Sint Maarten rejects Dutch condition for emergency aid
Sint Maarten prime minister William Marlin rejected the Netherlands' conditions for emergency aid to the island following hurricane Irma, Trouw reports. In a letter to Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Marlin wrote that Sint Maarten can not agree to the conditions by the deadline of October 31st, but that he is open to come to the Netherlands to discuss other conditions .
Plasterk set two conditions on the Netherlands providing financial support for the reconstruction of Sint Maarten following the devastating hurricane Irma. The first is that an 'Integrity Chamber' be set up. Under leadership of the Netherlands, this chamber will make sure that the emergency aid is spent well and prevent corruption.
The second condition is that the Netherlands take over the island's border control, and strengthen it by sending more Koninklijke Marechaussee officers to Sint Maarten. In this way, the Netherlands wants to prevent undocumented migrants entering the island to perform reconstruction work cheaply and illegally.
Only under these two conditions will the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, agree to provide financial aid for Sint Maarten's reconstruction.
Marlin wrote that he agrees with Plasterk that corruption must be prevented, according to Trouw. But it is impossible to agree with setting up an integrity chamber before October 31st, he said. Exactly why this is impossible, he did not say. Marlin also said that he supports the idea of strict border controls, but no additional help from the Netherlands is necessary for that.