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SMCC: NAPB right to collective bargaining denied

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This week the Minister of Justice issued a press release under the heading: “Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson Brings Clarity to Statements made by NAPB Union,” the Sint Maarten Consumers Coalition (SMCC) said in a media statement.

“At the end of the press release was said and we quote: “The Minister of Justice and the Minister of General Affairs, are always willing to meet with NAPB as a Union representative if they wish to bring across some concerns of their members. However, the Ministers do not acknowledge the right of collective bargaining of NAPB with the government regarding any employee issue.” What brought the Ministers to this statement, that NAPB does not have the right to collective bargaining?

“We quote from the press statement: “Where it relates to collective bargaining, this is a right in general, not the right of a specific union. International Labour Organization (ILO) treaties in general are not very specific in their application.”

“The NAPB has requested already on two occasions for a meeting with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of General Affairs to discuss the realization of the right to collective bargaining of NAPB as a union representing workers in the Justice Ministry. With this press release the Ministers publicly refuse and recognize their commitment to continue to violate the right of the NAPB to collective bargaining.

The President of the NAPB Inspector Rogerell Mauricia will further expound on this matter,” the SMCC statement concludes.

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Four New Positive COVID-19 cases. 14 Active Cases. 114 Vaccines Administered on Friday. 8209 Registered. 3188 Vaccinated

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of March 12th, there was four (4) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, six (6) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to fourteen (14). The total number of confirmed cases is now two thousand and eighty-two (2082).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring twelve (12) people in home isolation. Two (2) patients remain hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to two thousand and forty-one (2041). Seventeen (17) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2572 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 22, 027 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

CPS reported a total of 8, 209 persons who have registered to be vaccinated 3, 188 vaccines has been administered. One hundred and fourteen (114) vaccines were administered today.

If you haven't done so already, please register for the vaccine (also if you are under 60 years) using the online registration link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb ,or via a paper-based registration form, which can be picked up at several locations, including Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

Minister Panneflek advises everyone to remain vigilant when in public places and wear a mask when in public, practice 2-meters social distancing, sanitize and wash your hands frequently and remain cautious of large gathering’s.

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One New Positive COVID-19 case. 16 Active Cases. 246 Vaccines Administered. Close to 8000 Registered for a Vaccine. 3074 Vaccinated

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of March 11th, there was one (1) person who tested positive for COVID-19. One (1) person has recovered, causing the total active cases to remain at sixteen (16). The total number of confirmed cases is now two thousand and seventy-eight (2078).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring fourteen (14) people in home isolation. Two (2) patients are hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to two thousand and thirty-five (2035). Seventeen (17) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2563 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 22, 027 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

CPS reported a total of 7,940 persons who have registered to be vaccinated, 3,074 vaccines has been administered. Two hundred and forty-six (246) vaccines were administered today.

If you haven't done so already, please register for the vaccine (also if you are under 60 years) using the online registration link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb ,or via a paper-based registration form, which can be picked up at several locations, including Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

As we continue to aim towards zero active cases, play your part and wear a mask, practice 2-meters social distancing, sanitize and wash your hands frequently and remain cautious of large gathering’s.

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UNESCO PARTNERS WITH FUNTOPIA YOUTH INITIATIVE TO STIMULATE CULTURAL HERITAGE ACTIVITIES IN SCHOOLS

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO has partnered with the Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation to launch the pilot afterschool program for introducing the Art of Stilt walking and Moko Jumbie culture in primary schools as an extra-curricular activity. This initiative is a part of UNESCO and the Ministry of Education Culture Youth and Sport (Culture Department) aim to stimulate local institutions to engage in the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) attributes of Sint Maarten.

The program is being held at the Sister Borgia Primary School where several Catholic Schools and Oranje school students come together to participate on Wednesday afternoons. Participating students are between the ages of 6 and 11 years old. In the first week, the students learnt what is stilt walking and its African origin and Caribbean adaption through a video documentary and open discussion.

The documentary shown was received from the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago entitled “The March of the Mokos”, the film was written and directed by Kim Johnson. Johnson has given the Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation permission to show the documentary to educate the youth as they begin their journey to join the Caribbean culture of Moko Jumbies.

