Merx: Police go slow will remain

April 5, 2023  -PHILIPSBURG–Attorney at law Cor Merx says the Police Force of St. Maarten KPSM will remain on a go-slow.

Merx said in a press release on Wednesday that neither the Minister of Justice nor the Governor had given any reaction to the Justice workers. “It means they agree with the police action, because silence gives consent,” he stated.

Merx said the go slow will last until an answer has been received on their issues in regard to their placement letters, backlog money, and overtime. He said the union and its members had added a fourth issue: members want to start being paid according to the new salary scale.

According to the release, a covenant was signed on June 10, 2022, between the Minister of Justice and unions that represent the Justice workers. This covenant was approved by the Committee of Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) in October 2022. “In said covenant it is stipulated that by the end of the year 2022/beginning of 2023, that certain Justice departments would be placed in their rightful positions, receive the second part of the payment that was paid in 2020 and begin to be paid according to the new salary scale,” said the release.

Merx said that in a town hall meeting held by the minister in January she had explained that the process was taking longer than expected, but everything should be done by the end of the first quarter (March 31).

“The Justice workers have shown an immense amount of patience, but their patience will soon run out,” he said. “The Justice workers and unions are showing a lot of motivation and are having meetings pertaining to the process not being completed in a timely manner. They are very loyal to each other and are walking hand-in-hand to achieve the above-mentioned goals. Until now, only the police, Customs and federal detectives have received their placement letters. The other Justice workers have not received anything as yet.”

The only reaction came from the acting head of Immigration and Border Protection Services (IBPS) for all Immigration employees. Immigration officers received a memo on April 4 with an apology for the late reaction. The Immigration officers were asked for more time and to have patience for the committee who are working tirelessly to complete the letters, Merx said.

The Justice workers’ response to the memo: “Please take your time because time is now on our side and yes, we are patient because we have no other choice than to wait another 13 years. You keep going on working tirelessly while we await the outcome. The colleagues of the Justice departments that did not receive their placement letters are deep in the hearts of the other Justice workers that did receive their letters. We will not give up. We will stay on track.”

Merx said that controls will be in place to ensure the go-slow action will not affect the people of St. Maarten. “We will keep you updated on a daily basis or every two days on our progress of the go-slow action.”

The Minister of Justice will be in Parliament today at 1:30pm for a question hour regarding the placement procedure and the ongoing issues between the police union and the minister.

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