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St. Maarten minister Tuitt: Central Bank ‘not broken,’ continues to function optimally


PHILIPSBURG–The Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten is “functioning optimally, effectively” and as an effective tool in the economy, says Finance Minister Roland Tuitt. This was his response to queries from Parliament about plans to possibly break the monetary union that has existed since October 2010 when the two islands became countries within the Dutch Kingdom.

“Why are we talking about separating it? It is the backbone of the economy of St. Maarten and Curaçao,” the minister said. “If something is not broken, why we are trying to fix it? … We are improving it.”

Expounding on that improvement, Tuitt pointed out that the Central Bank branch is being built up and soon statistical information will be generated to aid economic development of the country. He added that new staff have been hired, including a young St. Maartener, Giovanella de Weever. She was present with Tuitt during the presentation on Thursday as the debate on the draft 2013 budget continued in the Central Committee of Parliament.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams also backed the minister’s stance on the build up of the bank. She said at the end of February that St. Maarten’s “primary priority” is getting its branch of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) “up and running.” Her comments had come after a statement from (now caretaker) Curaçao Prime Minister Daniel Hodge about his plans to discuss the structure and workings of the bank while in The Hague next week.

Hodge’s statements come “as no surprise” given the position of Curaçao’s coalition on CBCS, she said.

However, she stated on the working of the monetary union, “On more than one occasion, we of St. Maarten have expressed that the monetary union between Curaçao and

St. Maarten is not working out as it was expected and supposed to … we too will evaluate the workings of the CBCS on the feasibility of continuing together or apart.”

As for the Social Economic Council SER “strongly” advising government “to step out of the monetary union” with Curaçao and opt for dollarisation in an advice dated February 28, Tuitt said SER is an advisory council and “any individual in the community can give advice to government.”

Tuitt is not in favour of dollarisation. No country in the world that has dollarised has been successful, he said, pointing to Saba and St. Eustatius as “prototypes” for the effects of dollarisation on an economy.

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