St. Maarten PM blames Curacao for financial restrictions

POSTED: 07/30/13 11:05 AM

GREAT BAY – St. Maarten has to look at the financial developments on the island versus those in Curacao, Prime Minister Wescot-Williams said in a reaction to the report by the Central Bank. “In St. Maarten there would be no need for measures regarding the financial outlook, but those outlooks are based on the current monetary union. Certain restrictions are in place in St. Maarten because of the situation in Curacao.”

“St. Maarten has experienced a growth of 1.5%. Of course that is not the growth we have been accustomed to,” the Prime Minister stated in a press release. “Growth has been normally four or five percent but because of the financial crisis we are not to that level yet. Given the global crisis we should count ourselves lucky that we have been experiencing growth that will continue in 2014.”

St. Maarten ought to ensure “that our economy performs better than what is projected in 2014,” Wescot-Williams stated. “Private and public sectors need to come together and create a shared vision to increase our common economic goals. That should be the aim.”

“Economic activity yields money and keeps money in circulation. We should keep that growth going, we should create employment opportunities that keeps the production going. This vision calls for a coming together of all sectors to aim for a strengthening of our further economic growth. We need investments, projects, and employment,” the PM stated.

Wescot-Williams added that the main economic sectors on St. Maarten remain tourism related activities, but that government’s push is to broaden the traditional types of tourism to include alternative tourism oriented activities.

“When we talk about the marine Industry on its own for example, which is an important industry on the island, it is still part of the tourism product. One of the things we have been talking about is exploring alternative tourism experiences. We have natural attributes to cater to various alternative tourism experiences. We could look at sports tourism, education tourism, eco tourism, and medical tourism and of course conference and convention tourism. We need to look at activities during the off-season; to have those months contribute to the economic development. We need to make the hub function that St. Maarten fulfills work. Government and other institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce are exploring various ways on how to develop our cosmopolitan nature, how to use the adaptability and positivism of our people in order to offer all that St. Maarten has to offer and to reinforce and strengthen the economy.”

The PM reiterated her call for the establishment of an Economic Think Tank that would include representatives from various sectors to research ways of further strengthening the economy.

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