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Mar 03rd
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Critique in review CURACAO Civil Aviation Authority

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CURACAO Civil Aviation Authority

Curacao Civil Aviation Authority has not made significant efforts over the past several years to facilitate a change in civil aviation laws required to enable the island countries of Curacao and Sint Maarten to return to Category 1 rating needed to meet the minimum international standards in civil aviation safety.

When the new aviation company AVA Airways announced their intention and desire to enter into the commercial aviation environment on the Caribbean Dutch Kingdom Island Countries of Sint Maarten and Curacao. Honestly I was hoping they can fill a void in the air transportation industry. I started out both excited and enthusiastic about the prospects of them reaching their goals in the long term and getting to see if the wheels of government were turning in the right direction in the short term towards handling the delicate process of bringing AVA goal to fruition.
Having personally made inquiry and seen that the AVA group including its co founder Olivier Arrindell had done most of their homework, in lieu of aircraft purchases, such as meeting with Airbus regional representatives and aircraft certified mechanics, members of Parliaments and political parties, FAA advisors, the CCAA Director Mr. Derby and their administrators, the groups financial backers and general consultants in the field of aviation, I decided to comment on this matter to bring a certain light to this topic of interest. This critique and opinion was brought about when certain issues on the matter were presented within the public domain.
As a Sint Maartener and resident who happens to be a holder of a Department of Transportation private pilot certificate with over 1100hrs in single and multiengine land airplanes beside having flown locally and in the America's. As well as, having achieved the rank of Captain in the USAF Auxiliary "Civil Air Patrol" being qualified in the area of Search and Rescue, communications, ground and air searches (including pilot, observer and scanner)..Thus I have become familiar with the National Aviation Authority which is responsible for issuance of the Certificate of Airworthiness (standard or special airworthiness certificates), FAA policy and procedures for type certifications, pilot certification, Bi-annual pilot flight reviews, medical requirements and ect...NTSB, Dept of Transportation, everything about airports, controlled and uncontrolled airspace, policies and many other aspects of aviation or things related.
So after reading that an SOAB audit was completed, deficiencies were highlighted, fixed and amended by AVA consultants which resulting in a positive advice report from the SOAB. In that I knew, it would take more than a business plan audit to get any aircraft type to the level of being airworthy or receiving a Certificate of Airworthiness as qualified aviation technical mechanics, and Inspectors had to be available to perform the assessment of any new registration of intended use aircraft ear marked for the AVA venture. This is the first of several major problems that are evidently impacting civil aviation in the Sint Maarten and Curacao.
First and foremost AVA aircraft must be Registered (given a permanent call sign), this is the writing we see boldly written usually aft of the plane. Once registered with call sign and a registered owners name is matched to the aircraft. A document is created that will be placed and available in the aircraft at all times and produced upon request by officials representing civil or military or government agency, as well as litigators and customers with cause. Legally the AVA Airline Group has the responsibility to have its aircrafts registered. With documented proof according to ICAO mandate and ISAS regulation the CCAA is responsible to register any aircraft that has ownership domicile within its territorial domain. So registration is a compulsory task of both the owner and the local civil aviation authority (in this case CCAA). Upon the aircraft being registered it must go through a complete systemic inspection of sort by a qualified (meaning in the type certification of aircraft) aviation mechanic/ inspector who can be contractors or persons working under the employment of the Curacao Civil Aviation Authority. To be then considered airworthy to carry passengers for commence purposes whereby with positive advice result in a Certificate of Airworthiness being issued. The Director doesn't evaluate the aircraft itself, unless he is fully qualified in type and responsibly holds the nomenclature of aviation mechanic/ inspector. Today government transparency issues appear to be common policy. One tries to prevent appearance of conflict of interest. It is likely and a fact that the Director is a politically appointed position making it imperative for a person to hold a single position within the CCAA when issue of Airworthiness Certificate is in question.
The CCAA has to provide their part of this mandated responsibility. The economy of Curacao and Sint Maarten are impacted by their current inadequacy to act as the civil aviation authority. The countries that are under the responsibility of the CCAA need this boost in free market economy. . Not to mention the millions of Guilders, Dollars and Euros that won't materialize into economic revenue for these tourist driven and fragile economies of both Sint Maarten and Curacao. Now a Private entity AVA Airlines has literally shown their business plans approved to the point of needing their aircrafts, now to go through the Certificate of Airworthiness assessment and evaluation.
Many concerned citizens and travelers alike have wondered what it will take to return to the previous status of operation. Most believe the Category 1 safety rating downgrade they heard about, occurred as it relates indirectly to the attacks on the World Trade buildings and the subsequent creation and enactment of the "Patriot Act" (whose impact was felt in the civil aviation arena around the world). But the real story as I understand it is this: THE FAA QUOTES" In conducting its IASA assessment the FAA uses a standardized checklist that groups the ICAO Standards on safety oversight into eight critical elements: (1) Primary aviation legislation,(2) specific operating regulations,(3) organization structure and safety oversight function,(4) technical personnel qualification and training, (5) technical guidance, (6) certification personnel and procedures, (7) surveillance obligations and (8) resolution of safety issues. To achieve Category 1, the country must demonstrate that it meets the ICAO Standards for each of the eight elements. Category 2 means that the CAA was noncompliant in at least one critical element. The IASA assessment typically is conducted over the course of one week by a team consisting of a team leader and at least one expert in operations, maintenance, and aviation law. Each FAA expert works through the checklist with host country officials for each of the critical elements. The team looks at a representative sampling of records and processes, and it follows up with host country aviation officials if deficiencies appear. The FAA assessment focuses on the ability of the host country's aeronautical authorities to oversee the operational safety of its airlines. It does not assess the safety compliance of any particular air carrier (nor address aviation security airports, or air traffic management). Although the FAA assessment team typically visits one or more air carriers during its mission, it does so only to verify the relationship between the carrier and the country's aviation safety officials, not to assess the carrier itself. Finally, the IASA category rating applies only to services to and from the United States and to codeshare operations when the code of a U.S. air carrier is placed on a foreign carrier flight. The category ratings do not apply to a foreign carrier's domestic flights or to flights by that carrier between its homeland and a third country. The assessment team looks at the flights only to the extent that they are a reflect on the country's oversight of operations to and from the United States and to codeshare operations where a US air carrier code is placed on a flight conducted by a foreign operator" END QUOTE.
So as I was saying: The process is being held up by CCAA administrative wrangling, claims of no funding, lack of personnel, lack of specified training programs, or professional development in the areas of concern, or lack of Aviation Laws that are guiding every country in compliance at Category 1 ratings of aircraft safety. Required aviation laws are not within the Edits of Government. Since the countries sort autonomy within the Kingdom. Such laws are so vital that there lack of, led to downgrading to a Category 2 rating. The said combined are needed to recruit and bring in qualified aviation mechanics/inspectors, (whether on contract or an employable inspector) to inspect the A 320 and other newer model aircrafts. This must be done to remain in compliance to FAA, ISAS, the International Civil Aviation Org. (a United Nations Specialized Agency) However this issue prevents direct travel to any US territory by aircraft registered by the CCAA in the present and future until CCAA is operating at Category 1 rating of safety standard. It is also to protect the consumer or traveler and well as those who utilize such aircrafts. Air transportation and air safety go hand in hand. So a standard airworthiness certificate ceases to be valid when the aircraft ceases to be registered and remains valid as long as it meets its approved type design and is in a condition for safe operation, requiring it to receive maintenance, preventive maintenance, and any considerable alteration needed to meet relevant requirements and aircraft standards to remain registered by the CCAA or any other mentioned equivalent embodiments.

