Published On: Mon, Jun 24th, 2019

Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin address challenges and opportunities on shaping St. Maarten’s Economic Recovery


CUPECOY — Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Governor Eugene Holiday addressed the challenges and opportunities on shaping sustainable economic recovery in St. Maarten at the 8th Governor’s Symposium on Friday, June 21, 2019.

During his opening speech, Governor Holiday discussed the impacts of hurricanes Irma and Maria on the economy of St. Maarten. From a per capita income of 26,163 USD, it dropped to 23,663 USD between 2017 and 2018.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria resulted to damages and losses on St. Maarten, costing 2.7 million USD which is over 250% of GDP. The debt-to-GDP ration also increased by almost 10 percent points to an estimated 43.6%.

Holiday emphasized that these challenges were results of the vulnerability of the socio-economic development to external shocks. He added that the vulnerability of the people, environment, and infrastructure must be addressed in order to achieve the 2030 agenda of sustainable development goals.

He also highlighted the areas in which resiliency must be built. He encouraged investments in airport and seaport resilience to secure the transport of goods and persons necessary for the survivability, recovery and sustainable functioning of the economy.

Second was the investment in energy resilience by completing the underground cabling program and by investing in renewable energy generation to secure restoration in electricity.

He added that there should also be investments in environmental protection and communication resilience for waste management solutions and disaster management.

Lastly, he said that the social resilience must be improved by investing in the resiliency of the population and properties in underprivileged neighborhoods.

“Investing in socio-economic resilience and sustainability is also the best approach to bridging the financing gap we face as country and a region,” he said.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin encouraged the people to be cognizant to the economic challenges faced by St. Maarten to appropriate measures, policies and programs that will mitigate the challenges of the future development.

She focused on different economic challenges such as climate change and dependency syndrome. To curb out the said challenges, the Prime Minister encouraged the people of St. Maarten to think on a higher level which involves the thinking of smart and resilient St. Maarten.

She also emphasized the need to develop and enact legislation that would guide policies, projects, initiatives and programs that are practical, implementable and realistic for the region. She added that these measures should be viewed as sustainable and long-term solutions.

“As a measure, the time has come for us to be innovative, to exploit and to reap the gains of other productive sectors of our economy which are of essence for us to overcome these challenges; be it by the orange economy or the blue economy or whichever sector that exist out there,” she said.

She also reminded St. Maarten to keep up with technology hence adoptive approach must be applied.

She also assured that the Government remains to be committed in executing and implementing e-Government throughout the organization to improve the ease of doing business in the island.

The Prime Minister announced that the Government joined the CCRIF and initiated the Disaster Fund in the National Budget.


Related documents & articles:
Full speech Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin
Full speech Governor Eugene B. Holiday
News report “Steps must be taken for our country to be resilient