WILLEMSTAD - The fact that a moratorium was instituted at Girobank after six years of emergency regulation cannot be without consequences for those responsible for it. All parties in parliament agree on this. But apart from a thorough investigation, the opposition unanimously demands that "heads must roll".
This became apparent in the public meeting of parliament on the situation of the Girobank. All Members of Parliament want to know in detail from Finance Minister Kenneth Gijsbertha how things could have gotten this far and ask figures from the past years, but also, for example, who was appointed when and who was sent away from both Girobank and the Central Bank from Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS). CBCS has been responsible for the business operations of Girobank since the emergency regulation in 2013.
"A national disgrace," says Elsa Rozendal of the MAN faction on the whole issue. “The images of the chaos last week have gone viral. Something similar has never happened in this country. We want a clear signal from the minister that can restore confidence in the banking world and prevent recurrence.”
Coalition partner Curtley Obispo demands "a thorough, independent investigation" to uncover the truth and to provide clarity to the population. Obispo mentions Girobank as an example of a government company that is not held accountable.
“The last financial statement is from 2012.”
This must change as quickly as possible. Obispo wants all the figures needed from minister Gijsbertha to get an idea of how Girobank is currently doing. But he also wants to know what exactly has been achieved after the introduction of the emergency regulation.
Both members of parliament from the opposition (KdNT, MFK, MP and PS) and from coalition parties PAR, MAN and PIN were furious about the entire course of events of last week, which they believe testifies to a lack of empathy with the minister and the managements from CBCS and Girobank.
The bank closed unannounced on Tuesday, after many account holders had decided to withdraw their money. From one moment to the next, customers were no longer able to access their money. The doors of the branches were closed, but debit cards and credit cards were no longer available and online banking was impossible.
It was not until the following morning that CBCS executives Bob Traa, José Jardim and Leila Matroos-Lasten explained the decision to close the bank for a few days in a press conference. Last Friday, the bank opened again and all systems were working again, but account holders have since been able to dispose of only up to 10,000 guilders.