SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – President and Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said on Wednesday evening that it behooves the country St. Maarten (Parliament and Government) to carefully analyze the statement and comments coming from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding Curaçao and its financial management.
“This statement by the IMF has to do with the imposition of conditions on Curaçao via the structure of the CFT (Ed Committee of Financial Supervision for Curacao and Sint Maarten) that then recommends and sends such recommendations to the Kingdom Council of Ministers. The CFT is governed by a kingdom law and this was agreed upon when St. Maarten and Curaçao became countries.
“This agreement regarding the financial supervision of these countries was a condition following the clearing of the biggest part of the debt of the Netherlands Antilles at the time. St. Maarten’s part in the clearing of this debt (in other words what St. Maarten got out of it) was negligible.
“Even the small part that St. Maarten was to receive in order to pay outstanding creditors, at the end of the day left nothing for St. Maarten, except at the time a payment of part of the debt to the general pension fund. This was the case because St. Maarten’s part in the debt of the Netherlands Antilles was practically nil, because St. Maarten as an island territory could not contract loans.
“Nevertheless St. Maarten too fell and falls under the scope of the financial supervision via the CFT and now that a rather conservative institution like the IMF in such a firm manner criticized the workings of this CFT and the imposition of conditions and if these are not followed voluntarily, then an instruction can actually impose these conditions, I think this needs to be carefully evaluated and looked at.
“St. Maarten needs to take a position regarding this matter. I want to go back a moment to the matter of St. Maarten’s debt and what part of the Antillean debt regarded St. Maarten. In addition to hardly having any part in that outstanding debt and having any part cleared of St. Maarten outstanding payments, St. Maarten actually inherited part of the debt that the Netherlands Antilles itself had to take care of.
“For us this whole debt situation and debt clearance/relief were actually a double whammy. There has been much criticism regarding the CFT, and the fact that they only look at the law that governs them, without any consideration for other economic and financial consequences again is something that the country needs to evaluate. I believe that we are strengthened by the statement of the IMF and it is the time that we need to enter into discussions regarding this type of financial management and scrutiny.
“The kingdom law financial supervision has been evaluated, however even in the law itself there are conditions in terms of the termination of that law. So, if you don’t comply, if we can’t comply with the very same law, this type of supervision will never be terminated. This gives us even more material to have a serious discussion regarding the financial management; the imposition of conditions and the structure of the CFT and the Kingdom Council of ministers in this regard.
“Furthermore, another aspect comes into play and that is the aspect of the unilateral decisions by the kingdom government that can be taken regarding any of the countries. and nowhere having the possibilities, so the countries do not have the possibility to table a dispute or to table a disagreement especially where it comes to the imposition of decisions by the kingdom council of ministers, unilaterally decisions on the countries Curaçao and St. Maarten.
“I will therefore be either requesting that members of parliament or factions make a proposal for this matter to be handled or as the Chairlady of Parliament call for such a meeting, because I think it’s extremely important and that we don’t wait too long as St. Maarten to have this discussion.
“Today it is Curaçao, an instruction is apparently hanging over the head of Curaçao; we have had instructions in the past. Curaçao has had instructions in the past, also in the financial sphere. So first of all, St. Maarten needs to pick up this ball and make it a point of discussion. I just want to repeat, when a conservative institution comes with such an opinion regarding this particular structure within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, then we have to pay heed.
“IMF is the institution that looks at recovery for countries, financial recovery for countries and often times recommends some very bitter pills for countries to swallow in order to deal with their financial/economic recovery. If this is the way from reports at least that we have received, that IMF looks at the CFT structure, then I think we surely need to look at that as well and have discussions within the kingdom regarding this particular matter,” MP Sarah Wescot-Williams concluded in her statement on Wednesday.