What is your background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics and I have a Master’s degree in Economics. Also, I have been working as a Financial Controller for about 10 years now.
How long have you been living in the Netherlands?
About 20 years. I came to the Netherlands at 18 and I continued my journey.
What do you find the biggest reason is that people do not return to St.Maarten?
From my perspective, there are not many opportunities on the island. If there are they are limited. In my opinion, you have to know people. Basically, if you want to get a good job, you have to work at a bank or for government.Those are the 2 main places of employment. If you are not really specialized in any one of those 2 or you are specialized in something else, than the chance of you getting a job that you really and truly like in St.Maarten is slim to none.
Also, if you think on arbeidsvoorwaarden (Terms of employment) in comparison to what you receive at home with here in The Netherlands, there is a big difference. Personally, with my career and work experience, there is not much of a chance for me at home. I feel that I would probably have to start over, a whole new career, if I would want to return. To me, that is another big reason why people choose not to return.
Is returning home and starting over with a new career necessarily a bad thing?
I am not starting over. To me, I would have to take a big step back on salary and a big jump back on all those things. No. That is not appealing to me.
What do you want to focus on while in UPG?
My intention is to give big back and help the people back on St.Maarten. To contribute in my own way for example, find my own way of helping the community or students. Basically, trying to pass on everything that I have learned in my 20 years here and give someone a heads start on what to expect, even counselling. Anything that would of been help to others coming to the country. Plainly, help in any way or form.
What are your goals now?
I want to learn why prices keep increasing and if there are any type of regulations that could be set in place to stabilize them. Also, to have normal prices to help everyday people. That is one of my goals. The other goal is see how we can take and adapt the statiegeld* concept on the island. That way people can have some kind of simple solution instead of just giving everyone a beer bottle that they can just fling in the road.
*money that you pay for packaging, usually on a plastic water bottle, and that you get back when you return the package. An example, Spa Mineral Water
How is that going? Can you give an update?
At the moment, I am looking into the Price Market Index. I am currently busy looking at other Caribbean islands and their Price Market Indexes in comparison. That’s where I am at the moment. I will surely keep you updated with my findings and how I am achieving my goals.
How do you think your background will help you to accomplish the goals that you have set out for yourself in UPG?
I work in economics. I work for a trading company and I know a lot about the market and how it works as well with logistics. I do not really understand how things are currently priced on St.Maarten, there is no regulation whatsoever to try and help out with certain things. However, this is common ground for me, it’s not uncharted territory therefore, doing market research comes to mind already on how to get a start to getting my goals going.
What do you want others to know about UPG, if someone were to ask you?
Its a young and aggressive organization that is trying to make a name for ourselves and we’re doing a lot. We’re not afraid of anything. We want to make a statement and we have the ability and the knowledge and focus to do that.