Oranjestad, St. Eustatius- The Island Council of St. Eustatius on Thursday adopted a motion with 4 votes for and 1 vote against, calling for better banking services on the island.
The motion was prepared by Independent Councilman Koos Sneek. The presentation of the motion started with a list of things which are amiss on the island when it comes to dealing with the only bank on the island. “People often have to wait 6 months or more, before then can open an account. Interest rates are very high and mortgage applications take forever to be dealt with”, were some of the points mentioned by Sneek.
Sneek received broad support for his motion from Adelka Spanner (DP), Reuben Merkman (PLP) and Rechelline Leerdam (PLP). The only member voting against the motion was Clyde van Putten (PLP).
While Councilman Van Putten agreed that there are various challenges when it comes to the service provided by the only bank on the island, he felt that the majority of issues are caused by the constitutional status of the island, ,since 10/10/10.
One of the issues for instance is the fact that Windward Island Bank (WIB) is officially established on St. Maarten, and therefore supervised by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten, but at the same times as bank operating in a BES-territory is subject to rules from the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Autoriteit Financiele Markten (AFM). Something that was not the case when all islands formed one country as Netherlands Antilles.
After some coordination between the Island Council Members during a brief recess, the motion was adopted. The motion calls on Statia Government to start a dialogue with National Government, to achieve better and more banking options for the residents of Statia.
Some of the points for discussion regard interest rates charged on the island, the amount for which deposits at banks are guaranteed, lower interest rates and access to the National Mortgage Guarantee (NHG).
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