Since the FAA downgraded the Category rating after ISAS surveyed results were documented. Curacao and Sint Maarten Airports cost for operation of the aviation business increased significantly including ticketing costs, maintenance, service fees, handling, with marked reduction of scheduled flights in and out of these airports. The FAA made exception for Insel Airways. They continued to fly into USA airspace under stricter scrutiny and inspection upon landing. The FAA then unofficially imposed their compliance and enforcement program on the administrative Directorship of the CCAA to fix the issues of deficiency. At that time the Director of CCAA had to bring the plan of action to remediate all deficiencies according to the surveyed results and the later downgrade specifics. Clearly this plan of action must contain short term goals and a long term goal in staying in compliance at Category 1 rating .The intermediate goal is to return to Category 1 rating. The alternative is to remain at the downgraded status until such things out of compliance are returned to appropriate level.
The downgrade was consistent with the safety ratings from Category One down to Category Two. Before 10/10/10 the Netherlands Antilles held an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category One rating. After becoming individual countries according to the FAA:
I Quote: A Category Two rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority- equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters- is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures.
Before 10/10/10 the IASA rating was based on ICAO standards (United Nations Specialized Agency) and not the FAA. (Here is where the Patriot Act did have influence)
So any new company or additional aircraft owned/ registered and operated from either Sint Maarten or Curacao after the downgrade to Category 2 were barred from entering flights into US airports until a return to Category 1 status for the CCAA Countries (Sint Maarten and Curacao). An exception for Insel Air was made; which was allowed to continue flights into US cities under rating Category Two with stronger scrutiny from FAA inspectors.
That brings me back to this crucial point: that CCAA is deficient in areas including, technical expertise, trained personnel, and inspection procedures. Why do I say this? They haven't been able to inspect the aircraft of the AVA GROUP. Why not? They don't have: 1. trained personal to inspect, repair, service the type of aircraft that is used in today's advanced aviation community. 2. The Aviation Laws used by those civil aviation authorities around the world to be in compliance. 3. The Curacao government has not initiated the enactment of laws that will make the both Island countries compliant with the international standard. 4. So the Directorship of CCAA should have informed the government which is responsible for the CCAA about aviation laws currently documented in model form written according to international law. 5. The Model Laws are located in FAA literature.
This downgrade issue originating from CCAA inaptness to rectify these known deficiencies, which result in a great loss of revenue by all parties... with safety concerns being paramount to aircraft certification of airworthiness, the FAA, ISAS, or ICAO will not budge from sustaining the downgrade. As this doesn't affect aircraft based in the USA or Europe transporting and doing aviation commerce between SXM or CUR. Other countries will continue to monopolize the market.
But further downturn in leadership is preventable as it must be that the expectation of the CCAA is to regulate and not to be relegated to being regulated by a foreign agency in which it should have parity. So whenever possible the two should be inter-related but separately controlled as the relationship should be of mutual respect. There should be a creation of an independent safety board to investigate accidents and incidents that take place within the jurisdiction whereby the CCAA directorship/administration position is not in clear conflict of interest, or where personal investment, or gain can be ruled out when it comes to accidents or incidents with aircraft, or criminal shootings in and around airport terminal that is owned and operated outside of the domain of CCAA and by the municipality. As previously, the current Director of CCAA was in a Directorship position with Jamaica's civil aviation authority. When American Airlines had a runway accident and four years were required to complete the investigation while the Director was on seat. American Airline authorities were concern about the length of time the JCAA took to officially document reasonable cause for the said accident. Speculatively, by here-say the results of the findings were alledged to have been documented upon the present Directors (of CCAA) departure from his post in Jamaica.

