BZSE law office on Sint Maarten celebrates merger

On October 2, 2009 BZSE law firm (BergmanZwanikkenSnowEssed) celebrated the merger of Bergman and ZwanikkenSnowEssed law offices and the official opening of their new offices in Belair (St. Maarten) with a lecture on good corporate governance. I was the keynote speaker and delivered my presentation in the Dutch language (click here for the presentation or click here for The Daily Herald’s coverage of the event).

I argued that government-companies should be left out of the political sphere as much as possible, so they can benefit from a commercial, businesslike and market-oriented exploitation. That way they also run less of a risk of being used as milking cows or political toys.

Corporate governance is important in that sense, because the activities of these companies often affect the general interest and they must therefore be transparent and controllable. In my opinion, legislation and regulation are the answer where the public interest is involved, rather than government executing shareholder rights. I strongly suggested an independent, non-political board and even making the publication of annual accounts mandatory.

One of the central challenges is how to restore the island government’s integrity. It has become a bad habit for the island government to replace managing directors and supervisory directors each time when the island government changes party. The new corporate government code aims at preventing the government from wielding too much influence on the operations of companies.

Karel Frielink
Attorney (Lawyer) / Partner


ps 1

See also the draft Code for Supervisory Board Directors of the Erasmus University Compliance and Supervision Institute dated 9 October 2009.

ps 2

BZSE opinion in The Daily Herald (10 November 2009): Corporate Governance Code already under pressure in PJIAE case?


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