67 Port Zante Business Owners Voice Concerns to Prime Minister Drew Regarding Labour Laws

****In a concerted effort to address pressing issues affecting their businesses, 67 shop and business owners in Port Zante have allegedly penned a letter to Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew. The letter, dated April 19th, 2024, outlines several concerns and requests for intervention in labour laws.Among the highlighted issues are significant delays in the processing of work permits, the duration of annual residency, and regulations to prevent foreign workers from abruptly abandoning their employment commitments.The business owners have allegedly emphasized the urgent need for streamlined processes in work permit issuance, an extension of annual residency duration from three to six years, and stricter regulations to deter foreign workers from leaving their positions shortly after arrival.

The letter underscores the critical role of these labour law adjustments in fostering a conducive environment for businesses to thrive and contribute to the nation’s economic growth.The alleged signatories await a response from Prime Minister Drew and stand ready to provide further information or assistance as needed to address these pressing concerns.

See Alleged Letter below:

Date : April 19th 2024
The Right Honorable Prime Minister
Dr Terrance Drew
Office of the Prime Minister Government Headquarters Church Street Basseterre, St. Kitts West Indies

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned business owners, are writing to bring urgent matters to your attention that require immediate action. As stakeholders deeply invested in the prosperity and growth of St. Kitts and Nevis, we believe addressing these issues is crucial for the well-being of our businesses and the economy as a whole.

Firstly, we would like to express our concerns regarding the significant delays in the processing of work permits. While previously, the processing of work permits was efficient, allowing businesses to operate smoothly, we have observed a troubling trend of prolonged processing times. These delays, lasting for months on end, are exacerbating the challenges faced by businesses, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and during off-peak seasons. As these delays fall under the purview of the Ministry of Labour, we respectfully request your intervention to streamline the process and expedite the issuance of work permits, ensuring greater ease of doing business in our country.

Secondly, we urge the government to extend the duration of annual residency from three years to six years. This adjustment is necessary to acknowledge the significant contributions made by long-term residents and business owners to the development of our nation. Presently, the disparity between the duration of work permits and annual residency undermines the stability and continuity of businesses. Furthermore, the ease with which individuals acquire annual residency without our consent undermines our efforts and investment in building our enterprises. It’s worth noting that the current fee for annual residency, set at 1500, is significantly lower than the fee for work permits, which is 2600. This discrepancy not only devalues the contributions of long-term residents but also represents a loss for the government in terms of revenue. Therefore, we propose that annual residency should only be issued upon obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the respective business owners and should be considered as a conversion from a work permit to annual residency.

Thirdly, we emphasize the need for regulations to prevent foreign workers from abandoning their employment commitments and moving to competitors shortly after their arrival. The substantial investment involved in recruiting and training foreign workers, coupled with the inconvenience and financial burden of their sudden departure, poses significant challenges to businesses. We propose that foreign workers who abandon their positions should be subject to a 12-month ban on returning to St. Kitts and Nevis for employment purposes and require a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for re-entry. Such measures are essential to safeguard the interests of local businesses and ensure the stability of our workforce.

We trust that you will give due consideration to these pressing matters and take swift and decisive action to address them. Your leadership and commitment to the well-being of our nation are paramount, and we are confident that your intervention will yield positive outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

We eagerly await your response and stand ready to provide any further information or assistance you may require on these matters.

Yours sincerely,

The Business community
St Kitts & Nevis
( list of Signatories attached )

1 – Square Duty Free – Port Zante
2 – Buddha Bar – frigate bay
3 – Square – Marriott
4 – Square duty Free – Nevis
5 – Global Link
6 – The Big Cane Rum
7 – Beauty Inside Out – frigate bay
8 – Chop Shop Salon
9 – Chop Shop Nevis
10 – Royal Chop Shop
11 – I Love St Kitts – Port Zante
12 – I Love St Kitts – 2
13 – The Island Shop
14 – Grand Souviner
15 – Perfume Shop – port zante
16 – Piranha Joe
17 – The Coffee Shop
18 – Time Square
19 – Shipwreck Store
20 – Life is Good
21 – Yacht Club
22 – Diamond Island
23 – Shanghai Express
24 – Chopsticks
25 – Delhi Belly
26 – Lotus Thai Bistro
27 – Gold Mine
28 – Karma Restaurant
29 – Noble’s Jewelers
30 – Indian Summer – Nevis
31 – Turtle Time – Nevis
32 – Indian summer – St Kitts
33 – Gems International
34 – IC Jewelers
35 – Alibaba shawarma
36 – Lucky Cosmetics – port zante
37 – Lucky beauty – Basseterre
38 – Lucky Cosmetics – Basseterre
39 – Royal Gems
40 – jade – port zante
41 – Smart Electronics
42 – Caroloha
43 – Del Sol
43 – 5th Avenue
44 – Frigate Bay Investments
45 – Tri Energy Solar
46 – Colors Jewlery – Port Zante
47 – Tropical Island – Port Zante
48 – Sea Life
49 – Tropical World
50 – Life Is Cool
51 – Shivas Souviners
52 – Shell Souviners
53 – Five star
54 – Treasure of St Kitts
55 – St Kitts Resort Wear
56 – Sun Island
57 – Sun pharmacy
58 – Indo Caribe – Basseterre
59 – Latin House Global Cuisine
60 – Pinchos Bar – The Retreat
61 – Paramount Jewelry & Souviners
62 – Taste of India
63 – Chutneys
64 – Grill House
65 – Caribbean Jewels port zante
66 – Caribbean Jewels 2
67 –

In simple terms
1 – work permits to be processed faster
2 – No annual permit without NOC
3 – if you bring in a foreign worker they wanna quit they have to leave the country and not come back for 12 months

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