Philipsburg – On Friday, October 14, 2022, the Towing Policy of the Ministry of Justice was published in the National Gazette. The absence of a clear parking and towing policy plan in St. Maarten has been causing challenges for a number of years, including transport disarray, abandoned cars and a problematic towing practice. The Ministry of Justice is tasked with realizing effective enforcement of parking offenses and the promotion of public road safety. As such, a transparent and unambiguous towing policy is essential in achieving those goals. Much like the Weapon Policy, after so many years, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson prioritized this very plaguing issue.
The towing policy which was established in collaboration with the Ministries of TEATT and VROMI aims to provide clarity about the legal basis and the procedure of towing, including checks and balances for the citizens of Sint Maarten. The legal framework for towing includes procedural steps, the registration system, and the procedure for selling and demolishing towed vehicles. The Ministry of VROMI is currently in the process of replacing traffic signs where they once stood. In the meantime, however, the general public is encouraged to park in a responsible manner. For example, there is no need for a driver to park on a sidewalk disrupting the flow of traffic and hindering of pedestrians.
To implement the towing Policy in an adequate manner, the Ministry of Justice created an inventive Rotational Tow Program which was also published in the National Gazette on October 14, 2022. The rotational tow program contains guidelines a towing operator shall comply with in order to receive a rotation tow listing with the Ministry of Justice of Sint Maarten. The Program is voluntary and is based on the needs of Korps Politie Sint Maarten (KPSM). Compliance with all of the rules, regulations and requirements of the Program as well as the towing policy is mandatory for participating tow operators.
The Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson stated, “The finalization of a towing policy has been a priority of the Ministry of Justice in order to regulate parking and the obstruction of traffic. As such, I am elated that the new towing policy and the rotational tow program have finally been completed and published in the National Gazette. I would like to thank the Department of Judicial Affairs and the Ministries of TEATT and VROMI for their dedication and commitment to seeing this much-needed policy through.”
The rotational tow program determines the fees and the response time for towing companies. It also includes requirements regarding liability and insurance, an adequate storage facility, reporting, confidentiality, professionalism, technical requirements of towing vehicles, and more.
Minister Richardson hereby invites towing companies who are interested in participating in the rotational tow program and are willing to comply with the set requirements in the Tow Program, to register for an information session about the Tow Program via email at email@example.com.
The Towing Policy and Rotational Tow Program will give the Ministry of Justice the much-needed structural approach for a safe and responsible manner of towing vehicles ensuring traffic safety and traffic flow. The Ministry is hereby advising persons who have been parking at locations or for time periods not allowed by the law to take note of this initiative toward a stricter and more structural approach to towing vehicles.