SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Member of Parliament (MP) and leader of National Alliance (NA) Silveria Jacobs, recently sent a letter to the Council of Ministers CoM) and one to the Governor to express her concerns regarding the status of the “Initiative National Ordinance Amending Article 50 Sub 2 of the Permit Ordinance regulating the legal age sale of alcohol,” which was approved unanimously by the Parliament of St. Maarten since November 22nd, 2018 with the cooperation and support of the TEATT Minister Mr. S. Johnson and the Ministry of TEATT.
Since then, upon inquiry via Parliament at the office of His Excellency the Governor of St. Maarten, drs E.B. Holiday, MP Jacobs shared that she has ascertained that the aforementioned draft amendment was sent to the Council of Ministers (CoM) for their advice moving forward towards enactment.
Seeing that the Minister responsible for the enactment of this amendment was in attendance and gave his public support for it, MP Jacobs is perplexed as to why the enactment has not been given the green light by CoM in order that the official signing by the Governor and Minister can take place.
MP Jacobs is of the opinion that this amended legislation, once enacted and properly publicized, should assist TEATT inspectors, police officers and the community to be vigilant in the upholding of it, thereby protecting our young citizens and effectively fining those who deem it acceptable to sell or serve alcohol to minors. The signage of the past years by the Lions Club already played a great role in this, and this can be built upon now that penalties can be enacted as a deterrent as well.
MP Jacobs goes on to highlight the fact that the carnival season is upon us, and already the many tales of excessive negative behaviors in the streets by our youth are being heard. MP Jacobs strongly believes that access to and consumption of alcohol, parental apathy, ignorance as well as a culture of acceptance within our society, among other influences play a role in this.
Furthermore, MP Jacobs would like to see Government promote and enforce the Penal Code (APK) article where it states “Article 39 “It is forbidden to admit persons under the age of 15 to a dance party without a license from the minister, with due observance of article 31 or article 37. He who holds a dance party with due observance of article 31 or article 37 is obliged to ensure that persons under the age of 15 years are not permitted without the permit referred to in the previous paragraph.”
This is another law which should be heavily publicized and enforced in order to inform parents of their responsibilities in keeping their under aged children out of “jump-ups”. This law has been in existence for decades, yet the population is wholly unaware of it for the most part. Awareness is an important first step. Enforcement of the law, with a few prime examples of holding those caught until parents pick them up, or fining parents of those held, will surely serve as a deterrent as well. Even if the police is not able to get all youngsters out of the “jump-ups” it would be a great start, says the MP.
MP Jacobs would like to see the reach of the DCOMM radio station 107.9FM, social media and daily newspapers all be used to promote parent and youth awareness and the possible repercussions of these two laws geared at protection of our youth which are closely related to inappropriate behaviors being exhibited in great numbers by our youth, especially during this time.
MP Jacobs believes the initiative has been launched and it is important that all relevant and impactful parties join the movement to protect our youth and future of this country!
MP Jacobs appeals to the Council of Ministers to make this a priority and take swift action to highlight this law in the community. She is committed to doing her best to bring awareness to this cause and will do so regardless. However, support within the law already approved by Parliament, and support by our executive branch of Government would go a long way in bringing it across to the population as was done with the Zero Tolerance campaign.