Hodge hints at split joint Central Bank

POSTED: 02/26/13 3:30 PM

St. Maarten – Curacao’s Prime Minister Daniel Hodge is pushing for a split of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten during his visit to The Hague this week. The Antilliaans Dagblad reported yesterday morning that Hodge is dissatisfied with the current situation. Asked whether he will push for a split, the PM told the newspaper: “Maybe.”

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams told this newspaper yesterday that she had taken note of the statement. “This comes as no surprise, given the position of Curacao’s coalition on the Central Bank, as expressed in their governing accord. On more than one occasion St. Maarten has expressed that the monetary union with Curacao is not working out as it was expected and supposed to. I also discussed with Prime Minister Hodge that like him, we too will evaluate the workings of the Central Bank and the feasibility of continuing together or apart.”

Wescot-Williams stated that the first priority for St. Maarten is to gets its branch of the Central Bank up and running. “This means that our focus has been on having the bank’s budget and operations executed. The prime minister of Curacao and I have decided that with the information of the evaluations in hand we would meet about the way forward for the Central Bank.”

Hodge said in the Antilliaans Dagblad that the current problems with the Central Bank are entirely due to the structure. He referred to Aruba, saying: “That is a smaller country with a smaller economy but it does have its own Central Bank that has been functioning perfectly for years.”

The PM is ready to put everything on the table in The Hague: “The question is whether Curacao ought to stay until eternity in such a relationship with St. Maarten while we are already seeing now that it does not work the way we want to and while we know that at the neighbors things are functioning very well. That makes you think whether we have to continue with a model that does not work.”

Hodge’s government announced in its governing accord an evaluation of the shared monetary union with St. Maarten and it looks like Hodge is in a hurry to deal with the matter.

The PM told the Antilliaans Dagblad that he does not consider the replacement of commissioners on the Central Bank’s board as a solution. “The people are not the problem; the structure is,” he said.

Hodge did not consult St. Maarten about his initiative. “Our Central Bank is dysfunctional. Nobody is going to be happy with that, including St. Maarten.”

The Netherlands has earlier indicated that it does not support a split of the Central Bank. In the meantime The Hague has also been forced to acknowledge that even the intervention of the Dutch Central Bank has been unable to achieve a breakthrough.

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