Presentation by Island Council Lady Maria Buncamper-Molanus during Thursday’s Island Council Meeting

Presentation by Island Council Lady Maria Buncamper-Molanus during Thursday’s Island Council Meeting on April 22nd 2010 in the Administration Building. 

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IC meeting on Labour requested by the Democratic Party faction

April 22, 2010

Presentation by Island Council Member Maria Buncamper-Molanus

According the Results Labour Force Survey St. Maarten conducted by the CBS the number of unemployed persons increased in 2009 by more than 500 persons. In terms of percentage, this is an increase of more than 21 percent (table 2). The number is 2966 persons.

The CBS labour Survey continues: II.1 Unemployment by gender

It is remarkable that the rise in the number of unemployed in 2009 concerned mainly men. The number of unemployed men increased by more than 375 persons, from approximately 930 persons in 2007, to over 1300 in 2009, an increase of more than 40 percent. The unemployment rate increased from 7.6 percent in 2007 to 10.5 percent in 2009, an increase of almost 3 percentage points. The overall situation of males on the labor market in 2009 appears to be unfavorable compared to that of females. Because figures show, that also the number of economically not active males increased by almost 29 percent, compared to an increase of approximately ‘only’ 3 percent for the female population. This is an indication that males have also abandoned the labor force altogether in 2009.

Contrary to the situation by the men, the number of unemployed women increased with less, approximately 144 persons, which is an increase of approximately 9 percent. The total number is now 1654 persons. The unemployment rate remained almost the same as in 2007, which is 14.0 percent. ____________________________________

First Results Labor Force Survey Sint Maarten 2009 13

II.2 Unemployment by age group

The unemployed population increased in all ages, but especially among the youth population (ages 15-24).

II.2.1 Youth unemployment

The youth unemployment rate increased in June 2009 to 29.4 percent, 3 percentage points higher than in March 2007. The total number of unemployed youth is 825 persons. The ratio youth unemployment / total unemployment is 2.4. A ratio higher than 2 is considered high internationally.

1. What is government doing about the overall labour situation?

2. Government has made statements that the recession is over – Can the Government please explain this statement – how was this concluded?

3. Taking the statement of government into account that the recession is over, can the government please indicate where the jobs are, which would be evidence of the recession being over.

4. What has the government done in the past 11 months and what does the government intend to do to curb further unemployment ?

5. Has the government in the last 11 months initiated any projects to curb unemployment, particularly youth unemployment?

6. How many work permits have been granted to persons under the age of 30 during the last 11 months?

7. We have taken note of the labour – safety inspections which have been initiated; Executive Council please provide the Island Council with a report of the first inspections done which would give an overview of the violations found and the sanctions which resulted from these violations?

8. What priority does the Commissioner of Labour intend to give to construction workers with respect to safety inspections?

9. We just had the Brooks Tower Accord provision. A few years ago we had a grace period. When the BTA was announced people were cautioned that we were not having another grace period. To avoid having to repeat the grace period in a few years, which precautions or measures are being taken now? Will persons be deported who have made use of the BTA but now cannot get the regular work and residency permits. Who will take responsibility for this? What is government’s position as it relates to this matters in general and in the context of increased unemployment specifically.

10. Persons from Haiti who are here, be it under the BTA or regular work and residency permit process, but can’t get the required documents to apply for renewal, due to the earthquake, how is government dealing with this situation. Will these persons be exempted from the requirements as stipulated by Governments work-permit process?

11. Have any instructions been given to the Labour Office regarding the process to follow with respect to persons mentioned in questions 10.

Mr. Chairman, I will submit the questions in writing to ensure that we receive the answers in writing. The questions will be submitted, to general affairs, immediately after my presentation this morning in the form of a letter addressed to the Executive Council as this brings with is the obligation of the Executive Council to answer the questions in writing.