Administrative court dismisses demand by former Commissioner Blackman

POSTED: 07/7/11 2:41 PM

Court cites lack of urgency as reason for its decision

St. Maarten – The Administrative court dismissed a demand by former Finance Commissioner Xavier Blackman to order the government to take a decision about his right to benefits based on the Pension regulation for political office holders yesterday. Judge mr. R.W.J. van Veen ruled that there is no urgency to honor the request because Blackman receives advance payments and because “it is to be expected that these monthly payments will be paid regularly.”

The court also declared Blackman’s request inadmissible on technical grounds. The request is aimed at the fact that country St. Maarten does not take a decision about his right to the benefits. The court ruled that the administrative court is open for appeals against decisions by administrative organizations (bestuursorgaan). “Country St. Maarten is not a bestuursorgaan,” Van Veen wrote in his decision.

Blackman had complained to the court that the government had failed to take a decision about his request to receive the benefits he submitted on October 1 of last year to the Executive Council.

In a separate procedure, the question came up whether the current Finance Minister is the succeeding bestuursorgaan. The attorney for Country St. Maarten and the finance Minister, mr. R.F. Gibson Jr. pointed out that the governor is the competent bestuursorgaan.

Based on the Pension regulation of March 24, 2006, the governor is the competent authority for pensioned ministers, ministers of plenipotentiary, state secretaries, members of parliament and Lt. governors. The executive council is the competent authority for pensioned commissioners and Island council members.

Quoting from the transition regulations for legislation and governance, Judge Van Veen wrote that he is unable to determine that the Governor is the competent authority. For this reason he ordered the investigation into the matter reopened and asked mr. Gibson Jr. to inform the court about the rule that established the Governor as the competent authority in the matter of Blackman’s pension rights.

Van Veen expects the answer to his question within two weeks in writing. If the answer gives reason to do so, the court will give Blackman the opportunity to react to it before taking a final decision.

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