“Boost Sint Maarten!” A Conditional Cash Transfers Program to reduce poverty in Sint Maarten

The Social Economic Council (SER) advises government to start a conditional cash transfer program called ‘Boost Sint Maarten’ to reduce income poverty and increase human capacity development. ‘Boost Sint Maarten’ is a necessary addition to poverty policies because two different surveys confirm that around 20% of the households (2,600 in 2011) have an income of 1,000 NAfl/month or below. Financial Aid currently reaches around 630 households. Poverty exists in Sint Maarten, and ‘Boost Sint Maarten’ fills in the gaps of the existing poverty reduction policies as an additional policy. Boost Sint Maarten reduces poverty and increases human capacity development through its conditions. Households with increased human capacity will be better able to fend for themselves in the future after participating in ‘Boost Sint Maarten’.

The SER defines poor households as households with a combined income of less than 1,154 NAfl./month. This preliminary poverty line is the minimum wage rate with a 40-hours work week minus 20 percent. The SER advises that all households below the poverty line which have been living consecutively in Sint Maarten for at least two years are eligible for Boost Sint Maarten. If those households have children in the age of 15-18, or pregnant women over 18 years of age, ánd fulfill the additional conditions, then they will receive 288 NAfl./month additional income (25% of the preliminary poverty line) for a limited period of time. The SER estimates that between 400 and 540 households will be reached by ‘Boost Sint Maarten’ yearly. If the conditions are not met, the households will not receive an additional income. Recipients of Financial Aid are excluded from participating in ‘Boost Sint Maarten’. 

The health condition gives additional income to poor households with pregnant women over the age of 18 if they comply with three conditions. They must report to Sint Maarten Medical Center within three months after conception. They must follow the nutrition instructions of the health care professional. They must make use of the maternity care service directly after birth. Households will receive an additional income of 288 NAfl./month for nine months.