Finance Minister Ardwell Irion
PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion announced on Monday that he has requested that the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS) suspend the local auction of a bond of NAf. 75 million for St. Maarten.
Irion said in a press release that St. Maarten is currently in discussions with the Netherlands regarding the refinancing of a loan which is scheduled to mature on October 21. He said St. Maarten has opted to accept the proposal of the Netherlands as outlined in its letter of October 16, 2020, which will result in postponement of the maturity date and avoidance of a technical default on the loan.
“During the coming four weeks, the government of St. Maarten will continue to work on the completion of the process to meet the conditions of the second tranche liquidity support, which can then lead to further discussions on the third tranche liquidity support as well as long-term solutions for expiring loans,” Irion said in the release.
Irion’s announcement came after criticism from, amongst others, the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT that St. Maarten had violated Article 16 of the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision RFT with the floating of the bond. CFT said it assumed that the procedure would be discontinued and that St. Maarten would handle the matter in accordance with the RFT.
Irion had said last week that the bond being floated was not for capital expenditures, but to cover the cost of government operations, including social services such as the food voucher programme, programmes under the St. Maarten Stimulus and Relief Plan (SSRP) such as the income and unemployment support initiatives, and several other expenses associated with the challenges facing the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which do not fall under Article 16 of the RFT.