PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Member of Parliament Solange Ludmila Duncan recently sent separate letters to the Minister of General Affairs and the Minister of Finance in connection with monies leaving St. Maarten via
money transfer agencies.
“Over the last few weeks there has been much discussion on the types of measures that will need to be taken in order to minimize the economic recession and the major losses in public funds.
COVID-19 has forced us to finally evaluate new avenues in which to generate income for the Government and new taxes may play a critical role in the country’s recovery and future development.” noted the MP in her in her letter to the respective Ministers.
Via the Minister of Finance, the MP requested data from the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) on the total amount of remittances leaving the monetary union via money transfer agencies like Western Union and MoneyGram over the last 5 years and any license or other fees that these agencies must pay to the CBCS and Government.
“Countries within the region like the British Virgin Islands are implementing new taxes on foreign remittances. I believe that we should look at how the country can benefit from all the money that leaves our economy but also think about our own diaspora and developing the same sort of relationship. St. Maarteners around the world can help us without having to move back; whether through money transfers to family members, providing technical assistance or advice. We’ve never made a concerted effort in developing the kind of diaspora that would push this country forward. I believe the time is now.,” added the MP.
The MP has asked the Minister of General Affairs to solicit advice and a report from the Social Economic Council (SER) on her behalf on the socio-economic impact of foreign remittances as well as the possible introduction of a tax on said monies. “Research by the SER on the above-mentioned will be of much value to Government and Parliament as we work on further developing this country. I look forward to receiving the Ministers’ cooperation and working with Government on new income generating measures for St. Maarten,” concluded the MP.