I hope one of the outcomes of the pandemic would be a real discussion on the dependence of our island’s economy on tourism. Every election there has been much talk on the economy, but besides from our tourism product, the only real driver of the economy has been the funds granted from the Netherlands. Every election, few candidates take some ideas out of their hats in regard to diversifying the economy. Although, what is really done? We have to take a step back, assess and observe the situation.
Which party has been able to deliver any real completion of projects? We have to have real discussions about the diversification of our economy. We can’t leave this rhetoric to election promises. We are hopefully a year away from elections and now would be a good start for those interested or with the means and knowledge to speak about ways to diversify the economy with tangible results.
Call centres have been a sturdy option in my humble opinion. A good partnership is already in place with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, etc, who have strived to try help us with recruitment fairs over time. There are other companies that also can be tapped into which we work very closely with. Such as Visa, Mastercard, Amex, etc. It is a good opportunity to engage them in opening a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) or a customer service unit here in St. Maarten. We have a young population fluent in English – so sourcing locally is not an issue, we belong to the same time zone, and can have a decent internet connectivity via our own government-owned telecommunications company – TelEm to enable this.
Locally sourcing call centres not only makes life easier on the individuals who visit our lovely island of St. Maarten, but it also creates a stream line of opportunity for our local English-speaking population. Where they stand to earn wages that correlate directly with these large entities mentioned above.
Viren V. Kotai