Reader’s Letter: Vending permits

POSTED: 11/30/12 12:50 PM

Government has established a vending policy, clearly indicating where citizens can do vending or not. During the last six months we have been building and renting tiki huts to people who have or who applied for a vending or stationary license. The idea has taken off, offering unemployed people an opportunity to become self-employed and to generate a nice income for themselves and their family, once you are willing to work hard.

We have had the cooperation of Minister of Economic Affairs Romeo Pantophlet and his staff in showing the tenants what to do, and how to apply for the necessary permits. So far so good. The tenants of these booths have been working hard on getting all the documents in order to be in compliance with the law. Mind you, most of these people are unemployed, but want to work without sticking out their hands for government aid or assistance. They have been paying their taxes, while employing almost 30 people full and part time.

Up to now all the huts have been doing well. The public has been supporting them well, and the vendors have been doing a wonderful job. We have spoken to the community policemen of the various districts and have complied with their requirements. We have had several discussions with the health department successfully. I have personally spoken to Mr. Sommersoll, chief of the health department, who clearly explained what has to be done and how, and when the next inspection will take place. This is also being executed.

The problem is acquiring a police report (bewijs van goed gedrag).

In order to get a vending license, one must submit this report along with other documents to the department of economic affairs. Without this police report the documents cannot be submitted.

One of the renters has applied since August for this report and has not received it yet, while before 10-10-10 it used to take about 6 weeks. All the others have applied, no answer yet.

So the various tenants came to see me, and I took upon myself to go to see Miss Irene Simmons, Chief of Staff Cabinet, at the Ministry of Justice. I had an extensive discussion with the lady, who explained me that they are aware of the delay.

She said they are currently in discussion with justice officials in Curacao about the necessity of certain work that is being done in Curacao, for it to be done on St. Maarten. She said up to recently the minister of justice was in discussions with these officials about this matter.

In the meantime these vendors cannot proceed with the necessary paper work, but they are working everyday as they have to feed and provide for their families and themselves.

this is just one of the handicaps 10-10-10 has brought upon us that needs addressing immediately. Especially in this slow (world) economy.

I surely do hope that the local officials will show some compassion, and don’t stop these people from making a living due to something that they cannot be blamed for.

Vending, as a small business, is very big in all Caribbean islands. We as a community must give these small people a chance to also make a living, and help with less requirements and pitfalls, when they are making an effort. After all it’s just a little “chicken leg and johnnycake business”.

In closing we hope that the minister of justice and the prime minister would assist these hardworking people in achieving their police report.

Julian Rollocks


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