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Editorial - Quite a job

That the Kingdom Council of Ministers decided to maintain financial supervision over Curaçao and St. Maarten should not come as a surprise. After all, both have had their struggles balancing budgets since 10-10-10.

Along with each of the two islands gaining country status per that date, they agreed with the Netherlands on a Committee for Financial Supervision CFT to ensure proper management of public means. The main argument was to prevent a new building-up of debts as happened under the dismantled Netherlands Antilles, for which the Dutch Government provided much-needed relief that accompanied the constitutional reforms.

A five-year evaluation also was programmed and a joint committee formed to give the necessary advice. Based on its recent report the Consensus Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision won’t be withdrawn, at least not for the next three years. The committee did note progress, so things certainly could change by the end of that period.

While some may believe the current arrangement makes it hard to govern the territory, others consider the role of CFT a reassuring one, in the sense that things won’t easily be allowed to get out of hand again. The latest political developments in Philipsburg actually strengthen the impression that local elected representatives and the administrators they put in office may not be completely ready to handle the national treasury safely on their own.

In any case St. Maarten has an additional financial instruction from The Hague regarding its arrears to the general pension fund APS and Social Health Care SZV. One thing’s for sure: whoever occupies the post of Finance Minister during the coming months has quite a job to do.

Note to readers and clients

Constitution Day has been proclaimed a public holiday in St. Maarten (replacing Kingdom Day on December 15) to be observed on the second Monday of October, which this year is Monday, October 12. There will be no Daily (or Miami) Herald on that day and the office is closed. Deadline for advertisements in the newspapers of Saturday, October 10, and Tuesday, October 13, is 1:00pm Friday, October 9 (3:00pm for classifieds). The Health & Beauty supplement will appear in the Wednesday, October 14, edition.

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