Island Financial

Island Financial (1552)

WILLEMSTAD / PHILIPSBURG In the wake of the severe damage Hurricane Irma caused to Sint Maarten when it hit the island on September 5 and 6, 2017, the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten forecasts Sint Maarten’s economy to contract in 2017, with the contraction deepening in 2018, according to its preliminary projections. The powerful category 5 hurricane destroyed homes, infrastructure, and commercial and public property. Compared to the damage done by Hurricane Luis 22 years ago, Hurricane Irma caused even more destruction to vital tourism facilities, including hotels and key infrastructure for the tourism industry, such as the airport and the cruise terminal. And because tourism is Sint Maarten’s main, and basically only, economic pillar, the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma will have a tremendously adverse impact on the country’s economy.

CARIBBEAN NETHERLANDS - In Q3 2017, consumer prices on St. Eustatius were 2.1 percent higher compared to one year previously. On Bonaire, the price increase was 0.6 percent. By contrast, consumers on Saba paid 1.3 percent less for goods and services relative to Q3 2016, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports.

Consumer prices on Bonaire up 0.6 percent

On Bonaire, households paid 0.6 percent more on goods and services in the past quarter year-on-year, versus 0.4 percent in Q2. Household articles and appliances in particular, such as curtains, bed linen and refrigerators, became more expensive.

 Electricity prices down on St. Eustatius, up on Saba

On St. Eustatius and Saba, the Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has capped the rates for electricity with effect from 1 July 2017. As a result, consumers on St. Eustatius paid on average 5 percent less for electricity in Q3 compared to one year previously.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher has asked residents to be vigilant and report all instances of price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The Minister had already received reports of price gouging before the hurricane impacted the area, and now wants to send a clear message to businesses that this will not be tolerated. Heavy fines will be issued to any supermarket, lumber company ect caught charging exorbitant prices.

Willemstad - On Friday, August 25, 2017, there will be a sinking bond issue on behalf of the country of Sint Maarten. The bond will have a semi-annual coupon as follows:

 NAf 21,700,000 Sinking bond with duration of 15 years. Interest rate is based on the Dutch yield curve as of August 18, 2017. Interest rate as of August 4, 2017 is 0.866%.

On Thursday, August 17, 2017, the Dutch State Treasury Agency (DSTA) will be able to subscribe, and after that up to Friday, August 18, 2017, 10:00A.M., the general public will be able to subscribe to this bond issue at all commercial banks on Curacao and Sint Maarten.

CARIBBEAN - The elite E-Consultancy firm will initiate August 4, 2017 with their yearly free online tax consultation campaign. Benjamin & Parker has been providing this opportunity since 2014 for individuals and companies that have unanswered questions regarding the following subjects:

- Tax refund problematic
- Income and Profit Taxation cycle

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Prime Minister and Minister General Affairs the Honorable William Marlin following a briefing on recent activities of St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) was presented the annual report and audited financial statements 2016 for the Foundation.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Do you often find yourself living paycheck to paycheck? Would you like to change you and your family’s financial future by living at your highest financial potential? Then this workshop is for you!

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport is organizing an interactive and informative Workshop entitled “Acting in Your Best Interest: How to Manage Your Money and Live at Your Highest Financial Potential.” The general public, especially parents of primary and secondary school children, are invited to attend.

Parents, school personnel and other interested persons are encouraged to come out to this workshop which will be held on Wednesday 7th June, 2017 at the University of St. Martin from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

The objective of the workshop is to help all attendees understand the importance of budgeting, saving, debt management, and why proper financial planning and investing has become a necessity. Attendees will receive tips and strategies that can be utilized for their personal and family finances.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Actual pension reforms in St. Maarten are one step closer to being implemented, following the signing of an agreement between the general pension fund administrator, APS and St. Maarten’s Finance Minister, Richard Gibson Sr.

The agreement was signed on Friday last, at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, as a major highlight of the APS 2017 pension seminar, held at the same venue.

Signing on behalf of APS were APS board officials, Mr. Franklyn Richards and Mr. Guilliano Saturnilia. “The agreement as reached between St. Maarten’s general pension fund, APS and the country’s minister of finance is part of the process on pension reform which has been ongoing” says APS board chairman Franklyn Richards. He added that the agreement specifically takes into consideration the need for structural changes to the pension plan, which would make it more sustainable.

This latest agreement contributes significantly to the overall sustainability of the pension fund - one of the drivers of the pension reform initiative, according to Richards.

The signing of the agreement comes after several aspects related to the pension reform project have been mutually agreed upon.

“Since participants of the APS fund are entitled to a lifelong pension, as stipulated by law, APS is required to have a minimum amount of funds always available. This pension provision makes sure that APS would be able to meet its financial obligations to all its participants, when that time arises”, notes the APS chairman of the board.

The agreement takes into consideration aspects such as longer life expectancy and the actuarial return. These may have a substantial negative impact on the financial position of the pension fund thereby limiting the fund’s ability to meet its legal pension obligations.

The signed agreement entails that the government of St. Maarten will inject capital into the pension fund if the financial position of the fund is threatened, because of the aforementioned factors.

Discussions preceding the agreement carefully looked at the life expectancy of participants.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The Central Committee will meet in a session on May 19, 2017. Civil Servants of the department of Legal and Judicial Affairs, Ombudsman and Parliament advisor Mr. Ralph Richardson will be present.

The Central Committee meeting has been set for Friday, May 19, 2017 at 10.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is:

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The Central Committee will meet in a session on May 18, 2017. The Minister of Finance will be present.

The Central Committee meeting has been set for Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 14.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

 

The agenda points are:

  1. Draft national ordinance amending the national ordinance supervision of banking and credit, the national ordinance monitoring insurance business, the national ordinance monitoring stock exchanges, the national ordinance supervision of investment institutions and administrators, the national ordinance monitoring trust, and the national ordinance insurance broking business (National Ordinance monitoring, updating and harmonizing Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten).

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