SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The meeting set to take place at 5pm on Friday July 17,2020 between the Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson and the leadership of St. Maarten police union NAPB, St. Maarten and Windward Islands Civil Servants’ Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU) to discuss the grievances expressed by union members, did not take place as the unions sent a notification via e-mail at 5:05 pm, advising the minister that they would not be in attendance.
Minister Richardson, her Cabinet members, department heads and legal counsel were present at the agreed time to update the unions on the status and the process to formalize the function books of all the departments within the Ministry of Justice, the placement of personnel thereafter and the role of the unions therein. In addition, department heads were also present to directly hear the grievances expressed by their staff members through the unions. In light of the events of this week with the unions and members in full demonstration, the objective of Minister Richardson was to ensure the proper legal structure was followed. Minister Richardson finds it unfortunate that in an attempt to open dialogue with the unions and reach a consensus on a clear path forward, that the unions decided not to attend.
In their e-mail response to Minister Richardson, the NAPB and WICSU noted that after statements made by the Minister advising the unions to seek legal counsel and their review of article 112h of the National Ordinance Substantive Civil Servants Law (LMA) and counsel from their legal team, that going forward all matters concerning the rights and legal position of civil servants are to be held within the platform of the Committee of Civil Servants Union (CCSU).
The unions further informed Minister Richardson that they would be submitting a letter to the CCSU to request a meeting with the minister. The unions, however, did not indicate the timeframe in which this would take place.
Minister Richardson said that she was pleased to see that the unions decided to work in accordance with the legal procedures, as suggested, and stated that she looks forward to receiving their letter and continuing the dialogue within the platform of the CCSU.