Damoen proposes financial supervisor to succeed CftPOSTED: 06/27/11 2:13 PM
WILLEMSTAD – Former politician Gregory Damoen has proposed to establish an independent financial supervisor for Curacao as the future successor of the Board for Financial Supervision Cft. This supervisor must spot and advise about developments in the government’s finances as they relate to the financial standards that are used to set up the country’s budget.
Damoen’s masters thesis deals with the question what has to be done to end the current system of financial supervision and what needs to happen with this supervision afterwards. The thesis is entitled Financial and budgetary supervision in Curacao – A research into the level of effectiveness of the financial-budgetary supervision in Curacao from 1990 until 2010 and possible suggestions for improvement.
Damoen is a former member of the Island Council of Curacao and of the Netherlands Antillean Parliament. He is the former director of the Antillean department of finance.
To end the current financial supervision, Curacao (and also St. Maarten) has to meet the requirements that have been established in the Kingdom law on financial supervision during a five-year period.
The standards are based on a balanced budget; they allow for loans to finance capital expenditures, as long as they do not exceed the interest charge standard. This charge may not be larger than 5 percent of the average state revenue over the past three years.
After an evaluation an independent committee will determine in 2015 whether Curacao and St. marten have met the criteria.
Damoen now suggests that, anticipating this moment, Curacao would be wise to create its own legislation and to create its own independent financial supervisor. In Damoen’s vision, this supervisor will initially deal with the government of Curacao. If these contacts prove to be unsatisfactory, the supervisor will get in touch with the Parliament. This keeps the so-called escalation-model in place that is part of the current financial supervision.
The members of the financial supervisor should not be appointed by the government, but by the Parliament, Damoen writes in his thesis. This gives an extra guarantee for the supervisor’s independence. Members are nominated by the factions in the Parliament, whereby each nominee must have the support of at least five parliamentarians. Appointments go through when candidates have the support of two-third of the votes in the Parliament. This will force coalition and opposition parties to reach consensus. The elected members nominate their chairman.
Damoen writes that the supervisor needs to work closely together with other controlling agencies, like the General Audit Chamber, the government accountants bureau Soab and the Finance Ministry. Agreements between these parties need to be made public.
The law must contain a provision that prohibits the government and the Parliament to give instructions to the financial supervisor.
sN�ml��Pster more or less dismissed the American criticism, saying that after seven months of country status it is too early “to blame St. Maarten for the failures of the Netherlands Antilles.”
Duncan said that he does not see the solution attorney Sulvaran has suggested in Curacao (to put special investigation methods under the Common Court’s supervision) as the right solution. “We have agreed however that the code of procedure needs to be uniform, though within the Kingdom the requirement is that these codes need to be as uniform as possible.”
The Minister said that the Netherlands is part of this discussion, but that The Hague did not worry too much about uniformity in legislation when it came to the BES-island. In Saba, Statia and Bonaire, euthanasia, abortion and same sex marriage stand to become legalized.
“Bear in mind that we have the same court,” Duncan said. “They are not consistent.”
Duncan also touched upon his earlier criticism of the Coast Guard. “The Coast Guard should play a major role in the fight against human smuggling, but they are there to assist us at sea and in the air. They fall under my jurisdiction, but the Coast Guard has set itself up as an independent body. They do their own thing and they’re happier playing with the big boys down in the south than they are helping us in St. Maarten.”
The Minister said that St. Maarten should have had a helicopter for surveillance purposes at its disposal already ten to twelve years ago. “But we don’t have one. Curacao has two, and they also have two planes. I need planes, and I need a boat.”
Duncan illustrated what he calls Cost Guard’s inadequacy with an example, when they were tracking a boat suspected to be involved in human smuggling. “When the plane ran out of fuel, they went back to Curacao to refuel, instead of doing this in St. Maarten. When they came back a couple of hours later, the boat had obviously disappeared.”
The Minister said that Curacao and Aruba also have filed complaints about the Coast Guard’s functioning. “If I call on the Coast Guard they say that I have to talk to the Minister of Defense in The Hague. They say – we don’t work for you guys. I don’t want to plunk down 3.2 million guilders just because they say so. I have to manage my funds, and I am not going to back down.”