Duncan: Union standpoint based on incorrect information

POSTED: 03/17/11 2:07 PM

“I think they’re bored.”

St. Maarten – Justice Minister Roland Duncan says the standpoint President of the Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU) William Reed has taken on talks to have immigration officers from neighboring islands work at Princess Juliana International Airport is based on “incorrect information.”
“Putting an officer from Anguilla at the airport or at the lagoon does not take away from our immigration, because our immigration does not check anyone into Anguilla. They check them into St. Maarten,” Duncan said.
He added, “I would want to remind everybody that joint immigration controls is nothing new. Aruba has had it with the U.S. Immigration for what, 20 years. The French part of the story is even more ludicrous if you look at the fact that we have a Franco/Dutch Treaty that calls for joint immigration controls at all the airports – Grand Case as well as Juliana – for now about 15 years. We have finally starting to execute that treaty and the first experiments were very successful. So having two or three sets of immigration officers on the airport is nothing wrong, or no fault with the local immigration officers. I think it just helps them with their job.”
Duncan has discussed the possibility of immigration officers from multiple jurisdictions with the Tourism and Economic Affairs Ministry and parties believe that the added service to the islands St. Maarten acts as a hub for will only prove more profitable for St. Maarten.
“There are operators out of St. Barths that are complaining. A person takes a four to five hour flight from New York to Juliana to go to, pick or choose St. Barths or Anguilla. They check through immigration and then they walk either across the road to the lagoon or they go up the road to the bridge and they check out of immigration. When they come back they have to check back into Simpson Bay Lagoon and they have to drive down to the Airport and go through immigration again,” the Minister said.
Because of the process as described by the Minister the operators, from both islands, have suggested that doing checks here would be more expedient. The Anguillans want to rent space either in the Lagoon or at the airport so their officers can do the checks on people so they enter Anguilla.
“It doesn’t affect our work. In fact it could make our work a lot easier,” Duncan said.
He went further and stated, “Nowadays the unions seem to be bored. They are not doing their job in terms of representing the employees. I have unions checking whether courses given by management are good enough or why we should send people to Santo Domingo for a course. Why not? Since when is it the duty of the union to decide for management how to train its people or when to train its people or where to send people to train. I think they’re bored.”

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