To cent or not to cent, that is (not) the question

Quite interesting, the discussion between the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) on the one hand and the Minister of Finance of Curaçao on the other about whether or not to withdraw the one cent from circulation. I do not know the details about it.

For the sake of completeness, I have checked the website of the CBCS, but I cannot find anything between the 'Press Releases', 'Announcements' and 'Blogs' any more than I do on the website of the ministry between the 'Press Releases, Speeches and Announcements' about the recent discussion on the damned one cent coin.

However, I gather from the media that there must have been an exchange of letters between the CBCS and the minister, among other things, with the aim of rounding up amounts for cash purchases and starting a real campaign with the aim of making the rounding known to the public. The CBCS would have consenting stakeholders and the minister believes that all this cannot be done just like that, and that the legislator must intervene.

Now, as a lawyer, I stay far away from politics, but as a know-it-all lawyer and editor of the parliamentary history of our Civil Code, I cannot help but feel that both fighters have noticed that this problem has already been addressed twenty years ago and, in any case, a legal solution is provided.

And: “Based on the provision, the cent will still be used as a payment unit. For example, the price of an item offered for sale may be 9.98 guilders, while according to the article 10 guilders must then be paid. Whoever buys two such things, however, does not owe 20 guilders, but the amount of 2 x 9.98, rounded to the nearest multiple of 5 cents, so 19.95 guilders.”

So if I see it correctly, the legislator already announced in 2001 that it would remove the cent (and also half a cent) from cash payments and rounding up amounts up and down to multiples of five cents has been prescribed by law for two decades. and therefore nothing new under the Curaçao sun. Well, we can make it difficult for ourselves now and then, but then again, that was just my two cents (rounded up to five cents, to be exact)!

The author of this opinion piece, Mirto F. Murray, is a lawyer in Curaçao.


Source: M.F. Murray, the Parliamentary History of the Curaçao Civil Code, BoomJuridisch, 2016, p. 1,445.

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