, saying that she is “deeply baffled” by the situation and stating that during her brief tenure she identified “24 revenue-generating measures that can be immediately implemented.”

Gordon-Carty states that the VSA-ministry could generate a minimum of 5 million guilders a year by collecting fees. (According to the 2020 budget, the ministry is projected to generate 3.026 million guilders in revenue this year, down from 3.5 million in 2019). The former minister however, claims that the ministry has missed out on 50 million guilders during the past ten years (10 times 5 million).

Gordon-Carty furthermore suggests renegotiating the rent for buildings owned by “some locals and Dutch Europeans”, minimizing the use of consultants, and getting qualified locals employed instead.

Another suggested cost-cutting measure is cleaning up the government’s payroll and removing those who receive salaries but do not do any work.

Gordon-Carty also takes aim at tax breaks for investors. “If they change their name between the third and the fifth year they should pay the government 1 percent of their accumulated revenue (not profit – ed.). “This group has been abusing the laws of the land in many aspects.” This measure could generate 12 million guilders, the former minister states. However, it is not specified whether this is per year or over a longer period of time.

Another suggestion of Gordon-Carty is that the Dutch government should pay utilities company GEBE directly so that the company can waive utility bills for the population of St. Maarten for a couple of months, the same way it was done for the BES-islands.

Gordon-Carty refers to one policy she introduced during her time as minister. On February 3, 2020, she signed off on a policy about efforts employers have to undertake to fill vacancies with suitable local candidates. The policy requires employers to obtain a list of suitable candidates from the National Employment Service Center before contracting foreign labor. Job interviews have to be conducted in the presence of a representative of the NESC. The policy got a highly critical reception from the private sector.

Gordon-Carty claims in her statement that the salary cuts for ministers, members of parliament and civil servants will save the treasury 4 to 7 million guilders a month. These cuts go “against human rights.” At this point, Gordon-Carty pointed out a comparison between the monthly minimum wage in St. Maarten (1,489 guilders) and the Netherlands (€1,636 or 3,185 guilders).

Gordon-Carty makes ten assertations pertaining to the Kingdom. A few examples: the kingdom is obliged to invest in healthcare and medical equipment; it must support individuals and households in need; it must invest in nutrition, housing, the education system, and local environmental systems; and make sure that private debts payments are suspended while loans have to be interest-free.

Gordon-Carty suggests that St. Maarten objects to the conditions the Kingdom has imposed on the provision of liquidity support and to take its case to the United Nations while making a statement State Secretary knops would agree with: “Taking this money without fixing our shortcomings means stimulating the wrongdoings that were never dealt with in the past.”


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