*** BREAKING NEWS *** Attorney Cindy Marica-Henderson wins court case for six immigration officers

Attorney Cindy Marica-Henderson

Attorney Cindy Marica-Henderson

PHILIPSBURG – In 2011 a group of six immigration officers applied for the position of Team Leader at the Immigration and Border Protection Department as advertised after 10-10-10 by the Ministry of Justice.

Over a year after, they were interviewed in connection with their application and were found suitable for the function. They received their appointment decree (Landsbesluit) in the position of Team Leader at the Immigration and Border Protection Services, from the Governor.

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Only after reading their Landsbesluit it became evident that there were changes made by the Ministry of Justice, which would have a negative effect on – amongst other matters – their remuneration. It also appeared that they were no longer under the police remuneration scales, but were now placed under the civil servants remuneration scales. It is well known that the salaries based on the latter scales are lower than the police scales.

Moreover, there was now a situation where some Team Leader immigration officers were still under police regulations, in higher scales and they were paid accordingly. However, these six weren’t. Therefore the immigration officers could not be considered to be promoted in the sense of the applicable laws. In addition, there was insufficient information about the new organization they had been transferred to.

Attempts were made to reverse their Landsbesluiten through intervention of their Union. However, these attempts were unsuccessful. The Union and the six officers engaged the services of Attorney-at-Law Cindy Marica-Henderson of Mariflex Attorneys office to represent them in this matter.

An appeal entailing a request to nullify their respective Landsbesluiten was filed by Marica-Henderson with the Court of First Instance. However, they were unsuccessful as the Court was of the opinion that before the Immigration officers applied for the position, they should have requested information before. The Court furthermore decided that the fact that these Immigration officers were always placed and compensated based on the Police scales, was irrelevant and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

Marica-Henderson filed an appeal against this decision of the Court in First Instance with the Council of Appeals in Civil Servants, which was handled in January. The Union representative Inspector Lyndon Lewis also explained to the Council what the proper procedure is for promotion, and the scales the Immigration officers should have been placed in based on applicable regulations.

The Council in its March 4, decision agreed with the Attorney and Union representative Lewis that the decision of the Minister of Justice was not taken in accordance with the principles of good governance, and were in conflict with the National Ordinance regulating the position of police officers. The new organization under which these officers were placed did not even have an approved function and position system in place.

The Council therefore nullified the decision of the Court in First Instance and honored the appeal of the immigration officers.

The Council suggested that the Minister of Justice/Governor promote the Immigration officers with due consideration of the applicable laws and ordinances. This decision (positively) affects the colleagues of the immigration officers, who were wondering what would happen with their positions.

Union representative Lewis is confident that the current Minister of Justice will cooperate with them to resolve these matters further in an amicable manner. The immigration officers also want to resolve this matter as soon as possible, and will cooperate. They are very pleased and feel relieved with the judgment after they had been left in uncertainty for the past 2 years.

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Source: 721 news *** BREAKING NEWS *** Attorney Cindy Marica-Henderson wins court case for six immigration officers

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