SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Soualiga Employers Association (SEA) does understand and agrees that there is a need for socio-economic reforms for our country's growth and economic prosperity.
Even though the reforms presented under the COHO (in Dutch: Caraibisch orgaan voor hervorming en ontwikkeling) may provide such, the SEA believes that due to the lack of consultation with civil society and the fast-tracking of its implementation which has undoubtedly bypassed legal instruments, established policies and key institutions has created a void in the understanding, confidence, and guarantee of the COHO in itself.
SEA’s perspective is that the desired growth and prosperity of our households, businesses, and the country, in general, have been compromised due to the lack of consultation, information, proper dialogue, and even the current setup and conditions of the COHO.
As it relates to the conditions, clarity is needed as to whether the financing of these reforms would be covered by the government of St. Maarten on its own or through loans and grants provided by the Netherlands. If it is through the government on its own, then given its current financial position, this further cement SEA's call for a guarantee on the fruition of the COHO.
Furthermore, our position as St. Maarten given our demographics and recent economic turbulence due to natural disasters and otherwise should also be taken into consideration in drafting the reforms and conditions thereof.
It would be rather imperative that before any formalization of the entity, the above-mentioned phases, processes, and conditions should be relooked and considered, thereby creating a level of confidence and acceptance. SEA’s core aim in this plight is to ensure that our people and businesses are positively impacted.
Given the current developments and status of the draft COHO, SEA, therefore, is calling on our prime minister to address the Nation and explain what we are really looking at in layman's terms. Our people, our business sector, labor sector, and households need to know.