Opinion: Our own Central Bank

POSTED: 06/13/11 12:55 PM

Franklin Hanze, the just departed clerk of the Parliament in St. Maarten was quoted in a story in the Antilliaans Dagblad as saying that the motion Dean Rozier submitted in the Parliament expressing Curacao’s wish to have its own Central Bank is unlawful. Hanze’s opinion is based on a technicality linked to the rules or order of the Parliament.

In the meantime, St. Maarten’s vice Prime Minister was quoted in another daily as saying that the island will now have to go for its own Central Bank as well.

Hmmppff. We think all this is a bit of an over-reaction. Hanze’s opinion is probably formally correct, but it is also irrelevant, because the wish of the razor thin majority in the Curacaolenean Parliament is clear.

If they did it wrong this time, they could come back and do it again next week, and then according to the rules. The underlying sentiment remains the same: Curacao – at least the eleven Members of Parliament that support the Schotte government – wants out of the joint Central Bank.

It’s clear as glass that this initiative is driven by the government, since Prime Minister Schotte is on the war path against the Central Bank’s President Emsley Tromp. So much for the dualistic system. It seems that, at least in Curacao, the government is controlling its Members of Parliament, instead of these MPs controlling the government.

The question is of course whether the government will be able to execute the motion. Even if this is possible, what are the likely benefits or disadvantages going to be? We’d like to hear from others about the perceived benefits; the main downside is that Curacao will have to bear the cost of its own Central Bank, and that St. Maarten will be forced to do the same. That’s going to hurt much more in Philipsburg, simply because our community is so much smaller than the one in Curacao.

We’d think that Curacao ought to give some serious thought to the next steps it wants to take. If it is that easy to get out of an agreement, what is then the value of any agreement carrying the signature of the government in Willemstad? Pulling out of the joint Central Bank will make Curacao an unreliable contract partner. It agreed wholeheartedly in the 2006 final statement to the establishment of a joint Central Bank.

Hardly half a year into the new constitutional status, a slim majority in the Parliament wants to do away with that agreement.

Amazingly, Vice PM Heyliger immediately jumped on the bandwagon declaring that St. Maarten now too will have to “go it alone.”

There may be an upside to this whole affair though, and that is that St. Maarten will in such a situation be able to finally examine the dollarization-issue without being bogged down by the predominant opinions in Curacao.


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