SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Minister responsible for Economic Affairs on St. Maarten, the Honorable Stuart Johnson took members of the Parliament of St. Maarten and top local officials to SOL Petroleum in Madame Estate, on a guided tour on Wednesday to see what is done during the control of businesses by the Inspectors where Calibration of machines is concerned.
After the visit to SOL Madame Estate, the working tour went to Dutch Quarter Pharmacy, a laundromat and a supermarket for a demonstration of their respective controls.
The controls are routinely carried out by six inspectors from the Department of Inspection within the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication TEATT. They regularly carry out Calibration and inspections of scales at the Princess Juliana International Airport and all Supermarkets, along with the gas pumps and other equipment used in the sale of goods and services.
The issue of Calibration has been a "hot button issue" for some members of parliament, who have on numerous occasions expressed their belief that Calibration should be handled by a department dedicated solely to providing this service to the community.
The members of parliament present were Egbert Doran, Silveria Jacobs and Ardwell Irion.
Johnson maintained that his interest is in ensuring that the consumer gets what they pay for at a fair price. "This means that ensuring that the scales used to weigh food and the pumps at gas stations are always properly calibrated, especially when there is a price change. It also means ensuring that the proper price is applied to items being sold," said Johnson.
Regarding the issue of having a dedicated department specifically for Calibration of equipment Johnson said he was concerned that there would not be sufficient activities for a department to specialize.
His position was further strengthened after a visit to Curacao where he learnt that despite being a larger island, Curacao's Department of Economic Inspection Department is structured similarly to the department on St. Maarten and does not have a department solely dedicated to Calibration."
Johnson has extended a follow-up visit to the local bakeries as well. He said his ministry had inherited several concerns which were unaddressed for several years and are only now receiving the necessary attention.
The plan is to use Social Media and other forms of information dissemination to sensitize further the population about the work being done by the Inspection Department, where it concerns Calibration.