DP Calls Meeting to get Clarity from Government on it’s Policy regarding Subsidies to Institutions

DP Calls Meeting to get Clarity from Government on it’s Policy regarding Subsidies to Institutions turned into a big joke

The Central Committee meeting was requested by the Democratic Party to hear from the Executive Council regarding its position on (incidental) subsidies/investments. 

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The granting of subsidies by government is regulated by the Subsidy Ordinance St. Maarten and the subsidizing of religious institutions regulated by the State Regulation (Staatsregeling).

This meeting was requested by the DP, considering the public spat between government and organizations such as the Carnival Foundation and the Heineken Regatta Organizers. In answering the Democratic Party Faction’s questions on the budget, the government had also informed the Island Council that for the information requested on the subsidy to the Foundation for Government Buildings, the Island Council(!) should contact the Foundation’s president, Mr. Kurt Ruan. Now imagine that.

In addition, government has still not given its position on the support to religious organizations, a matter that came to the fore with the issue of construction of a Methodist Church in Belvedere.

These and other matters were raised by members of the Island Council.

In addition, the faction of the Democratic Party requested an overview of the list of all subsidies, included in the draft budget 2010.

When this list was finally provided, and questions posed to the Executive Council, the only member of the Executive Council present was Commissioner Hyacinth Richardson.

Commissioner Blackman graced us with his presence for a few minutes, however the Executive Council did invite several senior officials (department heads and sector directors) to be present.

Not on one single topic was either Commissioner Blackman or Richardson able or willing to explain the government’s position. Worse yet, the civil servants were not allowed to say a word to explain anything either.

The Central Committee was told that the answers will be provided in writing and upon insistence of the Democratic Party, the meeting was told that answers by the Executive Council will be provided THIS WEEK!

The government is making a mockery of the democratic system, that while not perfect, is what we have today.

Yet, these same members of government are clamoring for a change of the system to a dualistic one. With this mentality, we think not.

We asked about transfers between budget items and the stipulations that must be adhered to. No answer!

Plans for the Carnival Foundation for 2010. No answer.

Subsidy St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation. No answer.

You can agree or disagree with government on their policy, but if they have none, what role is an island council to play?

Government can act within the constrains of the law or outside of these constrains, but if they feel they have no account to give to the island council, whose most important tool is that of the budget and budgetary control, what role is the island council to play?

On behalf of the Democratic Party in the Island Council,

S. A. Wescot-Williams