The pilot program will run for a period of three months. After which the students who have participated will be able to give a presentation displaying their learnt skills for their schools. Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation aims to be able to have this extracurricular activity integrated in all primary schools with hopes to keep this cultural tradition alive.

The Funtopia Youth Initiative Foundation has been actively training young persons in the community in this art form since 2014. The organization has trained many local teenagers to stilt walk over the last seven (7) years. Most of our walkers have been seen during carnival and regatta festivals, at hotels and other events in vibrant colorful costumes performing stunts and dance routines.

“Our Stilt walkers have had countless opportunities to travel to various Caribbean islands such as: Dominica, Saba, St. Eustatius and Anguilla to participate in their festivals. We are elated to have had one of our members participate in Belgium circus act as a professional stilt walker. We have now arrived at this point in our development to join other Caribbean island Moko Jumbies by renaming our stilt walking group to the Soualigan Giants Moko Jumbies. We are also setting out to develop our own documentary that will tell the story of how our St. Martin walkers came to be,” said founder and president Lucinda Audain.

“The Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO is very proud of the work that Ms. Lucinda Audain has been doing to preserve this aspect of St. Martin’s cultural heritage, and therefore, our office will continue to support the Funtopia organization in its effort to have this extracurricular activity integrated in all primary schools ensuring that this aspect of St. Martin’s intangible cultural heritage lives on,” said Marcellia Henry, Secretary General for Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO.

UNESCO FYI 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One New Positive COVID-19 case. 16 Active Cases. Over 2800 Vaccinated. 330 Vaccinated on Wednesday. Nearly 7600 registered

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of March 10th, there was one (1) person who tested positive for COVID-19; however, three (3) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to sixteen (16). The total number of confirmed cases is now two thousand and seventy-seven (2077).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring fourteen (14) people in home isolation. Two (2) patients are hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27). 

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to two thousand and thirty-four (2034). Twenty-one (21) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2552 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 21, 103 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

CPS reported a total of 7,594 persons who have registered to be vaccinated, 2,828 vaccines has been administered. Three hundred and thirty (330) vaccines were administered today.

If you haven't done so already, please register for the vaccine (also if you are under 60 years) using the online registration link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb ,or via a paper-based registration form, which can be picked up at several locations, including Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

Minister Panneflek encourages everyone to remain alert when in public, for your safety wear a mask when in public, practice 2-meters social distancing, sanitize and wash your hands frequently and remain cautious of large gathering’s.

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18 Active Cases. Two New Positive COVID-19 cases. 156 Persons Vaccinated on Tuesday

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of March 9th, there were two (2) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, three (3) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to eighteen (18). The total number of confirmed cases is now two thousand and seventy-six (2076).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring seventeen (17) people in home isolation. One (1) patient is hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to two thousand and thirty-one (2031). Twenty-three (23) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2547 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 21,103 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

CPS reported a total of 7,178 persons who have registered to be vaccinated, 2,198 vaccines has been administered. At the time of this release, one hundred and fifty-six (156) vaccines were administered at CPS. The total vaccines administered at Belair are currently pending.

If you haven't done so already, please register for the vaccine (also if you are under 60 years) using the online registration link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb ,or via a paper-based registration form, which can be picked up at several locations, including Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

Please remain vigilant when in public. Continue to wear a mask when in public, practice 2-meters social distancing, sanitize and wash your hands frequently and remain cautious of large gathering’s.

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Four New Positive COVID-19 cases. 19 Active Cases. Close to 7000 Registered for the Vaccine

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - As of March 8th, there were four (4) persons who tested positive for COVID-19; however, two (2) persons have recovered; bringing the total active cases to nineteen (19). The total number of confirmed cases is now two thousand and seventy-four (2074).

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) are monitoring eighteen (18) people in home isolation. One (1) patient is hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at twenty-seven (27).

The number of people recovered since the first case surfaced on St. Maarten has increased to two thousand and twenty-eight (2028). Twenty-two (22) people are in quarantine based on contact tracing investigations carried out by CPS.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (VSA) Airport Health Team in collaboration with Health Care Laboratory Sint Maarten (HCLS) have tested 2546 travelers arriving at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), while CPS tested 21,103 people throughout the community. As the numbers continue to fluctuate, CPS will continue to actively execute its contact tracing measures.

