Update on SEI Stimulus package for St.Maarten made by Commissioner Frans Richardson



In the Closing Statements (Slotverklaring) of November 2, 2006, the SEI was given a crucial position regarding debt relief and acquiring country status. The SEI measures are subject to approval by the Executive Council and the Kingdom Council of Ministers. The SEI is said to contribute towards the setting of the policy agenda for the next couple of years, that is, beginning with the transition phase towards achieving country status and thereafter.

The Netherlands has made available more than one billion Antillean guilders for financial support for the Netherlands Antilles, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.


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This commitment from The Hague is part of the transition accord signed by the Netherlands, the Central Government and the islands of the Antilles.

To make sure the islands have a healthy start, the Netherlands is helping with debt relief. An amount of NAf. 224 million was reserved for this purpose.

Made available specifically per island for payment arrears (in Antillean guilders): St. Maarten 183 million, Bonaire 55 million, Saba 3 million, St. Eustatius 15 million. Each of the four islands receives NAf. 3 million for budgetary aid. The four islands would receive NAf. 2 million for so-called quick wins. For the Social Economic Initiative (SEI): St. Maarten 26 million Antillean guilders, Bonaire 19.5 million, Saba and St. Eustatius each 13 million.

The island government of St. Maarten had, in the past, received the green light from the Dutch government to begin shifting some of the SEI (Social Economic Initiative) funding.

St. Maarten had at that time submitted a request to the Dutch government asking that they re-direct some of the monies that are available through the SEI at USONA so that the island can begin some aggressive marketing to fight the global economic down turn.

Social and Economic Initiative

Investing in social and economic development is highly important for St. Maarten in the structural tackling of poverty and offering perspectives for all of the people of St. Maarten.

In this light, it is incorporated in the Outline Agreement of 2005 and the Final Declaration of 2006.

The St. Maarten SEI is subdivided into eight policy areas:

Spatial Planning & Traffic Congestion, Development of SME and Economic Diversification, Tourism Marketing, Labor Market & Education, Regulation, Government Finance, Data and Social Issues.

In this SEI, 33 measures/ (large) projects have been incorporated. It is a matter of, among other things, decreasing serious traffic bottlenecks, improving the processing of waste, providing training programs for entrepreneurship, investing in school capacity and reinforcing the Inspectorate for Health and Security.

Furthermore, it will be necessary to invest in decreasing administrative expenses, integrating information systems, building public houses and improving and addressing the sewage system in the districts.

St. Maarten had been told to expect almost 100 million guilders from the Netherlands for the period 2008-2012 to St. Maarten. This for the cooperation themes Education & Youth, Security, SEI, ISR and others.

Of interest to my office is the Marketing Stimulus plan that will be financed out of the Social Economic Initiative (SEI).

Today, I am pleased to announce that this past Tuesday, the Executive Council approved the project proposal ‘Marketing Stimulus Program’ for St. Maarten.

The Executive Council also approved to send the project proposal to USONA for financing.

Due to the world economic crisis and our having to mitigate the effects thereof on our own economy, decisive action is certainly called for. In consultation with the Dutch Government the Island territory of Sint Maarten had created the Marketing Stimulus Program to stimulate the economy.

The Marketing Stimulus Program Stimulus is an island wide action plan of both the private and public sector in St. Maarten and includes additional marketing and promotional activities. The program will be managed by STB (St. Maarten Tourist Bureau) and will run for a period of 2 years — with the focus on the first 6 months.

The Marketing Stimulus Program will focus on the following results/activities:

Public sector

– Increase the amount of stay-over visitors from Venezuela with 425 a year (total 25%)

– Increase the amount of stay-over visitors from Brazil with 442 a year (total 25%)

– Re-design, up-date and maintenance of the website

– One extra yearly Mega Yacht show

– Four events in the festival village and two conferences a year

Private sector

– Extra advertisement in magazines and increase accessibility website

– Start an extra local promotion program

– Install a call center for bookings on Sint Maarten

– Extra investments in travel agents and media promotion program

As most of the funding will come from the SEI-program, the program will become a new project in the SEI-program (project 3.3.1, policy field Marketing Tourism).


The financing of the Marketing Stimulus Program is agreed with the Dutch Government, and as such the budgets of some projects of the SEI program will reallocated for this program. The following projects will contribute with the mentioned amount to the respective programs:

Knowledge and behavior NAF 300.000,-

Strategy Branding position NAF. 300.000,-

Local Awareness Program NAF. 700.000,-

Establish a Tourism Authority NAF 400.000,-

Marketing Sports tourism NAF 500.000,-

Transit storage facility NAF 1.000.000,-

USM Regional NAF. 387.000,-

Comprehensive mobility and public transportation plan

NAF 500.000,-

Total amount NAF 4.087.000,-


The SEI-program is implemented on the basis of co-financing (NAF 26 million from the Netherlands and NAF 26 million from SXM). For the Marketing Stimulus Program NAF 1.887.000, – will come from Dutch development aid (USONA) and NAF 2.200.000, – will come from the Island contribution to the SEI-program (NAF 4.087.000,-).

The contribution of the private sector to the Marketing Stimulus program consists of developing a number of additional activities for the next 2 years with an amount of NAF 2.487.600 -. This is in addition to the current extra efforts of this sector.

I would like to avail myself of this opportunity, as well, to issue an appeal to other stakeholders, such as the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry to exert its influence on its members for the purpose of lowering the cost of such basic goods as foods.

Thus far an update of where we stand at this moment with the stimulus program.

I thank you.