Published On: Wed, Nov 14th, 2012

PM extends submission period for BTA renewals

PHILIPSBURG – The Daily Herald reports that Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, as Minister of General Affairs, has extended the time allotted for the submission of birth certificates by persons applying to renew their Brooks Tower Accord (BTA) permits, a press release from the Prime Minister said Tuesday.

The original expiration date for the submission of documents was the end of November. However, because of various issues faced by applicants from various countries of origin, including Haiti which has faced significant natural disasters over the last years, the process of obtaining required documentation, including birth certificates, has been quite slow.

"A large number of applicants with BTA documents that are up for renewal cannot get a registration documents from the Civil Registry due to them needing a birth certificate that is no more than two years old and notarised by the Dutch Embassy in their country of origin.

"Due to various circumstances faced by the origin countries of the applicants, including the earthquake in Haiti and the passing of Hurricane Sandy over various Caribbean territories, the process in order to get the necessary documents has been slow," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister met with United Haitian Community of St. Maarten President Jestan Guerrier some three weeks ago and he expressed his concerns regarding the issue. During the meeting the Prime Minister promised to follow up.

"After Mr. Guerrier visited me I contacted the Civil Registry Department in order to discuss possible scenarios. We concluded that indeed an extension for a six-month period would be a good option with clear instructions that no further extensions will be given along with the following: that all documents must be valid; that all documents must have the proper legalisation; that documents must be returned within the six-month period or the applicants will be written out of the population registry, and that all identification cards will be valid for six months," continued the Prime Minister.

Wescot-Williams is urging all applicants to take the necessary steps to get their documentation in order.

"We have done our part and now it is up to the applicants to ensure that all of their documentation is in order. I encourage all applicants to not put off submitting their documents and to engage in the process as soon as they can. They must also keep in mind that if the documents are not returned within the six-month period the applicants will be unfortunately removed from the Civil Registry," she concluded.

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