~Inspectorate not conducting controls.~ Local subcontractors in courts for non-payment.
PHILIPSBURG:--- Government issued a license to LIU FUJUN Caribbean N.V on February 8th, 2019 to operate as a construction company on St. Maarten. The company has in its employment several Chinese and St. Lucian nationals that are not registered on St. Maarten.
SMN News received several photographs of the undocumented workers working at a worksite in Pelican and close to the Simpson Bay Bridge.
It is alleged that the undocumented workers arrived on St. Maarten by boat which is allegedly known to various government departments, such as immigration, USZV, and the tax department.
One source said that the Chinese national houses his undocumented workers in Belair and reports were made to the various government departments, however, the owner of the Chinese company allegedly have connections in government departments that are protecting him and his local connections.
At least one complaint was filed at the Inspectorate of Health and Labor but to date not one control was conducted as the department is not functional, even though it is fully staffed and has the necessary tools such as vehicles to control worksites.
“I can tell you that the inspectors are accepting bribes because they even eat for free at restaurants they are supposed to control. There is a huge problem at the Inspectorate of Health and Labor and there is no one to go to because even when complaints are made nothing is done.” The source alleges.
Local contractors operating on St. Maarten told SMN News that they are unable to get work and whenever they managed to obtain work they are forced to pay the tax department and USZV that are behind them day by day. The local contractors further told SMN News that the former Minister of Labor Emil Lee whose wife owned Alpha Construction had two inspectors at the Inspectorate controlling their businesses almost every day. They alleged the former Minister abused his power by bypassing the chain of command and was instructing these inspectors to harass them while no controls were done at the site where his wife company was working.
Another business person said since the passing of Hurricane IRMA and MARIA there is a number of Management companies that have been registered and are providing recruitment services for larger companies.
At the moment there are four recruitment companies that are registered to subcontract workers but these management companies are providing workers for lower hourly rates while not paying taxes and USZV premiums. Again the business owner said no controls on undocumented workers are not being conducted by immigration, customs, USZV and tax department.
After the publication of this article, several local construction workers contacted SMN News and said they were all working for the company and were laid off and not paid. The workers said that a local construction company also worked as subcontractors for the Chinese company and they were not paid and was let go. They said that the local company even went as far as placing a lien on the accountant who normally handles the payment for the newly established construction company. Further research shows that LIU FUJUN Caribbean N.V owed the local subcontractors over $30,000.00 and they are now in courts.
SMN News is continuing its investigation into the allegations made by several persons including the subcontractor and will bring you more information when it is received.