Curaçao and Sint Maarten proposes 2021 for new currency launch

Caribbean guilder introduction hinges on governments agreeing on new monetary union
Photo of Willemstad in Curacao

The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) is in discussions to launch a new currency to form the basis of a new monetary union.

In October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved, which established Curaçao and Sint Maarten as two separate countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

As part of the agreement, the countries agreed to form one monetary union and to introduce a common currency, despite calls for the country to consider adopting either the US dollar or the euro.

In 2011, a report from the central bank suggested there was an agreement to transition to the new currency by 2012. But progress thus far has been slow, with negotiations between the two governments hampering progress.

The central bank believes progress may now again be possible. “One of the strategic goals as included in the strategic plan … is to start with the preparations to realise the introduction of a new currency,” it said in a statement.

The new currency, like the current Antilles guilder (also known as the florin), will be pegged to the US dollar at 1.79 per $1. The central bank plans for the new currency to be introduced in 2021.

While the creation of the Caribbean guilder is still pending the approval of the governments of both countries, the central bank has decided to continue discussions around the formation of a common monetary system.

“The mentioned target date … for the introduction of the Caribbean guilder is subject to the possible decision of the countries to introduce the new currency and the expected lead time for production of a new currency,” the central bank said.

The new guilder, if introduced, will be exchanged with the current currency on a one-to-one basis for a period of 30 years, starting on the day the new currency is introduced. However, three months after the introduction of the new currency, the Antillean guilder will be taken out of circulation.

The central bank has also said there will be slight denomination changes with the introduction of the new currency. The Caribbean guilder will consist of the one, five, 10, 25, 50 cent coins, and the one guilder and five guilder coins. Banknotes will consist of the 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 notes.

As a result, the 2½ guilder coin will not form part of the new series. The same is true for the 25 guilder banknote. Instead, the central bank will introduce the 20 and 200 guilder banknotes.

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