Today’s Editorial: Being practical about a vision

POSTED: 05/31/11 12:02 PM

St. Maarten’s Vice Prime Minister Theodore Heyliger wants to prove that our friendly country can stand on its own and take care of its own affairs. One area that he gave specific focus on Monday is housing.
The needs in this area are big. Some 2,000 people remain on a waiting list and the 24 three bedroom homes that reached their highest point on Monday are but a drop in the bucket of the 342 that are needed.
Creating new housing is no cheap venture, and will not be an easy undertaking. The ideas as put forward by Heyliger – a bond from the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten and investments by the Pension Fund are no doubt good – for the simple reason that they both have a cyclical effect. There are some things to be observed though.
On the Central Bank front, things may move slowly for the simple reason, that the bank’s director is now focused on defending himself in a battle with the government of Curacao. There is also the fact that the bank has some internal governance issues, like the appointment of a new board and finalizing the currency discussion as matters of priority.
The pension fund option is one that makes us worry, because should the day come that the government or any other institution that is unable to pay its commitments, people’s pensions will be placed at risk. This scenario has played out in many a neighboring country, and we urge the government to take examples from their regional neighbors.
A vision is good to have, but it will take discipline to bring it to light.

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