Close to 7,000 Registered for the Vaccine

CPS reported a total of 6,957 persons who have registered to be vaccinated, 2,042 vaccines has been administered. One hundred and thirty-eight vaccines were administered today.

If you haven't done so already, please register for the vaccine (also if you are under 60 years) using the online registration link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb ,or via a paper-based registration form, which can be picked up at several locations, including Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

As we continue to work towards achieving zero active cases, Minister Panneflek reminds everyone to be cautious and wear a mask when in public, practice 2-meters social distancing, sanitize and wash your hands frequently and remain cautious of large gathering’s.

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Tugboat sinks near Point Blanche

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) - The Coast Guard received a notification on Thursday morning, that the tugboat Jason encountered some problems at sea, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) said in a statement.

The tugboat was towing a barge from Oyster Pond to the Simpson Bay. The captain indicated that at a certain moment he noticed that water was entering the tugboat.

The tugboat sank very rapidly and could not be saved. The two men on the tugboat swam to the barge they were towing and are safe and sound. The barge was towed to Simpson Bay by another boat.

Barge two

barge coast guard

 

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Public Prosecutor’s Office files for appeal in cassation on the decision to reject request for inquiry into the Sint Maarten Harbour Group

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On 1 September 2017, The Public Prosecutor's Office submitted a request with the Joint Court of Justice (the Court) for an inquiry into the Sint Maarten Harbour Group (the Port): a so-called civil inquiry (civiele enquête), the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said in a press statement on Thursday.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office deemed it necessary – for reasons of public interest – to make the Port subject to an in-depth investigation as there were well-grounded reasons to doubt the corporate policy pursued throughout the last decade. The importance of such investigation was emphasized by the results of the criminal investigations codenamed Emerald and Larimar.

“These investigations revealed - among other things - that the Port has been subject to serious malpractices for an extended period of time. Invoice fraud resulted in a financial loss of more than ten million American dollars. Systematic corruption occurred, for example around the bidding process in relation to tenders for infrastructure projects such as the Causeway Bridge.

“These events underline the importance for the community to have transparency on the state of affairs within this public company. More insight may prevent similar malpractices in the future. In the Emerald case, the former CEO of the Port was sentenced to 46 months imprisonment in early 2020.

“Shortly after that, an influential politician was given a prison sentence of 5 years for his part in the Larimar investigation. The Court rejected the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office to institute an inquiry.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office does not agree with this and believes that there are legal grounds to request the Supreme Court to overturn that decision. Earlier today, Thursday the 4th of March 2021, an application for cassation was filed with the Supreme Court in The Hague on behalf of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.”

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Emmanuel asks about more cuts, how internal shifting will work

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Civil servants possibly having to sustain more cuts to their salaries and benefits was one of the main areas of concern highlighted by Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel during the Central Committee meeting discussion on the country reform package on Monday. In total the MP asked 73 questions about various aspects in the country reform package

The MP also took issue with the Minister of Finance for trying to use “word games” to deviate and mis-lead about hiring more people just a few weeks after cutting benefits and being instructed by the CFT to remove the budget 2021 post seeking to fill 155 vacancies. He also queried how internal shifting of civil servants will work with an increased workload as the CFT suggested.

MP Emmanuel pointed out that the country package specifically states: “Based on research on secondary and tertiary employment benefits, proposals for possible cuts will be developed and implemented.

“Considering that some of the aspects in this country package still have to be implemented, the question is will civil servants have to endure more cuts. Clarification is needed as people will already be going through a rough time with cuts to their income,” MP Emmanuel said.

He re-iterated that the government’s statement that basis salaries are not being cut cleverly leaves out the fact that once secondary and tertiary benefits are cut, persons will have to turn to an already stressed basis salary to make up for loss income.

“Government must be clear to the public about what to expect especially with talk of new taxes in the very same country package. Government has yet to say definitively that there will be no new taxes. In fact, everything that we have heard so far, amongst all of the dodging to address anything directly, is that the possibility of new taxes are very real,” the MP said.