In order to be pro active I expect that the AVA group boldly support their own interests by lobbying the Parliament Ministers with documented proof of model laws found in FAA literature(that is to enable those unfamiliar with the aviation community issues) and facilitate the process of getting qualified individuals to perform mechanical maintenance, repairs, services, for all of the aircraft that they will be utilizing and to propose to leadership a way in which contract/employment can occur to enable the professional development of existing CCAA inspectors, the support of recruitment to bring in qualified individuals, scholarships to educate much needed (local) aviation mechanics, programs to create inspector level skills, utilization of aircraft manufacturer manuals, webcam training, or instruction by experts in the field for each model of aircraft and through this collaborative effort they come together with CCAA. As leadership initiatives are required in Parliament, CCAA, and AVA Airline Group alike. It is necessary, so that this is not going to be another opportunity lost due to personal differences, conflicts of interest or poor focus on what this will mean for the Island Countries of Sint Maarten and Curacao to the economies of both in the short and long term future.
The people want and need this change in law. While economist says this is impacting revenues, so the country needs change. Parliament need to know what laws to enact. The world is watching to see the stability of the two nations within the Kingdom. This is a good plan that needs to be given a positive report to promote tourism, safe and modern transportation and air travel, economic freedom from Holland, civic pride for the accomplishment, and removing of the deficiencies in the Category Two rating, so as to return to Category One again.
Private Pilot Joseph Okon dated February 19, 2015

Reference: A: MCARs Model Civil Aviation Regulations Version 2.8, Version 2.7, and Version 2.6

  1.  Intro to the model civil aviation safety act and model regulations
  2. Civil aviation safety act (model law)
  3.  Parts 1-11

B: USA Federal Register Vol 78. No. 46/ Friday March 8th 2013 rules and regulations
Title: Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, 14 CFR Part 129 International Aviation Safety Assessment(IASA) program change

  1. Summary
  2. Effective date April 8th 2013.
  3. For further information contact Manager of International programs and policy division(AFS-50) 1202-385-8070
  4.  Supplementary information
  5. Public expectation of IASA Category Ratings
  6. Current IASA determinations for countries

Last Updated ( Monday, 02 March 2015 17:58 )


New Harbour Security Contract.

