US Party leader Pamela Gordon-Carty.
PHILIPSBURG--Establishing a mandatory annual quota for businesses to hire a “first-time youngster” between the ages of 18 to 26, in exchange for declaring 35 per cent of the employees’ salary as a tax refundable “donation,” is the premise of a draft law that United St. Maarten Party (US Party) leader Pamela Gordon-Carty intends to submit to Parliament after the summer recess.
Gordon-Carty outlined the details of the draft law proposal in a press release. “All businesses on country St. Maarten from large to small (excluding micro) businesses will be subjected to a yearly mandatory quota of hiring a first-time youngster between the ages of 18 to 26 that is unemployed, or a recent graduate whether on island or coming home from studying abroad,” she said in explaining the premise of the draft law.
“As an incentive, businesses that comply will be able to declare 35% of the young adult’s annual salary as a “donation” and get it reimbursed despite having an outstanding for government. Functions that require a particular expertise are also included as long as the student is a graduate in that area and was born on St. Maarten.”
She explained that the proposed law focuses on recent college graduates and students seeking employment for the first time. The goal is to lower the unemployment rate among young people and give incentives to businesses that hire young adults.
“As a business owner for 26 years, and as an Accountant and tax expert I have a good understanding of the challenges faced by businesses on St. Maarten,” said Gordon-Carty in the release. “We as business owners are facing challenging times and besides having to cope with running our business on a daily basis, non-paying customers, late paying customers, insufficient revenue generating months, and tax obligations, contributes to an already depressing atmosphere. The economy thrives when we as the business sector thrive, and it crashes when we as businesses owners crash. We are a strong contributing factor to the well-being of the country and are expected to contribute, but government also has a responsibility to facilitate some sort of alleviation as well,” she noted.
She listed some of the pros of the law as being that companies will be directly contributing towards social development and the reduction of the unemployment rate. It directly targets the younger generation, encouraging them to be productive contributors to society by giving them employment opportunities across various sectors of the economy.
It would also lower work permits for functions that can be carried out by “our own” if given the opportunity. It will also contribute to the collection of taxes for the coffers of government.
Less immigrants will also be being misused in the work force and not getting paid or paying their fair share to the tax authorities. There will be better control; a positive impact on the emotional health amongst “frustrated young adults,” promote a positive outlook of hope amongst graduating students; contribute towards decrease in criminal activities and abuse of substance, due stress, creating a healthier environment and encourage businesses to hire more locals.
She said also that existing basic labour laws will still be applicable, especially the sick leave law.
The law proposal is also expected to stimulate internal shifting and promotions so that lower ranking jobs become available because they are incentivised and St. Maarten will be in compliance with the fundamental United Nations human rights laws which are: Article 2 – freedom from discrimination, Article 3 – freedom to live a dignified life, Article 4 – freedom of slavery, Article 7 – rights to equality before the law, Article 22 – right to social security, Article 23 – right to work, Article 25 – right to adequate standard of living, and Article 29 – right to duty to your community.
“Illegal workers cannot have preference over those that are registered and or born here,” it was stated in the release.
Gordon-Carty said she welcomes the public to interact with her party as they would like to hear the public’s views on the different laws proposals thus far. “A panel is being put together so healthy discussions can be held with the public so together we can push this country in the direction we want it to go. Having the population involved and moving towards creative ways of solving ongoing issues, can only be accomplished through the adoption and implementation of laws,” she said.
“Country package, COHO [Caribbean Body for Reform and Development – Ed.] or not, government has a role to play and legislation needs to be put in place. The business community is encouraged and invited to interact with the party via its Facebook page United St. Maarten Party to express their sentiments and share constructive advice. This is an opportunity for us to seek solutions together in the best interest of all,” concluded Gordon Carty.