…reflection and continued consultation on the foreign workers permit policy.
In a reaction to government”s decision to "shelve" the "labor policy", leader of the DP, councilwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams is reminding the government of the main objectives of this policy. By the way, the policy in question must not be mistaken for or called a labor policy. A comprehensive labor policy is yet to be formulated for St. Maarten. The policy under discussion is a policy regulating the granting of work permits to foreigners. (Foreign workers’ permit policy).
The main objective of this regulation is to give first opportunity for employment to the nationals of our country, then to those workers already on Sint Maarten and only where not available and not available in the foreseeable future by means of our youngsters returning to Sint Maarten, then businesses will have all rights to seek labor from abroad. This objective must be maintained!
No one can argue against
1. Creating employment opportunities for nationals and for those expatriates already making up the labor force of Sint Maarten.
2. Creating opportunities for young St..Maarteners, desirous of returning to Sint Maarten
3. Allowing businesses the opportunity to bring in foreign workers in an expedient manner when such is unavailable locally.
These were the main considerations for the tripartite members, who have been deliberating this policy for over a year.
Represented in the tripartite cmt. are government, business and labor. Under the DP-administration, it was also felt by all 3 of these partners that given our current circumstances, several parts of the initial foreign workers permit policy needed to be amended, such as the housing, the age limits, the quotas etc.
These were however decisions taken by all 3 social partners not unilaterally by government, as is now being proposed by the NA-lead government. This government would do well to acquaint itself with the history of the foreign workers permit policy, the position of the tripartite members, the amendments made and those to be made, all of this while keeping the main objectives of the policy in sight. Politically it is always nice to hear when sectors or individuals are in favor of a government’s plan or intention, but what about the masses who need their representatives to stand up for them? Will their opinions count as well?
Let there be no misunderstanding, the Democratic Party is more than willing to sit with all 3 partners and come up with an acceptable solution for all , taking however all the above into consideration. This consultation will be absolutely necessary, if the current government wishes to discuss any budget alternative for the projected revenue for work permit fees, currently projected at 6.2 million guilders on the basis of the new fees.
June 23, 2009