Commentary from Mr.Roddy Heyliger: Shift Attention to Developing New Economic Sectors

Shifting attention to New Economic Opportunities

With Sint Maarten on its way to country status, preparations for the long-term development of the nation and creating a solid economic and financial foundation to the benefit of the people have to start from today. 

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When 10-10-10 arrives, we should be able to hit the ground running shifting our attention, outlook and thinking of currently an island territory and part of the Netherlands Antilles constellation, to that of country Sint Maarten.

The new parliament of country Sint Maarten will have the opportunity to develop the legal framework and enhance existing legislative regulations – that would be passed from the Netherlands Antilles to the country – to ensure the country’s economic growth. Growth can only come by expanding what exists or by creating new sectors and enterprises.

For example, the island is a magnet for private jets and mega-yachts. Two areas that country Sint Maarten Government could develop are a registry for aircraft and one for ships – "Sint Maarten Civil Aviation Authority" and a "Sint Maarten Maritime Authority."

Once we have the legislation in place and the statutory body to run and develop these new sectors, as a nation we can move forward in promoting Sint Maarten as a registry of choice for owners of an affluent, sophisticated demographic with high disposable incomes with corporate and private aircraft and the same can be said for vessels and mega-yacht owners. Sint Maarten provides a safe, stable and friendly flag.

The development of the aforementioned will create jobs and bring in additional revenues for the country Sint Maarten government.

Another new economic opportunity for progress that country Sint Maarten Parliament and Government should develop is the financial services sector. We should put our efforts into becoming a centre for international financial services and thereby creating new employment opportunities for our college graduates and at the same time creating additional revenues for the country.

Tourism is our main economic pillar and employment creator, however, the reality is that it creates mostly low skill paying jobs and not many management level jobs for Sint Maarten college graduates.

Therefore, we currently suffer a brain drain of human resources where many of our best and brightest remain in Holland and the United States/Canada. Those that do return struggle to find employment commensurate with their educational level and skills.

These aforementioned areas of new economic opportunity should be a priority for which ever government takes the reins of power to govern the nation for a four-year period on 10-10-10. We need strategies to grow the economy to achieve sustained and inclusive growth thereby improving the living standards of our people in a post 10-10-10 country Sint Maarten era.

Roddy Heyliger