Governing Programme 2012-2014


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Governing Programme 2012-2014

  1. 1. Working For The People Governing Programme 2012-2014 A Publication by the Government of Sint Maarten For more information please visit: 2
  2. 2. Contents Introduction 5 Vision 61 A New Approach 71.1 Evidence Based & Synchronized Policy Making 71.2 Vibrant Districts 71.3 Community Schools 71.4 Funding of Social Agenda 81.5 Participatory Governance 82 Vibrant & Caring Communities 92.1 Social Security & Labour 92.2 Integrated Neighborhood Development Plan (INDP) 102.3 Community Policing 102.4 Housing: District Improvement 112.5 Youth Development 112.5.1 Guardianship and Protection 122.6 Improved Wellness & Health Care 123 Public Safety & Security 133.1 Solving Crime 133.1.1 Youth Crime 133.1.2 Sports Development 133.1.3 Voluntary Corps of St. Maarten (VKS) 133.1.4 Immigration 143.1.5 Integration 143.1.6 Combating Drug & Human Trafficking 153.1.7 Financial Intelligence Unit (MOT) 154. Creating a 21st Century Competitive Workforce & Entrepreneurs 164.1 Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) 164.2 Ensuring Quality & Relevance in Education 174.3 Special Needs Education for Gifted & Disabled Students 174.4 Teacher Training 185 Enabling a Competitive Business Climate 195.1 Creating the Appropriate Environment for a Sustainable Economy 195.2 Creating Investment Climate for the Development of Tourism & Small Business 193
  3. 3. 5.3 Small Business Development 205.3.1 Agriculture /Aquaponics 205.4 Financial Management 215.4.1 New tax System & E-zone 215.4.2 E-zone 215.4.3 Tax Information Exchange & Partnerships 215.4.4 Budgetary Matters 215.4.5 Monetary Matters 225.5 Stronger Relationships with French St. Martin & Partners Abroad 225.5.1 Strengthening Foreign Relations 235.5.2 Effective Cooperation with French St. Martin 235.5.3 Caribbean 245.5.4 European Union Relations 255.5.5 Priorities and Profile for 2012-2014 in Foreign Relations 256 Effective Government 276.1 Integrity Project 276.2 Recruitment & Promotion Policy 276.3 Public Service Center 276.4 Capacity Building 286.5 E-Government & Strong ICT Systems 286.5.1 Digitalization & Documentation 296.5.2 Introduction of Cloud Technology & VOIP Services 296.5.3 Introduction of Online Services 296.5.4 Introduction of the Intranet & Base Registration Tables 296.6 Meteorogical Department 297 Sound Infrastructure & Environment 307.1 Road Network & Improvements 307.2 Zoning Plan Project 307.3 Environment 317.3.1 Garbage disposal 317.3.2 Green Agenda 317.4 Priorities 2012-2014 31 4
  4. 4. IntroductionA short 19 months following the birth of the country St. Maarten, a shift in the first Parliament evoked a change in the constellationof the government, which had taken office on October 10, 2010. The National Alliance and the Democratic Party along with 3 in-dependent members of Parliament, viz. Mr. Romain Laville, Mr. Patrick Illidge and Mr. Frans Richardson, together representing 10of the 15 parliamentary seats, joined forces and as of May 21, 2012 formed the new government coalition under the theme:“Working for the People.”True to its theme, the NA/DP/I-3 government in its governing plan has prioritized those areas impacting the very existence of themembers of our society in modern day St. Maarten and has directed its focus toward the enhancement of the quality of life of ourpeople.This focus is outlined in the government declaration, signed by the party leaders and independent Parliamentarians forming thenew governing coalition on May 2012, where the following areas of “initial concentration to be developed in an action plan” werecited.• EDUCATION• INFRASTRUCTURE, DISTRICT IMPROVEMENT AND HOUSING• HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL WELFARE• ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT• SAFETY AND SECURITYLeading up to the transition date of 10-10-10, great emphasis was put on ensuring that the constitutional foundation of the newcountry was a solid one and it is the belief of this government that much has been achieved towards this goal. However, the worldhas not stood still. To the contrary, in the last 2 years leading up to the watershed “Constitution Day” of October 10, 2010, theworld was thrown into a financial turmoil, the end of which is not yet in sight, as the financial “melt-down” which started in theUnited States of America in 2008, is still reverberating throughout the Eurozone. For the Dutch Kingdom, this is particularly tellingas any expectations of financial support for the new countries have been dashed. Stronger yet, the plans for the termination ofDutch development aid via agencies such as USONA and AMFO, are in full execution.It is within this framework that the government of St. Maarten must research creative and innovative ways of:• keeping its most important economic pillar vibrant;• seeking new complimentary industries;• establishing an enabling social environment and social safety nets for those segments of the population, that need such.5
  5. 5. VisionThe tourist-based open economy of St. Maarten continues to receive pressure from the volatile global environment of weak growth,recurring high fuel costs and persistent financial fragility. These external developments negatively impact the financial and economicsituation of our island, which in turn adversely affect the quality of life of our people. The ambition of this government is to mitigatethese effects by working towards providing our citizens access to:• Outstanding health care;• A sound and relevant education system tailored to the needs of our human resource development;• Safe, peaceful and environmentally friendly living conditions.This ambition is guided by the vision of this government that:- Our island nation will consist of a united, prosperous, happy and healthy people, that are well-educated and productive, self-reliant and disciplined, with a commitment to excellence.Essential to the realization of government’s vision is a cohesive national society. It is government’s policy, as part of its nationbuilding efforts, to strengthen awareness of and pride in being a St. Martiner. Culture as a unifying factor represents our identityas a people. It is the foundation upon which we must build our St. Maarten Nation. We must therefore through the education ofour people and the establishment of the related infrastructure preserve our culture. Actions in this regard include:• Promotion of knowledge and proper use of our national symbols, such as our flag and anthem;• Recognizing and protecting our national monuments;• Building of a National Museum;• Building of a National Theatre for the Performing Arts of St. Maarten;• Building the archives of our historical and cultural heritage in recognition of our National Heroes.• Promoting recognition and development of national artists;• Building awareness of and pride in being a St. Martiner and/or a citizen of St. Maarten through educational and promotional campaigns in schools and the community;• Promotion of programs designed to develop youth in leadership roles in order to enable them to actively participate in dialogue with government regarding collaborative efforts to strengthen their sense of pride in and responsibility for their community, the preservation of its monuments and intangible cultural heritage;• Promotion and support of the development of performance, visual, literary, and creative arts, Culture and Sports from recreational to competitive on St. Maarten using the schools, community centers and NGO’s in the districts as spring boards. 6
  6. 6. 1. A New ApproachThinking outside the proverbial box and displaying resourcefulness, characterize the government’s first months in office. While pri-orities have been shifted in some instances, in others, government has given its support to ongoing initiatives, to avoid potentiallitigation and stagnation of other vital activities, such as employment creation, etc.1.1 Evidence Based & Synchronized Policy MakingIn the area of policy development returning themes have been those of evidence-based policy making, as well as multi-sectoralpolicy synchronization. While some areas required immediate action, such as the district programs, government has opted toembark on pilot programs, while simultaneously developing the framework for the collection of data (evidence) to guide future ac-tions. This modus operandi, known as evidence based policy making, is clearly visible from the approach to neighborhood devel-opments, a central theme to this government’s activities.Government has also chosen to initiate synchronization and harmonization of policy development across the different ministriesin government’s organization in order to maximize results. The multi-sectoral policy development approach is a form of cooperationbetween departments within different ministries to respond to a particular need within the communities. Besides offering the ad-vantage of a more holistic approach to the challenges in the communities, the multi-sectoral approach also strengthens and har-monizes policy initiatives spread out over the various ministries. An added and significant benefit is that this approach relieves thepressure on government’s limited financial and human resources as well as provides the opportunity to match different policies atan early stage in order to prevent negative side effects of policy development in one domain on another.The community help desk model has been implemented in order to respond to the immediate needs in the community; howeverfurther activities will be based on the results of the needs assessment study conducted to assess challenges, the consistency andmagnitude thereof as well as the number of vulnerable groups.1.2 Vibrant DistrictsCommunity policing is a direct response to the expressed need of residents to experience the presence of police in the districts.Government is showing keen interest in the districts on St. Maarten by strengthening neighborhood organizations such as commu-nity councils and assisting these councils in getting the residents to buy into several district programs. It is government’s convictionthat residents must take responsibility for their neighborhoods, thereby contributing to an improved feeling of livability. Dialogueis necessary in the apparent disconnect between residents and community councils in some districts where these councils areactive in varying degrees. Yet, where there are none, residents lament the void. This is a challenge recognized by government as itseeks to engage the residents in neighborhood initiatives in order to create a vibrant district.A vibrant district is one where people will enjoy living; businesses will set up shop, and children will grow up happy. On a macrolevel, this will translate into love for and pride in the country we all call home. Youth facilities in the districts are another focal pointfor government. Continued support for after-school programs and the upgrading of sport facilities, form part of governments dis-trict improvement plans. Engaging districts and other non-governmental organizations in government’s development plans will re-quire a dedicated program of capacity building, which will be provided by government.1.3 Community SchoolsIn the area of education and youth affairs, the community approach is also pursued. In the belief that it takes a village to raise achild, parents are encouraged to have their children attend the schools within their community and the community school project,piloted in five schools in different districts will be expanded to include more schools. A community school is both a place and a setof partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services,youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthiercommunities. These schools offer afternoon activities and meal programs.7
