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Author: Raimond Nicodem

Timers getting out of range

Since Irma devasted the island of Sint Maarten back in September of last year, we have been keeping timers running on the main page of our UPG website.

These timers are certainly not there for mere fun; they represent the time it takes, in a critical situation, to make the necessary steps to get the basics right, which aid in adequately rebuilding Sint Maarten.

Most of the timers adding days, minutes and seconds as we speak. Predominantly, they depict wasted time.

Only one timer counts down, which are the days, minutes and seconds left before hurricane season 2018 starts. The last timer stresses the urgency to take action. Taking action would cause the other timers stop. Unfortunately, these timers did not stop and are still counting.

The only counter which has now stopped is the one which displays the time remaining before hurricane season 2018 starts; time has officially run out, as of today.

 Let us, together, stop the other timers from counting. Let us stop wasting valuable time!

Frustration should end – break away from politics and enter into recovery!

As Sint Maarteners, it pains us to see the heart of the devastation that is taking place in our home. It frustrates us, even more, to see how long it is taking to begin any sort of real restoration and reconstruction to the island that will begin to place roofs over people’s heads, jobs, and incomes to people’s homes. You as a Sint Maartener personally feel and sacrifice every day, the effects of the major destruction hurricane Irma has caused on Sint Maarten. To roads, electricity, water, homes, business and hotels and restaurants, which all are severely affected. This is a beyond belief situation in and of itself. It needs to be solved right away. Many valuable weeks have been lost by due to the delay in starting the rebuild of Sint Maarten, which is very frustrating. Not only that, we have to have the utmost attention and care that the reconstruction is not going to take us back to the way things were before hurricane Irma.

Let us do it together

We want to reach out to our fellow Sint Maarteners on the island who want to know what they can do to help rebuild the island, our tourism industry, the economy and most importantly your personal and family lives. Together we can get this done. And we really do mean together! Too many voices on Social Media call for joining forces, but most actions show solitary behavior. This all cannot be done by a few single individuals.

We can be the ones who are standing on the front line of the new Sint Maarten. This will bring back hope. The people will be the new business owners and business developers! The people of Sint Maarten will be the ones who determine what happens with Sint Maarten.

Recovery plan

UPG - Frustration should end - Break away from politics into recoveryUPG has a recovery plan as to how this can be done. Our recovery plan lays the foundation for a new and stronger Sint Maarten, equipped for the 21st century. A Sint Maarten where everyone benefits and not just a few. A platform that can create job opportunities for the people of Sint Maarten on Sint Maarten create a better economy and a strong island. A Sint Maarten where the people of the island are the ones making the difference. A Sint Maarten that you want to be a part of. A Sint Maarten that makes you say “I from there”!

Do not wait on political processes

Let us not wait for the political processes now underway; we can already do a lot to prepare the grounds for the rebuild and reconstruction. This can easily be in parallel with the elections, whether or not they are going to take place.

As UPG, we have already been in contact with several members of the Island Government and Dutch Government. The Dutch Government has been very enthusiastic to sit with us as Sint Maarteners and to help our island get back on its feet. Ironically, on the island, we have only been hampered by politics. We have been experiencing that it seems priorities are being placed on other activities instead of the most important one, rebuilding Sint Maarten. This makes us feel that the focus is not being placed on reconstruction and rebuilding the island, that is not a good sign and it does not feel good.

That is why we call for action – join us in the preparation of the recovery and you will feel truly and valuably involved. Your input matters!


UPG - Recovery PlanFor the past year, the Unleashed Potential Group has been developing ideas to strengthen the economy of Sint Maarten. We are doing this by working together with the people of the island who are living in the Netherlands. People, like you, who want to give back to our island. Young professionals who will make a difference. People who want to help make Sint Maarten great again! Our approach is to get things done with people who also want to do so. We try to avoid those who talk but do nothing.

Scenarios Sint Maarten post-Irma – The Statute explained

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the devastation to the island of Sint Maarten and the necessary rebuild and recovery activities to be undertaken, this situation got highly complicated by undesired political tensions between the Sint Maarten and Dutch Government. In this light, scenarios need to be analyzed for risks and impacts in order to make conscious decisions and measures.

In the next few days, UPG will further elaborate on the different options Sint Maarten has, along with the pro’s and con’s which go along with each of them.

A further explanation and elaboration of the Statute of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, by the UPG FOundation based on the opinion article in the Trouw newspaper of October 19th, 2017 (Mr. Dr. Flora Goudappel, Associate Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam, International and European law)

UPG - Getting down to the reality of the tension between The Netherlands and Sint Maarten

To conclude the first phase of the preliminary analysis
It is very unlikely the countries within the Kingdom, being Aruba, Curaçao, The Netherlands, and Sint Maarten come to a mutual agreement to change the Statute of the Kingdom of The Netherlands so that e.g. Sint Maarten becomes timely a fully independent country

Statute for the Kingdom of the Netherlands – Valid from 10-10-2010 to present

Article 36
The Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten provide each other help and assistance

Article 43

  1. Each country carries out the achievement of fundamental human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the soundness of government;
  2. The safeguarding of these rights, freedoms, legal certainty and soundness of government is a matter for the Kingdom

Article 51

  1. Where a body in Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten does not provide or does not provide sufficiently for the purposes of the Statute, an international arrangement, a governmental act or a general measure of government, may, with reference to the grounds of law and the reasons on which he maintains that a general measure of government governs the way in which it is provided;
  2. For the Netherlands, this article provides for the constitution as necessary

A sneak preview of UPG’s NRP plan shows important elements

Nation building

  • Develop your own possibilities by constant education and commitment in order to achieve perfection
  • If everybody contributes by their own endeavors to create a better Sint Maarten, the sky is the limit
  • As Sint Maarten will be an investors paradise and a sustainable growth created by local entities, foreign investors and a facilitating government support, Sint Maarten will be the envy in the Caribbean and attract even more rich leisure seekers

Improve workforce

  • New sustainable jobs and beyond in innovative companies and educational facilities in order to comply with the demand of the industries in the 21st century
  • Multiplier effect of other new jobs in accordance with the growing development of Sint Maarten, subject to change according to the development of projects

Diversify economy

  • A new perception of the island’s economy
  • Make it a hub and duplication of Silicon Valley-like industries instead of only focusing on leisure and tourism
  • Due to developments in the cruising industry and the dynamics of people from the cruise ships, who are only using the facilities onboard and not staying on the island for more than one day, the tourist industry needs a complete overhaul in order to survive

The UPG National recovery Plan consists of many more important elements and can truly be qualified as a serious rebuild and reconstruction of the Sint Maarten economy and social welfare

Click to go to UPG National Recovery Plan (NRP) SXM

The SXM economy is going to be hit twice by the effects of hurricane Irma

Many people left the island in the days after the hurricane. This is still going on as we speak

The people who left the island are generally more wealthy. This causes a serious and immediate economic drain to the island as tourism is not underway yet.

Currently, Sint Maarten is in the 1st phase of recovery: cleaning roads, restoring infrastructure, restoring houses, etc.

As soon the 1st phase is concluded, Sint Maarten will drift into a serious and critical 2nd phase of the effects of the disaster: everybody has a roof over his head again, but the economy is almost fully stalled. No jobs, no income for the foreseeable future.

Let us take care of avoiding the disastrous effects of phase 2

This is where the National Recovery Plan can create work, income and prosperity and hope for restoring the island to a better shape it was before hurricane Irma

That is why the careful planning of a sustainable recovery plan and execution thereof is of vital importance. This has to be considered very quickly and also can serve as the basis for financial aid from the Kingdom