Opinion: Easter holiday closure

POSTED: 04/10/15 1:32 PM

Dear Mr. Berkel,

I hereby request clarification concerning the following subject matter.

For the past years (and as long as I can remember), it was generally accepted that businesses would be closed on Good Friday, however they would be allowed to open on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. The undersigned has consistently acted accordingly.

To my surprise this was suddenly changed this year without sufficient prior warning and/or consultation with the local businesses. In addition to Friday April 3rd, businesses were forced to close their doors on Sunday April 5th and Monday April 6th as well. Considering the foregoing, could you kindly indicate based on what ordinance (law) this decision was made? Why were the local businesses not informed or consulted in a timely manner about this abrupt change? This decision was in violation of numerous standards of proper conduct: reason, reasonableness, proportionality, legal certainty, active and adequate information provision and misuse of power.

To add further insult to injury, Duggins Supermarket was forcibly closed by the police department on Sunday, April 5th. Customers, many of them visitors to the island, were reprimanded to leave the store immediately. They were not even provided the common courtesy to finalize their shopping. Many of them were forced to leave the shopping carts with groceries behind.  Is this the way to treat law abiding citizens and the much needed visitors to our island?

In closing, I refer to an article in the media of Saturday April 4, 2015 in which the Saba Merchants Association (SMA) sounded the alarm to The Hague about the hardship that Saba’s private sector has been facing.  Specifically, the SMA described the lonely fight of the private sector for changes in the laws that have severely hampered the island’s economic growth since October 10, 2010. As you are well aware this reality unfortunately also applies to Statia. The SMA further stated that the Saba government has a role to play in supporting the private sector, a statement the undersigned wholeheartedly agrees with.  The question is however why our local government continues to introduce measures that realizes just the opposite?



Louise Gumbs-Duggins                                                                 

Managing Director Duggins Shopping Center


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