Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Arduin reports to Parliament about her concerns regarding the failure by government to provide the Ombudsman a status report on the manner by which the Timeshare industry is supervised in accordance with the Permit Ordinance

Philipsburg,  Pursuant to the authority provided to the  Ombudsman by law, Dr. Arduin presented a copy of a ‘letter of concern’ sent to the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication with regard to the (non-response on) follow-up on two complaints filed with the Ombudsman against the Ministry. The Ombudsman noted that notwithstanding numerous applications for the information over the past years, the Ministry has failed to provide the requested information, which is vital to monitor and supervise the Timeshare industry on Sint Maarten.   


As a result of two investigations into the manner by which the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication monitors and supervises the Timeshare industry on Sint Maarten, the Ombudsman concluded that the National Ordinance for the issuance of economic permits (AB 2013, GT no. 126),  hereinafter referred to as  the “Permit Ordinance”- is not being properly complied with. Pursuant to the Permit Ordinance (“Vergunningenlandsverordening”) a company in possession of a hotel license, including the operation of a timeshare-resort, is bound to draft a regulation (“reglement”) approved by the Minister, and deposit same at the Courthouse for public access. Changes to the regulations should be submitted to the Minister for approval as well. The law also provides that the successor of a timeshare-resort should respect the rights established by its predecessor, while last mentioned should provide for the transfer of same. As such the Ombudsman requested  successive Ministers -among other queries- to explain how the mentioned legal provisions are in general enforced and controlled by the Minister, to outline the procedures followed in providing the operational license in a specific case as it relates to the relevant laws and the grievances presented by a group of complainants.  Considering that it became clear that the law was not being properly adhered to, recommendations were issued by the Ombudsman to the Ministry to guarantee the protection of the rights of Timeshare Owners. The Minister was informed that non-response to provide the Ombudsman information as requested  may result in the Ombudsman applying article 23 of the National Ordinance Ombudsman to inform Parliament regarding compliance by Government with the pertinent legislation.

Timeshare Industry

Considering the importance of the timeshare industry for Sint Maarten, the efforts of Parliament to legislate additional protection for the rights of timeshare owners, and queries by the Ombudsman at the Court of First Instance on Sint Maarten regarding the registration of timeshare regulations pursuant to the  Permit Ordinance did not yield any results, the urgent attention was requested from the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication to provide the Ombudsman a progress report on recommendations issued. Failure by the Ministry to provide a status report regarding the supervision of compliance with the law by all Timeshare resorts, prompted the Ombudsman to inform Parliament by letter of August 8, 2016 accordingly. Both the letter to Parliament pursuant to the law and the “letter of concern” to the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication are available for review on the website of the Ombudsman:

Article 23

This is the second time that the Ombudsman reports to Parliament subsequent to article 23 of the National Ordinance Ombudsman. As has been the case with the report on Cadaster, the Ombudsman awaits a reaction from both Government and Parliament regarding the concerns.

The Ombudsman listens, investigates, and recommends

Government to act on the concerns of the people

The Ombudsman is the Voice and Protector of the People

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