  7. 7. 1.4 Funding of Social AgendaTo aid in the task of obtaining financing for social projects within the communities and to ensure continuity after the discontinuationof the AMFO funding, government established the St. Maarten Development Fund. AMFO managed a portfolio of approximately5 million guilders, which will now no longer be available.In addition to the funding aspect, governments actions are geared towards engendering a common social agenda to be plannedthrough multi-sectoral policy development and executed in a harmonized manner.In developing this agenda and building on the Multi-annual Integrated Social Development Plan of the nineties, recent studies andsurveys suggest that high on the list of needs are: a juvenile justice facility (halfway house) and reintegration programs; special ed-ucation, adult education, improved technical vocational education and programs; guided living projects and psychiatric services.The phenomenon of unemployed youth within the different districts has government’s ongoing attention and efforts will be inten-sified through multi-sectoral policy initiatives and public-private funding to significantly lower the numbers in this area.The UNESCO funded analysis of youth and women issues illustrates the critical juncture at which our country finds itself where itpertains to social challenges. The disintegration of families and the related loss of family values are cited in the report, along withthe need for the integration of the "new" St. Martiner into society. It recommends that there should be more focus on the youthand that accessibility to education must be available to all. Government will identify funding to alleviate the identified social chal-lenges and with the shifting of the traditional financing paradigms, will seek to partner with civic and business societies to cometo a broad common agenda for sustainable development.1.5 Participatory GovernanceIntegrated national development planning, management, execution and budgeting with a strong focus on the development needsof this new nation will serve as an umbrella for promoting good governance at different levels of society. Strengthening governancecapacities through a democratic dialogue process that brings together government, the public and private stakeholders will createsocial cohesion, which in turn will strengthen the nation.The fundamental objective is to reach agreements and consensus with the citizens, which would guarantee capacity in institutional,administrative and political terms. This will serve as preparation for nation building, driven by the people of St. Maarten in part-nership with government. Throughout the entire process a communication strategy will be executed to create awareness and in-volvement of stakeholders and the general public. 8
  8. 8. 2. Vibrant & Caring CommunitiesSt. Maarten’s Social Agenda forms a focal point of this government with priorities in the areas of social safety nets, social-economicand community development as well as empowerment of people in our districts. In living up to international standards and adoptedinternational treaties in areas such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), human, social and cultural rights, St. Maartenwill institute various platforms for dialogue, advice and new initiatives with partners to improve the quality of life of its residents.This government will ensure the establishment of a Council for the Elderly, a Human rights platform and other forms of social dia-logue to enable initiatives based on consensus and consultation. Furthermore, a second phase of programs will be planned and in-troduced, based on the first lessons learned from programs such as the Integrated Neighborhood Development Program (INDP,also known as Community Help Desk) and the Crisis Care Intervention Program for social services.2.1 Social Security & LabourGovernment’s focus on the development of the economy will provide sustainable and well-paying jobs. Employers should offer jobopportunities with attractive terms in decent work environments. The rights of the workers and employers must be upheld andthe environment must be safe. Government’s ultimate goal is full employment in all sectors for the citizens of St. Maarten, enablingthem to be self-reliant and less dependent on its financial aid program.A large percentage of our labour force consists of foreign workers. Now that the Brooks Tower Accord registration drive is behindus, government can focus on an effective border control system and labor market management. The impact of the registration ofthousands of illegally residing persons on the social and other public services has government’s attention.On short term, the revision of the foreign employment policy will take place. This will be done in tripartite dialogue, taking theneeds of social partners and stakeholders into consideration. Other areas of the labour market under review are the dismissal law,employment agencies, curbing the use of 6 months contracts and mechanisms such as a labor market information system to guidepolicy decisions and adjustments. Government continues to actively stimulate the entry of those persons who are unemployed,but with some coaching and training can again be active participants in the labour market.Government believes that sound and healthy public-private labour relations are essential to creating a good investment climateSimilarly, to boost the levels of investment and employment, a sound human resource development program as well as the pro-motion of efficient and appropriate use of technology should be embraced. The development of wide-spread training in the separateareas of technology, entrepreneurial skills and hospitality will be government’s multi-sectoral approach to unemployment.In spite of government’s efforts, there will be vulnerable groups and persons living on the brink of poverty, who will require socialservices. In general, this government’s aim is to make social services more accessible, transparent, fair and sustainable while tar-geting those groups most in need.In the INDP Assessment Report, a subjective poverty line of NAf. 1.500, -- is used, with a resulting 20% of the assessed householdsfalling below this line. Social security policies and legislation that require urgent attention in support of the MD goals and objectiveshave been reviewed and the outcome of the proposed revisions will be decided on in 2012. Government will introduce a revisedfinancial aid ordinance that adjusts the benefits to the cost of living, and will ease current bureaucracy, simultaneously combattingabuse of the system.The results of extensive research and consultations indicate that St. Maarten should also take the factors of aging and a sustainablesocial security into consideration. Pension reform will be prepared with a first phase of adjustments in the AOV-legislation to increasethe pension age to 62 and adjust benefits to pensioners.The introduction of the new National Health Insurance Law, will eliminate the current medical assistance legislation. Present ben-eficiaries of this medical aid will receive the health care package and services similar to persons falling under the new health insur-ance legislation.9
  9. 9. Emphasis will be placed on the prevention of poverty, but also on individual and social responsibility, self-empowerment and genderequity. In addition to the above-mentioned programs and policies, this government will support NGO’s with tasks and services inthe areas of social safety nets such as the Safe Haven Foundation and the Anti-Human Trafficking Foundation in various ways. Similarto NGO’s in the areas of health, subsidized social organizations will be invited to consider new and more efficient governance struc-tures. This will take place by means of the introduction of centralized boards and well defined management agreements to ensurethat subsidized activities are organized and meet the targets for the populations they serve. Further research will be conducted intwo critical components of government’s Social Agenda: a debt analysis study and a poverty research.2.2 Integrated Neighborhood Development Plan (INDP)It has been established that there is a reasonable level of involvement in the communities by residents of different nationalities.This involvement is especially evident in religious organizations, education institutions, families and social circles. There is howeverthe need to promote more cohesion in the districts of St. Maarten and on St. Maarten in general. Government intends, through anintegrated neighbourhood development plan, to build peaceful, safe and environmentally friendly communities, engaging the di-versity and creativity of its residents.The Integrated Neighborhood Development Program, or INDP, is a project that is responsible for the improvement of the qualityof life of the people living in the neighbourhoods. In short, it is designed to be a proactive process of integrating social, cultural,economic and environmental planning to build community capacity and ownership. The plan aims to bring social services fromgovernment and social partners to the neighborhoods by creating Community Help Desks and assisting NGO’s to enhance theirservices. Presently three help desks have been established in the areas of Cole Bay, St. Peters and Dutch Quarter and at least sevenmore are expected in other neighborhoods. The needs assessment survey, referred to in the introduction of this program, hasbeen conducted and the results compiled. Involved NGO’s are invited to propose projects that are sustainable, collaborative andaimed at structural improvement of the social aspects of the neighborhoods.It is the intention for community development to take shape through a combination of simultaneous activities in the IntegratedNeighbourhood Development Plan. This is a process of integrating social, cultural, economic and environmental planning. Thefirst phase of the multi annual program will be concluded with an evaluation report of the three established community help desks.The Community Help Desk for the Elderly and Disabled, scheduled to be opened shortly, will mark the introduction of the secondphase of the Community Help Desk Program.2.3 Community PolicingIn keeping with government’s vision that elevating the quality of life in the districts will improve the general well-being of thecitizens of our island, the concept of community policing has been introduced. There will be a consistent police presence in ourneighbourhoods, which will bring the respective community police officers closer to the residents. Community policing is a systemthat has been researched and proven to be effective over a long period of time and its popularity is increasing everywhere in theworld. Of course the citizen who seeks assistance may go to the Police Station, but it begins with the specially trained CPO (Com-munity Police Officer). He knows his district: he scans and analyzes it as to its strengths and weaknesses. The CPO knows the socialcomposition, risk areas and much more of the neighborhood he patrols. He is both the focal point for the citizens of his district aswell as the supplier of vital information for investigations and for the creation of new policies. A CPO will be visible in each districtwithin short and will also be meeting with community organizations, associations and other interest groups on a regular basis.CPO’s will also be in close contact with neighbourhood schools. Government is certain that this project will increase the feeling ofgeneral security and safety in the communities and offer citizens a sense of peace. 10
