Published On: Mon, Sep 19th, 2016

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Dear Editor,

St. Maarten people should stop talking and put their money where their mouth is. If St. Maarten people wants to protect and conserve certain properties as nature parks then they should join forces, set up foundations, raise capital and purchase these properties outright and allocate these properties to the environmentally sustainable projects they have in mind.

St. Maarten people, especially the activists, who calls on others to take action to protest, demonstrate and block the commercial developments of certain properties, should not solely rely on ‘government’ to take action. These properties are private properties and ‘government’ can not unilaterally take action to do whatever they or the ‘people’ want with these properties.

St. Maarten should buy these properties outright and then they can do whatever they want with these properties. The ‘government’ is the people and the people is the government. The executive branch of government consisting of the Governor and the Council of Ministers is tasked to carry out the fiduciary responsibility of running the country. The people of St. Maarten are represented in Parliament by the Members of Parliament who are elected to see to the fulfillment of this duty.

If the people of St. Maarten can not call upon their representatives in Parliament to instruct the government to execute the will of the people, then the people can take the initiative upon themselves to execute measures in society to bring about changes they feel as citizens are needed to be done. Such a measure can be that the people put up monies together to purchase a property and assume ownership of this property to do whatever they feel is necessary to protect and preserve that property according to the social needs of the people and the welfare of our society.

If necessary, because the funds needed is outside of the carrying capacity of the people of St. Maarten, a public-private entity can be set up whereby the government and its government-owned companies, foundations and other entities can participate in this public-private initiative as co-investors and co-financiers. The social funds (SZV), the pension funds (APS), the central bank (CBCS), the harbour group of companies, the airport companies, GEBE, Telem, etc., come to mind as entities that can participate in such a public-private entity.

mullet-bay-st-maarten

An example of a public-private entity that can be set up with support from the people of St. Maarten, the private sector, the business sector and the government sector is the Mullet Bay Buy Back Initiative. The MBBI will need to raise at least 460 million guilders in order to make a bid to buy back Mullet Bay from the Ennia insurances company which is holding the property as collateral for a loan to the owner of Mullet Bay, Mr. Husang Ansari. The CBCS issued a directive that Mullet Bay needs to be taken off the books of Ennia because of the potential financial risk exposure this poses for the pension payment obligation of this insurance company.

So this is a perfect opportunity and a perfect example of an initiative that the people of St. Maarten can take to take control of a major property on St. Maarten and protect it from commercial development that is not in line with the social and cultural development of our island and its people. St. Maarten people, put your money where your mouth is and buy back Mullet Bay for yourselves, for the people of St. Maarten and our future generation. The opportunity is yours for the taking!

Letter to the Editor