I will not pay lip service to agriculture, says Grisha

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — “We have treated agriculture like a bastard child,” said Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications.
In her inaugural address last Friday, the minister said, “The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how vulnerable we are when we depend almost exclusively on imported food to feed ourselves.”
“I am announcing now that agriculture will receive the attention it deserves. I will not be paying lip service to the sector but engage those who are already working in it to devise a workable plan that would bolster food production and contribute to overall food security,” Heyliger-Marten said.
The minister pointed out that there is a need for government to generate new revenue streams and attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to “reposition our island as the most attractive place to do business.”
According to Heyliger-Marten, “This is the time to roll up our sleeves and work together to show the world what the true St. Martin character is all about.”
“It is time to demonstrate what we mean when we say we are resilient. It is time to tell our own story ourselves and let the whole world know that we are not beggars, but a proud and hardworking, innovative, and freedom-loving people.”
The minister added that, “We built this island with our blood, sweat and tears when everyone else had given up on us. We built its economy to one of the best in the region when everyone else thought that our salt had dried up and we had nothing else to offer the world. Well, guess what, nobody can write us off because we have never given up on ourselves and we’re not about to do so now.”
Success in accomplishing all these goals requires all-hands-on-deck, said the minister. “The ministry of TEATT will not be a silo. We, and I mean the entire organization, will work in close collaboration with other ministries and stakeholders to bring about the positive change we all desire,” Minister Heyliger-Marten concluded.​