St. Maarten Government wants even more research on dollarization

POSTED: 05/31/12 12:44 PM

St. Maarten – Dollarization continues to be the point of departure for the government of St. Maarten, but Finance Minister Roland Tuitt has said he wants to research the matter further. The announcement was made at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing ahead of a meeting on Wednesday afternoon with a delegation from the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten led by the Director Emsley Tromp.

The United People’s Party/Democratic Party government made dollarization their point of departure after the Central of Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten delivered an advice to former Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto. The current administration has not changed the decision and the way forward is now unclear.

“I didn’t see any documents yet that the former administration took any formal decision on dollarization, but I think this issue as far as dollarization has to be researched very carefully because my opinion is that we have a system in place right now. It’s working very well for the last 50 years. So as they say why change something when it’s working,” Tuitt said.

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams placed the matter of dollarization in the broader context of splitting the monetary union between St. Maarten and Curacao as requested by Shigemoto and Curacao’s Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte and the set up of a development bank for St. Maarten.

“We still felt it was necessary outside of the bank’s recommendations to have a professional expert in that particular area give us some more information as far as St. Maarten is concerned. While we have seen several reports and for every case that you have a report in favor, you also have a case where they would say no, it’s negative,” Wescot-Williams said.

Firm position

Tuitt expects that government will deal with the matter expeditiously, but Wescot-Williams is more conservative on the question of when, particularly because of ongoing controversy over the Central Bank and its functioning.

“Clearly the whole matter of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten is an issue that is out there. You have all kind of developments surrounding it and St. Maarten from that perspective needs to make a decision as soon as possible. We can’t just continue in the sort of situation that we’re in now,” Wescot-Williams said.

“This government will be working for the people and we will take, after getting the necessary information, preparing the necessary documents and coming to a conclusion, we will take a decision which currency we will choose or which direction we will choose. But that will be taken very shortly. I can guarantee you that,” Tuitt said.

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