The Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) held its Annual General Meeting on May 28th; the focus of the meeting was Vision and Recovery, with distinguished speakers Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Dr. Hans Leijtens, Director-General of the Dutch Windward Islands Recovery Program. The SHTA Board presented its vision for what we could attain for Sint Maarten if we work together toward a common goal of Quality of Life for all. The Vision including advice for recovery spending and policy. The Honorable Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and Dr. Hans Leijtens were asked to speak to the SHTA Members on the recovery process and how the Dutch Trust Fund will likely be utilized.
The movie portraying the association’s hopes for Sint Maarten’s future, as well as suggestions to the Recovery Committee, is now downloadable for the public.
SHTA’s vision towards 2025 was created over the past year by means of a membership enquiry and workshops. It presents the association’s goal of reaching quality of life for all Sint Maarten residents, and to do so by providing good governance, creating a healthy and beautiful island as well as a thriving and sustainable economy. All things the country lacks at the moment, as indicated in the Scenario Declining Present.
As priority action points the SHTA advised to the island’s leadership to make difficult and tough choices, to provide leadership through these challenging times ahead and to strengthen environmental laws with enforcement, most urgently those involving the dump and waste management. Further urgent requests include a provision for tax relief, Fiscal Policy reform and fixing the airport—without which the entire economy will grind to a halt so this must be tackled ASAP.
The Vision’s premiere served as a prelude to the speeches of Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin and Drs. Hans Leijtens. During her address to the Business Community, the Prime Minister added further messages of positive notes for the future. “The ultimate purpose of the recovery process is to restore hope for the future – a future that builds on the past, but that recognizes that more needs to be done now, together, to build back our island better.”
In his speech following the Prime Minister’s, Director-General Leijtens implied that given the support from Holland provided to the recovery trust fund, tools for realizing many visions are in place. What dreams are to be realized, is the responsibility of the country. “What happens next, is in the hands of Sint Maarten now”.
The Annual General Meeting serves as a moment for the new Board to officially be elected to SHTA’s 13 member General Board, to provide an update of the association’s activities over the past year, as well as to invite informative keynote speakers for the private sector. The meeting is traditionally followed by a social event, this time taking place at Simpson Bay Beach Resort’s Pool Terrace. Next to the keynote speakers and SHTA membership, SHTA invited some of its strategic partners and distinguished guests; Minister Cornelius de Weever (TEATT) and Director May-Ling Chun of the St. Maarten Tourist Board were amongst the guests attending.
As of today, the SHTA Vision for Sint Maarten 2025 is publicly available and can be downloaded from SHTA.com/Vision-2025.