Commissioner Xavier Blackman called a Press Conference on December 30th 2009

A Press Briefing called by Commissioner Xavier Blackman’s office was held at the Government Administration Building in the Dr. Claude Wathey Legislative Hall on Wednesday December 30th, 2009 at10:00 am 

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From the Claude Wathey Legislative Hall, Commissioner Xavier Blackman held a press conference to update the public and the media on his portfolios. The main topics were the Budget 2010 and Personnel matters.

Commissioner Blackman began his presentation stating that the task of this executive council was related to executing. This is what the Executive Council has been doing, with the support of the civil service core.

A lot has been done, and a lot is yet to be done. We are busy executing but there are some serious and at times unexpected issues that has to be dealt with.

Concerning the budget, the responsibility lies with the executive council, Commissioner Blackman said.

As such, we are constructing a budget that is not inflated or not balanced. We are constructing one correctly and that will withstand the test of time.

It is a process and there are several important matters related to constructing the budget.

This is the first year that government has to deal with the stipulations and regulations of the Financial Oversight Committee (CFT). Reports from the CFT were submitted in March, April, and May of 2009 in which there are stated recommendations.

Based on their recommendations and reports, Commissioner Blackman said, there are several measures that have to be taken into the budget for 2010. For this reason, the budget has not been completed.

He made note that in the past the budget looked good on paper, but there were deficits. This one will be done right, Commissioner said. Thus far there has been al central committee meeting on the budget, and there are over 200 questions. We are busy trying to answer these questions while at the same time trying to finish up the budget.

In addition, the CFT has made a note in their report, saying that unlike the BES Islands, which got a chance to clear up their budget deficits over 3 years, St. Maarten (and Curacao) has to submit an actual balanced budget. Thus there should not be a budget deficit, even on paper.

On other matters, Commissioner Blackman said concerning personnel that the ordinance has been approved, and the process will begin to transfer Federal workers to the Island Territory of St. Maarten.

There will be some workers who will be attached to the Island Territory of St. Maarten level but remain the financial and organizational responsibility of the Federal Government. In time, before 10-10-10, Commissioner said, the transfers will be complete. We are also recruiting personnel on and off island to fill positions, it is going well.

St. Maarten will now be assuming tasks that the federal government executed. In either January or February, Commissioner Blackman said, there will be a schedule detailing the dates and other particulars of the transfer of tasks and personnel.

Commissioner Blackman said that for the year 2010, we should be positive and constructive, that the government will not waver, but stay focus.

Commissioner Blackman thanked the civil servants for their dedication and hard work through the year. And I wish the media, the civil servants, and the community of St. Maarten a very happy new year.