: --- Minister of Justice Anna Richardson did not mingle with words on Wednesday at the Council of Minister's press briefing when she addressed the issues regarding the back pay owed to police officers.
Richardson was reacting to an article published on SMN News on Tuesday regarding the outstanding payments owed to police officers and the motion that was passed by the parliament of St. Maarten in June 2021. The motion was presented by Member of Parliament Grisha Heyliger Marten.
Richardson said she sent out a press release in late December 2022 informing the public that the Governor of St. Maarten has asked the government to provide him with the exact amount of monies that is owned to officers of KPSM before he signs off on the LB to adjust the salary scales of the officers. She said that the governor informed her that before he obligates the country to law, he must first receive the total sum that the government of St. Maarten has to pay off to the officers of KPSM over the course of three to five years that was signed in a covenant.
Minister Richardson took a swipe at the President of NABP Union Mauricia who made this statement on Tuesday “For some time now, I have been trying to get clarity from the Hon. Minister on the progress of regulating the legal positions (“rechtsposities”) of the civil servants employed in the Justice Ministry. NAPB Police Union President Rogerrel Eugenio Mauricia told SMN news on Tuesday that "The government has to come out and apologize to members of the KPSM, Immigration and members of the Federal Detectives and Parliament should do its job."
The Minister in reaction said that she knows this is an election year and that Mauricia will postulate himself as a candidate, as such she does not know if this is the reason he acted as though he did not sit in a room with her in a CCSU platform where the update on the legal positions (“rechtsposities”) was given. She further explained that an NAPB member is a member of the placement committee, a decision that was made in the said CCSU meeting.
The Minister of Justice made clear that from the time she took office, she made clear that she was going to deal with all matters relating to KPSM the legal and correct way. She said she knew that it was going to be a long way, but it would have also been the correct way to rectify matters relating to officers of KPSM.
Richardson said that several Ministers before her even some that are now Members of Parliament sat in the seat as Minister of Justice and none of them attempted to regulate the scales of the officers. Since taking office she said the “function book has been completed, the rechtsposities”) have been completed on time but because the Governor needs to know the actual sum that will be owed to police officers and other civil servants the law was not yet signed off on. The Minister further explained that she was of the opinion that everyone was on a professional level.
She further clarified that the governor, the CCSU, and the Council of Advice does not operate based on a “motion of parliament” she said the motion that was passed at the end of June 2021 gives the impression as though her Ministry is now working on the issues that affect police officers, however, she clarified that the officers have been waiting for 12 years yet it is her administration that got the function books, the police law, and the salary scales done and not the previous administrations, some of whom are sitting in parliament.