Confusion about annual accounts from subsidized foundations 

POSTED: 08/10/14 5:43 PM

MHF: “We submit documents every year”

St. Maarten – That the board for financial supervision has not received annual accounts from foundations that receive annual government subsidies is in most cases not due to those foundations. This appears from reactions this newspaper received to last week’s article – based on a letter from the board for financial supervision (Cft) to Finance Minister Hassink – that stated that the Cft had not received such accounts for a large number of years.

Mental Health Foundation’s director Eileen Healy was the first to react, saying that the MHF files annual accounts every year. “Otherwise we will not receive our subsidy.”

The Cft stated in a letter to Minister Hassink dated July 4 that it had not received annual accounts from any of the government-owned companies and from any of the fifteen foundations it listed over 2013. For most of these foundations the Cft stated that it had not received annual accounts over previous years either.

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever however, said Wednesday that all foundations that operate within the field of his ministry submit their annual accounts. That the Cft does not have them is another matter.

When this newspaper asked Minister of Finance Martin Hassink to specify from which foundations his ministry had received annual accounts, the answer was: “You article is not entirely correct and presents in some cases the wrong impression. Because your source is a letter from the Cft, I will ask them to handle this.”

Today approached Cft-Secretary Cees van Nieuwamerongen with the same questions and he was more forthcoming with information. “The Cft and the Ministry of Finance have made agreements about providing the annual accounts of government participations, institutes, ZBO (independent administrative entities) and subsidized foundations. The Cft has pointed out that there are legal terms within which these entities have to submit their annual accounts and that they do not adhere to this in all cases.”

Van Nieuwamerongen stated that the minister already had started a trajectory “to get a better grip on the timely financial reports from these entities. A final list of the entities that have to report has been compiled and the status of their financial reports will be added to the quarterly reports. As soon as the annual accounts are available, the Cft will get a copy of them.”

Minister Hassink told this newspaper that it is not always clear who is responsible for submitting the annual accounts to the Cft, but that he is working on a coordinated effort in this respect.

Van Nieuwamerongen adds to his comment that not receiving an annual account by the Cft is not the same as not compiling an annual account by a company or foundation. “It is very well possible that these accounts have been compiled, but that they have not been sent to the Cft. We are currently busy making an inventory.”

This newspaper received unconfirmed information that annual accounts sometimes get lost in the departments they are sent to. In one case, a foundation was asked four times by a civil servant to submit the same annual account because he was unable to find it.

The MHF’s Eileen Healy contacted the Cft personally about the matter and found out that the Kingdom law on financial supervision does not allow the Cft to approach companies or foundations directly. “The finance department in St. Maarten is researching whether it is obliged to send information to the Cft. They were aware that this applies to companies, but not aware that it also applies to foundations”

Healy notes that the communication from the Cft is “very bad, but they push it away quite easily.”

Healy is miffed that the impression has now been created that St. Maarten is not functioning, “while the Cft has done almost nothing for the past four years, while those people are well paid for the work they have to do.”

She wonders how the Cft assesses a budget four years straight without having information from government-owned companies and foundations. “I expect that the Cft will not be happy with my conclusions.”


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