St. Maarten to establish film commission

POSTED: 04/18/13 2:35 PM

St. Maarten – Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Romeo Pantophlet foresees St. Maarten’s tax base expanding significantly over the next year as more foreign direct investment is attracted to the island.

Pantophlet, in responding to questions posed by Members of Parliament in the third day of the 2013 Draft Budget told MPs that he is currently in discussions with Paramount Pictures for movies to be made on the island. When pressed on whether the government had already signed a contract to this effect, Pantophlet said that no contract has been signed as yet. He said that should negotiations be successful, St. Maarten can look forward to motion pictures, media productions and jobs through crew support.

Paramount Pictures Corporation is a film and television production/distribution studio, consistently ranked as one of the largest (top-grossing) movie studios. It is a unit of American media conglomerate Viacom.

Paramount is the fifth oldest existing film studio in the world behind Universal Studios, Nordisk FilmPathé, and Gaumont Film Company. Also, it is the last major film studio still headquartered in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles and is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America.

The minister also revealed that St. Maarten will soon set up a film commission. He said that with this initiative along with an airline registry, marine registry and Ezone, for which an agreement was already signed, St. Maarten is poised to increase its tax base.

He explained that as an economist, budget cuts are never the way to stimulate the economy but because of CFT requirements, St. Maarten has to comply. The minister also reminded Parliament that four star hotel accommodations are also to be constructed on the island. He refused to name the investors that are interested since negotiations are still ongoing. The minister said that all investors had also expressed interest in developments in the Mullet Bay area. A prime property, Mullet Bay redevelopment will become a priority soon, the minister said. He indicated that he did not have any information on the property currently and promised to have a session on the status of Mullet Bay be brought to Parliament for discussion, after the budget debate has been concluded.

Minister of Vromi William Marlin gave an update on Mullet Bay redevelopment. Marlin said that several years ago there were discussions by the owners of the property to rebuild on the location of the former building 90 just across from the entrance of the Towers.

Marlin said that since then, ICE has been contracted by the owners of Mullet Bay to carry out an analysis of cliff erosion and the feasibility for construction.

“A building permit has been requested by the owners of Building 90 to carry out cliff erosion protection work. That request is now being processed but no building permit for a construction of a building on the property in question has been submitted as yet,” the minister stated.

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