“2012 Is forecasted to be a difficult year”

POSTED: 01/3/12 4:15 PM

Vice PM Theo Heyliger’s New Year’s message

St. Maarten – Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger described 2011 as a difficult year in his New Year’s message yesterday. He also promised to look at “ways and means to lessen the burden” for citizens and called on unions, employers and employees to create win-win situations in 2012. This is the text of Heyliger’s message:

“My fellow Sint Maarteners, residents, and friends of Sint Maarten,

The sun has set on 2011, and with great anticipation the dawn of 2012 has arrived.  My wish for the people of this great island is one of peace and goodwill.  It is a message that I hope will resonate in your homes, communities and work places throughout the year that stretches before us.

In 2011, Government diligently pursued its stated mission and objectives as outlined in our Governing Program “A Foundation of Hope for Our Country,” in order to elevate the quality of life around Sint Maarten.  Government’s policies, programs and projects have continued to touch the lives of the people despite facing some very difficult challenges, nevertheless, we have prevailed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public and motorists in particular as well as our visitors for their patience and endurance during a number of infrastructural works that took place throughout the past year.  The projects were executed at the same time unfortunately due to the timeline set by the Dutch Government with respect to utilizing the available development aid funds before the end of 2011.  If they were not utilized the country would not have been able to make use of those monies.

2011 was a difficult year as turmoil in the international economy continued to affect us here; however, I must also say that we are fortunate when compared to some other countries that are experiencing severe economic decline, protest and riots, salary cuts, massive unemployment, reduced government services, public sector job cuts, huge debts and budgetary deficits.

Government is cognizant of the difficulties and challenges that some families, households and the business community had to go through in 2011. Ways and means will be looked at in 2012 to lessen the burden where and if possible.

At the same time, we must recognize the positive developments such as increased cruise tourism, additional increased airlift from airlines, the clean-up of Mullet Bay, interests shown in the development of boutique hotels, interests shown in the development of medical tourism on the island.  I am looking forward to seeing some of these developments lead to concrete plans and the additional creation of employment and business opportunities for our people.

I must caution the nation that 2012 is forecasted to be a difficult year for the global community of nations.   Many economists predict a recession in Europe and a deepening global recession.

Governments have been forced to slash budgets and the people have been asked to make more sacrifices in 2012 which are needed in order to ensure the future of generations.  Measures taken in Europe and the US are anticipated to lead to those economies growing again in the coming years.

As we look forward to 2012, we are committed in building and developing our country.  Despite the global economic challenges, we must continue to work to extend economic opportunities and prosperity to all, and to work together to address the issues that confront our people.

We must recommit ourselves to the ideals of peaceful co-existence, tolerance and respect for life and property.  Let us as a country resolve to make this great nation of ours even stronger in 2012.

2012 calls on all concerned to come together to work on a new level to move our nation forward.

I call on the trade union movement, employers and employees to have a new approach for 2012 where more understanding for each other’s positions is achieved through negotiation and discussions resulting in a win-win for both parties and stakeholders.

Government renews its pledge to continue to work diligently in handling the challenges that are confronting our country in 2012.  We will leave no stone unturned to find solutions that will continue to open up opportunities for our people.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those whose support and prayers I have enjoyed throughout the past year.

I extend to the nation, very best wishes for 2012, and that you enjoy good health, success, opportunity and prosperity in this New Year and beyond.

May God continue to bless Sint Maarten.”

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