CFT Chairman Age Bakker: “Finalizing St. Eustatius reports of great importance”

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ORANJESTAD, St. Eustatius – The submission of various financial reports to the CFT is still not up to standard.

The Chairman of the Board of Supervision of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (CFT) reached this conclusion during talks with both the Executive Council and the Island Council. “An approved budget and accountability for its execution are essential instruments for the management of St. Eustatius.”

It is therefore of great importance that the financial statements 2015, the 2017 budget and the progress report for the first quarter of 2017, which are in an advanced draft stage, will be finalized. In addition, priority should be given to the 2016 financial statements. It is expected that the latter will not be completed by the legal deadline of July 15, 2017.

During the visit of the CFT, the need for a sound budgeting and accountability process was discussed. In that context, one of the subjects was the Finance Department. An external office is working on addressing the capacity problems. The CFT therefore assumes that the backlog in the financial reports in the short term will be reduced. Based on the latest figures, St. Eustatius expects to realize a surplus of approximately US $0.5 million in 2016, fully compensating for the deficit in 2014. This represents significant progress compared to 2015, which is expected to close off with a deficit of US $0.6 million. Compensation of that deficit is scheduled for 2017.

The CFT noticed that payments are made that are not in line with the rules of the preceding supervision as performed by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations.

It is necessary that St. Eustatius soon arranges for an approved budget in 2017. It is important that the process of reaching a modified agreement with NuStar is completed in the short term. This will result in a sharp increase in the income of the island, which will make the finances of the public entity more sustainable.

The CFT has expressed its appreciation for this. The CFT has emphasized that there are still some risks with regard to the finances on which St. Eustatius still has to focus. An example are the flaws related to the salary administration.

The Board also discussed the BES pension legislation for (former) political officials with the Executive Council. This pension legislation requires the establishment of a pension provision. Due to various causes, this provision has not yet been calculated and incorporated in the financial statements of St. Eustatius.

It is agreed that the CFT, together with the public entities, will analyze the financial aspects of the relevant pension legislation more closely.

This visit of the Board to St. Eustatius was also to bid farewell to current Chairman Age Bakker, who is departing as of July 1. CFT, together with the members of the Island Council and the Executive Council, looked back on the collaboration. During the visit Herbert F. Domacassé was also already introduced. He was appointed as the new CFT member on behalf of the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, as per July 1. Starting July 1, CFT Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will consist of Raymond Gradus (Chairman), Sybilla Dekker and Domacassé.