Philipsburg – On Friday, August 26th, 2022, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson signed fifteen national decrees establishing the legal status of several police officers, after they had been signed by His Excellency Governor Eugene B. Holiday.
Due to the lack of a Function Book and salary scales concerning police personnel, the “Besluit Rechtspositie Korps Politie Sint Maarten” (Legal Position Regulation for the Police of Sint Maarten) of October 10th, 2010, could not be implemented. However, with the draft Legal Position Regulation currently on the legislative track, the Ministry of Justice Function Book was signed and approved in December 2021, and the verdicts rendered by the court in favor of the fifteen police officers of Class 2011 and Class 2015, His Excellency Governor Holiday seemingly feels assured that the necessary work has been invested to proceed with the signing of the fifteen national decrees.
Minister Richardson stated, “Upon taking office as Minister of Justice in 2020, I encountered a situation where national decrees of police personnel were no longer signed due to the lack of a Function Book and salary scales. My team and I have remained committed to giving the personnel matters of the Ministry the required attention seeing through not only the signed and approved Function Book but the draft Legal Position Regulation as well. As a team, we continue to make great strides.”
The next phase of regulating the Ministry’s personnel affairs is the execution of the implementation plan of the Police Salary Scales Advisory Committee to enable the remaining payments to police personnel by January 1st, 2023. A significant step in this process is the placement of police personnel, including both police officers and support staff, in their new function as described and classified in the Function Book.
On May 28th and June 2nd, 2022, vital discussions were held with the unions ABVO, NAPB, and WICSU about the draft Legal Position Regulation, and an agreement was reached. Subsequently, Minister Richardson signed a Covenant with the three unions regarding the draft Legal Position Regulation on June 10th, 2022. In addition, Minister Richardson presented the draft Legal Position Regulation to the Committee for Civil Servants Union (CCSU) on July 26th, 2022, for final review and advice within a few weeks. After receiving the advice from both the CCSU and the Council of Advice, the draft Legal Position Regulation will go back to the Council of Ministers for approval and then sent to His Excellency Governor Holiday and Minister Richardson for formal approval and signing. This final step will serve as the legal basis for the police personnel to be reimbursed for salary differences that exist since the salaries of police personnel had not been adjusted in 2010.
“After 11 years, our police officers will finally be placed in their respective functions with their corresponding salary scales. Police personnel work tirelessly to uphold the law, while safeguarding the safety and security of our community, as such, I will ensure that the next steps taken will contribute to the motivation of our police officers who’ve had to wait a long time to realize their rights as civil servants. I express profound thanks to the Council of Ministers, Acting Secretary-General Ligia Stella, Consultant and Change Manager Alvin Daal, Attorney Peggy Ann Brandon, the Police Force of Sint Maarten, the Department of Judicial Affairs, and all other relevant stakeholders who are key players in getting us to this milestone. I am also grateful to His Excellency Governor Holiday for his cooperation. After quite a number of years, we have finally arrived at a point where he is signing national decrees once again,” concluded Minister Richardson.