MPs discuss status of Cable TV workers Monday

PHILIPSBURG–Members of Parliament (MPs) will be discussing the status and situation surrounding the dismissal of St. Maarten Cable TV workers, and the predicament of the company’s subscribers during an urgent sitting of the Central Committee of Parliament on Monday at 2:00pm.

The meeting was requested by MPs Perry Geerlings (DP), Sidhart “Cookie” Bijlani (UP) and Tamara Leonard (UP). In their request for the meeting, the MPs said they would like to discuss matters with and obtain information from the management board of St. Maarten Cable TV and of TelEm, as well as Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Cornelius de Weever. The latter is expected to be present at the meeting.

St. Maarten Cable TV workers have been unable to work since the start of this year as the office had been closed. St. Maarten Communications Union (SMCU) had proposed that TelEm re-open St. Maarten Cable TV’s office in Madame Estate as a branch office pending the completion of a manpower assessment at the company as instructed by the court. The proposal was for Cable TV’s technical division and customer service to continue to service customers at the re-opened office.

However, after assessing the request, the TelEm Group said it would not be able to re-open the Cable TV office until the completion of the manpower assessment as proposed by SMCU. TelEm said at the time that, unfortunately, there were no assets under St. Maarten Cable TV as this company no longer existed. All assets, with the exception of workers, have been transferred to the TelEm Group’s Operating Company as of December 29, 2017, and as a result, if the office is re-opened, the workers would therefore fall under the TelEm Group. Cable TV has funds because when the assets were transferred to the TelEm Group, funds were paid for the assets. These funds are used to service salaries, etc. for employees.

Also on parliament’s agenda for next week are: the continuation of the meeting on the draft amendment to the civil code on employment contracts on Monday at 10:00am; a meeting with Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever on Wednesday; an update from civil servants of the Department of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BAK) on the implementation of SDGs in Sint Maarten at 10:00am on Thursday, and a discussion with the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT concerning the financial situation of St. Maarten at 11:00am on Thursday (both meetings will be held behind closed doors). Also on Thursday, at 3:00pm, will be a discussion with Sint Maarten Insurance Association (SMIA) about the process of payments to policy holders affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Source: The Daily Herald