St. Maarten MP Rolando Brison during his presentation at the opening of Thursday’s Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in The Hague. (Suzanne Koelega photo)
THE HAGUE–Member of the St. Maarten Parliament (MP) Rolando Brison of the United People’s (UP) party during the opening of the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in The Hague on Thursday criticised the stance of the Dutch government to make finding a solution for the ENNIA debacle a condition for refinancing loans.
Brison said he was highly surprised to learn via the media that State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen has tied the refinancing of the liquidity support loans to Curaçao and St. Maarten having to come up with a solution for the critical situation of the Dutch Caribbean insurance company ENNIA.
ENNIA policy holders are at risk of losing part of their pension due to what the courts have determined as various improprieties conducted by the management and in particular, the owner of this company, Hushang Ansary.
ENNIA, as with every insurance company, was to be supervised by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten, and not directly by government, Brison pointed out in his presentation about the recent developments in St. Maarten in the presence of parliamentary delegations of the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten.
Brison noted that the St. Maarten government has already indicated that refinancing the liquidity support loans is crucial to the country’s short- and long-term financial viability. “This begs the question: what does the refinancing of loans granted on the basis of mutual assistance as per the Kingdom Charter have to do with the conduct of management and owners of a private insurance company, supervised by an independent institution?”
The MP said that while it was imperative that ENNIA policy holders should be made whole, one could question whether St. Maarten’s financial future should be put at risk, with St. Maarten’s kingdom partner, the Netherlands, stating that the countries must come up with a solution.
“Perhaps this sort of issue of conditionalities on loans will form part of our discussions in the IPKO this week regarding democratic deficit, as this ties to a deficit we have as countries in terms of contracting loans, where the Netherlands is in practice the main source St. Maarten has for the (re)financing of loans,” said Brison.
Member of the Curaçao Parliament Sheldry Osepa of the PNP party asked Brison after his presentation whether there was willingness to solve this “large mutual problem of Curaçao and St. Maarten” together.
Brison replied that he understood that there was “more than enough willingness” to solve this matter together, but that he didn’t get why The Hague put this “for lack of a better word, threat” on the St. Maarten government when it is in the process of investigating this and has already been discussing this with Curaçao.
“Messing with the loans and the debt is not going to help government help ENNIA. I don’t think that we need to have these kinds of conditionalities float after us every year a bond matures and another condition is added. Now it is a condition related to a private company. How much further is this going? This matter needs our countries’ absolute attention, but we have to be careful that conditions are being added to the loans that are based on solutions,” said Brison.