MP Heyliger-Marten sends letter to Minister of TEATT. Questions inspections and change in business hours | SOUALIGA NEWSDAY

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Faction Leader for the United People’s Party (UPP) in Parliament, the Hon. Grisha Heyliger-Marten, has sent a letter to the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (TEATT) the Hon. Ludmila de Weever requesting clarification on two topics.

The first topic concerns the recent controls carried out by the Inspectorate of Economic Affairs. “This is a worrying situation for different reasons, especially now that the island is showing signs of recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 related decline in business activities”, MP Heyliger-Marten stated in the introduction to her letter to the Minister.

In the letter, MP Heyliger-Marten mentions the high number of business operators’ complaints regarding what they believe to be “harassment” by the TEATT Inspectors at night. MP Heyliger-Marten asked if inspectors wore uniforms during inspections, and whether all business licenses include noise pollution limitations. She also asked if there was a process to schedule inspections to avoid an overlap in the number of controls done by different inspectors at the same establishment. Another concern expressed by Heyliger-Marten was if policies and procedures are in place for the TEATT Inspectors to conduct controls and what precisely they should control. She also questions if all Inspectors completed BavPol training, and what difference in rank exists for those who have completed the training and those who have not.

The second topic addressed in the letter to the Minister is Government’s decision to close businesses at Midnight starting April 14. Despite the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) and the Ministry of VSA’s exceptional handling of the COVID-19 Corona Virus on St. Maarten, which has seen a sharp reduction in numbers, de Weever announced last week that all businesses on St. Maarten would have to close at Midnight. Regarding this decision, MP Heyliger-Marten asks the Minister if changing the opening hours of only those businesses who violate the established protocols been considered, and if not, why not.

She also asked the Minister if the loss of income for the employees affected by this measure had been considered. Finally, MP Heyliger-Marten asked if the negative effects for the Government in terms of loss of tax income and additional expenditures for the SSRP had been taken into consideration.

In her letter to the Minister, MP Heyliger-Marten stated: “I have taken note of the reasoning behind your decision, and I appreciate your concern for the public health in these trying times. I am aware that the policies and actions of TEATT need to take into consideration the public safety as well the interests of the private sector on Sint Maarten. However, prior to establishing these policies and actions, it is important that all interests are carefully weighed, and decisions are taken in the best interest of Sint Maarten in general”.

MP Heyliger-Marten intends to send additional questions to the Minister of TEATT and the Minister of Public Health, Social Affairs, and Labor within short. These questions are related to the start of cruise homeporting in Sint Maarten in June of this year. These cruises will make stops in Curacao and Aruba, where the COVID-19 situation is more serious than on Sint Maarten, resulting in no commercial flights being carried out between Curacao and Sint Maarten.  

Source: Souliga Newsday