Editorial: Looking at the constitution

POSTED: 02/15/12 1:41 PM

There is no surprise that the courts have ruled that that the age limit in the government’s policy on the issuance of employment permits is discriminatory. While the court has gone as far as international treaties, which supercede local legislation, we only need look as far as Article 16 of the country’s constitution.

Article 16 states, “Everyone in Sint Maarten shall be treated equally in equivalent circumstances. Discrimination on grounds of religion, belief, political persuasion, race, colour of skin, sex, language, national or social origins, membership of a national minority, wealth, birth or and any other ground whatsoever is prohibited.” The word age is explicitly mentioned here but it most definitely falls under the umbrella of any other ground whatsoever.

One could argue that this constitution only came into force when St. Maarten became a country on October 10, 2010, but that leads to a question of why it has taken over a year to realize that the policy clashes with the constitution and that it needs to be changed. Could it be that no one cared?

One would think that as of now that the it has been made quite obvious that there needs to be a change, that the minister will put pen to paper or better yet grab some whiteout and remove what is obviously an unconstitutional provision.

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