During the recent budget debates, you informed parliament of your intentions to
“revisit” the structure and functioning of the St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA). I
have to admit that this is your and any government’s good right. However, this
statement in my opinion comes at a time when that body has hardly been given a
chance to execute any of its duties, let alone that its functioning could be
Your response in the budget meeting that triggered the above conclusion, has
caused a lot of concern in tourism circles. Many are quite discouraged that after
years of talking and unsuccessful attempts to establish such a body, now that at
least one has been created, there are already talks of change. What or how is
any-one’s guess. In addition, the state of the representation of our tourism
product abroad is dismal for various reasons. No direction, no communication.
No plan, period.
Please inform Parliament of the following:
What has prompted this decision by you to “restructure” the fledgling STA?
Is this a decision of the STA itself or of the Minister?
How has the STA performed thus far? Have there been meetings?
What are your ideas for a “restructured” STA?
What timeframe do you have in mind?
What happens to the critical outstanding tourism issues in the meantime, such as
payments to representatives, contracts with representatives and representation
I look forward to your prompt reply, not only to Parliament, but also to the many
stakeholders, who are as baffled as I am by your announcement.COUNTERPART POLICY
During the 2015 budget debate, Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs informed
parliament that “consultations with internal and external stakeholders are
continuing to detail implementation guidelines” for the counterpart proposal.
Can the Prime Minister and or the Minister inform Parliament who these internal
and external stakeholders are?
Which of these stakeholders have already been consulted? What were the
What is the timeline for further and future consultations and with whom, prior to
implementation in the 3rd quarter of this year, as announced by the Prime
During the questioning in the Central Committee meeting of Parliament on
February 10th, with the Ministers of TEATT and Finance on the Harbor Group of
Companies (Harbor), I focused on several references by the Harbor in its 2013
annual report.
These reports by the way, as far as the financials of the Harbor are concerned
are a consolidation of all the companies that fall under the Harbor and these are
One recurring reference by the Harbor in the elucidation of these reports regards
plans for the Simpsonbay Lagoon and the greater area of Simpsonbay.
My serious concerns with respect to these subtle announcements in the Harbor’s
2013 reports, were expressed during aforementioned meeting, but were met with
denial by the minister of knowing anything of these plans and the assurance that nothing will happen in general and in Simpsonbay in particular without a strategic
plan being presented by the Harbor to government, and ultimately to Parliament.
It appears now however, this assurance by the Minister notwithstanding and
zoning hearings notwithstanding, that government (read the Ministry of VROMI)
since March 2014 has received a request for water rights at the “head”’of
Simpsonbay to …develop a pier, hotel and facilities and amenities to service
smaller cruise ships…..
The urgent questions therefore are:
▪ Has this request been granted?
▪ Who has the jurisdiction for this area? Government or the Harbor?
▪ Are these the plans the Harbor alludes to in its 2013 reports as far as
Simpsonbay is concerned?
▪ Must government consult with the harbor on this request?
▪ Are we about to witness a standoff between Government and Harbor like in
the case of Dock Martin or are government and Harbor in on this together?
It should and can not be that while the Parliament is being assuaged by
Government with the promise of a strategic plan of the Harbor, if and when we
get so far, the plans for Simpsonbay will already be underway, sanctioned by
government and/or harbor.