GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (GIS) – Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, has since Tuesday afternoon met with representatives of the Ministries of Justice and Labor with respect to BTA applicants having to stand in long lines and some even coming 12 hours before the office opens the next morning to assure themselves a spot in line.
"I observed this personally on Tuesday morning outside the Labour Office and I immediately inquired about the situation. After receiving reports and additional information, that it was not much better at the immigration office, I called an urgent meeting of both ministries involved (Justice and Labor) that same afternoon.
"After getting an update on what was taking place and the issue being that persons were told that all the intake of applicants (extensions and others) that happened at Immigration, that these persons could only get their labor registration up to Friday, January 7.
"My position in the meeting was that regardless to what the argumentation was, the situation that manifested itself was not allowed to continue and that the period of intake at the Labor Office needed to be extended to accommodate persons who were part of the process and needed to complete all the steps," Hon. Prime Minister Wescot-Williams told the Government Information Service (GIS) on Friday.
The Prime Minister added that during that meeting it was agreed that the extension would be granted and those persons who are in the process will have approximately four weeks to complete that part of the process at the labor office.
"Things have improved some-what, however I am still of the opinion that government cannot tolerate this type of madness," the Hon. Prime Minister said on Friday.
Queues are an issue and government has plans that are in an advanced stage to open a branch office of the Receiver and Civil Registry office in Simpson Bay.
"The aforementioned would alleviate long queues at these offices in Philipsburg, as well as ease traffic congestion. Persons won’t have to drive all the way to Philipsburg to conduct their business. This will also reflect positively where productivity is concerned," Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams pointed out on Friday.