The Chinese are coming!

Dear Editor,

It is with great caution that I write this letter to avoid misunderstandings and not send the wrong message across. My caution also comes from the fact that nowadays there is great sensitivity when one addresses facts that are tied to an ethnicity. The moment one states facts that are tied to a people you are immediately seen as a racist or whatever word is out there. I want to assure everyone that my friendships come from all walks of life as we are all God's creation and therefore respect and love should be given to all and thus this article is written purely from a standpoint of defending one's way of life and the families that are taken care of by means of our businesses.

And when it comes to protecting one's way of life, you have to defend that with tooth and nail. Let me first mention that there are enough islands in the Caribbean that are not for sale, and with that I mean that the local business population is extremely protected and systems are set in place that protect these same local businesses, Aruba and some others are these islands that protect their market and their people to the best of their ability and are very prosperous. Lately there has been some news that a foreign energy company has been awarded a contract and this is causing some uproar. This is now spilling over to the construction world as well.

Huge Chinese construction companies that do hundreds of millions domestically in developments have now won bids to do "small "local government jobs. That is now quite an uproar in the construction world over this new development. Why is there such interest from these companies to do such "small" government projects on tiny St. Maarten? The answer is simple; they want to get a foot in the door so the expansion of their influence and financial arm can grow larger and larger. You can ask for example Jamaica all about the influence.

How in the world is it possible that this door has been opened that will affect ALL and I repeat ALL local business. Once this takes place the flood gates will be opened and all tenders will be won by Chinese companies as there is no way none of us can compete with this superpower. On the bids that this Chinese company won they were around 40% cheaper than local reputable companies that also put in a bid. This is impossible, yet possible. Usually when local companies bid amongst each other there is as %-10% difference. At these margins how do you think local companies will survive and not having to close down shop and subsequently have to send their people home.

Another fact remains is that a lot of contracts that are won by local construction companies the subcontracting goes to other local smaller companies that have contributed to the St. Maarten economy for years and years and have sustained the economy. Same story goes for them, they are going to have to downsize and eventually they as well will evaporate. This Chinese multinational that has no history of contributing to the coffers of St. Maarten will give no work and will buy nothing to and from local companies.

You might say; this has nothing to do with me, I am not in the construction world, and I will tell you that you couldn't be more wrong. The ripple effects will be felt by everyone in all walks of life on all fronts. Everyone will be affected; Aluminium fabricators, Tiling stores, Electrical stores, restaurants, electronic & appliance stores, clothing stores, nightlife, snacks and especially hardware stores. Reason I say especially the hardware stores cause nothing but nothing shall be bought by these companies locally as they will import everything. There are many examples in the Caribbean of islands that opened this door and are feeling the effects of it till this day and forever to come.

None of the money will stay here and the work force attached to these companies won't pump back money into the economy at the rate that the local companies would. Where is the protection for companies that have been here for so many years and have built this beautiful island? How is this happening? Companies that have been here for decades will between now and 10 years just dissolve. From reliable sources I am made to understand that this contract was awarded by someone that has no ties none so ever with St. Maarten and therefore could care less about what happens to "us." I am a 100 percent admitting that I am looking after my self-interest as I should as I have been here over 30 years, had several businesses and have contributed to this great nation. But in this case, this will be felt by a lot more persons then just me and my company. They are trying for years to enter, Europe is holding them back, are we now going to open the door?

Ramses Bislick

The Daily Herald

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