Ex-Dutch colony St Maarten accepts financial guidance
St Maarten has agreed to the creation of a Dutch supervisory board to help regulate the island's finances.8 July 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - Following a meeting of the Island Council, the former Dutch colony of St Maarten has agreed to the creation of a supervisory board to regulate the island's finances.
Curaçao, another Caribbean island and former Dutch colony, has already agreed to the same measure.
The government in The Hague is involved in a restructuring of the constitutional status of the Netherlands Antilles but was only prepared to grant greater autonomy to Curaçao and St Maarten if there were improvements in law enforcement and in their finances.
The creation of a financial supervisory board to scrutinise the islands' budgets satisfies the second condition as far as the Netherlands is concerned.
The board will be located in Curaçao and will be chaired by Hans Weitenberg, the former director of Statistics Netherlands.
In Curaçao there was fierce opposition to financial supervision, which many people regard as a form of re-colonisation. There were loud protests in the capital Willemstad and the Island Council initially rejected the idea. It was only when a new Island Council took office in 2007 that the agreement was ratified.
Things were quieter in St Maarten, where there was no public protest and the Island Council took less than an hour to make its decision.
The introduction of financial supervision will be discussed by the State Ministerial Council (the Dutch council of ministers and the minister plenipotentiary of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) on Friday.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]