PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Health Emil Lee along with Minister Richard Gibson and Minister Raphael Boasman, held a follow-up debriefing meeting regarding the compliance controls carried out on March 10, with representatives from SZV, the Police Department, Tax Department, and the Inspectorate of VSA.
“Improving compliance is a process that touches all of the ministries, and current efforts have the support of the Council of Ministers. Current controls have shown that there are individuals occupying positions without the proper documentation in place. Positions such as sales, bartender, waiter/waitress, and cook are positions that locals can occupy,” stated Minister Lee.
One of the main challenges identified in the meeting was the need to improve communications between the various departments. Every department has specific responsibilities and authorities that, at times, create barriers to the exchange of information. Overall, collaborative strategies were discussed to find the most efficient and effective method to improve compliance.
“Compliant businesses or businesses that are genuinely working to become fully complaint will find a government that is receptive and cooperative.”
“We are here to educate and help you become more compliant. Those that demonstrate a blatant disregard of our people and our laws will find a government that is fully committed to improving compliance,” the Minister said.
Minister Lee stated that “disrespectful and unlawful behavior must be addressed sternly. Otherwise, we are setting a precedent that disobedience is tolerated. This unacceptable behavior undermines the fabric of our community. There are too many people, especially young adults, searching for work and every position that is held by an undocumented non-compliant worker is an opportunity for employment that can be held by a local.”
“From the controls last we have already seen some positive results, such as one business that has already hired a number of locals to fill positions in their business. A number of businesses have expressed their gratitude for the efforts of compliance, as they are unable to compete on an unleveled playing field. Businesses that are complaint with the law, paying their taxes and various social premiums, find it difficult to compete against businesses that are non-complaint,” Minister Lee continued.
“Government is in the process of pursuing a number of identified uncollected revenues. An interesting development is that we are now receiving tips to check certain businesses that may also be non-compliant. We are in the process of handling those while working on an overall strategy,” he said.
Minister Lee recommended that the community remain proactive about becoming compliant and encouraged visiting the ministry’s website, www.ministryvsa.sx, to make sure that people have an understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding compliance.