Maria: “Shared responsibility and our resiliency will see us through”

~ Cautions against constant doom and gloom messages ~

Commissioner of Economic Affairs Maria Buncamper-Molanus stressed yesterday that she has the utmost faith in the resiliency of the people of St. Maarten to endure and ultimately overcome these challenging economic times. "It is this factor, along with government actions, that will ultimately see us through a crisis that people all over the world is experiencing," the Commissioner said.

Buncamper-Molanus said she has always spoken frankly and directly to the people of St. Maarten about the local economic situation and world-wide financial crisis. She said while she never sugar-coated anything, she has always considered the potential economic impact that constant gloom and doom messages have on the conscious and sub-conscious of every consumer.


online casino

"We are all aware of the situation, we look forward to the possible mitigating measures that will be explored at the upcoming Economic Summit and cannot ignore that attitudes have to change in terms of people’s lifestyles. However we will only serve to weaken consumer confidence and demand if we allow negative messages to permeate in our community," the Commissioner said.

She continued: "Once consumption starts to slide, businesses will start to lay-off workers, who will not be able to pay their rents, electricity, school fees and buy food. This will start the downward slope of the economy and all the negative consequences associated therewith such as crime, drugs, physical-, mental and possibly even sexual abuse."

Recalling the difficult times that St. Maarten, its people and its businesses had to endure in the past, the Commissioner said she has no doubt that St. Maarten will emerge from the current crisis in good shape. "We are a resilient people. We have been through challenging times before, God-made or otherwise. We have proven that we have always been able to rise to meet any challenge that stands before us. I have no reason to think any differently this time around," she said.

She added that government, including the opposition, must start to encourage our constituents that they need to take whatever precautionary measures necessary to weather the storm. "If we can do it for a hurricane, we must do it for this economic hurricane. It is a responsibility our people have to themselves and to St. Maarten just as we, their elected representatives, have a responsibility to them and St. Maarten," she said.

The opposition’s time should be constructively spent, she says, by being frank with the population about "belt tightening" rather than blaming government for a crisis that was not created by government. She said she respect’s the opposition’s rights to question government, but urged them to be responsible and not only to try or attempt to make the government look bad, unprepared and/or un-caring but to inform, educate and encourage our people about the role they can play in safeguarding and protecting their own livelihood.

"To this end, buy what is necessary, limit conspicuous (unnecessary) consumption, take care of our basic needs and work hard to ensure that your employer stays in business as this is also your direct source of income and to be able to provide for yourself and family. The opposition and Government might not always agree on everything, but I believe we have consensus on the fact that the economic situation requires the attention and contributions of all of us. We must find common ground in order to lead St. Maarten through this storm," Buncamper-Molanus concluded.