Published On: Tue, Feb 18th, 2020

Following procedures the new norm?

StMaartenNews EditorialIt is very interesting to hear members of parliament rail against the new work permit policy imposed by Minister Pamela Gordon-Cary, citing lack of following procedures and lack of consultations with other government entities and stakeholders. For a body that does not always follow its own rules of order nor adhere to principles of good governance, much less executes its fundamental task of overseeing government, it is refreshing to see many of the old MPs and some of the newcomers asking questions about whether proper procedures are being followed and if the necessary consultations are being carried out. We hope this is the new norm and that a bar is being raised in Parliament. Because the same body of parliament that the same day selected the new candidates for appointment to the General Audit Chamber is the same body that over the years of its existence since 10-10-10 has consistently and conveniently ignored the reports and recommendations of this very same high council of state. Now in this article, we read the statements of a former minister of labor – Emil Lee – who chose to chime in on the new policy conditions for work permits published by the present minister of labor wherein he states “The new policy seems to have been done without consultations with the various stakeholders, including the labor tripartite and the SER. This goes against ILO-principles of consultation.” Lee points to a tripartite consensus document that was signed during his tenure at the VSA ministry back in 2016. “This serves as a solid base for discussions including topics like how to improve the hiring process and increase wages.” Ironically, and also during the tenure of Lee as minister of labor, the conditions for the new work permit policy have been standard operating procedure for at least eight years but it was never before published as a policy, according to labor department head, Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson. Now finally that has been done as of February 7, 2020, under the soon to be short-lived tenure of Gordon-Carty.
Referencing the tripartite consensus document and encouraging more dialogue first among the relevant stakeholders sounds to us like a big ole excuse to do nothing. More talking means less action. At least, the present minister, based on what she is seeing, is taking action to protect the local market workforce and not wasting time talking.

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Related articles:
Minister Gordon-Carty’s new conditions for an employment permit
Minister Gordon-Carty talks about work permit policy and abuse
Former Minister Emil Lee: “New policies should be based on facts and consultation”