PHILIPSBURG–Justice Minister Edson Kirindongo on Wednesday made contact with the Adult Entertainment Foundation and scheduled a meeting with them on Friday, April 15, at 2:00pm, to discuss their concerns over government discontinuing the processing of employment and residence permits for exotic dancers, pending the finalisation of a new policy.
The minister has set the meeting for 2:00pm, however, the Association’s court case against government is scheduled for 3:30pm on Friday, attorney Jairo Bloem, who represents the Association, said on Wednesday. The Association will most likely proceed with its court case as it is a priority.
The Clubs filed an injunction and an administrative procedure against Government last week and are hoping that the court will force Government to honour the current (discontinued) policy and process the applications received for permits since December, until the new policy is in place. The administrative procedure concerns the blanket turning-down of permit requests that were submitted after the discontinuation.
Friday’s court case is the second filed by the Clubs. The first injunction and administrative procedure was filed against Government in late February. However, the Department of Labour sent a package of rejected permits to the court on March 1, one day before the case was to be heard. This led to the filing of the second case last week.
The Clubs had first met with Kirindongo on February 19, where he gave his position on the issue and promised to address their concerns and meet with them following the 2016 budget debate. However, the clubs said nothing had been done and they had not received a second audience with the Minister until they were contacted on Wednesday and invited to a follow up meeting for Friday.
The clubs are concerned that since the discontinuation of the processing of permits four months ago, no mechanism has been put in place for them to bring in girls in the interim to sustain their operations while the new policy is being ironed out. The situation is stifling their operations and could lead to their closure with ripple effects that could affect more than 100 workers, the clubs said on Tuesday.
Government stopped issuing permits late last year and has indicated that it is working on a new policy to grant independent entrepreneurship licences to exotic dancers who wish to operate in St. Maarten. Government’s move is based on a court stipulation that said, based on international law, that under the previous policy Government could be held as a “conspirator in committing a crime” as far as human slavery is concerned.
Source: Daily Herald Kirindongo contacted adult clubs for meeting on concerns