PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Dear Editor,
The WICSU/PSU Union was appalled upon reading the headline Daily Herald, Thursday May 19th, 2016 "Prison guards suspended of smuggling into House of detention" Needless to say, the WICSU/PSU Union considers this to be a most disturbing and frightening development that ought to be placed very high on the agenda of the Minister of Justice. Furthermore, the WICSU/PSU Union noticed a very troubling error upon a close review of said article. According to the press release, "the workers immediately involved their union, the WICSU/PSU Union, but the new Union President has been mum since taking the post. The Daily Herald tried to contact Solognier for comment on Wednesday but was unable to reach her. She has yet to call a press conference or give a press statements about the Unions plans to resolve the issue". Dear reader, it is necessary to point out that, in truth, the prison guards in question are members of the ABVO union and as such contacted the latter i.e. ABVO to discuss the issue in further detail. That being the case, it seems completely reasonable that the ABVO Union ought to determine the necessary course of action upon obtaining accurate and complete information after conducting their investigation. Quite frankly, for the WICSU/PSU Union to comment on this issue without having all of the relevant facts would be to breach protocol and is against the spirit of unity & solidarity we enjoy with the ABVO Union! Furthermore, the point must be made that upon discovering the error the WICSU/PSU Union kindly requested the journalist to retract the erroneous statement made on Thursday May 22nd 2016 regarding the WICSU/PSU Union. To date, no retraction has been made. This in our view, seems rather peculiar, disappointing and unprofessional to say the least. Ultimately, the publishing of incomplete or inaccurate information might be considered to be a great disservice to the loyal readers, at home and abroad. Nevertheless, since the development at the Point Blanche House of detention is currently under the microscope, the WICSU/PSU Union wishes to draw the reader's attention to the following. Truthfully, space does not permit the WICSU/PSU Union to chronicle the host of issues affecting and often times prohibits prison guards from effectively carrying out of their duties. However, the Union is very concerned about the working conditions, training, health and safety issues affecting prison guards. The WICSU/PSU Union fears that should the aforementioned issues remain unresolved and continue will further fuel discontent among and jeopardize the safety of the prison guards and even possibly that of society. Rest assured, the WICSU/PSU Union intends to meet with all relevant authorities, within and across the Ministry of Justice, with the sole purpose of identifying and implementing practical solutions to improve the extremely worrisome working conditions at the Point Blanche House of Detention.
Together we struggle, together we achieve.