BEACON HILL - Many of St. Maarten’s timeshare owners either are affected directly or indirectly by the letter sent by the new owning company of what was known as the Caravanserai , which letter stated that their timeshare rights would be annulled. This goes on in a domino effect to also exert a negative influence on the lives of every St. Maarten person as the major source of money in our pockets is courtesy of our main pillar tourism economy.
The St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) is doing everything it can to encourage our government to become engaged in this issue. We have a confirmed meeting with the Minister of Tourism and Economy, Ted Richardson, the new owner and the SMTA set for October 28th. While draft legislation was prepared by MP Leroy de Weever that would offer the St. Maarten government the ability to actively protect the interests of the timeshare owners, the current law does not offer this tool to help our tourism product.
Although we do not currently have a lot of timeshare specific laws, there are plenty of laws to protect our timeshare owners’ interests. As St. Maarten is a Civil Code jurisdiction this means people must hire legal representatives to plead their case before a judge.
The government of St. Maarten can exert its influence to see if cooperation can be obtained, but it has no way to force a private entity to comply in a private matter under the current law.
The SMTA would like to outline several possible options for Caravanserai timeshare owners. The options listed are not recommendations, but rather are put out so that informed choices can be made.
1. Sign the Agreement sent out as is by Alegria.
2. Hire a law firm to represent you to enforce your timeshare rights. You can do this individually or join a group. Two law firms have communicated to SMTA their interest in providing timeshare owners seeking assistance local legal advice on the matter; Lexwell Attorneys at Law and Bermon Law Offices. Individuals would pay more than if they went as a group. Contacting one of these offices should give a clear indication of the strength of any action.
3. Another option would be to do nothing and see what develops. Whichever way you decide, the SMTA will continue to work to make the St. Maarten timeshare product the best it can be for both our valued tourists and our society alike.