MP Emmanuel: Rush to impose sanctions ignores our realities

Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel on Sunday said that government’s rush to impose sanctions on properties owned by Russians billionaires that frequent St. Maarten is near-sighted for a government that is in constant financial peril.

Emmanuel said that not because St. Maarten is in the Kingdom means it should go along with unilateral global efforts that negatively affects its economy. He said the Netherlands is quite adept at using a different measuring stick when it comes to whether St. Maarten should adhere to European regulations and treaties or not.

Conveniently, he continued, when it doesn’t suit the Netherlands, like borrowing from these same countries, St. Maarten is blocked and told it cannot seek for itself. However, for economic sanctions against Russia and some of its wealthiest citizens that frequent St. Maarten and boost the island’s economy, “we must simply go along.”

The MP explained that unilateral sanctions are rarely effective. In a global economy, unilateral sanctions tend to impose greater costs certain territories, especially small island states, than on the target, which can usually find substitute sources of supply and financing.

“We have a struggling economy, burdened by loans this government took from the Netherlands which we will be paying back forever. We have a CFT who just last week literally told this government that nothing it is doing in terms of savings and revenue generation is working. We have a government that doesn’t have a post-COVID economic plan and who will probably request more liquidity support,” he explained.

“Yet, here we are talking about sanctioning people that spend money in this country and support more than one sector of this economy. Our realities are different than those in Europe and as usual there is no understanding in this so called Kingdom for this. Through one side of their mouths they tell us to cut our people salaries and come down hard on taxes, while through the other side of their mouth they want us to enforce global sanctions that could further ruin us. Utter nonsense,” Emmanuel said.

Emmanuel said St. Maarten runs the risk of chasing business away as it moves into a period of government imposed higher supervision, a time when economic activity will need to be carefully nurtured to ensure sustainability, growth and eliminating of government imposed austerity measures on its people.

“When the conflict in Eastern Europe is over and the European cousins kiss and make up, we will be left holding the wrong end of the stick. Holland will continue manufacturing yachts for Russian billionaires, while on St. Maarten these billionaires could choose alternate safe harbours, recalling the fact that we sanctioned them. Overnight, Holland will be ok, but we will see real economic activity sail away to other ports,” Emmanuel said.

“Our concerns matter, our voices in these matters deserve to be heard, our realities are significant to our survival, our views need to be understood and our challenges considered and addressed,” the MP concluded.