SHTA criticizes “amateurish” move to alter public holiday

Also annoyed about hurricane pass decision

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) is upset with the government about two issues: the decision to exclude business owners and hotel staff from hurricane passes and the last-minute decision to make May 3 a national holiday.

The SHTA learned last week Thursday around 6 p.m. through social media about the decision to change the public Carnival holiday from Saturday April 30 to Tuesday May 3.

“Two scenarios come to mind,” the SHTA-board said in a statement. “The first one is that this was a politically motivate decision in an election year to gain favor with the electorate. The second one: Jouvert was so good that we want to extend the party over an even longer 4-day weekend.”

Then SHTA wants to know why the decision was made at the last minute and not, for instance, by April 1 or at the beginning of the Carnival. The board is asking Minister of Finance Richard Gibson for his take on the economic impact on lost revenue due to the additional day of closure for businesses.

“What is the impact or what are the repercussions in regards to the labor laws and collective labor agreements since businesses by law cannot change employee-schedules on such short notice? What is the take of the minister of labor on this?” the SHTA-board asks.

The board furthermore asks about the impact of switching a public holiday from a Saturday to a Tuesday, “when most government offices should be open to conduct the people’s business.” The SHTA wonders whether the government made an analysis of lost productivity and against asks for a comment for the minister of finance.

Source: Today SXM SHTA criticizes “amateurish” move to alter public holiday