A discussion has once again ensued in Curaçao about the possible use of gold reserves (see related story) held by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) for capital investments. The two countries own a proportional stake in CBCS and its assets based on their size of population and economy.
This possibility was also raised locally in the recent past, most notably by United People’s (UP) Party leader Rolando Brison. CBCS has since advised against such. But Curaçao Minister of Traffic, Transport and Spatial Planning Charles Cooper (MFK) is not giving up. He wants to further develop the island’s infrastructure and said if CBCS President Richard Doornbosch does not cooperate he can expect an instruction from government.
That seems not only legally questionable but way out of bounds. CBCS is an independent institution for a reason and in principle does not have to follow orders.
In any case directives would require involvement of co-shareholder St. Maarten and approval of the joint Supervisory Board. The latter are reportedly not likely to give their consent.
Cooper argued that the Central Bank has more than a billion Netherlands Antillean guilders when its charter states the maximum should be NAf. 35 million. If true it should be looked at, but that does not mean his idea is a good one.
It was not entirely clear whether the minister spoke on behalf of all Pisas II Cabinet members, including those of coalition partner PNP. Fact is that these reserves help safeguard the stability of the current and future – Caribbean – guilder.
In that sense the issue also has implications for St. Maarten. It’s not just a matter of using only Curaçao’s part.
By the way, when Aruba left the former Antillean constellation in 1986 it took more than a decade before the division of property and liabilities could be completed. Breaking up the current monetary union will therefore probably also not immediately solve Cooper’s financial dilemma.
Above all, both countries’ gold reserves belong to their people and touching these is never to be taken likely.