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The Daily Herald of February 24, 2015 reports that the HARBOUR Group of Companies intends to pay security company CHECKMATE US$ 2.2 million more in 2015 than they got for their services in 2014. Just around election time last year, CHECKMATE was sold and rumors of who was (were) the buyer(s) abounded. Some names thrown out as possible new shareholders were: Oneil Arrindell, Mark Mingo, Frans Richardson. Personally I do not think Mark Mingo, the CEO of the Harbour Group of companies, nor Member of Parliament Frans Richardson would be that naive to think that their financial involvement with a company that supplies services to the Government Owned Harbour Group of Companies would not raise all kinds of red flags. So I am discounting that, although for transparency sake, it behooves the Harbour Group of Companies to request Checkmate Security Company to disclose who the ultimate owners are (the humans, not the companies). And being that the Harbour Group of Companies is Government owned, when an existing contract has to change so much that the cost to the client (The Harbour Group) increases by 300%, should the Harbour Group not put the security contract out on bid again, thereby offering ALL security companies a chance to bid on what is obviously a very lucrative contract? I again quote Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs' words in his New Year message: "Good governance and integrity are priorities to ensure the needs of the community are met with the utmost of honesty and fairness, in order for St. Maarten to get where it needs to be". The Harbour Group of Companies being a Government owned group of companies should be held to the same standards the Prime Minister spoke about. Be transparent: tell us in detail why the cost goes UP by 300% and who the ultimate owners of the Checkmate Security Company are. And as CHECKMATE is also at the airport, will the contract there also increase as dramatically?

Michael J. Ferrier.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 February 2015 19:45 )

Protect our Beaches now!

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Protect our Beaches now!

Dear Editor,

For years now Sint Maarten's residents and many visitor have been voicing their concerns about the lack of access to, parking areas at and space for simple recreation and relaxation on our beaches. This in itself is an unbelievable situation on an island which is widely advertised internationally as having some thirty-seven pristine beaches.

Over the past ten years my colleagues and I have repeatedly witnessed successive Commissioners and now (Prime) Ministers turn a blind eye and allow or worse yet assist developers in building directly on our beaches and restricting public access to and usage of what is actually public property. Time and again we advised against these activities, we met with decision makers, wrote objection letters, compiled petitions, collected signatures, held protest gatherings and each time, the needless to say wealthy, developers somehow managed to convince our decision makers not to heed the calls of the people.

If we wish to improve our overall Quality of Life and if we wish to maintain our tourism based economy, the destruction of and limitation of access to our heritage must come to an immediate end. As Sint Maarten's residents we can no longer expect others to fight our battles for us or just allow politicians to do as they please and continue to make decisions which only benefit them and the developers they appease. If we do not take a stand now, within short there will be nothing left on Sint Maarten for any of us.

Please allow me to remind your readership, including our Ministers, Members of Parliament, the Ministry of VROMI but more importantly the general public of the following:
According to Book 5 Article 26 of the Civil Code (Het Burgerlijk Wetboek), beaches are the property of the Country (Government). The Civil Code goes on to state that limitation of the public character of beaches can only be made by extraordinary permission/ exception granted by National Ordinance. (This leaves me to wonder if any of those developers, business owners and hoteliers claiming to own our beaches can produce a National Ordinance in support of their claims.)
St. Maarten's Beach Policy defines beaches as:
"the strip of sand with a width of at most 50 meters, of which the surface consists of natural seas-and situated along the sea, or, in absence of natural seas-and, the strip of land with a width of 25 meters from the high-waterline, situated along the public waters";
St. Maarten's Beach Policy states that:
"The beaches must be useable for everyone, both local residents and tourists alike, for recreative purposes";
• "Developments that, physically, have a negative influence on the recreative use of the beaches, will be opposed";
• "The beaches will be protected against the natural and human influences, that sever their recreational and nature function";
• "The consequences of this (beach) policy are that the Island Government will strive to ensure that:
 The beaches are openly accessible for the general public, which means that there must be a wide access that is free from physical and mental barriers (levers, hotels etc.)"
 "No construction works or activities, that occupy the space on the beach in a way that restricts normal use of the beach for others, will occur on the beach;
 The standpoint of the island Government is that, construction works on the beach are annoying and disfiguring to the surroundings. It is not desirable for dwellings, hotels, businesses, etc. to be built or situated on the beach"

