Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Gives Further Update on the Budget

All Efforts Being Taken to Ensure a Timely 2014 Budget

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams gave an update on the Budget on her weekly call-in radio program One on One with the Prime Minister on Pearl 98.1 FM on Friday.  

The PM stated that for the last few weeks as the new government one of the critical points was the handling of the 2013 Budget.

"There is so much that is critical to the Government Budget and Government finances. As we all know Parliament did approve the budget but given the time that passed and given the fact that there was and is legislation necessary passed in time we were not able to get the estimates necessary to get the 2013 Budget approved. One of the items which was subsequently brought off the table in the budget was the tax on alcohol and tobacco but also on other matters there needs to be changes made to current laws and that did not happen and so the estimates needs to be corrected," commented the Prime Minister.

"As Minister Hassink got into office his first goal was to get a Budget that the Government of St Maarten could operate on. In order for him to do this he needed to make some changes, including the estimates that need to be changed due to them being no longer feasible. He has been working very hard in presenting a new proposal and corrections that would ensure that there still will a balanced budget. The Minister has made proposals to the Council of Ministers and he is now in discussion to reach an agreement with the CFT that is necessary for the Budget to be ratified," continued the PM.

The Prime Minister also stated that because of the lateness of the 2013 Budget Government is being very careful in the spending of the various Ministries and Departments. "We need to finalize the budget process and we need to finalize the budget and the plan of the Minister within soon. All Ministries and departments are very prudent in spending for 2013 and have taken measures to reduce the spending. Having said this we are also now focusing on the 2014 Budget and to have this through in time in order to avoid a similar situation.

"People oftentimes overlook that the law on financial supervision also establishes that even after the accepting of the Budget by Parliament the CFT still needs to give the Budget one more review. With the political stalemate there was a delay regarding the budget and that was what our Minister was confronted with when he took office," concluded the Prime Minister.