Hans Weitenberg of Cft: Sint Maarten and Bonaire still require much attention

The Board of financial supervision (College financieel toezicht – Cft) this week will finalize its second visit to the Antillean islands and the Central Government for 2010. 

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The Board reiterates its point of view of January last, that the islands of Sint Maarten and Bonaire require much attention. Cft president Mr. Hans Weitenberg: "The process of Sint Maarten to compile the 2010 budget was quite difficult, and it has not yet been fully finalized. On Bonaire the public finances are troublesome. The three remaining islands and the Netherlands Antilles are performing fairly well."

Sint Maarten

On Sint Maarten the Board met last Wednesday with the entire Executive Council, the Island Council, the Finance Commissioner and the department of Finance. In an open and constructive atmosphere parties interchanged ideas on the budget and the budgetary process for 2010. The Sint Maarten budget on the current year 2010 has not received a positive advice from Cft as yet, as this has not fully complied so far with the requirements agreed upon. Based on the advices of the Board, dated April 13th 2010, the Executive Council presented a series of measures, which will have to lead to a balanced budget.

On May 18th 2010 the Board of financial supervision gave its final advice on the 2010 budget. The Board has reached the conclusion that with these measures, after they have been formally adopted and implemented, the Sint Maarten 2010 budget for the moment will comply sufficiently with the norms established in the Temporary Decree. The Board insisted that Sint Maarten would discuss these measures as soon as possible in the Island Council, and to executive them with determination. The execution of these measures will be closely monitored by Cft by means of monthly reports.

Other points of attention were the progress of the financial management, the Corporate Governance and the transfer of the Central Government tasks to Sint Maarten. Lastly the Board informed the Island Council of Sint Maarten about the discussions and agreements it conducted with the Executive Councils.


During its visit in January, the Board already determined that the execution of the budget is under pressure, mainly because of disappointing income figures and a declining acceptable deficit. Moreover, the long term figures are yet to be approved, which leads to the consequence that Bonaire cannot enter into long term commitments. The Bonaire budget was approved by Cft in January, under a number of conditions, based on which the island was not entitled to enter into long term commitments any longer.

In the meantime the Executive Council has taken a number of measures, ensuring compliance with the conditions. Recently the Executive Council took some formal decisions, so as to allow for a long term balanced budget. Herewith the commitment ban can be called off. Bonaire will have to report on the execution of its measures.

Saba and Sint Eustatius

In a short period of time Saba has taken the necessary measures to gets its personnel management in order. Sint Eustatius is optimistic about its tax income in 2010.

BES day

On Monday May 17th, the Board of financial supervision organized a meeting at the secretariat on Curaçao, for the future BES-islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba). During this so-called BES-day the respective lieutenant governors, together with secretaries, commissioners and department heads of finance, met separately per island with Cft. The topics discussed during this session were amongst others the execution of the 2010 budget, the 2009 financial statements and the Corporate Governance Code. The islands submitted their report on the execution of their 2010 budget on time. The islands have submitted their 2009 financial statements to Cft on time, in conformity with the requirements in the Decree. The reporting discipline of the islands has improved as well.

In a short seminar at the end the BES islands shared the experiences they all built up during two years of supervision. The Commissioner for the BES, Mr. Henk Kamp, was also present. The islands have all made progress in the area of financial management. During the presentations it became clear that the BES islands are already cooperating with each other in various fields of financial management, and that they are making use of each others’ expertise. They also took a glance in the future, discussing the new way the supervision will be applied, after the Law on BES Finances will enter into force. The islands considered the session very informative and useful, and they saw it as the ideal platform for exchanging experiences. The wish was expressed to meet with each other more often in this manner.

Antilles and Curaçao

The execution of the 2010 budgets of both the Netherlands Antilles and Curaçao are essentially according to plan. On Curaçao the progress of the financial management, the Corporate Governance Code and the transfer of the Central Government tasks to Curaçao have been discussed. The Netherlands Antilles has invested a great deal of time and attention to the process of transferring its tasks to Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

Corporate Governance

All islands have now composed a Code for Corporate Governance. The next step will be for some islands to implement it, and to apply it in practice.