St Maarten accepts financial supervision
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. By Iain Macintyre
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.
(Photo above: San Pond on St Marten)
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 last year that the agreement was ratified.
No public protest
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 plus the minister plenipotentiary of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba) this coming Friday.
12 July 2008
[Copyright Radio Netherlands]