PHILIPSBURG:--- Minister of Justice Anna Richardson appeared in the parliament on Wednesday and made a detailed presentation to the justice committee of parliament was told that while she took the bull by its horns to deal with the immigration situation on St. Maarten she must collaborate with the other ministries before writing such a detailed policy.
Questions were raised about the concubine agreement that has been using and accepted on St. Maarten for decades will no longer be accepted unless it is registered in the Netherlands. Members of Parliament want to know if the Minister and her team are discriminating against its own.
Members of Parliament also questioned the NAF3,000.00 salary requested for residency permits means that government will now increase the minimum wage. The Minister in her presentation said that the NAF 3,000.00 only applies to applicants that wantMP Christopher Emmanuel asked if any study was conducted to see what impact the undocumented have on the economy, the independent MP also asked if the immigration department utilized the tools in place such as issuing fines to employers of the undocumented. He further asked if the studies were also done to determine the NAF 3,000.00 limit and exactly what is done to increase the living wage. to bring their families to the island.
The Minister was also questioned about the “Compliance Committee” that is alleged are disrespecting applicants even after their permits have been approved by the legal department.
Members of Parliament William Marlin, Sarah Wescot Williams, Omar Ottley, Angelique Roumou, and George Pantophelt had one clear message to the Minister even though they all applauded her for the efforts she made in trying to curb the situation on St. Maarten with illegal residents. The MPs told the Minister that she can never work on such a policy alone since all other ministries are intertwined. Ottley said that it appeared as though the minister undermined the ministry of VSA since the requirement to obtain a labor permit is NAF1, 500.00 while the ministry of justice is asking for NAF 3,000.00.
MP Roumou asked about collaboration with the ministry of education since undocumented students attending schools on St. Maarten affect schools since the compulsory education law is effective on St. Maarten.
MP William Marlin also called on the Minister to work closely with the other ministries he said while the island is flooded with illegal immigrants these people he said contributes to the economy in more than one way, Marlin said the immigrants are paying rent, they are using phones whereby TELEM and UTS benefits while they are also shopping on the island.