The establishment of a “Financial Institute St. Maarten” (see Saturday paper) during last week’s two-day conference of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) at Maho is good news.
The foundation will provide training courses focused on the need in the local financial and public sectors.
There can be little doubt there is a demand for such, especially as many employed in this area now have to come from abroad. Moreover, major new international developments occur frequently in the field, requiring constant refresher courses, upgrading, etc., as the gathering again proved.
Plans for a local national development bank also were reiterated. Here too the continued support of CBCS obviously will be crucial.
What all this shows is that rather than regularly complaining about the monetary union, shared Central Bank and joint currency with Curaçao, the smart thing to do is try to make optimal use of this situation. The bond loan for the Harbour Company that made possible the Simpson Bay causeway is another example, although not everyone might agree.
Of course, harmonisation of fiscal policies between the two members of the union as suggested is very important, because what happens in one can affect the other negatively. This is particularly the case where it regards the balance of payments, foreign exchange reserves and the long-term stability of the Antillean guilder.
But the bottom line is that the current constitutional setup also offers opportunities, such as investments being made by CBCS at its branch in Philipsburg. The Government of St. Maarten as co-shareholder actually plays a key role in ensuring the Central Bank indeed serves both countries on an equal footing, by “keeping honest” both the Supervisory Board and Management headquartered in Willemstad as best possible.