The Council of Ministers with Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher at left.
PHILIPSBURG–Recently appointed Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (TEATT) Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher on Thursday presented her Ministry’s plans for the year 2017 to Parliament. Most of the Ministry’s plans are geared towards the sustainable development of St. Maarten’s economy, to Parliament.
As tourism is the island’s main pillar of economy, Arrindell said the Department of Tourism hit the ground running in promoting the leisure industry. Another key element in the Ministry’s policy is for the airport to reacquire its Category-1 status.
TEATT has a budget of NAf. 24.8 million, 4.4 million of which will go towards tourism. Arrindell said that 1.1 million is allocated to the installation of a weather radar.
Among the ministerial plans for 2017 are the finalization of the implementation of the fully-automated border-control systems at the airport, regulation of school bus traffic through GPS-tracking, and a reduction of the informal economy by companies that operate under the radar or “have not been contributing” to the economy, the Minister said.
Arrindell announced legislation to finalize the installation of a Gaming Control Board and a Consumer Protection and Competition Authority.
Other plans include streamlining the transportation system and a review of tariffs, the promotion of public/private partnerships in bus services, and addressing the situation concerning “gypsy” taxis.
The Ministry also works on an update of the National Economic Development Plan, and on the launch of an Investment Guide and Website.
The TEATT Ministry will seek to intensify and promote niche markets for cultural, sport, and ecotourism, medical tourism, “voluntourism” and entertainment tourism in cooperation with the Ministries of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports (ECYS) and the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA.
“TEATT is also going to conduct a study for a transition from a minimum wage to a living wage,” Minister Arrindell said during her presentation.