Published On: Wed, Oct 21st, 2020

Knops calls Minister Irion to order about bond issue

PHILIPSBURG – De 75 million guilders bond issue Finance Minister Ardwell Irion had in mind will not become a reality. State Secretary Drs. Raymond Knops called Irion to order with a firm reminder that St. Maarten should have repaid a 50 million guilders loan on October 21. Knops offered a conditional 4-week postponement for the repayment this loan.

In a letter to Irion, Knops writes: “These four weeks offer you the opportunity to comply with the conditions for the second tranche of liquidity support. When you meet these requirements our countries can engage in talks about the third tranche of liquidity support.”

But Knops offer comes with conditions: “My benevolence will however expire if you continue with attracting a domestic loan for which you have no approval from the Cft.”

Knops refers here to the 75 million guilders bond issue. “I am asking you therefore, conform the letter of the Cft, to cease this procedure and to put a loan-request accompanied by relevant documentation on the agenda for the next meeting of the Kingdom Council of Ministers for the benefit of correct and lawful decision making.”

Last Monday, Minister Irion announced that he had asked the Central Bank to suspend the bond issue, claiming that the country was discussing the refinancing of the 50-million guilder loan that matured on October 21 – whereas Knops’ letter makes clear that he has postponed the decision about this loan for four weeks – on the condition that St. Maarten annuls the bond issue.

A day later, one day before the launch of the bond issue the Central Bank sent out a press release announcing that Minister Irion had cancelled the bond issue “to enable the country to continue in negotiations with the Netherlands after receipt of a recent proposal concerning the maturing government bond October 21, 2010-2020.”

When financial supervisor Cft sent a letter to Irion pointing out that he was violating article 16 of the kingdom law financial supervision by launching the domestic bond issue, the minister said during a press briefing that this article did not apply to the bond. According to Irion, article 16 Rft refers to loans for capital investments, while the bond issue would cover operational expenditures.

UP-leader Rolando Brison echoed Irion’s position in an interview with a Curacao-based TV-station, saying that the minister was “one hundred percent correct.”


Related links:
Minister Irion contests Cft’s take on article 16
UP-leader Brison spins the 75 million bond issue story
Cft objects to intended 75 million bond issue
CFT letter to MinFIN about bond issue
CFT advice on capital loan investments
Prospectus Bond Loan Government of Sint Maarten
Brison’s Interview with TV Direct’s Notisia 13