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Customs Officers are calling on the Minister of Justice to address their concerns.

PHILIPSBURG:--- Customs workers on St. Maarten have reached their limit and have made a public call to the Minister of Justice Anna Richardson to address their concerns as well as their working conditions.
The Customs officers that reached out to SMN News said they held a meeting with the Minister of Justice and the ABVO union where they expressed their grievances but to date, the Minister has not taken any action to resolve the issues and she did not reach out to them.
The customs officers claim in a letter said they need working dogs since the trained working dogs play a vital role in detecting contraband while safeguarding the country’s borders. The customs officers also state that they are not in possession of their Customs Pass. At the moment no officer has a pass and this cannot continue.
They also highlighted that they lack uniforms since this helps with identifying who they are. Due to the lack of uniforms, the customs officers feel like their appearance and morale are being threatened.
Most importantly the Customs Officers have called on the Minister of Justice to address the non-functional management team. They said the current management team consists of one person, they said Ms Judy La Paix has been placed on suspension while Johishi Romney has not reported to work for the past months. They said the management team consists of four persons and currently only “Bernidina” is on the job. They allege one of these persons has been abusing their power on the worksite and that a solution needed to be found.
According to the Customs Officers they have had months of dialogue that have not yielded concrete solutions, which have left them no choice but to firmly declare that the “status quo” can no longer be tolerated or deferred, therefore they insist that visible solutions to the six pressing issues be addressed forthwith while top priority must be placed on the amendment of their salaries.
The Minister was given one week to address these issues if not the Customs workers will take the next step towards industrial actions.

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