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News from the SMMTA – St. Maarten Marine Trades Association

The Sint Maarten Marine Trades Association held its annual general meeting at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club on the evening of Thursday May 28, 2009.

Two persons retired from the Board (Kevin Gavin and James Roidis) and two persons replaced them in an uncontested nomination (Lorraine Talmi and Patrick Barrett) Jeff Boyd stays on as president of the association. All other Board members retained their positions.

The meeting inevitably focused on the severe decline being experienced by the industry. In his opening speech the association’s President Jeff Boyd said “The world is not hurting Sint Maarten, this decline is due to Sint Maarten hurting Sint Maarten” when referring to the 20% declines the local marine  industry is experiencing whilst other Caribbean territories remain relatively unaffected. Members pointed out the high occupancies on the French side compared to the low occupancies on the Dutch side and agreed with determination that the SLAC and its exorbitant fees were the singular cause of the dramatic downturn.

Board member Michael Ferrier explained how representatives of the Island Government had indicated their intention to reposition the SLAC under the St Maarten Harbour Holding Company but that this has not yet been completed and may be affected by a change in government.

Board member Robbie Ferron reported on difficulties experienced in converting promises to action when it came to changing the SLAC in spite of the apparent lack of any argument in favour of the present exorbitant fee structure.

The Board reported on the excellent co operation with the Netherlands Antilles Federal authorities in dealing with the visa situation and Kass Halliday Johnson reported on how this had been resolved.

The difficult challenges of the boat show were explained by President Jeff Boyd and Board member/Show Organizer Lucille Frye. The resolution with MYBA (the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association) which ensured that a show would take place in 2009 was explained.

The Association will continue to publish its annual Marine Trades Directory both in print and web form. A new interactive map will be added to the website www.smmta.com with help of the web contractor, Litemoon.

The association thanked Kevin Gavin for his many years of service on the board including multiple presidencies as he finished his last Board term. The board also thanked James Roidis for his service on the board and wished him well in his new businesses.

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