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St. Maarten unions frustrated over government's inaction to address issues affecting police


~ No response to request to meet Sarah ~

PHILIPSBURG–The three unions representing the St. Maarten Police Force held a general membership meeting with officers on Tuesday to discuss the reorganisation of the Police Force and to update members on a meeting held with Justice Minister Roland Duncan on March 6.

NAPB Vice President Ephelwoldus Josepha told The Daily Herald last night that officers and the unions are frustrated of matters that were supposed to have been in place for officers since 10/10/’10 are still not yet sorted out.

In a letter signed by representatives of the NAPB, ABVO and the Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU), the unions said that two and a half years after the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles, the Police Force is still not structurally reorganised, meaning the Police Force does not have a legal established status in country St. Maarten.

The unions said documents received from the Ministry of Justice during the week of March 12, 2013 for perusal pertaining to the reorganisation of personnel were incomplete. “It’s not acceptable that there is no matrix plan (structural plan), job description, the very important placement plan, salary scales and the legal position document for the police civil servants,’ the three unions said in their letter.

“As unions we are of the opinion that the chief commissioner of police Mr. Peter de Witte and the Minister of Justice Roland Duncan are not handling the business of the police department. Their attitude and action with regards to the reorganisation are unorthodox, and are left for interpretation,” it was stated in the letter.

The unions said too that their request for an audience with Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams and President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel regarding the issues of the Police Force for today, April 24 has not been responded to.

Josepha said the union is hoping to receive a response to its request for a meeting. If none is received, the union will meet again with its membership to determine the way forward. Josepha told this newspaper that there were no plans on the table to strike at the moment. “Up to now there is no decision as yet, we are just waiting to see what reaction we get,” he said.

An estimated 30 officers from all divisions attended the meeting.

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