Law on residence permit fee reaches parliament by May

POSTED: 04/18/13 2:27 PM

St. Maarten – By the end of May, Minister of Justice Roland Duncan wants to have legislation on fees for items such as residence permits be brought to Parliament.

The proposal is to charge 15 hundred guilders per year for any type of residence permit whether it is a first time application or renewal. With an average of 4000 residence permit applications per year, the Minister said that his Ministry stands to earn some 6 million guilders annually. He was at the time speaking during the third day of 2013 Draft Budget Debate in response to questions raised by MP Roy Marlin (Democratic Party.)

“We also have a minimum of 15000 persons residing on St. Maarten legally with a permit. The figures can vary a bit but we are using the minimum as a basis. This gives you 22 million 500 hundred guilders annually. It should be more because we propose for managers to pay 25 hundred guilders per year, we propose for directors to pay 5000 guilders per year.”

The minister however clarified that managers and directors were not calculated in the law proposal.

He said that the income derived from these fees could greatly help the Ministry’s budget, help fund the camera project, the purchase of boats for the police and also the creation of a justice complex.

The new laws are not budgeted but are in preparation, they were sent to the Social Economic Council (SER), who asked certain questions, to which the Ministry responded and expects to receive an advice soon. Following the completion of the SER advice, Minister Duncan said that he plans to take the two pieces of legislation to the Council of Ministers for any additional suggestions, before it is sent to the Council of Advice

The minister said that the draft legislation on residence permit fees was prepared with comparative analysis from countries such as The Bahamas, Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Barbados and the BES Islands.

A supplementary budget will be prepared based on the projected income to be derived should the law be passed. The Minister said that he has faith that no quarrels will ensue on how the 6 million guilders is to be spent.

With budget cuts severely affecting the Justice Ministry, Minister Duncan said that the new fees will cushion the effect and he looks forward to Parliament’s cooperation.

Approximately 50 guilders will also be charged for other services such as police records. Permits for holding public events, gun licenses issuance and other administrative services performed by the Justice Ministry are to also incur a fee.

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