SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Small Properties Association (SM.S.P.A) met with Interim Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunications Cornelius De Weever on Friday, May 11, 2018 regarding the challenges of small properties on the island Post Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Irma devastated the country of St. Maarten back in September and many lives in turn were and still are being affected. The Small Properties on the island have also been in the path of devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. Some of the properties are open, some are re-building with many challenges and some are closed.
The president of the SM.S.P.A. stated to Minister De Weever during the meeting that many of these properties are locally owned and unfortunately were under-insured or had no hurricane insurance but fire insurance instead.
“This in turn led many of the property owners to take out additional loans to fix the property along with also dealing with whatever damage sustained at their homes as well,” said President, Ms.Nzinga Lake. “These are very challenging times for many of the property owners whether they are open for business or not,” Lake further stated.
Because of the challenges being faced, the association is seeking assistance from government for tax holidays, reduction in taxes, low interest loans, and consultation to improve their properties.
The association also hopes to tap into the roof repair program that is currently being offered by government. Skill building training has been proposed to the Small Properties Association, which will also add value.
The association was informed that their subsidy of NAF 40,000 has been approved by government, which the association will use towards marketing and other events to assist the association and its members in their growth.
“At the end of the day we are a grassroots organization made up of majority of local entities that will always remain part of St. Maarten’s economy,” said Ms.Lake.