Ghost civil servants are still around

POSTED: 02/29/12 1:56 PM

St. Maarten – The government has a no show no pay policy that allows it to stop paying salaries to civil servants that do not show up for work, Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto wrote in answer to a question by National Alliance leader William Marlin.

“This generally works, as employees return to work as soon as they notice that they have not been paid,” the minister wrote.

Shigemoto admitted that fighting ghost civil servants has not been successful in the past. This is because the absentees were apparently alerted by colleagues “as soon as actions were undertaken to deal with their absence.”

According to the minister “this resulted in their sudden return to work for short periods after which they returned to ghost status.”

Shigemoto notes in his answer that a number of the ghost civil servants are battling alcohol or drug problems, or social or medical problems. “For a number of them, the government has requested to undergo a new medical test.

Already nine years ago, in February 2003, the foundation government accountant Bureau Soab established after a thorough investigation that “a substantial number of employees” was unlawfully absent from work. The General Audit Chamber of the Netherlands Antilles noted in a report that was published in August 2008 that the government’s personnel administration needs improvement, because personnel files were kept in different locations and were seldom found to be complete. This made it impossible to establish whether civil servants were entitled to the salaries that were paid to them.

The August 2008 report referred to the annual accounts over the years 2002, 2003, 204 and 2005. While this information is obviously outdated, reports from the General Audit Chamber have shown over the years a pattern. The reports showed that the administration was a mess and that the Chamber over the years did not notice any improvement.

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