Eyes on the ball

Eyes on the ball

The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT approving St. Maarten’s proposal to fund reductions in the COVID-19 crisis 12.5% public sector benefits cut (see related story) so vacation allowance could be paid out staying within the 2022 budget is a welcome development. A request for third quarter liquidity support from the Netherlands, the first this year, had been placed on hold by the Kingdom Council of Ministers RMR pending the issue.
It also means parties can move forward on related matters such as the Caribbean Body for Reform and Development COHO as well as implementation of the “country package” of restructuring measures it is supposed to oversee. The latter should obviously be reviewed and adjusted where appropriate due to skyrocketing consumer prices because of the war in Europe, which has a considerable negative socioeconomic impact.
Consequently, anything that significantly increases the cost of living and/or doing business even further is currently perhaps more ill-advised than ever. With people’s purchasing power already under much pressure, great care should be taken not to worsen the situation.
Recent news that government had collected additional revenues and spent less than expected inspires hope that things are indeed slowly improving, with some prospect of the country being able to cover its own operations and investments in the foreseeable future again. After the far-reaching effects of Hurricane Irma five years ago and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, this would – in and of itself – be quite an achievement.
However, that can only happen if the dominant hospitality industry continues to rebound strongly. It was therefore good to hear acting Minister of Tourism Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Omar Ottley during Wednesday’s press briefing say they are working on expanding cruise calls and attracting new airlines.
Make no mistake, for a sustained recovery the destination will need to keep its eyes firmly on the ball.

The Daily Herald

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