Prime Minister wants responsible transition for Post Office

POSTED: 08/18/11 3:07 PM


St. Maarten – Securing the employment of the staff at the Post Office and ensuring that service will continue to be available are key points that Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams will raise at an August 23rd meeting of the shareholders in New Post Netherlands Antilles (NPNA). The gathering between Wescot-Williams and Curacao’s Deputy Prime Minister Charles Cooper was called for by the company.
According to the prime minister the company called the meeting so the shareholders can decide what will happen with the services because it wants to terminate its operations in St. Maarten on October 10, 2011. Part of the reason for having the shareholders handle the matter is the fact that New Post Netherlands Antilles and Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS), which has been set up on October 8, 2010 by the Island Government of St. Maarten, have not been able to “find each other” on a transition agreement as parties could not find agreement on plans of approach. St. Maarten’s point of departure is that it will take over all services, but NPNA is desirous of maintaining the non-postal services.
“The logical thing in my opinion is that PSS gets the opportunity to continue to provide these (ed. non postal) services as well because that helps the operation, but that has not been worked out in that fashion and that’s why the discussion needs to take place. The employees, during the whole time continue to employed by NPNA because practically NPNA is the one who still provides the services. A managing director (Denicio Richardson) was appointed for PSS, however PSS does not have any of its own income to continue to hire or take over personnel and even if they had the money, the takeover can’t happen just like that,” Wescot-Williams said.
The prime minister goes into next Tuesday’s meeting as a representative of a co-shareholder government, but is keeping in mind that her government is the sole owner of a postal company of their own in PSS. She believes that makes things interesting because the co-shareholder position gives St. Maarten “a say in how postal services are delivered.”
“We had expected and had been working along with NPNA to work on a transition to PSS and unfortunately, without pointing a finger in any direction, that transition has not gone the way we would have liked it to go, but that does not mean that the Government of St. Maarten, which is co-shareholder of NPNA, would just accept that the services are terminated, without taking into consideration continued service to the people of St. Maarten and the employees who currently work for NPNA,” Wescot-Williams said.
“We know that the turnover or take over, depending on what angle you look at it from, has to take place, but regardless to what has happened since 10-10-10 and of course both parties will be saying if you had done this, I could have done that, but putting that aside, we will not accept that it happens unless matters like personnel and continuation of service are taken in account,” the prime minister added.
Because of the concern about the continued employment of the staffers the prime minister has made sure to involve the St. Maarten Communication Workers Union (SMCU) in her preparation for next Tuesday’s meeting.

Partnership
While there has been discussion on finding a partner for PSS, once it takes over the postal services on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten, there has no discussion about who the partnership will be with.
“There might be the need for some other postal service. That might be part of the future plans, but we have not determined that to be the case yet. We’ve looked at the things we need to do and decide we might need to bring in somebody to assist us with it, but who? Far from,” the prime minister said.

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