PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Member of Parliament Solange Ludmila Duncan in the first round of the Budget Debate Public Meeting of April 27th, 2020 presented a draft motion regarding a number of cost-cutting measures to alleviate the financial strain placed on the Government of St. Maarten due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MP in her motion requested the Minister of Finance to present a comprehensive approach to cost-cutting measures within 15 days. This comprehensive approach should include a general reduction in material costs of both the Parliament and the Council of Ministers by 20% and a review of the ‘Pensioenregeling politieke gezagdragers’ (AB2010 GT. 8), in particular where it pertains to the transitional allowance of public office holders, in order to make economical fiscal adjustments. The MP requested the ladder to be carried out within six (6) months.
While presenting the motion the MP emphasized that St. Maarten is at a crossroads in its history as a country; “COVID 19 has presented not only challenges but opportunities for us to change course as well. We can no longer operate in a business as usual manner. We not only need to make better policy decisions but we need to change the way in which we spend money; not my money or your money but the people’s money. If we are going to stand in solidarity with the people of St. Maarten we need to show them that we as well will sacrifice for them.”
Additionally, MP Duncan requested the Minister of Finance to reduce the salaries of the Council of Ministers and Members of Parliament by an additional five percent on top of the already agreed to ten percent for a period of six (6) months. The motion was supported by a number of other Members of Parliament and will be voted on today Tuesday 28th, April, 2020.