Small Business Development in the Rebuilding of St. Maarten Championed by Wescot-Williams

The Market vendors and all the other small and micro entrepreneurs should be part and parcel of our economic recovery. “It is therefore with concern that I’ve noted that no information is available regarding the market vendors in Philipsburg and the food trucks on the Pondfill. In the latter situation, stories about the allocation of land on the Pondfill/Ring Road have lead me to question our Minister(s) about the plans for the Pondfill and Ring Road and the plans for the vendors/food trucks in this area.” stated Member of Parliament, Sarah Wescot-Williams.

The Member of Parliament recently sent questions to the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Miklos Giterson and Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT), Stuart Johnson on these concerns.

“A similar question is posed regarding the vendors in Philipsburg. What are the plans? It is heartbreaking to see these persons brave the elements in their daily struggle to make a living.
I believe that a concerted effort must be made to offer small businesses support, especially in these trying economic times, if we want to reap the benefits of a strong small business sector. It is a well reported fact that SMEs are the backbone of any economy and that promoting entrepreneurship is building economic resiliency.” , the MP continued.

Will these small entrepreneurs be given the opportunity to get organized and make this area attractive to patrons, stimulating small business? It was regretful to note that the Qredit Program on St. Maarten was cut short due to financing. This program was aimed at providing loans to small and medium enterprises. In the aftermath of hurricane Irma, this type of financing for the small independent entrepreneurs (business people) became a matter of survival for many.” Wescot-Williams further stated.

The questions that have been posed to the Ministers of TEATT and VROMI:

1. What are the current plans for the “Ring Road” area?
2. What is the intention of Government for the current vendors along the Walter Nisbeth Road and the Ring Road?
3. What is the intention of Government for the Philipsburg market area and the current vendors?
4. How does government view these vendors as part of the recovery of St. Maarten and of the SME sector in particular?
5. What plans are there to promote the SME on St. Maarten?
6. Where can qualifying small businesses direct their queries and requests?
7. How is the collaboration with the banking sector, Chamber of Commerce etc. in this particular field of the economy?