PM: “We should ensure that our economy performs better than what is projected in 2014.

Private and public sectors need to come together for our common economic goals"

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams offered additional comments regarding the recent presentation by the Director of the Central Back Emsley Tromp. The Prime Minister commented that the information which was distributed regarding the balance of payment of the Monetary Union is concerned, consideration needs to be made regarding the financial developments on St. Maarten vis a vis Curacao; "On St. Maarten there would be no need for measures to be taken with regards to the financial outlooks. However those same financial outlooks are based on the current monetary union. Certain restrictions that are in place on St. Maarten have been placed because of the situation on Curacao.

"St. Maarten has experienced a growth of 1.5%. Of course that is not the growth that St. Maarten has been accustomed to. Growth on St. Maarten has been normally four or five percent but because of the financial crises we are not to that level yet. But given the global crises we should indeed count ourselves lucky that we have been experiencing growth, growth that will continue in 2014. What we should do at this time, as St. Maarten is to ensure that our economy performs better than what is projected in 2014. Private and public sectors need to come together and create a shared vision to increase our common economic goals. That should be the aim; in order to see that we have a higher growth than projected.

"We talk about economic growth and increase in GDP, however it is about economic activity that yields money and keeps money in circulation. It means what we should keep that growth going, we should create employment opportunities that keep the production going. This vision calls for a coming together of all sectors to aim for a strengthening of our further economic growth. We need investments, projects, and employment.

The Prime Minister explained that the main economic sectors on St. Maarten remain tourism related activities, but that Government’s push is to broaden the traditional types of tourism to include alternative tourism oriented activities. "When we talk about the Marine Industry on its own for example, which is an important industry on the island, it is still part of the Tourism product. One of the things we have been talking about exploring alternative tourism experiences. We have natural attributes to cater to various alternative tourism experiences. We could look at sports tourism, education tourism, eco tourism, and medical tourism and of course conference and convention tourism. We need to look at activities during the off-season; to have those months contribute to the economic development. We need to make the hub function that St. Maarten fulfills work. Government and other institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce is exploring various ways on how to develop our cosmopolitan nature, how to use the adaptiveness and positiveness of our people in order to offer all that St. Maarten has to offer and to reinforce and strengthen the economy," commented the Prime Minister

The PM also re-emphasized her call for the establishment of an Economic Think Tank that would include representatives from various sectors to research ways in strengthening the economy further. "Again I reiterate the call for an Economic Think Tank which would involve all sectors to make the necessary things happen," concluded the Prime Minister