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Brison tells Central Bank to “hold its horses” on Caribbean guilder.

rolandobrison29112023PHILIPSBURG:--- The Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten announced on Tuesday that the new Caribbean guilder currency will be enacted in 2024. Member of Parliament Rolando Brison expressed concerns about this announcement, emphasizing that the Central Bank cannot speak for the Parliament of St. Maarten. He also advised the bank to "hold its horses" when releasing any further information regarding this enactment.

The MP reacted to the press release from the Central Bank issued on Tuesday indicating that the Caribbean guilder will be introduced in Curaçao and St. Maarten during the second half of 2024 at which time the currency sign will change from the current NAf. (Netherlands Antilles guilder) to Cg. (Caribbean guilder).

Brison pointed out that implementing the Caribbean guilder would necessitate substantial legislative amendments, requiring approval from the Parliament of St. Maarten. He criticized the Central Bank's presumptive approach, especially in its annual report, and accused the institution of overstepping of its role. Brison expressed skepticism about the assumption that the Parliament would readily approve the Caribbean guilder by the second quarter of 2024, labeling such an expectation as premature.

“While they (the Central Bank) did make a presentation to Parliament regarding the Caribbean Guilder, I did express various concerns in that meeting about the execution and usefulness of establishing such at this time, especially at the cost of 15 million guilders that it would cost to the monetary union,” MP Brison said.

The MP stressed that the Parliament of Saint Martin holds a free mandate to vote based on their conscience regarding proposed legislation. He emphasized that the Central Bank should seek the support of the Parliament rather than assuming it, as the introduction of the Caribbean guilder would require changes to various national ordinances.

While acknowledging the necessity of moving away from the original Netherlands Antillean guilder which cannot continue for practical reasons including from a country perspective, Brison urged a broader discussion on currency alternatives. He proposed considering options such as dollarization and emphasized that the decision should not be automatic.

“It is presumptuous to assume that it will be automatic for St. Maarten to follow the guidelines of the Central Bank, who, if we are to be fair, have not always been accurate or correct as to what the best direction of monetary policy for St. Maarten should be,” he said, insisting that a significant debate and stakeholder participation should precede any move forward with the Caribbean guilder.

Additionally, MP Brison also acknowledged the potential benefits of the Caribbean guilder, including reduced printing costs and the elimination of the non-existent Netherlands Antilles from the currency. However, he also cautioned against overlooking potential drawbacks, such as increased costs and the decline in the use of the guilder over the years. Brison highlighted the need for a balanced evaluation of the pros and cons before deciding on the country's monetary policy direction.

MP Rolando Brison cautioned the Central Bank against speaking for the Parliament of St. Maarten in any future press releases and reminded them of their role to propose legislation, not enact it. He urged a more thorough and inclusive debate with increased stakeholder participation to ensure that the decision-making process on the Caribbean guilder is well-informed and reflective of the diverse perspectives within the community. He said as the discussion unfolds, the fate of the Caribbean guilder will undoubtedly be influenced by the collaborative efforts of all relevant parties.

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