Sarah: “CBCS and the Monetary Union, How Further and for How Long?”

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The invitation by officials of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) for a walk through of the renovated building in Philipsburg was seized  by several members of Parliament (Brownbill, Geerlings, Bijlani, Connor and the undersigned) and was arranged for July 18 last, in the presence of Curaçao’s Minister of Finance Gijsbertha.

It has taken the CBCS a long time to reach this far, but at least the official dedication of the building on the Pondfill is now within sight.

The building has been modernized and is much better suited for its purpose than before. That it can now house a staff of 17 members and that active recruiting will start, was also welcomed news. This announcement, however, prompted me to ask for an update regarding the financial training institution that the CBCS was supposed to initiate, a commitment made to me during my tenure as Prime Minister. This plan is still on the table, I am told.

That the CBCS top is also amenable to a proposal to spread the bank’s operation more equitably amongst the 2 monetary partners is also commendable.

The MPs who toured the renovated building also learnt that the plans for a new central bank building on St. Maarten are still under consideration.

All the above however, in my opinion makes it critical that the two partners (St. Maarten and Curaçao) also reach an agreement regarding how long this union will at least be kept for and whether the lessons with this institution of the past 7 years will be heeded going forward.

Where it was thought that aligning the monetary and fiscal policies of the 2 countries would be the biggest headache, it is issues like the  appointment of the supervisory board members of the Bank, which while on paper seem like a no-brainer, that are a challenge.

The fate of the monetary union should not be left up to the “political winds of the day,” but now that calm seems to be returning somewhat, is the time to decide; how further and for how long?

By the way, may I suggest that the name on the building be written in English, possibly with a Papiamentu sub-title?