PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Silveria Jacobs has been Prime Minister of Sint Maarten for almost 4 years. Being Prime Minister also entails being Minister of General Affairs. The Ministry in charge of Personnel Affairs of civil servants. Prior to becoming Minister of General Affairs, Jacobs had many opinions on what civil servants were supposed to earn; which benefits should be for locals; how low the salaries for cleaners are; and how some of these cleaners and civil servants have reached their ceiling years ago.
Almost 4 years removed from those statements, Jacobs has not kept any of her political and pre-swearing promises to civil servants and their families. The Fire Department was told at the beginning of her tenure that their function book was her priority. Four years later: NADA (nothing). Her excuse has been Covid-19 and the function books of Justice employees.
However, the Minister of Justice had her own workgroup, consisting of SOAB and consultants from Curaçao and St. Maarten, doing the work for her.
Do you remember those low salary scales she was campaigning about? The scale 6 and below? Remember the promises to all the cleaners? Remember the promises to the teachers who have been stuck for years on the same scale?
What the Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs did accomplish was ACCEPTING unconditionally the demands of former State Secretary Knops to cut civil servants’ salaries. Jacobs is currently working on executing the country packages that have demands to increase the pension age to 67, and is looking for ways to decrease the public wage bill, which basically means looking for ways to reduce personnel costs.
This same Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs is the one who illegally froze vacation allowances of civil servants. The same one who traded vacation allowance for vacation days of civil servants. This too illegally. But, it was okay, the Minister said, as there was enough money in the Government coffers to pay for vacation allowance. Now the CFT report explains that this too was a lie.
The same Minister of Personnel Affairs who begged Parliament for an urgent meeting to theoretically remove the 12.5% for civil servants, yet requested for it to continue to apply until the law on high earners had been finalized and published.
To date, we are awaiting the justification from the Honorable Prime Minister as to why low income, hardworking, civil servants have to suffer once again while too high-income earners continue to earn their monies. Better yet, the CFT’s advice on the 2022 budget amendment, and the 2023 draft budget makes it even clearer that this Prime Minister, along with Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion, have been mismanaging public funds and lying to Parliament and the people of St. Maarten.