St.maarten – The Social Economic Council (SER) was wrong when it dismissed economist Arjen Alberts per August 1 of last year. The Court in First Instance voided the dismissal decree this week and ruled that the governor has to take a new decision about the administrative objection Alberts filed against his dismissal.
In September of last year, the SER paid a dismissal-compensation of a bit more than 60,000 guilders, after it had stopped paying Alberts’ salary in July. He received reduced pay until January of this year.
Because the court has declared the dismissal void, Albert remains formally on the payroll of the SER. The council will have to pay his full salary and fringe benefits, including arrears.
The Ministry of Public Health, when Cornelius de Weever was its minister, declared in a letter of December 19, 2014, that it no longer wanted to work with Alberts “based on numerous complaints” but the court found that those complaints basically do not exist.`
The decree to dismiss Alberts is based on “shortcomings in communication and awareness of his environment.”
The SER holds against Alberts that he allegedly made statements about the prime minister and the people of St. Maarten in a meeting with a delegation of the ministry of public health, social development and labor that were perceived as “insulting and denigrating.”
The complaint about these allegations snowballed: first the ministry and then the SER-secretariat did not want to work with Alberts anymore. He was first suspended, barred from his work place and then took his story to the media.
The court dove into the heart of the matter: the “insulting and denigrating” remarks and found that the SER had not presented any verbatim account of them.
Alberts and his colleague Bas Peters did write a statement about what went down in the meeting at the ministry. The subject was education levels and pension awareness. Peters said in the meeting that education levels are relevant for a pension system, “because a low education level is associated with a low level of trust in institutions and generally with a low income level. If these two factors are combined, then people are not likely to voluntarily participate in a pension system.”
Source: Today SXM Court voids dismissal economist Alberts