Published On: Thu, Mar 16th, 2017

Minister Lee hammers on compliance

GREAT BAY – Minister Emil Lee (Labor) made clear once more yesterday that the government is serious about improving compliance in the business sector.  Last week, the minister accompanied an inter-ministerial control team during a day-long operation that began at 8 a.m. and finished at 10 p.m. “It was a long day, the minister said, “but it was worth it.”

Among the preliminary findings of these controls a few things stand out. “Many employees said that they did not have an ID on them,” Lee said. “Let me make clear that anyone over the age of twelve is obliged to carry identification.”

The minister also noted that many businesses did not have all their documentation on sight. The control team found for instance contractors on building sites who could not show a building permit.

Companies are also doing business while they do not have all their paperwork in order and there are French companies doing business this side of the border without any permits at all.

The controls did have their effect on the business community, the minister noted. “News travels fast. While the control team was on one end of Front Street, businesses on the other end vacated Philipsburg. At construction sites, we saw people disappear into the bushes. These are indications that we are looking at a large problem.”

The control team also found undocumented and unregistered employees. At one business they found fifteen time cards but just four registered employees. French nationals are working on the Dutch side without proper documentation. “They need a work permit,” the minister pointed out.

And then there are people who work at businesses through a manpower agency who turned out not to have work permits. “That does not make the businesses liable, but it created of course operational problems,” Minister Lee said. “I suggest that businesses become more proactive in this field.”