SHTA President Lorraine Talmi and Indian Merchants Association President Damu Rawtani shake hands after signing the MoU. (Photo Robert Luckock)

PHILIPSBURG--President of St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) Lorraine Talmi and President of the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) Damu Rawtani signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at SHTA’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.

“We felt over the years that the private sector really needs to be stronger, said Talmi. “We need to stand together with one voice on our priorities. It’s a little bit ridiculous that a year ago we put our 10 most urgent priorities in front of government, and not a single one has made any real progress. SHTA is the largest and most vocal, but we need to make sure all of our partners and associations stand behind us with one voice. Even if we don’t always agree, we can agree to disagree privately, but publicly stand behind each other because we need to be strong.”

Damu Rawtani said he felt the biggest weakness in the business community is not being united.

“Today I am so pleased we are signing this MoU. I personally feel this is a good start and let the action begin. We are just a small island, so we must be united and work towards that for St. Maarten.”

Earlier, Executive Director Wyb Meijer gave an overview of SHTA’s actions undertaken during the year, introduced new members, and gave a reminder of upcoming events. Next year will be SHTA’s 50th anniversary.