Alain Richardson: “Rent at Orient Bay is outrageous”

POSTED: 04/1/16 11:45 AM

MARIGOT, St. Martin “I hope that government uses the issues of Orient Bay as a learning experience,” the former President of the Collectivité Alain Richardson says. He is convinced that a lack of dialogue from the side of government created the issue in the first place and that a lot of what happened could have been avoided.

Two weeks ago, protestors blocked all access to Orient Bay in solidarity with some of the concessionaires who are required to pay around €2,500 in rent for the newly built restaurants and boutiques. During the demonstrations some of the protestors lit tires and blocked off the roads with heavy equipment and garbage bins.

Richardson pointed out that the “government should not govern against the people” and indicated that government should avoid these types of confrontational and personal ways of dealing with issues.

“The government should not be in competition with the private sector and the exorbitant rents should not have been the issue here,” he said. “The role of government is to create an environment or grant easier access for the local population and assist them to become entrepreneurs.”

Without government intervention some citizens who desire to become entrepreneurs would not be able to do so, Richardson added. “Government’s role is to move the population from the bread line and create opportunities where they are able to support themselves and their families. Government intervenes in the economic sector to be able to assist and permit a specific part of it population to have easier access to the economy. If the government had understood its role in the interim, never would the rent for the concessions at Orient Bay be at the level it is.”

Demanding the rent of Euros 2,500.00 is a clear indication that government is in the rental business and competes with the private sector. “This is not the role of government. Its objective should have been to assist the average local population who otherwise may never get the opportunity to become an entrepreneur.”

“I consider the rent as outrageous,” said Richardson. “If you do not know your role in government you will feel that you are just another investor who could build and rent for commercial prices.”

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