PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The money owed to St. Maarten from the division of assets of the Netherlands Antilles, and the creation of a new development bank on St. Maarten, are among two of the areas that Minister of Finance Richard Gibson will be pursuing now that the budget is passed.
The Minister told the press on Wednesday, March 23, that he will travel to Curaçao to meet with his counterpart to discuss the issue of the division of assets. “I have contacted the Minister of Finance of Curaçao and I’m in the process of setting a date to go to Curaçao to sit down with him and to discuss this matter and see if we can get a solution for it,” Minister Gibson said. He also plans to raise issues with the Minister pertaining to the appointment of persons within the Central Bank.
Gibson also noted that St. Maarten will be looking at other financial developments such as the creation of a development bank for the island. “I am, with the necessary haste, going to proceed with the creation of a National Bank of St. Maarten, specifically a Development Bank of St. Maarten so that we can use that bank for development,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gibson touched on the issue of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA). FATCA is a United States federal law aimed at enforcing the requirement for United States persons (including those living outside the US) to file yearly reports on their non-US financial accounts to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN). The law requires all non-US (foreign) financial institutions (FFIs) to search their records for indications on US person-status, and to report the assets and identities of such persons to the US Department of the Treasury.
On this note, he spoke of the need to improve the Tax Department to get it to comply with international financial regulations such as the FACTA. “We have principally, FACTA. FACTA is something we have to comply with as well as the other set of rules that relates to the automatic exchange of information between countries. Both of these items require attention and investment in the tax department so it can be compliant so that St. Maarten can be compliant so we can continue to enjoy the relationship we have with the rest of the world,” Minister Gibson stated.
He added that the governmental apparatus needs overhauling to ensure the success of the government.