  10. 10. 2.4 Housing: District ImprovementThe provision of affordable living accommodations in various districts is a core element in government’s program to work for thepeople. It is the goal of this government to provide each resident of this island with access to clean, safe and affordable housing.Housing, however is one of the areas, where government faces the challenge of obtaining funds under conditions that would makeand maintain the project affordable. Government realizes the importance of making affordable housing available as a means tocombatting poverty for those who have to rent. Home ownership is a much sought after objective of those who, under the rightconditions, can afford a mortgage and will be facilitated by this government.Government is still very much committed to pursue public–private partnerships in the further eradication of shanty-towns. Facedwith the reality of practically no remaining domain land, government has to concentrate on buying land and or (co) developingsmall lots. In cases where persons are not financially able to develop their properties, government will co-develop the property,creating income for the landowner through rent/lease and asset-building for the St. Maarten Housing Development Foundation.The redevelopment of these districts in partnership has several social benefits in addition to providing persons with decent livingaccommodations. Social cohesion and integration will be encouraged by programs that uplift the districts through decent homes,adequate infrastructure and overall cleanliness. Government’s project for construction of 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes hasalready started with the target group being young professionals. This program can be kept affordable with the cooperation of thecommercial banks onSt. Maarten. Families (parents with working adult children) amongst themselves can enter into legally binding arrangements, withthe view towards the eventual ownership by the children as part of their inheritance.Different units in various areas should be for sale for young professionals with possibilities of 100% financing, with the SMHDF serv-ing as guarantor. Profit of the sale of the homes will go to co-finance the realization of social homes. As one of the focal groups forthis government, further expansion of the home program for Senior Citizens will be realized with 24 additional homes in Belvedere.This program is to be extended to other districts through public private partnerships, as outlined above. Home construction willreceive a boost with the elimination of the backlog in building permits.This approach to district improvement through the construction of new homes will also serve to give unemployed youth a newlease on life, making government and community co-responsible for their districts.2.5 Youth DevelopmentAddressing the high level of youth unemployment and youth crime is a matter of priority for this government. Convinced that thereis a causative relationship between both phenomena, government supports an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to youthdevelopment. Hence government will continue to encourage integrated initiatives to this end taken by departments within theMinistry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs and that of Justice.Through its Department of Youth Affairs government will continue to enable youth serving organizations and other institutions toaddress the special needs of the youth in areas of education, family life, health and employment. Focus will be placed on empow-ering the youth, through the involvement in leadership development programs, to demonstrate a greater sense of civic duty andresponsibility in first instance for their community and subsequently extending to the community at large.With the enforcement of compulsory education until the age of eighteen, government has created the opportunity for our youthto make use of the schooling and training available on our island. The Education Management Information System (EMIS), to be in-troduced by government at the beginning of 2013, will measure the enrolment of students at education institutions of all levelsand types, enabling the monitoring of such by government departments.Many of our youngsters possess an enormous amount of undeveloped talent. Consistent with government’s quest to provide theseyoungsters with opportunities to reach their highest potential in the area of culture, sports and artistic development, the CharlotteBrookson Academy for the Performing Arts has recently opened its doors with government’s support. It is expected that this academythrough its education program and strong emphasis on developing the talents of each individual student, will contribute to the11
  11. 11. professional development of the arts and sports on our island. Government’s scholarship program for talented students, its plansto build a National Theatre for the Performing Arts, to upgrade sport facilities, and strengthen the capacity of community councilsand centers, should enable our youngsters to actively and successfully participate in national, regional and international cultural,artistic and sporting events.Investing in the development of our youth is safeguarding the sustainability and longevity of government’s investments in all otherdomains.2.5.1 Guardianship and ProtectionGovernment’s vision is to protect and support children who are threatened by moral and spiritual ruin and to contribute to theirsafety and development to adulthood and full citizenship in society. Prevention of problems in the upbringing of children is para-mount. Placing at-risk minors under supervision and/or protection is key in the fight to alleviate youth delinquency. The S.J.I.B.and Court of Guardianship will continue to be responsible for the proper placement of children in safe and healthy environments.These institutions will also continue to provide guidance, counseling and mentorship to youth with social, behavioral or financialproblems.2.6 Improved Wellness & Health CareGovernment’s vision for its people in the area of health is that all citizens should have access to the most recent and appropriatemedical treatment in patient care, disease prevention management and treatment.Good health is a basic condition for people to grow and develop. To promote and protect the health, safety and general well-beingof all St. Martiners, government is engaged in health care policy reforms. These reforms include preparations for the phased intro-duction of a new health insurance system. The National Health Insurance legislation, based on the philosophy of equal access toessential health services, will be presented for decision making in 2012. Additionally government is preparing a new law to securequality care by strengthening controls on the qualifications, registration and training requirements of medical professionals.It is a global trend that health care costs are continuing to rise due to various factors. As a result government, to secure the sustain-ability of the health care system and services, is investing consistently in prevention and primary health services. Government istherefore committed to projects and programs such as:• “Nutrition and Physical education”• “Get checked”• “Health Observances Days”These programs are designed with a community and outreach approach to create healthy lifestyles and an awareness of varioushealth topics. They are also intended to register and screen populations and vulnerable groups and foster partnerships with NGO’ssuch as the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation, the Diabetes Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Foundation.As part of its investments in public infrastructure, government will increase the level of its expenditures in the infrastructure ofpublic health and health care systems. In concrete terms, government will continue to ensure that the St. Maarten Medical Centermeets the needs of a growing and changing St. Maarten demography as well as expands its services to accommodate more medicalspecialties and support services. In addition, government intends to pursue the development of medical tourism on St Maarten.Simultaneously, government will also strengthen its control and supervisory capacity in this area by placing emphasis on an effectiveInspectorate of Public Health. 12
