On Wednesday, August 18, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs updated Members of Parliament (MPs) on the country package and the implementation agenda during a meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament. Information concerning the country package and implementation agenda had already been shared with the MPs during parliamentary meetings held on March 1, April 19, May 14, May 20, and during the budget debate as well. However, Prime Minister Jacobs requested the additional meeting during the 2021 budget debate in order to provide the MPs with more clarity concerning the country package for St. Maarten. This meeting also served to render an update on the progress made concerning the implementation of the structural reforms considered to ensure not only a resilient St. Maarten but also its financial and economic sustainability.
The country package offers a vehicle to set administrative processes in order and should be seen as a collection of structural solutions in the form of reform measures for the enhancement and necessary restructuring of government. The measures for the structural reforms are in the areas of financial control, cost and effectiveness of the public sector, taxes, financial sector, economic reforms, health, education and strengthening rule of law. ?It is the responsibility of the Government and the ministries, to translate the reform measures in the context of St. Maarten. The responsible ministries need to define these measures in the context of St. Maarten local working sphere and establish how best to reach the objectives with the tools that are available,? stated Prime Minister Jacobs.
For the execution of the country package, actions are selected, discussed with St. Maarten, and agreed on in an implementation agenda. The actions together with a deadline are then agreed on between St. Maarten and the Temporary Working Organisation (TWO). Initial agreements are made on a technical level with the understanding that administrative agreement is still pending approval of the ministers. The proposed agreements are then presented to the Council of Ministers for approval and ratification. The same happens on the side of the Netherlands. When governments agree on the content, the document is signed by the Prime Minister and the State Secretary.
Prime Minister Jacobs stated, ?The ministers remain responsible for the going concerns of their ministries as well as for measures that fall under their respective ministry. As such, they are informed by their individual Secretary Generals, who are responsible for the actual and necessary execution, on the progress of the reform measures that are assigned to their ministry.
St. Maarten?s first implementation agenda covered the second quarter of 2021 (April, May and June). This agenda was linked to the fifth tranche of liquidity support. The second agenda applies to the third quarter of 2021 (July, August and September) and was linked to the sixth tranche of liquidity support.