Ryan James candidate #6 on the NOW party


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Care for the elderly that ensures a quality life after they have given so many years to the country remains the priority of Ryan James, candidate #6 of the party. James who contested the Parliamentary elections in January, with the elderly as key to his platform, once again highlighted the urgent need for increased attention to the senior population in Sint Maarten.

“Many times, during conversations, people mention the word ‘dead,’ quickly followed by ‘God forgive.’ This natural response reflects our collective desire to live long and age gracefully,” James said. “We all wish to live as long as the good Lord permits, but we must acknowledge that we all become seniors at some point.”

James emphasized the pride many cultures take in their senior citizens, offering them privileges such as preferential treatment and special counters at businesses. “In Sint Maarten, we are seeing commendable efforts by local businesses to accommodate seniors, but it is not enough,” he noted.

Statistics indicate that Sint Maarten’s community is rapidly growing, and people are living longer. However, James pointed out a significant gap in securing the future for many workers. “Besides the government and its owned companies, many large businesses fail to offer pension plans for their employees. This is a very worrisome fact,” he stated.

As Sint Maarten develops major hotel projects promising employment, James stressed the need for social safeguards. “These employees will eventually retire, and their future financial security needs to be addressed now. A pension is not a salary, yet living costs, especially for a healthy diet, can be higher for retirees,” he explained.

James also highlighted the deplorable conditions some seniors live in due to unsuitable housing. “Many seniors live alone, not by choice, but because their offspring have their own responsibilities. We’ve seen situations where seniors are found deceased in their homes, alone. This could be prevented with adequate retirement homes,” he said.

He continued: “I read an article in The Daily Herald newspaper of June 25, 2024 titled “Housing project for elderly in Curaçao” whereas Minister Charles Cooper of Traffic, Transport and Spatial Planning VVRP has officially granted a building permit to Grand Hill B.V. for the development of housing for the elderly in Curaçao. The Grand Hill BV project consists of 48 residences designed for senior citizens, accommodating all stages of their lives. Inhabitants can live independently or with support, guidance and care provided by a professional team. The facility will include a restaurant, beauty salon and physiotherapy practice. The project aims to foster social and inter-generational exchange, creating a sense of community among the elderly. Construction involves an investment of 1.5 million guilders and is expected to be completed by 2025, the article read. 

James concluded by emphasizing the N.O.W. party’s commitment to the people of Sint Maarten. “We have enough hotels and resorts; it’s time to focus on the social aspects of our community for a better and brighter future. The N.O.W. party stands for the betterment of Sint Maarten, and with us in government, I believe we can accomplish our goals,” he declared.