Sint Maarten gov't disbanded over hurricane relief; new election in January
The parliament of Sint Maarten, the States, passed a motion of no confidence against six of the seven minsters in its government, including Prime Minister William Marlin on Thursday. The government was disbanded and new elections will be held in January, governor Eugene Holiday announced in a statement. Until then, the island will be ruled by an interim government that still needs to be established, ANP reports.
The motion of no confidence followed Marlin's reluctance to agree to the Netherlands' conditions for providing financial aid to rebuild the island after it was devastated by Hurrican Irma in September. Marlin also attempted to form a 'national government' on Wednesday, but could not get support for this.
The States agreed to all of the Netherlands conditions. The expectation is that the Dutch government will make between 200 million and 300 million euros available for the reconstruction fund. The two conditions the Netherlands attached to this fund are that an integrity committee be established to make sure the money in the fund is properly spent, and that the Koninklijke Marechaussee take over border control on the island.
Prime Minister Marlin initially refused to agree to these conditions. But under pressure from Sint Maarten's parliament, he sent a letter to The Hague on Monday saying that he will accept. According to State Secretary Raymond Knops of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Marlin's letter was too ambiguous. Knops responded positively to the step Sint Maarten took on Thursday, but added that the political crisis on the island caused "a lot of uncertainty", according to ANP. "We do not know what's going to happen. I'm going to reflect on the situation", he said.
Marlin also received a lot of criticism from the island's population, who had to wait longer for financial aid due to the political complications.