February 7, 2024 –PHILIPSBURG – The clock cannot be turned back on the introduction of the new Caribbean guilder for the monetary union of Sint Maarten and Curaçao. The production of the new currency, set to be introduced on March 31, 2025, has commenced, says Richard Doornbosch, President of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten (CBCS).
The Central Bank president provided this information during an interview with The Daily Herald at the CBCS office in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. He was asked if the introduction could be halted given the negative reactions from opponents who fail to see the necessity of introducing a new currency.
Crane Coin, Royal Canadian Mint is producing and supplying the new currency, and the production is financed by the Central Bank for an amount of fifteen million guilders. The Central Bank has partnered with Crane Coin and the Royal Canadian Mint to produce and supply (respectively) banknotes and coins for the new currency.
Doornbosch tells the newspaper that the existing guilder currency needs to be updated due to outdated security features, making counterfeiting easier, and notes that the Central Bank has a responsibility to ensure a secure payment system.
“The banknote is worn out, and counterfeiting is still happening in Sint Maarten. It is no longer up-to-date, so, in essence, the banknotes and coins are almost finished because they go to the shredder when they are no longer of sufficient quality,” he explains.
He made it clear that the Central Bank executes the decisions of the governments of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and alludes to the thirteen years it took to implement the law to retain the guilder and decide not to dollarize.
“Can we go back? The reality is that we have already ordered the banknotes. The money has been spent,” he says.
However, the door to dollarization is not closed. “The money has been spent, but you can still make a decision about dollarization, of course. The government has not made the decision that it does not want to dollarize; they only say that, in the meantime, we need some other banknotes and coins, and we cannot wait until this discussion is resolved because if you eventually want to dollarize, you have to have a decent discussion about how,” Doornbosch states.
He adds, “We cannot turn back the clock. So, this is going to happen. We have also informed international organizations that the ISO [currency] code will change. The payment system is something that is internationally interconnected because you also want to pay your foreign suppliers. So, they now have a new ISO code in their system for next year. This will not change, and it is up to the governments to decide what the right monetary exchange rate regime will be in the future.”