St. Maarten Government evaluating feasibility of Central Bank

POSTED: 03/22/13 1:52 PM

St. Maarten – The advice rendered by the Social Economic Council among others for St. Maarten to break away from the monetary union of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten will come under consideration when the administration makes clear its position on the way forward, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams explained on Wednesday.
The government of St. Maarten was in discussions for many months regarding a supervisory board and an operational audit of the bank. An agreement was reached in the case of the latter; an audit will be carried out.
“Given the fact that the government of Curacao in its governing program expressed its desire to want to evaluate that relationship, the government too has decided that we need to put clearly the different points regarding the Bank such as is the union feasible and the currency for St. Maarten,” the prime minister said.
It was discussed on Tuesday at the Council of Ministers weekly press briefing and the different advices that have been received thus far, including from the Central Bank itself, will be the basis for which St. Maarten makes its position known on whether to leave the monetary union.
“The advice of the SER will be taken along with the overall discussion,” the prime minister said.
The functioning of the branch has always been a priority for the government the prime minister said but this was dependent on the budget being approved. This has now been achieved and the government will now shift focus to the feasibility of the relationship between Curacao and St. Maarten with regard to the financial institution.
“It is not really so much a matter of money but rather that the renovations that needed to be done to the building here required the approval of the budget. The matter of the branch on St. Maarten has not only been discussed between the two governments now but is part of the original agreement on the Central Bank. So there are no two ways about it but where major investments are concerned, the matter of the approval of the budget played the role.”
Last week, prime minister received a report from the Social and Economic Council (SER) regarding their unsolicited advice with regards to the possibilities of stepping out of the Monetary Union between St. Maarten and partners within the Kingdom.

The report, which was in part compiled by legal advisor to the SER Danielle F. Choennie-Babel, was presented to the prime minister by the Chairman of the Social and Economic Council Rene Richardson.

The report outlines various items with regards to St. Maarten and its current currency composition and takes examples of other countries within the Kingdom, Aruba for example, and applies their experiences to St. Maarten’s unique situation within the monetary union.
The SER was established in May of 2011and has as its main goal the advising of government on policies and draft laws in the social and economic field. The Government of St. Maarten requests advice from the SER on matters of a social and economic nature and the SER in turn offers solicited or unsolicited advice to government on draft laws and policies that fall within its mandate. The prime minister initiated the Social Economic Council in May 2011 and conducted the first official meeting of the council at the AC Wathey Legislative Hall that same month.

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