PRESS RELEASE FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF ST. MAARTEN
A National Bank for St. Maarten, An Asset or A Liability?
As a party that believes in and supports the creation of our state institutions, our first reaction to the prospects of a national bank was, “Oh, good, our own”.
The DP sees our own state institutions as a deliberate part of nation building, which we believe is an indispensable path to our future development.
In fact, it can be stated here that the aspect of nation building for the Democratic Party following the transition to country in 2010, is Priority # 1. Nation building from our perspective is one of stimulating national unity, a national identity and social cohesion, and in this context there is no place for divisiveness.
However,we are extremely concerned about developments in the regional banking sector, of which we are part and parcel.
We have already in Parliament raised the issue of the FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act) and will continue to monitor this.
However, the more ominous issue of the so-called “de-risking” by the correspondent banks of local and regional banks is real and quite unsettling.
In essence, several correspondent banks are refusing business from local and regional banks.
Just imagine the effects of these actions by correspondent banks in the USA and Europe. With our open economy, this could have disastrous effects for every citizen!
CARICOM has mobilized all its forces to address this matter at the highest levels.
In this environment, we believe a national bank should be put on the back burner.
Note as well, that we have to “clean up” some of our acts, to restore confidence in our country. Again, the over-used words of transparency and integrity come to mind, because a lot has to do with the image of our country, real or perceived.
An all-together other matter is the establishment of a national DEVELOPMENT bank. While this is nothing new and there are different ideas for its seed funding, we are yet to come to concrete action in this regard. I advise government to make some serious efforts to break this cycle of inaction, due to differences not on the topic of a development bank, but rather on the approach.
By the way, I think it is as far back as 2012/2013 that the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten proposed draft articles of incorporation for a development bank for St. Maarten.
St. Maarten, March 1, 2016