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New Cft chairman Raymond Gradus: “Fulfilling crucial functions and management of government entities have to get more priority”

New Cft chairman Raymond Gradus:

KRALENDIJK – During its visit to Bonaire on October 3rd the Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Cft) emphasized the need for an adequate budget execution (such as key role functions) and the management of government entities in its meetings with the Executive Council and the Island Council. “It requires collaboration and effort of not only the finance department but of all the management boards, the Executive Council and the Island Council in order to improve this rapidly,” was the statement of the new Cft chairman Raymond Gradus.

During the visit of the Board, meetings were held with the Lieutenant Governor, the Executive Board and the Island Council. A work visit was made to the Chamber of Commerce. The Cft was informed of the many economic developments and the challenges the various sectors are facing. In addition, the rapid succession of various Executive Councils and Commissioners has also been addressed, which is something that causes important decisions to be delayed. Chairman Raymond Gradus: “If plans are not implemented (timely), this is not good for the investment climate, detrimental to economic growth and, therefore, not good for Bonaire society as a whole.”

The 2017 budget implementation and the 2018 budget preparation were discussed with the new Finance Commissioner. One of the subjects was the intention to raise staff costs in the 2018 budget. Another topic was the prior agreement to fill up a number of crucial vacancies. It is agreed that these crucial functions will be completed by January 1st, 2018. In addition, the Commissioner indicated to come with plans to limit the increase of staff costs.

The recommendations of the various reports on the improvement of the financial management were also discussed. The process of reviewing the various procedures and processes has cost more time than was originally planned. At last all final reports on the procedures and processes have been completed and an implementation plan has been prepared by the Finance Department. The Executive Board has indicated that this implementation plan will be submitted, making it possible for Bonaire to realize an unqualified audit statement on the financial statements for the year 2019. Furthermore, the financial statements for 2016 were discussed. The audited financial statements 2016 were submitted late. The submittal of the draft budget 2018 is also delayed. The belated submission of the draft 2018 budget is related to the late adoption of the 2016 financial statements. The fall of the coalition in July has also contributed to the tardiness. The 2018 budget will be submitted shortly to the Cft.

Another particularly important part of the discussion were the developments at two government entities. These developments may have a major impact on the budget. The Executive Board has indicated the intention to improve the management of these government entities. The Cft wishes to emphasize the importance of this matter.

Cft visit with new chairman and new member on behalf of the BES Islands

The visit to Bonaire on October 3rd was the first headed by the new Cft chairman Raymond Gradus. The Board has meanwhile been reinforced with the arrival of the new member on behalf of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Mr. Herbert Domacassé. The Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba now consists of Raymond Gradus, Sybilla Dekker and Herbert Domacassé. The Cft looks back on a useful visit to Bonaire.

Furthermore, the Board expressed its compassion with all who have been affected by the recent natural calamity on the Windward Islands. The Cft considers it not fitting at this moment to visit Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius or Saba. Perhaps the Cft will make a separate visit to the Windward Islands by the end of this year.