PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) said the energy and determination which St. Maarten had been working towards will be needed this year as there will be hurdles to overcome.
In its New Year’s message COCI President Peggy Ann Brandon said cognizant of the fact that the country’s success is contingent on having a stable political environment, COCI will push for close collaborations with its stakeholders and governmental divisions.
“COCI maintains a conservative yet positive outlook, this due to statistics on business closures and incorporations since September 2017. With 86 business closures and 126 businesses incorporated (construction/food and beverage/communications/consultancy) the trust and confidence in economy and its possibilities has maintained and is enhanced with an anticipation of product and service needs to arise during the rebuilding phase,” she said.
“Strength, resilience, trust, flexibility and creativity will bring forth new industries to replace some that may be lost for a while. Unemployment and the consequences thereof will require prompt and adequate attention, to ensure that no one is left behind and the safety and security of all is guaranteed.”
She said as a nation St. Maarten was tested in an extreme way, to which the country responded with love and resilience, “2017 will therefore not just go down in history as a year with great devastation to our infrastructure and lives, but also the year in which this nation once again proved its strength, resilience and bounce-back capabilities.
“The events of 2017 should be the catalyst for the rebirth of the country, a defining moment in the aftermath when we decided consciously to make our country better than ever. What we do from here on will define us for years to come.”
She continued: “This year the person of the year is our resilient nation. No one person, entity or business alone achieved what we have achieved as a nation together.
“The employees of our utility company GEBE and telecom providers who worked tirelessly to restore power, water and communications; the volunteers who worked to distribute aid; the entities that worked on our beaches; the medical personnel who went beyond; the neighbours who came to the aid of others; the civil servants and third parties who worked to clean debris; the businesses that fought to reopen to offer services and to maintain personnel all contributed in one way or another, yet together achieving the fastest recovery imaginable.
“Whilst we have a long way to go, we have in comparison to others who have endured the same as us done quite well thus far. Our work, however, has just begun, and our resolve must be to continue rebuilding together.”