PHILIPSBURG–United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams said authorities will have to “bite the bullet” one way or another when it comes to the draft pension reform legislation for civil servants.
She was at the time reacting to the position and concerns of the Committee for Civil Servants Union (CCSU) regarding the draft. CCSU had said it was not in agreement with the draft legislation.
“After several handlings of this draft law in parliament, it is evident that the consensus with the CCSU is not what it should be. If, however, separate from CCSU’s concerns, there is a general agreement that the pension system needs to be reformed for its sustainability into the future, then the discussion can focus on exactly what are the negative consequences the unions perceive for their members and, secondly, what are the matters left unattended, again according to the unions,” Wescot-Williams said.
“It was explained in parliament that the matters which, according to the unions, were left unattended are separate from this draft law and should be addressed separately. … The other issue … is the General Pension Fund APS itself as the administrator of the government’s pension plan. While definitely related, we should separate the discussions above to maintain the different perspectives.”
She said pension reform is not an easy matter anywhere in the world and St. Maarten should remain focused on the draft proposals to safeguard the future of the fund.
“Kicking the can down the road is not an option. And the current interim government will have to own up to the fact that they either have to agree wholeheartedly with these proposals, which they were very critical of, or come with an alternative.
“Had some of the current government ministers not been so critical of the pension reform proposals themselves when they were in opposition, we would have been much further along in the process. Let’s see what the meeting announced by the Prime Minister with the CCSU will bring. One way or another, we are going to have to bite the bullet,” she said.