Editorial: No cause to celebrate

POSTED: 07/5/11 1:01 PM

Some may jump and cheer at the fact that St. Maarten currently has a one member majority in the Supervisory Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten because former politician Nelson Navarro has quit to avoid a conflict of interest. A look at the Bank Charter will show however that there is no real opportunity to effect change at the Bank, because while there are decisions that can be made with a simple majority – in this instance three to two – key decisions that would deliver the fully functioning branch that Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto wants set up by January 1, 2012.

The board as it stands will be able to rent or lease real estate, establish and change employment conditions of bank staff and perform “legal acts” below 250, 000 guilders or that last five years or less that is part of the current year’s budget. None of these help St. Maarten now because the bank has more than enough office space – the three story building on the Pond fill that has only three staff and there is no approved budget for the year, so no new legal acts can be entered into.

The things that would lead to a fully functioning branch are found in the articles which need to be carried by five of the seven Supervisory Board members. Those are establishing and changing the Central Bank’s investment policy, investing in new buildings and infrastructure, establishing, modifying and revoking a major organizational restructuring and transactions relating to the share of the countries in the Central Bank’s equity. With this to consider, one easily sees that there is no chance right now of that fully functioning branch unless the two remaining members from Curacao choose to go along with their colleagues from St. Maarten, and though the politicians have said let’s break it apart, the current board is not likely to move forward without the steady hand of permanent chairman. Also Curacao is not renowned – especially in recent times – for wanting to work with St. Maarten.

The one bright ray of sunshine is that the Government of St. Maarten will be able to block any attempt to encumber its share in the Central Bank, because the country’s members can block it. The choice is theirs ultimately, because once appointed the members are independent. One would hope though, that they will act in their country’s best interest.

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