PHILIPSBURG -– The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever unveiled her economic recovery plan yesterday to the Parliament of Sint Maarten. The plan is called “A Path to Economic Recovery & Sustainable Growth.” The Minister described it as deliberately practical and built on three broad pillars designed first to promote, restore, and protect tourism; secondly to create an attractive business climate through innovative fiscal reform to offer relief and encourage growth, and thirdly build real economic diversification based on Sint Maarten’s natural comparative advantages.
“Members of Parliament, through you, I have addressed the people of Sint Maarten. We are dealing with an unprecedented crisis that requires unconventional responses, which are included in this plan,” Minister De Weever said. “Our plan ensures that our people are at the center of benefitting from these unconventional but realistic responses.”
One of Minister De Weever’s unconventional responses to the crisis is an overhaul of the outdated tax system, which burdens many businesses and local entrepreneurs and stifles investment and growth. Minister De Weever proposed abolishing profit and income tax and replacing it with a very small tax on financial transactions instead that would maintain revenues, broaden the tax base, and, most importantly, make Sint Maarten attractive to invest and do business in. The proposal would offer relief and encourage private sector-led innovation.
“I would like to leave you with a quote from Ben Bernanke that I know will resonate with the members of our Parliament, my colleagues in government, and the viewing and listening public ‘during crises, people are distinguished by those who act and those who fear to act,'” Minister De Weever continued.
“We must act. We must act cohesively in the national interest. It will not work if we’re not all in it together. I need parliament’s support across all party lines in the interest of Sint Maarten and our people to see this plan through. The plan we presented here today represents many days, weeks and months of hard work deliberations and discussions from all who are affected by this pandemic. It is not a plan built on fantasy or false hope, but on real achievable objectives that will improve all our lives and our children’s lives.”
“This darkness will not outlive us. This crisis will not outlast us. There will be a new dawn. There will be better times to come again. Let’s come together as a people, as a community, and a nation and see this recovery through. Thank you and God bless Sint Maarten,” Minister De Weever concluded. Details of the plan will be made available to the public shortly.