PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Lately, I have noticed that a lot of our employment vacancies are being advertised via online Dutch mediums rather than in our local newspapers and other media outlets as stipulated by law.
Some of the online Dutch outlets include:
https://www.nationalevacaturebank.nl, https://www.uitzendbureau.nl/vacatures/sint-maarten, and
This practice needs to be permanently abandoned or better controlled to the point where businesses and companies are giving preferential treatment to our local candidates by advertising in our local newspapers for a designated period of time. According to the “Pamela Policy” which was enacted in 2021 (see National Gazette #5, pg, 12.), the objective is to “create a balanced and transparent system with the prerequisite checks and balances to safeguard that employers duly comply with their legal obligation to exercise all efforts to fill their vacancies first and foremost with suitable candidates on Sint Maarten before contracting foreign employment.”
Once it’s established that there are no qualified local candidates, the next step should be the creation of an employment database where our local graduates are registered for possible vacancies that fit their academic and professional profiles. Thereafter, the aforementioned candidates would be selected and invited to apply for said vacancies on St. Maarten.
The database should fall under the collaborative purviews of the Minister of VSA and Minister Plenipotentiary. Should the first and second options yield no tangible results, we then have the option to seek optimal candidates within our region before going further afield. Under no circumstance should our citizens be left behind or placed on a disadvantageous playing field. What happened to adhering to the Pamela Policy where it is clearly the duty of the government to guard and protect the subsistence of the population which includes the legal procedures that guarantee equality and fairness in the employment sector?
The Constitution of St. Maarten is one of the fundamental foundations that the government must adhere to when exercising its tasks. It’s never too late to start empowering our people whenever and wherever possible. Where and when have vacancies been advertised in our local newspapers?
Lastly, if we really want to commence remediating the high unemployment rate amongst our people, I humbly advise that once a vacancy is ultimately filled that the government informs the general public whether said vacancy was filled via the means of a work permit or through placement of a local that applied. If the vacancy was filled with a work permit, the reinforcement of the local counterpart has to be signed off with the placement candidate.
This will help in many ways to effectively combat unemployment. It is imperative that St. Maarten starts handling in a more benevolent manner instead of just permitting companies to bypass our own for job functions that can be successfully filled by our own citizens. It is the responsibility of the government to provide a fertile and level playing field where everyone can survive and sustain themselves and their loved ones.