UP-candidate Claret Connor promotes Economic Park

POSTED: 07/11/14 12:44 AM

St. Maarten – A strong economy is the basis for the vision UP-candidate Claret Connor – currently the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce – has for St. Maarten. Yesterday, the day after the UP presented all of its candidates during an event in Pointe Blanche, Connor started his own campaign with a press meeting at Heritage House on Front Street in the presence of his campaign-team and UP-President Sylvia Olivacce-Meyers.

Part of Connor’s vision is the establishment of an Economic Park on Pond Island, more or less modeled after the business centers for starting entrepreneurs that were en vogue in Western Europe in the eighties of last century.

“The Economic Park will offer services and programs that benefit entrepreneurs and provide services to the business community through micro office space,” Connor said. The park would also house an Academy Hotel for hands-on training in the field of hospitality, the Chamber of Commerce, a library and a business service center. Connor said he had discuss this plan with Vromi-Minister Maurice Lake.

Connor said that as a UP-candidate he would take initiatives to enhance service levels through educational and entrepreneurial programs driven by the university. Public and private initiatives would have to enhance business skills. Connor also has his eye on the youth. He wants to develop the discipline of youngsters through sports – not surprising for a man who represented St. Maarten in his heyday as an active basketball player. “All of our sporting facilities have to be upgraded to regional and international standards, so that we are able to host tournaments all year round,” he said.

Connor also wants to push for the establishment of the St. Maarten Tourism Authority and he wants to establish tourism-oriented educational programs in primary schools. “Our children must be taught from a very young age about the importance of whom we are when we say we are the Friendly Island.”

Furthermore, Connor would support a VKS recruitment program for youngsters aged 17 to 19 and create a “military type organization with the focus on protecting our country instead of allowing them to stay on the block.”

Connor said that the economy requires ‘serious attention” and that it needs a strong foundation for long-term development.

Connor returned to St. Maarten 25 years ago. He served as an adjunct instructor at the university for 20 years, represented St. Maarten through basketball throughout the Caribbean and South America, and is a past president of the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Sunrise.

UP-President Olivacce-Meyers confirmed yesterday that candidates, by signing the party’s candidate agreement, will be held liable for their share in the expenditures the UP makes during the campaign in case they jump ship after having been elected to parliament. The agreement does not contain an outright ban on going independent, because this could violate the constitution, but there is now at least a price attached to it.

Olivacce-Meyers could not say yesterday for what amount each individual candidate is liable, because the campaign is only just starting. By the time the campaign is over, there will be more clarity about this issue.

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