PHILIPSBURG:--- The United People's Party is looking towards increased cooperation between the Legislative and Executive branches of the Government as key to implementing hard lessons learned from COVID-19 and the Island's economic reality ahead of the handling of St. Maarten's 2022 Budget.
In a press release issued on the eve of the budget for 2022, the UP Party outlined how its elected and appointed representatives intend to deal with several policy matters in Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
In close consultation and cooperation with its coalition party, the National Alliance NA, the UP-Party faction in Parliament will bring motions, amendments to current laws which LBham can change, and initiatives for new laws to the floor of Parliament, starting during the budget debate. "By doing so, the UP Party aims to support the coalition Government in carrying out its tasks for the benefit of St. Maarten and its people," the release stated.
The specific topics that the UP faction in Parliament will be working on during 2022 include reviewing and improving Maritime and environmental laws. Special attention will be paid to the present Consumer Banking Protection Law, Health Levy, and merging of the work and residence permit process. Consideration will be given to increasing specific fees related to the residence permit process, while efforts will be made to simplify the application process.
According to the release, the Mullet Bay Inquiry will be addressed, as will the need for affordable housing, tax incentives for senior citizens, and the Senior convenient law. The United Party intends to introduce Resident by investment laws and regulate the "belonger" status of immigrants.
With the increased traffic accidents and raised concern of law enforcement, the UP Party has also taken note of the need for Breathalyzer Laws that enable police officers to be more effective during normal traffic controls. "We will also attempt to regulate parking and make it safe for all, and one way to do this will be the Wheel-clamp law which we will introduce during this year."
The UP also listed regulating credit card rates and fees, Constitutional Restructuring, and gender-related legislation as areas to tackle this year.
The Party intends to take advantage of crucial committee chairperson positions in Parliament, including Finance (MP de Weever), Tourism Economic Affairs Telecommunication (MP Bijlani), Health Social Affairs and Labor (MP Brison), Justice (MP Heyliger-Marten).
"We will host stakeholder meetings to encourage tangible change within different sectors. Our goal is to create focus groups such as supermarkets to help us handle food prices through the TEATT Committee. We will also look at modernizing and improving the penal procedure code through the Justice committee, addressing tax reform in the Finance committee, and tackling labor issues in the VSA committee.
From the side of the Council of Ministers, the UP party will work on Restructuring the current model of the St. Maarten Tourism Authority. The goal is diversification within the tourism sector, with a focus on the film industry and yachting industry.
As a business-minded Party, the UP, through its Ministers, will restructure and simplify the processes for doing business on St. Maarten, including the business license application process.
The much-debated creation of a legislative framework for the gaming sector, starting with an independent assessment of the current lottery structure, will also be tackled this year.
The UP Ministers will focus some of their attention on re-imaging the destination by expanding on locally created products and will update BIG legislation to allow more medical specialists within the region to work on St. Maarten.
"We must establish a living wage ceiling and alleviate the housing needs by executing social housing repairs and exploring the implementation of a rental subsidy. The UP Party looks forward to working together with the entire Council of Ministers and the other factions in the Parliament on these and other topics to bring about positive changes for St. Maarten in 2022 and beyond."