State of local business is devastating

GREAT BAY—The status of local businesses in terms of opportunities and development is devastating, according to Greg Arrindell, a representative of the Downstreet Business Council in Philipsburg. “Locals going into business have been challenged by the fact that the tax man is standing at your door even when there is no kind of business while the whole development of the tourism industry, various tax exemptions have been given to corporate companies coming into your country,” Arrindell told Today. He suggested local businesses do not have a chance to grow because of the heavy competition from foreign investors that get far more concessions. “They do not get the same respect, they do not get the same support when it comes to finding the necessary finances to start a business. They do not get aid from the small business foundation,” Arrindell declared.
Mr. Arrindell hinted to businesses in the Downstreet area of Philipsburg that he noted have been suffering despite efforts to attract business in that part of the town through the construction of the Walter Plantz Square. Additionally, he pointed out that local entrepreneurs are becoming demoralized and many of them are closing. “Today if you walk Frontstreet and Backstreet, many places are closing down. Why? Once more because of the level of the taxation but also on the global level where you can go online and purchase a tablet for $185 and I have to pay (a much higher price) in St. Maarten for it,” Arrindell said. On that note he pointed out that most of the stores on Backstreet and Frontstreet that are closing are not owned by locals. These business people quickly move to neighboring islands whenever they believe there is no incentive for them to remain on St. Maarten, according to Arrindell.
He said St. Martiners can no longer be second class citizens in their own country and should be protected. “Crime will not stop when the locals are trying to rise up and you keep pushing them in the gutter and that is what is going to continue damage St. Maarten,” the business man declared.

Source: TODAY