~ Clarity regarding vacation days must be provided ~
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On June 27, 2022, Gromyko Wilson published a press release on the illegal acts committed by the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten Silveria Jacobs and Minister of Finance Irion when they chose to pay out vacation allowance of civil servants and cut vacation days without a legal basis for such.
To date, more than a month after both Ministers illegally paid out vacation allowance, it is still unclear what agreements were made with the unions and what legal basis there is, to limit vacation days of civil servants to 15 days. When questioned on the matter in an urgent Central Committee meeting in Parliament last week, the Prime Minister gave vague answers that raised more questions and concerns.
“Every civil servant should be able to trust that decisions pertaining to their labor rights are protected and regulated by law. These ad hoc and creative financial acts of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance (most likely due to the threat of a fall of Government) are alarming to say the least. What makes the situation worse is the fact that the respective unions have not come out and explained to their members which legal basis was used to cut vacation days of civil servants,” stated Wilson.
Wilson continued: “Why can’t the agreement between the Council of Ministers and the unions be made public? Why did one union make a deal to pay out 50% vacation allowance to civil servants months before the June 15 vacation allowance pay date? Why was there even an agreement with that particular union prior to any meeting between the union and its membership (see previous press briefings of the Council of Ministers)?
“This, while another union has been begging the Council of Ministers for an audience to discuss the grievances of its members. One must wonder what type of secret deals are being made behind closed doors to keep certain civil servants content and therefore quiet, while others have to continue to work in deplorable circumstances. To make matters worse, a decision on a request by the Prime Minister to the Dutch Kingdom Government for liquidity support has currently been placed on hold, as the Kingdom Government too, is seeking clarity on the payment of vacation allowance to civil servants. One cannot blame the Dutch for wondering how one has the resources to illegally pay vacation allowance yet one is seeking liquidity support for the second half of the year.”
“Clarity regarding the vacation days of civil servants must be provided to all relevant stakeholders as soon as possible. It cannot be that Government officials continue to act as if Sint Maarten is a lawless country. Persons need to be held accountable for their actions,” concluded Wilson.
Gromyko L.N.V. Wilson is an aspiring politician who will be contesting the upcoming elections on the United Sint Maarten Party (USP) slate.