Corporate Governance Training

November 2, 2023  -PHLIPSBURG, Sint Maarten— Educating individuals on the principles of Corporate Governance continues to be top priority for the Council of Ministers. Recently the second pilot program for young professionals was launched. In the virtual kick-off session, the Minister of Finance, who has been at the forefront of this initiative, delivered the introductory remarks. During the first in-person session, the Prime Minister, Ms. Silveria Jacobs, extended a warm welcome to the 16 selected candidates.

The training program is a result of discussions within the Council of Ministers on ways to expand the pool of potential candidates for Supervisory Board of Directors (SBOD) positions and equip young professionals with the necessary theoretical knowledge for future SBOD positions. Furthermore, preparations are underway to provide a similar training program for a group of civil servants. This will help them both understand the fundamentals of corporate governance and provide better support to their respective Ministers as part of the Shareholder representative.

To emphasize the significance of Corporate Governance, the Council of Ministers itself actively participated in a comprehensive and intensive course on the fundamental principles of effective corporate governance. The Council of Ministers received an in-depth briefing on the role of the Council of Ministers as representative of the shareholder or stakeholder in the Government-owned Companies. This included elucidation on the division of tasks and responsibilities and the Shareholder’s information position and interactions between the Council of Ministers, Parliament, Managing and Supervisory Boards.

The program for young professionals covers a range of topics, such as the significance of integrity and strategies to mitigate conflicts of interest. It also addresses issues related to liability, including director’s liability and liability of the Ministers in their role as representative of the shareholder or stakeholder. Furthermore, the program also addresses risk- and reputation management, highlighting potential pitfalls and providing guidance on avoiding them. Topics that will also be shared with the Council of Ministers.

The key insights by the Ministers gained from the course included a deeper understanding of the limitations on the Shareholder’s ability to exercise shareholders’ rights. The Ministers present also recognized the importance of educating the public and other relevant stakeholders to ensure uniformity in information and enhance comprehension of Corporate Governance principles, rules, and regulations. It was furthermore emphasized that, in the end, Corporate Governance is not merely a matter of rules, but about the people involved.

The Ministers who took part in the course found the interactive morning sessions engaging and appreciated the instructors’ flexibility in addressing various issues as they arose. Gratitude was also extended to the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers for organizing this valuable program.

The course is divided into three sessions and is set to conclude on December 8, when the Ministers will be presented with certificates of participation and completion, recognizing their dedication and commitment to furthering their understanding of Corporate Governance.

The training for the young professionals will be evaluated at the end of the pilot program, June 2024. Eventually, the responsibility for education and training in this area will shift to the Corporate Governance Authority. The aim is to provide education not only to young professionals, but anyone interested in board position despite their age, as well current Supervisory Board members and the public at large utilizing various communication tools. Awaiting the changes in the legislation on Corporate Governance, the Council of Ministers has taken the initiative to address the existing needs.

The various training programs have been tailormade, prepared and presented by Corporate Governance experts from the Themis Institute of Governance and Leadership, Professor Dr. Frank Kunneman and mr. Dr.  Aubrich Bakhuis.

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