“During the public meeting for the handling of the law regulating the 12.5% cut in personnel benefits for civil servants, the Prime Minister stated that she was embarrassed by the salary scales that are in use by the Government and that she had requested this be reviewed by the policy section of the Personnel Department. The Minister went on to draw a link to the country package,” the MP said, and then asked: “Can the minister explain which measure in the country package provides a possibility for the increase in the salary scales in government? As from what I have read, the country package is actually speaking of further reducing benefits.”

Regarding the recent statement by the Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion that he (Emmanuel) was misleading the public by asking about 155 vacancies posted in the 2021 budget, Emmanuel said “the Minister responded as if those were my words. The Chairperson of the CFT sent the budget back for many reasons, including the mention of 155 vacancies to fill, which means you want to hire people.”

The MP explained that the Minister of Finance during mentioned press briefing referred to a letter from the CFT. In the Daily Herald of February 15th reference was made to this letter from the CFT. The article stated the following: According to CFT Chairman Gradus, personnel cost accounts for NAf. 179 million of the draft 2021 budget. This represents a 16 per cent increase compared to what was accrued in 2019, and is derived from government seeking to fill some 155 full-time vacancies. "As a result, the savings resulting from pension reform and the 12.5 per cent curtailment of the employment conditions for civil servants are largely unrealized. The CFT advised you, pending the audit that has been agreed to with the Netherlands, to fill the proposed increases by internal shifts," said Gradus.

Emmanuel said the Minister has to confirm if this is factual information, not play games during a Council of Ministers Press Briefing. He said by stating that the savings coming from the 12.5% curtailment of employment conditions of civil servants would be unrealized, Gradus was under the same impression as everyone else: How are you going to hire after just cutting civil servants?

“The CFT Chairman then recommends internal shifts. The Minister of Finance and Minister of Personnel Affairs (PM) will have to explain what this will look like for an already over-stretched civil core. The Minister of Finance should focus on the truth and finalizing the 2021 budget, not trying to play cute for the cameras,” MP Emmanuel said.

