Reader’s Letter: A job at SZV

POSTED: 02/18/13 12:42 PM

My name is Ameera Groeneveldt and this is my story about what happened to me at my former job at SZV.

Since day one it has always been a challenge to be respected and accepted by my former SZV employer, Ms. Esther Recio-Halley, and newly appointed supervisor of the registration dept., Ms. Sylvia Maccow.

I started working at SZV on September 5, 2012 through the agency EBS and after three months of hard work and interviews, I received the great news that I would be SZV’s new employee at the Registration Department.

After meeting with Mr. Reginald Willemsberg, I was then later informed by Ms. Recio-Halley that I got the job. In the conversation between Mr. Willemsberg and I, he mentioned how I might get bored working in registration, seeing as how my credentials are far above that of a registration employee. I then told him that I have no problem starting from the bottom, because I know I will be going to the top.

Now, this is the reason why my story needs to be printed. I returned from my studies in The Netherlands in 2012 with my beautiful three year old daughter. I studied Architecture, Administration, Computer Skills and Heavy machinery. Had countless job experiences. So when I came back, my goal was to see what I can do for my country. Unfortunately it took me eight long months to find a stable job that I received through an agency. Still I thought if I worked hard enough, the company will want to hire me and give me a year contract. I thought that with this money I can move out of my mom’s house and begin to build a life for both myself and my daughter.

The truth is that SZV has a reputation of hogs and pigs that work there. My goal was to change that through hard work, the love of my job and to respect the clients.

Since day one Sylvia Maccow saw me as a threat. I didn’t go to work to hang out with friends, surf the internet and leave work pile up. I made sure that what I had to do was done directly or later that same day. I did so well that I started asking around for more work. The then supervisor Ms. Esther Recio-Halley, now manager, noticed my hard work and rewarded me with more work, calling it “special projects”. But I was no fool. I knew it was work that others had to do but it wasn’t getting done, their names (Amaralis Ignacio and Ann Marie Bell) were on the paper. Yet, I never said no. I did my slave work, because I thought this is all a part of the grilling process working in the back office of registration.

Now, there was a position open for Medewerker Registratie, the same position I was already doing at SZV. Immediately I applied and was chosen for an interview. However, before I applied for that position, I also applied for the position of Supervisor. I was then told by Ms. Tamara van Amersfoort that I had to be realistic. Shocked and disappointed I decided to only apply for Registratie Medewerker position.

In one of my interviews Ms. Van Amersfoort asked me if I was hired to be Supervisor, what changes I would make. First of all no answering the phones in front of clients, no getting up to answer the phone leaving the clients there waiting. No eating at the desk. No painting fingernails and toenails in the office. No long chatting on the phone if you were busy. First finish your work, and then surf the web. Answer incoming phone calls from clients. Be friendly to the clients. Come back in time after lunch. Reach to work on time and much more.

All of which I saw Germina Hughes, Ann Marie Bell and most of all Sylvia Maccow doing.

Ms. Van Amersfoort was listening and nodding, but my then boss Ms. Recio-Halley was just sitting quietly typing away on her laptop.

When I returned to the office after my interview, I saw that Registration Dept. received a new e-mail from Ms. Recio-Halley. In short, she wrote us a brief letter reminding us to not answer our phones in front of clients and to not get up from our desks, leaving the clients waiting, to answer a call either. At first I was upset, but then I thought about the clients and how much this will help them feel at ease.

Not long after it was made known to everyone that both myself and Ann Marie Bell received the job. Now this is a girl that in one week stayed home for three days because her daughter was sick. Then stayed home for three days again the week after, because she was sick. She missed her interview, yet still got another chance to redo it. Then I realized she was the suck up of the group. She did what they wanted at all times, and her work suffered for it. Yet she got the job, even though only one position was supposed to be available.

Again I said nothing.

That same month the Registration Dept had a meeting. There I sat as the new Supervisor, Sylvia Maccow, read the new rules and regulations to improve our work performance. All the points Sylvia read off were all the points I mentioned in my previous interview with both Ms. Van Amersfoort and Ms. Recio-Halley. I was not only shocked but very upset. These people are just using me I thought. I felt like a donkey. Furthermore, this Sylvia Maccow received a promotion when she hardly was on the job, talked long hours on the job phone, came in late and left early, doesn’t know how to talk to people, much less knows how to lead a department. Obviously there are some irregularities going on at SZV that people need to be aware of.