  12. 12. 3. Public Safety & SecurityIt is government’s vision that St. Martiners must feel confident in government’s ability to effectively deal with matters of nationaland personal security. Our people must feel safe in their homes, neigbourhoods, recreational areas, their own businesses as wellas in their places of work. They should also be able to socialize freely in public places, without having to live in fear that they willbecome victim of crime at any given time. Parents should be able to feel assured that their children can safely play and congregatein public places. In order to provide our citizens with feelings of safety and security, government is currently upgrading its policeforce and its related infrastructure.The main task of the Police Force is the protection of citizens on the street and keeping the community safe not only against criminalsbut also all other offenders.Natural disasters such as hurricanes can cause much suffering. Although the Police cannot prevent the occurrence of such naturalphenomena it can minimize the impact on society through the implementation of safety measures. Besides our citizens, touristsalso have the right to feel safe on St. Maarten. Tourism is the main pillar of our economy and government must ensure that our vis-itors feel protected and secure.3.1 Solving CrimeAlthough crime is prevalent in most societies around the world including St. Maarten, Government is giving much attention tosolving murders and other serious assaults. Especially on such a small island, serious and violent crimes negatively affect each andevery citizen. Our police force is continuously working toward solving crimes effectively and being visible in the community. Thisgovernment will continue to work towards improving the capacity and resources of the Police Force.3.1.1 Youth CrimeThe level of youth crime on our island is a matter of grave concern to our government. Once a minor has been prosecuted withinthe Courts, he is placed in a rehabilitation program at a youth development foundation. If the crime the minor has committed isdeemed a severe one, he is transported to the House of Detention at Pointe Blanche. In the realization that it is preferable not tohave young offenders housed in the same facility as adults in order to prevent recidivism, government plans to build a youth cor-rectional facility. The establishment of a separate women facility is also currently being looked into. The addition of those facilitieswill allow for increased and more efficient care and rehabilitation for troubled youth and female offenders.3.1.2 Sports DevelopmentThis government recognizes the important role which sports plays in the life of the individual and as such intends to design a struc-ture that meets the needs of all. Such a structure will be supported by the implementation of the integrated sports policy frameworkand other sports policies and guidelines which will form the basis for the governments’ sports program.A sports development foundation will be established and charged with the implementation of the sports policy amongst others.The foundation will also be charged with coordinating sports and or recreation activities for children, men and women in generaland in particular, the coordinating of national interscholastic sports competitions, sports related activities for the physically andmentally challenged, the elderly and those who perform at the elite level.In order to increase the quality of the sporting facilities, extensive maintenance of the various sports facilities will also be a priorityfor this government as is the raising and distributing of funds for sports related activities from both government and non-govern-mental sources.3.1.3 Voluntary Corps of St. Maarten (VKS)Since 10-10-10, the VKS has become an executing agency within the Ministry of General Affairs. The formalization of the VKS hasrecently been arranged by government through the National Decree VKS, in which the VKS has been formally designated as a para-military force.13
  13. 13. Government is working on establishing various rules and regulations for the corps, as well as creating the Foundation VKS that willbe charged with the management of the finances and materials of the VKS.The task of the VKS is to assist the authorities with maintaining public order and safety in normal times and in particular during dis-aster situations. Over the years the VKS has been providing support to the St. Maarten Police Force and the Prison on a daily basisand has manned shelters during hurricanes. Government expects that in the near future the VKS will be trained to assist the Customsand the Coast Guard as well.3.1.4 ImmigrationThe social landscape of St. Maarten has changed over the past decades. The continuous influx of immigrants has called for govern-ment’s immigration policies to be revised and adapted to match the current realities. This rapid change in population demandedthe development of an organization, separate from the Police Force, to focus solely on border control and the admission and ex-pulsion coordination.The Immigration Department’s main work has always involved entry, admission, residence, surveillance and expulsion. Governmentwill continue to restructure the Immigration Service in order to provide the necessary adjustments, which will lead to quality im-migration service delivery and effective border control. In the area of policy making, government is presently designing new policiesto reflect St. Maarten’s current needs and to improve the public service being offered to permanent and temporary residents alike.3.1.5 IntegrationIntegration of persons living and working legally on the island for a long time is currently one of government’s focal points withinthe Immigration Service. Government has eased certain restrictions that have hampered progress in this area for some time.These include lowering the total household income requirement commensurate with the cost of living and a change in permanentresidence eligibility. Another measure taken by government in this regard is the reintroduction of the partnership agreement inkeeping with current family situations not only on St. Maarten, but worldwide. 14
  14. 14. These policy changes will not only ease the burden on residents who have called St. Maarten their home for many years, but alsoease the administrative strain the Immigration organization faces due to bureaucratic and outdated processes.With these modifications counterbalancing any negative side-effects will be critical. Stricter enforcement of admission and expulsionregulations will come to the forefront. Stricter border control will also be exercised, in particular with the addition of a mobile sur-veillance unit to patrol communities. Technology will also play an instrumental role in improving current immigration regulationsand control, as all systems at our ports of entry will be upgraded. A greater emphasis on control and law enforcement, in order tobetter serve the community, will make St. Maarten a more progressive and secure place for all residents.3.1.6 Combating Drug & Human TraffickingAs a leading tourist destination, the government welcomes legitimate travelers and trade. However, there are a number of personswho seek to enter our borders illegally or perform illicit activities in our waters. The Caribbean is seen as a popular transit point forthe trafficking of narcotics and other illicit substances. Government will dedicate itself to being a partner in the fight against thisform of organized crime, which threatens public order and safety on St. Maarten. This will be realized through the Ministry of Justiceand its various services, such as the Customs Department and Immigration Border Control. These Departments, reinforced by theDutch Caribbean Coast Guard, secure our borders by controlling and safeguarding against the illegal entry of persons and goodsinto St. Maarten.3.1.7 Financial Intelligence Unit (MOT)Crime, associated with money laundering and fraud over time has the potential to devastate St. Maarten’s economy and community.Government will, through the Financial Intelligence Unit (MOT), report unusual transactions in compliance with the rules of the Fi-nancial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is an international and intergovernmental body, which aims to set standards and en-courage effective execution of legal, regulatory and operational measures for fighting money laundering, terrorist financing andother related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.15
  15. 15. 4. Creating a 21st Century Competitive Workforce & EntrepreneursEducation is one of government’s most important national priorities since it is the foundation for development and serves to alleviatemany of the social ills in our society. The vision for education is that government will provide strategic leadership in the process ofpreparing its citizens to become independent thinking, productive, wholesome, confident, useful and valued members of society.The realization of the vision will be accomplished by government being responsive to the needs of stakeholders and working col-laboratively, efficiently and effectively to educate and develop intelligent, versatile, productive and well-rounded individuals.The collaborative effort, expressed in the vision for education, will involve the execution of several crucial development initiativesby different Ministries, private and public entities, which aim to improve the collective development of St. Maarten’s human re-sources in key areas. These areas include Technical and Vocational Education, Financial Services, Health Services, the HospitalitySector and Information and Communication Technology.In the execution of its vision for the development of St. Maarten’s human capital government will continue to invest heavily in ed-ucation as to ensure all citizens of a sound, relevant education system, tailored to meet the human resource needs of a modern,dynamic, progressive and technically advanced island nation.In addition, government is particularly committed to increasing the number of secondary and tertiary level students with appropriateknowledge, skills and competencies. This will enable the to either successfully enter the job market or to actively pursue an oppor-tunity for self-employment. It is this commitment that led to the construction of St. Maarten’s long awaited Institute for Polytechnicand Entrepreneurial Development (IPED) in Cay Hill. A new concept within this institute will be the emphasis on the entrepreneurialaspect of the training provided, which should lead to a greater participation of our people in the private sector on our island. Theincubation section added to the Institute will give graduates access to the basic equipment and guidance, necessary to start theirown businesses until such time that they have become established and are able to operate independently. It is expected that theInstitute in the long term will greatly contribute to meeting the capacity needs of St. Maarten’s labour force as well as to the de-velopment of locally owned small businesses on the island. The intention is to develop this institute into a state of the art institution,financed through Public Private Partnership and the attraction of students from the region.Consistent with its approach to other areas of development, government will embark on a multi-sectoral approach to the plans forthe long term development of its human capital, culminating in a Human Resource Development Plan, which will be realized througha collaborative effort between the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministryof General Affairs. The Human Resource Development Plan should form an integral part of the National Development Plan, whichis currently being developed by the Ministry of General Affairs.4.1 Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET)The sustainability of our economy requires that St. Maarten follows and remains current with the global trends and technology ofthe 21st century. This requires a workforce equipped with essential technological knowledge as well as relevant skills and attitudes.The development of Technical and Vocational Education is key to St. Maarten’s Human Resource Development.It is a reality on our island that the majority of our students after completing elementary education enter Vocational Education atsome level or another. Yet, to date many employers turn towards immigration to fill the need in our labour market for skilledworkers. This has greatly affected the demographics of our island and inflated government’s budget in the area of immigration,social services, health and education.It is the opinion of this government that with an improved technical vocational education program the need for trained workerscan be met, gradually phasing out the importation of foreign labour. An additional benefit of this program will be a reduction in thenumber of unemployed youth.Cognizant of the need for a paradigm shift from the manner in which technical and vocational education has been viewed overpast decades on St. Maarten, government will set out to create the awareness in public and private sector as well as civil societythat:• a well-developed TVET program is critical for economic and technological development as well as social transformation;• TVET and skills training are important for job and business creation and the empowerment of young people; 16
