PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Former Member of Parliament Romain Laville met on Monday December 2nd with recently sworn in Minister of TEATT Mrs. Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher. The purpose of this meeting was to present the two USP Ministers in charged with the portfolio of Economic Affairs, Mrs. Arrindell-Doncher and the portfolios of Social Development and Labour Mrs. Gordon-Carty, with Laville’s Living Wage law amendment.
Minister Arrindell-Doncher, a USP appointed Minister, accepted the draft legislation on behalf of herself and her colleague Minister of Health Social Development & Labor Mrs. Pamela Gordon-Carty. Laville explained that exactly 6 years ago on December 3rd 2013 Member of Parliament and leader of the USP Frans Richardson submitted and passed a motion in Parliament requesting Government to conduct a poverty line study and establish a Living Wage on Sint Maarten. “Unfortunately, Just as with all the social motions I tabled and passed in Parliament during my tenure, no Government has acted on the Living Wage motion MP Richardson passed in Parliament that I was signatory to.”
Laville explained that the purpose of the Living Wage legislation is to once and for all force Government to carry out their legal responsibilities, in doing so eradicate poverty on Sint Maarten. “There have been too many talks about attempts to combat poverty. Too many Governments have promised to conduct a poverty line study. Too many Governments have promised to control prices and bring relief to the people of Sint Maarten. To date not one of these promises have been carried out. Prices continue to surge without any type of price control making it unaffordable to eat healthy. The rent committee is not given the resources to function optimally, mortgages are exorbitant, households are starving and businesses are suffering. I am happy that the people of Sint Maarten finally has Ministers who care about the social needs of our people, as the time for empty promises must come to an end.”
The number 7 candidate on the USP slate indicated that this law amendment will guarantee that every working person, who is currently earning a Minimum wage, will together with their household be able to live above the poverty line. Moreover, the legislation will create a legal basis for periodic poverty line studies and ensure that the purchasing power of every single individual on Sint Maarten increases. This law amendment, once passed, will obligate Government to control prices and properly execute established legislation such as the Rent Ordinance and Price Ordinance, to name a few. In addition to price control, this amendment will give a financial boost to our entire business community as one small group of businesses will no longer be controlling the purchasing power of our society, thus enabling all other businesses on Sint Maarten to prosper as well.
“The USP has always been a party with a vision for our country. This legislation is yet another example of such. For far too long we have focused on our Billion-dollar Economy without ensuring that all citizens of Sint Maarten benefit from this Economy. As a party, USP considers it imperative that we redefine what type of country we would like to be and how we value our people. As Minister in charged of Tourism & Economic Affairs the Ministry and I are committed to this cause, stated the Arrindell-Doncher.”
In his tenure as Member of Parliament, Laville brought a number of motions in Parliament consisting of law amendments to combat poverty on Sint Maarten. Examples are the Rights of employees to transfer from one organization to the next without losing their accrued benefits, mandatory Employer/Employee pension plan, Free Primary Education and the Healthfast breakfast program for our public schools in collaboration with the airport and Goddard catering, that was terminated after the passing of Hurricanes Irma & Maria.
Mr. Laville thanked Minister Arrindell-Doncher for reaffirming her commitment and that of the USP to the people of Sint Maarten.