WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – During a three-day visit to Curaçao the Board of financial supervision for Curaçao and Sint Maarten (Cft) concluded that the progress in the public finance has consolidated. The year 2015 finished with a surplus: this happened for the third year in a row. A number of important financial legislative processes were initiated in the recent months and now it is essential to round these off shortly, as well as the financial statements 2012 and 2013.
POND ISLAND, St. Maarten – TelEm Group has reported a “healthy” profit to the year 2015 – despite dropping local and international call rates and the widespread use of “free” calling services on St. Maarten.
DAWN BEACH, St. Maarten - The Ministry of Finance called upon key (internal) stakeholders to take part in a critical discussion during the Tax Summit of Friday June 17th to improve tax compliance.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Samenwerkende Fondsen, also known as the Cooperating Foundations for the Dutch Caribbean, will be hosting an information session focused on funding opportunities for social projects.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management met with Sir Richard Branson on Wednesday. Sir Branson is one of Great Britain’s highest profile billionaires with his Virgin Group holding more than 60 companies serving more than 60 million customers worldwide. Branson was accompanied by Virgin Executives Tom Mc Alphin and Craig Milan as well as other staff members.
HAVANA, Cuba – The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) fully supported the debt relief initiative presented by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) which, among other measures, proposes the creation of a resilience fund as part of a strategy based on a swap proposal for climate change adaptation.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - ASL Cultural Ambassadors Otmar Martina and Shianne Lake received donations from Windward Islands Bank and Mingo Civil Law Notary this week on behalf of Art Saves Lives Foundation.
Both companies join several businesses and persons who have donated to the annual Summer Intensive of the past months.
The ASL Team will be continuing its fundraising efforts this month to raise funds for their Summer Intensive and Student Award Trip.
Art Saves Lives Summer Intensive will be held from July 4th to 8th.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) recently took a decision to continue to support the No Kidding with Our Kids Foundation – After School Activities (ASA) Program.
SMDF Director, Mr. Keith Franca stated: “No Kidding with our Kids Foundation was amongst the first foundations to approach the SMDF for funding in 2013.
The Foundation received funding for the year 2011/2012 from AMFO and has received funding from AMFO in previous years.
The No Kidding with Our Kids Foundation is outstanding in the quality of reporting delivered to SMDF on a monthly basis.
The reactions from parents over the years point to a balanced program of afternoon school activities with dedicated leaders.
Fiscal year 2016 will be the fourth consecutive year that SMDF has funded the No Kidding with Our Kids Foundation. We are satisfied with the excellent leadership displayed by the Director, Mrs. Merlyn Schaminee - Miguel.”
On hand to sign the relevant funding terms and conditions with the SMDF Director, were Mr. Paul Boetekees (President) and Mr. Jimmy Challenger (Board Member) of the No Kidding with Our Kids Foundation.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Government via the Financial Intelligence Unit MOT must be clearer to the business community and residents about MOT policies and why the rules on St. Maarten vastly differs from that of the United States and elsewhere, said United People’s (UP) party leader Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger on Monday.
The role of the MOT as the vanguard of the country's financial standing in the world is understood and is indeed vital, said Heyliger. "Measures are needed. However, if the measures are not properly and thoroughly explained, businesses and residents will continue to be affected and at a loss about the way forward."
Credit card purchases on St. Maarten over US $10,000 must be accompanied by a copy of a buyer's passport and a statement about the origin of the funds. This is a different approach than the United States and many other countries where such a requirement do not exist for credit card purchases.
"The United States is our largest trading partner by way of the number of cruise ship and stayover passengers we get daily and annually from that country. Why is our approach different? This must be better explained and, where possible, changed," said Heyliger.
"Take for example cruise ship passengers. They leave the ships often with just an ID card and a credit card, not their passport. What is a business to do when one of these passengers wants to make a purchase over the US $10,000 limit? Are they to tell the shopper to go back to the ship for their passport? In such a case, businesses may as well tell cruise ship passengers 'your money is not good here' and let the money go to another island," said Heyliger.
"Cash, of course, requires scrutiny, but this issue with credit cards has made St.Maarten less of a attraction in attracting the global shopper. With the economy is severely hurting, these measures are not good for business. Mind you, these measures on credit cards do not exist outside of St.Maarten," said the UP leader.
Representatives of the MOT met with Parliament's Committee for Finance over week ago on the request of Heyliger. The meeting was called to give MPs a clearer understanding of MOT's functioning and challenges.
"My request for that meeting was an attempt to not only get information, but to communicate to the MOT the challenges being faced in the community," Heyliger said.
"Inspite of calls for a review of the policies and measures, last week the MOT again called for businesses to adhere to their directives of the past. It is as though the meeting with Parliament and the request of MPs never happened. This is going against what was told to Parliament by the MOT," said Heyliger.
The UP leader calls on MOT to again look at its economically damaging measures and find a way that allows St. Maarten to continue to be attractive to shoppers and safe in the financial world.
Heyliger also called on Government and the management of MOT to sit with businesses, banks, St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry for a open and transparent dialogue about the impact of MOT's measures "before we fall to far behind."
PARAMARIBO, Suriname – Suriname has landed a $478 million loan from the International Monetary Fund to boost an economic reform programme amid a drop in commodity prices, becoming the second South American country to seek such a bailout in nearly a decade.
The IMF said it will immediately disburse $81 million as part of a two-year deal announced Friday that has been met with protests.
Suriname is the first country in South America since 2007 to seek help from the IMF through what’s known as a stand-by-arrangement, in which loans are conditioned on a government adopting policies aimed at stabilizing its finances and economy. The last country to do so was Peru.
The reform is designed to strengthen Suriname’s finances following a drop in prices for its principal exports including gold and oil. The country’s main alumina refinery also shut down last year.
The IMF said Suriname faces what it called substantial fiscal deficits and a rundown of international reserves.
“Implementing the structural reform agenda is essential to ensure a prosperous future for Suriname,” the IMF said in a statement.
Suriname plans to create a value-added tax and eliminate electricity subsidies as part of the reform, which also seeks to increase private-sector growth and attract more foreign investment.
IMF officials said the drop in revenues from the sale of gold, oil and alumina caused Suriname’s fiscal deficit to reach nearly 9 percent of GDP last year, compared with a small surplus in 2011.
Commodity prices fueled a region-wide boom in the past decade, but analysts say their collapse could cause more policy makers to swallow their pride and return to the IMF, which is widely mistrusted in the region for its role in Argentina’s 2011 financial collapse.
Possible candidates are OPEC members Ecuador and Venezuela, which have seen their economies shrink as investment and oil purchases from a slowing China have fallen. Brazil, the region’s largest economy, is also fighting recession as prices for its grain and iron ore exports have collapsed. (AP)
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