Mellissa: New Year brings challenges, opportunities

POND ISLAND–“A window has been opened for us to re-invent our economy, our tourism product and the way we do business,” said Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Minister Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher in her New Year’s message as she looked from the ravages of Hurricane Irma to the opportunities 2018 will bring for the country.

  “In 2018 we will face challenges but also many exciting opportunities. … We must embrace innovation throughout Government, improving the way we do things socially, economically and technologically,” she said.

  “As we start a new year, our challenges have not diminished. In fact, we will be moving into a period that will test our resiliency and toughness as a people. Many of the challenges ahead cannot be met by government alone,” Arrindell-Doncher pointed out.

  Government has the responsibility to develop the plans that will guide the recovery and stimulate the economy. “But our people, the private sector, tourism partners and more, has to put in work as well.”

  When Irma struck, the relationships built prior were key factors in how the country successfully managed its recovery thus far, “from the coordination of relief supplies through Ministry TEATT to securing commercial airlift back to the island in record time,” she said. “Our people sprang into action not because their Government told them to, but simply because of how they felt. They felt responsible for their neighbours. They felt responsible to help and do as much as they can for their communities and island as a whole.”

  After seeing that, she said “a thought” stuck with her: “If we are capable of a new way of feeling, then we must surely be capable of a new way of thinking. St. Maarten deserves so much more, so much better.”

  In this light, she called on the community to “reject and rebuke self-defeating attitudes.” If there is truly love for country, “we will put that love on display through positive action that will foster a sound quality of life for our people now and for generations to come.” 

Source: The Daily Herald