PHILIPSBURG—Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard will request an urgent meeting of Parliament pertaining to the proposed change of the legal status of the staff of the Social Economic Council (SER). Parliament will request the presence of the Secretary General of the Ministry of General Affairs, the department head of Legal Affairs and Legislation, the acting department head of Personnel and Organization (P&O), the Chairman and SG of the SER.
The MP stated that in the past few months Parliament had received two letters from the SER concerning matters related to its legislation and its personnel. The first letter dated August 1st, 2019 concerns the delay with the revision of the National ordinance of the Social Economic Council AB 2010, GT no. 19 and the systematic infringement on the independent position of the SER by the SG of the Ministry of General Affairs. The second letter dated November 1st, 2019 which is more alarming concerns the change of the legal status of the staff of the SER.
In addition to the SER, the memo from the department of P&O also includes proposed changes to the legal status of the personnel of the High Councils of State and the Integrity Chamber. The MP would like to know who proposed the changes of the legal status of staff of these institutions? Is it the former Council of Ministers? The former caretaker Minister of General Affairs/Prime Minister? The SG of the Ministry of General Affairs? Who is the competent authority when it pertains to the legal status of the staff of the SER ? The SER is an independent advisory body established by National ordinance said Leonard, is the SER involved in the process as it pertains to their own staff ? It should be clear to Parliament.
Furthermore, Leonard said “is it true that one of the advisory institutions filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against the SG of the Ministry of General Affairs? What is the nature of this complaint? Has this issue been resolved?
Leonard said she hopes that the various department heads and SG of the Ministry of General Affairs can clear up some of her questions. “It worries her that decisions were made during a caretaker government, while these decisions have far reaching legal consequences for the staff of the SER. The SER is one of the institutions that is charged with maintaining the checks and balances of country St. Maarten.