Emmanuel: Casino decision continues flip-flopping trend

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Rouge et Noir Casino

 

~ Questions if new decree was issued ~

Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel on Thursday said the decision by Minister of TEATT Ludmila DeWeever to allow Casino Rouge et Noir to open its emergency exit facing the Cannegieter Street is in violation of the existing decree and relieves the casino of its own responsibilities towards its workers.

MP Emmanuel stressed that the casino is not so much concerned about its employees as it is with making money. The casino, Emmanuel said, is the employer. The employer has its responsibilities to make sure it pays its employees and make proper arrangements for casino access. The casino should not use employees as an excuse and the Minister just bites at that excuse. “If that’s indeed what the casino owners said. We don’t know since the Minister doesn’t see it fit to offer the country an explanation longer than a few lines in a press release,” Emmanuel said.

“The government’s casino policy is very clear. Casino establishments will be subjected to restrictions in terms of location: establishments will not be able to be located within a radius of Fifty (50) meters of sensitive buildings where there are no permanent/sensitive activities (i.e. schools, churches, etc.). With this in mind, a decree was formalized by the previous Minister of TEATT which states that the entrance facing the Cannegieter Street must remain closed and must be used only as an emergency exit,” Emmanuel said.

“Did the Sundial school move? Did the doctor’s office move? The library isn’t operation now in its original location, but did it move? The answer to all of the above is no. So why did the Minister allow this? Was there a new decree that supersedes the previous? We see that the Minister had already allowed casino’s to stay open while other businesses had to close and suffer the economic consequences. Now this? The Minister came out, issued a press release of two lines like we are just supposed to accept it and move on. Like decrees and policies doesn’t matter,” the MP added.

Emmanuel said the same Minister previously closed the casino for violating the Ministerial Decree and closed the casino. “A few days later, the Minister flip-flopped again and allowed the casino to open. The Minister’s decision continues a trend of second-guessing and constant decision reversals by government. We already suffer negative and wrong impressions when it comes to casino’s and rumored connections to officials. Such decisions by the Minister feed into these impression that there are ulterior motives because no proper explanation is given especially acting contrary to a decree,” the MP said.

He added that he will be forwarding a letter with questions to the Minister about her decision.