SHTA calls for solidarity | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) said on Thursday that based on the outcome of the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting on Thursday, April 9, it is clear that St. Maarten “needs to take its first steps out of the crisis before help from the Netherlands will be forthcoming.”

SHTA said this means that solidarity is needed “in tightening our belts needs to first happen at home and budget cuts across the Board are expected.”

“Those actions, together with a timely and qualitative follow-up proposal to save jobs will likely not be available until the May timeframe, but it is the only way forward to (continue to) obtain support and save jobs and livelihoods of St. Maarteners,” SHTA said in a press release. “SHTA agrees with the conviction of (Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond) Knops that if help is to be for everybody, so should the burden. SHTA hopes for national solidarity and asks government to swiftly take their share of the burden.”

  He said given the setup of the Kingdom, at this point there is no other way to apply for financial aid than to comply to the demands of the Netherlands.  “Amongst the clear message of… Knops was the high payments to Parliamentarians, Ministers and senior civil servants as well as directors of publicly owned companies, which are amongst the highest in the Kingdom “is intolerable, that people go hungry and that others get paid such high salaries for relatively small islands.” 

  SHTA repeats its offer to the public sector to share expertise and advice to comply to the demands coming from the Netherlands. It recommends to make use of social partners’ insights and experience in dealing with economy and labour matters by existing councils like the Socio-Economic Council and Tripartite Committee.

Contrary to Aruba and Curacao, neither political parties, the media nor civil society organisations have at this point received insight into the details of the official proposal for COVID 19 relief; the released proposal is not yet funded, and has no clear timeline, the SHTA alerts businesses, to take necessary measures to survive in light that any support may still be far out.

Source: The Daily Herald