The Dutch liberal democratic VVD party is seeking clarity on the announced closure of the Windward Island Bank (WIB) branch in Saba. VVD Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Aukje de Vries and André Bosman submitted written questions to the Dutch Government on Tuesday.
The questions by De Vries and Bosman came after the confirmation of WIB’s mother company, the Maduro & Curiel’s Group in Curaçao that the Saba branch would be closing per October 31. According to the bank’s management, Saba is too small for two commercial banks. The other commercial bank, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will remain active on the island.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) asked Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Acting Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Stef Blok and State Secretary of Finance Eric Wiebes whether it was correct that the Saba branch will be closing.
“What are your thoughts on the reported closure, and what are the consequences for Saba, its residents and the private sector? How many bank branches will remain active in Saba after WIB’s closure? How much competition and choice will remain in Saba? In what way do you find it desirable that a monopoly position will be created?”
De Vries and Bosman inquired about the reason for the closure of the WIB branch, and whether it was correct that the closing was caused by, among other things, the more complex and far-reaching supervisory regulations.
“To what extent are the current regulations in the Caribbean Netherlands proportional where it concerns financial risks?” The MPs also asked which regulations were applicable to the Caribbean Netherlands, and to what extent these laws were different from those applied in Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten.
De Vries and Bosman wanted to know whether the Dutch Government had been in contact with the Saba Government about the closure of the WIB branch. “What was the result? If not, why hasn’t there been consultation?”
The MPs asked whether the Dutch Government was prepared to discuss the issue with the WIB/Maduro & Curiel’s Bank. “If so, when? If not, why?” And, they also wanted to know about the option to prevent that WIB’s departure would have adverse social consequences. “What can you and the supervisors do to ensure (more) competition in Saba?”
The concerns that have been expressed by the Saba Government were duly noted by De Vries and Bosman, who inquired whether they could have the letter that Saba’s Executive Council sent to the Ministry of Finance on August 3, regarding this matter.
The Daily Herald.