Protocol soon to shift part of CBCS operations here

POND ISLAND–The local branch of Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) does not “reap much” from the overall operations of the financial supervisor of the monetary union, because the lion’s share of operational expenditures is concentrated in Curaçao. However, this is set to change with a pending protocol between the Governments of Curaçao and St. Maarten.

Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr. said the operations of the Central Bank in Curaçao have a “humongous” impact on that country’s economy, and virtually none on St. Maarten’s. The operational cost runs some NAf. 60 million annually.

“For St. Maarten, it is a drop [of water – Ed.] on a hot plate. It is immoral,” he said.

To pave the way for St. Maarten to benefit more effectively from its membership in the monetary union, Gibson Sr. has met with Curaçao Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath and Finance Minister Kenneth Gijsbertha about completing a protocol aimed at bringing balance.

“I brought to their attention this imbalance. … It is unfair. It is unjust. It is wrong,” said Gibson Sr.

The operations of the Central Bank have a great impact on the amount of wage tax the Curaçao Government receives monthly. “When you see what we get, it does not meet the level of fairness,” he added.

The impact on the economy should reflect the ownership in the institution, he said. “At least 12 million guilders should be spent in St. Maarten.” This sum can be used “to hire lawyers, accountants and economists” locally.

St. Maarten holds a 20 per cent stake in the Central Bank and Gibson Sr. wants this stake to be reflected in the operations locally. This is the main point of the protocol to be signed by the two Finance Ministers, countersigned by the two Governors and presented to the Supervisory Board (when a new one is in place) and management of the Central Bank to execute.

With the 2018 budget for the financial institution already prepared, the impact of the protocol, once signed, will be felt in 2019.

Source: The Daily Herald