~Suggests cutting salaries by 30%~
PHILIPSBURG–The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) supports a call for the immediate suspension of the redundancy pay for the country’s Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ministers.
SHTA also proposes that the salaries of MPs and Ministers be cut to the level of their fellow Dutch Caribbean counterparts by 30 per cent and that a hiring freeze be instituted.
SHTA said in a press release on Tuesday that it had taken note of a message by Chairperson of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams in which she explained the law on redundancy pay for MPs and Ministers.
SHTA quoted Wescott-Williams as saying redundancy pay works for “any amount of time served, one (an MP or Minister –Ed.) receives the minimum of one year monthly payments. If a person serves for more than one year, then one is entitled to equal amount served. In other words, if you serve four months, you are entitled to one year, and if you serve 13 months, you are entitled to 13 months. If you serve 26 months, you are entitled to two years.
“Not however, for 100% of your salary earned. This however only for those not yet 60 years of age. Persons can also decline.”
In the same response, Sarah-Wescott-Williams suggested adjusting this law as an emergency measure. She said: “But I believe the law should be adjusted as an emergency measure, given our serious financial situation.”
SHTA said it supports this call to halt redundancy pay and have the law adjusted to more realistic regulation of redundancy pay for MPs and Ministers. For instance, with a higher national income, fellow Caribbean Kingdom country MPs earn US $7,111 per month, while in St. Maarten, MPs earn US $11,539.
Furthermore, SHTA calls on the incoming Government to take further austerity measures in light of the serious budget deficits it is facing for the 2018-2020 period.
Regarding their proposal to cut MPs and Minister salaries by 30 per cent, SHTA said in Curaçao MPs earn US $ 7,111 and ministers US $7,839 monthly, while in Aruba MPs earn US $6,069 and ministers earn US $8,365 and in St. Maarten MPs earn US $11,539 and ministers earn US $12,090.
“Government needs to lead by example and seeing the hardship the people of St. Maarten, including businesses, are going through since Irma, it would be only natural for government to easy their burden on the country’s coffers so a balanced budget may be found sooner,” SHTA said.