Tuesday, October 20, 2020

August 27, 2020  Great Bay- The members of the Committee of Civil Servants Unions (CCSU), known in Dutch as the GOA, filed an official complaint with the Ombudsman against the Government of St. Maarten on Friday, August 21, 2020. The CCSU in its complaint to the Ombudsman highlighted several infractions committed by the Council of Ministers throughout the negotiation process on Cost-Cutting Measures as agreed to with the Kingdom Government.

From the onset, the Unions continuously raised its deep concerns and remained firm in its opposition to the abundance of irregularities since the start of negotiations, with Government, on Thursday, May 7, 2020 to present.

In a joint statement, the CCSU members, namely the WICSU-PSU and the WITU, expressed its profound disappointment with Governments' unfair negotiation tactics.

From circumventing the articles enshrined in the LMA, the constant change of the cost-cutting measures, without any explanation or justification to meet the 12.5% condition imposed by the Dutch Government, to the lack of complete information and the unilateral decision to withhold the 2020 vacation allowance without an official agreement with the Unions.

Notwithstanding, the tactics employed by the Government seem contrary to its professed devotion to justice, good governance, and the principles of democracy and the protection of human rights. 

It must be reiterated that St. Maarten is a nation governed by the rule of law and the rights of workers were never quarantined! The members most certainly understand the unprecedented impact of COVID 19 and the complicated negotiations between the Government of St. Maarten and The Hague.

In the final analysis, the pandemic has not absolved Government, as the legitimate custodian and enforcer of the Constitution and local (labor) laws, of its legal obligation towards its employees. 

A copy of this complaint and its supporting documents have also been submitted to the Office of Integrity Chamber.

PARIS (AP) — A Congolese activist was fined 2,000 euros ($2,320) on Wednesday for trying to take a 19th-century African funeral pole from a Paris museum in a protest against colonial-era injustice that he streamed online. A Paris court convicted Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza and two other activists of attempted theft, but the sentence stopped far short of what they potentially faced for their actions at the Quai Branly Museum: 10 years in prison and 150,000 euros in fines. Activists and defense lawyers viewed the case as a trial about how former empires should atone for past crimes. Diyabanza’s museum action took place in June, amid global protests against racial injustice and colonial-era wrongs unleashed by George Floyd’s death in the U.S. Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

LONDON (AP) — Herbert Kretzmer, the journalist and lyricist best known for his English-language adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, has died. He was 95. His family confirmed Wednesday that Kretzmer died after a long illness with Parkinson’s disease at the London home he shared with his second wife, Sybil Sever. Tributes poured in from giants of the London stage, including theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh, singer Elaine Paige and lyricist Tim Rice. Les Miserables producer Mackintosh said Kretzmer was instrumental in bringing Victor Hugo’s classic tale of defiance and redemption in early 19th century France to the stage in English in October 1985, five years after it had opened in Paris.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stevie Wonder released two new songs Tuesday reflecting the current times that he hopes inspires change. The piano-playing icon dropped the tracks “Where Is Our Love Song” and “Can’t Put It In the Hands of Fate,” which he also announced would be released through his new label So What the Fuss Music, distributed through Universal Music Group’s Republic Records (Wonder was signed to Motown Records for the majority of his career).

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Conchata Ferrell, who became known for her role as Berta the housekeeper on TV’s “Two and a Half Men” after a long career as a character actor on stage and in movies, including “Mystic Pizza” and ”Network,” has died. She was 77. Ferrell died Monday at Sherman Oaks Hospital in Los Angeles following cardiac arrest, according to publicist Cynthia Snyder. Ferrell soldiered through more than a decade on “Two and a Half Men,” playing opposite Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer until Sheen was fired from the sitcom for erratic behavior that included publicly insulting producer Chuck Lorre.