GREAT BAY, PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The Ministry of Justice has taken note of a report in the press related to Monday’s rulings of the Court in Civil Servants Matters regarding several police officers. With the exception of one case, these court cases are all related to unanswered requests by the officers to be placed in a function that either does not exist within the current function books or is scaled differently in the draft function books.
While the Court did not order the Minister of Justice to directly comply with the requests of these officers, the Court did rule, that the Minister must make a decision on the requests. Most of these requests are for new National Decrees (“Landsbesluiten” or “Lb’s”), in which civil servants are placed in another function or rank, with a specific salary scale.
Unfortunately, the lack of timely responses to such requests is a recurring issue since 10-10-10. This due to the lack of persons relaying the proper information. National Decrees must be signed by the Governor and countersigned by the Minister of Justice. Only with the signature of both the Governor and the Minister of Justice can these decisions be executed, and the civil servants be placed in their new functions and paid according to their new scale.
In the past, several civil servants received their National Decrees regarding their personal legal positions based on the draft function books. However, this is no longer being executed due to the Governor’s position on not signing any National decrees for functions that are not yet approved until the Function books have been finalized and have formally entered into force.
This however has put the Minister of Justice in a very difficult position because the officers must now wait until the finalization of the function books in order to receive their National Decrees. Former Ministers of Justice have all tried to finalize the function books, during their tenure but with no success.
Minister Richardson has made the finalizing of the function books her top priority. A working group has been established to guide and finalize the process for such. At present, the working group is working diligently on solving this longstanding issue, with regular updates going out to the relevant stakeholders.
A serious delay in the finalization of the function book is the “Besluit Rechtspositie Korps Politie “o which there are two; the Rechtspositiebesluit KPNA 2000 Netherlands Antilles and the Rechtspositiebesluit KPSM 2011. Based on advice from the Council of Advice regarding, among other issues, article 60b of the Kingdom Charter, the government is now convinced that both are applicable.
However, the 2011 KPSM regulation takes preference. In this context, a retraction of the KPNA 2000 Netherlands Antilles regulation is currently being prepared, in order to resolve any uncertainty.
There was no media present during the combined hearings of the officers which lasted no more than 10 minutes. The Minister of Justice, the Ministry of Justice and the attorney is disappointed about the false and misleading statements in the press regarding what was said during the hearing.
The statements made by Lyndon Lewis which were published on SMN News related to the Minister not following the advice of the Attorney was never mentioned during the hearing. The attorney stated that he informed the court that he had given advice on how the Ministry should proceed and expect decisions to be fourth coming. In addition, Minister Richardson condemns the allegation of not responding to the officer’s request.
Minister Richardson expressed her full commitment pertaining to the finalization of the function books which will result in the officers receiving their National Decrees according to their Legal Position within the organization.