GREAT BAY – Attorneys handling pro bono cases are threatening to go on strike for the second time in six months if the government does not pay their outstanding invoices dating back to December of last year, attorney Geert Hatzmann said.
“It is the same old song. The ministry of justice blames to ministry of finance and vice versa,” Hatzmann said. “That is however not our concern. We demand that out outstanding invoices will be paid no later than March 31. If that does not happen we will go on strike on April 1 (is that not an appropriate date?) until the invoices have been paid in full.”
On a personal note, Hatzmann adds that he finds it “incomprehensible and scandalous” that the government has not learned anything since the previous strike. “How can it be that they free up a budget of $80,000 for Christmas decorations of a government building and that a fortune is spent on all kinds of trips for ministers but that there is no money available to finance the pro bono attorneys? Just think about it that minister that flew up and down from the Netherlands thirteen times in a year – I bet that was business class too. Apparently this government does not value the constitutional state at all.”
In September of last year, pro bono attorneys also went on strike over the non-payment of their invoices. On September 25, a group of attorneys assembled near the Today office for a march on the office of Justice Minister Edson Kirindongo. When it appeared he was not in his office, the attorneys staged a protest at the new Government Administration Building on Pond Island that was about to be inaugurated that day.
On October 6, the strike ended after the pro bono attorneys had been “more or less paid.”
Photo caption: Protesting attorneys during the strike in September of last year on their way to the office of the minister of justice. File photo Today / Milton Pieters
Source: TODAY http://today.sx/judicial/pro-bono-attorneys-threaten-second-strike-within-6-months/