Published On: Sun, Mar 8th, 2020

Lobbyists demand strengthening central bank management

Central Bank building Curacao Scharloo

PHILIPSBURG – The governments of Curacao and St. Maarten have to appoint one or two “international heavyweights” to strengthen the management of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS). That at least is the opinion of several lobby organization in Curacao’s international financial service industry, expressed in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Eugène Rhuggenaath and Finance Minister Kenneth Gijsbertha.

The signatories to the letter are the International Financial Services Association (CIFA) and Curacao International Financial Center (CIFC), the Chamber of Commerce and the Curacao Business Association (VBC). The Antilliaans Dagblad reported about the letter that is – remarkably – not signed by other organizations that have something at stake here, like the Curacao Bankers Association, the Association of International Bankers and the Curacao and Bonaire Insurance Association.

The letter states that the central bank has suffered “serious damages to its international respectability.”

According to the signatories this has harmed the bank’s current independent position, its behavior and its standards.

The task for the yet to be appointed managers will be to restructure the central bank, to restore governance and to make sure that peace, stability and confidence return. They furthermore state that the perception is that the bank does not have sufficient control over the value of the Antillean currency.

In its analysis of the letter, the Antilliaans Dagblad writes that creating incorrect impressions – as the signatories have done with remarks about the balance of payments and by publicly expressing doubts about the value of the currency – is not helpful: “That could cause (unintended) panic reactions and that does not serve anybody’s purpose.”

The analysis contains an interesting detail about the resignation of CBCS interim president Bob Traa at the end of 2019. According to the Antilliaans Dagblad Traa took an unfortunate step in the ENNIA-controversy: he let himself be talked into speaking with Hushang Ansary about a deal by the minister of Finance of St. Maarten at the time, Perry Geerlings. Reportedly, Traa regretted that decision (according to the analysis) once he understood that Ansary did not want to cooperate.

The Antilliaans Dagblad wonders whether the letter will do more harm than good. It notes that it lacks nuance and that reproaches it brings forward cannot be attributed to the current supervisory board, except for the part that falls under its responsibility since the end of 2017.

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Analysis Antilliaans Dagblad in commentary about letter regarding CBCS
Report Antilliaans Dagblad about Letter lobby organizations in Curacao regarding Central Bank