Money is not everything


That is something I was taught growing up in a Christian home. Today I can look back and applaud my parents for teaching me this, because I can now apply it to the methods our Government use to run their business when it comes to the collection of taxes.

We need to understand that small businesses are vital to our economy, a matter of fact, to any economy around the world. Small businesses are more versed and play a big part in creating some of the revenue that Government needs.

In this day and age, we see our Cruise Industry shrinking by leaps and bounds. The streets are empty, the stores are empty, the port is empty and make no mistake, the signs are there, flights bound to St. Maarten are not doing as it should. The seats in these planes are empty. This is clear evidence to lack of leadership in the Ministry of Tourism.

While I am positive the party I support and endorsed back in October 2015, has the caliber and is more than capable of bringing our tourists back to our Airport and Harbor. Get this, Tourism is our economy’s only pillar. We need to figure out new, innovative ways of creating alternative sources of revenue. The success of small businesses is one of the several answers that I am going to focus on.

Today, with the most crucial parliamentary election in this island’s history, close to two months away, we cannot afford to sing the same song we’ve heard so many times before “Give me the opportunity” and expect change. What we need to practice to say is: “Give them the opportunity” and govern by those words. We need to give the people of St. Maarten, young and old, the opportunity to build their own business and dream into a success and we cannot do this, if we keep thinking it’s about “We” and not “Them.”

It’s no secret Government has been harsh on Small Businesses that are struggling. With no mercy, they’ll place liens on all operating accounts, even saving accounts, crippling the businesses and in several cases putting them out of operation. You are not only killing one’s hard work, and dream, but this is eliminating a source that can bounce back and be part of the revenue that can help an already struggling economy.

Remember “Money is not everything.” I will love to see these Small Businesses get the opportunity to establish themselves, to become a success, by simply giving them some breathing space.

A tax holiday/break of two to four years for new small businesses and also for those that are already established, but are struggling seems to be in order. I am confident by its fifth year of operation, a small business should be able to stand on its own two feet and contribute to an emboldened revenue earning system that will help our economy, or at least stop the bleeding that we are witnessing today. This is a long-term solution, not a short-sighted, short-term patch.

It should not always be about money, but it should always be about “Lifting UP St. Maarten.”