Smaller government without state-secretaries seems impossible task

PHILIPSBURG — The idea to form a small as possible government without state-secretaries, with the specific task to dismantle the Netherlands Antilles, does not seem feasible.


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The negotiations on the size of the cabinet and the division of portfolios between the parties PAR, PNP, National Alliance, UPB, DP Statia and Wimp were continued this morning in the meeting room of the Island Council on St. Maarten under the direction of Pedro Atacho, the politician investigating whether a proposed cabinet formation will succeed. After a first plenary session in which the political leaders presented their ideas on a new cabinet formation, the meeting was adjourned for one-to-one discussions.

Although an agreement had not been reached on the number of authorities and the division of the portfolios at the time this newspaper was going to the press, it seems there will be a ‘normal sized’ government including state-secretaries.
However, possible agreements could include that when all tasks resorting under a certain minister have been transferred to the island territories and that minister has become redundant, he or she withdraws timely.
The idea to form a small as possible government had been suggested on forehand but was never an official agreement between the negotiating parties. Several party negotiators indicated before the Amigoe that a lot of work is still to be done regarding the dismantlement process, which is why one prefers a normal sized government. In addition, a smaller government for example of only five ministers without state-secretaries would be difficult to form when it comes to accommodating the smaller parties.

Basic resolution
Six political parties reached a basic resolution yesterday on a conclusive agreement as indicated by Governor Frits Goedgedrag. The discussions were held on St. Maarten and the result was therefore officially named ‘the Philipsburg-agreement’.

The agreement is based on three priorities for the next government, as determined by the Governor in the formation request. In this, it regards dismantlement of the Antilles, the organization of the new entities, and guaranteeing the welfare of the Antillean population up to October 10th, 2010.

The agreement forms the basis for what is to be the last national government of the Netherlands Antilles. After yesterday’s discussions, Atacho indicated that the parties in the current coalition had held useful and positive conversations.
Atacho is to present a final report on Wednesday, March 3rd to Governor Goedgedrag on his formation order, including clear agreements on the number of ministers and the division of the portfolios. The new cabinet will come into office at the end of March, together with the new parliament.
The discussion on St. Maarten will last up to and including Saturday, February 20th. The discussions will be continued on Curaçao next week if the parties do not reach an agreement.