Wescot-Williams attends ‘Opportunities and Risks of Dollarisation in the Dutch Caribbean’ Conference

September 8, 2009 by admin
Filed under: Business and Economy, Conferences and Trade Shows 

WILLEMSTAD–Democratic Party (DP) Leader Island Councilwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams is in Curaçao for the one-day conference on “Opportunities and Risks of Dollarization in the Dutch Caribbean,” being held in the auditorium of Central Bank of the Netherlands Antilles.

This conference will deal with opportunities, risks and effects of dollarization for St. Maarten, Curacao and the BES Islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba). Several high level financial experts are scheduled to speak at the conference, organised by Minister of Finance Ersilia de Lannooy. Featured speakers include Central Bank President Emsley Tromp, Aruba Central Bank President Jane Semeleer, Lars Moller of the World Bank and Mark O’Brien of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Several people from St. Maarten are to be part of the panel discussions in the afternoon, including Windward Islands Bank (WIB) Managing Director Jan Beaujon, Princess Juliana International Airport President Eugene Holiday, Small Business Development Foundation Executive Director Ludwig Ouenniche and St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) President Emil Lee. They will be joined on the panels by their counterparts in Curaçao.

Wescot-Williams, who will return home Tuesday, said the conference is of high importance to the future of the island as it works to country status. She added that DP will seek to work with government and businesses to bring information about dollarization to the people of St. Maarten. “The sooner this can be done, the better.”

There has been a drastic move in favour of dollarization coming from Curaçao in the past months. St. Maarten’s financial experts had suggested the possibility of adopting the dollar as the currency for the new countries in the early 2000s. However, at that time, there was not much support coming from Curaçao for the move.

The islands have a political agreement to establish a joint Central Bank with a rotating presidency between St. Maarten and Curaçao and a joint currency. “This makes it urgent that the people of both islands get as much information regarding the currency options,” said Wescot-Williams, who is a former Constitutional Affairs and Finance Commissioner.

Dollarization has been prompted recently as an attractive option for Curaçao and St. Maarten by Tromp, a feature speaker of the conference, in his yearly economic report.

With this new push to dollarize, a joint Central Bank may no longer be needed if the islands decide to go this route. The BES Islands, which will become Dutch dependencies, have already chosen to dollarize.

The dollarization conference has generated enormous interested. To satisfy this interest throughout the Netherlands Antilles, the forum will be simulcast on radio, Internet and television.

Source: thedailyherald.com

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