Opinion: Population growth

POSTED: 01/25/13 12:34 PM

With the various projects mentioned and the other aspects that have been envisioned in the governing program, additional human resources will be needed to feed the economy of the country. The growth of a nation’s population is a challenge and a longstanding one as well for any developing country. Governments realize that it is critical to strike a right balance in population policies.

Does Country Sint Maarten have a population policy? Is it time for us as a country to start thinking about such a policy? Sint Maarten’s official population is around 50,000+.

The population of a country impacts the running of the island on a daily basis whether it is health care, pension system, schools, housing, road network, infrastructure, environment etc., you name it, every facet of society is linked and this plays a role in the quality of life as well of the nation.

A country’s aim is to build a sustainable population that strengthens our social cohesion, while providing a good living environment for the people of the country, and at the same time maintaining economic vitality.

Some of the challenges facing nations around the globe with respect to their own populations are ageing, declining population, and falling birth rates. Countries are examining and addressing the serious consequences of these trends, and looking at policies and programs to address the consequences so that one can build a sustainable and bright future.

Countries are reviewing the number of new immigrants that come in and the composition of transient non-resident workforce to meet the needs of the country. Some populations are anxious about the pace of change in society especially where it concerns the weakening of social cohesion; friction between the population and some foreigners and new immigrants due to cultural differences.

Other concerns of a population have been foreigners competing for jobs, suppress wages, and effect on the standards of living for some segments of a population.

In some countries, the public is engaged to ensure that all views, aspirations and concerns are considered when taking into account social and economic circumstances and needs of the nation in the development of population policies and strategies leading to a sustainable population vision.

Based on the communities input, a draft policy paper is made that sets out the demographic challenges in order to understand the choices and trade-offs that a nation should make.

As a country of 50,000+ people, has our population reached a turning point? Sint Maarten is a place where people want to come to live and work.

Our country’s future dictates an endearing home and an island of opportunities for all Sint Maarteners, but this must be based on sound planning and sustainable development in the 21st century.

Roddy Heyliger

Editor’s note:

The number of 50,000+ inhabitants the author mentions cannot be official as he claims, because the Statistics Department still has to release the results of the 2011 census.

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