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Dollarisation in limbo on St. Maarten

MONDAY, 07 JANUARY 2013

PHILIPSBURG–Overall there is “a serious preference for dollarisation in St. Maarten” and within government, political parties support that process. However, a final decision on a future currency for the country has not yet been taken.
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, speaking on radio programme People’s Voice on Sunday, said there had been “some preliminary decisions. We have not yet closed off the topic and can say that’s what it will be.”

While the prime minister has her “personal opinion” on the way forward with the currency, the final decision needs to be taken by government after weighing and looking at “all potential consequences” for the country should a decision be made to use the United States dollar as the official currency.

She said there were still plans on the table for Curaçao and St. Maarten to establish a joint “Dutch Caribbean guilder” that would be administered by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten.

Government has had “different reports” about dollarisation and even Central Bank President Emsley Tromp in the past three years has been promoting the use of the US dollar as the official currency for St. Maarten and Curaçao.
However, she noted that despite Tromp’s comments, “government hasn’t received a proposal for dollarisation. And, she added: “We didn’t rush into it. We know how the bank’s president feels about the issue. We would still like a totally objective view, taking into consideration the specific issues of St. Maarten.”

She said that while there were many success stories about countries using the US dollar, there was no place to which to compare St. Maarten’s economy and other factors, to make a good decision on whether to use the dollar.
“Right now, monetarily speaking, we have the best of two worlds” with a de facto dollar economy together with the “inherited” currency of the Netherlands Antilles guilder, the Prime Minister explained, adding that looking at this scenario, the question is: “Should we do away completely” with the current guilder and establish a St. Maarten currency while continuing with a de facto dollarised economy?”

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