SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell said in a press release on Sunday that: “ The current circumstances surrounding the state of affairs in Sint Maarten generally points to both social and economic stagnation exacerbated by the political uncertainties in the wake of new snap elections.

“A few years following the devastation of Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn in 1995, government, civic society and business sector gathered at the Mullet Bay conference center to discuss a new way forward.

“Under the leadership of then Lt. governor Mr. Dennis Richardson, the conference concluded on a high note produced and submitted a practical document referred to as the Multi Annual Policy Plan or ‘MAPP,‘ towards 2000 and beyond. This document provided an economic and social path forward for Sint Maarten. Many great ideas were tabled projecting short, medium and long term policies and programs that would make us resilient beyond the year 2000”

“There was hope, there was confidence, there was mutual respect, while all ‘noses’ were pointed into the same direction aimed at creating a quality tourism based economy, with a strong social- educational foundation. Some ‘hard’ programs were partially executed since then.

“Projects such as the Boardwalk, beautification, GEBE underground cable & improved garbage collection to name a few projected to finish in10 years at the time. Regrettably few of the more ‘soft’ or social based plans were carried or completed. Diversification of Tourism never happened.

Tourism as a core subject of our school-curriculum is ad-hoc at best”.

Arrindell said: “Another devastating hurricane hit us in 2017. Many experience the recovery process as too slow. Our citizens are not brimming in health and prosperity. To the contrary, at the of October 2019, our roads are bursting daily with loaded containers dangerously barreling down our hills.

“Cars clogging our narrow streets heading into a perpetual traffic jam. Our international airport still not fully rebuilt, government owned companies charging our citizens ridiculously high ‘late fees, including a perpetual GEBE fuel clause ‘. It is time to start a serious discussion regarding the reduction or gradual removal merits of this ‘clause.’

“The Simpson-bay lagoon is empty with few yachts u can count on one hand. Hopefully bookings are confirmed for the months ahead. Many still placing buckets in their homes when it rains, unable to afford contractors to repair or rebuild their premises while having received building materials to do so.”

Arrindell continues: “Several good reports have been written towards Recovery.

There is a dire need to connect the dots ‘so to speak’ of all these reports and establish one Vision forward. A clear vision derived from a meeting of minds of people of goodwill. This vision must go well beyond the basic recovery process.

“A vision that would establish and guard the process towards a positive social- economic outcome. This takes courage and determination to succeed.

The only key to a beautiful and success-full Sint Maarten is execution of real action based policies and programs that our citizens can see, feel and touch.’

“Establishing a new ‘Think Tank’ consisting of a few competent men and women from government, business and civic society requires placing our political and personal agendas aside for the general well being of our citizens.”

PPA leader concludes: “It does not require much effort to do the right thing and put politics aside for the greater good of the well being of our citizens.

Establishing a ‘Think Tank’ soonest void of political partisanship, will surely go a long way into leaving a decade behind of mostly uncertainties and moving into a new era of hope and prosperity for Sint Maarten and its People.”

Source: Souliga Newsday