Permit me to furthermore remind, particularly the Council of Ministers and the Members of Parliament of the following:
On April 17th, 2013 Parliament passed a motion resolving the following:
"To charge the Minister of VROMI with the task of strengthening legislation towards maintaining the recreational and ecological value of St. Maarten's beaches including improved control, enforcement and penalization."
"To Charge the Council of Ministers with the task of drafting and implementing a Beach Protection Ordinance within one hundred and twenty (120) days of the passing of this motion. This Beach Protection Ordinance should include the principals and regulations outlined in the Beach Policy and set additional regulations aimed at protecting the recreational, ecological and natural values of St. Maarten's beaches and securing unrestricted and unobstructed public access and ample parking spaces."
Close to two years have come and gone since the aforementioned motion was passed. It is high time for our Members of Parliament to demand action from the relevant Ministers or better yet, see to the drafting of the relevant legislation themselves.
In closing, Ministers, Members of Parliament in case you have not yet noticed allow me to inform you that Sint Maarten's residents are becoming increasingly frustrated by the embarrassingly low level of your (Budget) Debates, by the increasingly high cost of living, the deplorable state of the island's infrastructure, the sewage on our roads, the ever present garbage challenges, the traffic jams and the fact that the island has become an unsightly mess, just to name a few examples.
The situation we face on Sint Maarten reminds me of a Caribbean saying, made famous by Bob Marley: "if every day the bucket a-go a well, one day the bottom a-go drop out" which is synonymous in meaning to the Dutch "de druppel die de emmer doet overlopen". Perhaps the Members of Parliament and the relevant Ministers would do well to be mindful of the fact that many of Sint Maarten's residents have had enough of the status quo. The ongoing restriction of access to many of our beaches might very well be the drop which causes the bucket to overflow.
Rueben J. Thompson. Environmentalist.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 12 February 2015 18:10 )

Healthfast breakfast program turns 1.

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Dear Editor,

This weekend marked the one year anniversary of the Healthfast breakfast program sponsored by the Princess Juliana International Airport. On behalf of all the students who received a warm breakfast throughout last year and who continue to look forward to a healthy breakfast every morning, I would like to say, thank you.
Thank you for embracing the Breakfast Program initiative that I presented in the form of a Motion in Parliament on April 17th , 2013 and running with it. Thank you for looking beyond politics and stepping up as one of St. Maarten's Corporate Citizens. A special thank you to the Managing director Ms. Regina LaBega, Ms. Suzy Katrokomo and her staff, Audrey Jack and last but certainly not least, thank you to Mr Peter Cox from Goddard Catering for ensuring breakfast is served every morning.
While most of us agree on the importance of a warm and healthy breakfast in the stomachs of every child, we still struggle as a community, to ensure that every child starts their day the right way. It is for this reason that I hope that the airport will continue with their Healthfast breakfast program. In addition, I urge other businesses that make their dollar on this beautiful and friendly island to step up and contribute to our youth.
Enclosing, while the governing program of the current coalition has not been established as yet, it appears a warm meal will be one of the priorities of this coalition. It is my sincerest hope, that these words will be put into action to the benefit of our youth.
For more information on the breakfast program, please see my facebook page Senator Romain J. Laville

Romain Laville

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 February 2015 00:06 )

Response De Weever re Counterpart Policy. (UPDATED)

