Difficult budgetary process St. Maarten main issue during Cft visit

The budgetary process, which was an uphill struggle and not finished yet, was the most important subject of discussion on St. Maarten during the meetings of the Council financial supervision (Cft) with both the Minister of Finance and the Minister President as well as the Council of Ministers and the States of St. Maarten.

The Cft held discussions during the visit to the BES-Islands, Curaçao and St. Maarten. The States of St. Maarten is yet to discuss the budget. It was agreed to drawn up a systematic planning to determine a budget for 2012 on time, one that complies with the Statute Law. Although the communication between the Cft and the official authorities was already good, according to the council, agreements were made for further improvement. The council is concerned about timely implementation information remaining forthcoming. “This is above all necessary to adjust the implementation of the budget on time. The arrears in the reports are caused by the complexity of the subject matter and the dismantlement of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10th last year.” St. Maarten indicated they would continue their endeavors in meeting the deadlines in the Statute Law.

The Cft has received the majority of the requested annual accounts on 2008 and 2009 from the government NV’s. St. Maarten assured that the Corporate Governance Council would have sufficient financial means at their disposal within short to do their work.

BES-Islands

The visit of the Cft was the first one in 2011 for the public bodies Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (BES). Discussions were held with the Boards of Governors, Island Councils and co-workers from the Finance departments. The Cft records that the BES are taking actual moves in obtaining a financially sound economy. For the first time, the budgets are balanced without a deficit.

Although the arrears in the annual accounts were cleared entirely in no time, they still require an approved control statement.

In the meantime, more than 25 million guilders of the payment arrears incurred during the past years have been cleared. This financial reconstruction was partly realized after Cft’s advice to the Minister of The Interior and Kingdom Relations. The financial reconstruction will be finalized during the coming months, yielding the BES an improved debt position. The Code Corporate Governance has not been implemented yet on St. Eustatius and Saba. Although the Corporate Government has been promulgated in the meantime on Bonaire, the amendment of the statutes of all government entities is still pending.

(Source: National Newspaper Amigoe)

23 May 2011

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