Country Package

  1. Is there intent to change the way subsidies are granted to foundations and other groups? Will the subsidy ordinance as is still apply or is there intent to change this? If yes, how? Please explain the intended change.
  1. What policy plans if any have been drawn up for the execution of the reforms in the country packages?
  1. What is this so called "robust tax system" that the Dutch keep saying will be implemented on SXM? What are the details of this tax system?
  1. More specifically, is there an intention to impose a VAT tax on St. Maarten as well as property/land tax?
  1. Are you of the same opinion as the Dutch that the corporate governance at the government owned companies is not adequate? If yes, explain why you would think this. If not, why is this used as a motivation for control over our companies?
  1. Are you of the opinion that the government owned companies do not produce reliable income and expenditures estimates as suggested by the Dutch?
  1. Will Ministers still have the freedom of signing for expenditures under Naf 50k? If not why not?
  1. Who manages and supervises the crime fund at present? and what type of independent organization will be setup as mentioned in the country package?
  1. It is stated that the countries are working towards a harmonized level of protection of personal data within the Kingdom via a Kingdom Act. What can be envisioned by a Kingdom Act for the protection of personal data and why is it necessary in this form? Exactly what personal information is being referred to? Where and who will be managing this data and who will oversee those who are managing it? What happens if where this data is stored, is somehow compromised?
  1. There is mention of proposals for care and a review of the medical insurance package with introduction of personal payments. So now we want to introduce personal payments to put an added burden on the working class? After already taking a cut in their benefits? What will happen to the seniors?
  1. What benefit is increasing the pension age to 67 for the working class? How does the lifespan of persons on the island factor into this?
  1. What is specifically meant with "reducing the cost of doing business" in the context of entrepreneurship and the investment climate?
  1. There is a strong focus being placed on foreign labor in relation to promoting reconstruction. Why is this the case?
  1. What benefit is there to the local labor force and the country if it is made easier to recruit foreign workers?
  1. How does this tie in with the fact that in 2017 St. Maarten had to give up border control to the Netherlands, under the guise of preventing an influx of foreign labor, so that the local population could benefit from the re-construction jobs?
  1. How is local labor being protected and guaranteed for projects of the NRPB and considering the motion passed in Parliament on local companies getting work.
  1. Part of the analysis of the labor market policy includes a "reduction of working hours" and "relaxation of the dismissal law". What is understood by reduction of labor hours? How will this benefit the labor force and the country?
  1. How will the dismissal law be relaxed?
  1. What benefit is it to employees and the country if the dismissal law is relaxed?
  1. What has been spent from the trust fund on the social security system and what is the status? What kind of delay can be expected if any?
  1. The country package mentions a review of the supervision on the financial markets will be carried out by an independent body. Does this mean a review of the Central Bank? And what will the role of the Central Bank be?
  1. The intention is also to study dollarization. Was a study on this not already executed? How will this study be utilized?
  1. A Deposit Guarantee Scheme will be introduced. Please explain what this is.
  1. There is also mention of strengthening the governance of the Central Bank of SXM and CUR. How? And how does this tie in with the recent agreement of the Central Bank and the Netherlands to work together? Please be specific.
  1. What is the exact role of the Customs Department in relation to tax collection? As it is mentioned that Customs and Tax department administration will be optimized and modernized. Also, optimized and modernized how? Will this include hiring additional personnel?
  1. What is minimum Base Erosion and Profit Shifting?
  1. What is the "corporate governance protocol 2020?"
  1. Who are the parties involved in the Corporate Governance task Force?
  1. Are they appointed for a specific amount of time? Who do they report to?
  1. What will happen to the Corporate Governance Council?
  1. What would be the impact of a 12.5% VAT/BTW tax? Especially considering the cut in the salary packages based on the 2nd tranche.
  1. A VAT tax is a tax on consumption. Which means that poorer households pay the most. Most of the tax dollars that are generated by a VAT come from those who can least afford to pay them. Why would you saddle your people with this tax? When the cost of living is already so high.
  1. A VAT is also usually added to other taxes. SO we have a 5% TOT and now want to add a 12.5% VAT? Why would government agree to this in a country package knowing that costs would be passed on to the consumer?
  1. When a VAT is added, it changes the retail price point of every item and service that is offered. The VAT would need to be calculated for every step of the process that it takes to create a product or offer a service. Then these added costs would be put into the final product price, which causes the consumer to pay for all of the added taxes.
  1. Is government aware of the administrative burden to businesses a VAT would have? Thereby making TAX collecting probably even more difficult?
  1. Will there be tax exemptions for this VAT?
  1. What happened to the NAf. 12.3 mil contract the former Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings awarded to Bearing Point for the ICT services and software of the Tax Department in 2019?
  1. What is exactly being proposed where it pertains to "tax holidays" in the country package as it pertains to limiting administrative interference?
  1. What is the reason for providing the tax and customs administration with information from the banking sector? What information exactly will be provided? Will this require new legislation? How will this affect the confidential and personal relationship between a bank and its client?
  1. What does reviewing the HR function entail? (B-8 in the country package)
  1. A lot is said about strategic personnel policies and a performance management system. Performance management was implemented in 2008 by Government. What is wrong with the current system?
