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St. Maarten minister Hassink scraps plans to hire Dutch consultant for Cost-of-living-adjustment


PHILIPSBURG–Government has scrapped plans to plans to hire a Dutch Consultancy firm to conduct an assessment and propose recommendations on the future sustainability of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for workers in St. Maarten.

Finance Minister Martin Hassink informed the unions during a meeting last week that he decided to no longer pursue measures started by his predecessor former Finance Minister Roland Tuitt to hire the consultant, Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) president Claire Elshot told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

Elshot said during the Windward Island Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU) weekly press conference that Hassink indicated that he made the decision after having conducted a review and evaluation of the plans of his predecessor. Elshot said the minister will instead pursue a solution on the future of COLA in discussion and consultation with the unions. WITU, Elshot added, is pleased with the Minister’s decision.

Elshot had earlier strongly condemned a Dutch consultant giving government advice on the future sustainability of the COLA. She said there are sufficient consultants in St. Maarten and among the various unions, who can sit and come up with a feasible proposal on the future of COLA.

“We don’t need a Dutch consultant to tell us how to proceed with the COLA payment. I think that the unions are savvy enough to sit and come up with solutions,” she had told reporters at an earlier press conference.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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