St Maarten Chamber’s Plan for Sustainable Economic Development.


Thank you Press for being here today and giving us this opportunity to address the general public through your medium….I do not think it is necessary to reemphasize that this Chamber Board works in an orderly fashion, in everything we do there must be order, order is achieved through established principles.

This Chamber Board with the current existing members will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. "the good word" Everything that we have been doing so far has been done with the purpose of laying a strong foundation that we and future boards can continue to build on.

This is in the general interest of the entire business community of ST Maarten. I want the public to understand that the Chamber is not an association of members. The chamber is an established public institution incorporated by a federal ordinance.

That said, as it refers to the visit of the Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Mark Rutte and the his delegation of Dutch Business representative only confirms that that which we as a chamber has been working on is almost like the collision of preparation meeting opportunity.

Since taking the helm as President of the St Maarten Chamber of Commerce, myself and the board have been working on a series of initiatives and strategies aimed at positioning St Maarten in an advantageous position economically wise.

As a Chamber we are determined to remain focused and strong in doing all within our powers to create an environment that would remedy the economic situation, while demonstrating to the international business world that we are serious about working together with other stake holders in creating a better economic and investment climate, all in an orderly fashion.

Relationship Building:

• In March of 2013 the Executive Director and Vice President joined a delegation of Government heads from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, General Affairs and Foreign Relations to a three day Brainstorming workshop on Profiling our country on the Kingdom Level in Latin America. Representatives of the Kingdom Foreign Relations lead the discussions. Members of the Ministries of Economic Affairs and representatives of governments and representatives of the Chambers of the BESS Islands, Curacao, Aruba and St Maarten participated in this brainstorming sessions.

• Since then meetings continued and a plan is in motion involving the Chamber, on recommendation of our Prime Minister, to establish a symposium to identify our top economic sectors and the role they play in St Maarten as we develop and define our SUB-HUB FUNCTION.


At this summit the aim is to: o Give definition to how these sectors are positioned

o Define there role in the wider Economic Frame work of St Maarten Development

o Identify the areas that need strengthening (SWOT Analysis)


Among other elements

In preparing for the goal of strengthen relations with our Dutch Business counterparts relationship has been established with Dutch Kingdom Ambassadors through out the Caribbean and Latin America.


Peru Ambassador Arjan Hamburger (chair of the Conference of Kingdom Ambassadors to Latin America

Santo Domingo Ambassador Rita Rahman; left for Malta in 2013 but indicated she would leave instructions for her replacement

Panama Ambassador Wiebe de Boer;

Ambassador Rita Rahman; Ambassador Wiebe de Boer;

Cuba Ambassador Norbert Braakhuis;

Columbia Ambassador Robert van Embden,

• The intension of the Chamber is to organize a regional kingdom Ambassadors conference and further a trade mission here in St Maarten where we will open doors to new business. o establish trade and workout logistics

o transshipment opportunities in the region

o establishing support for regional tourism(immigration and visa for people from Cuba and Dominican Republic (attract 400K plus affluent persons from DR for instance)

• As we have discussed with the Economic Representatives that accompanied the Kingdom Prime Minister Honorable Mark Rutte

• It is vital that a solid foundation is built to support and secure a sustainable economic environment for St Maarten. This we believe is achieved by: o Understanding our position as a destination X What we have to offer

X How are we living up to that

X How is it defined

X How can we improve

o Create synergies, strategies and best practices to achieve the above by X Establish relationships with the Dutch (stay in touch with the Dutch)

X Use our Embassies and Economic Consulates to penetrate markets

o Explore the availabilities and possibilities of a second economic pillar


Upon request of the kingdom representative to Philipsburg namely Mr. Gert Versluis, a meeting with registered business organizations and the delegation have been organized by the Chamber.

Here is where it is important that the general public business community understand that it is simply wrong to mislead the public that more could have been organized by the chamber while they know that this trip and its objectives were that of the Dutch Prime Minister. WE DID WHAT WE WERE ASKED TO DO.