Meyers consults French side President Gumbs on 150 Euro Dutch side taxy driver levy

POSTED: 05/20/11 12:40 PM

GREAT BAY – Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications Franklin Meyers, says he was surprised to learn about plans by French-side authorities to levy a mandatory yearly fee of 150 euro on every Dutch-side taxi wishing to operate on the French-side of the island. The Council of Ministers has not received any formal notification with respect to this measure that the Collectivite had approved to implement.

Meyers contacted President of the Collectivite Frans Gumbs on Thursday morning and the matter is under discussion.

“I have spoken with President Gumbs at length with respect to this matter. Mr. Gumbs has to follow-up with me after having discussions with his officials regarding the issue. Once I receive more information I will inform the public in due course,” Meyers said Thursday.

The issue came to light Wednesday when the presidents of the four taxi associations on the Dutch side handed the media a joint letter they’d sent to the General Director of the Sector Economic Affairs on the French side Pierre Brange. In the May 18, 2011 they reject the contents of a May 5 letter and state they will not cooperate.

“We are of the opinion: paying the one hundred and fifty euro is an added taxation to us as we are already contributing by bringing tourist over to the French St. Martin to inject funds into your economy,” the joint letter from the Taxi Associations stated.

The signatories to the letter are Otis Hughes of the Dutch St. Maarten Taxi Association, Jean Samuel of the Airport taxi Association, O’Neal Arrindell of the Philipsburg Independent Taxi Association and Nathaniel Wyatt of Genesis Taxi Association.

Brange’s letter states that the new fee was voted in and will take effect on July 1. Paying the fee, which is meant to fund activities that will improve transportation, will lead to the issuance of an identification card for the vehicle. That card then allows drivers to work at, amongst other places, the port in Marigot and Galisbay, the taxi stations in Marigot and at the Grand Case Airport, at tourism oriented structures and at beaches.

“Any taxi driver not complying with the above mentioned regulations and without the valid required ID card will not be allowed to station any vehicle or work out of any of the above mentioned areas,” Brange wrote in his letter that was sent to the Airport Taxi Association and Dutch St. Maarten Taxi Association.

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