PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten needs to become adaptable and keep its markets efficient, fair and attractive in an ever-evolving and innovative environment, remarked Director of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten’s (CBCS’) office in St. Maarten Raquel Lo-Fo-Wong.
She was at the time delivering the opening remarks at the “Building Value with Emerging Technologies” conference at Simpson Bay Resort on Thursday.
During the conference, Olivier Rikken (partner and founder of Emerging Horizons); Rik Willard (founder and Managing Director of Agentic) and Errol Cova (Head of the Expert Supervision Department and Chair of the Innovation Platform of the CBCS) provided insight into block chain and other emerging technologies. Attendees learnt how the applicability of technologies in the financial services and hospitality industries, combined with the regulatory adaptability, can create a more vibrant economy.
In opening the conference, Lo-Fo-Wong said that just when people thought they had seen it all, the rapid development of a global digital economy is being witnessed.
“These innovative changes are shaking global financial services and service providers to their core,” she told attendees. “We all know the benefits that disruptive technologies and innovation can bring to consumers and our economy in terms of accessibility to a larger part of the global population for local service providers.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of our need to become adaptable and to keep our markets efficient, fair, and attractive in an ever-evolving and innovative environment. The technological revolution could present an interesting opportunity for St. Maarten and we need to bear in mind that technology and innovation are market-transcending and borderless, and technology-driven products and institutions are exploring jurisdictions that can aid growth and creativity in a controlled, transparent, and efficient environment.”
CBCS is responsible for supervision of the financial sector of Curaçao and St. Maarten and is not exempted from the responsibility of ensuring integrity, continuity, and resilience of its markets.
“Our efforts are geared toward complying with the international standards, but keenly taking advantage of the now-presenting opportunities. Although the CBCS is not a regulator for technology-driven institutions, innovation is rapidly affecting and changing our regulatory landscape as well,” said Lo-Fo-Wong.
“The challenge regulators face is to balance the obvious benefits that innovation may have for growth and welfare, with their potential risks. Together we should strive to continuously explore new opportunities and develop appealing products, and henceforth we need to keep re-inventing our entrepreneurial creativity. With that in mind and in close collaboration with Minister [of Finance Ardwell – Ed.] Irion the idea of this conference was born.”
She said the conference was intended to explore what block chain technology is, what its applicabilities are and, more importantly, how this technology can benefit St. Maarten. She expressed hope that the conference would be thought-provoking and that attendees would leave enlightened and inspired.
Minister Irion also delivered remarks during the opening of the conference.