Curacao’s Parliament approves motion for own Central Bank

POSTED: 06/9/11 12:56 PM

Shigemoto: “I believe we should also adopt such a motion here”

WILLEMSTAD/GREAT BAY By Donellis Browne– St. Maarten’s Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto believes that the Parliament of St. Maarten should adopt a motion for the island to have its own Central Bank. That statement is his initial reaction to the fact that the Parliament of Curacao adopted a motion on Wednesday for that country to have its own Central Bank.

“I am not surprised because the Finance Minister has always indicated that Curacao should have its own Central Bank. I have not received a copy yet, but I believe we should also adopt such a motion here and if it was indeed illegally adopted, then Curacao has a problem and we should ensure that we do not make the same error,” Shigemoto said.

He added, “If there are unwilling partners in the relationship, then the partnership will have to be dissolved. St. Maarten is building up its own, independent Central Bank, and we will have to continue with that especially if we make a decision on a monetary system other than the Caribbean guilder.”

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who is in New York at the United Nations High Level meeting on HIV/AIDS, was not available for comment on Monday night. She is on record though that the Government of Curacao and the Government of St. Maarten must discuss their future cooperation on the Central Bank at a summit in the near future.

“I think if both countries come to that conclusion (ending the partnership), then we should immediately take up a discussion in order to get new arrangements going. Because then we’d have to come back on agreements already made and revisit all of that, but I think if this is the strong feeling of at least one partner…then regardless to who that partnership would emanate from, then let’s talk about it and cut it as quickly as we can and go on and go on because of the agreements that are in place. Then let us decide to agree to disagree on the matter of the Central Bank for Curacao and St. Maarten,” Wescot-Williams said at the Council of Ministers press briefing on June 1.

Eleven members of the Curacao legislature voted for the motion, but the opposition PAR faction has contested its legality, saying it was not submitted according to the rules. The party’s faction leader Pedro Atacho said he was surprised that the coalition could set aside the wishes of the people, as expressed in 2005, so easily. He also pointed out that the motion did not specify how the government should arrive at having its own Central Bank.

Faction leader of the Movement for Curacao’s Future Dean Rozier, who tabled the motion, said Wednesday night that his party was not looking for an overnight change and that they were not looking to “break open” the agreements that have been made.

“We want the government to simply have an instrument at its disposal. We are not demanding that they take a decision, but that they start to think of how we can move in a new direction,” Rozier said.

The MFK faction leader also explained that he’d filed the motion because of “all the hassles” around solving issues at the Central Bank, a belief that each country should have its own Central Bank and the fact that the Netherlands forced Curacao into a joint Central Bank with St. Maarten.

“The people of Curacao made a choice to be autonomous. It was never the intention that we would share a Central Bank and it is not the best choice for Curacao, especially considering the apparent difference when it comes to monetary policy between St. Maarten and Curacao. We can continue to share experience and knowledge, but having our own Central Banks will create efficiency and allow each of us the freedom to determine our own policies,” Rozier said.


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