Prime Minister Wescot-Williams Gives Recap of Visit by Dutch Prime Minister Rutte

PM Proposes Establishment of Economic Think Thank to Bolster St. Maarten Economy

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams on Friday gave a recap of the visit by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and some of the points that were discussed during his visit.


"This is the first visit by Prime Minister Rutte in the capacity as Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Leading up to the visit the Prime Minister made it clear that he would place the focus on the economic part of the visit and therefore brought several persons along with him in order to explore the establishing of business contacts between our Country and the Netherlands. For St. Maarten this is quite new; Aruba, for example, has a strong link to the Business sector of the Netherlands and we believe that also for St. Maarten this relationship could yield win-win situations. In this area we are very diverse geographically and St. Maarten’s location makes it a very special candidate for being the bridge between the region and the Netherlands and between the region and Europe.

"Hopefully we can see a large delegation from the Netherlands return and it is also important to note that some agreements are also already on the table."

The Prime Minister was also able to explain that, on the political front, the Council of Ministers also gave presentations to Minister Rutte on their various Ministries. "All Ministers were also able to briefly elucidate the activities and status of their Ministry and their vision going forward. Those overviews were given by Ministers who are just a month in office and considering that they made excellent presentations.

"Important to also note was that some concerns were expressed regarding the challenges that St. Maarten faces going forward with regards to the 2013 Budget. Minister Hassink has that as priority number one and is working on the preparation for the Budget of 2014 and these intensions were also made clear to Prime Minister Rutte."

The Prime Minister explained that this meeting was more of an exploratory one and that concrete steps will be taking to manifest some of the items that were already discussed with regards to renewed political development. "This was a feeling out meeting with regards to the private sector prepared by the office of the Dutch Representatives. Going forward we of St. Maarten need to now decide on how best to move forward in this direction and we need to have a follow-up in that regards. Even at this stage we are seeing some promising results moving forward. The National Development Plan is part of that way forward for the people of St. Maarten, including cooperation and dialogue with sectors and entities across the board. During my presentation I also launched the idea of an economic think tank for St. Maarten where ideas are shared on topics on getting together to talk about the economic future of St. Maarten. Thinking about St. Maarten’s future and its economic development are necessary to provide the opportunities for our children and we need to have those broad discussions in the community," commented the Prime Minister.