Hurricane passes commented

The Board of directors of the St Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) has taken keen notice of Government’s decision to discontinue the issuance of the Hurricane passes to the St Maarten Business Community..

COCI, has pooled its membership, there in a number of hotels and guest house properties owners and managers, in an effort to obtain their sentiments on the decision of the government, ( published via the local media on May 3rd 2016, In its press release stating: “hurricane pass application process starts May 3rd, no passes for business owners and hotel staff”) to suddenly cease the issuance of Hurricane Passes for the 2016.

In recent years the Government issued photo ID “hurricane” passes to business owners and key hotel personnel, upon approved request, but decided to drastically change this policy, without any prior consultation on the matter.

COCI Board, through its Executive Director Mr. Claret Connor has requested a meeting with representatives of the Emergency Disaster Management Group of St Maarten Mr. Paul Martens and Fire Chief Mr. Clive Richardson to discuss the reasons for the change and solutions that could mitigate its effect.

COCI will in discussion with the Disaster Management Group share the information obtained from its membership and will make recommendations to Government on the policy change

The Board of Directors of COCI beliefs that additional measures and/or conditions to the use of hurricane passes could have been considered and implemented to address concerns of first responders and still permit key business owners access to a pass. Given that it is unclear which exemptions may apply for specific industries, a meeting is believed to be essential in addressing this policy and its concerns.

COCI takes this opportunity to remind and encourage all business and property owners to ensure that their internal hurricane procedures and disaster plans are updated, and to remain vigilant and proactive during this years hurricane season. COCI will continue to keep the business and local community abreast of this issue.