Governance must continue even in crisis; MP Ottley calls for action on the neglected Ministry of VSA. | SMN NEWS

PHILIPSBURG:—The Honorable Omar E.C. Ottley, Member of Parliament and Leader of the United People's Party (UPP), has issued a powerful statement highlighting the alarming inactivity within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (VSA) over the past month. MP Ottley stated that he would like to acknowledge the dedication of hardworking individuals within the Department of VSA first but expressed deep disappointment that since the end of his tenure as the Minister of VSA, there has been no public update or achievements in the Ministry. The MP warns that this neglect risks plunging the nation into a healthcare crisis to add to the already crippling situation with Utility Company NV GEBE, which has been struggling to provide electricity to the island. MP Ottley stresses that healthcare, social security, and job security are as vital to the country as any other national concern, including those about the constant power outages from utility company GEBE.
"Governance must not falter, even in times of crisis," Ottley declared. "The Ministry of VSA has been non-existent for the past month, and this negligence is unacceptable as it will only result in more suffering for the people of St. Maarten."
MP Ottley demanded urgent updates on crucial legislative goals, particularly the National Health Insurance (NHI), which had already been set in motion and was nearing finalization before he left office. "This initiative, developed meticulously by the Department of Public Health, promises to provide coverage to many uninsured citizens, including bus drivers, taxi drivers, and sole proprietors," said MP Ottley.
"Work on the National Health Insurance cannot be discarded. It is a lifeline for many people in our community," stated Ottley. Considering PM Mercelina’s objections against healthcare for all, MP Ottley is highly concerned about how the sitting Government will address our healthcare crisis.
Additionally, Ottley has highlighted the stalled draft legislation on amending short-term labor contracts designed to prevent abuse and ensure job security for all employees. "This amendment is essential for fair treatment in our labor market," he emphasized.
During his tenure as Minister of VSA, Ottley championed the establishment of a liveable wage. After being told St. Maarten lacked the necessary data, he swiftly initiated a census to gather the required information. "The census is complete; now we need to utilize this data to conduct a micro/macro analysis and establish a liveable wage that truly reflects the needs of our people," Ottley said.
In light of these pressing issues, MP Ottley has called for urgent updates on the state of the Ministry of VSA and progress on health insurance for the people of St. Maarten. "The well-being of our citizens should remain a top priority, even during times of crisis," Ottley emphasized.
MP Omar Ottley remains "steadfast" in his commitment to addressing these critical issues.
"Governance is a continuous responsibility. We must act now and not play politics with our people's health and welfare but ensure their security," Ottley concluded.

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