PHILIPSBURG–With five days to the February 26 snap election, St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) says political parties have not informed the electorate about their views on governance, development and the general direction in which they each want to lead the country.
The manifesto of the St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) “only includes statements” on how it intends to work, in government or in opposition, if elected. The important questions, according to SHTA, are not answered.
SHTA said on Wednesday that to provide the electorate with a good basis for decision-making, it invites all parties to declare their intentions, as detailed as possible, on several subjects, including government deficits, the recovery process, tax system and labour laws.
SHTA urges parties to provide information to the electorate “as soon as possible so that they can make an informed decision with respect to which party best represents their interests.”
The association wants to know how parties intend to keep deficits “as low as possible” in face of the mounting deficits for 2017 and 2018.
How parties intend to strengthen the existing private sector and to attract new foreign investment are also areas on which SHTA seeks information.
Saying the present tax system is outdated, has very high rates for personal and corporate income tax in an international context, and has a damaging turnover tax system, SHTA wants parties to outline how they plan to remedy the system that disadvantages compliant persons and businesses
How parties intend to grow the economy, especially when the country’s fiscal system and labour laws hamper economic development, according to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is sought by SHTA.
The last few governments, under advices issued by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, have worked on introducing the National Health Insurance (NHI) to provide general medical coverage to residents. SHTA: This is a “very expensive system in the best of times. What is your party’s view on implementation of this system in light of the damage to our economy inflicted by Irma?”