PHILIPSBURG:— Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr. urged the Parliament of St. Maarten to place more emphasis on infrastructure on St. Maarten to better serve and boost the tourism economy. Gibson Sr reported to Parliament on Wednesday to give Parliament an outlook on the financial situation on St. Maarten. The Minister said that St. Maarten has to compete with other surrounding islands and one of the things that must be done is to get tourists to return to the island. He said when someone walks down the Airport Boulevard or even starting from Tropicana Casino in Cole Bay there is no sidewalks for pedestrians. Visitors and even residents of St. Maarten have to put up with dogging potholes, and mud while walking in those areas. The timeshare industry he said took away rooms that once built as hotel rooms.
The Minister of Finance also informed Parliament of the banking situation the country is facing where correspondence banks are opting to stop doing business with banks on St. Maarten and other Caribbean islands all due to the FATCA regulations and the huge fines banks have to pay if they are caught doing business with banks that are not fully complying with their rules and regulations.
Another point the Minister of Finance raised is the upscaling of the tax department which would increase revenues on St. Maarten.
Several MPs took the matter regarding banks on St. Maarten rather serious, they asked the Minister to inform them who does the MOT reports to and how is it possible that businesses obtained licenses on St. Maarten to do business but banks are refusing to do business with them. They said a certain casinos cannot have bank accounts on St. Maarten because the banks simply refuses to do business with them, yet the employees working for the same casinos can have accounts at the bank and even obtained loans from banks locally.
The Minister of Finance will return to Parliament at a later date to answer the questions that were posed to him on Wednesday by Members of Parliament.
Source: St. Martin News Network
Minister of Finance urged Parliament do more to enhance Tourism to boost country’s finances.