  16. 16. • TVET will contribute to the mitigation of the threat of social upheaval due to high levels of youth unemployment;• TVET is indispensable to the building of a competitive, knowledge driven and entrepreneurial workforce on our island.Government will set up clear policies to mandate and guide strategic direction for TVET. Through the setting up of a National Systemof Vocational and Technical Education and Training government will ensure that young people, their parents, policy makers andthe community at large view vocational education as challenging and worthwhile and no longer as bound for second class citizen-ship.4.2 Ensuring Quality & Relevance in EducationIn order to assure that the quality of our education system meets international standards, benchmarks such as those set by UNESCOwill serve as a guide for the development of national standards. These standards will apply to curriculum, quality of education andspecial education, quality of educators, at primary, secondary and tertiary levels and will be enforced through legislation and edu-cation policies.Prior to the constitutional change of 10-10-10, the development of our human capital was driven by legislation and policies, draftedand implemented by a central government on Curacao, with little regard for the needs of the St. Maarten stakeholders in educationand its labor force. A draft for an amended education legislation will be updated and presented to all stakeholders for input withinshort.Evidence based policy development in education will be driven by data garnered through the Education Management InformationSystems, which is presently being developed and should be in place by the beginning of 2013. The data provided by EMIS will facil-itate the monitoring of compliance with national standards, with the registration requirements for schools and with the educationlegislation. It will also enable the reporting to UNESCO on the level of compliance with the “Education for All” goals.4.3 Special Needs Education for Gifted & Disabled StudentsIn its education development program government will place particular emphasis on meeting the special needs of disabled as wellas gifted students. St. Maarten at this moment has a single school for Special Education. The school houses clusters of studentswith differ-ent types of learning disabilities and special needs. Government believes that children with disabilities possess the ca-pacity to learn and that they deserve the opportunity to develop their potential to become contributing members of the society.As part of the ongoing efforts to provide these special students with a vibrant learning environment, that will inspire them towardindependence and integration into society, plans are being finalized to renovate and expand the school, so that it will also meetthe needs of students with physical disabilities.The Ministry of Education has assigned an interdepartmental working group to review the present special education program andcurriculum in order to formulate an improved special education policy, tailored to the needs of these students. Until now specialneeds education at a primary level, was geared solely towards meeting the needs of students with characteristics that affect theirability to learn and who require adapted teaching and learning conditions to effectively educate them.It is government’s intention to expand its special needs program to include special programs for students, who are gifted and shouldbe able to receive education that supports their exceptionality. These students will participate in special programs in their respectiveschools.17
  17. 17. 4.4 Teacher TrainingTeachers are in a position to greatly influence the future of our island as they affect the performance, quality and output of our ed-ucation system, which in turn shape the citizens of St. Maarten and determine the capacity of our human resources. There is anacute shortage of teachers on St. Maarten and government and school boards alike have been filling that void through recruitmentfrom abroad.A study by the Ministry of Education indicated that a mere 16.1% of our teachers are homegrown, while 18.25% is Surinamese,12.88% is from the Netherlands, 11% is from Aruba and 10% is Guyanese. In the realization that presently 83% of our teachers arerecruited from abroad, government has assigned the Ministry of Education the task to devise strategies and policies to encouragestudents graduating from secondary education to aspire to enter the teaching profession. Through incentives and the exemptionof students from the Dutch nationality requirement to qualify for study financing, once they are desirous of pursuing a degree ineducation, government has set out to increase the interest in the teaching profession. Simultaneously concerns have been expressedregarding teacher training on St. Maarten and government is collaborating with the University of St. Martin to enhance its TeacherEducation Program to meet international standards and gain international accreditation.
  18. 18. 5. Enabling a Competitive Business ClimateGovernment’s competitive business concept is predicated on the vision that it should play a leading role in mitigating the effects ofthe changes in the international market economy through diversification of St. Maarten’s tourism-based economy. The diversificationwill take place through the stimulation of industries and services which are complementary to our tourism-based economy. Thesewill include finances, entrepreneurship, agriculture and market type tourism such as medical, VIP clients, niche markets, ecologicaland marine. Government will then further develop our tourism sector, the foundation on which our economy is built, throughactive enabling and efficient facilitating. This will be done by putting in place the necessary infrastructure and legislation to supportits growth.To that end it aims to implement policies that stimulate and facilitate sustainable economic development and strengthen regionaland international relationships. Government’s financial management will be elevated to the level of best practices in order tocomply with the norms as set forth in the Financial Supervision Regulation.5.1 Creating the Appropriate Environment for a Sustainable EconomyThe mainstay of St. Maarten’s economy is tourism, which relies heavily on clean beaches and healthy waters, reinforcing the needto protect the environment. Several NGOs have been working in the area of environmental preservation and management. Onesuch foundation is the Nature Foundation St. Maarten (NAFSXM), established in 1997, with the objective of enhancing the envi-ronment through effective management, education, awareness and protection of natural resources. NAFSXM has worked very hardover the last years and has seen a greater awareness developing on the part of the population, demonstrating that the communitycares about conservation efforts. The main thrust of the NAFSXM recently has been the establishment of a Marine Park. The initiallyproposed Marine Park surrounded St Maarten’s entire Dutch side from Oyster Pond in the East to Cupecoy Bay in the west, stretchingfrom the average high water line to a depth of 60m (200ft). Through various consultations and meetings between the various stake-holders it was decided to implement Marine Conservation on St. Maarten in stages, of which the establishment of the Man of WarShoal Marine Park is the first and most important step.Laws are currently being drafted to include the protection of beaches, coral reefs, turtles, mangroves, sea grasses, and other speciesthat are indigenous to the area. Further rules and guidelines are also being written and adopted to define the nature of recreationalactivities within the boundaries of the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. In addition to the Man of War Shoal Marine Park, a TerrestrialPark that will offer protection to the island’s indigenous terrestrial flora and fauna whilst allowing sustainable recreation, is in theplanning.There is currently no management of the catchments on St Maarten that drain into the marine environment. Integrated catchmentand coastal management is essential for the future wellbeing of St Maarten’s natural resources, since activities on land directlyaffect the water around St Maarten. Government will support NAFSXM’s desire of securing a long term management agreementto protect the environment within the Simpson Bay Lagoon, which is considered a severely depleted ecosystem but which has thepotential to recover considerably.Changes in the constitutional framework and legislation, along with changes in leadership, have underlined the need for a man-agement planning process and document to clearly define the goals and objectives of the Man of War Shoal Marine Park, and statethe management objectives and strategies which will allow the Man of War Shoal Marine Park successes to be highlighted and itsmanagement effectiveness to be assessed.The management plan will also ensure continuity of management efforts and allow stakeholders and other interest groups to un-derstand and participate in the planning process. According to the IUCN, management plans are an essential step towards ensuringthe proper management of protected areas. The management plan must be submitted within three months of the managementcontract being signed between Government and the Nature Foundation.5.2 Creating Investment Climate for the Development of Tourism & Small BusinessTo realize its vision of bringing prosperity to the people, government will reform the management of the local tourism industry byestablishing the St. Maarten Tourism Authority as of January 1, 2013. Through this vehicle, in conjunction with the private sector,government’s initiatives to realize year round tourism will be pursued. For year round occupancy, government will engage in ag-19
