Urges Parliament & the Integrity Chamber to hold them accountable
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Sunday June 26, 2022, Gromyko Wilson made use of his Social Media platform to denounce the illegal and discriminatory actions taken by Prime Minister (PM) Silveria Jacobs on June 15, 2022, when the PM, Minister Ardwell Irion, Minister Anna Richardson and Minister Rudolph Samuel went against the ordinance passed in Parliament (and ratified by the Constitutional court) containing temporary covid-19 measures for civil servants and the likes (Tijdelijke Landsverordening Covid-19 bezuinigingen arbeidsvoorwaarden overheidsdienaren).
This ordinance specifically regulates the percentage of vacation allowance civil servants were entitled to receive between July 2019 and July 2021. This ordinance further states that as per July 2021, civil servants and the likes (all public school and subsidized teaching personnel, justice workers, employees of other “states” departments, etc.) no longer have the right to vacation allowance as prescribed in the ordinance regulating vacation allowance for civil servants.
In this same temporary ordinance, the vacation days of civil servants were established at 3 vacation days per scale range lower than what is regulated in the regular vacation ordinance (Vakantieregeling Sint Maarten). The PM in a so-called meeting with unions agreed to pay full vacation allowance (I refer you to her interview on Wendel Moore, PJD2 Radio Program and vacation allowance pay slips provided to civil servants) to only civil servants and public school teachers under the condition that the vacation days of all civil servants would be reduced to 15 days.
This, while no official agreement was signed with the CCSU, no National decree was signed and approved by the Governor to repeal the temporary covid 19 ordinance containing these cost cutting measures, nor has any draft legislation passed through the CCSU or the Parliament of Sint Maarten amending the temporary covid 19 ordinance.
“It baffles me that a leader of country chooses to play such a political stunt by paying civil servant illegally, while the subsidized school teachers who fall under this law based on article 1 subsection b of this legislation are left at the discrepancy of the school board who are left to cut personnel costs with 12.5%. Not to mention the employees of the government-owned companies who also had to cut their personnel costs with 12.5%. Does this now mean that these companies too can disregard the legislation regulating their cost cutting measures? The PM committed this illegal act after being warned by the State Secretary that vacation allowance could not be paid. It is for this reason that Curacao paid out a so called “gratificatie” even though their Minister of Finance had secured funds to pay a portion of the vacation allowance. Who knows what consequences will follow based on this undermining act of the so-called leader of this country. Adding insult to injury: some department heads are now denying civil servants who already booked their July vacation, their days off, due to this illegal act committed by the Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs”, stated Wilson.
“Let me make this clear to the PM, the Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education, Secretary Generals and Department heads: there is absolutely no legal basis for you to lower the vacation days of civil servants to 15 days unless an amendment to the current temporary covid 19 ordinance is approved by the unions in the CCSU and passed in Parliament. Until such amendment has gone through the process, I expect you to abide by the law. Impossible that we live in a country where Ministers feel they are Gods and they can put aside legislation as if it is a simple piece of paper. What is even worse is that we have Members of Parliament and an Integrity Chamber that sits back and allow these actions to take place”, Wilson continued.
Gromyko Wilson an aspiring political candidate for the upcoming elections urged the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten and her fellow Ministers who have committed this illegal act to do the honorable thing and resign.