Press Release from Island Council Lady Mrs.Sarah Wescot-Williams Budget Handling 2010

For a government that seemed quite anxious to get the budget 2010 out of the way, Thursday’s handling of the budget by the same government showed a different reality. 

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Government was most vehement in refusing to provide answers in writing to the questions posed by DP members of the Island Council. The Governor, in his capacity of Chairman of the Island Council was put on the spot by the Executive Council and had to give in, while knowing full well that the arguments he used to explain his about-face were unfounded. Imagine if this is done to this Governor, what his successor will be facing as part of a NA/Heyliger/Laveist Executive Council. Check and balances out the window.

After this public show-down between the Chair and the Leader of the Executive Council, there seemed to be no rush to handle the 2010 budget, and while the Chairman allowed the 2nd round to commence, all members of the Executive Council disappeared one by one from the legislative hall. Some caught the plane and others just were not interested.

Unanswered is still the question: If the government is so sure of its case and has given straight answers, what is wrong with putting these in writing? Because regardless of how the media (or for that matter, the island council members), construes statements of members of the Executive Council, if not to their liking, will be labeled as distorting statements of members of the Executive Council.

It is an undisputable fact that answers to all the questions were prepared by the Administration in writing and government refused to provide them to the island council.

Just for argument sake, I put here the part of the "Gentlemen’s Agreement" used by the Chairman, after he was pressured by the members of the Executive not to insist to provide the answers in writing the island council.

b. questions to be posed during Island Council meetings will be submitted as much as possible – in writing, either prior to the meeting (preferably together with the

request), or during the meeting (by all means, no later than at the end of the delivery in the first round). The Chairman then guarantees answers to these

questions, in writing, within a reasonable period (if possible during the same meeting, but most likely upon the resuming of the meeting after adjournment, but

by all means within two weeks of the session in question). NB: parties are urged to make effective use of their ‘fractie-kamer’ and ‘fractie-medewerkers’ to this


From the above, it is clear that this prerequisite pertains to a meeting of the island council requested by members of the Island Council; not one convened on behalf of the Executive Council.

What does apply in the case of the budget meeting which started on Monday, continued on Thursday and again adjourned until next Monday, is the following from the "Gentleman’s Agreement".

c. same: questions submitted in writing prior to or during an Island Council meeting: the Executive Council will request, in principle, an immediate adjournment of the

meeting in order to adequately prepare the answers which will, of course, also be submitted in writing;

Not to speak of the stipulation to submit budget question 5 days prior to the meeting, when we did not even have the new draft budget 5 days prior to the meeting.

Is it unjust to ask of the Executive Council to substantiate their position that in this economic climate they can extract in 9 months, taxes owed over 4 years?

It is unjust to demand of the Executive Council that they explain what of their plans are just good-sounding promises or serious intentions of a government and how they will finance these activities?

It is unjust to point out to government that typos, oversights, wrong postings, inconsistencies need to be corrected in a budget?

One thing is certain, this delay in handling the budget can’t be put at the step of the Democratic Party. No Central Committee, no answers in writing, yet another week wasted in handling the budget.