~Visitors Experience at Government Buildings Deserves Much Improvement”~
Gracita Arrindell states: “intolerable experience of hundreds of citizens who visited the Government building especially in Philipsburg the past weeks to pay for and or collect their vehicle number plates is no way to treat our citizens. In fact, it is plainly unacceptable under any such circumstances. Government is fully aware or ought to be aware of the increase in vehicular traffic on our island including quads, motorbikes, rentals etc. With this available information Government takes proactive measures and seamlessly collects respective taxes and distribute similarly respective stickers”.
“Why allow or tolerate this spectacle? Sadly, this is not the first time residents are treated with contempt for their time and hard-earned monies. Citizens, including seniors, standing hours in line from early in the morning and brazing the hot sun only to find the doors to their Government building still closed at 8 am. When access is finally given half-hour later, chaos. Who was first in line?
“Covid -code restrictions are recently lifted, only to find persons packed together once more under these circumstances in front of the Government building. To be fair, citizens are aware of the dates to purchase their plates and must do their part-time as well and avoid duress. Though not everyone is able to pay online, or pay as and when due. Especially the past five years has been quite hard on many citizens who still struggle to make ends meet post-Hurricane Irma, followed by two years of mostly government-mandated pandemic shut-downs. Less income for the people also means less income for Government.”
PPA Leader Arrindell continued: “The issue of finding better ways to distribute number plates has been addressed numerous times by other concerned citizens as well. Fact is, this outdated system must be relegated to the past.
These suggestions include, however, are not limited to:
1. Short-term: place tents in times of expected increase of visitors to protect against sun and rain. Include outside signs (prior to entering the Government building) in defined lines to better guide and manage visitors to the service they require. For example receivers, census or labor department signs should be placed outside in the respective queues well. Or, pick up plates on pre-established dates according to the Alphabet or Plate number system.
2. Establish several locations for number plate collection besides Philipsburg. Include Simpson-bay Civic Center, Belvedere Community Center for citizens living in the areas of Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, and other surrounding areas.
3. Long-term: avoid 2023 number plate issuance and avoid chaos. Discontinue the number plate system and implement the sticker system valid for a number of years.
Why disregard these and other suggestions for improvement, Arrindell queried? Find a solution.
Gracita concludes:“ this is a plea to permanently remove this longstanding ‘thorn’ from the sides of our citizens. It is an urgent appeal to Government, especially the Ministry of General Affairs to drastically improve on its management of the affairs of the people it represents.”