For a month and a few weeks I felt honored to be working at the Werkgevers Balie, registering companies, printing yellow doctor cards, answering phone calls and e-mails, filing away authorized letters, faxing letters to the immigration, making up letters for SMMC, making up letters for persons never insured and not insured, putting in and verifying mutations, handling emergency’s, closing companies, assisting FZOG clients and much more. All of which I did with no training. Ms. Germina Hughes threatened to quit when she found out that I would move to the Front Office and she would move to the Back Office. So can you imagine that this person would train me to the best of her ability? Nope. Yet I was attacked three days after my contract with SZV started (December 6th 2012) by Ms. Recio-Halley and Ms. Maccow that they were worried about my job performance. Seriously? These people wanted me gone, even though I did great work for three months, received a raise in my salary in January 2013. Now all of a sudden I don’t know what I am doing? That makes no sense. Then I had my second warning meeting a few weeks after. Just like my first meeting, I was not even told that it was a warning meeting. This meeting was held because I stood up to Sylvia Maccow after she acted radically in a short meeting we had. It was then told to me by Ms. Van Amersfoort that there will be no more meetings after this. I will be gone. My trial period would have ended February 6th 2013, so they only had a short time left to get rid of me.

Yet again Esther Recio-Halley called the mule to do the slave work, that was the “special Project”. I had to find and pull over one hundred government files by myself, even though on the list I saw Amaralis Ignacio and Ann Marie Bell names. During overtime I worked my but off, and of course they (Sylvia Maccow, Amaralis Ignacio, Ann Marie Bell and Germina Hughes) sky lacked and did hardly anything. So as you can imagine that was hard enough. But then I was told that I also had to organize the files, and all the others had to do was take them, fix them, and place them on the side.

Because of all this work, my own work piled up. Overtime is to do the work that couldn’t get done during normal work hours.

Sylvia Maccow came by me, saw all the work I had yet to do, went in by Esther Recio-Halley office. After she came back to me and told me to give her all my work. I did. I called in sick the next day. The Friday now I came to work. For some strange reason the back office was in a good mood. I heard that Sylvia Maccow was reported saying “today is the day”. As usual, I didn’t pay them any mind. At 12:20pm (January 25th 2013), 10 min. before my lunch hour, both Ms. Maccow and I were summoned by Ms. Recio-Halley to meet her in her office. She seemed to be in good spirits, so I was expecting some good news. I was then told that due to my incapability to multitask and the clients complaining, she would be letting me go. I would then need to give back my SZV insurance card, that I only recently received, and don’t need to come back after my lunch hour. Plus, it will be looked into if I have any compensation for SZV seeing as how they already paid me for the month of December 2012 and January 2013. If so, the money will then be deducted from my vacation money. I will be notified by Ms. Tamara about this situation.

Mr. Willemsberg was the one that hired me in the first place. How can they fire me when he wasn’t even on the island? Does that show respect for leadership? I didn’t even receive a letter of termination. Word of mouth termination.

Never the less, I packed up my stuff, gave Ms. Esther back her SZV card and left.

Thursday (January 31st 2013) morning at 12am I wrote Mr. Willemsberg and Ms. Van Amersfoort a letter about what went on that day and how I am seeking legal advice on this matter. Also how I expect to stay on the payroll, seeing as how I didn’t receive a termination letter. That same day I was told by my friend who works at the Pension Dept. that the currier was looking for me to give me a letter from Ms. Tamara. Later on I found out that this was my dismissal letter. Sneaky people. However on that letter had the date January 29th 2013 and I received it January 31st 2013. Mr. Willemsberg wasn’t even the one who signed it. Up to now I have not received an answer to my e-mail I sent Mr. Willemsberg and Ms. Van Amersfoort.

I am taking them to court. I want them to pay me out the rest of my contract, because I was wrongfully terminated. Plus, my two months trial period doesn’t exist anymore.  After three months of doing the same job with the same company and boss in the same department, to now have to do two months all over again?

It is hard enough finding a job after coming back from college. So many of us don’t come back because we don’t get jobs when we do. Here I am, a single mom trying to make it through hard work and dedication, and this is what I get. Ridden like a mule and thrown away when they are done. Happily thrown away by them I might add. Something has to be done. They can’t keep getting away treating people like this. I am a local and I felt like a foreigner. Hopefully through my bravery more people will be encouraged to stand up for themselves and punish these people for what they have done and continue to do.

Ameera Groeneveldt

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