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Where ever there is smoke there is always fire

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – It is as if St. Maarten has not been hit with enough bad news in its’ infant stage as a country having to deal with all type of manmade catastrophes, from five unstable governments in five years to integrity issues and corrupt elected officials.

The people of St. Maarten woke up with the news that one of the largest insurance companies in the Dutch Caribbean, Ennia has been financially weakened by its owner, the Iranian-American businessman Mr. Hushang Ansary.

Mr. Ansary is the same businessman that according to many reports is the person that has been holding the opening of Mullet Bay Hotel hostage for whatever apparent reason. Mullet Bay Hotel as you can remember was the flagship of St. Maarten employing over 500 persons directly and many others indirectly.

Since the passing of hurricane Luis in 1995 no progress has been made in moving a rock in getting this project of the ground and the blame lies solely at the feet of this same Mr. Ansary.

There are many rumors that all the established political parties (UP/NA/DP/US) are financed partly by this fine gentleman and it is for that reason that none of them are able and willing to speak out on the Mullet Bay issue and neither this damaging report from the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) from June 2015.

The Up leader Mr. Theo Heyliger once had the golden key for the opening of this property. But as time passed by that key has gotten rotten and it doesn’t fit the keyhole any longer.

Today we are faced with an even more disastrous catastrophe that if it is true would have an even more devastating effect on our economy. The Central Bank plays a very important role in establishing the monetary policies and it also serves as a supervisory body of all financial institutions of that country.

The image of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten has been tarnished with the allegations from its fellow supervisory bank of the Netherlands, De Nederlandse Bank (DNB) that it has doubts about the integrity of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten. The Parliament of St. Maarten and the William Marlin Cabinet cannot take this statement from the DNB lightly.

Any and every major investor would take up contact with the government and the Central Bank of a country before making any type of investments. As an investor when you read that a fellow central bank has no confidence in another central bank within the same Kingdom it raises some serious eye brows.

In order to put out this fire before it spreads beyond our control the OSPP has forwarded a letter to the Chairlady of Parliament, Mrs. Wescott-Williams dated June 11, 2016. In that letter Lenny Priest, the leader of the OSPP is proposing that the Parliament of St. Maarten invites “De Nederlandse Bank (DNB) to explain and provide tangible documentation regarding their allegations about the integrity of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten.

The Central Bank of the Netherlands should also provide information about the warnings that they received about the financial practices of the owner of Ennia, Mr. Ansary dating back to 2011. And why it took them four years later in 2015 to require an investigation. An invitation should also be extended to the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten to find out how much they knew, when they knew about these practices and why they didn’t investigate this matter.

The Minister of Finance, Mr. Richard Gibson must also be present to find out how much he knew and what he has done about it if anything. We would expect nothing short of Ennia being present to explain their position and if the allegations are not true what actions are they planning to take against the Central Bank of the Netherlands based on a secret report that emerged from them in June of 2015 damaging their reputation.

As a nation we can’t sit and expect this damaging allegation about the lack of integrity in our Central bank to go away and neither can we expect the confidence level in Ennia to remain unless all the major players come together and explain exactly what they know, when they knew it and how are they going to fix it.

We expect the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten to put regulations in place to prevent these types of actions from ever happening in the future.

Failure to bring all the parties together as soon as possible is a clear indication that this parliament and this government do not have the interest of the people at heart and certainly not the policyholders of Ennia.

I can imagine all those policy holders not knowing what the future holds for them regarding their policies and knowing that in some cases their entire life savings is with Ennia.

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