  19. 19. gressive tourism promotion and the exploring of markets other than the traditional ones. Our natural hub assets, such as locationand accessibility will be maximally exploited in attracting the regional traveler. These assets also make our island a preferred des-tination for off-shore educational and medical facilities, attracting a “new” type of tourism. Diversification and serving up markettype tourism (medical, VIP clients, niche markets, ecological and marine tourism) may possibly be a policy recommendation forreinventing the economy as promoted by economic diplomacy in the region. Investing in facilities for cricket and drag-racing aswell as the upgrading of the existing sport-facilities will encourage sports-tourism. The visitors that St. Maarten seeks to attract arethose who stay longer, repeat their visit and spend more. Towards this end, accurate statistical data collection is key.Going back to the days when the St. Maarten hospitality worker was one of our greatest assets is possible with training and locallycreating an awareness of the importance of the tourism industry as the mainstay of our economy.5.3 Small Business DevelopmentThe central objective of government’s economic policies is to create jobs in support of the education and social agenda. As suchgovernment will support initiatives with an emphasis on promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and small business develop-ment. In collaboration with the banking sector, an incubation program and bridge financing will be arranged for small entre-preneurs. There is the distinct possibility for small industries, such as small and medium-size canning and distribution companiesand sewing centers. Government has not abandoned the intentions to make e-commerce and e-zoning attractive for investors.This will form part of a special incentive package for qualifying investors. The agriculture and fishery sectors will be boosted by thecreation of an agriculture and fishery department, promoting the use of modern technology.5.3.1 Agriculture /AquaponicsThe St. Maarten Aquaponic Farm will be established in 2012/2013 consistent with the diversification of the economic activities inthe country. This Farm will showcase the possibilities of agricultural endeavors, providing means for cheap and healthy food, andprovide yet another opportunity to educate youngsters on how to start and maintain a business. The aquaponic farm will grow andsell local vegetables, tilapia and eventually shrimp while at the same time train students in business administration, managementand agricultural production. Simultaneously, the general public will be shown that St. Maarten can offer more than just touristattractions. 20
  20. 20. 5.4 Financial ManagementGovernment is determined to enhance St. Maarten’s financial situation by improving the functioning of the Tax Authority and ren-dering it more effective and efficient in the execution of its tasks. This will be accomplished through implementing a revised taxsystem that is fair, simple, competitive and economically sound for businesses and individuals alike. Government will also ensurethat all necessary laws and regulations, as it pertains to Financial Management are in place.5.4.1 New tax System & E-zoneTo realize its objectives and associated investments, government is working on a phased overhaul of the tax-system and developinga related multi-annual financial plan. This will ultimately result in a simpler system, in which citizens and companies all pay theirfair share. In doing so St. Maarten will move away from direct taxation to indirect taxation which will stimulate investments andthe economy in general.In the meantime, Flat taxes will be introduced, both in the income tax and profit tax areas. The ToT will remain in place, and a so-called “sin” tax on alcohol and tobacco will be introduced. Certain taxes will also be combined, and as a result of this, the adminis-trative burden and costs of filing taxes will be decreased, especially for small businesses. Prior to the introduction of this newsystem, a clean-up of the tax registry will take place, including writing off of debts older than 6-7 years.The first phase of the overhaul, which is planned to go into effect in 2013, will result in providing direct financial relief and morespending power to those citizens who earn a maximum of ANG. 5.000,00 per month. A complete proposal with all the different op-tions to achieve this is being prepared by the Department of Fiscal Affairs for handling by the Council of Ministers and Parliament.The next phase is scheduled to go into effect in 2014. The government is preparing a change to the vehicle tax ordinance as well.This will eliminate the need for changing number plates every year. It will also be a cheaper, more efficient and environmentallyfriendly way of paying vehicle tax, and will go into effect in 2013.The IT systems in government will be improved, linked, and streamlined in order to make it possible to pay taxes and apply forcertain permits online. Furthermore, linking different databases in and outside of Government will make the application proceduresmuch shorter and easier.5.4.2 E-zoneThe E-zone project is intended to boost the investment climate of St. Maarten, create employment opportunities, and broaden thetax base by developing the off-shore business sector. An Economic Zone (E-Zone) is a specially designated area or space where busi-ness offering off-shore services can establish at preferred tax rates. Companies within the e-zone will be taxed at 2% (surtax included)until January 1, 2026. There are no import duties or turnover tax due for goods and services that are rendered within the E-Zone.By doing so, economic growth will be stimulated using modern techniques such as e-commerce and social networking.5.4.3 Tax Information Exchange & PartnershipsSt. Maarten is currently under the OECD’s Phase 1 peer review on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.Several amendments in the Tax Code (General Tax ordinance) and Civil Code have been made in order to meet the OECD-standardson transparency and effective exchange of tax information.Priority is given to enter into a double taxation convention with French St. Martin and with the countries of the Kingdom of theNetherlands. Several other countries have approached St. Maarten with requests to enter into tax treaties as well. This will beworked on during 2013 and 2014.5.4.4 Budgetary MattersAlong with its reforms on the revenue side, government is working on making improvements to the budget process and its financialmanagement. The budget cycle will be streamlined, and the budget will be more substantiated in order to provide a clearer pictureof how Government arrives at the figures that are presented. This will make the budget more realistic, and also allow for bettermanagement of Government’s finances.21
  21. 21. In addition, government will continue with the implementation of the “PEFA” improvement program. This will lead to a streamlinedand accurate financial administration. Both the government and the general public will be the beneficiaries of these improvements.Citizens will be provided with better and faster service, and government officials will be able to monitor and manage government’sfinancial affairs. The automated systems will be upgraded, linked, and improved, and the staff will be provided with educationalopportunities to increase their knowledge, productivity, and thus job satisfaction.Both the internal control and the treasury functions within government will be strengthened, in cooperation with the Dutch gov-ernment and the Central Bank. A restructuring of the administrative processes within government and the use of more E-technologywill cut down the “red tape”. This will result in quicker decision-making processes, and improved transparency and service to thepublic.An amended subsidy policy is in the making, which will make it easier for smaller foundations to comply with the rules and regu-lations. Also, a dividend policy for government-owned companies will be implemented, which will take the companies’ investmentstrategies and debt ratios into consideration. This policy is needed to bring government and its companies in compliance with therequirements of good corporate governance.5.4.5 Monetary MattersGovernment will continue working to improve the functioning of the local branch of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten,enabling this institution to meet the demands of and play its rightful role in the community and financial system of St. Maarten.This will be facilitated by cooperation between the two countries. Local professionals will be given the opportunity to staff the localbranch, thus building up capacity over the years. The physical structure of the building will be improved to meet the demands forincreased staff. Government will commission a study in order to make an informed decision on which currency is best suited for St.Maarten. The study should be a comprehensive one, taking into account different national and international factors that have aneffect on the currency.5.5 Stronger Relationships with French St. Martin & Partners Abroad“Working for the people” expresses a desire to work together in the interest of St. Maarten. This interest is served by sound inter-national relations as an autonomous country within the Kingdom. Dependent on the world economy and simultaneously borderingEU territory with French St. Martin, both economies are intrinsically connected. This serves as a unique selling point, adding to St.Maarten’s profile and identity in the region.Moreover, St. Maarten must position itself as a reliable and stable business partner by offering a comprehensive, transparent andeffective program to weather international turmoil and anticipate external shocks such as those that have recently impressed theworld.Government is taking note of global trends and international standards. Although the financial crisis in the USA in 2008 causedmajor concerns, US and Canadian visitors flow has not dried up. Monetary and economic crises in Europe, however, will affect thearea and shifts in migratory patterns are a daily concern to St. Maarten.Environmental depletion has an impact on tourism. Adherence to international treaties and regulations are to be observed, butthey also are crucial for the protection of a small and open economy like ours. Similarly, compliance with safety protocols in borderareas, coasts or airports, air traffic regulations, fighting organized and international crime and trafficking, are all priorities to ensurethe quality of this society and promote a positive image abroad.Progress is noticeable as we all step up the level of service to the people of St. Maarten, foreign investors and visitors. We musttake advantage of international opportunities by defining a selective series of choices in international associations and memberships. 22
