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Youth empowerment: Innovation

Source: The Daily Herald 09 Aug 2014 10:22 AM

Dear Editor,

St. Maarten, under the leadership of the Democratic Party, is working rigorously towards creating a society where people of different cultures and religions can live together with mutual trust. To build a civilized society based on similar norms and employment opportunities it is essential to create a platform for integration and personal development.

Based on the diversity of cultures and nationalities that exist, St. Maarten has some 300 plus restaurants that provide mouth-watering dishes from Creole cuisine to Italian specialty dishes. We also provide the widest array of services and amenities in this region of the Caribbean. Therefore it can be ascertained that the economy in St. Maarten is driven by innovation and creativity, and is essentially dependent on strong relations with the region and the rest of the world. Returning from the economic crisis, our free market economy has to face a Government budget deficit. Nevertheless it is evident that we need to stimulate growth in the economy to repay the national debts.

What would you propose to improve the competiveness of St. Maarten's internal market? Recently our Prime Minister informed the public of the significant role St. Maarten has to play as the European Union's Regional Authorizing Officer. This position will gain St. Maarten more leverage to expand its Hub position through the regional programs to be determined in the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) under Renewable Energy, Tourism, and Health.

In my last article I asked "what are your views on the provisions that will be made available through the 10th EDF regional program for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME)?" Innovation for example could be a condition set for grants which will stimulate SMEs to develop new ideas, services, and products. The topic Innovation is Europe-wide and worldwide. Innovation for example will be creating a regional medium to showcase the talents of local artists, and the many services/amenities St. Maarten and the North East Caribbean provides.

This medium would be regionally broadcasted to gain awareness of and rally the support of regional partners. Innovation in tourism means using regional funds to advertise visiting the Overseas Countries and Territories to Europe in American and European markets – all under the slogan, "A little European, A lot of Caribbean."

Innovation that further develops efficiency in agriculture, nature, tourism, yachting, housing, and energy should all be key topics of discussion within St. Maarten and showcased. How do we facilitate interventions in the aforementioned sectors with a public budget already in deficit? It is apparent that the 10th and 11th EDF regional programs are progressive, and innovation should be used as a significant contributing factor.

Only economies striving on innovation can bring St. Maarten and the other overseas countries and territories participating in this program out of dependence. This model of development has aided the successful development of small Asian countries such as Singapore, and is considered one of the conditions limiting the Caribbean, Central America, and South America countries from becoming significant players in the global economy.

Without giving away your top secret business ideas can some of you further identify where St. Maarten can build on innovation in regards to local and international trends? Identifying and showcasing the innovators of St. Maarten is the first step in achieving greatness. It is my opinion that subsidies should be made available to innovative thinkers - those who dare to think out of the box, and create new and unique product/services on St. Maarten.

Hasani B. Ellis

Hasani Ellis mentioned 1 time

Democratic Party [DP] mentioned 1 time
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