Stimulate the economy to fix crime, SHTA recommends

POSTED: 10/17/11 11:43 AM

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association SHTA acknowledges and supports Minister Duncan’s efforts to safeguard the tourism industry and protect our primary industry, the association’s executive director Valya Pantophlet said in a press release issued this weekend. “The SHTA believes that stiffer penalties for severe crimes should be introduced across the board to all criminals. Ultimately, all crimes have a negative impact to our society and economy.”
The association has put forth suggestions for solutions and requested a meeting with the Council of Ministers to discuss them.
The SHTA said it is well aware of the limited resources of the justice department. “Increasing penalties may result in more people in jail which translates into more facilities, more guards and more financial demands.”
Pantophlet pointed out that “the health of our society is a direct reflection of the health of our economy. In the long term, the solutions for crime revolve around fixing our economy. The core issue is the underperforming economy, which is not producing enough revenue for the country and is therefore hindering our ability to put the necessary framework in place to effectively fight crime and fix other social ills.”
The SHTA proposes short term and long term measures, and is looking forward to discuss these ideas with the Council of Ministers.
For the short term, the SHTA recommends increased police presence on the streets. “The SHTA believes that the periods of vehicle controls which occurred sparingly over the past years were successful deterrents to crime. These should be repeated.”
The association also suggests heightened border control, “to prevent the trafficking of narcotics, persons and goods.”
For the long term, the association points to the restructuring of the tax system, aimed at broadening the tax base, and creating of an environment that stimulates growth and investment. “Government can generate more revenue and stimulate the economy simultaneously by lowering the tax rate, eliminating special deductions, and increasing compliance.”
Lastly, the association remarks that crime is a social issue. “Therefore, prevention and control should go hand in hand with socio-economic development. We need to fix the education system to better foster and stimulate the youth.”

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