New central bank row looms

POSTED: 02/28/12 1:44 PM

WILLEMSTAD/GREAT BAY – Curacao’s Finance Minister George Jamaloodin has held the three statutory directors of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS), the Prime Minister of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot-Williams, St. Maarten’s Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto and the governors of Curacao and St. Maarten – Frits Goedgedrag and drs Eugene Holiday – responsible for a bond issue for the development of the port on St. Maarten. The new accusation brings the at times tense relations between Curaçao and St. Maarten in terms of monetary union back into focus. The two countries have previously stated they want to end their cooperation on the central and have both requested that the bank prepare for a split up. This is one of things that the top management reported on when they met the Council of Ministers in St. Maarten on February 9.

According to the Amigoe Shigemoto has confirmed receipt of Jamaloodin’s letter but refused to discuss its contents. He’s also said he’s busy formulating a reply. The bank leadership, which is in St. Maarten for discussions with the local banking sector, has not responded to Amigoe’s request for comments. The paper reports though that some have apparently already contacted their attorney based on what’s in the letter.
Bond Questions

The central bank had announced last week that the Port of St. Maarten had successfully completed a $150 million bond through its agent AIC. That led to questions on Curacao and in the parliament here as part of the budget debate in the Central Committee. In response to a general question about bonds from National Alliance MP Louie Laveist the government has said bonds are one of the options used to finance capital expenditures. No further reference is made to the harbour group’s recent bond issue in the answers.

According to the Amigoe the government of St. Maarten has responded to Jamaloodin’s letter by asking questions of their own about who is responsible for reducing the tariffs at Aqualectra, while that company has a bond that was floated by the same Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten.
There’s also rumblings that the government wants the board to suspend of send central bank director Emsley Tromp and Albert Romero on vacation. This seems unlikely because subsection 3 of Article 20 of the bank charter states that the governments of the two countries must agree on a director’s suspension or early dismissal based on advice from the Supervisory Board of Directors. The recommendation for suspension must also include advice on an interim management team. The suspension is also not likely because the government of St. Maarten has reportedly not been informed of any intention to suspend either man. Jamaloodin has also said there is zero chance of disciplinary action against Tromp at this time.

“Any decision to force the President of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten Emsley Tromp, to go on holiday is a privilege of the supervisory board of the institution and not of the government. The finance minister can suspend the bank president on the recommendation of the supervisory board, but this measure has not been mentioned,” Jamaloodin said.

The bank charter supports this as it labels forcing the director to taka vacation as an internal matter that is handled by the board. The ministers only get involved when the board wants to suspend or dismiss the minister.

Seventh board member

The government of St. Maarten is also reportedly in the dark and curious about any moves by President of the Joint Court of Justice Liesbeth Hoefdraad to appoint a seventh board member at the central bank. The two governments have been unable to agree on the seventh – who will function as chairman – and so Jamalooding reportedly asked Hoefdraad to name someone. That request was based on the bank charter which gives the president of the joint court the responsibility to appoint someone if there is no agreement after three months. That gives the countries time to reach an agreement.


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