St. Maarten and Curaçao clash over Central Bank

WILLEMSTAD - In his letter, Minister of Finance George ‘Jorge’ Jamaloodin holds the three statutory bank directors of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS), the Minister President of St. Maarten Sarah Wescot-Williams, the Minister of Finance of St. Maarten Hiro Shigemoto and the Governors of Curaçao and St. Maarten responsible for a debenture stock in behalf of the harbor development on St. Maarten

This increases the tension within the Central Bank. The relations between Curaçao and St. Maarten are on edge again as regards the monetary union between both countries. Shigemoto confirms he received Jamaloodin’s letter and is in the process of formulating a reply. He does not wish to elaborate on the situation. It’s a fact that Jamaloodin’s letter had not gone down very well with the government of St. Maarten.

The directors of the bank are on St. Maarten today for a meeting with the local bank sector. None of the directors were available for comment. Nevertheless, the Amigoe understood that some directors had already contacted their attorney following Jamaloodin’s letter.

Last week, the CBCS announced that the harbor of St. Maarten – through their agent IIC – can successfully complete a debenture stock in behalf of the harbor development on St. Maarten. This involves a capital of 150 million dollars. For the first parcel of 110 million dollars, 115 million dollars was subscribed.

St. Maarten responds to Jamaloodin’s letter with counter questions. They want to know from the Curaçao government who is being held responsible for the fact that even though Aqualectra has a debenture stock outstanding with the Central Bank, the government decided to reduce the rates, thus decreasing the capital of Aqualectra. The decision not to transfer Aqualectra’s shares in the BOO power plant to Refineria di Kòrsou also contributed toward a lower capital.

Dismissal

Meanwhile, there are rumors in circulation on directors Emsley Tromp and Albert ‘Chos’ Romero taking an obligatory holiday or being dismissed. This seems highly unlikely. Article 20 section 3 of the bank’s articles of association states: “At the request of the Board of Commissioners, the president and the directors can be dismissed or prematurely dismissed by the Countries, stating reasons and through national order. With dismissal and if deemed necessary, the Board of Commissioners will recommend three persons to fulfill the position temporarily.” In any case, the government of St. Maarten is informed of the intentions to dismiss the directors.

Jamaloodin states he is not aware of disciplinary measures against the president of the bank. According to the Minister, his involvement in this stadium is nil, if there are any disciplinary measures against Tromp. “A possible decision to send the president of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten Emsley Tromp on obligatory vacation is a privilege of the Board of Commissioners of the institute and not the government. The Minister of Finance could dismiss the president of the bank on the recommendation of the Board of Commissioners. However, this measure is currently not at issue.”

According to the articles of association of the bank institute, the Minister of Finance is not involved with disciplinary measures of ‘internal’ nature. Obligatory vacation falls under internal affairs, which in the case of the president of the bank, is a matter of the Board of Commissioners. The approval of the Minister and the Council of Ministers is only requested when the president of the bank is suspended or dismissed, which is currently not the issue, said Jamaloodin.

St. Maarten was not informed officially about appointing a seventh member of the Board of Commissioners of the Central Bank either. The Board of Commissioners consists of six members. Curaçao and St. Maarten are yet to reach consensus on appointing the seventh member. For that reason, Jamaloodin submitted a requested with the president of the Court, Lisbeth Hoefdraad, to appoint a member for the time being.

The bank’s articles of association states the following on this matter: “If the ministers neglect to make a recommendation, or the Countries neglect to appoint a member within three months after the recommendation, the president of the Communal Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten and of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will appoint a temporary member from that recommendation. This member will fulfill this position until the Countries appoint a member.”

The government of St. Maarten was not informed of this either and is curious about Hoefdraad’s reply to Jamaloodin.

(Amigoe)

27 February 2012

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