Sint Maarten Country Report
St Maarten broadly welcomes foreign investment. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property. Despite the island’s infrastructure being decimated by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, when approximately 90% of its buildings were damaged or destroyed, reconstruction efforts have succeeded in restoring tourism as airports, most hotels, and restaurants have resumed full operations. There are moderate levels of bureaucracy, as well as rigid regulations in the labour market and the tax system. Corruption and money laundering, mainly related to the island’s drugs trade, are relatively common.
There is no history of terrorism in St Maarten. However, a low risk is posed by international terrorist groups should they indiscriminately target Western interests. Caribbean nationals, mostly from Trinidad and Tobago, have travelled to Islamic State-controlled territories in recent years. Following the Islamic State’s territorial losses in Syria and Iraq, there is a low likelihood of radicalised individuals returning, moderately raising terrorism risks across the Caribbean, affecting Western assets or tourism zones. There is no precedent of such attacks in the region, and in Saint Maarten there are no indicators of a home-grown threat or signs that the country constitutes a target for external terrorist groups.
Violence in St Maarten is largely confined within drug-trafficking circles, which means that bystanders, tourists, and business people are rarely targeted by violent crime. Street and opportunistic crime, although low by regional standards, is one of the main domestic security issues in St Maarten. The country has a high number of tourists, who are often targets of petty crime. The main tourist areas are generally safe. St Maarten provides strategic locations for drug trafficking into Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – gateways to the continental United States.
There are no significant external threats to the island or pending border issues . Interstate war risks are accordingly very low. Defence issues are handled by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.