Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson brings clarity to statements made by NAPB Union

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Philipsburg – Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson took note of an article that was published by the Police Union (NAPB) on March 4, 2021. After a decade of not having a Function book in place for the Ministry of Justice, a Project organization comprising of a Steering Committee and a Workgroup was installed on September 4, 2020.

On December 22, 2020, just three months after the installation of the workgroup, the Ministry of Justice’s Function Book consisting of all nine (9) departments was handed over to the Committee of Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) for their review and advice. As required by law, consultations of such sort must be held with the CCSU.

The CCSU was given 6 weeks to render their advice, however, on January 28, 2021, a letter was sent by the Chairman of the CCSU Mr. Rafael Boasman requesting a 4-week extension. Minister Richardson granted the requested extension giving the CCSU additional time to review and render an advice to the workgroup by or before March 1, 2021. The advice from the CCSU has since been delivered to the workgroup and is currently being reviewed. A response will be given to the CCSU concerning the advice that was rendered and the relevant changes that will be made where and if necessary.

Where it relates to the retracting of the Function book of the Police force in which the Border Protection and Mobile Control Unit was a part of, and signed by Ministerial decree in 2019 by Former Minister of Justice Minister van Hugh C de Weever, it must be explicitly known that the “Function book” being referenced to, received a negative advice by the Council of Advice for various reasons and as such cannot remain in place and needs to be replaced.

In addition, the Mobile Unit and Border Protection division were removed from under the management of the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) and placed under the leadership of the Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBP) as having them under KPSM conflicted with the LIOL and Organizational Decree.

Where it relates to collective bargaining, this is a right in general, not the right of a specific union. International Labour Organization (ILO) treaties in general are not very specific in their application. The right of collective bargaining for public servants on Sint Maarten is regulated in article 106 of the Constitution of Sint Maarten which orders the legal position, and the rules of participation for civil servants, which is to be regulated by National Ordinance and is referred to as the “LMA”.

There are rules on how Unions need to apply for membership of the CCSU, and what criteria must be met to be admitted as members. It also lists which specific subjects the CCSU has the right of consent to and that for all other matters the right of advice. The right of collective bargaining is therefore limited to the package for which CCSU has the right of consent.

NAPB did not meet the criteria to become a member of the CCSU. As such, they are not a part of it. In addition, where it relates to the Function Book for the Ministry of Justice, the CCSU does not have the right of consent but rather to render advice.

The Ministers of Justice and General Affairs, are always willing to meet with NAPB as a Union representative if they wish to bring across some concerns of their members. However, the Ministers do not acknowledge the right of collective bargaining of NAPB with the government regarding any employee issue.