November 2, 2023 -PHILIPSBURG–Rolando Brison, Member of Parliament and leader of the United People’s Party, is raising critical concerns about the potential consequences of proposed financial regulations from the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten. These concerns have arisen due to extensive feedback from both the public and stakeholders in the financial services sector, with a particular focus on the St. Maarten Insurance Brokers Association.
Citizens of the country have approached MP Brison, expressing their frustrations regarding the increased challenges in acquiring insurance or conducting financial transactions. Notably, Mr. Brison emphasizes that these issues primarily stem from the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS) rather than the financial institutions themselves.
Mr. Brison’s standpoint highlights the necessity for a balanced approach to managing risk within the nation’s financial sector. He aptly says, “We must remember that managing risk in our country requires a balanced approach, not attempting to kill a mosquito with a sledgehammer.” Furthermore, he scrutinized the portrayal of these new measures as a “one-size-fits-all” solution, disregarding the variations in financial risks among different types of businesses. He explains that brokers, for instance, pose lower risks as they facilitate connections between consumers and insurance companies rather than directly providing insurance. Hence, he questions the need for such sweeping legislation and states it would not garner his support in Parliament.
While Mr. Brison acknowledges the importance of safeguarding the financial sector, he underscores that overly severe and arbitrary policies and processes do not effectively reduce risk. Instead, they negatively impact the country’s economy, making basic tasks like purchasing insurance and conducting banking operations increasingly burdensome for citizens.
He says, “If anyone should face stricter regulation, it should be the Central Bank, not the entities they supervise.” He pointed out the ENNIA case as a prime example. He said the issue with ENNIA was not primarily related to inadequate processes or regulation but rather a lack of sufficient oversight from the CBCS over ENNIA. Brison hopes that the CBCS is not overreacting to the ENNIA situation by imposing new measures on insurance companies and other financial institutions. He refers to Court of First Instance documents, which indicate that despite sufficient laws and processes, ENNIA carried out financial transactions under the CBCS’s watch, leading to the present concerns.
Brison is advocating for a pause on these measures from CBCS until the National Risk Assessment team completes their work. “By mid-next year, we will have a better idea of where the financial risk areas are for the country,” he notes, pointing to an in-depth presentation made in Parliament recently. He believes it is prudent to await the completion of the “hard work” conducted by local experts to ensure that proper data on the areas of real financial risk for St. Maarten informs future measures.
Mr. Brison’s concerns underscore the growing apprehension within the financial services sector regarding the potential adverse consequences of rigorous regulations. His stance calls for a more balanced and pragmatic approach to risk management while maintaining financial sector stability.