  22. 22. While representing St. Maarten abroad is key, interdepartmental streamlining is also needed to ensure that signals sent abroad areconsistent and coherent. An international affairs commission (CIEB) is envisaged to detect, analyze, advise and strategize globaltrends that affect St. Maarten.Environmental depletion has an impact on tourism. Adherence to international treaties and regulations are to be observed, butthey also are crucial for the protection of a small and open economy like ours. Similarly, compliance with safety protocols in borderareas, coasts or airports, air traffic regulations, fighting organized and international crime and trafficking, are all priorities to ensurethe quality of this society and promote a positive image abroad.Progress is noticeable as we all step up the level of service to the people of St. Maarten, foreign investors and visitors. We musttake advantage of international opportunities by defining selective series of choices, also in international associations and mem-berships. While representing St. Maarten abroad is key, interdepartmental streamlining is also needed to ensure that signals sentabroad are consistent and coherent. An international affairs commission (CIEB) is envisaged to detect, analyze, advise and strategizeglobal trends that affect St. Maarten.5.5.1 Strengthening Foreign RelationsThe new governing program embraces a dynamic strategy to anticipate rather than merely respond to change by making choicesand developing a regional identity that fits and marks our presence as a niche player. One of the tools has been the establishmentof the new Directorate of Foreign Relations (DBB). DBB is a government department which provides advice, deals with internationaltreaties, protocol services, and consular services and is the focal point in communication of the St. Maarten government with othergovernments. It constitutes the liaison with international organizations, within the framework of the Charter of the Kingdom. Inorder to achieve a solid foreign strategy and service, the government supports the further strengthening of DBB.5.5.2 Effective Cooperation with French St. MartinStepping up effective cooperation with French St. Martin certainly is an important priority. The government values the partnershipwith our French neighbors and sees the intrinsic interdependence of both economies. Economies of scale can be reaped in crossborder cooperation in important areas. Quick wins can be achieved to improve the quality of life of the people of St. Maarten/St.Martin. First steps have been taken on priorities, which signal the implementation phase of many projects in which the principle ofsubsidiarity will be the new direction in island cooperation.Among mutual priorities in cooperation are joint road projects, transportation and vehicle registration, recognition of licenses,drinking water production, waste management and garbage handling, sewerage, drainage, agriculture initiatives, exchange of dataamong hos-pitals, education cooperation and aspects related to safety, welfare improvements and regulations that matter to thepeople but also discourage fraud. In view of this, a promising start has been made with joint passenger immigration control atJuliana Airport and cross border police cooperation.The recession in Europe, affecting trade with the USA, China and the weakening of the Eurozone do not leave St. Maarten unaf-fected.Additional aspects to be considered are the consequences of ‘dollarization’ and the future of the Central Bank of Curacao and St.Maarten. The informally applied 1:1 rate of the Dollar to the Euro is indicative of the harsh reality of the economic struggles of en-trepreneurs in Marigot. Given the interdependence, the French St. Martin economy must not be perceived as merely on the re-ceiving end of St. Maarten tourism; it must be assessed and appreciated as a vital and equally important partner to reach benefitsof scale.Mobile media is eroding the power base of undemocratic regimes; it exposes banking and business, makes money volatile andallows speculative capital flows to influence the stability of entire systems. Reputations built over decades can now be destroyedwith a simple click of the mouse. Mayor geopolitical issues, economic shifts in the balance of power, political democratization andpower struggles in the middle-east affect energy prices, primary resources, and our food and import prices.The redefinition of the EU’s LGO policy and availability of funding, in which St. Maarten will have to position itself, may be very wellinspired by the budgetary crisis in the Eurozone. In this respect St. Maarten’s government is to define priorities and partner in new23
  23. 23. initiatives in close cooperation with Marigot, in European projects. St. Maarten, with 1,5 million cruise passengers a year, seemsless affected by the global downturn than initially feared. However, we must not forget that we are at a crucial point in the processof building St. Maarten’s institutions, its economy and welfare system, its human capacity and perspectives for the youth.Foreign policy shall offer the framework to cope with the many consequences of the international crises. At this point foreign policyand economic policies overlap. Diversification and serving up market type of tourism (medical, VIP clients, niche markets, ecologicaland marine tourism) may possibly be an economic policy recommendation for reinventing the economy as promoted by economicdiplomacy in the region.5.5.3 CaribbeanCaribbean Countries share historical, social and cultural ties that bind them together. Despite these ties, there are also commonchallenges associated with the islands’ smallness in geographic size and population; heavy reliance on imports of goods, servicesand energy; vulnerability to external shocks and ecological fragility. The Government of St. Maarten attaches great importance toregional cooperation as it is viewed as a tool to assist Caribbean countries in coping with these challenges. To this end, Governmenthas taken up and considers membership in regional organizations that will:• help with institutional building;• provide opportunities for social and economic progress;• facilitate transfer of knowledge and best practices;• offer technical / financial assistance in specialized areas;• serve domestic goals such as migration, social development, justice and diversification. 24
  24. 24. Currently St. Maarten is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force Agency (CFATF), Caribbean Organization Tax Ad-ministrators (COTA), Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU) and Caribbean Associationof National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO). Government is also exploring potential membership in the Economic Com-mission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and Caribbean Community (CARI-COM).5.5.4 European Union RelationsSt. Maarten forms part of the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) grouping. The association of the OCTswith the Union stems from the constitutional relations that these countries and territories have with the 4 Member States. TheEU-OCT relationship is legally based on Part IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 198 to 204 of theTFEU) and the detailed rules and procedures governing this relationship are provided for by 2001 Overseas Association Decision(OAD) (2001/822/EC). The OAD will expire on December 31st, 2013. The European Commission delivered a proposal for a new leg-islative package to the Council during the summer of 2012. The new Decision will reflect a modernized relationship between EUand OCTs that is characterized by a shift from classical development (with a focus on poverty reduction) to one based on a modelthat conciliates economic activities and social well-being in the long run, while preserving natural resources and ecosystems for fu-ture generations.For St. Maarten, these aspects are strongly anchored in the ambitions of the National Development Plan that will be drafted inclose cooperation with UNDP. The Government of St. Maarten recognizes that regional cooperation within the EU framework iscritical to the economic progress of the country. For this purpose, St. Maarten is participating in European Development Fund (EDF)regional projects related to HIV/AIDS, small and medium enterprise development and disaster risk reduction initiatives (R3I). TheGovernment has also signed its Single Programming Document for the 10th EDF of which the country’s allocation is 4.75 millionEuros that will be used for the Dutch Quarter Sewage and Drainage Project. It is the intention of the Government to dedicate moreresources to further strengthen the coordination and management of mentioned and future EU projects. This has become evenmore important given impending plans for the termination of Dutch develop-ment cooperation funding via agencies such as USONAand AMFO.5.5.5 Priorities and Profile for 2012-2014 in Foreign RelationsSt. Maarten, as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, adheres to several international conventions and treaties. As a very smallcountry, St. Maarten has insufficient political and economic leverage to influence global activities. Hence government has decidedto rely on diplomacy in cooperation with Kingdom partners and other States to pursue its external interests. Against this backdropit has set the following priorities for its international relations agenda in order to optimally represent St. Maarten’s interests abroad:• Engage foreign policies as a tool to reach the ambitions of the government’s ‘working for the people plan 2012-2014’ within the realm of Kingdom agreements;• Host and consult (incoming) diplomats, trade and business representatives, NGO’s and international organizations’ stake holders and selectively commit to international platforms;• Promote sustainable development and liaisons strengthening HUB potential;• Establish the Interdepartmental Foreign Policy Committee (CIEB);• Act as Caribbean business intermediary and partner for the Kingdom in Latin America and regional trade;• Consult and fine tune joint interests with Kingdom Partners, yet develop a St. Maarten regional profile in the region;• Facilitate timely and accurate reporting on Human Rights, Human Trafficking, Financial compliance and other international obligations;• Promote regional cooperation serving domestic goals: migration, social development, justice and diversification;• Decide on membership, association and determine or negotiate fees with the prioritized international organizations;• Explore promising areas of growth and opportunity;• Seek alliances to ensure reliable and reasonably priced import of goods, fruits and vegetables;• Secure a French-Dutch cooperation policy including EU project engagement with the French partners;• Synchronize when appropriate, foreign travel agendas with Kingdom ministerial travels to get most out of joint efforts and trade missions;25
  25. 25. • Structure feedback mechanism of results from foreign missions to build country and sector dossiers on a centralized level in St. Maarten;• Consult regularly with Aruba, Curacao and the Hague on common foreign policy interests;• Establish action lists on treaties and make an inventory of departmental follow up for enactment in St. Maarten laws;• Ensure that St. Maarten channels its policy priorities to Kingdom embassies, so that these can properly serve and represent the interests of St. Maarten abroad.
