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St. Maarten parliamentarian Roy Marlin: Cost-of-living-adjustment as is will cause a deterioration of services


PHILIPSBURG–“We will end up with a country without the possibility of investments for the people,” says Democratic Party (DP) Member of Parliament (MP) Roy Marlin if unions representing civil servants continue to push for the maintenance of the expensive cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) scheme used by government.

Marlin, while discussing the first half of the year financial report in a Central Committee meeting of Parliament on Monday, said it was “good for the unions to scream about the COLA,” but government services “will diminish” at under the cost of the COLA. “Roads will deteriorate … [government will – Ed.] can’t provide for education.”

The COLA issue threatens to push the country to the point where 75 to 80 per cent of its annual budget will be eaten up by personnel cost, the MP said. “We will end up like the Netherlands Antilles with personnel cost.”

Marlin wanted some explanation from Finance Minister Martin Hassink about social premiums to aid in his further deliberations. However, President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell did not allow for the Minister to address the point of Marlin, saying that the Minister would deal with all concerns from MPs once they have all made their presentations.

Marlin argued that the Rules of Order do not prohibit the Minister from giving an explanation at any point in the debate. Arrindell did not bend to Marlin’s request and he then closed his presentation.

National Alliance (NA) MP George Pantophlet, who was the speaker after Marlin, said it was “a pity” that Marlin did not want to follow the “agreed on” procedure for the Central Committee meeting.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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