Westin St. Maarten demands cash up front for hosting $24,000 meeting

POSTED: 06/20/11 12:56 PM

Duncan refuses and Justice consultation moves to Great Bay Beach Hotel

St. Maarten – The consultation of Justice Ministers that was set to be held at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa was moved to the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel on Friday afternoon. The move was prompted by a demand from the Westin that the ministry pays cash up front or provides a credit card as basis of payment.

The Ministry refused to meet the hotel’s request stating the cost – nearly $24, 000 for renting the meeting space and paying for meals and drinks – would be offset against outstanding taxes. Because of the deadlock Justice Minister Roland Duncan had his staff seek an alternate location for the meetings, with Great Bay expressing a willingness, to host the event and being accepted.

The change in venue requires a small revamp in the logistics for the meeting. The visiting delegations are scheduled to stay at the Westin and would have been able to walk to the meetings. With the change they’ll have to move between locations. Duncan does not expect any delays with the meeting schedule because of the change.

The consultations officially begin today with a Tri-Partite meeting between Duncan, the Justice Minister of Aruba Arthur Dowers and the Justice Minister of Curacao Elmer “Kade” Wilsoe. Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Piet Hein Donner and Aruba’s Immigration Minister Benny Sevinger will join the discussions on Sunday afternoon, when parties look at freedom of movement in the Kingdom. Donner will speak on behalf of Dutch Minister of Immigration and Integration Gerd Leers. Dutch Justice and Security Minister Ivo Opstelten will join the discussions on Monday, when the four justice ministers will discuss a broad range of topics.


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