  26. 26. 6. Effective GovernmentGovernments throughout the world are supporting good governance by strengthening the capacity and quality of their public agen-cies through public sector modernization and improved financial management. Good governance, including good corporate gov-ernance, is also highly considered in the decision-making processes of this government. Laws governing corporate governance wereestablished by the island territory of St. Maarten. After the constitutional change those laws obtained the status of national ordi-nance.In 2009, the Corporate Governance Council was installed as an advisory board for the government on decisions concerning gov-ernment owned companies. The premise for the decision making concerning the government owned companies and the tasks ofthe Council are mentioned in the Corporate Governance Code, also established in 2009.In working for the people this government views integrity as a critical component of good governance and the delivery of qualitypublic service as essential to effective government. In order to accomplish both, government has set out to improve the qualityand capacity of its public institutions. Mindful of the importance of good governance to our social and economic development aswell as our international standing, this government underscores the need for our civil service to operate according to internationalstandards while effectively managing the islands resources. Hence, the St. Maarten government has made a conscious choice asan organization to consistently act according to applicable rules, norms, values and ethical standards and laws, and to this end hasembarked on an ambitious integrity project.6.1 Integrity ProjectThe Integrity Project of St. Maarten encompasses a wide range of activities that together will contribute to the ultimate goal ofdrafting a comprehensive Integrity Policy for St. Maarten and the successful execution and implementation of the Integrity Program.As a first step in the process it was important to assess the current situation as it pertains to the ethical climate standards and prac-tices within the government organization. Research was done in the form of a self-assessment. From the beginning it was clear,that to set a path to a comprehensive integrity policy, it was necessary to first establish a vision. This vision was created and approvedby the Council of Ministers in May 2012. In June 2012 the entire public service participated in Integrity Training, which includedall levels within government. The next step will be the presentation of a comprehensive integrity policy at the end of 2012. Thiswill form the basis for the tasks and responsibilities of the Integrity Bureau to be established as of January 1st, 2013. The IntegrityBureau will safeguard the continuity and execution of the integrity vision after the current Integrity Project ends. This will be donethrough, among others, a continuous awareness campaign.6.2 Recruitment & Promotion PolicyIntegrity will also be reflected in the manner in which new members of the civil service are recruited and current members arepromoted. Public service personnel should be qualified, well-trained, efficient and courteous. The existing recruitment policy willbe adjusted to accommodate the constitutional changes. The performance management system, selected by government as atool to measure and reward the performance of its personnel, will be reviewed in terms of relevance.Subsequently, performance will be strictly monitored to ensure that promotion, compensation and recognition continue to beeffectuated according to performance and merit. Government’s aim is to keep its civil service motivated and productive throughhigh job-satisfaction. Conversely civil servants will be held accountable for their performance in the delivery of public services andthe relevant departments will be requested to devise and implement multi-sectoral strategies. The service to the public will thenbe delivered in a more efficient manner, leading to less duplication of resources and the cutting back on the waiting time in publicoffices. These strategies should lead to a more effective operation and ultimately to the concept of the Public Service Center.6.3 Public Service CenterIn 2006 the Government of St. Maarten invested in developing a new vision on Public Services. This vision is to implement a modernservice concept that will lead to high quality public services based upon two elements:• Public services will be provided based upon a “one-stop-shop” philosophy;• All public services will be accessible from a central location.27
  27. 27. In 2010 a project plan was approved to implement the new Public Service Center (PSC). The goal of the project was to set up a PSCwhere all public services, government information and government products would be delivered in a client oriented fashion, basedon an integrated approach. In this manner public service delivery would take place more efficiently. In 2011 a GAP analysis was ex-ecuted to analyze the gap between the initial goals, mission and vision as presented in the project plan and the actual situation atall government counters. It was concluded that the PSC vision needed to be reviewed. The second element of PSC was changedinto “providing public services from different locations, operating as one department”. Simultaneous with the adjusting of the PSCvision it was decided to establish a PSC in the Simpson Bay area. This new PSC in Simpson Bay will be the pilot project for all otherPSC’s, such as the PSC in the new administration building. All technical, ICT, organizational and process redesign solutions will beinstalled and tested at the new location for the purpose of improving public service quality. These activities initiated the cycle ofcontinuous improvement of public services and will facilitate and expedite the establishment of other PSC locations.6.4 Capacity BuildingThe government of St Maarten has initiated several projects to allow civil servants to acquire knowledge and skills, required tofunction optimally in the new government structure. These projects constitute the program “Institutionele Versterking Bestu-urskracht”, executed in cooperation between the Netherlands and St. Maarten, with funds managed by USONA.The original objective of the project is to increase the knowledge, experience and skills of public servants through:• Job-specific training;• General training;• Exchange programs.6.5 E-Government & Strong ICT SystemsGovernment is committed, through e-government, to strengthen the capacity of its institutions to enable more effective, clientfriendly service delivery to the public.E-government includes the technologies and processes that enhance the delivery of information and services to the public andimprove the general internal operation of government. In order to realize this, government is focused on strengthening the ICTsystems across the organization, with an emphasis on mobile technology.Going mobile means more than just e-mail access: through the use of tablets, smart phones, etc. we can improve productivity, re-duce costs and improve our services to the public. Our workers must be able to do their jobs from more than a single location. 28
  28. 28. Mobile technology can allow employees to react more quickly to customers concerns because they do not have to return to the of-fice. This can build better relationships with customers. One of the most important steps in the mobilization plan of government isprofiling the different categories of workers in our organization to determine their priorities and the mobile solutions that willmeet their needs.6.5.1 Digitalization & DocumentationBy digitalizing the archives of the Civil Registry, the government of St. Maarten has made an important start in creating sustainabledata storage. Besides sustainable data storage a digital archive contributes to speedier, more customer friendly public services bygovernment. The activities as described in the original project plan were completed successfully. The ICT department has providedthe necessary hardware and the Civil Registry is using the digital archive on a daily basis. Since the project was executed more effi-ciently than initially forecasted, there is budget remaining for additional activities. The activities include digitalizing even more doc-uments and the purchase of scanners for the Civil Registry to keep the digital archive up to date. This project is only the beginningand government will take further actions to set up a national archive, digitalize the archives of other departments and developpolicies regarding digitalizing and archiving in the future.6.5.2 Introduction of Cloud Technology & VOIP ServicesThrough cloud technology government’s organization will deploy servers in a timely fashion, enabling the organization to functionin a more cost-effective and efficient manner. Presently government’s organizational infrastructure is divided over close to 16 sep-arate physical locations. These locations have their own telephone systems, requiring subscriber lines for each location, which iscostly. To improve this situation, government, through the ICT Department, will connect the remote locations and implement aVOIP system that will allow all employees to communicate from anywhere in the world.6.5.3 Introduction of Online ServicesThe public will soon be able to request and pay for certain government services online. This will reduce the wait time and queues,currently experienced by the citizens needing/receiving government services. The online services will not only cut down on manhours but also on the use of supplies such as paper, staples, toner and other hardware. By providing for instance the tax formsonline, the citizen will have to print their own tax forms, allowing the organization to save on purchasing those forms. Also, allowingthe citizens to file their taxes online will make the organization more efficient as the processing of the taxes will be expedited.Other online services will include access to business license applications and request forms for medical or financial assistance aswell as allowing for the lodging and acceptance of complaints. As government expands its services in the districts, consistent withits community development approach, ICT will provide the necessary facilities required for such.6.5.4 Introduction of the Intranet & Base Registration TablesGovernment’s objective with the implementation of the intranet is to provide a single point of access to information in a quick andeasy manner. Intranet will facilitate the inter-sectoral approach by providing the means for ministers, secretaries general and man-agers to connect with employees across various ministries and have access to a centralized directory. This will lead to increased in-formation sharing and productivity. The intranet will be accessible from anywhere in the world, using government issued logincredentials. The identification and implementation of base registration tables will be the stepping stone for government to integrateall of its systems, avoiding the current issue of “dirty” information (one person having different information in different systems)and allowing the organization to become more efficient in performing its duties.6.6 Meteorological DepartmentSt. Maarten’s geographical location renders a Meteorological Department and its services critical to the protection and safety ofour people. Even though we currently make use of assistance from the Curacao meteorological office, government is working to-wards making this service self-reliant in the shortest possible time. The following projects will be embarked on in this regard: settingup the QMS (Quality Management System) and meeting ICAO requirements, as well as defining and installing the Climatology De-partment.29
  29. 29. 7. Sound Infrastructure & EnvironmentGovernment is committed to resolving the congestion on our roads through the execution of the Comprehensive Road NetworkPlan, aimed at eliminating a number of key traffic bottlenecks. Additionally, in supporting its infrastructure policies government ismoving forward with the zoning projects.7.1 Road Network & ImprovementsGovernment will realize the financing of the road network projects through a yet to be established Road Fund. The intention is thatthe Fund would be fed by the road tax, currently collected by government. The legislation to be put in place will guarantee the rev-enue stream for the Fund. The Fund will be responsible for construction, maintenance and development, not only of roads, butalso other public infrastructure such as signage, benches, receptacles etc. Insurance companies will be invited to participate in theFund and within 5 years the road network plan can be completed.7.2 Zoning Plan ProjectSt. Maarten is a small nation island with a total area of 37 square miles. When the economic development started about 30 yearsago, new construction/developments didn’t require much regulation. However, with an ever growing economy and geographicallimits in some cases having been reached, it is becoming more and more urgent that government revisit the type of developmentit desires and designate certain areas for that purpose.Government’s process of zoning allocates areas for business activities, pleasure and leisure, residential living, and designates allavailable square miles for a maximum of economic possibilities and a maximum of living pleasure on the island. The St. MaartenZoning Project aims to have all zoning plans covered by laws in 2014. Zoning plans are presently being presented to the communities.Where the preservation of monuments is concerned, the purchase of the Emilio Wilson Estate will be formalized shortly. The in-tention is to give the management of the Estate to existing organizations, which will come together and jointly look into the operationof this area. While government takes steps towards the establishment of the Monument Council to manage our monuments, inthe absence of such, ad hoc committees will sit in for the Council. 30