PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs says she can understand the frustration of workers and would like a chance to engage in dialogue with the Committee for Civil Servants Union (CCSU) and mediator if necessary.
She told Parliament on Friday during the continuation of a meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament on the draft 2021 budget that the cost-cutting laws passed by the legislature have been sent by the Ombudsman to the Constitutional Court for review. As a result, the enactment of the laws is now awaiting the outcome of the review.
“I must state that the review has not yet led the government to go over to non-execution of the measures, as that may be considered as a violation of the agreements made last year May 2020 to receive the second tranche of liquidity support.
“This has also been confirmed from the letter that was received from caretaker State Secretary [for Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK Raymond – Ed.] Knops on June 9, 2021. Future liquidity support, as we all know, is dependent on this,” Jacobs said.
“I would like to mention, in this regard, that I am aware of potential actions to be taken by union members, and although it might seem like a negative reaction, I can understand the frustration of the workers. Though I would appreciate an opportunity for dialogue via the CCSU and mediator, if necessary, I do support the right to congregate, meet and protest, as this is a fundamental right of all.”
Jacobs said she had issued several warnings to the Dutch government via Knops and the RMR that the risk of unrest as a result of cost-cutting measures is a real one especially with the recent petition of the Ombudsman to the Constitutional Court for review of the laws.
“The concerns of the Ombudsman are the concerns of the government and were also echoed in the Parliament and, therefore, we look forward to the constitutional review of the laws by the relevant authority and will uphold the constitution via said decision.”
She explained that a post has been taken up in the budget to deal with the possible negative outcome of the review for the government, as the Minister of Finance elucidated in his presentation.
“However, I will be requesting this topic to be revisited in further discussions with BZK, as upholding our constitution is indeed a requirement of the government of St. Maarten.” she said.