~Richardson clarifies the situation during Question Hour~
PHILIPSBURG:--- In today's question hour in Parliament where questions were posed by Members of Parliament regarding the current situation within the Justice Ministry.
However, MP Rolando Brison used his speaking time to question the minister about a possible solution he is proposing to at least ensure the police receive some payment as soon as possible. His proposal was based on the debt that has been calculated and acknowledged, could payments be made to officers in the shorter term under the strict condition that the right of officers, even after receiving this calculated sum from the government to appeal discrepancies in the amount, still have their right to appeal. He did this considering that 3 key components now exist, 1) an acknowledgment by the government of a retroactive debt to police officers based on the letters 2) a Budget available based on what the parliament just passed, and 3) national urgent interest.
Brison was contacted by SMN News to further elucidate his proposed solution which he did as follows:
The UP Leader and Member of Parliament said that the government is currently facing an unfortunate situation that as he has always said in the past, it is the result of years of complex issues since the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles. No one Minister is responsible for the problem, but the fact is this coalition and this member of parliament have made the most progress in this regard. In 2018 soon after entering parliament said he knew that his government would have issues if solutions were not found to find a budget for the retroactive payments and raise income to keep up with their new position payments. With the initiative law UTS, sufficient funds were found to pay the police what is called “installment 1" to pay the police.
Since then, as a coalition, they have chosen to ensure the government comes up with a more precise calculation of what the remainder owed to the justice workers may be. The government had succeeded in that regard and now the placements letters with those amounts are being sent to justice workers. The government clearly has been working year-round on this, and has taken a huge milestone: created a calculation that the government estimates is owed to the justice workers. However, in any such process, there will always be some imperfections. But I don't think people understand how important it is that a calculation has been made and now there has been an official acknowledgment by the government of what they are owed.
“I understand that we have to recognize the urgency of this situation and the difficult financial position many officers find themselves in. So, the proposed solution is something we need to explore. This is not an ordinary situation. Various ordinances including the accountability ordinance as well as the civil servant ordinance have stipulations related to the national interest being paramount,” Brison said.
The MP said the minister does need some time to see the legal way this can be done. I do not think that would be a matter of months however, this should be able to be investigated in the shorter term. Paying the police, the next installment based on the currently acknowledged debt will at least show that we are serious about doing right by the police, and based on my discussions with the Minister and based on her presentation today, we are almost at that finished line. Key to this would be that the officers retain full rights to contest any discrepancies which can be handled in a 3rd and final installment.