I’d like to point out the fact that we had an amazing array of activities and events for our 60th St. Martin Day Celebration. People were having a good time; cultural wear displays organized orchestras and the traditional Johnny cakes and chicken leg. But we need to embrace all facets of our culture including our Dutch aspects.
When we think about a lot of Dutch people coming here for jobs and opportunities we must keep in mind there are a lot of our people including our students who go abroad to the Netherlands to seek job opportunities and tertiary education. As much as we expect integration there in the Netherlands, they expect integration here in St. Maarten. Therefore, we should foster such a relationship with the Netherlands. With this, I encourage our political leaders to foster an amicable and working relationship with the Dutch in the best interest of our people.
Remember that the rest of the world is joining up as seen in the European Union. It would be pointless if a small island like St. Maarten goes on its own without a sustainable plan. What a great multi-lateral relationship with all kingdom countries looks like? Open communication, exchange of resources, common goals, and most importantly trust.
Even though there are some challenges dealing with our kingdom partner, there are also benefits, such as low-cost loans with low maturity as well as access to the European development funds. Should St. Maarten not have this accessibility we would then have to be mindful that St. Maarten would have to compete on the international market for loans in which we would have to prove our creditworthy. And given our credit standards, this may prove to be difficult. Hence, given our creditworthiness and political instability our credit loan would be questioned.
But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. If we as a people can see ourselves as one, including our French neighbors, and our Dutch counterparts, then we can grow this nation and strive in the best interest of the people. I believe we can do it!