Published On: Thu, Oct 26th, 2023


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Minister of Finance Irion, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS), has announced the issuance of a bond (loan) of $33.8 million dollars which he contends “will lay the foundation for a sustainable and resilient future.” While the renovation of sports facilities and community centers is laudable, when borrowing money a clear choice must be made between a “consumption loan” and an “investment loan”. A developing country should always choose investment over consumption. While the aforementioned projects are important, it is imperative to note that the majority of the loans owed to the Dutch State by our Government have not generated any significant income nor given the citizens of St. Maarten long term gainful employment because they were consumption loans rather than investments.

Pro Soualiga considers any loan that does not repay itself two to three times, a “party loan.” In our estimation, the outright ownership of Mullet Bay is the only worthwhile investment project the Government of St. Maarten should consider floating a bond issue to finance. Such an investment has the potential to generate much needed revenue while simultaneously “laying the foundation for a sustainable and resilient future”. Therefore if we have the choice between renovating sports facilities and buying back and developing Mullet Bay, the latter option should always prevail. Borrowing money to pour into consumption projects makes no sense. The bond issuance therefore presents an excellent opportunity for Minister Irion to truly address St. Maarten’s growth and development by affording the Government of St. Maarten the opportunity to regain outright ownership of Mullet Bay for the citizens of St. Maarten. Bear in mind that it was only last week where Minister Irion discussed the sale of a parcel of land at Mullet Bay with the management of Sun Resorts. According to Minister Irion, the intention of said sale is to cover a significant amount of debt (i.e. social premiums, unpaid taxes, utility bills, etc.) that Sun Resorts has accrued over the years. We have contended for quite some time that the only way for St. Maarten to regain any sort of economic growth and long term financial stability is by owning and developing Mullet Bay which will provide long term gainful employment for our citizens. Once Mullet Bay is up and running and generating revenue, part of that revenue can be used to do non-revenue generating projects such as sports facilities and community centers. It is a matter of a third world country having its priorities in order and making the correct choices. St. Maarten can no longer afford to take on “party loans” to invest in projects that have no return on investment. Not regaining full ownership of Mullet Bay while having access to capital to do so, is an economic crime against the citizens of St. Maarten. Any loan that does not repay itself two to three times is a “party loan.”