Financial woes

Member of Parliament George Pantophlet wants the Minister of Finance Mr. Hassink to tell the people if the 2.6 million guilders owed to the St. Maarten Medical Center and other possible millions owed to other healthcare providers have been paid. The MP says that he has been patient on this matter in the hopes that the Minister would be forthcoming with the answers but this has not happened. The story on this broke sometime in February and now we are in May and still no response. In discussion with one of those healthcare providers he was told that they are owed January to April and don’t know how they will survive if this scenario continues. The MP hopes that this does not lead to them refusing to accept medical cards as has happened in the past on more than one occasion. And in addition to that the Tax office is breathing down the throat of this particular healthcare provider. Interesting combination, government owes you they can’t pay you but you must pay them. It is becoming more and more apparent that this government does not like to pay its bills. This is one of the reasons why former Minister of Finance Roland Tuitt had to delve into the reserves to pay old outstanding bills and to add insult to injury they owe SZV and the pension fund over 100 million guilders which has to be paid this year according to the CFT before the 2015 Budget can be presented. The 100 million AUC gift is looming larger and larger at this time. The Member of Parliament says that the Minister of Finance will be requested to give Parliament a break down of how much is owed to whom it is owed since when it is owed and also a payment plan as to how these will be paid. Government is out there pursuing the minimum wage earner, the pensioner and the working poor as usual but absolutely nothing is being mentioned about the 100 million guilder AUC court case that was supposed to have started since December 2013 some 5 months ago. Another issue is how much has been collected of the 25 million guilders owed in casino fees. There was supposed to be a meeting with the casino controllers last week but it was conveniently cancelled. Interestingly this issue falls under the portfolio of Minister Ted Richardson who also carries responsibility for the Princess Juliana Airport. The M P says he is not interested in the singing skills of the minister but the financial management of the tax payer’s money. I guess if the Minister is called in to Parliament he will sing a new song or maybe an old one but this matter is serious. The M P repeats his patience is running thin. There is also the matter of the Inspectorate of Taxes in this instance the audit department. A quick scan was done in February, was a copy sent to Parliament? Was any action taken to resolve the problems as it relates to the relationship between the Head of the Department and the staff? What actions were taken especially that of the communication between Department head and staff because the proper functioning of this department is vital to the collection of taxes. Finally on a complete other issue but financially and socially related, the MP wants to admonish Minister Ted Richardson that a request will be submitted to him to provide the following: A copy of the draft legislation of the Tourism Authority, a copy of the draft legislation on the consumer protection Agency, a copy of the draft legislation on the casino gaming board a copy on legislation to increase the casino fees and a copy of the draft legislation on the items to be added to the basket of goods. People are suffering and many are poor and as someone said a country is known by the way it treats its poor.