SINT MAARTEN (DUTCH QUARTER) - The People’s Progressive Alliance (P.P.A.) hosted a full house at its first Town Hall meeting at the Dutch Quarter Community Center, which put the issues of the Dutch Quarter Community at the center of the evening’s discussions, the party said in a Sunday evening press statement. The P.P.A intends to host several Town Hall meetings in the various districts.
Candidates took to the stage to discuss several issues including the deplorable state of the Dutch Quarter Main Road, the maintenance of the Dutch Quarter Community Center and the lack of investment in the beautification of the Dutch Quarter area over the years. The candidates also took the time to raise the issues faced by all communities on the island including high rent prices, lack of homeownership opportunities and a stagnant minimum wage and pension.
Leader Gracita Arrindell thanked the candidates, their supporters, and the Dutch Quarter community for welcoming the P.P.A with open arms. She assures a plan to investigate the Dutch Quarter road/sewage project that has not been mentioned by either our sitting parliamentarians or government ministers to date.
She said ‘The Dutch Quarter and surrounding areas have been neglected. The choices we are faced with are not an option between political parties but rather a choice of the future of St. Maarten for the next 10 – years. It is time we make sure that everyone pays their fair share into our system, and those most vulnerable in our society are being taken care of. It's time for P.P.A. to return to Parliament and provide much-needed stability. I and the P.P.A. slate has provided St. Maarten with an alternative, with a wealth of experience and diversity. On January 9th, 2019 let's vote the P.P.A., and Gracita Arrindell.’
Candidate #4 Adonis Cyntje, one of the younger candidates, spoke on the daily struggles that he sees within his community. He said, 'while growing up, in the 6th grade was the first time I realized that many children within my community went hungry and I went home and asked my Mom to assist my friend. Nothing has changed and because of this I have chosen to postulate myself'. He spoke on a plan he calls the Bellyful Plan. This plan includes job creation via entrepreneurship in agriculture and education.
He said ‘Agriculture and Entrepreneurship are the pillars of a sustainable livelihood and any economy. Your support for me is a support for a long-overdue St. Maarten's Market that I call the Belly Full Plan’
Let's deal with poverty through micro-business and small business development.
- Small businesses need sustainability, even via shared operating spaces or small business schemes.
2. The development of a St. Maarten Market as a place where we can sell our locally produced products, our locally grown goods, foods, and more.
- By putting more options on our market, we will regulate the prices of goods.
Candidate #2 Lisa Alexander, also known as The Constitution Lady, spoke about a 10-year Budget Plan under Article 100 of our Constitution to ensure Stability by Law.
She said “Lack of Planning, on the part of our sitting Government Ministers and Parliamentarians alike, is the reason why Sint Maarten is in this Economic State of Emergency. Our 10-year Plan is necessary not just for long-term macro-economic planning but also for stability of the financial budgetary system. It must therefore be passed by Parliament into law. This is especially needed right now due to government instability and the economic slump that we are faced with following the impact of Irma. At the heart of the 10-year Plan is a $15-dollar environmental tax to be paid by the 2,000,000 plus tourists visiting Sint Maarten annually. This will be amount to some $30,000,000. The funds will be used as follows:
- The first $10,000,000
- Infrastructure maintenance and rebuilding of Country Sint Maarten
- The second $10,000,000
- Establishing of a Disaster Relief Fund and addressing existing Government Budgetary shortfalls
- The third $10,000,000
- Social Welfare Programs and Beautification
This solution makes sure that visitors contributes their fair share while using our amenities and infrastructure. We will also direct our Government to ensure that the Dutch Quarter Emergency Homes Residents and the Belvedere Duplex Residents are given the option of owing their own home via Lease-Purchase Agreements under the PPA’s Own-Your-Own-Home Programs and that Existing and Startup Businesses benefit from our Tax Relief Incentive Programs.”
In sum, the President of the P.P.A Board, Leandra Cyntje, considered the evening a success. She urges the electorate to support the P.P.A. and allow them to bring families to the forefront of Parliament once again.