PHILIPSBURG–Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday evening unanimously passed a motion calling for Parliament and government to analyse statements and comments from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding Curaçao and its financial management, and based on this to evaluate and/or re-evaluate the Committee for Financial Supervision’s CFT’s structure and modus operandi and/or independent functioning.
The motion also called for parties to start discussion about “removing this kind of stifling financial supervision and termination of the rijkswet financieel toezicht, to be replaced by an improved St. Maarten’s financial oversight system and budgetary control.”
The motion, presented by United Democrats (UD) MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, received support across the board, although some MPs said they had no confidence in government executing its content.
In motivating his vote, National Alliance (NA) MP William Marlin said St. Maarten is at a crossroads. He said if parliament feels the need to place the task of having government “wrestle with the Dutch government, they have my blessing.”
United Democrats (UD) MP Franklyn Meyers said it is important to start somewhere, sharing the quote: “A journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step.” He said in St. Maarten’s haste to become a country, a lot of things which seemed good in theory are now causing St. Maarten and its development a serious amount of pressure.
United St. Maarten Party (US Party) MP Rolando Brison said he lacked confidence that government, based on its track record, would execute the motion. However, he said that motions can be picked up in the future, by a future government, hence he would support it.
NA MP Christophe Emmanuel said he too had no confidence in government tackling this issue, but that he would support the motion because he believes CFT is stifling St. Maarten’s growth.
NA MP Silveria Jacobs expressed hope that the motion would stand up and that the issue would be publicised at every opportunity. She is against St. Maarten being “bullied” by its kingdom partners, noting that “they cannot afford to kick us harder than they have already.”
The considerations of the motion stated that in October 2010 the constitutional reform was concluded whereby Curaçao and St. Maarten became autonomous countries in the Dutch Kingdom.
It was agreed that the Netherlands would assist the new entities with creating a sound-start position at the beginning of the new constitutional constellation. For this reason, the Netherlands declared it was prepared to reduce a great deal of the debt of the Netherlands Antilles and the island territories.
The island territories had to implement structural improvements, specifically in financial management, to prevent a situation whereby new debts that are too high would be created in the future. In joint consultation, the Netherlands, Curaçao and St. Maarten agreed in a consensus Kingdom Act that independent supervision of the new countries’ finances would take place.
Since the constitutional reform on October 10, 2010, there are two boards: Committee for Financial Supervision CFT Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (BES), and CFT Curaçao and St. Maarten. The legal basis of the CFT BES is the “wet financiën openbare lichamen” Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Wet FinBES). The CFT Curaçao and St. Maarten executes financial supervision as regulated in the “concensus-Rijkswet financieel toezicht Curaçao and St. Maarten (Rijkswet).”
The CFT Curaçao and St. Maarten has the role to monitor and advise. The tasks of the board are directed towards the adoption and execution of budgets that are balanced within the limitations as agreed upon, and on the control of the total loans.
“In order to ensure that the financial supervision occurs in an optimal manner, the board has to have insight in the budgetary cycle and the financial management of the countries. the Board evaluates whether the adopted budget is in agreement with the norms as stated in the ‘concensus-Rijkswet financieel toezicht Curaçao and St. Maarten’ and provides an advice if necessary. The board may provide solicited and unsolicited advice on the draft budget,” is stated in the consideration of the motion.
Under Article IV of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Articles of Agreement, IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board.
The IMF Executive Board concluded the 2018 Article IV consultation discussions with Curaçao and St. Maarten on January 15, 2019. The IMF comments that austerity measures imposed by the Kingdom Council are counterproductive. The IMF warned in a report on June 10, 2019, that the advice for imposition of conditions in Curaçao would cause major damage to the economy and put the goal of restoring public finances further out of reach.
Taking into consideration that St. Maarten also falls under the CFT’s financial supervision, the motion resolved to re-evaluate the CFT, amongst other things.
Bron: Daily Herald