Reader’s Letter: Vision

POSTED: 01/27/14 12:47 PM

Dear Editor,

It starts with a Vision for 21st Century Sint Maarten, 2014 and beyond

During the inauguration ceremony on Saturday, January 25 for the Simpson Bay Causeway, nearly every speaker spoke about a vision.  A vision is a view of what goals one would like to achieve for the future.  It identifies what one would like to accomplish.  A vision is being able to see and anticipate the long-term needs of the people of Sint Maarten, and taking the necessary steps to ensure that the quality of life of people and that of the country continues to grow.

An economic analyst once said: “All economic development starts with the desire of the people to improve their economic conditions.”  Country Sint Maarten has leaped forward in its development to a service-based economy that we have today.  Cruise and stay-over visitors are the bread and butter of the nation.  We have reached a point in our national development where we need to continue to “think outside of the box,” in order to ensure that the quality of life that the people have today will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

There are also those within our society whose quality of life is at a lower level.  We have heard about people living in poverty.  This can also be found in some of the richest countries in the world.  As a country with much wealth, the people who live in poverty or on the border line of poverty, must be assisted and helped to make a leap forward where their quality of life reaches the levels of others in society.  As a nation we have much to be thankful for and we must stay the course by all working together.

The buzz words today are sustainable development and economic transformation.  Our country has reached a point where our natural environment has to become a number one priority.  We now have to build smart as a community because our landmass as a country is only 16 square miles.  We need to retain our hilltops and other hillside areas for generations to come and for current and future generations to enjoy.  Our foot print on our environment must be taken into consideration, and we must move in the direction of protecting what we have left.

The House of Parliament also has a role to play where Vision for 21st Century Sint Maarten, 2014 and beyond is concerned.  The honourable House is the country’s cornerstone of our democracy and belongs to the people: Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth – Abraham Lincoln.

Parliament’s role is not only debating issues, presenting motions, approving laws and listening to the concerns, interests and plans of different groups, but also being part and parcel of the visionary process for the country.  The country has laws that date back to the near beginnings of the industrial revolution.  These laws need to be updated to meet the 21stcentury needs of the Sint Maarten people.  Parliament’s role is also to continue the trend set to be the pacesetter of sustainable national development in this part of the region and the Caribbean overall.

The honourable House first (1st) parliamentary setting of four years after the September 2010 elections for the country’s first parliament will come to an end later this year when elections are constitutionally due.  The second (2nd) four year parliamentary setting of the House will start later this year after the people have had the opportunity to go to the polls. There will be much anticipation for the second parliament of the country.

One of the key points is to see the honourable House employ a core of legal minds who can prepare legislation for members of parliament.  These legal minds will also be able to give advice on which laws are outdated and need to be renewed; what the legal trends are in laws based on the changes that have been brought forward by the developments in technology.

As a country our laws need to be up to speed with international developments, because within legal trends there are also opportunities for the people of this country.  For example, if you would like to develop an international and financial services sector; an aircraft and ship registry; trade and logistics; information technology; healthcare and life sciences research; sports tourism; or a film industry sector, certain laws need to be in place that would entice investors to invest and want to be a part of these economic transformative areas of our economy.

In turn employment opportunities are created for our people; opportunities are created for those studying abroad to come back home to be a part of building the country; opportunities are created for those living in poverty and on the borderline of poverty; and from these opportunities the quality of life for the people of the country continues to grow and get better for all the people.

As they say, it all starts with a Vision for 21st Century Sint Maarten, 2014 and beyond

Roddy Heyliger


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