Opinion: Too many red flags

POSTED: 08/26/14 7:05 PM

By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert

Residents of St. Maarten know themselves who they are and believe in what they are. Others know what they read about St. Maarten and that’s what they tend to believe in. Are the media to blame for what they read? No! The events and happenings are the basis for what the media are reporting on. Are the media mean or bad? No they are not; the available information may have been poor or in most cases indicate actually negative circumstances. One should be aware that this information also reaches readers in other countries.

There are many reports that may hold investors back from investing on the island.  Mind, that investors are not angels having ample money that they don’t know what to do with. Serious investors research and investigate the risks of where and in what they invest. They want due diligence studies done before they commit. It goes without saying that they are looking for return of their investment without but’s, if’s, or why’s. They want to see those returns fast and they want to be sure that those returns are guaranteed. Can you blame them? They don’t go for promises and they are not interested in start-ups. Track record and solid ground are what they are looking for in every way.

Where does that leave St. Maarten? Regrettably, there are too many red flags. An integrity investigation was considered needed. Foreign companies are suing government owned companies. Repeated negative reports on the wrong doing of government officials. Repeated government budget problems. No need to provide a listing and review of cases here.

Investors are well informed; they have to be in order to protect the value of their assets. They use business intelligence sources and they have investor networks. They also have a wide array of options where in the world they can safely invest. On top of it, there are projects in territories where they will receive additional benefits, advantages or privileges. And thus again the question, where does this leave St. Maarten?

Don’t blame and don’t kill the messengers. In general, the media on St. Maarten are doing their best. Their problem is that one cannot make tasty omelets out of bad eggs.

With every election, there is an opportunity to make corrections in the activities and performances of a government. It is the prerogative of the electorate to select the right people who can get the job done. It is a virtual investment by the electorate and maybe they should follow guidelines that investors use: looking for return of their investment without buts, ifs, or whys, no risks, no empty promises.

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