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Sarah wants insight into agreements with Royal Caribbean Group.

~Feels this information should have been shared with Parliament without members having to request it.~

sarahwescotwilliams10072016PHILIPSBURG:--- The government has brought criticism on itself, MP Wescot remarked, with respect to the MOU signed with the Royal Caribbean Group to promote job opportunities for locals in the cruise industry. “An otherwise potentially good initiate announced with a lot of fanfare and hype, but the population is asked to wait for the actual roll-out in the coming months.”

“It is furthermore incomprehensible, considering the interest and concerns expressed by several members of parliament, including myself, regarding the unemployment on the island, and amongst our youth in particular, that the government does not consider it their duty to share this agreement with parliament”, the MP wrote to the government.

And citing the government’s own statement that “this agreement signifies … the beginning of a partnership that will create an expansion of St. Maarten’s job market within the cruising industry, MP Wescot wants to know: “How exactly will this be done?”

“So while I would love to share the government’s exuberance at the announcement of this agreement, the lack of specific information about the MOU with the Royal Caribbean Group leaves many questions unanswered, at least for me.”

I have kept my questions short and simply asked the minister(s) to provide me with the Memorandum of Understanding with the Royal Caribbean Group. I want to assess this agreement as to its merits for the working population at large. I say this while recalling experiences that a few of our locals who have worked on cruise ships have shared and I hope to learn from this agreement that since then much has improved for the workers on cruise ships in general.

In a related matter, I have also asked what all is involved with the agreement with Royal Caribbean Group to (re)construct the Philipsburg Market Place.

I don’t think there is one person keener than I am and have been on seeing the marketplace in Philipsburg upgraded to an acceptable standard, not only as an attraction for those who wish to shop there but more so for those who make a daily living there.

I am one of the few Members of Parliament who were very critical that the capital funds for the marketplace project were removed from the country’s budget by means of an amendment by members of parliament. My criticism stemmed from the very noncommittal response I received to that amendment that “the harbor company will construct the marketplace”. Which of course raised questions regarding the financial position of the harbor group of companies.

What was not divulged at any given time was that the harbor group of companies was seeking third party financing for the Philipsburg market place, the MP continued.

Again we see a total disregard for parliament by this government and I have to specifically request this agreement, and the plans for the Philipsburg Market place overall, as well as a timeline and assurances for the current vendors etc.

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