Published On: Wed, Feb 21st, 2018

From the SHTA: To all political parties participating in the upcoming election

Philipsburg — The St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) issued a press statement directed to all political parties participating in the upcoming election containing a series of questions in regards to their parties manifestos. The statement reads as follows.

As the election approaches, the electorate has not been informed about your intentions with regards to the governance, development and general direction you want to lead our Country in. The SMCP has published a manifesto but that unfortunately only includes statements with respect to how they intend to work, in government or in opposition, if elected. The important questions are not answered. In order to provide the electorate with a good basis for decision making, SHTA invites all parties to officially declare their intentions, as detailed as possible, with respect to the following questions:

  1. The deficits of Government, as predicted for the years 2018 and 2019 will not be funded out of the Recovery Fund (a grant (?)). Liquidity support will be provided by the Netherlands, in consultation with CFT, in the form of loans to Government. This will significantly increase St. Maarten’s debts and may, in the future, limit Government’s ability to fund new initiatives, policies and investments. How does your party intend to keep the debts of the Country as low as possible?
  2. Real recovery of our Country takes place through redevelopment of the private sector. How does your party intend to strengthen the existing private sector and how does your party intend to attract new foreign investment?
  3. The present tax system is outdated, has very high rates (for personal and corporate income tax, in an international context) and suffers from a damaging turnover tax system. The system is complex, which causes a significant lack of enforcement which causes a disadvantage for complying persons and businesses and lower than desired revenues. Over the last 7 years, revenues in a percentage of GDP have been declining. What does your party intend to do to attend to this?
  4. With the World Bank and the IMF indicating that our fiscal system and labour laws hamper economic development, how does your party intend to grow the economy?
  5. The last few Governments, under advices issued via CFT, have worked on introducing NHI to provide general medical coverage to the residents of St. Maarten. A very expensive system in the best of times, what is your party’s view on implementation of this system in light of the damages to our economy inflicted by Irma?

Please provide this information to the electorate as soon as possible so that they can make an informed decision with respect to which party best represents their interests.