Police officers win fight for promotions, back pay

PHILIPSBURG–Some twelve police officers who started legal proceedings against the Governor of Country St. Maarten in August 2016, booked a victory in the Court of Civil Service Affairs on Monday concerning their contested dates of appointment (aanstellingsdatum) and remuneration since working for St. Maarten Police Force KPSM.

In its ruling, the Court ordered the Governor to make new decisions on the starting date of the officers’ decrees within six weeks and to set a starting date for their basic police training BPO.
The Court also ordered Country St. Maarten to pay the legal costs of the proceedings, which were set at NAf. 1,400 for every claimant. The Court did not attach a monetary penalty in case of non-compliance to the verdicts.
The police cadets were all represented by Police Inspector Lyndon C.J. Lewis, who handled their administrative appeal case. He is known for defending himself during civil cases. Lyndon took on the 12 officers’ cases, and personally defended each of them for well over two hours in Court on November 21, 2016, with the officers present.
The group of police officers received their decrees from the Minister of Justice on July 22, 2016, during a ceremony held at police headquarters in Philipsburg. The officers accepted their long-awaited promotions, but ultimately were disappointed.
The officers were taken into service since 2012 and were selected to follow the BPO training. The cadets, however, were placed in the daily operation of the Police Force, replacing colleagues on sick leave, instead of sitting on school benches as mentioned in their former decree that stipulated that they were police cadets in training.
The cadets stated in their court case that they had never received proper training to fulfil their duties as full-fledged police officers, including those of detectives and members of the Arrest Team, and without any supervision.
KPSM management team claimed that there was no money in the budget for the BPO training.
“The cadets were consistent in asking about the training and they were always promised on a certain date that the training was going to start, but it never did. The officers worked as full-fledged police officers for nearly five years to receive a promotion with a retroactive compensation for only one year,” said Lewis at the hearing.
The 12 cadets sought compensation for their services to the country as full-fledged police officers from February 1, 2012, to the present day, and for them to be promoted to the rank of police sergeant (brigadier).
Government was represented in this case by attorney-at-law Aernout Kraaijeveld who pleaded with the Court to declare the cadets inadmissible in their cases against the Governor of St. Maarten and stated during the hearing they had never worked as full-fledged police officers.
The Court initially was scheduled to hand down its decision on January 23, but this did not materialise until yesterday.
The twelve officers involved in the case were Tamycha Arrindell, Cornelius Henderson, Kenesha Peterson, Samantha Theodore, Jariesha Jones,Tamara Jeffrey, Teddy Charlie, Jeremiah Daniel, Natasha Brandy, Sheron Richardson, Ashsley Roumou and Sabina Sabroche.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/65733-police-officers-win-fight-for-promotions-back-pay