Philipsburg – The Function Book of the Ministry of Justice is in the final phase of the legislative process towards its completion to become law, confirmed the Minister of Justice, Honorable Anna E. Richardson. As per Friday, October 22, 2021, the function book is officially in final review at the Department of Legal Affairs. In conjuction with the function book, the National decree containing general measures “Rechtspositie Regeling KPSM, amendments to the Police Ordinance (Politie Landsverordenning), the Organization decree for the Justice Ministry (Organisatie besluit Justitie), and several decrees relating to the Immigration & Border control division of the Ministry of Justice have all been completed.
The Ministry of Justice function book has been an unresolved matter since 10-10-10 and has contributed to various challenges within the Ministry of Justice. As such, Minister Richardson ensured its completion would be of top priority after taking office on March 2020.
Minister Richardson stated, “For several months, persons have remained dedicated and made great strides to have the function book at this stage near full completion. It is the aim that the legislative process will be completed prudently. A promise made is a promise kept. As such, I will continue to work in the interest of all civil servants within this Ministry so that together we can best serve the people of Sint Maarten.”
Three months after the establishment of a Work Group and Steering Committee back in September 2020, the draft function book was submitted to the Committee of Civil Servants Union (CCSU) for review. After having received feedback from the Progress Committee, the Committee of Civil Servants Union (CCSU) and the unions representing the civil servants within the Ministry of Justice, the Function Book was submitted to the Council of Advice for a legal review in May 2021.
In July 2021, a legal review was commissioned to confirm that the submission by the Ministry of Justice was in compliance with higher laws (Rijkswetten), fully responded to and addressed the concerns raised by the Progress Committee (Voortgangscommissie) and the Law Enforcement Council (Raad voor Rechtshandhaving). Upon conclusion of the review, and close consultation with the unions representing the Justice Ministry workers (NAPB, ABVO, WICSU), the function book was updated.
The Council of Advice rendered its advice on the function book in August 2021, which listed several areas needing amendments. The work executed involving the unions and management of the divisions within the Ministry of Justice, fully addressed the matters requiring amendments in the advice from the Council of Advice with the exception of the “Rechtspositie regeling KPSM” issue. In order to fully comply, the draft Rechtspositie regeling of 2016 submitted by the unions was reviewed and prepared for submission, therewith, addressing the lingering overtime compensation concerns as well.
Minister Richardson stated, “I whole heartedly express my gratitude to all involved who worked around the clock to make this happen, including the Progress Committee and the Law Enforcement Council having provided clear guidance through their reports. This effort gave much needed attention to redress function, salary and overtime related issues, and resulted in resolute actions and results long overdue. The civil servants within the Ministry of Justice have been patient, and while work is being done to address all issues, focus will now be geared towards completion of the “Rechtspositie regelingen” for other divisions of the Justice Ministry, and the Compensation decree (Bezoldigsbesluit). I remain extremely grateful to my team, management of the divisions and the unions for the collaboration that made this all possible.”
The function book is currently at the Department of Legal Affairs for a final review before it is sent to the Council of Ministers for final approval. Once this is completed, it will be sent to His Excellency, Drs. Eugene Holiday, to be established by National decree containing general measures (LBham). The Function Book will then be recognized within the status of law of Sint Maarten.