SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Board and representatives from the Chambre Consulaire Interprofessionnelle de Saint Martin (CCISM), have sent a joint letter to the Governments, Parliament and Territorial Council of Sint Maarten and Saint-Martin with respect to the border closure that is having a negative impact on the economy of the island.
Part of the joint letter reads as follows: “COVID-19 will never be snuffed out in our territory without joint actions by all stakeholders that are being severely impacted. We will have to bear for a long time, the presence of the COVID-19 virus on our territory and closing the border will not stop the virus from circulating throughout our communities.
“The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of both sides of the island are seeking for a more intensified joint approach to managing this public health crisis. We hereby propose to you our analysis of some of the intervention mechanisms that can be implemented on both parts of our territory.
“Indeed, it was very unfortunate, and we wish to highlight the consequences generated by a premature and precipitous closure of the border, in fact avoiding any possibility of implementing organizational solutions between the two territories.
“Many sectors on both sides of the island are suffering. The economic pillar of the island does not have any borders. Residents and visitors are accustomed to shopping, dining, and conducting business on both sides of the island, but the restrictions implemented are not the correct approach.”
There will be a joint virtual press conference on Thursday, August 27 at 9.30am with the media from both sides of the island. The public can follow the live stream via both Chambers Facebook pages: CCI Saint-Martin; and St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Mid-2019 both Chambers met to discuss matters of mutual interests as well as how they can work together to the benefit of the business communities of Sint Maarten and Saint-Martin. Out of these discussions came the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Both Presidents of the Board of COCI and CCISM expressed how great it was for both Chambers of Commerce to meet at that time and consolidate their views and ideas and plot a course marking the true beginning of a partnership focused on inclusion for both sides of the island and embracing the differences that exist -but most importantly finding ways and working together to develop joint solutions allowing to break down any existing barriers.
The representatives from CCISM who attended the meeting in mid-2019 were Angele Dormoy, President; Bhanicia Bryan, Interim General Director; Joy Carty, Project Manager; and Malaika Maxwell, Communications & Events Manager.
COCI was represented by Benjamin Ortega, President; Bertaux Fleming, Vice President; Louis Bute, Treasurer; and at that time Anastacio Baker, Executive Director.