PHILIPSBURG –Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard of the United People’s Party (UP) will along with the assistance of other MPs request an urgent meeting of Parliament with the Hon. Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Emil Lee. The emergency meeting will tackle the issue of laborers from abroad who will be coming to Sint Maarten to assist with the rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The MP is curious to know if local laborers will be given first preference when it comes to the rebuilding of our country. It was stated in the media that young laborers will be given training. MP Leonard questioned as to the duration time of the training and if these young laborers are guaranteed work once the training is completed.
In addition to the impact of our workforce, MP is also concerned as to immigration impact as well. It is important to protect our people as to what is being put in place to insure that laborers from abroad will return to their country of origin once they have completed their tasks.
Among the many questions surrounding the laborers from abroad that the minister is expected to explain to Parliament, the MP is keenly concerned about possible abuse of work and residence permits. How long will the laborers be issued work and residence permits for? Will the selection processed biased to local labor first? What are the requirements of the companies that intend to hire foreign laborers? Will the permits be issued following the regular process or is there a special program in place?
The MP concluded by saying “The people have the right to know, especially in these tough economic times. It is important that we secure local labor before we seek to import foreign labor because we have capable workers right here on Sint Maarten. I believe that persons who have lost their jobs should be given first priority and I am sure we can find suitable laborers who are ready and willing to make a living in order to provide for their families before looking abroad”.