  1. What kind of policies is meant by ‘strategic personnel policies’? Can the Minister give some examples and indicate what would be different from the existing personnel policies?
  1. What does it mean to limit political influence in personnel matters? Ministers are responsible for personnel matters by law.
  1. How much has been spent from the trust fund on creating a digital government environment?
  1. What is the status of the e-gov project from the trust fund? When did it start and what has been achieved/implemented thus far?
  1. How much has been spent from the trust fund for the so called "Quality, effectiveness and implementation power, including the strength of the ministerial staff" as mentioned in the country package and what does it entail?
  1. For years it has been stated that ghost civil servants have been addressed. What is the actual status? Can the minister list per ministry the amount of ghost civil servants and what actions have been undertaken to have this addressed?
  1. Are there employees who are receiving a salary unjustly? Can the minister list per ministry the amount of employees? And the reason this is the case? Again, this is mentioned in the country package.
  1. The section on aviation is very vague. Please explain how the aviation system will be strengthened and the benefits to St. Maarten specifically.
  1. Will the strengthening of the aviation system include better prices to travel within the Kingdom, especially to and from the Netherlands for the students?
  1. On the issue of having One Disaster Risk Management policy, what has been done via the World Bank in the past 3 years in the area of disaster management? How much money has been allocated via the trust fund to this? How much was paid to the World Bank thus far?
  1. Does the government agree with State Secretary Knops that the three laws passed earlier regarding salary and benefit cuts, is a package deal with the country packages and the establishment COHO?
  1. Is the government of the same opinion as State Secretary Knops and the President of St. Maarten’s Parliament, that before any debate takes place, the country packages and the COHO already has majority support in Parliament so both will be approved by Parliament?
  1. During the public meeting for the handling of, amongst others, the law regulating the 12.5% cut in personnel benefits for civil servants, the Prime Minister indicated that the cuts were aimed at the reduction of the costs of personnel. The Prime Minister went on to state that cuts were to generate savings and to be in solidarity with the private sector. Can the Prime Minister confirm if this statement that she made on the floor of parliament was accurate?
  1. Did the government stop hiring additional personnel in 2020 to reduce personnel costs?
  2. Can the Prime Minister conform that B5 of the country package is geared towards further reducing the benefits of civil servants?
  1. During the public meeting for the handling of the law regulating the 12.5% cut in personnel benefits for civil servants, the Prime Minister stated that she was embarrassed by the salary scales that are in use by the Government and that she had requested this be reviewed by the policy section of the Personnel Department. The Minister went on to draw a link to the country package. Can the minister explain which measure in the country package provides a possibility for the increase in the salary scales in government? As from what I have read, B5 of the country package is actually speaking of further reducing benefits. Can the Minister explain to Parliament and the people of Sint Maarten what is meant by the Dutch word 'versobering' in B5 to be exact?
  1. During the public meeting for the handling of the law regulating the 12.5% cut in personnel benefits for civil servants, the Prime Minister stated that if for the execution of the country package Sint Maarten needs 2 or 3 people, Holland is willing to assist in financing the cost or by providing the people themselves. Can the Prime Minister, responsible for personnel affairs as the Minister of General Affairs, explain why it was stated by the Minister of Finance during the Council of Ministers press briefing on February 24th that vacancies have been included in the draft 2021 budget to recruit for persons to amongst other things, execute the country packages?
  1. Can the Minister, again as Minister of Personnel Affairs, confirm that the Dutch Government and CFT agree that additional personnel should be hired from the 2021 budget of St. Maarten?
  1. The Minister of Finance during mentioned press briefing referred to a letter from the CFT. In the Daily Herald of February 15th reference was made to this letter from the CFT. The article stated the following: According to Gradus, personnel cost accounts for NAf. 179 million of the draft 2021 budget. This represents a 16 per cent increase compared to what was accrued in 2019, and is derived from government seeking to fill some 155 full-time vacancies. "As a result, the savings resulting from pension reform and the 12.5 per cent curtailment of the employment conditions for civil servants are largely unrealized. The CFT advised you, pending the audit that has been agreed to with the Netherlands, to fill the proposed increases by internal shifts," said Gradus. Can the Minister confirm if this is factual information?
  1. Can the Minister explain how the Government justifies increasing the pensionable age, freezing the salaries of civil servants and cutting into their benefits, to reduce personnel costs, while at the same time indicating in the draft budget for 2021 that the intention is to hire 155 new employees, which will result in an overall increase of 3.5% in personnel costs compared to 2019?

Hospital Alliance

  1. Please explain in detail what is the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance?
  1. Please provide a copy of this Alliance document.
  1. Who drafted this document?
  1. When was it finalized?
  1. What input did St. Maarten have specifically in the agreement that governs this Alliance? Please provide details.
  1. How does this alliance benefit St. Maarten specifically?
  1. Does this alliance fill any medical voids/services that St. Maarten lacks? Please list them.
  1. What are the annual costs involved?
  1. How will this alliance ensure the continuity of specialist medical care?
  1. How will this alliance increase the quality and availability of medical care?
  1. What is meant with "ensuring our cultural values have top priority" in the context of this medical alliance?
  1. Please mention some examples of "enhanced collaboration" as outlined in the alliance agreement.

 

 

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