As we pensively anticipate the anniversary of Hurricane Irma, after witnessing Dorian’s destruction of the Bahamas, we reflect on how little meaningful progress has been made not one but a full two years later. That’s right the below table does look familiar. It was published a year ago, and has only gone from bad to worse in terms of progress over the last year. We still have hopes that year 3 will prove to be different.
The SHTA will not contend that no progress has been made, of course things could have been worse, and much effort has been spent; for example at least 14 roofs are on their way to being repaired via trust fund money, and perhaps another 100 maybe identified before the year ends. However, the situation on the ground could also be better. In many ways, Irma presented an opportunity for us to come together and assess what it is we want and really need as a community. How do we want to improve our lives. Unfortunately, a real sense of community is still lacking. Political bickering and finger-pointing is still the order of the day. Private sector employers and self-employed—the main tax payers– have been completely sidelined with no support. Democratic participation is at an all-time low.
It is unfortunate that now, a full 2 years past that fateful day when it all blew to bits, this is going to be our point of departure.
By all means let’s reflect on where we are and the many things that have been achieved. Let’s give credit where credit is due, but let’s also be honest about what still needs to get done in order to really improve our present situation.
SHTA’s Vision for Sint Maarten 2025 and its 10 key priorities listed above were presented on its Annual General Meeting on May 28th, 2018 to its members, strategic partners, NGO’s as well as representatives of Sint Maarten and Dutch government and yet little to nothing has been done to facilitate these needs. The obstacles to rebuild the airport are growing not shrinking. It is distressing that the top 10 Urgent Priorities posed from Private sector’s largest employer representative are largely stalled; the SHTA wonders if the employee base recognizes what this level of stagnation will mean to their own well-being. The full vision text is to be found at www.SHTA.com/vision-2025, as well as a summarizing movie.