the Governor's Speeches

Back to Speeches Indexsep 08, 2016

Remarks by the Governor of Sint Maarten on the occasion of the Maduro and Curiel's Bank 100th anniversary celebration

By His Excellency Drs. Eugene B. Holiday

Port of Sint Maarten, Harbour Facilities,

Ladies and Gentlemen
A pleasant Good Evening to you,
And in particular good evening to the Management, Board of Supervisory Directors and to all who make up the Maduro and Curiel’s Bank and Windward Islands Bank family. It’s good to see a number of familiar faces and I therefore extend special greetings to the President and CEO of MCB Mr. Lionel Chicu Capriles.
I am pleased to accept the invitation from the Managing Director of the Windward Islands Bank, Mr. Derek Downes, to address and join you for this centennial celebration of the Maduro and Curiel’s Bank. One hundred years of providing banking and other financial and non-financial services to our communities is a major accomplishment. It shows involvement in, understanding of and commitment to the people of our islands. It is thus my pleasure to commend the entire MCB and WIB Family on the celebration of this significant historic moment in the life of the bank. Pabien,…… Congratulations!

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Historic milestones hold within them the accomplishments of the past and a promise for the future. Viewed from a public policy perspective, this historic MCB milestone must therefore be considered against the background of the critical role which it and the financial system as a whole have and are expected to play in the development of our economy.
It is, in our time of rapid change where nothing is built to last, remarkable to reflect that the pioneering work of the bank’s founding fathers still stands today, 100 years later. Established in 1916 as Maduro’s Bank on Curacao and merged in 1931 with the Curiel’s Bank, the Maduro & Curiel’s Bank has left an enduring footprint on the islands and people of the Dutch Caribbean.
Our economies and financial systems have evolved and transformed during the past 100 years. They have, in broad lines, develop into modern economies through recurrent ups and downs. During the past 100 years:
• We have seen the highs and lows of the oil refineries in Curacao and Aruba, from 1917 to the end of the 1950s;
• We have seen the boom and decline of the offshore financial services sector in Curacao from 1970 to the mid- 1990s;
• We have experienced the tourism boom on Sint Maarten in the 1970s through the mid-1990s;
• We have witnessed the evolution of tourism as an economic mainstay on all the islands of the Dutch Caribbean, as we know them today;
• And throughout this period our financial sector has become increasingly sophisticated, with a variety of national, regional and international financial institutions. Institutions which have become highly integrated in our economies.
MCB has likewise evolved and transformed from a Curacao bank into a Dutch Caribbean and internationally oriented financial institution, forging partnerships throughout the Dutch Caribbean as of the 1960s and with its affiliate, the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1970. It has as such, amidst the economic ups and downs, using its innovative spirit, community involvement and prudent approach, proven to be a steadfast partner for individuals, businesses and government. This by providing the liquidity and credit necessary to propel or sustain our economies during favorable or unfavorable conditions.

From a local perspective, MCB solidified its activities on Sint Maarten in 1960, when it partnered with Mr. Cyrus Wathey to establish the Windward Islands Bank on the square, in the heart of Philipsburg. Today WIB is one of the largest employers of the island offering quality employment opportunities. Opportunities ranging from banking, finance, information technology, accounting, corporate law and security, amongst others. Over the years, WIB as a member of the MCB group has, in addition to the creation of quality jobs, managed savings, financed homes and businesses, and invested in the island. And in doing so evolved into a cornerstone of Sint Maarten’s tourism and socio-economic development.

Placing this 100th anniversary celebration in a broader public policy perspective, it is essential to note, that the financial system is widely considered to be the heart in the functioning of any economy. This because most - if not all - of us depend on financial institutions for handling our savings, for making payments, and for making investments. The financial system with the MCB - as its oldest and largest member institution - as such, carries a significant public responsibility. A responsibility to continue to work with individuals, businesses and government. That is to secure our collective achievements, build on our strengths and create new opportunities for growth. It is at moments like these therefore important to emphasize and celebrate the core principles, the strengths, on which our financial system has been built. These are a commitment to prudence, integrity, reliability, and solidity which ultimately translates in confidence in and stability of the system.
Looking to the future anchored on these core principles, I trust that the MCB and WIB family will live up to the responsibility and promise of this centennial celebration. That is that it will employ its pioneering and innovative spirit to help write the next chapter in Sint Maarten’s economic development. That by leveraging the wealth of knowledge it has of our economy to help deploy the technological advances and innovations required for a balanced and sustainable 21st century economic growth.

In closing, I therefore wish the MCB and WIB family many, many more years of health and strength, in partnership with the communities of Sint Maarten and the islands of the Dutch Caribbean. And with that I herewith once again congratulate you with the celebration of your 100th anniversary. Congratulations and Pabien!

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.