New temporary crew policy welcomed by SMMTA, SHTA

SIMPSON BAY–Changes made to the Temporary Crew Admittance Policy by the Justice Ministry have been welcomed by St. Maarten Marine Trade Association (SMMTA) and St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA). An updated policy was issued on March 2 to replace the one of February 24.

The changes came after SMMTA and SHTA representatives met with Justice Minister Rafael Boasman and Justice Ministry staffers on several occasions last week to discuss concerns and procedural issues raised by changes and proposed changes to the admittance policy for crew members.

Administrative procedures are still being streamlined to facilitate compliance. SMMTA and SHTA further stated in a joint press release: “While the timing of the matter was very unfortunate, we are encouraged thus far by the swift and amicable resolution of the problem with all parties coming together.”

Boasman had committed to a thorough review of the admittance policy for the maritime sector in the off season in consultation with all stakeholders, according to the two associations. The goal is a well-thought-out policy grounded in the law that can be published in ample time for the 2017-2018 yachting season.

“The Justice Ministry has the monumental task of protecting our borders and both associations commend Minister Boasman for seeking to find common ground and a practical solution while carrying out his responsibility,” the two associations said.

They are also thankful to Boasman and his staff for working in a swift and transparent manner with relevant stakeholders and Government departments to ensure that the immigration issues for crew members of commercial and private vessels are being resolved to reduce and hopefully eliminate any further hindrance to the industry.

Source: The Daily Herald