Editorial: Fata morgana

POSTED: 01/3/12 4:10 PM

When we published a Central Bank report back in April of last year that predicted flat or negative economic growth for 2011, Vice Prime Minister Theo Heyliger said that he was not convinced the numbers in the report were correct. Earlier in the year the Bank still predicted 0.3 percent growth. Now there is another report from the Central Bank and the news about 2011 is worse than even the Bank predicted eight months ago.

Economic growth was not flat last year, it declined by 1.5 percent – a far cry from the 1.8 percent economic growth the government had in mind while writing the 2011 budget.

This year, the economy will also contract according to the Central Bank. That means less revenue for the government, and limited maneuvering space to get the job done. Last year St. Maarten got by with postponing large investments in infrastructure; the way things are going, it seems highly likely that similar actions are necessary this year.

That means no progress with the half-finished ring road, no progress with the waste-to-energy plant, and probably also no progress with the not so new anymore government building on Pond Island.

This time Minister Heyliger seems to be on the ball with his remark that 2012 is going to be a difficult year. That means, in all likelihood, that the much heralded causeway across the Simpson Bay Lagoon will also remain a fata morgana for the time being.

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