Opinion: Are things really looking up?

POSTED: 01/18/12 12:05 PM

The Board for Financial Supervision was all over the place yesterday. The team chaired by Age Bakker met with Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday. It met with Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto. It conferred with the Council of Ministers. It went through a poorly attended meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament (though there were enough members for a quorum). And lastly it opened its own local office in the Convent Building on Front Street.

No wonder we heard a lot yesterday about the relationship between the financial supervisor and the government. That relationship seems to go through a second honeymoon. That is – we kid you not – good news for all of us.

Age Bakker put finance Minister Shigemoto in the spotlight by saying that he is the one who pushed relentlessly for a Cft-office in St. Maarten. The minister returned the favor by saying that the Cft’s permanent presence in Philipsburg will ease the burden of work related to the budget.

And all over we heard that the cooperation between the financial supervisor and the government is good.

Official openings and presentations in a Central Committee are not the ideal places to air any dirty laundry, so we were not at all surprised about the good mood everybody was in. But we just are unable to stop wondering if the reality is as beautiful as the picture that emerged yesterday.

Because we have country St. Maarten at heart, we want the best for all the people who live here. And a good relationship between the financial supervisor and the government is crucial for our happiness.

That is because the Cft is charged with two important tasks. First of all it has to see to it that our budget is balanced. Second of all, it has to see to it that our young country implements good corporate governance.

It is of course no secret that our Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger would love to see the Corporate Governance Council implode today rather than tomorrow. We figure that Cft-Chairman Bakker is also aware of this and it he isn’t, somebody ought to give him the correct information.

Given these circumstances, we would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the meeting between the Cft and the Council of Ministers. We assume that Heyliger was there, and it is hard to imagine that parties did not exchange ideas about his views on those bothersome advisory bodies. The Vice PM prefers jokes to the shouting matches Helmin Wiels loves so much, but all the same: how is he going to maintain a good relationship with a supervisory body designed to control that he implements something he really does not want?

That’s what we are wondering about. How is the relationship between the Cft and St. Maarten going to flourish if there are such anti-democratic forces in our government? If anybody knows the answer to that one, please do email us.

In the meantime we get the sincere feeling that Finance Minister Shigemoto is pleased with the Cft presence on Front Street. It does not mean he will always agree with the curveballs he expects from that direction, but at least he goes to battle with a positive attitude.

As always, we maintain that unlike figures, results don’t lie. So we are eagerly awaiting the bright future ahead of us with the following points on the agenda: the 2012 budget will be presented to Parliament “soon”; the seminar about the economy at the University in March; the 2010 annual account that is “in the process of being finalized and sent to the General Audit Chamber and the Parliament; the timely approval of the 2013 budget before the December 15 deadline.

When (or if) all these things really happen according to plan, it becomes fair to say that the arrival of our own Cft-office signaled the beginning of a new era.

Until that time, we’re stuck with the question above this article: Are things really looking up?


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