PHILIPSBURG — On August 29th 2016, Member of Parliament Leona Marlin-Romeo sent an extensive letter to the Chair of Parliament for the Minister of Finance questioning the financial situation of the country and the state of affairs at the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten.
This was in-light of yet another postponement of the meeting and exactly when the meeting will be reconvened is unknown. Marlin-Romeo pointed out that realization delays to the budget can be seen in the results of the first and second quarter, which may have an effect on the ability to borrow funds for capital expenditure, have a delay on the development of the economy and may not meet the requirements of the Kingdom Council of Ministers.
The letter sent to the chair further pointed out that there were serious issues of integrity with the Central Bank’s highest executive. The Member of Parliament indicated that she was extremely concerned that the current three supervisory directors do not seem to agree on the way forward or even to meet to resolve matters around these serious questions about the integrity of Mr. Tromp.
The Minister explained that Sint Maarten has now proposed two candidates for the supervisory board and one has been approved but the other is still pending, the MP hopes that this will the end the hostage situation. This has a serious effect on the reputation of both Sint Maarten and Curacao.
In the Member of Parliament view, the Central Bank is in a crisis beyond description and for an open economy with a large dependency on tourism, Sint Maarten must be careful to avoid losing international banking relations.
A list of questions was sent to the Minister of Finance, namely;
- Does the current financial situation impact at all on the ability of the country to refinance the 26 mil debt that becomes due in September of this year which according to the budget would be refinanced?
- Can the minister please indicate what has been done to safeguard that the country will be able to timely meet the repayment and will not default on the debt?
- Is there any risk that the refinancing cannot take place as result of the realization delays of the budget?
- The minister has reported earlier in the year that loans will be taken up to execute certain capital expenditures. Can the minister please advise whether this is still the case, as based on the current situation the budget that was adequate to meet the directives cannot be achieved?
- There were still funds available from the 2014 loan which had not yet been expended. Can the minister please indicate to what extent there are still funds available from this loan?
- Can the minister please provide an overview of which capital expenditures have been undertaken in the course of this year and how these were funded? Where the funds earmarked and approved as capital expenditure by Cft?
- Can the minister confirm that the Ontvanger is actively pursuing the casinos fees and that they are cooperating with the swift collection? Will the budgeted number be collected in this year?
- Congratulations on the boedelscheiding agreement. Can the minister indicate what exactly the amount is that is allocated to Sint Maarten and within which time-frame this can be expected?
- We have been informed that a resolution was taken to issue a dividend from the Central Bank and we congratulate the minister with this achievement. Can the minister give any indication when these funds can be expected?
- The minister had requested the VDSM to do an integrity check on the CBCS president due to the allegations which were raised by the Dutch press De Telegraaf. What is the status of this integrity investigation or has it been halted due to recent developments?
- Why was the Landsrecherche not asked to conduct this invesitgation instead of VDSM?
- Can the minister explain the lack of proactivity of the supervisory board members?
- Can the minister please indicate what the current status is of meeting the reduction of the arrears with APS and SZV?
- What is the status of the transfer of the government building and to the extent the notarial deed transferring the ownership has not taken place, what is holding this up and when can the people of Sint Maarten expect that this first step in debt reduction is finally executed?
- Can the minister please indicate how much of the funds that were earmarked in the 2014 loan for the upgrade of the building will remain available and how much of the funds will be spent for furnishing?
- Can the minister confirm that the contracts granted for the work to complete the government building, financed by SZV, are awarded following proper procurement steps and meet required governance to make sure that the funds are spent in the right way. At the right level? I obviously ask this question as it impacts the funds meant for old age pensions and health insurance.
- Can the minister share his views on the allegations made by the former president of the board of SZM Dr. Petit and to what extent the SZV funds are at risk?
- Can the minister advise his views on whether the decision to acquire the government building and potentially finance the new hospital present an overexposure of SZV funds to investment in government related projects with a risk for the social security funds?
- Can the minister please indicate whether any progress has been made with meeting the requirements of the remaining kingdom directives, which have to be met by the end of the year? I refer in particular to the changes to the old age pension and the health insurance? What is the current state of this progress and who is responsible to timely deliver what is needed?
- As these changes include legislative changes which will have to pass through parliament can the minister indicate when these amendments of laws will be submitted for approval by parliament and the relevant high councils of state so that the deadline set by the kingdom directives can be met?
- If no indication can be given or if the minister believes the deadlines cannot be met, can the minister share with Parliament what has been done to date that can be called progress on these outstanding matters and what the plan B is if the conclusion has to be made that not only the reduction of debts owed to APS and SZV have not been achieved but also the deadlines for meeting the required changes to the old age pension and health insurance have not been met?
Member of Parliament hopes that the answers could be given before the recommencement of the meeting.