STATEMENT FROM WICSU/PSU IN SUPPORT OF SSRP (Sint Maarten Support & Relief Plan)

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With the financial care of Sint Maarten’s workforce at the forefront of its mission, we’ve paid close attention to the Minister of Finance Mr. Ardwell Irion presentation of the proposed SSRP (Sint Maarten Support & Relief Plan).

“We endorse the plan, as it directly addresses the care of employees, protect jobs and assist the less fortunate”. “This is a critical time for our workforce, and for the wellbeing of our citizens. We foresee the plan as a positive economic input on our community during this uncertain time in the history of our nation. Further, much consideration has been given to those who cannot support themselves in times of economic crisis—every person in Sint Maarten should be looked after, and we are confident that SSRP will do that. Everyone should get behind this effort and support it.”

“This is not a time for comparison, but for contemplation and commitment to our population—the very people who make up our beloved island nation. Together, with Government’s support, the people of Sint Maarten will prevail.”

Payroll support is a key element of the proposed plan, along with important social aspects. The proposal to respond to COVID-19’s devastation of the local economy was prepared by the Ministry of Finance with the input of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS), as well as input from various stakeholders on the island. Their primary objective: to avoid the layoff of employees (maintain employee retention) and help those affected by the lock down of the economy. The proposed plan includes payroll support to businesses, income support to independents including taxi drivers, vendors, etc, soft loans to cover fixed costs other than payroll. The plan identifies a need for ANG 253 million for April, May and June 2020. The proposal will now go to The Netherlands with CFT still having to render its advice on it. In the interim, government will start with the payroll support and income support programs that will be implemented before the end of April.

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