Alain Richardson: “RRR is the alternative the Collectivité needs”POSTED: 03/9/12 11:55 AM
MARIGOT – Alain Richardson’s RRR party has been in the opposition for the past four years. “It is the only alternative that the Collectivité needs,” Richardson told this newspaper. “We have a program that is geared towards restoring confidence, rebuilding hope, making sure that there is an efficient administration that provides the quality service people need, and towards restructuring and revamping the economy.”
In an interview on the In Depth TV-program, Richardson said that his party had been able “to identify early on the dangers and threats the ruling majority has exposed the Collectivité to.”
Richardson added that St. Martin is in a dire situation.
“Our program is geared towards creating wealth and making sure that the local heritage, culture and environment are at the heart of any project or development.”
Richardson expressed his readiness to accept “an inter-dependent partnership with the southern side of the island.” He said that people need to realize that while in the past companies were competing with each other, these days countries are doing the same.
“They do that to attract investment and businesses and they do it in a manner that guarantees the sustainability of the economy. An inter-dependent partnership with our brothers on the southern side is of paramount importance to us.”
Richardson said that Saint Martin has lacked competitiveness in the past and that the weak dollar makes doing business in the euro-environment on the French side less attractive.
“The ruling majority should have implemented policies and used fiscal tools to attract more business. They should have ensured that the human resources are properly trained and skilled so that the territory can become more competitive through increased productivity.”
Richardson said that high rent for commercial properties puts businesses at a disadvantage. He said that the minimum rent of €4,000 (around $ 5,200) is prohibitively high.
While Richardson acknowledges that tourism is “the main locomotive that pulls the economy” he also believes it is time to diversify. His party is looking at sectors like import and export, regional trade, E-commerce and distributorships. The party wants to create a free zone for regional trade and import/export activities.
The party leader pointed to Ireland’s fiscal policies that inspired major companies like Google to do business there.
“In the French republic we have fiscal policies that could assist the Collectivité. Together with E-commerce this could make the territory more prosperous.”
Richardson positions RRR as “the only united group to contest the March 18 elections,” saying that “the dream of uniting people has again produced a positive impact to form this list of the most competent people. Credibility, competence and experience are the backbone of the Triple R Group.”
Richardson has no credit to give to senator Louis Constant Fleming.
“With his team he has tarnished the credibility of the Collectivité and the entire island. Young people are unemployed and the Collectivité is in chaos. Those are the challenges we are faced with.”