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I read MP de Weever's press release re The Counter Part Policy in the papers and on-line news media of January 22, 2015 and while I am the furthest thing from being a literary scholar, I believe there was a line from Macbeth by Shakespeare that is applicable here and goes like this: "... a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing!". The MP's explanation of his efforts and intentions related to the Counterpart Policy are basically thus summed up. Not only does the "tale" fail to include useful information about the policy (or law, as he suggests it is), but the MP's story also makes clear to me, that he for one is a politician who believes that if he spews enough venom, makes enough noise and bends enough truth, he can misdirect the attention of the public from his own professional failings. Nationalistic rhetoric and shouts of "saving our people" while scoffing and demonization what he calls "special interests" and businesses, may be all well and good in MP de Weever's world of politics. But it won't solve any real-life problems of St. Maarteners out of work. While he may try all he wants, this MP will not gain a bit of integrity (an area in which we all know by now he is sorely lacking) by wrapping himself in the flag and stirring up the emotions of those he has made promises to, but failed to deliver on. I do not speak for 'The people', or for special interest, or for any political party. I believe a couple of months ago I made my position clear. I am presently not an active politician or member of any political party; I am a member of the community of St. Maarten and a business professional. I speak as a businessman who talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes to doing business on this island and employing locals (NONE on contract, EVER!). MP De Weever has not yet explained the Counterpart Policy and how in his opinion it is good for the island. I believe it will be a downright disaster. But don't just take my word for it. The now infamous policy, has been weighed and measured and has been found to be lacking (by experts, not only me)! The very Social Economic Council (the SER) behind which former Minister de Weever has often hid himself, has issued clear advice on not only the counterpart policy, but also on the proposal for flexibilization of the labor laws, something first championed by me as Commissioner of Social Welfare and Labor back in 2001. All bad, according to the newly self-proclaimed "defender of the people", MP De Weever.
According to him special interests are supposedly looking to "hire and fire" employees at will. What he can't seem to fathom is the fact that those unscrupulous employers that abuse the 6 month (or short term) contract, are primarily the ones that think they cannot get rid of a non-productive, or plain "bad" employee if that employee is in permanent employment. So to circumvent the very out-dated law that was put in place almost 45 years ago to protect the employee, the short term (6 month) contract is used and abused. I have always said that I do not know a sane employer who wants to fire a GOOD employee, unless it is for well supported economic reasons. I guess the IMF is infested with the "St. Maarten special interests" too. This internationally renowned and respected expert group, issued a report in which they wrote that labor laws of St. Maarten are very rigid and that the labor situation is harmful to competitiveness. The IMF found that St. Maarten's labor market is overly regulated. They advised government to change the labor laws to make them more conducive to the cycles of our Tourism driven economy's labor demand, so as to raise employment in a lasting manner and to facilitate investment from outside. MP de Weever's answer to those advices is to ADD labor regulations, in this case one for counterparts. So, with local and international experts being on the same side of this argument, I can't help but wonder why Mr. De Weever is trying to force this policy down our throat? It can't be because it is good for business, good for employees, good for nationals, or good for St. Maarten? No one, especially the MP, has provided a shred of evidence. Could it then be because it is politically convenient? When a politician does not have a successful record to run on, or when he/she does not have a scrap of political loyalty or integrity, then that politician will use whatever is available to shift attention from his failures. MP Cornelius de Weever has yet to convince me in the case that I have a vacancy in my business and a national (local) with the (reasonable) required qualifications cannot be found, how the labor department is going to decide for my business who will be a counterpart. Private business has to take acceptable financial and economic risks. That is part of the business environment or entrepreneurship. Being dictated to by government in terms of who to hire and under what conditions, is not acceptable in a free-enterprise society! This smells like "Chavizmo" and look how well THAT is working for Venezuela! De Weever proved a long time ago (and I was an "insider", so I know) that he will not accept good advice, domestic or foreign and he never blinked an eye when trying to apply bad ideas that suit his personal/political objectives-of-the-day. That thinking is not how this island got where it is today. In closing, my message to MP De Weever is simple and clear. Riling up locals with "anti-immigrant, anti-private sector" talk is not going to do any one a bit of good. Neither the unemployed kid on the block, the student abroad, the business community or government will benefit from this type of approach. Does Sint Maarten have labor challenges? Without a doubt! But a counterpart policy is not the answer. If Mr. de Weever is really a man for the people, he should talk less, listen more and pay attention to good advice when it is available. (He may also consider in his spare time trying to run a real business and drink some of his own medicine).

‎According to information received, MP Cornelius De Weever and the Acting Labour Minister seem to want to push the Counterpart Law to a ridiculous extreme in time for the Policy introduction in the Third Quarter of this year as announced in the media on Saturday, January 24, 2015: As I understand it, effective October 1, 2015 the Counterpart Law may also be applied to requests for Employment Permits as required by the numerous Houses of Pleasure on the island. It will be interesting to see how the Labor Department will identify, assign and monitor the possibly available local work force. Who will determine when they are qualified to take over from the foreign professionals now recruited abroad? Personally I am appalled! I take this opportunity to also question if the Counterpart Law will be applied by the Council of Ministers when it pertains to Government job openings that are to be filled by foreigners.

Michael J. Ferrier
Business owner.

Last Updated ( Monday, 26 January 2015 20:47 )

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