Romain Laville, candidate number 7 on the USP slate presented the Living Wage legislation on Friday November 22nd to the people of Sint Maarten. Laville announced during his first interview of this election campaign season on Friday, that he would be bringing legislation to eradicate poverty on Sint Maarten. Later that night those present at his rally at the Captain D’s Rib Shack in Simpson Bay heard first hand about his legislation to introduce a living wage on Sint Maarten.
“While during my tenure as Member of Parliament from 2010-2014, all my social motions were passed unanimously in Parliament, Governments have not carried out their responsibility in executing these motions that would have alleviated the needs of our people. It is for this reason that, this time around my team and I have chosen a different approach to tackle the social needs on Sint Maarten.”, stated Laville.
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.”
Laville and his team went through a number of reports, policies and legislation and decided to present an amendment to the current Minimum Wage law in such a way that one no longer can speak of a legislation regulating the Minimum Wage but one regulating the Living Wage. The number 7 candidate on the USP slate indicated that this law amendment will guarantee that every working person, that 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 amendment shares similarities with other legislation within the Kingdom such as the Minimum Wage ordinance of the Netherlands, as the focus point of both documents places emphasis on wages that will ensure the basic needs of persons are met in their respective countries, based on the specific situation of each country. This legislation was put together with the assistance of lawyers on Sint Maarten and Curaçao. It has been discussed in different stages of the process, with different stakeholders within our community such as those living below poverty line, a number of union representatives and their members, Civil Servants, representatives of the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform and the Secretariat of the Social Economic Council, to gather their views on the matter.
In the coming weeks more details will be provided pertaining to the content of the legislation and how this legislation will improve the overall situation of the people and businesses of Sint Maarten.