He is the one seem to be responsible for giving account of St. Maarten to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. In a written response from the State secretary for Interior and Kingdom Relations Mr. Raymond Knops to the second chamber MPs about the situation in St. Maarten, It seems to suggest that he was charged with a certain responsibility to gain control over the financial expenditures and what’s happening on St. Maarten as the one responsible for Kingdom Relations.
What seem to be the problem? Well, how the Dutch money is spent and who decides how. Ronald Van Raak a member of the Socialist Party (SP) has a problem with the high salaries of MPs in St. Maarten and wants it reduced by 10% especially at this time when the Dutch Government is called on to live up to article 36 of the Kingdom Charter offering support to a kingdom partner after a major disaster. Knops pointed this out to the MPs in the second chamber to confirm the Dutch Government obligation to offer assistance in the form of liquidity support to St. Maarten. The only baggage that comes with this Dutch support, are lots of conditions. Knops stated in his letter to the second chamber of the Dutch Parliament that lowering the MPs salary remains a precondition for future financial support for St. Maarten. The budget he said has been approved which has in it a reduction for MPs, but in addition, the Parliament of St. Maarten must pass a separate Law proposal by a 2/3 majority (which is 10 – 15) in order for the reduction to take place, and currently the majority in Parliament is a slim 8 out of 15 members. That would mean at least two of the opposition members will have to support this law.
The opposition in parliament have expressed grave concerns as to who is exactly in charge of running the administration. The name Knops has always surfaced and when you examine his letter to Parliament, it is clear he has a mandate that doesn’t get the support of the seven members in the opposition benches in the Parliament of St. Maarten. Therefore it is left to be seen if they would vote for such a law when the proposal reaches to Parliament.
Meantime, there are lots of surprises coming for St. Maarten that would see serious cut backs in Government spending, the possibility of the introduction of new taxes, and extreme pressure on Tax payers to be compliant to compensate for future budget deficit. All are the recommendations approved by the Dutch through the World Bank as part of their policy operation to improve St. Maarten financial Management and Raymond Knops is placed at the helm with the council of Ministers as his subordinates.