Territorial Elections 2017 : 17 proposals by the Saint-Martin Chamber and socioprofessionals

For Intelligent, sustainable, inclusive and harmonious economic development

By Jean Arnell, 

President Saint-Martin Chamber


For nearly the past 15 years, French Saint-Martin seems trapped in an unprecedented crisis mainly due to international and national factors and the acceleration of disparities between the two parts of the island: a disproportion in cost and social benefits with the Dutch side, a perverse effect of the end of tax exemptions known as “defiscalisation” and a very unfavorable euro/dollar exchange rate (65% of visitors come from North America). This all led to the closure of more than 3.000 hotel rooms. We can point out some consequences of this situation:

A devaluation of our mono tourism industry that can no longer cope with the needs of the population;

Business cash flow is drained;

An impact on social peace with the consequent increase in delinquency and criminal acts;

Unemployment has risen from 14.4% in 2004 to more than 30% today, and 80% of jobseekers are not qualified (almost one in two young persons leaves the school system without a diploma)

GDP has stagnated at a low level since 2010

High hopes were placed in the statutory change from Commune to Overseas Collectivité. We awaited a promised budget restoration that was not granted. We are even more worried that the investment capacity of the Collectivité of Saint Martin cannot meet the necessities of solidarity in the light of its constantly growing and hardly controllable immigration.

These financial constraints reduce the ability to initiate tax measures to modernize our businesses and support our cash flows.

Through our corporate and territorial support missions, the Saint-Martin Chamber and the socio-professionals present "17 Proposals for 2017" around five themes:

- The attractiveness of the territory and the competitiveness of enterprises;

- Expansion of the tourism sector;

- The development of trade and the revival of the centers of Marigot and French Quarter;

- Territory planning;

- Training of the unskilled.


Our collective approach aims to make useful contributions to Saint-Martin’s return to growth, a medium for maintaining and developing employment, for shared progress and for social cohesion.



The attractiveness of the territory and the competitiveness of businesses

Proposal 1: Simplify the tax code and reduce the cost of employment

Proposal 2: Adapt the regulatory framework (Europe, France, Saint-Martin)

Proposal 3: Require the financial partners of the economy to effectively deliver their services in Saint-Martin (AFD, BPI, CDC, Banks, Social insurances)

Proposal 4: Support economic development by implementing the required tools (macro-economic planning, sector policies, a small business act, statistics)



Tourism by making culture and heritage a key component

Proposal 5: Strategically plan the expansion of our tourism industry, at the heart of a globalized, hyper competitive internet driven economy

Proposal 6: Protect and increase our tourism offering (accommodations, yachting, cruise, activities)

Proposal 7: Simplifying the taxes and regulation of the hotel industry



New urban development and revive commerce in Marigot and French Quarter

Proposal 8: Increase security and revive business districts

Proposal 9: Enhance urban development in order to reduce commercial space vacancy

Proposal 10: Innovate in regards to small business financing

Proposal 11: Use the zoning regulation to effectively plan business locations



Territorial planning and organize the infrastructure needed for the future

Proposal 12: Deploy the infrastructure required for growth (Airport, Port, Fiber Optic Networks)

Proposal 13: Improve road networks and the transportation system (people and merchandises)

Proposal 14: Engage a new community development in French Quarter for new business and public services including a new center for arts and crafts, businesses and administrations



To increase productivity

Proposal 15: Align the training offering with the skills required in the business community and in accordance with our economic development framework, including sector policies

Proposal 16: Train a generation of entrepreneurs and tomorrow’s “Business leaders” to face digital transformation

Proposal 17: Restructure the “taxe d’apprentissage” (training tax) to increase the contribution made by large national companies to the local training effort