Reader’s Opinion: Backbone

POSTED: 12/11/13 6:32 PM

We have been following with keen attention the 2014 budget discussions and have suggested some weeks ago that the 2014 draft budget after sending it to the Parliament of St. Maarten should be placed on the government webpage. This would allow the entire nation to have an input in the debate of one of the most important policy documents of the Government of St. Maarten. It would also allow many businesses and other institutions to plan to participate in future government projects, social and infrastructural.

But just recently we have forwarded a letter to our Minister of Finance, Martin Hassink asking him to allocate some two million guilders in the 2014 budget to set up a loan guarantee fund. This loan guarantee fund will be used to assist many young people who are interested in going into business but lack the collateral to obtain those loans from our lending institutions.

Of course we are also requesting our lending institutions to provide those young entrepreneurs who qualify for this loan guarantee program to acquire some attractive terms. One such term would be an interest rate lower than the present prime rate. We have also forwarded letters to the various business institutions such as the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Organizations for training, the Bankers Association and to the Parliament of St. Maarten.

Unemployment amongst our young people is alarmingly high and this seems to be a trend throughout the world. We can combat this unemployment to some degree by offering these young people with great business ideas an opportunity to go into business and hereby create job opportunities for themselves and for others.

A couple of weeks ago we attended an event organized by the Foundation InfoBizz entitled Black & Gold Power Hour. During this event we spoke with many young people who are interested in going into business but lack the funds to start up their businesses. This loan guarantee funds will assist them to realize their St. Maarten dream to be in business and become our future business leaders.

We strongly believe that this loan guarantee fund is the right thing do in order to stimulate our economy, create jobs for our young people and to provide the government coffers with some much needed revenue. Small businesses are the backbone of every economy and St. Maarten economy is no exception. The government can play a very important role in making this a reality. This fund will be a win, win, win situation for the entire nation.

Lenny Priest,

President One St. Maarten People Party


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