THURSDAY, 11 JULY 2013
ST. EUSTATIUS – The Island Council held a public meeting Wednesday to discuss the ﬁnancial summary report and the budget amendment. Island Council Member for St. Eustatius Empowerment Party (STEP) Franklin Brown submitted a notice extending his apologies for not being able to be present at the ﬁrst Island Council meeting under the new UPC/ SLAM/Merkman coalition. Newly appointed Commissioner of Finance Reginald Zaandam of United People’s Coalition (UPC), who was sworn in last week Thursday, started his deliberations by commending the Finance Department for their work.
He explained that the 2013 quarterly report, which should have been completed in March 2013, was granted extension by Committee for Financial Supervision CFT. Commissioner Zaandam quickly added that the second quarterly report would be ready and submitted according to the stipulated timeline. The budget amendment, which was approved by all Island Council members present, was also explained in detail. The Commissioner of Finance highlighted the fact that the budget amendment is based on four pillars.
“The government owned properties and buildings were never registered properly and this was corrected by previous governments. The present value is set at US $13 million but this is in assets and not ﬂuent cash,” the Commissioner said. He continued elaborating on the pillars on which the 2013 amendment is based. He talked about the errors made in the system over the years at the Finance Department caused by personnel shortage and lacking tools to assure accuracy. Zaandam expressed gratitude that this department is now modernized and doing everything to correct system data. The Finance Commissioner said he was “extremely happy” to inform the Council that there is a ﬁnancial windfall of “a reasonable amount,” which will be used for the almost depleted budget for travels. The previous ﬁnancial projections on the travel budget were estimated on the low side and will be adjusted. Zaandam stated that the ﬁnancial report is in its ﬁnal stages. The information in the ﬁnancial report is essential for the 2014 budget.
The Commissioner concluded that an estimated US $18.5 million will be available after the execution of projects, while the expenses are set at US $17.5 million, which will leave the Island Government’s coffers with US $500,000 at the end of 2013. The proposed budget amendment was adopted as submitted by all present Island Council members.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten