PHILIPSBURG–Government needs to explain to Parliament as soon as possible how it intends to cover the shortfalls in revenue from dwindling cruise ship calls, said United People’s (UP) party deputy leader Member of Parliament (MP) Franklin Meyers .
Cruise ship-less days at the height of the high season was unheard of in years past, but they have become somewhat of a regular sight in the last year. Meyers said, “Fewer ships mean less revenue for the Port, for Government and less money circulating in the economy. We are in some scary times.”
Port St. Maarten has reported a loss of some US $9 million in 2016 and the current ship-less trend points to possibly yet another loss for this year, said Meyers.
“It is not clear to anyone how or if at all Government is tackling this economic downturn. It is high time the Finance Minister gives an explanation about financial health of the country,” he said.
“The decline in tourism and by direct extension the economy show that the current Government does not have an interest in or cares about tourism. The absence of a designated tourism minister is also telling about the importance placed on the main sector of the economy,” Meyers said.
There has been no clear position from Government on what is being done to boost tourism by attracting more ship calls and more stayover visitors to the coun