PHILIPSBURG–The timeshare sector, notably St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA), has been granted ninety days as of March 28 to review the draft law to establish a timeshare authority for the country.
Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams (Democratic Party (DP)), who tabled the law and granted the review time, said on Monday she awaits the reactions of SMTA and others.
“I am willing to – after more than five years since the inception – have frank discussions about the need or not for a timeshare authority, and if so, how sweeping should the authority of this body be,” she said.
“I can picture the initial discussion about these laws being with a focus on including in the laws everything that could probably lead to an issue and giving the timeshare authority far-reaching powers to address such. So, as well-intentioned as these decisions were, they have led to a rather heavy-handed draft to institute the timeshare authority.”
Somewhere in the discussions, the timeshare authority draft was amended to also include a change to the room tax ordinance, a change from NAf. 90 to NAf. 102 per week.
There is quite a history behind the proposal to establish a timeshare authority, starting with a motion passed in Parliament on June 29, 2011, to establish a “timeshare regulatory body.”
With the help and involvement of many, in and outside of Government/Parliament and in and outside of the timeshare industry, two draft initiatives were tabled by former MP Leroy de Weever (DP).
With several changes to both these initiatives, especially the language part and the part of not including the “timeshare ordinance” in the civil code, these ordinances were again picked up by the DP fraction in Parliament, leading to the approval by Parliament of the timeshare ordinance.
The timeshare authority draft was also put into procedure. When the text of this draft became known, several stakeholders raised serious concerns.
The original intention to create the timeshare authority came at a time when the industry was in turmoil. Letters abound from timeshare users about the lack of protection and legislation of this vital industry.