Frequently Asked Questions
If a company already donated the maximum amount is it still allowed to buy tickets for a fundraising event?
Yes, it is still allowed, since the buying of tickets for a fundraising event is not considered a donation.
Can a company give the maximum amount to all parties?
Yes, a company can give the maximum amount to all parties.
Can one company give 1 million to all parties?
No, the maximum amount a company registered in St. Maarten can give to each party and its candidates is max NAf. 50.000,–.
Is personal money from candidates also considered a donation?
No, only money given by others is considered a donation.
If a company decides to buy campaign materials and displays or distributes them without the knowledge or permission of the candidate or the party is it considered a donation?
Yes, this will be considered a donation, since it benefits the party or candidate. However, the party or candidate may publicly reject it.
Do candidates have to keep a registration of donations from the day of postulation?
Yes, candidates should keep a donation registration from the day of postulation.
Is there a cap on the amount a party can receive?
Yes, a party may receive maximum NAf. 5.000,– from a foreign donor and NAf. 30.000,– from a local donor. However, there is no maximum amount of donors a party may have.
Can a party build up funds over the years?
Yes, but this has to be recorded in its annual report and financial statements.
Do donations to candidates have to be registered if donated before postulation date?
No, not by the candidates.
Can a candidate ask a donor to backdate the check for donation before postulation date.
A candidate may not ask a donor to backdate a check received, for this would be considered fraud. The date received is the date the donation is given.
Will the National Ordinance on Registration and Finances of Political Parties be reviewed by the Electoral Council and when would this process start?
Since this is the first time said National Ordinance is implemented, the Electoral Council will evaluate its implementation and write a report with recommendations.
Is it required that the candidate sets up a foundation? Or can the candidate run their contribution and expenses through their personal account?
There is no legal requirement for a candidate who will be participating in the elections, to have a foundation set up in order to receive campaign funds. However, it is not recommended to run the campaign funds through his or her regular personal account. A special purpose account is preferred.
If an individual candidate sets up a foundation, does that foundation then become a legal body from the point of view of contributing to a candidate- so the foundation is actually limited in its contribution to the individual candidate?
When a foundation is created to benefit a candidate or party, the donations made to the foundation are to benefit the candidate and have to be registered as such but the expenses the foundation makes are not considered donations to a candidate.
If a foundation has been established years ago does the money have to be registered?
Yes, a foundation is an entity so they can only give NAf. 20.000,– to a candidate and NAf. 30.000,– to a party. The money that was collected before (not specifically donated to benefit a candidate) would be considered a donation from the foundation and has to be registered as such. However, money that is donated to the foundation specifically to benefit the candidate has to be registered by the candidate but is not a donation from the foundation but the original donor.
Is it required that the party sets up a foundation? Or some other body?
The Party is required by law to be established as an association.
Treaty of Concordia does not consider French side foreign; can we receive contribution from them?
No more than NAf. 5.000,–.
What if a contributor donates under NAf. 5.000,– to a party, does it have to be reported?
It has to be registered in the donation registration of the political party.
Jingle was donated in kind, should this be documented in the budget.
Yes, all donations in kind have to show in the donation registration.
There is a cap on donations to a party. If company ABC N.V. donates to a number of candidates in the same party (unbeknownst to the candidate), and thus the party exceeds the cap (NAf. 50.000,–, Article 41.3), who has to return the funds and how much/in what proportions?
It is recommended by the Electoral Council that the party board monitors the receipt of donations of individual candidates and keeps an overview of donations received by the party and its candidates to avoid such situations. If the donations were made at the same time the refunding could be in equal portions. If this is not the case the last person receiving a donation could return the donation or portion of it.
What date is expected to be used for recording the register of donations? The date the donor issued the check or the day the political party deposited it
According to article 34, section 1, sub. C of the National Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties, the date that should be registered is the date the donation was received be it by check or otherwise.
For financial purposes, can you confirm the government exchange rate of 1.78 is to be used when converting USD.
The Electoral Council will maintain the rate of 1.78.
I have received a copy of the English translation of the donation requirements. With regards to Article 35, the English translation is not quite clear for point 35.3. When the Electoral Council speaks of “legal persons and social organizations registered in Sint Maarten”, do they mean only those entities incorporated in St. Maarten (such as N.V.’s, B.V’s or SXM Foundations), or any company as long as they are registered for example with the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce?
The entities mentioned in Article 35, section 1 sub c of the National Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties are those that are registered with the Chamber of Commerce. The Electoral Council requires excerpts of registration with the Chamber of Commerce to accompany the register of donations.
Is there a further distinction/restriction for legal entities donating who may have the same directors/shareholder’s?
As long as the legal entities are all registered with the Chamber of Commerce no further restrictions are foreseen.