~Proposes 3 steps to alleviate justice workers' concerns~
PHILIPSBURG:--- Leader of the United People's UP Party in Parliament, MP Rolando Brison, sent a letter to Justice Minister Anna Richardson Tuesday, offering three solutions for her consideration that could help ensure the proper basis for Police overtime pay for extraordinarily long working hours during carnival, retroactively pay Justice Workers, and revise and finalize the issuing of the workers' placement letters.
In his letter, MP Brison expounded on his suggestion, made during an urgent Parliamentary Meeting on Wednesday last week. The proposed solutions come on the heels of an extensive process over several days, including listening directly to the Police Union and its Attorney Cor Merx, and while the Justice Workers are protesting dissatisfaction with the delay in arriving at a resolution to their long outstanding issues. "The only way to get real solutions to this challenging situation and end the go-slow is to empathize with the Justice workers who have waited already too long for a solution and work directly with them to determine a way forward," said MP Brison.
The Member of Parliament for the UP Party said he did not wish to play politics with the Justice workers' plight but instead wanted to find an amicable solution to their frustration that is legally sound and satisfactory to the workers. To arrive at what he believes is a workable solution, MP Brison formed a team consisting of MP Akeem Arrindell, Legal Advisor Lyndon Lewis, and Ms. Yde Heerenveen to research with him and evaluate the turn of events leading up to the go-slow. The team consulted with Justice Workers and legal professionals, reviewed the communications between the Justice Minister and the workers' NAPB Union, and met directly with the Union.
This strategy resulted in the three proposals being sent to Minister Richardson for her urgent review. Critical to his request is an acknowledgment of the time-sensitive nature of the Justice Workers' challenge and the associated security risks involved if resolutions are not arrived at swiftly. The Minister is asked to review the legal feasibilities of executing these proposals, or adjusting where necessary in a manner that satisfies the government’s legal responsibility and the workers’ needs.
"The National Interest of the Country is paramount. Carnival brings millions of dollars into the Country and is our Country's top cultural event. And while the officers' action seems not to be affecting the general operations and safety of the Country, the go-slow brings fear and uncertainty. It creates doubt and raises concern within the business community and society regarding our ability to keep the citizenry safe. During these times, we must all re-evaluate our course, listen to the concerns of our officers, and present possible solutions."
MP Brison said, "We know that the Justice Ministry has done extensive work to their credit to get to where we are today. Firstly I propose we complete the issuing of placement letters, but while doing so, acknowledge the workers' concerns over miscalculations, and confirm their right to appeal what they receive within a reasonably accepted time if the calculation is incorrect.”
“Secondly, our proposal is to urgently institute a temporary change to the overtime regulation for the Police Officers and/or guarantee their correct overtime accumulation, considering that Carnival 2023 starts in three days and is when they work the most extended hours. Either a new temporary regulation needs to be drafted or the officers need to be guaranteed that the overtime they accumulate during the carnival will be compensated at an acceptable rate retroactively, in line with the draft “rechtposititie”.
"And finally, payment towards retroactive debt needs to be made. In my view, through the calculations done and the placement letters sent, the Government will officially make a specific and quantifiable "acknowledgment of debt" to the justice workers. This is an important milestone: the Government is very close to knowing precisely what it believes is owed to the justice workers. So now an accurate payment can be made towards compensating their retroactive debt, using the new placements as a basis,” said MP Brison.
MP Brison said, "Solution-oriented approaches are important at this time. Not just the “what” that needs to be done but also the “how”, this is why we came up with specific proposals that the minister can review, which the union and officers have taken note of. I want to thank all the justice workers as well as the NAPB union for meeting with me to help us refine my proposal. I believe I have some goodwill with the officers in my role in helping them receive retroactive payments in 2020, so these interactions have been very helpful for all parties,” stated MP Brison.
“If we want our Police Force and the Justice Chain at all levels to reflect the society it polices and serves, we must treat them with the dignity and respect we expect, and this includes recognizing and empathizing with their legitimate and long endured grievance. I have asked the Minister to consider this and engage in direct dialogue with the Justice Workers and their union to arrive at these solutions before the situation worsens."