Opinion: Better incentivesPOSTED: 07/22/15 11:37 PM
Today’s editorial of Monday, July 20 missed the point that I was making for calling on government for a better plan to lure professionals back home.
The editor’s opinion is respected, but he made my point much clearer on how others in the Finance Ministry think and need to think outside the box and understand that a better incentives plan for locals doesn’t mean only money. An incentives plan can also be in-kind or offering other alternatives such as affordable housing to give our local professionals a jump start to get their feet wet back home.
As a former Minister and as an MP I know and understand government’s financial position, and I know this has nothing to do with Father Christmas which I find was way off the mark and out of context. Anytime it has to do with promoting our own locals there always got to be critics but we need to rise above those critics.
When I was the Minister of Vromi, I was in the same financial position with no balanced budget. I didn’t get any capital investment funds until late in the year but with my back to basics skills and approach, and creative financing ideas with public private partnerships I hit the ground running and executed a lot of projects in the best interest of the people.
I could have said government isn’t any Father Christmas and do nothing but that is not the way I was taught with my little experience of making things happen.
The point I was making is that government can’t just sit still and think like the editor of the Today’s Newspaper. It has to think creative by encouraging public-private partnerships and offer other incentives such as alternative housing other than money to attract our local professionals back home.
Government has to think about its return on investment with its scholarship program and follow up with returning students who we encourage to return back home to work. Do you think a local professional with a good job abroad, family, home will come back home to live under his parents’ roof?
Do you think a local entrepreneur can start a successful business without some sort of incentives other than money from government? Or does government just fold its hands and says there is no money and fold their hands again and do nothing for our local professionals?
We have to start taking care of our local professionals. We have to start putting the right local professionals with a good attitude in the right positions to better serve our country. I believe in my St. Maarten professionals getting the job done. Why can’t a Marcia Peterson be the Managing Director of Kadaster? Why can’t a William Brooks become again the Managing Director of Gebe? Why can’t a local professional become the chairman of our local Integrity Chamber? Why can’t Denicio Richardson manage a local company again? If some of them need training and additional upgrading, then train and upgrade them to be the next managing director in charge for Sint Maarten public entities.
Our Country needs to be prudent with its financials but we got to be creative and think outside the box in government, especially in these times to continue to be successful and to move this country forward. We also have to be creative and improve plans to attract our local professionals back home no matter what the others opinions are which I respect as we live in a democracy.
Member of Parliament UP-faction