Fruitful meeting with Minister regarding Labour Employment Policy

Minister of VSA Hon. Pamela Gordon Carty (4th from left) along with officials from Ministry VSA, and President of the COCI Board Benjamin Ortega (4th from right) along with Chamber Supervisory Board members to his right.

Philipsburg – The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Board recently had a very fruitful meeting with the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Pamela Gordon Carty regarding Ministry VSAs change in the labour policy to reduce unemployment on St. Maarten.

The Chamber recently sent a letter to the Minister where it says it has taken note of various articles in the media in particular business associations that have expressed their discontent with the aforementioned policy.

“In addition, we noted that members of Parliament have also noted their concerns with the matter at hand. As you and your Labour Department are aware, COCI being the initial registry for business activity and mandated by country St. Maarten in its role to render solicited and un-solicited advice to government with regards to matters of socio-economic, commerce and business development of the country that can have an impact to our (business) market, we hereby seek an audience with your ministry with respect to the aforementioned policy change.”

President of the COCI Board Benjamin Ortega said on Tuesday that the meeting was opened by the Minister who provided background information about the policy change.

“On behalf of the board, I thanked the Minister for meeting with us and then provided some insight into the goal of the meeting, which was to further establish the working relationship to assist within our role as Chamber giving advice to government and stakeholders.

“The meeting ended with both parties agreeing to send each other more detailed information and to follow up with a committee meeting to better execute the various actions in working together.

“The main goal of this engagement was to give the needed assistance to the Labour Department and ensure that matters that can improve doing business on the island as well employing those that are contributing to our economy a better opportunity.

“Once the various policies, actions and improvements have been identified, Ministry VSA as well as COCI will provide an update to the community.  The Chamber recognizes the fact that there are various entities and businesses that might well take advantage of the work permit policy versus the much-needed employment of the local workforce seeking employment which desperately need assistance from the private and public sectors.

“We understand that there is no one stop solution, yet the introduction of measures that actively address various (other) matters of concern; and that further also contribute to the growing unemployment on the island needs to be carefully studied with respect to their perceived negative impact on a very fragile economy.

“The Chamber supports measures that would positively improve business and commerce activities and customer relations between entities and communicating these to companies registered with the Chamber and the community-at-large.  We look forward to a follow-up meeting based on our most recent discussions with the Minister and representatives from Ministry VSA,” President of the COCI Board Benjamin Ortega said on Tuesday.

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