Country Sint Maarten should be able to seek development funds from other countries and take the lead in promoting SIDS Issues within the Kingdom.

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

With country Sint Maarten 2011 budget still pending, additional provisions will have to be made with respect to investing in our own national development as the Dutch Budget for 2011 reveals that subsidy support from Holland will start to decline in 2011 and cease to exist within three years.

 

The amount budgeted for Curacao and Sint Maarten in 2011 is 73 million Euros. The cooperation funds in the Dutch Government will be reduced in 2011 by 17 million Euros and by 36.4 million in 2012 and will be zero in 2013. Development funds from USONA and AMFO will not be subsidized by the Dutch Government after 2012; no more money for the programme Education and Youth after 2012 and the Netherlands Antilles Safety Plan PVNA will cease at the end of 2012; financial support for the Social Economic Initiative (SEI) will be terminated at the end of 2010.

 

Holland will provide 10 million Euros per year for Curacao and Sint Maarten starting from October 10 until 2015, in technical assistance/supervision to build up the government apparatus.

 

With development assistance going to dwindle in the coming years; as a nation we need to make our own provisions first and foremost from within our own national budget and then look else where for additional assistance. Country Sint Maarten should be able to tap into funds from multilateral institutions and receive assistance from other countries.

 

As Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding recently pointed out at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, developing countries must help themselves towards sustainable development. “We must recognize that there is a lot that we can and must do for ourselves. Each of us must adopt and pursue with fixity of purpose the appropriate economic and social policies and good governance practices,” Golding said.

 

Golding added, “…long term development must not be decided by strength alone, but through cooperation. The existing international financial system and multilateral trading arrangements will not enable these imbalances to be redressed. They have not done so up to now and they are unlikely to do so in the future.

 

“Market forces and competitiveness are indispensable for economic development but the new millennium cannot be defined by the survival of the fittest. We must make it our business to assist the weak to become fit in order to not just survive but prosper,” Golding explained.

 

Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush told a UN roundtable last week that associate member states, like the British island dependency Cayman Islands, are being excluded from certain development assistance programmes begun as part of the UN’s Mauritius Strategy.

 

The Mauritius Strategy is an agreement that seeks to promote sustainable development in Small Island Development States (SIDS) aimed at tackling poverty and controlling debt levels. The strategy also is aimed at improving governance and consistency of international financial and trading systems to help smaller island states participate in the decision-making process for those industries.

 

Premier McKeeva Bush added, “…the Mauritius Strategy for the Caribbean cannot be fully implemented if some islands are excluded on political or constitutional grounds.” “We are just as vulnerable to hurricanes, earthquakes and sea level rise as our neighbours.” Bush added, “We need to move away from relationships based on post-colonial guilt, and trade preferences that has the unintended effect of discouraging diversification and prolonging dependency.” “We need a new relationship between partners, based on mutual interests and shared benefits.”

 

This is an effort – the inconsistencies of the international financial and trading systems towards SIDS – which we need to take up at the Dutch Kingdom level. As a SIDS ourselves, along with Aruba, and Curacao, we need to bring forth the challenges faced by SIDS and have the Kingdom of the Netherlands play a role in working towards creating a level playing field for all nations.

Roddy Heyliger

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