PHILIPSBURG Sint Maarten — In response to mounting concerns about the state of the justice workforce, particularly within the Customs Department, Member of Parliament, the Honorable Akeem Arrindell, has taken proactive steps to address the issues affecting this crucial sector. Recognizing the significance of a well-functioning justice system, Arrindell has written a letter to the Honorable Anna Richardson, Minister of Justice, requesting comprehensive clarifications on pressing matters.
According to MP Arrindell, Over the past 2 to 3 years, the Customs Department has faced a significant staff shortage, with approximately 20 officers leaving their positions. This concerning trend has raised questions about the underlying causes, such as salary scales, unprofessionalism of shift leaders, an unstructured work environment, and inadequate leadership styles.
Arrindell, drawing on his own experience as a former justice employee, is keen to ensure the welfare of those working within the justice sector. His letter to Minister Richardson outlines a series of detailed questions aimed at shedding light on the current state of affairs within the Customs Department and the broader justice system. These questions touch upon various aspects of the department’s operations, including leadership appointments, staffing issues, employee well-being, career advancement opportunities, and more.
Key inquiries raised in the letter include questions about the criteria used for nominating two individuals as team leaders, despite evidence that they did not meet the qualifications for the positions. He asked for explanations on the selection process and identifying necessary functions within the Customs Department.
Regarding staffing and essential positions, MP Arrindell highlighted the shortage of vital positions, such as dog handlers, necessary for effective departmental functioning. In a press release issued Monday evening, MP Arrindell said, “It is important that the Justice Minister explain what efforts are being made to address the shortage and the current status of dog handlers in the department.”
He said, “As a former Justice worker myself and based on the news coming from this important department, I am concerned about the well-being of customs officers tasked with protecting the country’s borders.” Arrindell raises questions about compensation, staffing levels, training, performance evaluation, work-life balance, and workplace inclusivity. His letter to the Justice Minister also delves into avenues for expressing concerns, ethical standards, programs supporting employee well-being, professional development opportunities, and measures for handling conflicts or issues within the customs department.
Arrindell’s letter reflects his commitment to fostering transparency, accountability, and positive change within the justice sector. By seeking comprehensive clarifications and solutions, he aims to ensure a conducive and efficient working environment for those predicated on upholding justice in St. Maarten.
“I believe that a well-functioning justice system is the cornerstone of a just society,” stated MP Akeem Arrindell. “We must address the concerns affecting our justice workforce, particularly in the Customs Department. By engaging in open dialogue and seeking clarifications, we can work together towards effective solutions that benefit both the employees and the community they serve.”
Arrindell expresses gratitude to Minister Anna Richardson for her anticipated response to the inquiries and her collaboration in addressing the concerns raised in the letter. He is optimistic that through joint efforts, the challenges facing the Customs Department can be effectively managed, paving the way for a more robust and resilient justice sector in St. Maarten. As a Parliamentarian, MP Arrindell said he is more concerned about solutions and looks forward to arriving at a place where the Justice workers’ plight can end.