Caribbean Development Bank delegation holds talks with Government about country’s membership in the regional institution

A delegation led by President Dr. Warren Smith from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), arrived in the country on Monday to hold discussions with members of the Council of Ministers about the country’s considerations to apply to become a member of the CDB.
The exploratory talks with CDB according to the Chef de Cabinet of the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Ludwig Ouenniche, goes back to March 2014 when the Minister of TEATT Hon. Ted Richardson was in The Netherlands, and in his meeting with Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs reps, he emphasized on the need for Sint Maarten to become a member of the CDB.
In a follow-up meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs, it was confirmed that Sint Maarten could become a member of CDB.
“This is a significant development for the country. The country did not receive an answer as yet on its request to become an associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“This is the first ever official visit to the country of CDB officials. Another positive development is that the Netherlands has added CARICOM to its Kingdom Ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago responsibilities.
“This visit by CDB basically will be to determine the pros and cons to become a member of the CDB and what are the financial and logistical conditions to achieve this.
“The second point for the visit is to discuss CDB assisting the country in studying the advantages and costs to establish its own Sint Maarten Development Bank,” Chef de Cabinet Ludwig Ouenniche said on Tuesday.
On Monday the CDB delegation met with His Excellency the Governor, the Prime Minister, Ministers Ted Richardson, Martin Hassink and Minister Cornelius de Weever.
During the CDB visit which concludes on July 23, the bank’s representatives will also meet with the Social Health Insurance Bank (SZV), Directorate of Foreign Relations, the St. Maarten Pension Fund, and the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The CDB is a regional financial institution which was established by an Agreement signed on October 18, 1969, in Kingston, Jamaica, and entered into force on January 26, 1970.
Ouenniche who has seven years regional involvement in the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC) as a Vice President in charge of Small and Medium Enterprises, and CAIC Secretary to the Board, said under the old structure when Sint Maarten was an Island Territory, it was not possible to join regional institutions, but now that we are a country, the possibilities and opportunities are more realistic.
The Bank came into existence for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of the member countries in the Caribbean and promoting economic cooperation and integration among them, having special and urgent regard to the needs of the less developed member of the region.
Regional members are entitled to borrow funds from the Bank and also have voting rights, which entitles them to be a part of the decision-making process of the Bank. The regional members are: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Other regional members who are not entitled to borrow funds from the Bank are: Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela. Non-regional members having voting rights but are not entitled to borrow funds from the Bank are: Canada, China, Germany, Italy and United Kingdom.
The CDB delegation includes Yvette Lemonias Seale, Vice President (Corporate Services) and Bank Secretary, and Volville Forsythe, Assistant Bank Secretary.
The permanent headquarters of the bank is located at Widey, St. Michael, Barbados.