PHILIPSBURG:— The Council of Ministers and the Members of Parliament that formed the current coalition is at loss regarding the controls done at Maho on Thursday. According to information reaching SMN News Maho group of companies dispatched a number of letters on Friday to the Council of Ministers including various politicians expressing outrage, and frustration due to raids that was conducted at around 6:30pm on Thursday. Based on information SMN News gathered the inspectors from the labor department, immigration and police closed down the casino in order to control all the workers that were working at the time. This action did not sit well with management of Maho group, another action taken by the inspectorate is the closing down of a restaurant for unhygienic conditions.
It is also reported that the inspectors ‘shackled’ someone and shortly after released the person all of which frustrated the management of Maho.
SMN News further learnt that when the Minister of Justice Edison Kiridongo was contacted on Friday morning about the control he called on his department heads for explanations. The source said the Chief of Police Carl John informed the Minister that he was not aware of the controls and what transpired but the Director of Immigration Udo Aaron when called by the Minister for information got a shock of his life when Aaron told the employee that was sent to call him that he should go back and tell the Minister that he was busy gathering information and will write a report on the control and when that report is completed it will be sent to him. SMN News understands that the Minister of Justice is expecting that report on Monday morning.
The coalition called an urgent meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss the matter since they believe the actions of the controllers will destroy the economy and also gave St. Maarten a bad image overseas.
Due to the fact that the coalition and the Council of Ministers have no information from the civil servants that conducted the controls and the lack of cooperation from the Director of Immigration Udo Aaron, the Council of Ministers along with the members of the coalition have decided to suspend the controls until the investigation on the controls done at Maho on Thursday is completed.
It should be noted that the immigration department got a large amount of complaints from employees that were working for Maho Group of Companies including Sonesta Great Bay where the employees informed the immigration department of the influx of foreign labor working at the company while locals are being victimized and fired. SMN News learnt that the managers at Maho and Sonesta would bring in workers and have them wearing the guest’s wrist bands to derail the controllers, thus causing the controllers to go further by starting to control guests at the hotel. All of this dates back to 2013 when the former Minister of Justice Roland Duncan signed an exchange agreement with Maho Group allowing them to bring in foreign workers from Sandals Resort.
Source: St. Martin News Network Director of Immigration Udo Aaron refuses to meet with Minister of Justice to update him on the controls done at MAHO.