Lifting the Moratorium on Taxi & Bus Licenses

Is Commissioner of Transportation Frans Richardson getting ready to play Santa Clause with Bus and Taxi licenses? At least that is what the word on the street is.  

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Not too long ago the Commissioner announced the start up of yet another DP conceived and worked out plan to try and improve the Public Transportation system on St. Maarten, dubbed "Changing Lanes". At the same time he declared his intentions to lift the moratorium on the issuance of new bus and taxi licenses. A usually reliable source claims that with elections on the immediate horizon and the NA not being sure of the outcome, arrangements are being put in place to say "thank you" to those that made the past year of NA/Heyliger/Laveist Government possible. Enter another rumor that is on the street: A former Commissioner and present Island Council Member, through the fronting of a sister, brother-in-law and niece, owns/operates 3 big bus service corporations. These NV’s were issued taxi and bus licenses and instead of hiring drivers to run the corporations’ own vehicles, licenses are being rented out to so called "chauffeurs" at exorbitant prices on a day to day, week by week basis. This was never the intent of the law when the "grote bus dienst" category was introduced. The Island Council Member referred to here, was a member of the previous two DP Executive Councils and through successfully using the system of mandated bus and taxi license approval policies and the existing rules/ regulations/ laws in place, he managed to stay under the radar and issue the bus and taxi licenses to the three N.V.’s . One would have hoped that the issuance of more taxi and bus licenses now would have to be because it improves the public transportation system to the benefit of the citizens and residents of St. Maarten (the public) and that it simultaneously would provide much needed opportunities for aspiring small entrepreneurs, individuals (again, members of the public) who desperately are in need of a legitimate source of income to sustain and maintain their families. While this independent Council Member talks a good talk about looking out for the rights of the "small man and woman", his alleged behind the scene moves, aided by the present Government, seem to not corroborate these talks. Using a hotel housekeeping term: It is more like making up a bed. The million dollar question is: "Who’s bed?"

The Democratic Party

Michael J. Ferrier