THE HAGUE – St. Eustatius will regain her Budget Right as soon as possible after the March 2023 elections. This has been decided by State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen (Kingdom Relations) on the basis of findings from research bureau Ernst & Young (EY) and discussions with the government commissioner, deputies and island council members.
This would mean that since the administrative intervention in 2018, the Executive Council and the Island Council of St. Eustatius can once again adopt and implement their own budget.
Commissioned by the State Secretary, EY has mapped out the progress of the financial management of the public entity St. Eustatius. In its final report, EY concludes that major steps have been taken in the field of financial management on St. Eustatius in recent years. For example, the major backlogs in the annual accounts have been cleared and the process of arriving at the budget and the interim reports has been further developed. At the same time, many improvement steps are still needed. For example, administrative processes and internal financial management for matters that have the greatest financial impact, such as salaries, social charges, purchasing and tendering and payment transactions, must be described and implemented.
“The improvement steps are necessary for the proper functioning of the public entity. This is good for the island and for the residents. Implementing the improvement steps will demand a lot from the public entity. But this is a next step in its professionalization. I think it is important that this can also be continued in the coming years by the Executive Council and the Island Council, and I will support them in this. However, for this it is necessary that the newly elected Commissioners and Island Council members also commit to the improvement steps to be taken,” says Van Huffelen.
Immediately after the March 2023 elections, the State Secretary will enter into discussions with the newly elected Commissioners and the Council members. With the transfer of the budget right, not only rights, but also obligations and responsibilities are transferred to both the Executive Council and the Island Council. After the elections, agreements will be made about this with the Executive Council, in consultation with the Island Council. These agreements are laid down in the St. Eustatius Agreement.
In 2018, the administrative intervention on St. Eustatius took place via the Sint Eustatius Facilities Restoration Act. One of the spearheads in the report of the Committee of the Wise that led to this administrative intervention is financial management. This report concluded, for example, that the financial administration and financial decision-making did not, if at all, meet the requirements set for them. Since 2018, the public body of Sint Eustatius has been working hard on orderly financial management in order to be able to meet the requirements set.