Minister Marinka Gumbs Presents Factual Breakdown of ENNIA debacle to be Decided Upon by Parliament

June 27, 2024 9:29 am

“All things ENNIA,” will be the sole topic Minister of Finance Marinka Gumbs will be addressing when she goes to Parliament on Thursday, June 27.

The Parliament of St. Maarten has to decide on the current solution to save ENNIA, which the National Alliance (NA)-led coalition government had approved before leaving office. The Curacao Parliament has already given its green light to the arrangement, which includes the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS).

“The decision now lies with the Parliament of St. Maarten,” Minister Gumbs said. “I will present the facts as they are and will include my observations. In the end, Parliament decides if they want St. Maarten to take on this significant financial obligation for the next 50 years.

The Minister said that the approach facing Parliament would involve addressing the consequences of more stringent refinancing terms for the COVID-19 (or so-called liquidity) loans. This would include dealing with higher interest rates and more frequent repayment obligations.

The Dutch kingdom government had tied the refinancing of the loans to a lasting solution for the ENNIA issue. Its offer of a 600 million Euro (US$ 636 million) loan to save the insurance company was rejected by Curacao, which claimed that this would mean a total of two big loans of about US$1.1 billion. According to Prime Minister Pisas of Curacao, this would limit that island’s loan capacity and have serious financial, economic, and social impact on the island.

Minister Gumbs said the choice before the Parliament of St. Maarten is not an easy one.

The Minister also expressed serious concern for the fate of the approximately 3,000 ENNIA policy holders in St. Maarten who could be affected by the lack of a solution for this issue. “I really sympathize with their plight,” Minister Gumbs said, while expressing the importance of a mutually beneficial solution for both the policy holders and St. Maarten.