SHTA commends on message MPs

POSTED: 09/6/13 4:37 PM

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), the largest private business representative on the island, commends on the clear message made by Members of Parliament to the Council of Ministers pertaining to the Annual Reports of the government owned companies, the SHTA stated in a press release.

Appreciation was also expressed towards Minister of Finance, Maarten Hassink for his efforts into looking at government’s expenditures with an aim to reduce costs.

The firm stand that the Members of Parliament have taken with regard to the disclosure of annual reports is in direct line with the principles outlined in the presentation by the former Lieutenant Governor Franklin Richards on Corporate Governance during the Annual General Meeting of the SHTA earlier this year.

One of the principle guidelines outlined in his presentation indicated that government should “act as an active owner and establish a clear and consistent ownership policy, ensuring that the governance of owned companies is carried out in a transparent and accountable manner, with the necessary degree of professionalism and effectiveness.” During his presentation at the time, Richards also noted that the entire 2013 budget for Country St. Maarten is 457.9 million guilders (38% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)), while the balance sheets of the 12 government owned companies together are 1.8 billion guilders (or 150% of GDP) and that the turnover of these companies was expected to generate 603 million guilders or 50% of GDP. Having a clear understanding of the financial statements of these government owned companies is therefore imperative for parliament’s sound decision making process.

The SHTA is in agreement with the stance parliament has taken as this corresponds with the guidelines and policies that the SHTA has been advocating since its inception i.e. transparency, accountability and good governance. While SHTA clearly supports economic diversification to create a more stable and resilient economy, the SHTA may want to consider maximizing the diversification within the tourism industry before looking into other industries which could require substantial initial investments.

The SHTA is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace. “By making St. Maarten a better place to live, we also create a better place to visit” stated the release.

For more information please contact the SHTA office at 542-0108 or visit our website at www.shta.com

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