St. Maarten Corporate Governance Council still operating without resolution


PHILIPSBURG--The Corporate Governance Council (CGC) is still operating without an island resolution signed by the Governor.

In an invited comment, CGC Chairman Louis Duzanson confirmed that the CGC does not have an island resolution. He said that while government had been working on this since April 2011, he could not say what the current status of that resolution was.

He noted that the CGC had been appointed by the Island Council prior to St. Maarten obtaining its new status on October 10, 2010. A new status with a new governing structure, he said, does not mean that the CGC is null and void. "That would mean that everything before 10-10-10 is null and void," he said, adding that nobody had challenged the CGC's legal position.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams acknowledged in December 2011 that the decision of the Island Territory that established the CGC was "not valid in country St. Maarten" because it was not a general or national decree of the Netherlands Antilles or of the then-Island Territory that was regulated under the Transition Law.

To regulate the situation, a new national decree for the CGC needs to be established by government. Wescot-Williams said at the time that she expected it would be ready "shortly." The first draft decree was discussed with the CGC and a new one was drafted after the discussions to reflect the CGC's suggestions.

The Prime Minister said some tasks of the CGC "overlapped" the responsibilities of government-owned companies' supervisory boards of directors and management. "We would take this into consideration in developing the new resolution of the Corporate Governance Council," she said at the time.

The Transition Law was put in place to facilitate St. Maarten's and Curaçao's move from Island Territory to country-within-the-kingdom. It allowed for all national ordinances and decrees of the Antilles related to St. Maarten and those of the Island Territory to become the ordinances/decrees of the new country on 10-10-10.

The Corporate Governance Ordinance, which regulates the establishment of the council and its areas of advice, was established by the Island Territory. That has become a country ordinance.

There was also an Antillean Ordinance on Corporate Governance, which also was taken over by the country. Therefore, Government decided not to use the Antillean ordinance, but to stick with the one taken over from the Island Territory.