Published On: Wed, Jul 26th, 2017

Sarah: Monetary union’s fate must not be left to ‘political winds of day’

Sarah Wescott-WilliamsPHILIPSBURG - “The fate of the monetary union should not be left up to the ‘political winds of the day,’ but now that calm seems to be returning somewhat, is the time to decide; how further and for how long,” said Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams after recently touring the renovated Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) on W.J.A. Nisbeth Road.

Wescot-Williams said it is critical that the two partners - St. Maarten and Curaçao - also reach an agreement regarding how long the monetary union will at least be kept for and whether the lessons with this institution of the past seven years will be heeded going forward.

“Where it was thought that aligning the monetary and fiscal policies of the two countries would be the biggest headache, it is issues like the appointment of the supervisory board members of the Bank, which while on paper seem like a no-brainer, that are a challenge,” said Wescot-Williams, who is also leader of the Democratic Party (DP).

Speaking of the renovated building, Wescot-Williams said it has taken the CBCS a long time to reach this far, but at least the official dedication of the building on St. Maarten is now within sight. She has suggested the name on the building be written in English, possibly with a Papiamentu subtitle.

The building has been modernized, is much better suited for its purpose than before and can now house a staff of 17. That the Bank will soon start actively recruiting “was also welcomed news,” she said.

However, the announcement did prompt her to request an update on the financial training institution the CBCS was supposed to initiate, a commitment made during her tenure as prime minister. “This plan is still on the table, I am told,” she said.

“That the CBCS top is also amenable to a proposal to spread the bank’s operation more equitably amongst the two monetary partners is also commendable,” Wescot-Williams said of the recent announcement of this agreement by Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr.

Wescot-Williams, who also serves as Parliament Chairwoman, was joined by MPs Chanel Brownbill (United St. Maarten Party), Perry Geerlings (DP), Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani and Claret Connor (United People’s party) on the building tour conducted by Central Bank officials. The MPs learned on the tour that plans for a completely new central bank building here is still under consideration.

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