PHILIPSBURG — The go-slow action at the Police Force has the full attention of politicians and the Ministry of Justice. MP Rolando Brison (UP) proposed a three-step solution in a press release, while these proposals have already been rejected by the unions. MP Sarah Wescot-Williams (UD) urged Minister Richardson to make retroactive payments and the minister stated in a press release that her staff had been working “throughout the night” to complete the placement letters.
MP Brison proposes completing the issuing of placement letters (something the ministry is already working on), to acknowledge workers concerns about miscalculations and to confirm their right to appeal. Furthermore he suggests instituting a temporary change to overtime regulation for police officers, or to guarantee that overtime accumulated during Carnival will be properly compensated. His third suggestion tallies with MP Wescot-Williams’ call for the payment of retroactive salaries.
Justice Minister Anna Richardson stated in a press release dated April 11 that the unions are fully represented in the placement process and that there is not only communication from the ministry to the employees but also from the unions to their members.
The minister furthermore noted that her department has more than 700 employees and that the vice president of the NAPB-union, Officer Doran, is a member of the placement committee.
Staff at the following departments received their placement letters this past weekend: KPSM, Customs, National Detectives, Staff Bureau, Financial Information Unit and Immigration and Border Protection Services. Placement letters still have to be issued for workers at the Pointe Blanche Prison and the House of Detention, including the Miss Lalie Center.
The press release states that staff worked “throughout the night” on the placement letters. The release contains one cryptic statement: “Without the active contribution of the eligible workers, it is impossible to complete calculations with consideration of actual circumstances.”
MP Wescot-Williams urged the minister in a press statement to pay the retroactive salaries for the amount that is allocated for this purpose in the approved 2023 budget.
“Workers received payment in January 2020 even though there was no legal basis for it,” the release states.
Wescot-Williams points out that there is 2 million guilders allocated for retroactive payments in the approved 2023 budget and that a parliament-motion has instructed the minister to go ahead with the payments.”And still we hear from the minister that she has to consult with legal affairs.”
Meanwhile, the police unions ABVO and NAPB today held an urgent meeting with the police chief and management team regarding the developments and recent concerns of their loyal members working at KPSM. The agenda topics included safety and security of the police officers, the community of St. Maarten, revelers and visitors during the carnival season. In addition, the integrity of the organization, particularly as it relates to the credibility of the workers was discussed. Parties agreed that it was a very positive meeting on a strategic level, however the unions indicated that they are awaiting a written proposal from the Minister of Justice in regards to the way forward.
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