Published On: Thu, Oct 6th, 2022

Brison addresses right to bank account during IPKO

PHILIPSBURG — MP Rolando Brison addressed the right to having a basic bank account during the recent meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO), but it remains unclear what he achieved by bringing the issue forward.

In a press release Brison states that “thousands of St. Maarteners” are not provided with timely bank accounts and proper services, even though it has never been established what exactly the scope of this issue really is.

Brison brought up the issue during a presentation by the Council of State about the application of treaties and European Union law to the islands of the kingdom. A European directive states that all European Union citizens have the right of timely access to at least a basic bank account. Fact is, St. Maarten is not a member of the European Union and therefore its citizens are not European Union citizens. Still, plenty of European law is also applicable in St. Maarten.

According to Brison’s press statement, Council of State members have said during the IPKO meeting that the union right of Dutch citizens in the Caribbean countries cannot be ignored based on the Treaty of Lisbon.

Referring to the European directive, Brison asserted that the part of it that is most ignored by banks in St. Maarten states that “opening a bank account shouldn’t be made too difficult or burdensome for the consumer.”

D66-parliamentarian Joost Sneller submitted in 2021 an initiative law that aims to give Dutch citizens living abroad the right to a basic bank account.

Nico Schrijver, a member of the Dutch senate for the labor party (PvdA) and also a member of the Department of Advice of the Council of State told Brison that European laws, and in particular human rights laws, are generally applicable to overseas territories. “The right to a basic bank account seems to be treated as an exception to this norm,” Schrijver said.

Brison has submitted his initiative banking law to the Minister of Finance (i.e: Minister Irion Ardwell) and states in his press release that it has been vetted by the Central Bank. Though Brison first announced his initiative law back in January, it still has not reached Parliament for handling.

Related article: Draft banking law contains debatable provisions

The draft law contains some debatable provisions. Brison proposes for instance that banks are allowed to refuse opening an account for applicants who have been irrevocably sentenced less than two years ago for some specific crimes: forgery, providing incorrect information, fraud, fraudulent bankruptcy and money laundering. The draft does not exclude applicants who have been sentenced for murder, robbery or theft from access to a bank account.

Brison’s initiative banking law has not yet been submitted for advice to the Council of Advice.

Read more online here: Update on the right to a bank account


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