St. Maarten Cabinet learns from Meyer’s mistake

POSTED: 12/2/10 1:06 PM

Minister Meyers presentation
St. Maarten – The Council of Ministers have gotten a lesson in how far they can go when it comes to issuing a Ministerial Decree. They’re learning from an error made specifically by Minister of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Transport & Telecommunications Franklin Meyers.
Just before St. Maarten’s Day Meyers issued a decree that businesses in Philipsburg were allowed to open on St. Maarten’s Day because there would be a number of cruise ships in port and it had the potential to help them recoup losses they incurred because of recent bad weather. As a condition the businesses had to pay employees that chose to work 300 percent of the hourly rate. The error was with the latter part of the decision. In order to get it done a national ordinance, which is approved in Parliament, would have to be made as pay on holidays is regulated by ordinance and not decree.
The minister learned he could not make such a decree after he had sent a letter to the department charged with executing it. He also admitted to not taking advice on the matter.
“In the future if there are such decisions to be made I will then make sure that the proper procedure is followed and it goes to Parliament. It was something we did out of good faith to stimulate this economy and we had both the employee and the employer at heart,” Meyers said.
The Minister also asserted no one should look at the error as incompetence but simply as an error made as he and his colleagues get accustomed to a new system.
“We are and were accustomed to the collective responsibility of the Executive Council and what the parameters were. It was something we had grown accustomed to in our 50 something years of being an island territory. In two months, while we have learned a lot and know what the parameters are and where they begin and end for the individual ministers there are still things to be learned,” Meyers said.

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