POND ISLAND — The Ministry of TEATT announced recently that it would step up general controls to ensure that businesses are adhering to St. Maarten’s economic rules and regulations. Many of these controls are in response to public complaints received for various infractions. TEATT has diligently worked to restore economic activities during the crisis, but in a responsible manner within the law. Restoring the economy is a top priority, but it will not be done at the expense of good governance and fairness.
The inspections are done by staff who have specific duties and the authority to close businesses found in violation of the country’s laws. Part of these duties include the routine checking of businesses for the relevant permits and licenses to operate as well as responding to complaints. This is being done in the interest of the public good. Repeated failure for a business to obtain the legally required documents, fulfil its obligations, and operating within the conditions of the licenses will result in fines and closure.
Last week, numerous establishments were shut down for gross violations, including:
1. A permit to sell liquor at this establishment has not been granted. – Article 2 sub 1 Vergunningslandverordening.
2. A permit has not been granted to sell food, weak liquor and alcohol-free beverages for this establishment. – Article 2 sub 2 Vergunningslandsverordening.
3. Establishment does not have the required permit visibly displayed as required by law. – Article 43 Vergunningslandsverordening.
4. The type of license granted is not clearly marked either on top of or on the side of one of the outside main entrance doors. – Article 43 sub 2 lid b Vergunningslandsverordening.
5. The name of the permittee is not clearly marked either on top of or on the side of one of the outside main entrance doors. – Article 43 sub 2 lid a Vergunningslandsverordening.
6. The age prohibition is not clearly marked either on top of or one the side of one of the outside main entrance doors. – Article 43 sub 2 lid c Vergunningslandverordening.
7. Making music, performances or other actions for the public, or providing opportunity to dance or allow dancing without a permit. – Article 52 Vergunningslandsverordening.
8. Other businesses than those permitted by the Minister are carried out in the establishment. – Article 54 sub b Vergunningslandsverordening.
These violations fall under the supervision of TEATT. They do not cover other potential violations that are the responsibilities of different ministries, such as but not limited to building permits, sufficient parking space, health inspections, fire and safety inspections, work permits for foreign employees, SZV contributions, and tax registration.
The Ministry of TEATT will not condone intimidation of controllers who are operating within their rights and duties of the job. Unsubstantiated accusations levied at controllers will also not be tolerated. An internal investigation has already started based on such allegations.
While the Ministry of TEATT encourages investment and participation in the St. Maarten economy, it is not sufficient reason to ignore Sint Maarten’s laws and safety requirements. TEATT would like to remind everyone that the rule of law applies equally to all who live and seek to do business in St. Maarten, and that it will apply it equally to everyone.