Minister Boasman: Problems within Ministry are many and many are justified



PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman addressed members of the press in Wednesday’s, June 14, Council of Ministers Press Briefing.

First he congratulated Police Chief Carl John and the police force of St. Maarten “for the tremendous job that they did during, and after the attempted robbery at the Scotiabank. This goes to show that with cooperation and alertness, because there were different agencies involved, they all got together and stood up to the call of duty and as such we were able to detain all four culprits.”

“It has been clear from the get go that we would do everything possible to make sure that our law enforcement officers have what it takes, have what they need to be able to do the job that they are assigned to do,” Minister Boasman said.

On that same Wednesday, June 14, the Minister is scheduled to meet with the unions to discuss a number of issues. “There’s one thing I need to clarify. From the very beginning one of the first things that I did was to invite the unions for a meeting, and I’ve had several meetings with them since then and everything that I’ve done, including the recruitment of the police, the unions are represented on the recruitment committee. The rest I will discuss with the unions this afternoon, and hopefully we would leave the meeting having clarified whatever the issues are,” Minister Boasman said.

“I’m a former trade unionist, so I understand the struggles, but we have to deal with all matters within our reality and within our possibility. There are a lot of things we can want and we would want today, but not everything is possible and I do acknowledge. I just commended the police for the work that they are doing. It is some of the same police officers who are encountering the problems and despite that they are out there doing their job. They should be double commended for that, and I definitely would be one who would not be doing anything to jeopardize them or their livelihood,” the Minister continued.

“I’m doing everything possible to fix the problems that I inherited,” Minister Boasman stated. Among personnel issues are life and accident insurance being confused with medical insurance, as well as personnel not receiving proper proof of insurance. “That document that we got from the insurance company felt somehow it was not up to par. There was no real indication that it was an official document from the insurance company and we felt that it was prone to forgery, so we asked the insurance company to change the type of document that was used to give the proof,” the Minister explained.

“In the meantime, we have received the updated version for all of the workers that are involved and if I’m not mistaken some were already distributed. The Secretary General is in charge of making sure that everyone of all the departments get that,” Minister Boasman continued.

In addition, a task force was set up to look at all of the personnel issues within the Justice Ministry. “The problems are many and many of them are justified. People have been waiting for years in order to get their business regulated and it was not happening. And so I could imagine that people get very frustrated and some would get sick of waiting and they would turn to the judge to get a decision. There are so many of these personnel issues and they are spread among all of the departments,” Minister Boasman acknowledged.

Therefore the problems were selected and grouped in teams. “Problems that are disciplinary, those that are legal, that are before the courts right now, and a team of HR workers were selected and they’re charged with just doing that,” the Minister informed.

“The priority would be set by the team and because we have five different officials on the team, none would have to wait until the other one is finished. So while one is dealing with the court cases, the other one is dealing with the disciplinary actions, and that way we hope that within a relatively short period we would be able to deal with all of the personnel issues that are facing the Ministry,” Minister Boasman explained.

At the prison next week Monday, June 19, there will be a groundbreaking for the renovation of the entrance of the prison. “This prison project was divided in different phases. It’s one of the phases that was approved, but not executed because some other things had to be put in place before we could go up there, and do this necessary work,” the Minister said.

Minister Boasman briefly addressed Fenix Global Technologies, which is a company “that had to do with ankle bracelets sometime in the past. We will look into that matter and as soon as I have more information on that I would share it,” the Minister concluded.